Austin’s Bedroom

Austin's Bedroom

Austin was a school holiday visitor to Vailima, having come from America and New Zealand to see his family. He and Louis were great pals, since Louis didn’t grow-up with siblings. His playful nature was at the root of war games, military fortresses to protect against the imagined Indian’s bows and arrows. Stevenson entertained Austin with stories of world history and Samoan politics.

His small room was a refuge for him. It is decorated with bright yellow “little boy” colors and adorned with implements of fun and games. There are his writing and study area and he had access to his mom, something very important to a ten year old boy. Grandma Stevenson adored Austin, and her room was adjacent to his.

In the restoration process, the bare redwood of the bedroom’s west wall revealed some cryptic messages in the Samoan language written either by Austin himself, who was fluent, or by workmen at the site. After several attempts to decipher the writing, including the use of infra-red film/photography, it was decided that the message was either too arcane to understand or it meant nothing. Finally, the workmen covered it with undercoat and paint, but not without some fantasies about what it might mean in the world of a small boy’s play.