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Robert and Emily Tutty, 1923.

Photo courtesy of South Pacific Division Heritage Centre.

Tutty, Robert Henry (1884–1995) and Emily Edith (Koglin) (1891–1961)

By Stephen J. Currow

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Stephen Currow, D.Min. (Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, the United States), is the vice president (academic) at Avondale College of Higher Education, Cooranbong, NSW, Australia. Trained as a pastor, he has worked in various ministry positions including pastor, lecturer, and administrator in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom. His research interests and publications have been in the areas of congregational life, youth ministry and Adventist mission history. He is married to Narisa and has two adult daughters.

Robert and Emily Tutty were pioneering missionaries in Dovele (Solomon Islands), Bougainville, and the Admiralty Islands (New Guinea). He was the first Seventh-day Adventist missionary to Bougainville, currently New Guinea.1 In 1917, Tutty sailed on the first sailing of the Melanesia to the Solomon Islands2 and apart from the four-year interruption of World War II, the Tuttys spent the remainder of their 32 years of service as missionaries in the Pacific Islands. During this time Tutty published the history of the Dovele Mission.3

Early Years

Robert Henry Tutty was born in Earls Colne, Essex, United Kingdom on May 3, 1884, to Thomas and Lucy Tutty.4 In 1909, Tutty immigrated to New Zealand.5 Soon after his arrival, he found a leaflet advertising a program conducted by J. L. McElhany and W. H. Pascoe.6 He was most impressed because attendees were asked to bring their Bibles. Within six weeks of arriving in New Zealand, Tutty became a Seventh-day Adventist.7

Denominational Employment

For the first five years after his baptism, Tutty canvassed books throughout the South Island of New Zealand.8 In 1915, Tutty worked at the Christchurch Sanitarium9 and then in 1916, enrolled in nursing training at the Sydney Sanitarium where he remained for the next eighteen months.10

On July 2, 1917, Tutty sailed on the maiden voyage of the Melanesia to the Solomon Islands.11 For his first appointment, he replaced the Maunders at Sasagana in the Marovo Lagoon.12 In February 1918, another graduate from the Sydney Sanitarium, Emily Koglin,13 also set sail for the Marovo Lagoon.14 .15 Emily Koglin was born in St. Mary’s, Tasmania, in 1891.16 On April 4, 1918, Emily Koglin married Robert Tutty at Sasagana. G. F. Jones officiated at this, the first Seventh-day Adventist wedding in the Solomon Islands. Later in 1918, Robert and Emily Tutty relocated to Telina to replace the Nicholsons who were going on furlough.17

In 1919, having gained experience in established missions, Tutty was appointed as the pioneer to Doveli on the island of Vella LaVella, 100 miles to the north. Pana, a native from the Marovo Lagoon whose brother-in-law, Vakapela, had facilitated the invitation for a mission to be opened, accompanied Tutty to Doveli.18

In 1924, the Tuttys relocated to Bougainville to build the first mission station in New Guinea.19 This time he was accompanied by Nano from Gatukai Village in the Solomon Islands.20 Tutty’s first eight years in Bougainville included four distinct two-year periods: residing in Lavilai and entering the Buin territory; entering the center of the island; establishing a mission station at Inus in the north;21 and establishing the mission in Kieta.22 It was only in the third period that a second European and more Solomon Islanders arrived to assist Tutty.23 During these years in Bougainville there were many trips through difficult terrain24 or tempestuous seas,25 to establish and support mission stations. Tutty later described the first three periods as “... seed-sowing among illiterate and degraded natives, speaking unknown dialects which had to be mastered and reduced to writing.”26

In 1926, Emily Tutty departed early for furlough to give birth to their only daughter Lucille.27 However, Tutty was delayed and only left Lavilai for furlough at the beginning of 1927.28 During Tutty’s farewell, the old chief expressed his disappointment about Tutty’s departure, describing him endearingly as a “real black man”.29 At the end of his furlough, Tutty was ordained at the South New South Wales Camp.30

In 1932, Tutty was asked to work on Mussau Island. He found this six-month appointment on Mussau a welcome and exciting change from the constant challenges of Bougainville and even more fruitful then their best experiences in the Solomon Islands. Tutty was amazed at the way God had worked and how the people had responded.31

The highlight of his second period in Kieta, was the baptism of a European plantation owner and his wife who had “read ... themselves into the truth.”32 After the challenges of mountaineering33 and roughing it in malaria infected places34 for more than a decade, Tutty was invited to open a mission station in the Admiralty Islands.35 Here he was accompanied by two Solomon Islanders, Oti and Salau.36 While on furlough,  Tutty's service was interrupted by the Japanese invasion in 1942. For the next four years, Tutty was reassigned to pastoral-evangelistic ministry in Tasmania (Emily Tutty’s home state), prior to returning to Lou Island in September 1946.37 Although the Adventist villagers endured harsh brutality from the Japanese,38 they remained faithful to God and protected the mission property.39

The post-war years were difficult with irregular shipping.40 In addition, there was the challenge of replacing or restoring damaged property, including boats. In the two years while waiting for arrival of their new ship, the MV Light,41 Tutty used a canoe in the open sea.42 Other unexpected developments included the emergence of a cargo cult–a belief system in which superstitious practices are expected to produce modern material wealth–on an adjacent island.43 During these years, Emily Tutty implemented the new JMV program throughout the Admiralty Islands.44

The Tuttys, along with Emily’s sister Winnie Koglin, left Manus for the last time in August 1949, and returned to Sydney via the mission fields where they had served, arriving on September 20 1949.45 During the three weeks spent visiting friends in the Solomon Islands, “many of the older Western natives affectionately referred to Pastor Tutty as ‘Maroke to hami’ –‘old man belonging to us all.’”46

Later Years

After 32 years of mission service, the Tuttys retired to Cooranbong.47 In retirement, Robert Tutty pastored the Kanwal and Ourimbah Churches.48 He passed away on December 8, 1955 and was buried in Avondale Cemetery.49 Emily Tutty, who relocated to be with her daughter Lucille in Adelaide, passed away in 1961. 50 J. H. Wade wrote in Emily’s obituary: “a vital link with pioneer missionary days was severed.”51

Sources

“A successful pioneer missionary...” Australasian Record, January 9, 1956.

Anderson, A. W. “The ‘Melanesia’ Sails for the Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, July 16, 1917.

“Brother and Sister T. F. Judd…” Australasian Record, September 23, 1946.

Campbell, A. J. “Bougainville, Mandated Territory.” Australasian Record, June 13, 1927.

Campbell, A. J., “Drama behind the Statistics.” Australasian Record, October 7, 1963.

Campbell, A. J. “Enroute to Central New Guinea.” Australasian Record, February 17, 1936.

Currow, Stephen J. “Maroke ta Hami: The Mission Service of R. H. Tutty.” Journal of Pacific Adventist History, forthcoming.

Dickens, H. A. “What can be done.” Australasian Record, December 6, 1948.

Fletcher, J. K. L. “Here Comes the Postman.” Australasian Record, October 3, 1949.

“Graduating Exercises of the Sydney Sanitarium.” Australasian Record, October 16, 1916.

Gray, D. H. “European Couple Baptised on Bougainville.” Australasian Record, January 28, 1935.

Hook, Milton, Vina Juapa Rane: Early Adventism in the Solomon Islands. Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series No. 29. Wahroonga, NSW: South Pacific Division Department of Education, n.d.

“In Memoriam: Pastor R. H. Tutty.” Australasian Record, January 16, 1956.

Jones, G. F. “Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, September 9, 1918.

Jones, G. F. “Solomon Islands: The Missionary’s Wedding.” Australasian Record, 3 June 1918.

“Missionary address by Pr. Wicks and Pana.” Australasian Record, October 18, 1926.

Mitchell, C. E. “Visiting Missions in the Bismark Archipelago.” Australasian Record, November 15, 1948.

“Monthly Summary of Australasian Canvassing Reports.” Australasian Record, June 5, 1911-May 3 1915.

Moulds, H. G. “Onward in the Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, December 5, 1949.

Moxon, Keith. “Brief Life Story of Pr. J. L. McElhany: He Came to a Crossroads in his Youth.” Australasian Record, April 5, 1948.

"New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973." Database with images. FamilySearch. Accessed June 11, 2019. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-61TS-KC7?i=110&cc=1609792.

Nicholson, Bro. “Sabbath School in the Solomon Islands.” Missionary Leader, July 1, 1919.

“On the 20th September...” Australasian Record, October 10, 1949.

Radley, J. C. “The Maiden Voyage of the Melanesia.” Australasian Record, July 8, 1957.

Robert Henry Tutty Personal Service Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

“Sister R. H. Tutty has arrived…” Australasian Record, May 3, 1926.

Stewart, A. G. “A Real Black Man: A Native Chief’s Compliment.” Australasian Record, June 27, 1927.

Stratford, I. R. “Forward March in the Bismark Archipelago.” Australasian Record, November 10, 1947.

“The Camp-Meeting in South New South Wales.” Australasian Record, October 31, 1927.

Turner, W. G. “What We See Today.” Australasian Record, March 23, 1925.

Tutty, Emily. “Some Experiences in the Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, August 18, 1919.

Tutty, R. H. “A False Prophet in Manus.” Australasian Record, April 28, 1947.

Tutty, R. H. “A Happy Exchange.” Australasian Record, October 18, 1948.

Tutty, R. H. “Back Again on Bougainville.” Australasian Record, March 5, 1934.

Tutty, R. H. “Books in Ships Libraries.” Australasian Record, August 12, 1929.

Tutty, R. H. “Bougainville.” Australasian Record, May 30, 1927.

Tutty, R. H. “Bougainville.” Australasian Record, April 9, 1928.

Tutty, R. H. “Bougainville.” Australasian Record, November 11, 1929.

Tutty, R. H. “Bougainville: Some Contrasts.” Australasian Record, March 30, 1931.

Tutty, R. H. “Bougainville: Territory of New Guinea.” Australasian Record, December 15, 1929.

Tutty, R. H. “Developments in the Admiralties.” Australasian Record, September 8, 1947.

Tutty, R. H. “Dobeli Mission, Solomon Islands.” Australasian Record, September 15, 1919.

Tutty, R. H. “Five New Churches Organised on Mussau.” Australasian Record, January 16, 1933.

Tutty, R. H. “History of the Dovele Mission (Seventh-day Adventist Mission, Solomon Islands).” MS-Papers-0926. Alexander Turnbull Library, New Zealand, 1924.

Tutty, R. H. “Pastoral Visitation by Canoe around Manus.” Australasian Record, October 6, 1947.

Tutty, R. H. “The Admiralty Islands, South Pacific.” ARH, June 26, 1947.

Tutty, R. H. “Visit to Mussau, St Matthias Group.” Australasian Record, June 15, 1936.

“U. S. Naval Man Carries on Our Mission Work.” Australasian Record, September 10, 1945.

Wade, J. H. “Emily Edith Tutty obituary,” Australasian Record, September 11, 1961.

“We are pleased to record…” Australasian Record, February 25, 1918.

Wicks, H. B. P. “Entering Bougainville.” Australasian Record, January 19, 1925.

“While making a trip down the coast...” Australasian Record, November 26, 1934.

Notes

  1. A. J. Campbell, “Drama Behind the Statistics,” Australasian Record, October 7, 1963, 1.

  2. A. W. Anderson, “The ‘Melanesia’ Sails for the Solomon Islands,” Australasian Record, July 16, 1917, 8.

  3. R. H. Tutty, History of the Dovele Mission (Seventh-day Adventist Mission, Solomon Islands), MS-Papers-0926, Alexander Turnbull Library, New Zealand, 1924.

  4. Robert Henry Tutty Personal Service Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Tutty, Robert Henry,” document: “Personal Service Record.”

  5. "New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973," database with images, FamilySearch, accessed June 11, 2019, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-61TS-KC7?i=110&cc=1609792.

  6. Keith Moxon, “Brief Life Story of Pr. J. L. McElhany: He Came to a Crossroads in his Youth,” Australasian Record, April 5, 1948, 2.

  7. R. H. Tutty, “Books in Ships Libraries,” Australasian Record, August 12, 1929, 4.

  8. “Monthly Summary of Australasian Canvassing Reports,” Australasian Record, June 5, 1911 - May 3 1915.

  9. “In memoriam: Pastor R. H. Tutty,” Australasian Record, January 16, 1956, 7.

  10. Ibid.

  11. A. W. Anderson, “The ‘Melanesia’ Sails for the Solomon Islands, Australasian Record, July 16, 1917, 8.

  12. J. C. Radley, “The Maiden Voyage of the Melanesia,” Australasian Record, July 8, 1957, 1.

  13. “Graduating Exercises of the Sydney Sanitarium”, Australasian Record, October 16, 1916, 5.

  14. “We are pleased to record…,” Australasian Record, February 25, 1918, 8.

  15. G. F. Jones, “Solomon Islands: The Missionary’s Wedding,” Australasian Record, June 3, 1918, 3.

  16. J. H. Wade, “Emily Edith Tutty obituary,” Australasian Record, September 11, 1961, 14.

  17. G. F. Jones, “Solomon Islands,” Australasian Record, September 9, 1918, 3.

  18. Different spelling of Dobele, Dobeli, Dovele and Doveli. See Emily Tutty, “Some Experiences in the Solomon Islands,” Australasian Record, August 18, 1919, 3; R. H. Tutty, “Dobeli Mission, Solomon Islands,” Australasian Record, September 15, 1919, 4; H. G. Moulds, “Onward in the Solomon Islands,” Australasian Record, December 5, 1949, 6; and Bro. Nicholson, “Sabbath School in the Solomon Islands,” Missionary Leader, July 1, 1919, 3; Milton Hook, Vina Juapa Rane: Early Adventism in the Solomon Islands, Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series No. 29 (Wahroonga, NSW: South Pacific Division Department of Education, n.d.), 20-21.

  19. H. B. P. Wicks, “Entering Bougainville,” Australasian Record, January 19, 1925, 3; A. J. Campbell, “Drama Behind the Statistics,” Australasian Record, October 7, 1963, 1.

  20. W. G. Turner, “What We See Today,” Australasian Record, March 23, 1925, 3.

  21. R. H. Tutty, “Bougainville: Some Contrasts,” Australasian Record, March 30, 1931, 2.

  22. R. H. Tutty, “Bougainville,” Australasian Record, November 11, 1929, 3.

  23. R. H. Tutty, “Bougainville,” Australasian Record, May 30, 1927, 3.

  24. R. H. Tutty, “Bougainville,” Australasian Record, April 9, 1928, 3; R. H. Tutty, “Bougainville: Territory of New Guinea,” Australasian Record, December 15, 1929, 4; and R. H. Tutty, “Back Again on Bougainville,” Australasian Record, March 5, 1934, 3.

  25. H. B. P. Wicks, “Entering Bougainville,” Australasian Record, January 19, 1925, 3.

  26. R. H. Tutty, “Bougainville: Some Contrasts,” Australasian Record, March 30, 1931, 3

  27. “Sister R. H. Tutty has arrived…,” Australasian Record May 3, 1926, 8.

  28. A. J. Campbell, “Bougainville, Mandated Territory,” Australasian Record, June 13, 1927, 3; and R. H. Tutty, “Bougainville,” Australasian Record, May 30, 1927, 3.

  29. A. G. Stewart, “A Real Black Man: A Native Chief’s Compliment,” Australasian Record, June 27, 1927, 5.

  30. “The Camp-Meeting in South New South Wales,” Australasian Record, October 31, 1927, 6.

  31. R. H. Tutty, “Five New Churches Organised on Mussau,” Australasian Record, January 16, 1933, 2.

  32. “While making a trip down the coast…,” Australasian Record, November 26, 1934, 8; and Gray, D. H., “European Couple Baptised on Bougainville,” Australasian Record, January 28, 1935, 3.

  33. R. H. Tutty, “Visit to Mussau, St. Matthias Group,” Australasian Record, June 15, 1936, 3. See also, R. H. Tutty, “Bougainville,” Australasian Record, April 9, 1928, 3; R. H. Tutty, “Bougainville: Territory of New Guinea,” Australasian Record, December 15, 1929, 4; and R. H. Tutty, “Back Again on Bougainville,” Australasian Record, March 5, 1934, 3.

  34. “Missionary address by Pr. Wicks and Pana,” Australasian Record, October 18, 1926, 8.

  35. A. J. Campbell, “Enroute to Central New Guinea,” Australasian Record, February 17, 1936, 4.

  36. R. H. Tutty, “The Admiralty Islands, South Pacific,” ARH, June 26, 1947, 18.

  37. “Brother and Sister T. F. Judd…,” Australasian Record, September 23, 1946, 4.

  38. R. H. Tutty, “The Admiralty Islands, South Pacific,” ARH, June 26 1947, 18.

  39. “U.S. Naval Man Carries on Our Mission Work,” Australasian Record, September 10, 1945, 4.

  40. I. R. Stratford, “Forward March in the Bismark Archipelago,” Australasian Record, November 10, 1947, 7.

  41. C. E. Mitchell, “Visiting Missions in the Bismark Archipelago,” Australasian Record, November 15, 1948, 3.

  42. R. H. Tutty, “Pastoral Visitation by Canoe Around Manus,” Australasian Record, October 6, 1947, 4; R. H. Tutty, “Developments in the Admiralties,” Australasian Record, September 8, 1947, 4.

  43. R. H. Tutty, “A False Prophet in Manus,” Australasian Record, April 28, 1947, 4; R. H. Tutty, “Developments in the Admiralties,” Australasian Record, September 8, 1947, 4; and R. H. Tutty, “A Happy Exchange,” Australasian Record, October 18, 1948, 5.

  44. H. A. Dickens, “What Can be Done,” Australasian Record, December 6, 1948, 2.

  45. “On the 20th September...,” Australasian Record, October 10, 1949, 8.

  46. J. K. L. Fletcher, “Here Comes the Postman,” Australasian Record, 3 October 1949, 7.

  47. “In memoriam: Pastor R. H. Tutty,” Australasian Record, January 16, 1956, 7.

  48. “A successful pioneer missionary...,” Australasian Record, January 9, 1956, 16.

  49. “In memoriam: Pastor R. H. Tutty,” Australasian Record, January 16, 1956, 7.

  50. Wade, “Emily Edith Tutty obituary.”

  51. Ibid.

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Currow, Stephen J. "Tutty, Robert Henry (1884–1995) and Emily Edith (Koglin) (1891–1961)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 09, 2021. Accessed September 22, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=E86T.

Currow, Stephen J. "Tutty, Robert Henry (1884–1995) and Emily Edith (Koglin) (1891–1961)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 09, 2021. Date of access September 22, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=E86T.

Currow, Stephen J. (2021, January 09). Tutty, Robert Henry (1884–1995) and Emily Edith (Koglin) (1891–1961). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved September 22, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=E86T.