I am soon to arrive back in the Solomon Islands, after 50 years. When I was last in Honiara, (I was then teaching at Pawa School) I attended a Diocese of Melanesia conference in 1969, and it was there that I met for the first time the Rev. Dr. Charles Elliot Fox.
Since that time, until almost his death, we corresponded, and from that time I decided to write a biography of his remarkable life. That I have almost completed, and it is that reason that I return to this country, to consult the archives, and learn something of the establishment of the C.E.Fox Memorial School. I have visited the school he went to, the Napier Boys' High School in New Zealand from 1892 to 1895, and he set up the school magazine there, the Scindian, and he was its first editor.
He was captain of the school 1st XV Rugby, the 1st cricket XI, Head Prefect, and dux for two years running - no small feat for a 17 year old schoolboy! I have met the members of his family; I have delved into his life at Auckland University College as it then was, and also his contribution to the fields of ethnology, anthropology, linguistics, conchology, and to his remarkable achievements in the game of chess.
Charles Fox was a man who had a variety of gifts, and they are quite distinct from others who worked with him, and my aim has been to chronicle his life after coming to New Zealand with his family. What is most noticeable, all of his family were not physically strong, and particularly Charles, who was had no primary school education, as he was considered not robust to enter a school with hardy local types, and only reached formal education at the age of about 13.
He was fortunate in having a very scholarly father, who was not only the top scholar at Cambridge University in both Hebrew and Greek, but was also exceedingly well-read in literature, history, and developments in that very new world then of popular science. Thus it is no wonder that the young, 5 foot three inch wonder boy in Napier reached the highest rank in science in New Zealand with a first class honours degree (and his exam papers were all set and then sent away to be marked at London University) and later, after original research mainly on San Cristobal, earned for him the degree of Doctor of Literature.
I look forward to deepening my knowledge of his latter days in the Solomons, from 1969 until he left, and hopefully to meet now sadly the few others remaining who had the great fortune of knowing him.
Robert L. Hunt.
The Rev. Dr. Charles Elliot Fox.
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