Keith Woodward

Keith Woodward was born in Ismailia, Egypt in 1930. He was educated at Probus School, Plymouth College and Keble College, Oxford, graduating in Modern History in 1951. In 1953 he joined the British National Service in the New Hebrides as office assistant, was promoted to be Assistant Secretary in 1957, and Administrative Officer, Class A in 1970. Woodward dealt with a wide variety of administrative matters during his twenty-five years at the British Residency, including Condominium Personnel, Agriculture, District Affairs, Land, Education, Health and Constitutional Development, holding the post of Secretary for Political Affairs from 1968, until his retirement (because of failing eyesight) in 1978. He had a major part in setting up the Port Vila Cultural Centre (1961–62), and was Hon. Secretary to the Board of Management for sixteen years. He was also much involved with the introduction of Scouting (under the aegis of the British Commonwealth Scouting Movement), serving from 1956 as secretary to the Scout Council and later as Chairman. Woodward was awarded the MBE in 1964, the OBE in 1976 and the Vanuatu Independence Medal in 1980. Keith lives in retirement in Bath.

A Political Memoir of the Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides »

Authored by: Keith Woodward
Publication date: October 2014
Keith Woodward has produced an inside account of the intricacies of official politics in the latter stages of the history of the Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides, which will be essential reading for anyone interested in the colonial period of Vanuatu. Woodward spent 25 years in the New Hebrides (1953 to 1978) based in the British Residency and it is his long service which makes his memoir so informative and important. Following a fascinating and insightful description of Port Vila and the New Hebrides when he arrived in the 1950s, Woodward focuses the rest of his memoir on issues relating to the difficulties the British faced in convincing the French that the two powers should come to an agreement on decolonisation of the New Hebrides—that is, to establish a process of constitutional advancement leading ultimately to independence. — Howard Van Trease, Honorary Research Fellow, Emalus Campus, University of the South Pacific, Port Vila This is a highly original, evocative and engaging memoir which offers an insightful firsthand account of colonial administration, bilateral French and British relations, political change and decolonisation in Vanuatu. It addresses some lacunae in the historiography of Vanuatu and dispels a number of assumptions about French intentions there. It will be of great benefit to people interested in Vanuatu, and more broadly in political change in the Pacific, constitutional arrangements, decolonisation, French-British relations, and particularly the divergent colonial policies of France and the United Kingdom. — Gregory Rawlings, Anthropology, University of Otago