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William E. Stober (1940-1997) joined the Foreign Office Research Department in 1963 and after postings in Tanzania and Uganda and a further spell in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, eventually became an administrative officer in the British National Service in the New Hebrides, 1972-1976. He then returned to Great Britain and worked as an administrator in the University of Birmingham until his retirement in 1990, though he returned to the New Hebrides (now, after independence, Vanuatu), 1980-1981 to undertake an assignment and report on the establishment of a land tenure system. He continued to take an interest in Vanuatu until his death.
Conflicting French and British interests in the New Hebrides at the end of the 19th century led to the formation in 1887 of a Joint Naval Commission to administer the islands. This was replaced by a condominium government in 1906, where local rule was excercised by Anglo-French high commissioners acting through resident commissioners stationed at Vila on Éfaté. Many legislative papers in the collection relate to the condominium government, which continued until the islands' independence in 1977.
Much of the material was accumulated by Stober while he was working in the New Hebrides, either as copies of his own official files and papers retained for his own use, or as copies of earlier material made to assist in his work. With certain sections and files, additional papers were obtained from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and The National Archives in the UK, when Stober was working on the history of land tenure in the islands.
The earlier donation was rescued from a bonfire in the residency grounds during independence and deposited in the Institute of Pacific Studies.Immediate Source of Acquisition
The majority of the papers were donated to the library (after Stober's death in 1997) by his widow, Mrs. C. Stober, in August 1998, although a smaller earlier donation by Stober was made in 1990. The earlier donation was subsequently added to the initial handlist.Access Conditions
Bodleian reader's ticket required. There is a 30 year closure on access to official papers (see handlist).Reproduction Restrictions
No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.
A handlist is available in the library reading room.
Stober | William E | 1940-1997 | administrator
Vanuatu | History | 20th century
Great Britain | Colonies | Vanuatu | Administration
Land settlement | Vanuatu
New Hebrides Advisory Council
British Land Trust Board | Vanuatu
New Hebrides Condominium | Joint Court of the New Hebrides
New Hebrides Advisory Council
New Hebrides Condominium