In 1878 Sir (George) William Des Voeux left St Lucia and acted for about a year as governor of Fiji during the absence on leave of Sir Arthur Gordon (afterwards Lord Stanmore). Des Vœux successfully carried on the task of creating the first British crown colony in the south sea islands. After a visit home, during which he was appointed governor of the Bahamas but did not take up the post, in 1880 he returned to Fiji as actual governor and as high commissioner of the Western Pacific, where he remained until 1885.
He published his autobiography, My Colonial Service, in 1903.
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