A voyage to the islands

9 November 1914. Rev. Father Edward (Ted) McGrath msc boards the Moamoa for a three-week cruise of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. He is travelling as the guest of benefactors, Rev Father Edward Gell and his sister, Miss Frances Gell. Other members of the party include Eileen O’Connor, Matron Emma Duffy and Nurse Katie Lynch from Our Lady’s Home and Mrs Margaret Jeffcott and her invalid son, William. Mrs Jeffcott, a parishioner at Ryde, has been advised by her doctor to take her son on a holiday to assist with his recuperation. She invites the Gells, who in turn, invite the three women from Our Lady’s Home. Eileen invites Father McGrath to join them. The trip outrages Father McGrath’s superiors at the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and sets tongues wagging in the eastern suburbs. These sea shells are part of a collection gathered by, or gifted to, the group during the fateful trip.