Alcon Benjamin Webb Pacific Photographs

This collection of 349 photographs was taken from around 1914 to 1918 while Webb was on a Pacific tour and later a prisoner of the Germans.


The images depict a variety of places and subjects. Those from Rabaul, New Britain Province, PNG, show scenes of the prison hospital and patients, as well as the harbour, shipping, native police, village life, social customs, traditional ceremonies churches and missions, a German school and plantation life. Images from Vanuatu (which include the islands of Efate, Tanna, Ambrym and Malakula) show village scenes, local people, dress, portraits, social customs and coffee and copra production. There are also some from North Solomons Province and Manus Province, PNG.

Alcon Benjamin Webb

Webb was born at Palmers Island, northern New South Wales and never married. He was a chemist consultant on holidays on the ship 'Matunga' bound for Rabaul when it was sunk by the German raider ship 'Wolf'. Webb was taken prisoner by the Germans and held on board the 'Wolf'. The vessel eventually returned to Germany where Webb was interned for the rest of the war. He acted as a medical assistant in Rabaul hospital. The photographs date from this time. Webb developed his own prints. He died in Randwick Hospital of tuberculosis and 'war wounds'. Webb’s great-nephew had no knowledge of Web’s movements beyond his time in Rabaul.


Nan Goodsell
Sue Myatt
Last Updated: