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A shot of downtown Suva from the Reserve Bank.
Stuarts Hotel and Bar along Victoria Parade, Suva.

Fiji became a British Colony when Ratu Seru Cakobau and a few other Fijian high chiefs signed the Deed of Cession, ceeding Fiji to Great Britian on the 10th of October, 1874. Ratu Ceru Cakobau had declared himself the Tui Viti, or King of Fiji, although officially there was no such title.

The small township of Levuka on the island of Ovalau in Lomaiviti was declared the capital of Colonial Fiji, but because there was not enough space for further expansion to meet the growing population and business in Levuka, government officials looked about for alternative sites for the capital.

Suva was the obvious choice due to the good natural harbour and anchorage it offered and also for the vast land available for further expansion.

The Royal Engineers undertook the construction of the Government offices and the Government House and in August 1882 the Governor, Sir William Des Voeux, and his staff moved to Suva which thus became the seat of the administration.

In December 1883, the first meeting of what was then the Suva Town Board was held. The affairs of the town were conducted by a small Board consisting of a Mayor, a Deputy Mayor and a Secretary who was later termed the Town Clerk.

The original site of the village of Suva was situated where the Government House and the Fiji Museum now stand. When that land was required by the government, the natives of Suva were moved to a new site, "Suvavou" across the harbour along the Lami coast.

Development of Suva

The Suva Town Board prepared a plan for the layout of the township of Suva. The nucleus of the new town was the vicinity of the government offices. Toorak was regarded by pioneers as the best residential area, with hill sites overlooking the harbour.

Streets were named after the very people who planned the township and these names still stand today.

The first electric lights plant of Suva was installed and opened on the 10th of June 1920. Suva's first Fire Brigade was also formed at the same time by the same Board.




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