Ed, having worked in PNG, and living in Australia, with a wife of 40 years from Ceylon, I would like to try and help you, if possible.
Silva is a very common name in old Ceylon, but maybe there are ways of narrowing the search.
Have you looked at shipping lists for his departure and arrival?
Do you know where he landed. Who, or what Company bought him to PNG for what purpose? ships crew,Plantation work, gold mining, pearl fisheries, missionaries or servant?
There are lots of Galle village baptisms, for the period, on LDS films, although not on the internet yet.
Have you looked at British National Archives records?
The British New Guinea records 1884 to 1900 are in CO 422
There are Govt Gazettes from 1888 to 1925 in CO 453.
Any firm dates and place names would help.
Cheers, Larry Andresen in Nth Queensland, Australia.
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