Celtic Club of Noumea

Stuart Oliver finds his ancestor in New Caledonia

Stuart Oliver, resident of Perth, Western Australia, contacted us during the month of May 2017. He had just discovered with astonishment, in our genealogical reports, the transcription of a death certificate which he was almost certain, concerned that of his great- great- grandfather John Oliver… Except that he did not expect to find him as an English captain of commerce working for France as the first pilot of the newly-created maritime station of New Caledonia.
His surprise was all the greater since he wrote to us that he had grown up lulled by family stories relating to the multiple journeys and more or less doubtful traffic of his ancestor between Australia and the territory … until his sudden disappearance in the 1859-60 years.

Thanks to the assistance of Emmanuel Cardon, who presently works for the “Maritime pilots of New Caledonia” and especially Valérie Vattier, manager of the Maritime Museum of New Caledonia, it was possible to find Captain John Oliver’s tomb most probable location.

A year later, Stuart, accompanied by his wife Margaret, set foot in New Caledonia for the first time in his existence, in the footsteps of his ancestor.

This meeting, the culmination of a lifelong quest, is reported by this beautiful report from NC 1ère.

Panneau province sud
Entrance to the small cemetery on Casy Island where John Oliver was hastily buried following his death at sea
Margaret and Stuart Oliver with Valérie Vattier (maritime museum), Yann Bouvet and Popy Desgrées du Lou (maritime pilots) and Monique Viliseck (specialist in the history of southern New Caledonia)
Captain John Oliver was also the father of the first European child declared to the civil status of the city of Port-de-France (current Nouméa)
The story of John Oliver brings us back to the time of the first contacts between Melanesians in New Caledonia and the New Hebrides with Europeans

Meet Stuart who kindly shares his whole quest in The Intriguing Story of Captain John Oliver