Levuka, Ovalau (Township and Island)
Levuka Town Council
Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party.
Ovalau, is an oval shaped volcanic island, 13km long, 10km wide (approx. 100 sq.km) which lies 16km off the east coast of Fiji's main island of Viti Levu. Except for the Lovoni Valley in the middle of the island, and areas at the mouths of streams, there is no flat land. Lovoni valley is home to Lovoni villagers, fiercely indipendent tribes who were one of the last peoples in Fiji to be subjugated. The island rises to 626m at it's highest point. The interior of the island has numerous "koromakawa" (ancient village) sites and indigenous forts, including the strategic Nakorolevu hill fort, which successfully held out against the paramount Chief, Ratu Seru Cakobau, until 1871. Ovalau is the birthplace of modern Fiji. Levuka (current pop. 2600), founded as a whaling and missionary settlement in the 1830's is the largest town on the island and was Fiji's first capital. By the mid 19th century it was one of the main ports of call for trading ships and whalers throughout the South Pacific. It was the first seat of Cakobau's Government in the 1860's and saw Fiji's cession to Queen Victoria in 1874. When the colonial government moved to Suva in 1881, it left Levuka as a time capsule of Pacific colonial settlement of the mid/late 19th century. Many of the old buildings in the town and it's surroundings have remained almost unchanged for over a century.