Spelling variations: Rodan, Roden, Rondon, Rodoun, Rodonda, Randono. I will be using Rodan henceforth, which most descendants currently use.
Spanish/Mexican Frank Rodan was the first Rodan in Fiji. His wife was Ana Sorr, daughter of Sipiriano Sorr and Miriama from Bau.
Frank arrived in Fiji in 1834 as a crew on board the Tahiti based French trading brig L’Aimable Josephine. The brig was captured by Rokotui Viwa Namisomalua’s nephew, Varani whose name (France in Fijian) derived from his part in seizing the L’Aimable Josephine. The captain and most of the crew were killed.
Frank lived in Bau and has been recorded to have made bullets of lead salvaged from the ship and thus became of considerable use to Cakobau in the war between Bau and Rewa. By the 1880s he was living in Nukuwatu, Lami near Suva. Some of his descendants still live there.
Frank was often referred to as Spanish Frank or Spanish Joe. Family oral history says that he was from San Francisico. At the hearing for a Land Claims in the late 1870s, Frank identified himself as being Mexican. When Frank arrived in Fiji in the 1830s, San Francisco was part of Mexico.
Frank Rodan and Ana Sorr’s children:
1. Sophie Rodan married Unknown ‘part-European’ of Levuka.
2. Timateu/Timoteu Rodan married Karolina Rokoleba.
3. Lasaro Rodan married Elena Adi Mawa of Bureta, Ovalau.
4. Victor Rodan b. circa 1840 d. 4 March 1948, Lami, Fiji. Married Esther Catherine Underwood and Seruwaia/Seruaia.
Rodan family oral history says that the anchor was from the brig L’Aimable Josephine. Other literature I’ve come across confirm this story, however when Post Fiji released stamps of the temple in 2007, Post Fiji said the anchor was from the brig Manila based brig Laurice. The Laurice was in Fiji in 1825. Frank Rodan’s wife Ana, was the daughter of Sipiriano Sorr (present day Shaw family) who was from the Laurice.
The anchor was propped up against the steps leading to the bure kalou Navatanitawake but is now outside the Cakobau family home on Bau.
Images: Left: engraving from “Fiji and the Fijians” by Rev. James Calvert. First published 1859. Right: Photograph taken in the 1930s, Unattributed. Both images via http://www.justpacific.com/