Medicine Room

Medicine Room

This small room provided a buffer zone between the upstairs sleeping quarters of Aunt Maggie, Isobel and Austin. It was the major place for Fanny to practice her brand of folk medicine and administer the nostrums from her vast knowledge of plants and therapies.

The room was identified as the Medicine Room in a diagram of the home drawn by Isobel in 1915 when she returned to Samoa to bury her mother’s ashes next to Louis on Mt Vaea. It includes the sick bed, the bed pans, the medicine chest, scales and other apothecary instruments. Journals record that there were enough staff and family members that there was never a lack of illnesses or sick persons to be attended to by “Dr. Fanny”.

The Vailima estate was isolated from Apia’s hospital and traditional medical care. Louis was sickly and required constant attention to keep him well. Fanny was prepared for almost any health crisis which might arise.