The Pacific island nation of Fiji is one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week, so why not spend a few minutes today learning about one of Fiji’s World Heritage Sites: the Historical Port Town of Levuka.
Levuka was the first colonial commercial center in Fiji and it became an important regional South Pacific port in the nineteenth century:
Levuka Historical Port Town is set amongst coconut and mango trees along the beach front of Ovalau Island against the forested slopes of the island’s extinct volcano. From the 1820s onwards the port was developed as a centre of commercial activity by American and European colonisers and the town became the first colonial capital of Fiji, peacefully ceded to the British by Tui (King) Cakobau in 1874. A stone and concrete sea wall runs the length of Beach Street, from which other streets and lanes branch inland in a radial pattern following the contours of the land. Inland are the sites of two former indigenous villages Totoga (Vitoga) and Nasau located on one of the three creeks draining the slopes above the coastal plain. Copra sheds, warehouses, bond stores, port facilities and commercial buildings developed along Beach Street, and residences, religious, educational and social institutions grew up around the villages of the indigenous population. These are generally single or two storied corrugated iron or weatherboard clad timber buildings with hipped or gable roofs. Development continued beyond removal of the capital to Suva in 1882 as companies continued to establish bases at Levuka, reflecting all stages of colonial development in the South Pacific. Key elements include the former Totoga and Nasau village sites, the former Cakobau Parliament House site (now the European Memorial), Morris Hedstrom bond store, the Baba indentured labour settlement, the Hennings residence, Captain Robbie’s bungalow, Sacred Heart Cathedral and Presbytery dating from the 1860s, the Royal Hotel founded in the late 1860s, Deed of Cession site, former Government (Nasova) House site, Port Authority, Post and Customs buildings together with their remnant tram tracks to the wharf, former Methodist Church and mission, Levuka Public School, Town Hall, Masonic Lodge, Ovalau Club, Bowling Club, workers cottages and the shell button factory site. (UNESCO World Heritage Centre #1399)
You can find a gallery of additional photos of the Historic Port Town of Levuka on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than 1000 such sites have been recognized in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list online at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites, available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures will you be exploring in your homeschool this Orion Term? 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has profiles of all the nations of the world on pages 745–852; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia includes national histories on pages 489–599; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇫🇯
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool States & Countries posts featuring historical and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌏