Eva Elizabeth Edwards
1884 - 1981
Eva Edwards was a missionary, educator, and administrator in Australia, New Zealand, and the Fiji Islands. One of her many contributions was the translating of many periodicals, books and hymns into the Fijian language.
Eva was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on August 24, 1884, the younger of two daughters of Annie E. Edwards, a native of Wales. Eva’s father had died when she was one, and two years later her mother became a Seventh-day Adventist through meetings conducted in Auckland by A.G. Daniels.
She entered the Avondale School for Christian Workers, later Avondale College, in 1898, at age thirteen, the youngest student to enroll. Beginning in 1903, Edwards, while still a student, assisted in the home of Bible teacher John E. Fulton for a year and then traveled with his family to the Fiji Islands, where he was to serve as a missionary. A year later, they returned to Australia and she enrolled at ASCW in 1906, completing the teacher’s course in 1909. She was head of the primary program at the college until June 1910 and then left to teach in Tonga for the next two years.
Edwards was a pioneering teacher at what would later become Fulton College in Fiji and later served as secretary to the Togan Mission in the islands. She spent twenty years working in that area of the South Pacific. Additionally, she was dean of women at both Western Australia Missionary College and Longburn Adventist College in New Zealand and also taught at the Avondale church school.
She worked at the mission headquarters in Fiji until the end of 1950, retiring because of failing health. Friends cared for her until the Charles Harrison Memorial Hospital opened in Cooranbong, NSW, Australia, near Avondale College. She occupied its first bed and would spend the last seventeen years of her life there, having lost both her sight and hearing.
Venerated for her work as a pioneer in mission service and respected for her commitment to quality education and example in courage and unfaltering faith, Edwards was supported and visited by many former students and associates in her final years. She died on June 2, 1981, at age 96.
Sources: Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Volume 10, Second Revised Edition, 1996, (Review and Herald Publishing Association) 499; Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 5 January 1911, 15; A.G. Stewart, "Pioneering in the Central Pacific," Review and Herald, 6 September 1973, 16; A. P. Dyason and W. G. Ferris, “Life Sketch of Miss Eva Edwards,” Australasian Record, August 17, 1981, pg. 12; Olga Ward, “Early Mission work in Fiji; the Eva E. Edwards Story,” Journal of Pacific Adventist History, Vol. 10, No. 1, August 2014, pgs. 24-28; Eva E. Edwards, “Pioneering in Many Places,” Australasian Record, April 13, 1970, pgs. 10-12; Australasian Record, November 11, 1912, pg. 8; Obituary for Annie E. Edwards, Australasian Record, January 1, 1913; “Our Literature in an Australian Home,” Eva E. Edwards, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 30, 1925, pg. 21.