Our forest house, our island helpers: Vailima, SAMOA

tusitala homestead

The four years at Vailima have become literary legend. They are described in Stevenson’s letters in firsthand accounts by Fanny, Belle, Maggie, Austin, Graham Balfour (a visiting cousin) and HJ Moors, and in almost innumerable biographies and travel books. The present section’s purpose is primarily literary, seeking to illustrate how well Stevenson wrote about the Pacific rather than explain in detail how he lived there.

It was a considerable achievement and a huge amount of work to transform Vailima into the gracious grounds and vital home and social centre that it quickly became. Fanny was a homemaker and gardener of genius, and the house and estate still reflect her skills. They sent Lloyd to sell Skerryvore, their Bournemouth House.