By Patricia Page

ISBN-10: 1740760484

ISBN-13: 9781740760485

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People wanted what they were used to and that was British fare. Even in Australia, before the Fiji years, apart from eating greater quantities of meat (always offal for breakfast), we ate as the British did: Sunday roast, toad-in-the hole, spotted dick, steamed treacle pudding, custard every meal. The figure of the Australian ‘throwing another prawn on the barbie’ hadn’t yet appeared. The only Fijian dish that the colonials adopted was curried seafood in lolo (coconut milk), otherwise solid British stuff was the order of the day and was well documented in my diary.

He wore white gloves, often carried a carved gold-tipped stick and nearly always had, at his waist, a sword in an engraved silver scabbard. In spite of his dashing uniform he was a cosy king. He gave out prizes on school speech days. His presence graced sporting events and ceremonies held at Albert Park. He was there the day the Fijians marched away to war. All of Suva — some had been waiting since dawn — lined Victoria Parade to see them go by in full battle-dress, their rifles on their shoulders, their bayonets flashing in the sun.

No real blooded ethnic Fijian is going to let a bunch of Indians run the country,’ said the spokesman for a South Pacific Forum. But whatever side people were on, they didn’t want to go there any more. Tourism plummeted. Aid from Australia and New Zealand was suspended. The dollar was devalued and wages were cut. Poverty and crime increased. Soon realising he couldn’t run the country without the help of the experienced traditional chiefs, Rabuka returned to his military duties and made Mara Prime Minister.

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Across the Magic Line: Growing Up in Fiji by Patricia Page

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