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Title: Picturesque New Guinea Author: J W Lindt * A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook * eBook No.: 1202541h.html Language: English Date first posted: July 2012 Date most recently updated: July 2012 Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia License which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html
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01. Motu Water Carrier, Port Moresby
For years past, when perusing the account of exploring expeditions setting out for some country comparatively unknown, I always noticed with a pang of disappointment that, however carefully the scientific staff was chosen, it was, as a rule, considered sufficient to supply one of the members with a mahogany camera, lens, and chemicals to take pictures, the dealer furnishing these articles generally initiating the purchaser for a couple or three hours' time into the secrets and tricks of the "dark art," or when funds were too limited to purchase instruments, it was taken for granted that enough talent existed among the members to make rough sketches, which would afterwards be "worked up" for the purpose of illustrating perhaps a very important report.
Sir Samuel Baker remarks, in the Appendix to one of his Works, that a photographer should accompany every exploring expedition. The only one I ever heard of being furnished with that commodity was H.M.S. "Challenger," on her scientific cruise round the world, but I remember reading in the "Photographic News" the complaint of a gentleman, that so many years had already passed, and still there was no sign of the "Challenger" photographs ever becoming accessible to the public.
How this is, or why it should be so, is difficult to tell, but as yet no book of travel, entirely illustrated by artistic views and portraits taken direct from nature, has come under my notice. According to my belief, there can be but one reason for it, and that is the difficulties encountered to find a competent artist photographer willing to join an expedition are greater than those necessary to secure the services of someone who can sketch, and hence artistic photography, the legitimate and proper means to show friends at home what these foreign lands and their inhabitants really look like, is set aside for drawings, either partly or purely imaginary.[*]
[* Though this book was written and the pictures taken under this impression, I found, on arrival in England, that several works of travel illustrated by photography have been published. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. John Thomson, F.R.G.S., of Grosvenor Street, who showed me his magnificent and interesting work on "China and its Peoples." I examined also Sir Lepel Griffin's clever work, "Famous Monuments of Central India," and a little book on Tahita, by Lady Brassey, ably illustrated by Col. H. Stuart-Wortley. The illustrations in these Works consist without exception of photographs printed in autotype, and the inspection of these books and their pictures at once put me face to face with the countries described and their inhabitants, far more vividly than could works illustrated by wood engravings, where, for truth, the reader depends firstly on the individual conception of the artist, and secondly on the skill of the engraver.]
Ever since I first passed through Torres Straits in September, 1868, I conceived an ardent desire to become personally acquainted with those mysterious shores of Papua and their savage inhabitants. I travelled this route on board a Dutch sailing vessel, and weird indeed were the tales that circulated among the crew concerning the land whose towering mountain ranges were dimly visible on our northern horizon. But years passed by, and time had almost effaced the impression, until I made the acquaintance of Signor L. M. D'Albertis, the intrepid Italian, who explored the Fly River higher up than anyone has ventured since. This occurred in 1873. Signor D'Albertis visited the Clarence River, in New South Wales, where I lived for many years, by way of recruiting his health after his voyages to N. W. New Guinea. How I fretted that circumstances prevented me from accompanying him on his first trip in the "Newa," and how I envied young Wilcox (the son of a well known Naturalist residing on the Clarence) being engaged as assistant collector, no one knows but myself. Again some years elapsed, and when next I met D'Albertis it was at Melbourne, in 1878. His personal reminiscences, and subsequently the reading of his interesting work, powerfully awakened my desire again for a trip to New Guinea. But circumstances were still adverse, and it was only when rumours of annexation became rife, and the Rev. Mr. Lawes visited Melbourne early in 1885, that the prospect of visiting the land of my dreams began to assume a more tangible form.
Mr. Lawes, hearing me speak so enthusiastically about my long cherished desire, assured me of his readiness to assist, and of hospitality, should I come to Port Moresby. The reverend gentleman's kindness and goodwill were amply proved, as my narrative will show, but be it here recorded, with due deference, I believe he doubted at that time the likelihood of ever seeing me sit at his table in the broad verandah of the mission house, listening to Mr. H. C. Forbes' reminiscences of the interior of Sumatra (the exhumation and ultimate fate of "that Kubu woman" to wit).
A month or so after Mr. Lawes' departure from Australia, the papers reported the intelligence that Sir Peter Scratchley had been appointed High Commissioner for the Protectorate of New Guinea, and that a properly equipped expedition was to be sent to investigate the newly acquired territory. Now or never was my chance. Colonel F. T. Sargood kindly introduced me to Sir Peter, I offered to accompany the expedition as a volunteer, finding myself in every requisite, and giving copies of the pictures I should succeed in taking in return for my passage and the necessary facilities to develop and finish my negatives on board.
My offer was accepted by Sir Peter, and on July 15th, 1885, I received notice to join the "Governor Blackall," the vessel selected for the expedition, then lying in Sydney Harbour.
The command of the "Governor Blackall" was entrusted to Captain T. A. Lake, the senior captain of the A. S. N. Company's fleet, who, throughout the voyage, sustained his high character as a skilful navigator among coral reels, and proved himself a man of tact and decision, qualities that were more than once put to the test during our cruise. Before launching into the description of the expedition, I wish to record here my deep sense obligation to the gentlemen who kindly aided in the production of this Work by contributing chapters of valuable information. In the first place my thanks are due to the Rev. James Chalmers, who kindly continued the thread of the narrative, and brought it to a conclusion, when I was obliged to leave the expedition at Samarai (Dinner Island) about a month before the lamented death of Sir Peter Scratchley. I am also greatly indebted for his interesting paper on "The Manners and customs of the Papuans." On that subject no better source of information than him could be found. To Mr. G. S. Fort I offer my best thanks for presenting me with his Official Report of the Expedition. The same recognition is due to Sir Edward Strickland, the President of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia, for the permission to embody in my journal the interesting account of the "Bonito" Expedition, undertaken under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society almost simultaneously with ours. My appeal to Mr. Edelfeld, now exploring in Motu Motu, met with a ready response from that gentleman in the shape of travelling experiences in the neighbourhood of Mount Yule.
Last, but not least, I have to thank my learned countryman and friend. Sir Ferdinand Baron Von Müller, the eminent Botanist, for the promise of a valuable essay from his pen, although, unhappily, the pressure of departmental work on his hands is at present so severe that his contribution cannot be ready for this, the first edition of my book; and I cannot conclude without acknowledging my indebtedness to Commander H. Field, of H. M. Surveying Schooner "Dart," and to his able officers, Lieutenants Messum and Dawson, not forgetting Dr. Luther, who, with their uniform kindness and courtesy, made my return journey on board that vessel a perfect pleasure trip.
J. W. LINDT.
P.S.--With regard to the publication of this Work much credit is due to Mr. Bird, of the Autotype Company. Arriving as I did, a stranger in London, this gentleman materially lightened my labours by introducing me to Messrs. Longmans, the publishers, and contributing his experience freely. My thanks are also due to Mr. Sawyer and his clever staff, for the masterly reproduction of my pictures, upon which the success of the book mainly depends.
02. Portrait of Author, J. W. Lindt, F.R.G.S.
CHAPTER I.--HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF NEW GUINEA.
Geographical Positions--First Discoveries--First Explorers--The Missionaries--Dutch Settlement--English Surveys of the Coast--Attempts of Australian Settlement--Annexation by Queensland--Refusal of Imperial Sanction--Australian Colonists Remonstrate--Proposal of a British Protectorate--Annexation by Great Britain--Dissatisfaction of the Colonists--Announcement of German Occupation--Arrival of Sir Peter Scratchley--His first Proceedings and Premature Death--Appointment of a Successor--The German Settlement
CHAPTER II.--From Sydney to New Guinea.
Colonists Demand Annexation of New Guinea--Lord Derby's Vacillation--Appointment of Sir Peter Scratchley as High Commissioner--His Arrival and first Proceedings--Departure from Sydney--Pathetic Parting of the Commissioner and his Family--A Sabbath Day on Board--Northwards to Brisbane--Description of the "Governor Blackall"--Music hath Charms to soothe the hardy Seaman's breast--An Eminent Naturalist--Gentle Savages--Departure from Brisbane--A New Patent Log--The Tragedy of Percy Island--A Strange Ocean Product--An Island Paradise--An Apron Signal--Townsville--Meeting with a "Vagabond"--Cooktown--The Tragedy of Lizard Island--New Guinea in Sight
CHAPTER III.--FIRST LANDING IN NEW GUINEA.
First View of Papua--Breakers Ahead--Haven of Safety reached--First Welcome--The Missionary and his Wife--Excursion to Rano Falls planned--Native Villages on the Littoral--Frolicsome Young Savages--A Degraded Race--A tribe of potters--A Strange Flotilla--Preparations for Excursion--A Christian Salbath in a Savage Land--Elevating Influence of Christianity--A Photographer's Impedimenta--First Landing--Religious Service in the Motu Language--"Granny" the Prime Minister--A Start resolved on--A Guide and Carriers engaged--Also a Native Head Cook
CHAPTER IV.--FIRST EXCURSION IN NEW GUINEA.
Orders to March--Heavy Travelling--Tropical Creek--Sure-footed Mountain Steeds--Native Hunting Camp--Luncheon in the Forest--Smoking the Bau Bau--Good Country for Horse-breeding--Koiari Kangaroo-hunting--The Hunter's Feast--The Koiari Tribe--Splendid Natural Panorama--Morrison's Explorations--Camp for the Night--Perilous Journeying--The Alligators' Haunt--Night in the Papuan Forest--Frightening the Devil--Fears of Danger from Natives dispelled--Morning in the Forest--A Purpose abandoned--Strike for a Koiari Village--Savage Gourmands--Steep Mountain Ascent--Magnificent Mountain Scenery--A Koiari Welcome--A Mountain Village--Dwellings on the Tree-tops--A Koiari Chief--Photographer in Koiari--Hospitable Offer--A Koiari Household--Great White Chief--Buying a Pig--A Koiari Interior--A Papuan Meal--Conference of Chiefs--Papuan Etiquette--A Tribal Feud--Uncomfortable Night--Superb Mountain Views--The Photographer in a Koiari Village--Return to the Port--A Ruined Village--Native Remains--Encounter Mr. Forbes--Missionary Hospitality
CHAPTER V.--EXCURSION UP THE AROA RIVER.
Site Fixed for Government House and Buildings--Bootless Inlet--Lakatoi Trading Vessels--Native Regatta--Quit Port Moresby for Redscar Bay--Landing of the Party--The Mouth of the Aroa--Ascent of the Stream--Reflections on Land-tenure--Visit to Ukaukana Village--Interview with the Head Chief of Kabadé--Exchange of Presents--Adventures returning to Camp--Night Alarms--The Vari Vara Islands--Back to Port Moresby
CHAPTER VI.--A COASTING EXPEDITION.
Arrival of H.M.S. "Raven"--Trade Winds--Site for Government Stores--Inland Party organized--Arrival off Tupuselei--Coast Scenery--A Papuan Venice--Sir Peter Scratchley's Visit to Padiri--Sickness among the Party--A Native Feud--Attack apprehended--Kapa Kapa--A Group of Mourners--Mangoes--Birds of Paradise--A Palaver--Continuation of the Voyage
CHAPTER VII.--AN EXPEDITION INLAND.
Walk from Hula to Kalo--Cocoanut Groves--Native Diseases--Mortality--History of the Reprisals for Murdering--Price of a Wife--Matrimonial Customs--The Author leaves Kalo--Crossing a River--Arriving at Hood Lagoon--Rejoin the Ship
CHAPTER VIII.--NATIVE VILLAGES.
Scenery at the Hood Lagoon--Kerepunu, Hula--Fracas between the Ship's Company and Natives--Beneficial Results--Start for Aroma--A Native Chief as Passenger--Parimata--Moapa--The Aroma District--Departure for Stacey Island--The Scenery Described
CHAPTER IX.--SOUTH CAPE.
Bertha Lagoon--Garihi--Ascent of the Peak--East Shores of the Lagoon--Under Way--The Brumer Group--Rendezvous at Dinner Island--Murder of Captain Miller--Investigations at Teste Island
CHAPTER X.--SEARCHES FOR MURDERERS.
Return to Dinner Island--Rendezvous with H.M.S. "Diamond" and "Raven"--Excursion to Heath Island--Departure for Normanby Island--Diaveri--An Exciting Chase--Fruitless Negotiations--Capture of an Alleged Murderer--A Mistake and its Rectification--The Real Simon Pure--His Adventures in Sydney--Return of the Author in H.M.S. "Dart"
CHAPTER XI.--MR. CHALMERS' NARRATIVE.
Visit to Killerton Islands--The Juliade Islands--Reprisals for the Murder of Captain and Mrs. Webb--Colombier Point--Unsuccessful Attempt to Communicate with Natives--Hoisting the Union Jack at Moapa--Inland Excursion to Koiari Villages--Ascent of Mount Variata--Meet Mr. Forbes--Sogeri--Mr. Forbes' Station--Return to Port Moresby and Hula--Bentley Bay--Ascent of Mount Killerton--Illness of Sir Peter Scratchley--Character of the Coast--The Jabbering Islands--From Collingwood Bay to Cape Nelson--Mountains and Harbours--Departure of the "Governor Blackall" for Australia--Illness of Sir Peter Scratchley--His Death--His Funeral
CHAPTER XII.--TWO NEW GUINEA STORIES BY JAMES CHALMERS, F.R.G.S.
I. Veata of Maiva--II. The Koitapu Tribe and their Witchcraft
CHAPTER XIII.--HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION OF POTTERY TRADE.
A Papuan "Enoch Ardon," by James Chalmers, F.R.G.S
CHAPTER XIV.--TRAVELS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF MOUNT YULE.
Motu Motu and Customs of the People, by E. G. Edelfeld, M.R.G.S.
APPENDIX I.--BRITISH NEW GUINEA.
Report on British New Guinea, from Data and Notes by the Late Sir Peter Scratchley, Her Majesty's Special Commissioner, by Mr. G. Seymour Fort. Private Secretary to the late Sir Peter Scratchley, R.E., K.C.M.G.
APPENDIX II.--"THE BONITO" EXPEDITION.
Captain Everill's Report of the Royal Geographical Society's Expedition to the "Fly, Strickland, Service, and Alice Rivers"
APPENDIX III.--GERMAN NEW GUINEA EXPLORATION
01. Motu Water Carrier, Port Moresby
02. Portrait of Author, J. W. Lindt, F.R.G.S.
03. Portraits of the Revs. S. McFarlane, G. W. Lawes, and James Chambers
04. "The Start." Sir Peter Scratchley, his Staff and Party of Friends, S.S. "Governor Blackall"
05. Loading Lakatoi, Port Moresby — Women making Pottery
06. Lakatoi, or Motu Trading Vessel, under Sail
07. Lakatoi near Elevala Island—Elevala Island, from Mission Station
08. Koiari Chiefs
09. The Haunt of the Alligator, Laloki Eiver
10. Roasting Yams for Breakfast, Badeba Creek
11. Near the Camp, Laloki River
12. Sadãra Makãra, Koiari Village near Bootless Inlet
13. The Village Pet at Sadãra Makãra
14. Tree-house, Koiari Village
15. Motu Girls, Port Moresby, also Paro Paro Apple Tree
16. Sir Peter Scratchley's Camp, near Mouth of Aroa Eiver, Redscar Bay
17. Native House at Vanuabada, Kabade District
18. Native Teachers, Kabade District
19. Village of Koilapu, Port Moresby
20. At Low Water, Native Houses at Koilapu
21. H. 0. Forbes and Party of Malays, also Captain Musgrave and Mr. Lawes
22. Tupuselei (Marine Village) from the Shore
23. The Chief's House, Marino Village of Tupuselei
24. Women of Tupuselei going for Water
25. Mangrove Scrub, near Kaele
26. Group of Natives at Kapa Kapa, central figures in mourning
27. The Kalo Creek, Kapa Kapa District
28. New Guinea Trophy, Weapons and Implements
29. Native House at the Village of Kamali
30. The Chief's Spire House at Kalo (in course of re-construction)
31. Mourners and Dead-house at Kalo
32. Village Scene at Kalo, with Teacher and Christian Church (not included in the book)
33. Kerepunu Women at the Market Place of Kalo
34. Village Scene at Moapa, Aroma District
35. Native Houses and Graves at Suau, Stacey Island
36. Garihi Village, Bertha Lagoon, South Cape
37. Boating Scene, Bertha Lagoon and Cloudy Mountains in the Distance
38. Magiri Village, Bertha Lagoon, South Cape
39. Group and Native House, Mairy Pass, Mainland of New Guinea in the Distance
40. Young Cocoanut Trees on Stacey Island, Farm Peak in the Distance
41. Platform for Dead Bodies, South Cape, New Guinea
42. Naria Village, South Cape, New Guinea
43. On the Beach, Teste Island, Kissack's trading Canoe, Bell Rock and Cliffy Island in the Distance
44. Paddles, Native Ornaments, and Implements from the Neighbourhood of Dinner Island and China Straits
45. Village at Slade Island (Engineer Group)
46. The Voyage Homeward, on board H.M.S. "Dart" (on the Job)
47. "The End," Sir Peter Scratchley's Catafalque, on board S.S. "Governor Blackall"
48. The Honourable John Douglas, C.M.G., Sir Peter Scratchley's Successor; Captain T. A. Lake, Senior Captain of the A.S.N. Company's Fleet, and Commander of the S.S. "Governor Blackall" (on one Plate)
49. Sir Peter Scratchley, K.C.M.G., and Mr. G. Seymour Fort, Private Secretary (on one Plate)
50. Fly River Explorers, Signer Luigi Maria D'Albertis, and Captain H. C. Everill (on one Plate)
Geographical Positions—First Discoveries—First Explorers—The Missionaries—Dutch Settlement—English Surveys of the Coast—Attempts of Australian Settlement—Annexation by Queensland—Refusal of Imperial Sanction—Australian Colonists Remonstrate—Proposal of a British Protectorate—Annexation by Great Britain—Dissatisfaction of the Colonists—Announcement of German Occupation—Arrival of Sir Peter Scratchley—His first Proceedings and Premature Death—Appointment of a Successor—The German Settlement
New Guinea, the latest addition to the magnificent Colonial empire now owned by Great Britain, is the largest island on our globe, counting Australia as a sixth continent. It lies to the north of Australia, from which it is separated by a narrow strait named after Torres, a Spanish navigator, who, in 1606, sailed through it on his way from the New Hebrides to the Philippine Islands.
First Discoverers.—It is doubtful whether anything relating to this large island was known to the European world before the time of Columbus. No mention of it is found in the works of any of the ancient geographers. The earliest reference to it that can be traced is given in the narrative of their voyages and adventures left by two Portuguese navigators, Francisco Sorrani and Antonio d'Abreu, who in 1511 saw and described a portion of the south-west coast. In the absence of any fuller information on the subject, the honour of discovering New Guinea falls to these two adventurers. Fifteen years later another Portuguese navigator, Don Jorges Menenes, was voyaging Malacca to the Moluccas, and encountering a storm, was driven out of his course to the eastward, and came upon the great island, where, finding a safe and convenient harbour, he remained for a month to refit his shattered vessel. He named the island Papua, a Malayan expression for black or curly hair, which is a very marked feature of the native population. Under that name New Guinea is shown on a chart published in Venice in 1554. Another Portuguese mariner visited the island in 1528, and gave it the high sounding title of the Isla del Oro, or Island of Gold, from a belief that it abounded in the precious metals. But the honour of giving the island the name it will bear permanently falls to Inigo de Retez, a Spanish sailor, who in 1545 sailed 250 miles along the northern coasts, and, thinking that he saw in the appearance of the country a resemblance to the Guinea coast on the west of Africa, called it Nueva Guinea. The next we hear of the place is an account given by Torres of the southern portion and its inhabitants, whom he describes as being "dark in colour, naked except having some clothing round the middle, and armed with clubs and darts ornamented with tufts of feathers." Schouten, a Dutch navigator, discovered some volcanoes in the island in 1616. Twenty-seven years later Abel Janez Tasman, the greatest of the Dutch navigators and the discoverer of Tasmania (which he named Van Dieman's Land) and of New Zealand, visited and minutely examined a portion of the west coast. On the New Year's Day of the year 1700, William Dampier, the prince of English maritime adventurers, voyaging in quest of new lands, sighted New Guinea, and never left it until he had sailed completely round it, although his vessel (named the "Roebuck") was both old and leaky. His account of the place and people is very racily written, and was probably read by De Foe before he wrote "Robinson Crusoe." "The natives," he says, "are very black; their short hair is dyed of various colours—red, white, and yellow: they have broad, round faces with great bottle-noses, yet agreeable enough, except that they disfigure themselves by painting and wearing great things through their noses, as big as a man's thumb and about four inches long. They have also great holes in their ears, wherein they stuff such ornaments as in their noses." The illustrious navigator, Cook, rediscovered Torres Strait in 1772, and added much to the previous knowledge of the island and its inhabitants. In 1828 the Dutch took possession of the western portion and attempted to make a settlement there, but failed. In 1843 Captain Blackwood, in H.M.S. "Fly," discovered the river, which he named after his ship. Subsequently, Captain Owen Stanley, in the "Rattlesnake," made a rough survey of a great portion of the coast, and in 1873 Captain Moresby, in the "Basilisk," completed our knowledge of the external form and dimensions of New Guinea.
First Explorers.—Up till very recently the only information possessed by the civilised world respecting the island and its inhabitants amounted to little more than that the people were negroes, and that beautiful birds of paradise were to be found there. Alfred Wallace, the distinguished naturalist, was the first European that gave the world a larger knowledge of the native population and the natural productions. After him came Dr. Mickluoho Maclay, in 1871. He lived with the natives for fifteen months, enduring the severest privations and risking his life in the cause of science. But amongst the explorers of New Guinea pre-eminence must be given to Signor D'Albertis, who, in 1872, in company with his fellow-countryman. Dr. Beccari, penetrated into the interior in many directions, and made himself intimately acquainted with the names and habits of the natives. At various subsequent times Signor D'Albertis continued his explorations and observations, the results of which he has given to the world in two handsome volumes beautifully illustrated. This distinguished Italian is a born explorer. He is possessed with the true spirit of martyrdom in the cause of science. His pluck, perseverance and patience, seem only to grow with the difficulties he has to encounter, and the obstacles he has to overthrow. His personal privations and sufferings wring from him no complaints; and he merely records them in his simple matter-of-fact manner as among the facts and incidents of the time, and as affording an insight into the ideas and ways of the natives in view of such circumstances. A German explorer, Dr. A. J. Meyer, made some important additions to our knowledge of the country by explorations, vigorously prosecuted in 1873. Dr. Beccari, alone, went on an expedition into the interior in 1875, and returned with a large and valuable collection of specimens of the flora and fauna of the island.
The Missionaries.—Those active pioneers of civilisation, the English missionaries, have not neglected New Guinea; but their work amongst the natives has been seriously hindered by the unhealthiness of the country and climate. The Rev. S. McFarlane was appointed by the Directors of the London Missionary Society to establish a mission in the island in 1870. With him was associated the Rev. Mr. Murray; and subsequently the Rev. W. G. Lawes and the Rev. James Chalmers joined the mission. The labours of these gentlemen amongst the native population have been of a quite heroic kind; and to them is mainly due the merit of taking possession of the country for the British people. At the hourly risk of their lives they have carried on their apostolic labours, facing a thousand dangers, overcoming a thousand difficulties, unwearied in their high purpose of civilising and Christianising this savage people. They have established primary school training institutions, for native teachers, schools for teaching the industrial arts, mission stations at many points along the coast, and churches with regular congregations and enrolled members. A real triumph of missionary achievement was witnessed at the mission station on Murray Island on the 14th May, 1885, when the 15-ton mission yacht, Mary, was launched from the yard of the Papuan industrial school, amid great feasting and rejoicing. The wood for the little vessel had been cut, and the building of it was executed by the hands of the pupils of the school under the supervision of the Rev. Mr. McFarlane. The yacht is intended for missionary work in and about the Fly River.
03. Portraits of the Revs. S. McFarlane, G. W. Lawes, and James Chambers
Dutch Settlement.—So far as is known, the Dutch, as already stated, were the first European nation to attempt settlement in New Guinea. In 1828 Captain Steenboom, in the ship "Triton," landed on the island and took possession in the name of the Dutch Government of the territory extending from the 141st parallel of E. longitude westward to the sea. He built a fort at a place he called Triton Bay, on the N.W. coast, the scenery around which was very beautiful. But (as a Dutch gentleman at Macassar told Wallace) the officer left in charge of the settlement, finding the life there insufferably monotonous, killed the cattle and other live stock, and reported that they had perished through the unhealthiness of the place, and that, besides, the natives were very fierce and intractable. The settlement at Triton Bay was on this account abandoned. Seven years later another Dutch commander surveyed what was then called the Dourga River, and found it to be a strait, ninety miles long, dividing Frederic Henry Island from the mainland. The Dutch still hold nominal possession of the territory proclaimed by Captain Steenboom, but practically the acquisition is of no value to them.
English Surveys of the Coast.—The southern shores of New Guinea have been mostly surveyed by British ships. Captain Blackwood, in H.M.S. "Fly," discovered in 1843 the river which he named after his ship. The next English commander that surveyed part of New Guinea was Captain Owen Stanley, who, in 1847, in H.M.S. "Rattlesnake," sketched a large extent of the coast and marked off a number of mountains, one of which, called after him, is over 13,000 feet high. In 1873 Captain Moresby, in the "Basilisk" discovered and named Port Moresby, and determined the form of the south-eastern extremity of the island. Hoisting the Queen's flag he took possession in her Majesty's name, by right of discovery, of Moresby Island and the surrounding archipelago.
Attempts at Australian Settlement.—The Australian colonists have not been wholly indifferent to the probable advantages to be gained from effecting a settlement in New Guinea. During the past twenty years several expeditions have been either planned or partially executed with that object, and the Imperial Government has been again and again asked to take action for the establishment of a British occupation of the territory. To these requests unfavourable answers were given, although it was known at the Colonial Office that so long back as 1793 the island had been formally annexed to Great Britain. In that year, two commanders in the service of the East India Company, William Bampton, Master of the "Hormuzeer," and Matthew B. Alt, Master of the "Chesterfield," were exploring in these waters; and on the 10th July an armed party of forty-four men from the two vessels, under the command of Dell, chief mate of the "Hormuzeer," landed on Darnley Island in Torres Strait, and took possession of that island and the neighbouring island of New Guinea in the name of His Majesty King George the Third. All the formalities customary on such occasions—hoisting the union jack, reading the proclamation, and firing a volley—were duly observed on this occasion. Nevertheless, it was not until nearly a century had elapsed that the imperial authorities at Downing Street condescended to take notice of the fact that there was such a place as New Guinea in existence.
Annexation by Queensland.—The fact was forced upon their attention by the spirited action of the Premier of Queensland, Sir Thomas McIlwraith, who, weary of the rebuffs repeatedly inflicted on the Australian colonists by the colonial office in regard to this matter, patriotically resolved upon annexing New Guinea on his own authority. Accordingly he instructed Mr. H. M. Chester, at that time police-magistrate at Thursday Island, to proceed to the great island, and take possession in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, of all that portion of it which was not claimed by the Netherlands Government. In obedience to these instructions Mr. Chester sailed for New Guinea; and, on the 4th April, 1883, he performed the ceremony of formal annexation of all that part of the territory lying between the 141st and the 155th meridians of east longitude. These facts were duly reported to the Imperial authorities, and strong representations were made to them by the Governments of the United Colonies to induce them to endorse with their approval the action of the Queensland Premier.
Refusal of Imperial Sanction.—But Lord Derby, who then held rule in the Colonial Office, was adverse. He addressed a despatch to the officer administering the Government of Queensland, Sir A. H. Palmer, formally refusing to sanction the act of annexation. At this time it was well known that Germany was meditating the project of taking possession of a part, or the whole of New Guinea; and yet Lord Derby affirmed that there appeared to be no reason for supposing that any Foreign Power harboured such a design. His lordship objected, moreover, to the unnecessarily vast extent, as he deemed it, of the territory annexed by Mr. Chester. The utmost that his lordship would concede was that possibly a protectorate might be established over the coast tribes, under the direction of the High Commission for the Western Pacific, but absolute annexation was quite out of the question.
Australian Colonists remonstrate.—This fresh rebuff, instead of paralysing the Australian colonists, only roused them to greater activity. Mr. Service, Premier of Victoria, was the first to move in the matter. He asked the Governments of the other Colonies to send delegates to an Intercolonial Convention, at which this and other questions would be considered. The request met with immediate and general compliance. Accordingly, the Convention assembled in Sydney in November, 1883; all the Australasian Colonies were represented, and the Governor of Fiji, Sir G. W. Des Voeux, was present, but did not vote. Resolutions affirming the desirability of promptly and effectually securing the incorporation with the British Empire of such parts of New Guinea as were not claimed by the Netherlands Government, were unanimously adopted.
Proposal of a British Protectorate.—To such an emphatic expression of the wishes of the Australian Colonists, Lord Derby could not be indifferent. In May of the following year his lordship addressed a despatch to the Governor of Queensland, intimating that the Imperial authorities were inclined to sanction the appointment of a High Commissioner for New Guinea, provided that the Australian Colonies would agree to pay a subsidy of £15,000 per annum towards the expense of a protectorate. At once the two Colonies of Queensland and Victoria offered to guarantee, between them, payment of the whole amount, and the other Colonies subsequently consented to pay each its quota of contribution, but upon condition that annexation was really intended by the Imperial Government.
Annexation by Great Britain.—In October, 1884, several vessels of war on on the Australian station left Sydney Harbour one by one, bound northwards, and on the 6th November, five British war-ships were lying at anchor in Port Moresby. Commodore Erskine then formally proclaimed the British Protectorate, and the British flag was hoisted with great ceremony, in the presence of about 250 officers and men of the squadron, the missionaries, and as many of the natives and representative chiefs as could be collected for the occasion. All acquisition of land from the natives was forbidden, and regulations prohibiting the introduction of alcohol and firearms were drawn up. A representative chief, Boi Vagi, of Port Moresby, was chosen, and Mr. H. Romilly was left as Acting Commissioner, to enforce the regulations, and to act with authority until the arrival of the High Commissioner. Shortly afterwards the appointment was conferred on Sir Peter Scratchley, who at once proceeded to enter upon his duties.
Announcement of German Occupation.—So far the Imperial Authorities had complied with the wishes of the Australian Colonists, at least in appearance. But the favour shown them was materially lessened in value by the limitation of the area of territory taken under the British protection. They, very naturally, desired that the whole of the island not claimed by the Dutch should be annexed to the British Empire; but Lord Derby drew a line across the map, bisecting the eastern half into two nearly equal parts, and made this line the boundary of the protectorate, leaving the northern section free to be snapped up by any Foreign Power that might choose to take it. With reason the Colonists complained that good faith had not been kept with them, and that their agreement to pay the subsidy of £15,000 a year was invalidated by Lord Derby's act. But his lordship refused to alter his decision, and, unfortunately for the cause of the Colonists, New South AVales, which had formerly been in hearty accord with all its sister Colonies in this matter, drew off now, and stood aloof. It seemed as if the Secretary of State for the Colonies, secretly abetted by the New South Wales Government, was bent upon tacitly inviting some Foreign Power to take possession of the unannexed portion of the island. Before the close of the year—as any person gifted with the least degree of sagacity might have foreseen—the expected claimant made his appearance on the scene. The news flashed along the electric wires in all directions that the German flag was floating over several points along the north-east coast of New Guinea, and on many of the adjacent islands. Fuller information showed that the German Government had formally annexed the whole of the territory marked off by Lord Derby as lying outside the area of the British protectorate, together with the islands of New Britain, New Ireland, and many others in that extensive archipelago. It must be recorded, to vindicate the truth of history, that this intelligence caused a movement of strong indignation in the minds of the Australian Colonists, and vigorous protests against the action of the German Government were addressed by the Australian Agents General to the Imperial Authorities. The feeling of resentment was all the more keen, because the guarantee to pay £15,000 a year towards the expense of the protectorate had been given under a distinct understanding that the whole of New Guinea, excepting the part claimed by the Dutch, should be annexed. Lord Derby, moreover, up till the very hour of the declaration of the German occupation, had denied all knowledge of any such intention on the part of any Foreign Power. With reluctance the Australian Colonists accepted the limitation of area imposed by his lordship; but it was only their fervent loyalty to the British connexion that prevented them from marking in a very emphatic manner their sense of what they held to be a most unjustifiable surrender of the Imperial rights on the part of the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Arrival of Sir Peter Scratchley.—Sir Peter Scratchley arrived in Australia at the beginning of 1885. His first task was to secure the consent of the several Colonial Governments to share in the payment of the stipulated subsidy for the maintenance of the protectorate. He visited each of the Colonies in succession, and after some demurs on the part of one or two of the governments had been overcome, succeeded in his object. He next chartered a fine steamer, the "Governor Blackall," from the Australian Steam Navigation Company, and on the 20th August sailed for the seat of Government.
His First Proceedings and Premature Death.—He selected Port Moresby as his first station, living on board the "Governor Blackall," and taking a general inspection of the surrounding locality, with a view to selecting a fitting site for the proposed capital of the new protectorate. His intention was to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the country before framing any regulations for the settlement of whites within the territory. It was with this purpose that he joined the expedition, the history of which is narrated in the present volume, and which ended, for him, in his untimely death from the malarial fever incident to the climate. The loss thus caused, both to the Australian Colonies and to the Imperial Interests, was deeply felt and universally mourned.
Appointment of a Successor.—Mr. John Douglas, ex-Premier of Queensland, was appointed by the Imperial Authorities to succeed Sir Peter Scratchley. The new High Commissioner has set himself with characteristic energy to carry out the purposes of his predecessor.
The German Settlement.—The German government has granted a charter to a company to promote settlement in its newly acquired possessions, and very liberal inducements are held out to enterprising adventurers to become the pioneers of the German Colony.
Colonists Demand Annexation of New Guinea—Lord Derby's Vacillation—Appointment of Sir Peter Scratchley as High Commissioner—His Arrival and first Proceedings—Departure from Sydney—Pathetic Parting of the Commissioner and his Family—A Sabbath Day on Board—Northwards to Brisbane—Description of the "Governor Blackall"—Music hath Charms to soothe the hardy Seaman's breast—An Eminent Naturalist—Gentle Savages—Departure from Brisbane—A New Patent Log—The Tragedy of Percy Island—A Strange Ocean Product—An Island Paradise—An Apron Signal—Townsville—Meeting with a "Vagabond"—Cooktown—The Tragedy of Lizard Island—New Guinea in Sight
The repeated demands of the Australasian Colonists for the annexation of New Guinea failed, for a long period, to move the Imperial Government. The policy of Lord Derby, when Secretary of State for the Colonies in Mr. Gladstone's Administration, seemed to be of the Fabian order. His lordship (as Mr. Froude told the Colonists), was in the habit of looking at both sides of a question, and taking time to make up his mind. But somehow the march of events outstripped Lord Derby's calm deliberation. Rumours came abroad that some great Foreign Power was meditating the annexation of the northern island. Stimulated to action by these reports, the patriotic Premier of Queensland, Sir Thomas McIlwraith, resolved upon taking the matter into his own hands, and he despatched an agent to New Guinea with orders to take possession of the territory in the name of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. These orders were promptly obeyed, but the patriotic act did not meet with Lord Derby's approval.
The annexation was disavowed in Downing Street, and the Colonial Minister continued his tranquil meditations on both sides of the New Guinea Question. At length Germany stepped in, and forestalled the fixed purpose of the Australian Colonist. The larger half of the coveted territory was added to the German possessions in the Pacific. Then Lord Derby—doubtless with a feeling of thankfulness to Prince Bismarck for his considerateness in leaving a fragment of the prize unappropriated—bethought him of the propriety of taking steps to secure the interests of his own nation in the matter. His lordship appointed an Imperial Special Commissioner, and despatched him to Australia to obtain the funds requisite for establishing and maintaining a British Protectorate over Southern New Guinea and the adjacent Archipelago.
Sir Peter Scratchley, the newly-appointed Commissioner, set forth upon his mission, and arrived in Melbourne at the close of the year 1884. His first task was to procure a vessel to convey him to his destination, and also suitable for a floating vice-regal residence, pending the erection of a palace on shore. His next business was to obtain from the several Australian Governments contributions towards the salary and expenses of the Special Commissioner. This object was gained without any difficulty, although there was a good deal of grumbling at Lord Derby's remissness in allowing Germany to steal a march upon him. But, as matters could not now be remedied, the Colonial Premiers, one and all, agreed to share jointly the expenses of the Protectorate, and the Premier of New South Wales, in addition, offered the use of H.M.C.S. "Wolverene," then stationed in Sydney Harbour, for a six months' service on the New Guinea coast. This offer the Commissioner gladly accepted; but just then, as it happened, reports were raised of an impending rupture of friendly relations between Great Britain and Russia, and the "Wolverene" would, in case of that event occurring, be required for purposes of local defence. Instead of continuing his efforts to procure another vessel, Sir Peter Scratchley devoted his attention to the condition of the colonial defences, most of which had been constructed under his own supervision. Happily, the Russian scare speedily subsided, and tenders were called for from shipowners possessing a vessel suitable for the New Guinea service. The tender of the Australasian Steam Navigation Company, for the use of the S.S. "Governor Blackall," was accepted, this vessel lying then in Sydney Harbour, undergoing repairs and refitting.
04. "The Start." Sir Peter Scratchley, his Staff and Party of Friends, S.S. "Governor Blackall"
By the end of July, 1885, everything was in readiness for a start; but another fortnight's delay occurred through the sudden illness of the Commissioner. His health restored, Sir Peter Scratchley gave orders to Captain Lake to have steam up and all ready for the voyage by half-past eight on the morning of Saturday, 15th August. It was with no little joy and pride that I shipped my personal baggage and apparatus, and enrolled myself as a member of the Expedition. It seemed to me that a goal I had long been striving to reach was now in sight, and that I was fortunate enough not only to obtain exceptional facilities for seeing a country whose physical peculiarities, and the manners and customs of whose inhabitants had hitherto been little known and imperfectly described, but to be the humble means of communicating truthful information to others. A large party of friends came on board to take a farewell breakfast, and to accompany us down the beautiful harbour. We rounded H.M.S. "Nelson," and the band on board that vessel struck up "Auld Lang Syne" by way of parting salute. A number of small steamers were conveying the men garrisoned in the various forts and batterie to a grand review that was to come off that day, and the men, as they passed our vessel, greeted us with hearty cheers. A little past Bradley's Head our Captain slackened speed to allow Lady Scratchley and her children to be taken on board the launch "Gladys." I could not help noticing that the parting between the Commissioner and his wife and eldest daughter was touched with pathos and solemnity, as if they all felt deeply that the enterprise in which the husband and father was engaged was not wholly free from serious risks and dangers. Alas! it was their final parting on earth. The younger members of the Commissioner's family, however, entertained no misgivings. With the happy carelessness of childhood, they evidently regarded the occasion as only a pleasant holiday, too soon brought to a close. At length the moment for the final leave-takings came; the last affectionate adieux were exchanged, the last tearful embraces were given and taken, the last good wishes were spoken; the visitors were conducted on board the "Gladys;" and, with waving of white handkerchiefs and many unspoken prayers for a prosperous voyage and a safe return for the adventurers, they reluctantly turned their faces in the direction of Sydney.
The North Head was passed at 10.40, and, steering her course North by East, our gallant little vessel fairly entered on her mission, with a fair westerly wind, a smooth sea, and weather of the true Australian mildness and brilliancy. Broken Bay was speedily left behind us, and next Newcastle, famed for its coal mines. As the sun was sinking below the horizon we found ourselves abreast of the Port Stephens Lighthouse. The wind had freshened considerably during the afternoon, so as to spoil the appetites of some of our party, who had not yet found their sea-legs; the carpenter was battening down the hatches, evidently in anticipation of a squally night, and the company generally betook themselves to the horizontal position in their berths at an early hour of the evening. Happily, the fears of a coming storm were not realised. About midnight the wind fell, and the adventurers slept as calmly in their bunks as if they had been in a palatial hotel on shore.
Sunday morning dawned with Sabbath stillness and brightness. After breakfast the Commissioner issued orders for a general muster at half-past ten. The hour appointed found every man not actually engaged on duty ranged on the quarter-deck; the roll was called, and the Captain announced that Divine Service would be held at eleven, that attendance was not compulsory, but that the Commissioner would be pleased to see every man in attendance. Punctually at eleven the bell tolled for prayers; the crew, to a man, came up on deck, the ship then going at half-speed; prayer books and hymn books were handed round, and then the Commissioner read with great solemnity the beautiful service of the Church of England for those at sea, Mr. Fort leading in the reading of the responses. The singing of the 166th hymn, in which the whole of the little congregation heartily joined, concluded this very impressive service, and every one of the worshippers seemed to feel that he had performed an act of devout thankfulness to Almighty God for vouchsafing so happy a start and such fair prospects to our expedition.
Once more the engines were put at full speed, and with a light wind and a calm sea our vessel went joyfully skimming over the deep. Smoky Cape and Trial Bay were passed before noon; the lighthouse tower on South Solitary hove in sight; the S.S. "Birksgate" passed us on our way southward; several smaller sailing craft were sighted, and one of them, a three-masted schooner, passed so close under our bows that we could read her name—the "Sarsfield"—with the naked eye.
Next day we breasted the Clarence Peak, a well-known landmark, at 4.15 p.m.; and passed the Clarence River Heads at 5.30. After dinner we discerned the lights of the camp-fires of the Custom House officers guarding the wreck of the "Cahors," wrecked a few days before on Evans Reef, and the red light at the Richmond River Heads showed out just as the company were "turning in." During the night the mouths of the Tweed and Brunswick rivers were passed; Cape Byron, the most easterly point of Australia, was rounded, and our vessel kept thenceforward a more northerly course. The next point passed was the southern entrance to Moreton Bay, which—it is a pity to record—has of late years become shallower and unsafe for vessels of any size. Moreton Island, a sandy, sterile-looking spot, was passed on the left, and at 9.45 a.m. we breasted the lighthouse situated on the highest part of the island. Entering the mouth of the Brisbane River, the harbour-master's steam-launch conveyed on board Mr. Romilly, the Deputy Commissioner, and Mr. Chester, police-magistrate at Somerset and Thursday Island, who had the honour of hoisting the British flag at Port Moresby and taking possession of New Guinea in the name of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Next appeared H.M.S. "Gayndah," which had been specially constructed for the defence of the Port, to escort us up the river, and at 2 p.m. the "Governor Blackall" cast anchor opposite the Government Domain.
At this point in our narrative it may not be unfitting to give the reader a description of our gallant ship and the appointments made for the expedition. The trial trip in Sydney Harbour was thus described in the "Sydney Morning Herald" of 7th August:—
"About two months ago Her Majesty's High Commissioner for New Guinea, Sir Peter Scratchley, chartered the A. S. N. Company's steamer 'Governor Blackall,' in which to visit the different parts of the new colony over which he has been appointed to act as the Queen's representative; and on her arrival in Sydney she was taken over to the Company's works, and altered and improved in her internal fittings to such an extent as to give her the appearance of a new ship. Yesterday the steamer was taken for a trial trip, and the result was regarded as in every way highly satisfactory. She cast off from the A.S.N. Company's wharf at about a quarter to eleven, and proceeded down the harbour and outside the Heads for a distance of several miles, the speed attained when covering the measured mile being equal to eleven knots per hour. As the day was beautifully fine, with a gentle 'north-easter,' the trip was greatly enjoyed by the company present, among whom were Messrs. Cruickshank (chief Government engineer-surveyor), A. B. Portus (superintendent of dredges), Gray (Mort's Dock), Captain Vine Hall, Dr. Glanville, and others.
"There was but one opinion among the the company as to the suitability of the steamer for the work in which she is to be engaged, also in reference to the exceedingly comfortable, even luxurious manner in which she has been fitted out. The 'Governor Blackall' is a most attractive looking vessel of 487 tons gross register, and was built from designs supplied by Mr. Norman Selfe by Mort's Dock and Engineering Company, in 1871, to the order of the Queensland Government, who employed her for some years in conveying the mails along the coast of that colony. She then came into the possession of the Australasian Steam Navigation Company, and has been running in the coastal trade of Queensland ever since. About five years ago the Company went to the expense of providing her with new engines and boilers, which, with the other parts of the ship, have been carefully overhauled and put in first class order, so that yesterday the machinery worked very smoothly and without the slightest hitch of any kind. On the 1st of July last the "Governor Blackall" was placed in the hands of Mr. Cruickshank to superintend the necessary alterations and repairs, and he has carried out his work in a very creditable manner. The hull of the vessel, both inside and out, has been chipped, cleaned, and painted, the paint outside being white, which certainly adds to the attractiveness of the vessel's appearance. The old fittings in the saloon have been removed, and the apartment has been entirely re-arranged to suit the requirements of the expedition. State rooms running its entire length have been erected, with ample room ventilation, and light for every member of the expedition; and the dining-table, with swing trays overhead, runs down the centre. On the right of the companion leading to the saloon is the apartment, formerly the ladies' cabin, to be used by Sir Peter Scratchley as a bed and sitting-room, which is fitted up in most complete style, and with a considerable display of taste in the furnishings, &c. Each of the officers has a separate cabin, and in addition one has been set apart specially for the use of Mr. Lindt, the photographer to the expedition, who has over 400 plates with him, and who intends to take views of New Guinea to be sent home to the exhibition to be held in London next year. Then Dr. Glanville has a room, in addition to his private cabin, for the dispensary. There is a bath-room for the use of the general, and another for the officers, and in each hot, cold, and shower-baths may be had at any moment, the cold water coming from a tank on the bridge, from which the whole ship is supplied, and the hot from the boiler. All the furniture in the cabins is quite new, and made of beautifully polished cedar, thus adding greatly to the general effect. The fore cabin has also been altered and improved and the petty officers and men will find most comfortable quarters therein. The ventilation of the vessel has been carefully studied, and a system has been adopted which has so far been an undoubted success, and in the trying climate of New Guinea should prove a boon to all on board. The ventilating machinery is driven by a separate engine, to which is attached a large and powerful exhaust fan, which draws out the heated air from all parts of the ship most effectually. There is a large pipe, six inches in diameter, extending from one end of the ship to the other. This is slung from the roof in the saloon and in it there are airslits at intervals, which can be opened and shut at pleasure. As the heated or foul air rises it is drawn into these orifices, and then through the pipe till it is sent overboard. The steam-engine will only be required to work the system when the vessel is at anchor in the harbour, as when she is at sea the pipe is connected with the funnel, and an effective 'up-cast' shaft is thus created. Two of Kircaldy's patent condensers for condensing fresh water are placed on the bridge, and on trial proved wonderfully effective, over 1,000 gallons being obtained from them in one day. They occupy but little room, and should prove invaluable to the expedition. They were the only two in Sydney, and Mr. Cruickshank obtained them as a special favour from Mr. Wildridge, the Superintendent of the E. and A.S.S. Company. The next noticeable addition to the resources of the ship is one of Oscar Kroff's ice-making machines, which has been tried and has been found to work well, turning out fifteen pounds of ice every four hours. One of Sir William Thompson's sounding machines has also been supplied to the 'Blackall,' and in the coral seas it should be of great service. Yesterday it was tried under the supervision of the local agent, Captain Vine Hall, and acted most efficiently, telling the depth of water off the heads very accurately. In addition to every requisite in a general way for the expedition, the steamer has been provided with a complete set of spare gear in the engine-room, and an ample supply of stores; also with a smart little steam-launch, which should prove useful for a variety of purposes, especially for ascending shallow rivers, &c.; a Gatling gun, with a stand of small arms, including Winchester and Martini-Henri rifles, and revolvers, and about 6,000 rounds of ammunition; and double awnings fore and aft. What was formerly the commander's room aft has been fitted up in a very inviting way as an extra room for General Scratchley. The 'Governor Blackall' has been placed under the command of Captain T. A. Lake, one of the most valued officers in the Company's service, and there is every likelihood that under his careful and skilful supervision the steamer will wend her way safely through the dangers which surround the navigation of the coast of New Guinea. After the steamer returned to the harbour she brought up in Farm Cove, where she will remain until she leaves for her destination. She will call at Brisbane, Townsville, and Cooktown, en route to New Guinea, probably staying a couple of days at each place."
From this description it will be seen that no expense was spared (as was fitting) in adapting our vessel to the requirements of the expedition. With a laudable purpose of lightening by innocent amusement the monotonous duties of the seamen, and enlivening the spirits of the company generally, the Commissioner, whilst in Brisbane, purchased a handsome stock of musical instruments—concertinas, flutes, banjos, bones, &c.—suitable for what, in the language of the music halls, is called a "variety entertainment." Those of the party who were musically inclined no doubt anticipated much pleasant recreation from this new acquisition; but it may, perhaps, be doubted whether, on the whole, the amateur performers themselves do not win larger delight from these performances than the average of their auditors. Another provident purchase was a set of oil-skin suits for the use of the crew; but when, on the second day after our leaving Brisbane, the cases containing the waterproof gear was opened, it was found that most of the suits were rotten and quite useless. They were of all colours, from lemon yellow to Vandyke brown, and looked very much as if they had been bought by the vendors as salvage stock from a great fire in the warehouse. No doubt the clever fellows thought that they had done a very smart stroke of business in thus disposing of a case of worthless and damaged goods at the price of sound and serviceable articles; but the Commissioner had the bad goods carefully repacked, and re-shipped from Townsville to the too clever vendors.
Whilst at Brisbane, our vessel was constantly beset by sight-seeing citizens, and our party equally so with "interviewing" reporters. The visitors were treated with uniform courtesy, and they all appeared to be very much pleased with the arrangements. Here the party was joined by Mr. H. O. Forbes, the eminent naturalist. His instruments had been damaged at Batavia, through an accident that sunk the lighter conveying his luggage, and he had come on to Brisbane to get them repaired. On our starting, Mr. Forbes left behind him, to follow by the next steamer, his Malay servant and Amboynese hunters. He spoke to me very highly of these dusky retainers as being faithful and affectionate; some of them were in tears at their master temporarily leaving them. This testimony I am able to corroborate from my own experience; I have found both the Malays and the Sundanese as servants industrious and obedient, and so long as they are kept in their native tropical climate they are hardy and enduring; but they cannot stand the cold, and what to an English constitution is pleasant and bracing weather is to them severe suffering and complete collapse.
We left Brisbane on the 20th, at 3 p.m., the Commissioner having finished his inspection of the fortifications. Mr. Romilly, the Deputy Commissioner, embarked with us. He was limping a little, as I noticed, from a slightly lamed foot. Our vessel was laden rather above the Plimsol standard, in consequence of the quantity of coal and luggage taken on board at the city; but as this was a defect that time would remedy, not much notice was taken of the circumstance. It told materially, nevertheless, against the comfort of the voyagers throughout the stormy night that followed, the ship rolling heavily in a swell from the eastward. At nine on the morning of the 21st we passed Sandy Cape.
The Captain had fitted up one of Walker's Patent Taffrail Logs, to test its accuracy. The instrument was not altogether a success; the distance from Sandy Cape to Lady Elliot Island is seventy-two nautical miles, and the dial of the Patent Log showed only sixty-three miles. Captain Lake ascribed the discrepancy to the use of an unsuitable line carrying the fan, or propeller, of the log, which error he proposed to rectify upon a second trial.
Lady Elliot Island was passed about six in the afternoon. This place is merely a low stretch of coral reef, standing only a few feet above the water level; but it bears a lighthouse, and it is of some importance geographically, as indicating the commencement of the Great Barrier Reef. A showery day, with a rather rough sea on, was followed by a bright and tranquil evening, so that we looked forward to enjoying a quiet dinner and a calm night afterwards. This anticipation, happily, was not disappointed.
On passing Percy Island No. 1 in the afternoon of the next day, the 22nd, Captain Lake mentioned that he knew the place well from a tragic incident that occurred there within his own knowledge. The captain has spent all his naval life on these coasts, and in the year 1854—some time before the separation of Queensland from New South Wales—the Government of Sydney sent out an expedition to make explorations along that portion of the territory. The party started from Brisbane in a cutter named the "Percy," and after making an inspection of various islands they came upon the one that was now in sight. As the place presented an inviting appearance, they all landed to make researches, with the exception of four men, who formed the crew of the little vessel. But they never returned, every one of them being murdered by the blacks. The geologist of the party, Mr. Strange, was a personal friend of our captain's, and the sad catastrophe was therefore stamped indelibly upon his memory. The island bears the name of the cutter, and the recollection of the tragedy is thus perpetuated.
A second trial of the taffrail log already mentioned was made on the 23rd, with much more satisfactory results. The instrument rings a bell every quarter of a mile traversed, and is self registering up to one hundred miles. Then the time is taken, and the same process is repeated, the instrument requiring no attention save oiling a couple of times a day.
We noticed here a peculiar yellowish scum spread over the surface of the ocean. Upon inquiring of our skipper what the substance was, he told me that seamen suppose it to be the spawn of the coral insect. Sometimes it is met with in such large quantities that a landsman would think that the vessel was running on a sandbank. The substance, whatever it may be, makes its appearance in these waters about the beginning of August, and is rarely seen later than December.
At 4 p.m. we passed Percy Island No 2, or rather, two islands divided from one another by a narrow strait. Seen under the tinted lights of a brilliant sunset, the place looks as lovely to the eye as Prosperos' enchanted island. The sky was covered with those aerial "woolpacks" which the trade winds always bring with them, and the soft shadows of the silvery clouds flecked the green hillsides of the happy land. There is abundance of timber, pine, and grazing ground sufficient for a few thousand sheep in all seasons. An inlet runs up to a perfectly sheltered basin, navigable for small craft. Our second engineer had once been driven upon this island through stress of weather, and going ashore, he found a fine lake of fresh water, with unlimited fishing and shooting privileges for whomsoever chose to claim them. Two or three European settlers vegetate in calm contentment in this ideal island-pastoral solitude.
Pine island is the name of the adjacent small territory, and is so called from the immense quantity of white-stemmed pine, growing right up to the summit of the highest hills, which it contains. A lighthouse has recently been erected here, and the cottage of the keeper, standing amidst a grove of tall graceful pines, looks to the distant observer a charmingly romantic habitation for a sentimental hermit. Whilst we were gazing at the house through our glasses we caught sight of the lighthouse-keeper's wife walking up and down in the verandah, with her baby in her arms. We waved our handkerchiefs by way of kindly greeting, and the good woman, handing the baby to her husband, re-turned our salute. On the side of the island which fronts the continent the cliff is extremely steep, the rise and fall of the tide being fully twenty feet. To draw up the building materials and stores from the landing-place on the beach the aid of an iron-wire tramway is required.
I could not help thinking that this group of islands would be a most delightful place to spend a summer holiday. Access to the place could easily be obtained by means of a boat from the Australian Steam Navigation Company's vessel. The islands are well sheltered, game is abundant, and the climate is simply perfection; what other element of holiday enjoyment is needed? One of the settlers would, no doubt, readily lend his services to the party of excursionists, and what glorious campings out they would have! One of the group is named Sphinx Island, from a fanciful idea of its resemblance in shape to the fabled monster of the Egyptians.
During the night our skipper was busily engaged superintending the navigation of the vessel through Whit-Sunday Passage, a narrow strait running through an almost bewildering maze of islands. This passage is counted the most beautiful spot in the whole extent of the Queensland coast. We cleared the passage at six in the morning, so that we just missed feasting our eyes on the varied loveliness of this romantic archipelago. Ever since passing Lady Elliot Island we have had perfectly calm seas and Italian skies; the vessel skims along the surface of the unruffled waves like a sea-bird; and one happy result of these favourable conditions is that not a soul amongst the party is now absent from the table at meal times.
Cape Upstart and Cape Bowling Green stand closely adjacent to one another, both named from their peculiar aspects. The one rises abruptly from the sea to a height of more than 1,000 feet; the other lies flat with the sea-level. A vessel might very easily run aground at the latter spot, as the captain of the S.S. "Gunga" found to his cost a few months ago, when he got stranded there. The casualty occurred in broad daylight, and so simply, that the wife of the lighthouse keeper, standing only a few yards inland, waved her apron to warn the skipper of his danger.
Late in the evening we entered Cleveland Bay, and dropped anchor in the open roadstead, about two miles from shore. Townsville stands upon the beach, on both sides of Ross's Creek, and high hills, rising abruptly, enclose it all round. I had learned from the Brisbane papers that "The Vagabond" was abroad in Northern Queensland, and next morning, upon landing, I encountered this particular eye of the "Melbourne Argus," looking as fresh and jolly as ever. By Mr. Julian Thomas I was introduced to Mr. Gulliver, of Acacia Vale, who received me very hospitably, and lent me the manuscript diary of Mr. Edelfeld, who had been employed by him in collecting botanical specimens in New Guinea. From the perusal of this record I gained much valuable information. Here a small flock of about fifty sheep were bought for the use of the expedition, the survivors of the voyage amongst the lot being reserved for pasturage at the mission station at Port Moresby. Amongst our visitors whilst at Townsville were Captain Sandeman and his amiable wife, who took a farewell dinner with us, and then returned home in their smart steam launch.
We left Townsville at 10 p.m. on the 24th, and next day at noon were abreast of the Johnston River, the scenery along the banks of which was described to me by "The Vagabond" as being more beautiful than anything he had ever seen, with the exception of the wizard Fijian streams.
Cooktown was reached at 9 a.m. of the 26th. The wharf here is situated at the base of a steep hill, on the top of which stands the signalling station at an elevation of about 500 feet. As the cliff intercepts the cool south-east breezes, we began to experience, while lying here, the true tropical heat, the thermometer in the saloon rising to 80°. So steep is the hill, that when the dwelling of the company's agent was being built, it was necessary to make an excavation in the side, in order to lay the foundations. The situation of the house exposes it to the danger of inundation from the tropical rains, but in the dry season the fresh water required for domestic purposes has to be carried up the steep ascent. On the opposite bank of the Endeavour River rises the volcanic pile, Mount Sanders, its rugged slopes deeply scarred and worn by the rains of many centuries. Cooktown wears a straggling and stagnant appearance, in this respect contrasting strongly with Townsville. As is usual with all the towns in Northern Queensland, galvanised corrugated iron is here the universal building material, being so useful as a rain-catching roofing. Walking through the town I noticed a good hospital (built on a principle that suits it to a tropical climate) and several churches and schools. At the girls' school the children were being taught their lessons on the shady side of the building under the verandah. Their appearance struck me as being particularly neat and tidy. I took two photographic views of the town, one of them from the summit of the hill, taking in the mangrove swamps of the Lower Endeavour River. The missionary schooner, the "Ellangowan," a very well-fitted and smart-looking craft, lay at the wharf next to our vessel, and H.M.S. "Raven" was moored a little way up the river, which is navigable for a short distance for smaller craft. Chinese abound in Cooktown, and very valuable residents they are, as they are the sole cultivators of fruit and vegetables. Scores of aboriginals were strolling about the town, and they afforded us some amusement by the expertness with which they dived into the river for coins. At about midnight our last visitor from Cooktown, Mr. Milman, who had been spending the evening with the Commissioner, left us, and the stragglers of our own party being all brought on board, the tide serving, we weighed anchor at 1 a.m. of the 27th, and so bade adieu to the last civilized settlement we should see until our return from the newly-acquired territory.
At daybreak Cape Flattery was passed, and, about 7 o'clock, Lizard Island, where a few years ago a party of bêche-de-mer gatherers were murdered by the blacks. This incident was rendered memorable by a peculiarly tragic circumstance. Mrs. Wilson, the wife of one of the party, had accompanied her husband on the expedition. With her baby at her breast, she contrived to escape from the massacre, and accompanied by the Chinese cook to the party, put to sea in a ship's tank, in the hope of saving their lives. The poor fugitives drifted on to an island in the Howitt group, about forty miles to leeward, and there perished from want of water. The son of our skipper, happening to touch at this spot some months afterwards, found the skeletons of the poor mother and her babe lying on the beach, and that of the Chinaman a little way off. Beside the bleached remains of the mother lay a scrap of paper, upon which she had contrived to scribble, in the midst of her prolonged agony, a rough diary of the adventures and sufferings of herself and her companion. What unrecorded tragedies these sunlit ocean regions have witnessed!
Clearing Lizard Passage, and keeping the largest island of the Lizard group right astern, we steered straight for the mile-and-a-half opening in the Great Barrier Reef. Our skipper here mounted to the fore-cross-trees, to keep sharp observation of our course; nor was the precaution needless, for on both sides of our little craft we could plainly discern the long waves breaking heavily into foam on the coral reefs. Skilful piloting carried us safely through all dangers; and, the Barrier Reefs once cleared, our vessel ploughed securely the deep waters of the open Pacific, heaving into billows under the influence of the south-east trade winds.
A favourable run of thirty-six hours further brought us within sight of the shores of the island of our destination.
First View of Papua—Breakers Ahead—Haven of Safety reached—First Welcome—The Missionary and his Wife—Excursion to Rano Falls planned—Native Villages on the Littoral—Frolicsome Young Savages—A Degraded Race—A tribe of potters—A Strange Flotilla—Preparations for Excursion—A Christian Salbath in a Savage Land—Elevating Influence of Christianity—A Photographer's Impedimenta—First Landing—Religious Service in the Motu Language—"Granny" the Prime Minister—A Start resolved on—A Guide and Carriers engaged—Also a Native Head Cook
The south-east trade winds were blowing when we first sighted the shores of New Guinea; and as, during their prevalence, a mist more or less dense hangs about the mountain tops, we caught only a short glimpse of the towering heights of the magnificent Owen Stanley Ranges. About noon the low-lying lands of the fore-shore came distinctly into view. Stationed at his post of observation on the fore-crosstrees, our skilful commander gave forth his directions for steering the little craft securely through the labyrinth of coral reefs. Abreast of Fisherman Island we could clearly discern the breakers flashing and foaming on the shallows, and at one time we seemed to be in the very midst of them. At this moment our course was easterly, and dead in the face of the heavy swell of the ocean. Although our prudent skipper slackened speed by a full half, before we had passed the narrows abreast of Pyramid Point the waves dashed in glittering cascades over our bows continuously for about an hour. It was a very wonderful sight to observe the beautiful rainbows woven by the dazzling sun-rays upon the mounting and falling sprays, each in succession appearing and vanishing with the speed of light. At length Paga Point was passed, we were in smooth water, and our vessel came to anchor in the land-locked harbour of Port Moresby. We had reached our destination.
05. Loading Lakatoi, Port Moresby — Women making Pottery
Our position was about a mile from the Mission Station, and close by us lay anchored H.M. Surveying Ship the "Lark." The time being about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, it was decided that none of the party should go ashore till next morning. Speedily there came to welcome us Mr. Musgrave, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, and Mr. Frank Lawes, eldest son of the missionary. News was mutually exchanged, and Mr. Musgrave stayed to dine with the Commissioner. Next morning our feet trod for the first time the soil of New Guinea, and we had a very cordial welcome from the missionary and his amiable wife. Arrangements were made by the Commissioner for an excursion on the following Monday up the Laloki River, as far as the Rano Falls, the photographer being in charge of the party. Then we took a first look at the native villages standing close by the shore. They reminded us somewhat of those ancient cranoges, or lake dwellings, once common in Scotland, Ireland, and various parts of Continental Europe. Built upon mangrove stakes, planted something below low-water mark, each hut is connected by a sort of rude bridge with the shelly beach. Troops of naked Papuan children, some so young as to be barely able to stand on their tiny limbs, frolicked fearlessly about the ricketty stages upon which the huts stood. They had evidently no apprehension of danger from falling overboard. We could imagine the feelings of a civilized mother at seeing her offspring diverting themselves in such a situation: the savage matrons appeared to regard the scene with the tranquil satisfaction of a motherly old duck which sees her young brood taking for the first time to the water! The natives hereabouts are an indolent and filthy race, many of them being disfigured by ugly sores on their faces and bodies—the effects of bad and insufficient food, combined with carelessness of the primary laws of health. This foul disease is, however, not contagious; if it were so, the whole race would speedily perish of scorbutic and scrofulous epidemics.
06. Lakatoi, or Motu Trading Vessel, under Sail
Nevertheless, the Papuan natives of the littoral are not wanting in industry and ingenuity. The Motu tribe is celebrated all along the coast for skill in the manufacture of pottery, and they carry on a large trade in cooking utensils and water jugs with the tribes living farther to the west. We saw them fitting up their large trading canoes, or Lakatois, as they call them, which are, in fact, a species of raft formed of five or more large trunks of the buoyant pencil-cedar tree, hollowed out and lashed skilfully together. These huge rafts were in various stages of completion; from twenty to forty busy workmen were in each, fixing the lashings, and making splash-boards of lengths of thatch composed of pandanus leaves. These leaves are gathered at certain periods when they have attained their full growth, and are strung together in lengths varying from 9 to 12 feet. A framework of strong saplings is first lashed right across the huge trading vessel, projecting fore and aft about 8 feet, and 3 feet over the sides, forming, when covered with the leaves, a gangway all round. Huts of the same tough material are erected on this base, and last of all the mast is shipped, carrying a neat sail of a peculiar shape, like the claw of a crab. Of course, naval structures of this kind are not well calculated for sailing close to the wind; but the astute natives get the better of Neptune and his laws, by taking advantage of the prevailing winds to make their voyages annually. With the last of the south-east trades they sail westward to the villages on the coast, and to the rivers of the Papuan Gulf, exchanging their pottery for the rabia (sago) and other products of the region; and after several weeks of feasting, they catch the north-west monsoons to return homewards with their deeply laden vessels. Sometimes, on the return voyage, half a dozen or more of the family trading canoes are lashed together, thus forming quite a floating village, swarming with a joyous population. M. D'Albertis mentions in his book the astonishment which these strange flotillas caused in him. In anticipation of witnessing the starting of the Port Moresby Armada in a few days, I made my arrangements for taking instantaneous photographs of the Lakatois, and also of the singular mystic ceremonies which precede the event. Meantime I was occupied with preparations for the inland excursion. The good missionaries promised to furnish horses for the party, and Mrs. Lawes kindly offered me her favourite mare, a handsome chestnut, with silver mane and tail, the offspring of stock brought over by the prospecting party some years ago.
The Sunday was spent quietly on board, and as the ship's bell was summoning the voyagers to Divine service on the quarter-deck, we could hear the faint tinkling of the bell at the Missionary Station similarly calling the dusky worshippers to prayers. Even in savage New Guinea the blessed light of the Word of God is gradually dispelling the darkness of barbarism and cannibalism. It is amid such scenes as this that the Divine power of Christianity, to elevate and dignify humanity, is most fully apprehended. Only to think of the immense arc of moral ascent there is between a cannibal feast and a Christian Communion!
Although my apparatus and weapons of defence were always at hand, I had much trouble in making these up into portable packages for the native carriers, the impedimenta required for even a few nights of camping out being both bulky and heavy.
My assistant and myself were put on shore on Sunday afternoon, and took up our quarters at the hospitable Mission House, prepared to make an early start next morning. After tea, a religious service was held on the broad verandah, for the benefit of the pupils and servants at the station. Books containing the Gospels were handed round to the dusky worshippers, and some hymns, translated into Motu, which was the language used in the service, by Mr. Lawes. The Motu, like all other southern dialects, has a liquid softness and euphony of expression that reminds one of the Malayian tongue. While Mr. Chalmers read the prayers, the native boys and girls squatted around him, were very attentive and decorous in their bearing, and all joined devoutly in reading the responses. Their singing was notable for the careful manner in which they kept time and tune together, and though the melodies chosen were of the simplest kind, they well became the lips of those unsophisticated children of nature. Amongst the servants, it should be mentioned, was an old native woman, whom every one called Granny. Mrs. Lawes introduced this ancient dame to us as her Prime Minister, without whose valuable aid and assistance the good lady would not manage to get on very well. Granny "bosses" all hands with a wonderful amount of tact and firmness. I presented the old dame with a gorgeous brooch, which delighted her immensely; we shook hands, and I was repaid for my gift by a smile that quite lighted up the grim and wrinkled face of the New Guinea grandame.
07. Lakatoi near Elevala Island—Elevala Island, from Mission Station
Anxiety about the weather, which was changeable, with sudden gusts of rain, disturbed my rest through the night. Towards daybreak the rain abated, and although the weather still wore an unsettled look, we resolved on making a start, our genial host being of opinion that we should have clear skies and gentle airs after passing the coast-range. Seated at our early breakfast, under the verandah, the troop of native boys, who were to act as porters for the party, made their appearance. Being a "New Chum" myself, I had left the task of engaging these carriers, and arranging the commissariat department, to Mr. Lawes, junior; but almost at the last moment this young gentleman was called away on some Government service, and Mr. Hunter took his place as guide. An experienced leader of expeditionary parties is Mr. Hunter, and was right hand man to Captain Armit, when engaged in explorations here. There was, therefore, every reason to place entire confidence in our new guide. Our packages were equally distributed amongst the boys, some of whom were of the Motuan and the others of the Koiari tribe. One of the boys at the mission station had been told off to act as our head cook, and in virtue of this superior station he was accorded a lighter burden than the rest.
Orders to March—Heavy Travelling—Tropical Creek—Sure-footed Mountain Steeds—Native Hunting Camp—Luncheon in the Forest—Smoking the Bau Bau—Good Country for Horse-breeding—Koiari Kangaroo-hunting—The Hunter's Feast—The Koiari Tribe—Splendid Natural Panorama—Morrison's Explorations—Camp for the Night—Perilous Journeying—The Alligators' Haunt—Night in the Papuan Forest—Frightening the Devil—Fears of Danger from Natives dispelled—Morning in the Forest—A Purpose abandoned—Strike for a Koiari Village—Savage Gourmands—Steep Mountain Ascent—Magnificent Mountain Scenery—A Koiari Welcome—A Mountain Village—Dwellings on the Tree-tops—A Koiari Chief—Photographer in Koiari—Hospitable Offer—A Koiari Household—Great White Chief—Buying a Pig—A Koiari Interior—A Papuan Meal—Conference of Chiefs—Papuan Etiquette—A Tribal Feud—Uncomfortable Night—Superb Mountain Views—The Photographer in a Koiari Village—Return to the Port—A Ruined Village—Native Remains—Encounter Mr. Forbes—Missionary Hospitality
The order for marching being given, off started our train of sixteen porters in Indian file, making straight for a steep hill rising a little way back from the station, whilst the guide, my assistant, and myself, mounted on our steeds, strike off on a tract leading in a northerly direction, by an easier gradient, to a gap in the coast range. By making this little detour we spare our horses at the outset of the journey—a most prudent precaution, as we speedily discovered. After traversing a couple of miles of tolerably level plain, densely covered with fine kangaroo grass, we get into a country wherein undulations rise into ridges, ridges into hills, and hills into ranges so steep that no horse save one thoroughly disciplined to this kind of travelling would care to face the precipitous native paths. The intervening gullies were covered with an almost impenetrable scrub, so that the party experienced all the troubles as well as the delights of travelling in the Papuan "forest primeval," Our footmen having joined us, and Mr. Hunter leading, we traversed some of the roughest territory it has ever been my hap to explore in the Southern World.
About eleven a.m. we reached a creek fringed on both sides with wild tropical verdure of a quite gorgeous description. Here we had an opportunity of testing the capabilities, and noting the behaviour of our steeds. At the crossing-place the banks were fearfully steep and slippery from the previous night's rain; so, dismounting and slinging the bridles to the stirrup-leathers, we let loose the horses to find their own way across, two of the boys preceding to catch them up. I have had much experience of crossing creeks in Australia, but all my previous trials in that way were but a pleasant diversion compared with the present one. Our sagacious animals, freed from their riders and left to themselves, addressed themselves to their difficult task with a serene cautiousness that would have been admirable in the most expert explorer. Down the almost perpendicular descent they went, step by step, carefully setting each hoof upon some slight projection that just afforded footing, and avoiding every stumbling block in the nature of gnarled roots and tortuous loops of creeping vegetation. Arrived at the bottom, they had a long, deep drink, and then commenced the ascent, scaling the precipitous bank with all the courage and sure-footedness of mountain goats. My own apprehensions of any casualty occurring from a stumble during the journey were very materially diminished by the time I had remounted.
Emerging into the open once more, we speedily found that our journey lay across a succession of similar rugged gullies, each successive one being still steeper and more dangerous-looking than the preceding. At noon we reached a practicable water-course, having made, according to our reckoning, about fifteen miles since starting. The spot was the site of a native hunting-camp, and here we called a halt for luncheon. Packs were dropped, the horses were haltered up in shady nooks, a dozen little fires were speedily burning, whereat the yams and taros of the boys were roasting. A small provision of tobacco was served out, and the bau-bau (bamboo pipe) was passed from mouth to mouth. The method of smoking in New Guinea is peculiar. The pipe used consists of a couple of joints of bamboo of moderate thickness and about thirty inches in length. The tobacco is first wrapped in the green leaf of a particular tree (invariably used for this purpose) and is then inserted in a small orifice bored near the closed end of the pipe. When lighted, the smoke is inhaled from the open end until it fills the tube; then the leaf containing the tobacco is withdrawn, a whiff is inhaled from the orifice that held the weed, and the bau-bau handed to the next smoker, who takes a whiff in turn and passes on the instrument. All the stored fragrance being exhausted, the tobacco is reinserted and the same process repeated until each one of the company has had his satisfying whiff. The New Guinea smoker is not at all particular about the quality of his tobacco; the real virtue of the narcotic indulgence lying rather in the leaf wrappage than in the nicotian weed itself. Most of the bau-baus are embellished with pretty designs resembling somewhat the native tattoo markings. These decorations are burnt into the bamboo with a glowing slice of the sheating leaf of the cocoanut kept at almost white heat by the native artist blowing upon it. The end of the glowing ember forms a fine point which, on being slowly moved along the desired lines, leaves indelible tracks.
08. Koiari Chiefs
A billy of tea and some tinned provisions, with an hour's rest, refreshed us sufficiently, and we resumed our journey. The route for about five miles was tolerably level, the country traversed being heavily grassed and admirably adapted for horse breeding. Hearing the cries of some natives in the distance, we learned from our boys that these denoted a body of Koiaris out on a kangaroo-hunting expedition. Crossing a watercourse, the sides of which were densely fringed with rabia (sago) palms, we came upon the hunting party, numbering about a hundred. They were all armed with light hunting spears, and their sole clothing was a bit of string girt round the waist. At several fires the captured game was roasting, and heaps of sugar-canes of various kinds and sizes—some of the canes being fifteen feet long—were lying about. We were introduced to several chiefs, who gave us a hearty welcome and a hospitable invitation to join their feast. Some sugar-cane—which was of excellent quality, and much more refreshing than creek water, by the way—sufficed for our own moderate needs; but the boys had no objections to enjoying another spell and a feast of kangaroo roasted whole. After a friendly smoke and chat with the hunters, who urged upon our leader that we must not omit visiting their villages on our return journey, we and our dusky entertainers parted company on the best of terms.
The Koiaris are, as a general rule, people of small stature, but well built and muscular, and their condition indicates that they have an ample supply of nourishing food.
Our route now lay along the tops of ridges, and still ascending, we soon reached a razor-back range above 800 feet high. Although it was the season of the south-east wind, when the atmosphere is always more or less hazy, we enjoyed the wonderful panorama spread out at our feet. To the north-west we could trace the course of the Laloki River for miles, descry the junction of the Laloki and Goldie, about five miles distant, and a couple of miles beyond that again the crossing place on the old diggers "track." On the northern horizon loomed a high mountain, upon the summit of which (as our guide informed us) stands the village of the tribe that speared and robbed Mr. Morrison, the explorer. Its distance from where we stood was some seven or eight miles, and this fact indicates the extent of Morrison's party's exploration of the interior. Behind us, to the east and north-east, the serried ridges of the Astrolobe Range stretched away for miles and miles, their wooded slopes and rugged gullies being lost to view, at length, in clouds and mist. Southward in the far distance we could discern the faint outline of the coast range that hems in Port Moresby, whilst in the opposite quarter of the horizon, in the direction of the Rano Falls, the rocky and precipitous face of Mount Vedura towered full 2,000 feet above us. A magnificent scene, not to be forgotten by the spectators. Mentally comparing it with similar scenery viewed in bygone times in far-off lands, one might for an instant believe oneself transported thither, but a glance at our dusky companions at once brought us back to reality, and made us feel that we were actually in New Guinea.
The sun was sinking behind the mountains, and it was time to begin to think of pitching camp for the night. A conference between our leader and the chief of our carriers led to the selection of a spot on the banks of the Laloki, distant about two miles in a northerly direction. The march, although but a short one, was terribly trying, both to the horses and their riders. It was a descent along the whole course; the tall grass hid numberless loose boulders, making progress both difficult and dangerous, and compelling us to dismount and walk. Besides this, there were many rugged gullies with steep precipitous sides to cross, bearing testimony to the fury of the tropical rains from the north-west quarter. The light-footed and accustomed carriers found no difficulty in crossing these perilous mountain chasms, but it was needful for the rest of the party to make frequent detours with the horses. These sagacious animals plodded steadily on, although at times their only foothold was the almost perpendicular bank of the river, densely covered with the thick foliage of the wild vine and rattan, and amidst fallen trees and gnarled roots, forming what might fairly be termed an impenetrable jungle.
09. The Haunt of the Alligator, Laloki Eiver
At length, about five o'clock, we reached a dry creek, some twenty yards wide, with a smooth sandy bottom. The spot struck me as being just the place for a snug encampment, and so I remarked to my guide. Hunter smiled drily, and turning to the carriers, held a brief colloquy with them in their own language. In an instant all faces were turned upon me, and I could see by their looks and gestures that the party were pretty generally of opinion that I was, to put it mildly, a harmless lunatic at large. Then our leader calmly explained to me that the natives dreaded the spot, just on account of its inviting appearance and its gentle slope towards the river. This latter advantage made it, in fact, a favourite resort of alligators, which unpleasant reptiles would almost certainly, if we were to camp there, pay us a visit of inspection during the night, with an ultimate purpose of having an unusually fine feast. Accordingly, a spot in the scrub about twenty feet above the smooth bed of the creek was selected, which the natives at once set about clearing, prior to erecting a calico fly tent, kindly lent us by the missionaries. Whilst some were driving in stakes others lit fires, and others again went down to the river for water, taking cautious care not to wade in farther than was just necessary to fill their vessels. By this time the sun had sunk behind Mount Vedura, the short twilight of the tropics had darkened to nightfall, and our evening meal—tinned provisions and tea—was ready. Needless to say, we enjoyed it heartily, for we were both tired and hungry, although our day's journey had covered no greater distance than about twenty miles.
The impulse to "turn in" instanter was checked by the strange novelty of the scene and circumstances. Accustomed as I was to wandering in the unsettled regions of new colonies, I could almost fancy myself in another planet. The hammocks of myself and my assistant were slung beneath the calico roof. Hunter spread his blanket on the bare ground, the lamp was lit, and our leader entertained us with many "yarns" of his previous expeditions. The adventures of Captain Armit and his party were narrated in detail; the pathetic circumstances attending poor Professor Denton's death were told with feeling; how the whole party, with the exception of Hunter himself, were struck down by sickness; how painfully difficult a task it was to get the sick men conveyed to the coast; how fiercely insolent the natives became when the white men were prostrate and helpless; all these and other incidents were vividly and powerfully described. Hour after hour passed by, and still we sat listening, held by the spell of the adventurous explorer, and losing all sense of weariness in the interest of his story. A heavy fall of rain, which had been threatening since sunset, at length broke up the party, and sent us to our hammocks. But just before turning in, the natives (who had crowded round our tent for shelter), through their leader made a request to Hunter. Laughingly turning to me, he remarked, "Do you know what these fellows are asking?" I pleaded ignorance. "They want me to fire off my gun to frighten the devil away." The shot was fired, and this incident set us off talking again, this time about the superstitions of the Papuan race, Hunter having no end of anecdotes to narrate upon this very interesting topic.
Sleep at last claimed its empire, and the camp was silent. The rain fell heavily all night, but I had taken the precaution to spread my waterproof over the mosquito curtain of the hammock, so was tolerably snug and comfortable. No night alarms disturbed our slumbers, and upon awaking in the morning, I found that all my apprehensions of danger from the natives were completely dissipated by twenty-four hours' residence in New Guinea. I smiled to myself at the solemn precautions I had received about keeping continual watch, never allowing a "nigger" to get behind me, and so forth. Confidence and kindness are effectual preservatives, even when amongst the most savage population, as every good missionary can testify.
10. Roasting Yams for Breakfast, Badeba Creek
At 6 A.M. the camp was astir. The rising sun had dispersed the rain clouds, and although the mountain tops were folded in mist, the skies gave promise of a fine day. Breakfast was dispatched at 7, and our leader went to gather in the horses, which had been hobbled on a grassy flat on the other side of the creek. This creek bears the name of Badeba, and is a common camping place for parties visiting the Rano Falls. I took some lovely little views in the country surrounding our camp, and also one of the camp itself, in commemoration of my first night spent in a Papuan forest.
11. Near the Camp, Laloki River
A start being made at length, we rode on for several hours. But a little before noon the rain-clouds began to gather once more, and I felt it would be hopeless to get a good view of the Falls for my purpose that day. So I bethought me of the invitation of our Koiari friends to visit them when passing their village, and I asked Hunter to guide us thither. Retracing our route for a few miles, the party struck off for the slopes of the Astrolabe Range. There was no visible track, and the country traversed was extremely rough and toilsome. Yet our carriers trotted merrily along under their loads, every now and then dropping their packs to give chase to a kangaroo or wallaby, these animals being very plentiful hereabouts. It was astonishing to note the ease and celerity with which the youthful Papuans scampered up and down the steep slopes. Ridge after ridge, each more rugged than the one preceding, was crossed and left behind. Occasionally we caught a glimpse of a distant native village, which was as speedily lost to sight. At length we reached a deserted village at the foot of the range, on the summit of which, perched close to cloudland, we could descry the village in which we were to pass the night. Terrible fellows to feast are these New Guineamen! No sooner were the packs dropped than a fire was lighted, at which a couple of kangaroo rats, caught during the afternoon, were roasted, and a regular banquet was enjoyed. For vegetables there were green Papaw—apples picked from the trees growing around the ruined and deserted huts. A smoke and a "mild quencher" satisfied the civilized members of the party.
12. Sadãra Makãra, Koiari Village near Bootless Inlet
Mounting our steeds, we set their faces against the steep path ascending towards the razor-backed hill right before us, leaving our carriers to finish their feast. Our progress was slow, and finally we were compelled to dismount and lead our horses. At length the level summit was reached, and from it we surveyed another magnificent panorama of plain and sea and mountain. The whole extent of Bootless Inlet lay spread out before us like a map. The setting sun threw fantastic shadows across the hillsides, and long shafts of golden light across the level plain stretching to the seashore. On the far horizon we could dimly discern the breakers foaming on the sharper edges of the barrier reef. A little nearer, some picturesque islets, each like a gem set in silver, lay tranquilly on the calm waters; on the left hand lay Tupuselei, and on the right Pyramid Head, the latter bearing almost due west. No fairer or more peaceful scene at that hour could the pen of a poet describe, or the pencil of a painter depict.
By this time the people in the village above us had discerned our approach, and were waiting to welcome us. A crowd of friendly savages, all in puris naturalibus, greeted us with shouts of gladness, and thronged around us with infinite chattering, to lead us to our temporary domicile. The name of this Koiari village is Sadara Makara. It looked as if newly built, and contained about twenty huts of the usual description, four of these being perched on the tree-tops, full forty feet above the ground. It chanced that the great chief of the tribe was just then in the village, and being a particular friend of Hunter, we were introduced to him, I myself being emphasized as an artist who had come to take pictures of the village to be sent to far off lands beyond the sea. This affable chief, who rejoices in the name of Lohio-bada, shook hands with me cordially in the English fashion, and the same ceremony was gone through by all the head men of the village. Lohio-bada even did me the honour of requesting that I should exchange names with him. Hunter suggested that my name (in Koiari) should be Misi Lolo, meaning "maker of pictures," and I, consenting, was so denominated by these friendly savages during my stay amongst them. One well-built and good-looking fellow, named Daiva, offered us his hut to put up at, asking in return for this hospitable proposal the modest honorarium of three or four sticks of tobacco. We agreed to this kindly offer, and forthwith took possession of our hotel, the landlord with his wife and little baby withdrawing to a lower storey of the dwelling. This consisted of a sort of shelf, about 4 feet below the main floor of the hut, which stood on the right side of the village street. The dimensions of the dwelling were about 20 feet by 16 feet on the main floor, and had a verandah of some 4 feet in width and no higher where it joined the roof fronting the street.
Some rain had fallen just as we entered the village, and the whole of our carriers, with about a dozen of their friends, who were curious to see the visitors, crowded into the apartment for shelter. A perfect Babel of confusion reigned, the whole crowd chattering, laughing, and exchanging news with one another. A strong odour of cocoa-nut oil pervaded the place, that being the unguent with which the Papuan savages anoint their person.
The news of the arrival of our ship with the Great White Chief had reached the village, and, naturally enough, hundreds of questions were put to us, whether this was really the biggest of the big chiefs they had been hearing about since the proclamation of the British Protectorate. When Hunter assured them that General Scratchley was the true White Chief, the native chiefs held an earnest consultation amongst themselves, and Lohio-bada asked leave to call on us again after we had taken our evening meal. The chiefs then retired. As the atmosphere of the room had become by this time quite stifling, I called on Hunter to disperse the crowd, so that we might eat our meal in peace. Slowly and reluctantly the summons to "clear out" was obeyed; and whilst our landlord and his wife gave the house a sweeping out and general tidying, we stepped out to inspect the village.
13. The Village Pet at Sadãra Makãra
Whilst strolling round a native (through Hunter) proposed that I should buy from him a pig at the price of a tomahawk, the porker to be slaughtered next day, and made the pièce de resistance in a general feast. I agreed to the terms, but, not having a tomahawk with me, I was obliged to explain that the seller must give me credit, and must come himself to the Port to obtain payment. The bargain was sealed at once, this simple child of nature having no conception of anything like meditated deception in such a transaction. The staple of the livestock of this village was, visibly, swine. These animals swarmed everywhere, and followed us about like dogs of the household. The particular pig which I now was able to claim as my private property was pointed out to me; it seemed to be about half grown, and was in very good condition.
On re-entering our lodgings we found tea awaiting us; and our hurricane lamp, suspended from the rafter, threw a dim light upon a strangely unaccustomed interior. Piles of yams, taro, and other edible roots occupied three sides of the apartment; on the walls hung shields, clubs, and mouth ornaments; sheafs of spears were stacked horizontally between the rafters and the thatch. In the centre of the floor, which was made of battens of the sago palm, stood the fireplace (about four feet by five), with an inch or two of puddled clay for a foundation, on which lay a bed of ashes. Saplings of some four inches thick, scarfed into one another and bound together with cane, composed the fender, so that the precautions against a conflagration were fully sufficient. Our biscuits being of rather inferior quality I tried the experiment of substituting for these taro roots roasted in the ashes, which, with some apple jelly, was a novel food I confess I greatly enjoyed. This root, when carefully roasted, tastes somewhat like chestnuts, and is very palatable. For second course we had a pot of rabia (sago) prepared in the primitive native fashion, which is a little imperfect inasmuch as the washing given to the farina is not sufficient to remove from it the colouring and fibrous matters, so that it soon turns sour. Some of our own apple jelly added to the sago, with the sharp sauce of hunger to give the combination an additional relish, we managed to make a very hearty meal.
Tea over, I was about to take a quiet smoke when Hunter informed me that Lohio-bada and some other chiefs were coming to give us a full account of the onslaught made upon the tribe occupying this village by the neighbouring tribe, the same troublesome people that had robbed and speared Morrison. To refuse to hear their story would be counted a grave affront. Soon the dusky warriors made their appearance, creeping in Indian file through the low doorway on hands and knees. The dim light of the hurricane lamp played fantastically over their savage features and imposing forms. They were arrayed in all their savage panoply, evidently with the design of deeply impressing the white strangers. Cassowary plumes and coronets of feathers adorned their heads; their white nose ornaments contrasted grotesquely with their faces, painted in transverse streaks of red and black in sign of mourning and woe. For a time not a word was spoken. Presently there came in a steaming mess of rabia in a huge wooden bowl, a present from the chief Lohio-bada's wife. This was first handed to Hunter, who, as the representative man of our party, was obliged to go through the form of eating a portion of the guest-meal. Then the bowl was passed from hand to hand amongst the chiefs until it was entirely emptied. The empty bowl was again handed to Hunter, who dropped into it a stick of tobacco as a token of thanks for the hospitality shown us. The tobacco was for the use of the chief's wife.—Note, to have refused to join in the meal, or to have failed to drop a gift into the empty bowl, would have been deemed an unpardonable breach of Papuan etiquette.
The bau-bau (the calumet of peace) was next passed round, and Hunter and each of the chiefs took a whiff. Then the business of the session commenced. Old Lohio-bada, in a very calm tone and collected manner, narrated the story of the raid. He was listened to with deep attention, and, when he had finished, the other chief corroborated his story, or supplemented it with fresh details. Then Hunter addressed the chiefs, expressing the deep sympathy of the white strangers with the losses and bereavements suffered by the Koiari tribe, and pledged himself to lay the whole case before the Great White Chief, who, doubtless, would deal out rigorous justice to their aggressive foes. Next Hunter interpreted the substance of the conference to us, and we added our condolence to his, with a promise to back up his representations to the Commissioner. We noted that whilst we were speaking the chiefs intently scanned our features, evidently to test the sincerity of our words. Their gestures to one another showed they were thoroughly satisfied on that point. About nine o'clock the chiefs bade us good night and withdrew.
When all fear of further interruption had passed away, I took down the lamp from the rafter, and, swathing it in red cloth so as to exclude all actinic light, I changed the plates I had taken in the morning for fresh ones, and carefully stowed away the latent images in a light-tight box. I then settled down for a last smoke before turning in. Meanwhile our carriers, who had been paying visits to their friends in the village, returned to the hut in groups of twos and threes. Finding that they were excluded from its shelter, they cheerfully "camped out" underneath the hut, on the slope of the hill. The night was not a comfortable one. First the rain fell in torrents, but, happily, the roof was perfectly water-tight. I had spread my hammock and sleeping bag on the batten floor, using the cases containing my instruments as a pillow. I was roused from my first sweet sleep by Hunter's big kangaroo dog, which had crept through the open door, purposely left so for ventilation, and had nestled close to me. Awaking with a start, I gave the intruder a punch in the ribs which set him howling, to the arousing of all hands. Quiet being restored, the native baby below, which had reached the teething stage of its earthly career, set up a yelling which was continued at intervals through the whole night. Worst of all, the effluvium from the bodies of the sleeping carriers just beneath my bunk was intolerable. I sat up and tried the effect of smoking strong tobacco, but in vain. Luckily, in groping about the apartment for the large globular vessel containing water (as I had become very thirsty), I upset it, and its contents poured through the battens, soaking the unsavoury sleepers below, thoroughly rousing them and sending them off to a drier spot. Towards morning tired nature asserted its power, and in spite of rain, dogs, yelling infants, and malodorous savages, I gained a few hours sleep.
The morning broke fair, but chilly, as the village stands at a high altitude above the plain. Stepping forth into the fresh morning air, we stood gazing in admiration at the surpassingly beautiful scene stretched out before us. In the direction of the Astrolabe Range, in particular, the mountain scenery was superb, rivalling in wild grandeur any I had ever seen before in my travels.
14. Tree-house, Koiari Village
Breakfast over, I sallied forth into the village to take some pictures. The native population, men, women, and children, gathered round Misi Lolo with a childlike curiosity to watch my proceedings, and readily obeyed all instructions. They stood in groups, took the proper attitudes, and even posed picturesquely, as conscious that they were being immortalized in picture. When Hunter, at my request, asked the men to mount to one of the tree houses, and to group themselves in warlike array on the platform, as if defending their garrison against the attack of a hostile tribe, they ran up the ladders with the ease and agility of monkeys, donned their war coronets and masks, and in full war-paint, armed with shields and spears, went through all the evolutions of Papuan defensive fighting. They certainly looked anything but despicable combatants. I succeeded in taking several fine photographs from savage real life, all thoroughly characteristic of the manners and habits of these mountaineers.
Not caring to wait for the feast of roast pig to be held later in the day, and intimating to my creditor that I would pay for the pig all the same, I got Hunter to collect our baggage and carriers, and made a start for Port Moresby. The old chief, Lohio-bada, and several others, including my creditor, accompanied us. On our route we came to a deserted village, whence this tribe had been driven by a hostile tribe with a loss of sixteen lives.
We also noted a suspicious looking bundle hanging in the fork of a tree, which we found upon inquiry contained the corpse of a woman. I was unable to take a picture of this interesting object, of which, by the way, the natives took not the least notice.
About ten miles from the coast we encountered Mr. H. O. Forbes and his party, en route for Sogeri, where he intends to form his first depot. A young German, Karl Kowald, in the employ of Mr. Romilly, attended the party as interpreter, and the baggage carriers were of the Koiari tribe. Mr. Forbes looked well and strong, and, like an ancient Roman emperor, marched afoot at the head of his small army.
We reached the mission station tired and hungry, ready to do full justice to the ample luncheon which Mrs. Lawes had provided for us. I paid and dismissed my carriers, and had a long rest under the verandah. Towards nightfall I went on board, and early next morning developed the plates exposed during the journey. Most of the pictures turned out satisfactorily, so that I was well pleased with the results of my first excursion in New Guinea. All the more so upon finding that during my absence no misadventure had happened at headquarters.
Site Fixed for Government House and Buildings—Bootless Inlet—Lakatoi Trading Vessels—Native Regatta—Quit Port Moresby for Redscar Bay—Landing of the Party—The Mouth of the Aroa—Ascent of the Stream—Reflections on Land-tenure—Visit to Ukaukana Village—Interview with the Head Chief of Kabadé—Exchange of Presents—Adventures returning to Camp—Night Alarms—The Vari Vara Islands—Back to Port Moresby
Amicable relations with the natives being thus established, Sir Peter proceeded at once, with the assistance of Mr. Musgrave, to select a site for Government House. They decided on a position originally chosen by the "Argus" Expedition for the official buildings, and one on the adjoining rise for the Governor's private residence, the great advantages of these sites being the vicinity of a good spring of water, and a splendid view all over Port Moresby and Fairfax Harbour. An expedition to Bootless Inlet occupied the day after my return, the Governor and his party being accompanied by Captain Pullen of H.M.S. "Lark," who made some observations. The report was not favourable to any settlement being established on this inlet, as it possesses no river nor agricultural land, and is a mere cul de sac. Before leaving Port Moresby we were fortunate enough to witness a native regatta, in which the trading vessels (Lakatois) already mentioned were competitors. The scene was animated beyond description, the crowd on shore being as excited during the contest as those on the banks of the Thames or the Isis.
On the 4th September the trial trip was made, the Lakatois from the village at Fairfax, Planuabada, and Koetapu, at the foot of the mission station, rendezvousing at the western extremity of the harbour. I landed with my instruments, and succeeded in getting some excellent views of these picturesque vessels, which, when in full sail, resemble a bird flying with its wings blown over its head. The craft, with sails lowered, are poled against the wind to the starting point, where they lie awaiting the fresher breeze of the afternoon. About 3 p.m. we noticed sails being hoisted and a general bustle, upon which we hastened from the mission house to the beach, and found collected there some 400 men, women, and children, whose interest in the sport was intensified by most of them being part owners in one or other of the craft. On the signal being given, moorings were slipped, and away went the boats, well together at first, but eventually those furthest from shore getting the strongest wind, and forging ahead amidst frantic shouts of delight from their owners. When some distance out the boats luff, reverse sails, converting what was the bow into the stern, and make for the point where the spectators are posted, greeted by shouts of admiration and enthusiasm. This trial trip is regarded as a semi-religious ceremony, charms and mystic rites being practised to ensure fine weather and make the expedition a success. During the race a native ballet is performed by the young girls on board the craft, who swing their bodies to a chant composed of two notes only, and accompanied by the monotonous beat of drums. Notwithstanding the high winds, I was able to get several most successful unique instantaneous pictures of the scene, which convey a more vivid impression of the Lakatois than any written description could afford.
15. Motu Girls, Port Moresby, also Paro Paro Apple Tree
On the 8th September the "Governor Blackall" got under weigh shortly after 7 a.m., and left Port Moresby to visit Red Scar Bay. Leaving Mourilyan to the right, we took the inner passage, skirted Fisherman Island, steered for Lily Island, and passed Boera about 10 a.m., the islets of Vari Varu now showing on our port bow. From a distance they seem three disconnected rocks, the one nearest the Australian coast being covered with timber, leafless at this season, but which, as explained by the Rev. Mr. Chalmers, who had joined our party, would burst into leaf in another month's time. The Torres Straits pigeons, at certain seasons, settle here in thousands for rest, on their passage to and from the northern parts of Australia. Opposite the Vari Varu group, on the New Guinea coast, is Red Scar Head, easily discernible by three trees growing on its otherwise bare brow, and a characteristic red patch, visible a long way off, whence the locality takes its name. Galley Reach, the mouth of the Manu Manu river, is passed at 11 a.m., and we could discern the village and mission station at the entrance. Shortly afterwards we sighted three rocks ahead, under the lee of which is our proposed anchorage for the night. These huge boulders are named by the natives Ke Keni (the daughters), from a legend that their parentage is derived from the mountains inland, but Jack, less imaginative and geological, has christened them "Skittle Rocks." As eight bells struck we anchored in five fathoms of water, about two miles from shore, and nearly abreast the Aroa river, one of several streams taking their source among the foot-hills of the Owen Stanley Ranges, and contributing (especially during the N.W. Monsoon) a great volume of fresh water to Red Scar Bay, materially checking the growth of coral. Hence the reef loses its distinctive character hereabouts, and is merely indicated in the chart as the probable trend of the sunken barrier, at a considerable distance from the coast. The swell of the ocean, where not broken by the "Skittle Rocks," comes in here with great force and causes a heavy surf on the bar of the Aroa, especially at low tides. Two of our party, Mr. Romilly and Mr. Askwith, afforded us considerable anxiety by starting out after luncheon with Charles Kidd, a coast pilot, and one of the petty officers of the guard, in the ship's dingy for the purpose of fishing. Hoisting the ill-fitting sail in the tiny boat, away they scudded before the wind, towards the bar, anxiously watched by the skipper, who last saw them right in the midst of the heavy breakers. As night came on and they did not return much anxiety was felt about them, and, notwithstanding the coast pilot's well-known skill, we were not reassured as to their safety until the following day.
General Scratchley's principal object in visiting this locality was to open communication with the native chiefs and sound them as to the acquisition of land; more particularly with respect to certain real estate said to have been recently acquired by a trader named Cameron. At 7 a.m. on the 9th September, all preparations having been made the party started for shore, the steam launch laden with provisions and camp equipage, towing the whale boat containing the passengers in her wake. The little steamer was so overtaxed, that, on reaching the surf, Mr. Chalmers, who directed the navigation, judged it best to cast off the whale boat and pull ahead of the launch. The bar was crossed without accident, and we found ourselves in the Aroa River proper, at its embouchure some eighty yards across, but widening considerably higher up. Selecting a landing place on the left bank, we discharged all our cargo, and pitched our camp on a singularly picturesque little spot, trunks of driftwood in the foreground forming a natural stockade, while to the rear lay a little estuary with all its tropical surroundings. Leaving a few blue-jackets to pitch the camp and keep guard, the whale boat, again towed by the launch, proceeded up stream, which presented the usual characteristics of a tropical river, snags and other obstacles impeding our progress by water, and dense scrub on the banks rendering it impossible on shore. Mangrove and Nipa palms formed the leading features for two miles, when a creek called "Akibaka" was reached. Here the launch not finding sufficient depth of water, left us and returned to camp, while we proceeded up the branch stream with the rising tide. This tributary soon narrowed so considerably that at times the oars could hardly be used, and great difficulty was experienced in clearing the boat from the snags and masses of overhanging creepers. The Nipa trees in some places completely over-arched the stream, giving it the appearance of a lofty avenue. Notwithstanding the beauty of the scene at high water, considerations of alligators and miasma would deter any judicious person from remaining in this locality longer than absolutely necessary.
16. Sir Peter Scratchley's Camp, near Mouth of Aroa Eiver, Redscar Bay
The temperature was moderate, probably not exceeding 80°, and as we were unmolested by mosquitoes the trip was not without enjoyment. The banks, for some distance flush with the river, or nearly so, now became higher, and at intervals native landing-places began to show. Then we noticed groves of Areca nut palms, those bearing ripe fruit having one of their long fronds tied up in a peculiar manner as a sign of ownership and taboo. Some four miles up Akibaka Creek we came to the head of its navigation, where to our great satisfaction we found our dingy minus its rudder, proving that our friends had been lucky enough to cross the bar, and arrive thus far, at any rate, in safety. Near the Mission boat-house we saw a few natives engaged in extracting the sago from the trunk of the Rabia palm. The process, which is very primitive, consists in cutting into shreds the fibrous pith of the palm, cut into lengths of about six feet by means of a peculiar kind of adze, made of hard cane, attached to a handle at an angle of 45°, the light brown substance containing the farina being carried away by women to the edge of the creek, and there deposited in a primitive gutter made out of the butt end of an immense palm leaf. Water is then poured upon it which dissolves and, in a rude manner, extracts the farina from the pulp. News of our advent soon spread, and joined by a string of natives we passed through a straggling village situated in a grove of tall cocoa nut trees, till we came to a house of a better description, and were introduced to Timoteo, the teacher located in this village, which is called Vanuabada by the natives. Here we found Mr. Romilly and Mr. Askwith, who had been made as comfortable as circumstances would permit.
17. Native House at Vanuabada, Kabade District
After being refreshed with the delicious drink obtained from young cocoa-nuts, I sallied into the village and succeeded in getting several very successful views. The natives generally sleep in hammocks suspended underneath their huts, which are built on piles about eight feet from the ground. We counted as many as fifteen hammocks under one building, but the bulk of the adult male population was absent in the plantations. Our stay at Vanuabada was but short, as part of our programme was to cross overland and visit another village on the main stream, and also inspect the intervening territory. Our road lay through flats of blade-grass country, interspersed with groves of cocoa-nut palms and thickets of tropical scrub. Although the soil appeared friable and easy to cultivate, yet the shallow, dangerous navigation of the river is a vital obstacle to its possessing any commercial value for years to come, and the difficulty of shipping produce would involve great trouble and expense. I fear, therefore, that Cameron's claim is of little value, especially as his title is by no means clear. The natives have no notion of fee simple, and are possessed with the idea that the original owners have the reversion of real property on the death of the person to whom they sold it. Until the question of land tenure is settled by Government, I would strongly advise no one to contemplate the acquisition of real property in New Guinea, and indeed not even then, for there are millions of acres in Australia, waiting for purchase or selection, infinitely preferable in every respect to anything in Papua. After an hour's walk along native paths, we reached another almost deserted village, and penetrating the dense belt of scrub which borders the Aroa, came in sight of the main branch of that river. On the way our party was joined by Naiemé Néru, the sub-chief of the Kabade district, and after crossing the river, here a swift clear stream flowing between banks twenty feet high, we came to the village named Ukaukana, of which Urevado is the chief. Tired and hot, we were glad to take refuge in the house of Sameo, a Samoan by birth, and mission teacher in this village. Bananas and cocoa-nuts were served up on mats spread on the Rabia batten floor, and the General made a few presents to Naiemé Néru, which that sable warrior received in true native style, i.e., without evincing any visible gratitude or emotion.
After resting an hour or so we sauntered through the village to trade for native curiosities, but found little of interest or value, and the wind being too high for photographing, returned the way we came to the teacher's house at Vanuabada, where we enjoyed a set dinner, comprising boiled jungle fowl and Goura pigeons with taro and yams, boiled plantains flavoured with grated cocoa-nut forming a second course, the whole washed down with tea and the milk of young cocoa-nuts. After dinner, Urè Vadu, the head chief of Kabade was introduced, attired European fashion, in an old Crimean shirt with a string of beads round his neck. Naiemé Néru sat beside him, and a palaver then commenced; Mr. Chalmers translating for the High Commissioner's benefit the chief's opinion of Cameron's land transaction. This was to the effect that legal consent to the transfer had never been given, and that Mr. Cameron had bartered his articles to people who had no right or title to the land in question, and therefore no power to alienate it. Sir Peter took notes of the proceedings, and from all I saw I came to the conclusion that Mr. Cameron's time and money had been wasted. Presents were given to the chiefs, who in their turn gave us feather coronets and native netted bags.
It being now time to think of returning, and the tide being yet too low to float the boat, the General, Mr. Chalmers, and the rest of the party started back on foot, I consenting to remain with my assistant and the three sailors, and bring back the boat so soon as the water served. Little did I know what that duty involved! had I foreseen all the labour those few six miles of inland navigation occasioned I should have thought better of it. However, the foot party started off at 4 p.m. pioneered by Mr. Chalmers, and half an hour later I and my assistant went down to the creek intending to make a start, but found our boat still docked in the mud, and our crew conversing with the natives like Lord Byron at Venice, only without the aid even of a dictionary. There was nothing for it but patience. The wind having lulled a bit, I utilized the shining hour by getting a few views, including a native house with groups, and the hammocks slung underneath as already described. My Winchester repeating rifle also came into requisition, the accuracy of aim possible with this weapon being much admired by our sable audience. At length I sat down on a log to make notes, and began to smoke. My meerschaum pipe, which happened to have a pig carved upon the bowl, attracted the attention of the natives, who at first timidly, but afterwards more confidently, had gathered round me. Permission to examine the pipe having been asked by signs and granted, it was returned to me with many admiring looks. My boots, socks, and other garments were then criticized and admired, and, in short, I became as great an object of interest as Gulliver to the Lilliputians. At length we got the boat off, punting with difficulty through the slimy mud, but the prospect of passing the night in the creek with miasma and alligators for company made every one do his best to reach camp before dark.
18. Native Teachers, Kabade District
The rising tide was against us, but served in floating our boat, and after incredible struggling with snags and rank vegetation, to our great joy we reached camp at half past seven, just in time for some fresh tea. After a merry evening, to which the novelty of the scene lent charms, we turned in for the night, Mr. Chalmers selecting the whale boat for his cubicle, the rest hitching their hammocks as high above ground as possible. Hardly had we slept an hour when a wild shriek roused the camp. All turned out, when the cause of the night alarm was discovered to be a few stray wild hogs, who were on the prowl, and doubtless attracted by the smell of our rations. On passing under the hammock of one of the younger members of our party, the grunting awoke him, and his terror took the above form, which probably alarmed the intruders as much as it did us. He said he thought we were attacked by alligators, but we insisted that his alarm proceeded from the fear of something supernatural and of a still more malignant character. Yet one more night alarm. After two hours' rest the steam whistle sounded from the launch; up jumped the engineer, made for the shore and hailed, "Launch ahoy!" "Are you all right at the camp?" "All right? Yes, what the deuce do you mean? what did you sound the whistle for?" "We heard a boat come down the river, and thought the savages were attacking the camp." "Savages be ——! Go to sleep!" growled the engineer.
It turned out that Timoteo the teacher, who had promised to visit us in the morning, taking advantage of the high tide, had put in an appearance sooner than was expected. The rest of the night passed quietly, and next morning, before camp was struck, I took a few views, after which everything was packed. We re-crossed the bar in safety about 9 o'clock, reached the ship an hour later, weighed anchor and started for Port Moresby. Taking the Vari Varu Islands, already mentioned, on our way, we anchored and spent the night under their lee. I went ashore early with the General, and sought in vain for some picturesque spot to photograph, although I traversed the greater part of the islands, which are mainly formed of decomposed coral and coral limestone, producing little or nothing but coarse grass and pigeons, of which the shooting party got eighteen. We found the group of apparently three islands to be but one at low water, being connected by reefs. At noon on the 12th September we were lying at our old anchorage in Port Moresby.
19. Village of Koilapu, Port Moresby
Arrival of H.M.S. "Raven"—Trade Winds—Site for Government Stores—Inland Party organized—Arrival off Tupuselei—Coast Scenery—A Papuan Venice—Sir Peter Scratchley's Visit to Padiri—Sickness among the Party—A Native Feud—Attack apprehended—Kapa Kapa—A Group of Mourners—Mangoes—Birds of Paradise—A Palaver—Continuation of the Voyage
On the morning of the 16th we were agreeably surprised by the arrival of H.M.S. "Raven" which we had last seen at Cooktown, where she had been stationed for six months. She brought us a mail, and remaining two days only, returned to Cooktown. Before she left, and while we were still engaged devouring the contents of the welcome budget of letters and newspapers, the "Herbert," for which we were waiting, made her appearance after a somewhat long passage, which was explained by the fact of her having bumped on a coral reef and narrowly escaped wreckage at Hood Bay, nearly forty miles to the east, where she had no business. Her getting off, after dragging her anchor cast in ninety fathoms, was a piece of good fortune for which her captain has reason to be thankful.
Attempting to profit by the detention of the "Blackall" at Port Moresby, I constructed a temporary studio of framework covered with calico for the purpose of making photographic studies of native heads, but I reckoned without my host, or rather without the south-east trades, which blew very heavily nearly all the time we lay in port. My studio was blown to pieces, and some conception of the force of the wind may be formed from the fact of my being bodily carried away some twelve feet with a screen which I had seized with the intention of saving it. The floor of the verandah being six feet from the ground it was a marvel that a fourteen stone Icarus like myself escaped without broken bones and nothing worse than a few contusions, but as work was out of the question under these conditions I was forced to put my mortification in my pipe and smoke it, while Sir Peter and his secretary, having got through their despatches, confer with Captain Musgrove, the Assistant Deputy Commissioner, as to the selection of a site for a store-house to contain the articles now being landed with infinite trouble from the "Herbert." As there is no jetty these have to be lightered in more or less primitive fashion, or towed ashore. The construction of a jetty must evidently be one of the first works undertaken, and as mangrove piles can be procured close at hand, and the natives are accustomed to this kind of work, the cost would not be very great. The superintendence of erection of the store and dwelling-houses will occupy Captain Musgrave for weeks to come. It is a matter of no small difficulty to acquire land, after making a selection, for the native holdings are so sub-divided and cut up into sections of so many shapes and sizes, with rights of way, water privileges, easements and other obstacles attached to the transfer of real property which would do credit to the ingenuity of a civilized conveyancer. On a comparatively barren hill the Commissioner has had to pay at the rate of twenty shillings an acre, and be glad to secure even at that price.
20. At Low Water, Native Houses at Koilapu
On Monday, the 21st, Mr. H. O. Forbes and party were ready to start on their inland expedition, and I took a couple of photographs of them before they left. Their first depot will be formed at Sogeri, a Koiari village, about forty miles inland. There they will pass the rainy season, and start for their object point, summit of Mount Owen Stanley, early next year. As the Koiaris are friendly and intelligent, and the climate is comparatively salubrious, their prospects of a successful expedition seem very promising. Soon after 9 a.m. on the same morning we got up steam, and having bid farewell to our kind and hospitable friends, Mr. and Mrs. Lawes, weighed anchor, Mr. Chalmers forming one of the party.
21. H. O. Forbes and Party of Malays, also Captain Musgrave and Mr. Lawes
In two hours we reached Tupuselei, a Papuan Venice, built in the sea, on piles, and entirely isolated from the land, communication with which is carried on by canoes. The inhabitants own productive plantations on the slopes of the mainland, raising yams, bananas and other native food in abundance; they are also expert fishermen, and being well to do, and on friendly terms with the hill tribes, live happy lives after their fashion. On the 22nd, at 6 a.m., a party started for shore in two boats; the General, Mr. Fort, Mr. Chalmers, and the Doctor in the whaler belonging to the Mission, which Mr. Chalmers had sent for the day before as being lighter and handier than the ship's long boat, and the Captain, myself and assistant, and Charlie Kidd in the dingy. The pilot (Charlie) speaks Motu, and was to act as our interpreter.
Leaving my instruments at the teacher's house, our party went roaming over the hills, which are more picturesque than those at Port Moresby, shooting birds and collecting seeds, while Sir Peter walked inland to see a village which Mr. Chalmers was desirous to show him. Towards breakfast time the sun dispersed the mist, which up to that time had shrouded the hills, and taking advantage of the opportunity I got a series of nice pictures, including groups, as Charlie made my wishes known, and the natives for a few sticks of tobacco were pleased to pose. Some curiously carved temples, or rather feasting stages, attracted our notice, while hard by was a Christian church in course of erection, a proof of missionary labour. We then called again at the Mission House, and Tua, the teacher's wife, did the honours, offering us bananas and plenty of fresh young cocoa-nuts. These teachers here come from the Hervey Group, and appear to get on remarkably well with the Motu people. A few presents were made to Tua in the shape of several yards of mosquito netting, which I supplemented with a few handkerchiefs and a bit of looking-glass, a toilet requisite agreeable to the feminine mind all over the world. We rested awhile in the house, which is built on the usual native lines, but remarkable for its cleanness and neatness. The calico counterpanes of the beds, spread on the floor, showed a rude aptitude for design in their ornamentation with a patchwork pattern formed by folding squares of Turkey red twill, and slashing out pieces with the scissors, just as designs are often made in Europe out of tissue paper. In a barbaric country such as this, even a slight approach to civilized taste attracts as much attention as does a collection of savage arms or designs in London or Paris.
22. Tupuselei (Marine Village) from the Shore
Our visit to the Mission House terminated, we started in the dingy, Tua the teacher's wife accompanying us, to visit the marine village, whose picturesqueness may be better understood by the views which it was my good fortune to get, than by any detailed description. To behold a community like this living in a village consisting of rickety huts six feet above the water, and half a mile from shore, excites wonder and astonishment, not the least difficult problem to solve being how the builders managed with the slender means at their disposal to drive the piles supporting the houses into the sea. Many of the huts had a list to leeward, and Mr. Chalmers informed us that unless they are particularly well-built, or supported by their neighbours, the prevailing wind can always be determined in this way. Poultry, pigs, and dogs are plentiful in the village, and to see one of these latter paying a visit to a canine friend over the way is a sight never to be forgotten.
23. The Chief's House, Marino Village of Tupuselei
None but a Tupuselei dog bred and born could ever hope to ascend the slippery ladders, with rungs two or three feet apart, leading to the platforms of the huts from the level of the waterway. At first when we noticed one of these animals swimming across we thought he would be assisted on landing; but no, he was left to his own devices, and after several futile attempts, most ludicrous to behold, he succeeded in accomplishing his object, and obtained a footing. The interiors of the dwellings were certainly not inviting, appearing dark and dirty; still there are said to be authenticated cases of white men of respectable families choosing native wives and settling down happily. Well, "de gustibus non est disputandum," or, as the French put it, "Les extrèmes se touchent."
We were now joined by the General, Mr. Chalmers and party, much pleased with their visit to Padiri. They reported the country between that village and the coast to be fertile. Some of the Koiari chiefs accompanied them to Tupuselei and received the usual presents.
The Doctor, who previously to leaving Port Moresby had been down with fever, was much better, and invigorated by his walk. Several of the men, however, showed indications of sickness, one of the petty officers in particular, having a bad attack, the symptoms being feverishness and a foul tongue. For my own part I never felt better in my life, and certainly shall not worry myself with apprehensions, but meet the evil when it comes.
24. Women of Tupuselei going for Water
Remaining at our anchorage all night, on the morning of the 23rd we steamed down the coast to visit Kaele, a village some ten miles beyond Tupuselei, and, like it, a marine settlement. Our diplomacy will here be called into requisition to settle a feud existing for some time between the people of this village and the Garians, a numerous inland tribe. The merits of the case, so far as we can ascertain them, are that the Garians were the aggressors, killing three of the Kaele people, who retaliated in kind, and so the vendetta went on, amongst other victims being a Kaele woman. Matters, it is stated, have come to such a pass that the Garians have formed alliances with their neighbours, and threaten to come down and exterminate the unfortunate Kaeleans. At the intercession of Mr. Hunter the General gladly consented to come down and use his influence in the cause of peace, and messages were despatched to all the principal chiefs to meet him at Kapa Kapa, the village next in importance to Kaele, and situated about ten miles to the eastward, the "Blackall" calling at Kaele on her way to investigate matters. We reached the village about noon, and found both teachers and the people generally in a great state of agitation, being cut off from their supplies on the mainland, and reduced to cook their food in sea water. Some women who had ventured to the creek for water that morning reported that the Garian warriors had been seen on the slopes, and that an attack was imminent. The General, without attaching too much importance to this scare, ordered the whale boat to be manned, and an armed party, with whom were Mr. Chalmers and Mr. Fort, landed about 5 p.m., and proceeded to search the mangrove scrub of the salt-flats for the supposed enemy. We watched them with glasses from the ship, displaying much more interest in their proceedings than did the villagers, who were singularly apathetic in the matter. About sundown the party returned without having seen any traces of a foe.
25. Mangrove Scrub, near Kaele
Kaele is a miserable place, and its church, situated about 200 yards from the shore, and adjoining the house of Mr. Hunter, whose knowledge of the Motu language was of great service, had a strong list to the north-west. Early next morning, the 24th, the Captain, myself, and assistant, accompanied by Charley Kidd, went ashore to take a stroll round. The place looked even more desolate by daylight than in the shades of evening, and finding nothing picturesque near the beach but ruins of a tree house, which had a look of having been built to the order of the artist who sketched it to illustrate the proceedings of the Geographical Society of Australia, we penetrated the fringe of mangrove, and crossed a belt of low country covered with salt water grass till we arrived at another strip of mangrove, interspersed with tall forest trees. There were as usual a quantity of birds, and a few wallaby crossed our path, but not within shot. After taking a couple of pictures illustrative of mangrove country, we returned to the ship quite ready for breakfast, but not at all impressed with the quality of the land. At noon we got under weigh again, and at two dropped anchor at Kapa Kapa, about two miles off the beach. The charred ruins of old Kapa Kapa were still discernible away to the east of the ship. This village had been destroyed about two years ago by the Hula natives, who, sparing women and children, massacred three of the men. The others taking flight, sought shelter within the houses of their next neighbours, with the inevitable effect of overcrowding to such an extent as to cause the outbreak of an epidemic which led to the evacuation of the village altogether. The present village is built half over the water, and the other half over dry land, and the number of inhabitants is estimated at about 500.
On the morning of the 25th I sallied out to pick up character sketches, and was so fortunate as to get a splendid group of natives, with a man and woman in deep mourning forming the central objects. This couple, we were told, had lost three of their children within a recent period, and their grief was deeply pronounced. They wore the usual native mourning of suits of charcoal, with which their bodies were blackened entirely. Strings of grey or lavender coloured beads were carried across their foreheads, and hung pendulous from their ears. The man wore an immense Cassowary plume, also blackened, and the woman had her breast covered with netting. Their appearance was so picturesque, that I was most anxious to include them in the group, but it required a good deal of persuasion from our interpreter to induce them to sit, and they accepted the tobacco presented them with apparent indifference. We then took a stroll of a few miles inland, and found it to be one of the most fertile tracts of country yet visited, containing miles of flat grassy plains interspersed with belts of tropical scrub, which would delight the botanist, stretching away to the rises inland, whose rich vegetation indicated soil of good quality.
26. Group of Natives at Kapa Kapa, central figures in mourning
The country is admirably adapted for sugar, and the clearing of the scrub would cost comparatively little. I secured a couple of good views near a crossing, and in the bed of a creek called by the natives Ka Kalo. Walking across the bed of this creek, almost dry at the present season, and covered with sand and shingle, we were struck by the great depth of black fertile soil on the almost perpendicular banks. The vegetation was not unlike that to be seen in scrubs of the Clarence or Richmond rivers in New South Wales, but of a richer and more tropical type.
27. The Kalo Creek, Kapa Kapa District
Lovely parrots, parroquets, scrub pheasants, and white cockatoos, filled the air with their harsh cries, and a great variety of pigeons from the large Goura to the tiny bronze wing dove appeared in numbers. We saw a great variety of indigenous fruit trees, and heartily enjoyed a feed of mangoes which one or our black companions good-naturedly procured for us by climbing a large tree of that species, and shaking the ripe fruit in a perfect shower to the ground. Although the fruit, which is about the size of a goose-egg, is rather stringy in the flesh, its flavour is very delicate.
On our way back to the ship we passed again through the village, and bought some spears and other weapons. They value their stone adzes and clubs very highly, and will rarely part with them except in exchange for a good tomahawk. The fishing spears are made of about a dozen prongs of hard wood, lashed to a handle six feet long, the prongs being kept apart by interlacing with string eight inches from point.
A few seed pods are sometimes suspended from the shaft by way of ornament. The plumes of the red birds of Paradise commanded ridiculous prices all along the coast. At Goldie's Store in Port Moresby fifteen shillings is asked for a plume, and twenty-five shillings for an entire bird. We obtained a few birds from the native teachers at lower prices, but still above what they could be bought for in London. The same remark applies to nearly all the curios we saw, their enhanced value being attributable to the demand created by the number of men-of-war which have visited the coast during the last twelve months.
The afternoon of this day was memorable for the visit of the Garia and Saroa chiefs, who, seventeen in number, came off in the teacher's whaleboat, which they filled from stem to stern. They looked fierce savages indeed. One warrior sported an old suit of pyjamas, the others being naked with the exception of their waist-strings. One was in deep mourning, got up in the manner stated. His Cassowary head-dress covered his face down to his neck, and altogether he looked the wildest specimen of the human race I ever saw. Another had short curly hair all over his body, and a frightfully ugly mouth, the expression of which was not improved by the betel nut he was constantly chewing. They were ushered to the poop, asked to sit near the wheel, while Mr. Fort and Mr. Chalmers arranged the presents which they were to receive in case they faithfully promised to leave off molesting Kaele, and keep the peace. I took a picture of this assemblage, perhaps the most curious human group ever assembled on the deck of a steamer, the chiefs making no objection, although none of them had ever seen a camera before, and they probably supposed the proceeding to be some mystical rite preliminary to the negotiations. The General then took his seat, and, through Mr. Chalmers, inquired into the cause of the war. They pleaded annoyance and aggression on the part of the Kaele people, and were told that Sir Peter had come to establish "maino" (peace) all over the island. They were asked to desist from hostilities, and promised in case of compliance that presents were to be distributed to show that sympathy was felt with their grievances.
During the harangue I noticed their faces lighten up at the prospect of peace and tomahawks, and when the speech was over, all but the chief in mourning declared willingness to terminate the war. At last even he, seeing that he stood alone, gave in his adhesion, and each accepted a tomahawk, six sticks of tobacco, a handkerchief, and a gorgeous Brummagem ring. These latter were given to each chief separately, as a special token of faithful adherence to his promise. Sir Peter then dismissed them, saying that he would return in two months to see if their promises were kept. The whole affair gave little trouble, for these warriors, although ferocious in aspect, are easily led by a strong consistent man who treats them fairly. Before leaving the vessel they were shown over her. Many of them had never been on a European ship before, and the large mirror in the cabin, which was in a state of semi-darkness, astonished them greatly. The evening terminated with a lunar eclipse, almost total at the rising of the moon, and continuing till 9 o'clock.
28. New Guinea Trophy, Weapons and Implements
Next morning at daybreak Sir Peter and some of his staff, under the guidance of Mr. Chalmers, visited some of the inland villages and were very well received everywhere, being presented with bird of Paradise plumes and stone clubs. In one village a fair exchange of produce was in progress, and all the people seemed greatly pleased at the re-establishment of peace. This (Friday) was a quiet day, all being tired with their tramp the day previous. Captain Lake and I had a few hours shooting with good success, but I find taxidermy added to photography too great a demand upon my time and patience. The same remark applies to the formation of a botanical collection, which to approach completeness requires a man's whole time to form, collate, and catalogue.
On Saturday the 26th we weighed anchor, and after a couple of hours steaming through coral reefs, let go the anchor opposite Hula, to rest and prepare for an inland expedition on the Monday following.
Walk from Hula to Kalo—Cocoanut Groves—Native Diseases—Mortality—History of the Reprisals for Murdering—Price of a Wife—Matrimonial Customs—The Author leaves Kalo—Crossing a River—Arriving at Hood Lagoon—Rejoin the Ship
At daybreak on Monday, September 28th, all was astir on the "Governor Blackall." Sir Peter Scratchley, Mr. Fort, Mr. Chalmers, myself, the Doctor, and one or two others started in the dingy, towed by the launch, for shore, which, owing to the low tide, we reached by a circuitous route, and had to be carried through the shallows pick-a-back. Once landed, we commenced our work, which was nothing more or less than a pedestrian excursion under the guidance of Mr. Chalmers, to the village of Kalo, some miles inland, making Hula, where we landed, our base. A crowd of natives surrounded us on landing, anxious to earn a little tobacco by assisting to transport our baggage. A dozen were told off to carry the Governor's effects, and four more took my apparatus and wardrobe on their brawny shoulders. After getting clear of the village I counted over fifty brothers, sisters, cousins, and aunts of the bearers following our party on the chance of a stray bit of tobacco. The country through which we passed was richly cultivated, containing miles of native plantations devoted to bananas, sweet potatoes and yams. Some of the gardens were in splendid order, and cultivated with Chinese minuteness, the young shoots of the yams being sheltered from the sun by husks and leaves.
29. Native House at the Village of Kamali
We found numbers of women at work, and at every cocoa-nut grove we passed we were offered a refreshing drink. The cocoa-nut is very abundant here, and consequently very cheap. Forty young nuts or twenty full grown ones can be purchased for a fig of trade tobacco, a price at which the "three sticks a penny" fraternity might invest to a fabulous profit, could they but get their goods delivered at Epsom. After traversing three or four miles of fertile country, we arrived at the inland villages of Babaga and Kamali. The buildings here differ from the marine dwellings considerably. The piles on which they are built are mostly strong timber up to eighteen inches in diameter, and how with their primitive appliances they manage to move these huge logs is a mystery. I took views of some of these houses, which have two platforms, or rather a large platform and verandah in front, the latter corresponding to the upper story of the structure. The chiefs' houses are further decorated with a fanciful spire at the apex of the gable, sometimes with poles projecting from their sides ornamented with streamers or pennants of bark. The inland people suffer terribly from skin diseases, far more so than the coast tribes, who are by no means exempt, but here, where water is not abundant, two persons out of three are more or less affected. A great mortality must have prevailed lately, as we saw numbers of people in mourning and observed charnel houses and graves in the streets, under the dwellings, and in fact anywhere and everywhere, while the odour of decomposing heaps of vegetable matter rendered the atmosphere anything but savoury, and quickly drove us away. On the outskirts of Kamali we came upon a picturesque dwelling which I photographed, while Dr. Doyle Glanville employed his pencil in sketching a woman in mourning. Kamali being more attractive than the village we had just quitted I remained to get a few studies, while the rest of the party went on ahead. The arrangement was that Sir Peter was to meet a boat at the crossing of the Kemp Welch river and be ferried to the launch which would rejoin the "Governor Blackall" at her fresh anchorage at Kerepunu. I felt some misgivings as to getting sitters, being as I was unable to communicate with the people except by signs, but to my astonishment all the inhabitants turned out, evidently with the object of being photographed, and Mr. Chalmers subsequently informed me that such is their vanity that had they but money, a photographic artist in New Guinea would rapidly accumulate a fortune.
After an hour's rest I started with my four bearers in pursuit of the rest of the party who had preceded me to Kalo. The road lay through yam plantations and luxuriant groves of cocoa-nut palms, left to grow as they pleased, the native merely collecting the crops. The rapidity with which a Papuan can ascend a palm tree is marvellous. On an indication that a drink would be appreciated, up he goes, and in an incredible short space of time throws down half-a-dozen young nuts just fit for tapping. His method of ascending is to take anything that will spin into a lanyard, such as a bit of rattan, the rib of a cocoa-nut leaf, or even a handful of long grass. This he ties over his feet near the instep, connecting the feet by a pliable link, then by alternate movements of hands and feet he ascends the straight stem of the palm. Arrived underneath the fronds he holds on with one hand, and with the other twists the nut round the stem till it drops. Boys eight or ten years old can do this as well as the men, and I have no doubt the girls are equally agile, though as yet I have not seen them mount a tree.
I arrived at Kalo just in time for lunch in the house of Tau the Rarotongan teacher, changing my clothes immediately, a precaution against fever which should always be taken after a fatiguing journey. After a rest and a smoke the General and his party walked to the river bank, where the boat was in waiting to proceed to Kerepunu, while I and my assistant made ourselves comfortable at Tau's house, where we were to spend the night. The Kalo people were in a state of great delight at the presents their chiefs had received from the General, whose visit tended to efface the sanguinary reprisals made by the blue-jackets of H.M.S. "Wolverine" after the murder of ten teachers in the place. We were shown the marks of the bullets in the cocoa-nut trees, and altogether the people seemed to cherish a healthy recollection of the chastisement inflicted upon them, which was severe, the village being surrounded and several men shot before the rest were allowed to escape into the bush. The chief's house was razed to the ground.
The teacher, Tau, informed us that the people are still somewhat predatory in their habits, his chest having on one occasion been broken open and eight pounds of tobacco stolen. On complaint being made to the chief, he compelled restitution of all the unconsumed tobacco and gave Tau a large pig to make up the difference. A large portion of the village was recently destroyed by fire, and is now in course of re-building. Among other curious sights we were shown the price or dowry of a wife heaped up on the platform of one of the houses. It consisted of a quantity of all kinds of New Guinea goods and chattels, pots, earthenware, and wooden weapons, bird of paradise plumes, baskets of yams, bunches of bananas and other produce. Among the articles were two pigs tied up underneath the house. The bride herself sat all smiles on the verandah above, over her earthly treasures, with as much pride as any white sister might feel on exhibiting her trousseau. I regretted that owing to the lateness of the evening I could not secure a picture of this curious scene, but managed to give the lady a prominent place in a group next morning.
Skin disease is also rife here. We saw a young man walking about the village with his arm round his sweetheart's neck, both of them frightfully afflicted. He had a sore on his leg above the ankle, laying bare the bone, while she, not naturally ill-favoured, was covered with large patches which made her look positively mangy. Still, neither of them seemed to mind it in the least, and looked supremely happy. The head-dresses of marriageable girls are picturesque, their hair being frizzed and decorated with pink shells from Port Moresby, highly valued by them, strings of Venetian glass beads procured from the traders being woven in. All the women are tattooed from head to foot, and a peculiar necklace-like V-shaped mark, ending in a peak between the breasts, indicated those engaged or married. These cuticular devices, although obvious enough to the eye, do not show in a photograph unless picked out with black or some colour, a proceeding too tedious to perform even if they should be willing to submit to it.
30. The Chief's Spire House at Kalo (in course of re-construction)
During our stay with Tau the house, doorways, and ladders on both sides were constantly crowded with natives attracted by motives of curiosity, and anxious to get a bit of tobacco or even the stump of a cigar. I commissioned Tau to buy me some bird of paradise plumes, leaving him a quantity of tobacco for the purpose, and making him a present of print and other articles for himself and wife. He told me that so long as the ship was in sight, the price of all curios was forced up to a fancy value, but that after her departure the beloved "Kuku" would purchase anything at reasonable rates. The commercial ways of savages are very like those of civilized beings to be sure! the tobacco I brought—the best American Raven twist—was too good for the market; anything will do, if black and strong.
31. Mourners and Dead-house at Kalo
On the 29th, although it was still blowing hard, I managed to get some nice groups, and especially one of two women in mourning, keeping watch at a hut erected over the remains of some departed relative; I was obliged to go to leeward for the view, and as photography appeals to the eye and not the nose, I deemed the public had the best of it. Numbers of women sat outside the houses busy making ramis (petticoats) out of strips of fibrous leaves spread out in the sun to dry, and performing certain duties for each other often mentioned by previous travellers. After breakfast we started for Kerepunu, crossing the Kemp Welch river in a native canoe close to where the massacre of the teachers took place. The river is about a hundred yards wide and being shallow at its mouth can only be entered by boats of light draught.
33. Kerepunu Women at the Market Place of Kalo
Once across the bar there is water enough to float a big ship. About a mile from its mouth the stream bifurcates, the smaller affluent being nearly dry at low water, while the larger is navigable for about fifteen miles, and is supposed to take its rise in the neighbourhood of the Laloki, but on the eastern side of the water shed, running along the back of the Astrolabe range, until it reaches the level land at the back of Hula. The vegetation here is extremely rich, and the luxuriant condition of the native gardens indicates the great fertility of the soil. Dismissing our ferry men with a small present of tobacco, we proceeded with our bearers along the sandy beach. The glare of the sun on the shore and water was oppressive and I was thankful that I had provided myself with a pair of Mr. Gaunt's smoked goggles before leaving Melbourne, as they saved my eyes, not only from the sun's rays but from the sand and grit blown up by the strong wind, to say nothing of the protection they afford against flies in the scrub. The teacher was rather uneasy about a little river named "Alerai" which had to be crossed before reaching Kerepunu. At dead low water it is only about knee deep, but on reaching it we found that the rising tide had extended its width about sixty yards. We shot a couple of brace out of a flock of curlews we found at its mouth.
Having no mind to follow the example of Horace's peasant and sit down half-a-dozen hours in the broiling sun, "Expectantes dum defluit amnis," we stripped and prepared to wade across, braving the alligators, which the teacher informed us were plentiful and possessed good appetites. First went the boys carrying their burdens over their heads and fortunately keeping them dry, though the water reached up to their shoulders. The teacher and myself followed, and last of all came Mr. Bubb, my assistant. With my broad-brimmed straw hat, and goggles, and singlet, rolled up under my armpits, but otherwise in a state of nature, I must have presented a picturesque appearance, at any rate, I caused some amusement to our bearers, who sat waiting for us on the opposite side. The bottom was soft sand, sinking a foot with every step, but we got across without mishap and felt refreshed with our bath. Along the remaining two miles of hard beach I walked barefooted, but was compelled to resume my boots on crossing a neck of land covered with cocoa-nut trees and brushwood.
Emerging from the thicket we found our ship snug at anchor in Hood Lagoon, with the village of Kerepunu as a background. The mouth of Hood Lagoon is about a mile wide and at high water sufficiently deep to allow vessels of fifteen feet draught to enter. Further inland it widens considerably and appears about eight miles long by six in diameter. The depth in some places is considerable, but the best anchorage is just within the narrow neck at the entrance. We got on board without loss of time and were glad of a bath and change of clothes. Tau, our guide, crossed over to Kerepunu to visit Manu, the teacher there, at whose house the teacher of Hula was also staying. Their wives had come with the ship to Kerepunu to assist in the ship's washing, fresh water being more abundant here than at Kalo or Hula.
Scenery at the Hood Lagoon—Kerepunu, Hula—Fracas between the Ship's Company and Natives—Beneficial Results—Start for Aroma—A Native Chief as Passenger—Parimata—Moapa—The Aroma District—Departure for Stacey Island—The Scenery Described
Kerepunu lies on the eastern headland of Hood Lagoon, and contains about 1,500 inhabitants, rising to the importance of a town rather than a village or hamlet. The Mission House is built of lath and plaster, its foundations being blocks of coral. The glebe, about an acre in extent, attached to the Mission is, from its exposed position, unsuited for culture, and only useful for purposes of recreation. A few hundred yards to the east lies the fishing village of old Hula, tenanted by the remnants of a tribe which was numerous and flourishing only a few years back, but the bulk of them abandoned their village owing to tribal wars, and settled about twelve miles further west, the new settlement receiving the same name already mentioned in the previous chapter.
The present inhabitants remain on sufferance, being allowed by the Kerepunu men to stay only so long as they supply the large village with fish. Old Hula is built partly on the sea, and partly in a ravine close to the shore. Facing the village are extensive coral reefs, and bêche-de-mer is collected in considerable quantities, and bought up by a trader named Dan Rowan, who ekes out a precarious subsistence by drying, smoking, and selling it. During our stay there occurred a collision with the natives, which might have entailed serious consequences, but which, as things turned out, ended happily. That the imprudence of some members of the ship's company did not involve us in a serious embroglio was a most fortunate circumstance. After tea one evening one of the bodyguard and two stewards went on shore, the latter without leave. They stayed rather late, and while walking round the village and romping with the natives, had a few sticks of tobacco stolen from them. This they somewhat noisily demanded back, using intimidating gestures, and the result was a panic, the natives assuming that their village would be burnt if the missing tobacco were not restored. Howling and shrieking, the women snatched up their children and fled into the bush, making so great a hubbub, that those on board the "Blackall" became seriously alarmed on the circumstance of three members of the company being on shore becoming known. Captain Lake and Mr. Chalmers at once went on shore in the dingy to ascertain the cause of the disturbance, and rescue the men if possible. By the time they reached the shore the commotion had greatly abated, and they discerned some white men putting off in a native canoe, which they pursued, and identified the occupants.
The General was naturally much annoyed at the circumstance, and the matter was thoroughly investigated next day, a High Commissioner's Court being convened, which the culprits were summoned to attend. The Court was held at the teacher's house, the evidence of the native witnesses being translated by Mr. Chalmers and the teacher, and taken down by me. The decision was reserved, but the proceedings were conducted with dignity and decorum, and evidently made a strong impression on the native mind. The congregation assembled afforded an excellent opportunity for an ethnologist. The admixture of races here becomes very noticeable, and further eastward the lighter coloured Polynesian type becomes more and more pronounced.
The next district to be visited is Aroma. Koapena, the great chief of that part of the country, hearing of the General's intention of going there, came down to Kerepunu, and was His Excellency's guest on the trip to Aroma. We left Kerepunu on the morning of the 2nd October, but got stuck on a sand-bank shortly after starting, and had to wait four hours till the rising tide floated us off. This delay necessitated the postponement of our journey for a day, as the captain was unwilling to navigate those dangerous waters in the dusk. We dropped anchor opposite a village called Parimata, distant as the crow flies only twelve miles from Kerepunu, but on account of the coral reef involving a détour of some twenty-seven. This village presented a peculiar appearance from long lines of high fences, looking in the distance like stockades. We found these to be designed to break the force of the wind, which beats on the low sandy shore to the detriment of both houses and plantations. They are made of a framework of tough sticks and saplings fastened together with rattan, and interlaced with cocoa-nut leaves, butt end upwards. They are fully twelve feet high, and seem to answer the purpose for which they were designed perfectly.
The Mission House is close to the beach, and the premises are larger than those at Kerepunu. The teacher Tenaori is a determined looking man of powerful physique, and seems well fitted for his post. Not long ago he was the means of saving the lives of over fifty Motu people, for which service he was presented by the General with a nice silver watch, bearing a suitable inscription. The history of the exploit is as follows:—
Some little time ago a trading canoe belonging to Port Moresby got caught in a gale of wind on its return from Motu Motu, and driven past its own port, was wrecked on the reef of Keppel Point, not a great distance from Parimata. There were in all fifty-six persons on board; a traditional feud existing between the Aroma people and the Motu's, the young Aroma warriors, anxious to take advantage of so large a number of their foes being placed in their power, launched their canoes with the intention of massacring them all. Tenaori, seeing their preparations, and learning their object, at once put off in the Mission Boat to interpose and save life. He was after some parley allowed to land unaccompanied, the Motu people knowing their danger, and being greatly apprehensive of a hostile visit. Their anticipations were indeed realized, for soon the Aroma war canoes came in sight. On their approaching within hailing distance, Tenaori harangued the warriors in true native style, and by alternate coaxing, bullying, cajoling, and threatening, induced them to forego their project. He then took the Motus off the reef to the Mission House, a boatload at a time, fed them, and finally crowned his diplomatic work by sending them to Kerepunu in the canoes of the very persons who had meditated their destruction.
Thence they were shipped to Hula, where they chartered a lakatoi, and returned to Port Moresby. Sir Peter Scratchley hearing, when in Queensland, of this truly heroic action, determined to mark his sense of it by conferring a mark of distinction on the hero of the affair. Our guest Koapena, the chief of the Aroma District, although past the prime of life, is a fine stalwart man over six feet high, and decidedly the finest specimen of savage humanity we have seen in New Guinea. He stoops slightly with age, but his bearing is full of grace and dignity, and altogether he looks like a person to select rather for a friend than a foe. He is in full native dress, i.e. a waist string, plaited armlets, and head-scratcher, or five-toothed comb. His luggage consists of a little netted shoulder-bag or knapsack, containing a lime gourd, a stick of betel pepper and a few areca nuts, the combination of which articles constitutes his favourite chew.
The steward served him dinner in the saloon as soon as ours, which we now almost invariably take on the quarter-deck, was over. Amongst other things he was given some tinned asparagus, a vegetable which he certainly had never seen before. His appetite was wonderful, and he ate enough baked yams and pork to satisfy three ordinary people. The result of this late and heavy meal was that he could not sleep, notwithstanding the soft cushions provided for him in the aft part of the saloon, and I was witness to a midnight conversation equally quaint and ludicrous between this gigantic naked savage and Mr. Fort, the General's secretary, who often prefers to do his work in the cool of the night. The former plying his little chunan stick from his lime calabash to his mouth, and now and then taking a chip of betel, by way of variety, watched with curiosity the busy pen of the Secretary seated opposite, writing by the light of three candles, in addition to the saloon lamp. Scarcely a word was spoken, and certainly none were exchanged, the chief contenting himself with smiling and nodding in reply to the Secretary's whispers and dumb show. This nocturnal interview between an Oxford B.A. and a native prince is surely without precedent. I greatly regretted that the time and place afforded insuperable obstacles to my taking a picture of it. The warrior chief, in addition to his other embellishments, had more than thirty crosses tattooed on his breast and back, each of which indicates a life violently taken.
We landed at Parimata shortly after ten o'clock next morning, not without difficulty, as the water is shallow, and the surf rough. Sir Peter had arranged to visit Koapenas Village, Moapa, without loss of time, as we were to start for Suau and Dinner Islands on the morrow. Our walk to Moapa, after leaving the beautiful hard beach, lay through plantations of cocoa-nut trees, the road being fringed on either side with nuts put out to sprout, forming a border two feet high. When the roots begin to penetrate the soil, they are transplanted, and fresh ones put in their places. The milk, which we quaffed abundantly at every halt, is most refreshing. Each nut contains fully a pint, and the quantity we put away I should not like to estimate. Every now and then we met troops of people engaged at the plantations, the young men bedecked with wreaths of flowers and twigs of bright crotons stuck through their armlets. My dark goggles produced a sort of terrified amazement among the women and girls, and when I took them off curiosity overcame fear, and they expressed their wonder and surprise without stint. I put them on one of our carrier boys to show that they were transferable, and he indicated by signs that he understood perfectly well that they served to guard the eyes from the glare of the sun.
34. Village Scene at Moapa, Aroma District
After a pleasant walk of about three miles, we neared the beach, the soil becoming sandy and barren, and, passing the Mission House, we came upon Moapa, a considerable village situated in a sandy flat, protected from the sea breezes by a belt of hills covered with Pandanus trees, and timber somewhat similar to the honeysuckle. The population of Moapa is about 600, and the houses, built facing each other so as to form regular streets, show an order and regularity which would not disgrace a European town. All the houses are two-storey structures, and some of them have a kind of third floor close to the ridge. The usual platform is in front of every tenement, but many of them have this peculiarity, that access is gained by a sort of manhole in the floor, eight or nine feet from the ground, and reached by a ladder, which can be drawn up into the building at pleasure. Our host showed us with pride three different houses belonging to him, each presided over by a separate individual in the shape of a wife. He was, however, bound to confess that this "unicorn" team was as much as he could drive, and that he was obliged to breakfast in one hut, lunch in another, and dine in a third, distributing his other attentions impartially, or an outburst of jealousy was the result.
In the centre of the village we found an open space or square with a sanctuary in the middle. It consisted of a framework of logs, about three feet high, filled with earth inside, and surmounted by a kind of scaffold, from which half a dozen skulls, ornamented with strings of cowrie shells and streamers of Pandanus were suspended. On the mound beneath more skulls and other human bones were scattered. These were supposed to be the remains of a party of bêche-de-mer fishers, murdered some years ago by the Aroma people. Dilapidated and repulsive looking as the spot looked, overgrown with weeds, and ghastly with human debris, it was interesting enough to record photographically, but the conditions rendered this impossible, the high wind swaying about the suspended skulls in a manner which would blur any sun picture. I offered almost any price (in tobacco) to induce the natives to go up and steady the skulls while the picture was being taken, but nothing would induce them to undertake the task, and most reluctantly I was compelled to trust to the pen, unaided by the camera, for a description of this curious and interesting spot.
The protection from the wind afforded by the buildings enabled me to get some street scenes which I valued as indicative of the methodical and orderly habits of the natives. On our way back to the ship we met hundreds of natives who had flocked to see the big ship and its inmates, with an ulterior view of tobacco. We halted for a brief space at Tenaori's place, and I succeeded in picking up a few curiosities. The native teachers and their wives, on the General's invitation, came off to the ship, and were regaled with nuts, biscuits, and other delicacies, which they tasted probably for the first time in their lives. Before they took their leave, presents of print, mosquito netting, stationery, ami other useful articles were distributed.
On the 4th October we quitted the Aroma District for Stacey Island, alternatively named South Cape. We gave the reef a wide berth, and came into a stiff south-easter, which gave us a lively time of it for twenty hours, this being the first night under steam since we made Papua. Early on Monday, the 5th, we passed Tree Point on the port quarter, and steering E. by N., left Wedge Rock to starboard, and Rugged Head to port, when we entered the narrow straits called Mairy Pass, formed by the mainland on the north, and Stacey Island on the south. The scenery here is surpassingly beautiful, the most beautiful we have yet visited. The narrowest part of the strait is not more than a mile in width, stretching away to the far east, and is bounded by Leocadi Island, which is crowned with a tree looking from the distance singularly like a lighthouse. The varied tints of green on the steep rises of Stacey Island, the deep azure of the straits, and the woody shores of Bertha Lagoon, dotted with native villages, combined to form a picture delightful to an artist's eye. Nothing seemed to be wanting to complete the charm of this terrestrial paradise.
35. Native Houses and Graves at Suau, Stacey Island
The eye roamed from spot to spot, everywhere resting on fresh and varied beauties. The lights developing the salient points of the glorious panorama of mountain, wood, and water, constantly changing from the shadows cast by flitting clouds. The mountains in the background rise to 3,000 feet above the level of Bertha Lagoon, and are covered from base to summit with luxuriant vegetation. The spot will always rest in my memory as the most beautiful I ever saw. The lagoon at its mouth is about 1,500 yards across, but widens considerably within. At 9 a.m. we anchored 300 yards from shore opposite the Mission Station of Suau, the native name for Stacey Island. The South Cape Missionary having died some time previous, his duties devolved upon his widow, who discharged them most efficiently, and to the entire satisfaction of the mission authorities. Anxious to preserve some solar pictures of the exquisite scenery around, I took the dingy immediately after breakfast, and paddled ashore to the westerly point of the lagoon, in company with Mr. Rossiter, our second officer, who was deputed to superintend the cutting of a load of grass for our sheep on board.
Bertha Lagoon—Garihi—Ascent of the Peak—East Shores of the Lagoon—Under Way—The Brumer Group—Rendezvous at Dinner Island—Murder of Captain Miller—Investigations at Teste Island
Leaving our grass cutting party, Mr. Bubb (my assistant) and myself, accompanied by Mr. Smart, our third engineer, wended our way to Garihi, a village facing the straits, from which our vessel lying at anchor was visible in the distance. We took the precaution to carry arms, but had no occasion to handle them, as the villagers received us literally with open arms, less, perhaps, out of feelings of platonic affection, than from ulterior views relative to tobacco. Our guides took us to the centre of the village, where a space about ten feet in diameter was rudely flagged with stones from the beach. Round the outside of this pavement large flat stones were set on edge in the ground at an angle like the backs of chairs. We were invited to be seated, and the chiefs and headmen of the place were presented to us. I gave the old warriors a few sticks of tobacco each, and to the women and children a dozen or two tin plates ornamented with stamped letters, and a kangaroo in the centre. These gifts were much appreciated, and yams, sweet potatoes and cocoa-nuts were heaped up in front of us as return presents. We then had a smoke, and Mr. Smart, by some conjuring tricks, in which he was an adept, first terrified, and then diverted the simple-minded natives.
36. Garihi Village, Bertha Lagoon, South Cape
The wind being too high for photographing, we inspected some of the interiors, and were amazed at the accumulation of rubbish which they contained. They keep all the skulls of wild pigs killed in hunting, and string them on sticks, tapering from the largest size to the smallest. These queer trophies are put in the side of the verandah as ornaments, much as an English Nimrod decorates his entrance hall with stags' antlers and foxes brushes. Human skulls also find a place, but these are suspended by strings and ornamented with white cowrie shells and tufts of grass. When swayed about by the wind, these shells tinkle on touching each other. Immediately over the front entrance the spears and other weapons are displayed, and one or two drums hang handy for use, while the large conch shell used in war and when out pig-hunting is invariably found in this part of the house.
A little further back the seines and crayfish nets are suspended when dry, and the large meshed nets used in hunting are also carefully kept there. Behind them a little fence not more than 2 feet 6 inches high, divides the house into two apartments, the back one serving as kitchen, dining-room, and sleeping place. Their women perform the cooking and other household duties, the front apartment being used by the men, should the weather be rainy or boisterous. The houses in this locality are only one storey high, and the floor is on a level with the eaves of the roof. The interior consequently is triangular, and a man can only stand upright in the very centre, as all sorts of household utensils are inserted between the rafters and thatch, and overhead one or more shelves carry suspicious looking bundles containing the smoke-dried bones of deceased relatives. I was presented at my request with several of their conch shells, and in exchange for a long knife secured a well-made net used for pig-hunting.
On our walk to the beach we noticed a large war canoe, made of an immense log of very buoyant timber, with the sides regularly built up of large planks of the same wood. The stem and stern were rudely ornamented with carvings and painted with red, white and black pigment, the only three colours in use among them. On one side of the canoe a log was attached as an outrigger, enabling the craft to live in a pretty heavy sea. As we had outstayed our appointed time, and there was a possibility of our own boat having returned without us, we determined to go back in this canoe, the native who had sold me the net agreeing to put us on board. Although wind and tide were both dead against us, we reached the ship safe and dry, though not without danger, the overloaded canoe leaking to such an extent as to keep a boy constantly bailing.
After bath and luncheon we landed near the Mission Station on Stacey Island with our guns, and procured the services of two or three native boys to guide us up the peak, which is about 800 feet high. After a walk of half a mile along the beach we turned sharp up the precipitous side of the cliff, whose ascent was anything but easy. The formation is conglomerate, broken up into the most fantastic shapes, the roots of the trees interlacing with the stones, furnishing facilities for climbing the steep track. Bright plumaged parrots, satin birds, and New Guinea magpies flew about in numbers, and the tracks of wild pigs were everywhere visible. Our route lay up the bed of a stream almost dry at this season. In some places, however, the ascent was so steep that I was under the necessity of giving my gun to a little native boy, whose bare feet enabled him to negotiate the obstacles without the slipping and stumbling incurred by the heavily shod white man. About six hundred feet above the sea level we met a native woman carrying a heavy load of yams on her back in the usual net, secured by a band across her forehead, the weight thus being divided between her spine and her hips. A little higher we skirted the plantation where she had been working, the freshly disturbed earth indicating the spot whence the yams had been taken.
37. Boating Scene, Bertha Lagoon and Cloudy Mountains in the Distance
Emerging from the thick undergrowth, we came upon a slope covered with coarse grass eight or nine feet high, and in places entirely concealing us from view. After passing another plantation where taro was cultivated and thriving, we came to a rocky place near the summit, and sat down for a rest and smoke. Eastward was another peak about a hundred feet higher, but a shower of rain coming on, we took shelter in a little thicket, and left the ascent of the highest point to some more energetic explorers. The rain soon passed over, and the dispersing clouds disclosed a wonderfully beautiful tropical panorama, forest, sea, and mountains being spread before us in endless variety. To our right, Mairi Pass and Catamaran Bay; and, far away in the distance, the waters of Milne Bay. Beneath our feet lay Bertha Lagoon, the Cloudy Mountains rising from its edge, and the hills of Farm Peak, Moudiri, and Debadeba, the country of the Cannibals, sharply outlined by the setting sun, stretched away to our left.
38. Magiri Village, Bertha Lagoon, South Cape
To the southward we could plainly see the narrow neck of land, part of Stacey Island, which forms what is marked on the chart South Cape. It is in fact much narrower than indicated on the map, being in one place not more than a mile in width from beach to beach. The immediate foreground to the north consisted of the densely wooded slope we had just ascended, which hid our vessel and the mouth of the Lagoon from view. On our way back we bagged half a dozen different kinds of birds, but a beautiful black scrub pheasant we lost in the jungle, where even the sharp eyes of our native boys were at fault. We returned to the ship at 6 p.m., and early next morning I went ashore to attempt some photographs, as our departure was fixed for 11 a.m., and I was unwilling to leave this lovely locality without some views. Fortunately the wind had moderated, and I was able to get some very characteristic pictures, both of scenery and houses, with native groups. The people were most obliging, and did everything in their power to please us.
39. Group and Native House, Mairy Pass, Mainland of New Guinea in the Distance
There is little or no timber on Stacey Island available for building purposes, but at Bertha Lagoon all along its Eastern shores and close to the water's edge, we found quantities of red and white mangrove, and huge Malava trees, the latter not unlike the walnut-tree in shape and foliage. The country seemed thickly populated, and up the rugged slopes of the Cloudy Mountains we saw many columns of smoke, indicating the presence of man. We visited some half dozen villages, rowing across the lagoon several times, and the day being warm drank sufficient cocoa-nut milk to float a ship. The huts, generally speaking, had an appearance of age, a sign in itself of peace prevailing among the various tribes. We got back to the ship at 10.30, and breakfasted before getting under way.
40. Young Cocoanut Trees on Stacey Island, Farm Peak in the Distance
It appears that we have a rendezvous at Dinner Island with several men-of-war, to inquire into and possibly punish the murder of Captain(?) Fryer, at Hoop Iron Bay, Moresby Island. Leaving the Straits by the way we entered them, and passing Wedge Rock on the port side, we sighted Tassai, the village on Brumer Island. This group comprises one larger and one smaller island, with two or three lesser islets. To the south-east, when abreast of the passage between the two first mentioned of the Brumer group, Dumoulin Island, distant twenty-five miles, becomes visible due east, Castori and Arch Islands, about twenty miles away, are seen east-north-east, and Heath Island, towards which we are heading, shows its high peak eighteen miles to the north-east. The double island named Leocadi, with the sea breaking over the connecting reef, is visible five miles off on the port quarter with its solitary lighthouse-looking tree.
41. Platform for Dead Bodies, South Cape, New Guinea
Shaping our course through the inner passage between Heath Island and the mainland of New Guinea, and carefully navigating the strong tide-rips that run through it, we sighted Dinner Island at 2.20 and dropped anchor 200 yards from the beach half-an-hour later. We are now in China Straits, and the wonderful beauty of the island scenery surrounding us has not been overrated. Dinner Island itself is not more than 200 feet high at any point, but is a paradise of loveliness. To our right, in the south-west, tower the ranges of Heath Island, 1,000 feet high. Three or four miles in the opposite direction are the mountains of Hayter Island; towards the east the hill chains of Basilisk and Moresby Island loom in the hazy distance, and behind us towards the north the lofty ranges of the mainland, wooded from base to summit, rise abruptly from the shore. On reaching the anchorage at Dinner Island we found ourselves the first at the rendezvous. The Mission Boat came out to us bringing the unwelcome news of fresh outrages.
42. Naria Village, South Cape, New Guinea
It appears that Captain Miller, well known in Cooktown, had lately come to these parts and commenced trading in bêche-de-mer and copra. He had built a store and temporary dwelling on an islet called Koilao, separated from Heath Island by a channel, quarter of a mile wide and not three miles from Dinner Island. With some mates he established several trading stations among the islands of this Archipelago; as matters were apparently prospering he determined to build a better house on the Island of Digaragara, opposite Normanby Island, which contains plenty of timber suitable for the purpose.
Accordingly he proceeded there in his cutter, taking with him as crew an Italian named Paolo Fidele, a Chinese cook, an Australian aboriginal and his gin, and a native named Bonita. The party, according to Paolo's account, were seated on the beach among a number of natives, talking matters over in a friendly way, when a Normanby islander, a boy returned from Queensland, came up behind and struck Miller a blow on the back of the neck with a tomahawk. Paolo saw the native coming, but too late to put Miller on his guard, and before he could interfere another native cut the unfortunate man's throat with a long knife. No general massacre was attempted, and Miller was just able to walk to the boat when he expired from loss of blood. Paolo states that he fired at the first aggressor but apparently without effect.
The cutter then put off and made for Milne Bay, where Miller had a branch store, to warn a young Englishman named Cotterill and a Chinaman in charge of their danger. They brought Cotterill off with them, but the Chinaman could not be induced to leave. The cutter then proceeded to Dinner Island, where Miller's body was decently interred near the Mission Station, and the party being apprehensive that their lives were still in danger left on the morning of our arrival for Teste Island, where the natives are known to be friendly.
The "Diamond" not having yet arrived, the General decided to proceed next day to Teste Island to collect evidence for the identification and punishment of the murderers. We accordingly started at 7 a.m. on the 8th October, weather showery and cool, wind south-west and sea smooth. An hour later we passed Blanchard Island and noticed a small island near its eastern extremity, covered with beautiful grassy slopes and having a cocoa-nut grove at the end opposite Blanchard, while at its eastern extremity gigantic Casuarina trees reared their feathery branches against the sky. At 8.30 we passed Beehive Island, and sighted Bell Rock and Teste Island. Hayter and Moresby Islands were on our port side, with heavy clouds hanging on their mountain tops. At 9 o'clock we opened up the entrance to Fortescue Straits formed by Margaret and O'Neil Islands, and separating Basilisk from Moresby Island. We next passed Hoop Iron Bay, where Captain Fryer was so recently murdered.
A cutter which we sighted and supposed to be the craft we were in pursuit of turned out, on closer acquaintance, to be a rock which bore a singular resemblance to a boat, the illusion being heightened by a solitary tree growing on its side, which looked from the distance like a flag. The name of this curious island is marked in the chart as "Foolscap Rock." Teste Island, with Bell Rock quarter point to the westward, lay seven miles ahead, and at 11 o'clock we dropped anchor midway between the land and a huge boulder called Boat Rock. The tides here are very strong, and the under current is so swift that a sinker weighing over two pounds attached to a fishing line would not fetch the bottom. On landing we found two cutters, belonging to the unfortunate Captains Miller and Fryer, the former of which had arrived the day previous with Paolo Fidele and the rest of the party.
43. On the Beach, Teste Island, Kissack's trading Canoe, Bell Rock and Cliffy Island in the Distance
A neatly built house, with the Union Jack flying from a pole, stood near the beach, and I was surprised to find in the proprietor a young man named Kissack, a photographer, formerly owning a studio in Victoria Street, Hotham, a Melbourne suburb. He told me that the doctors advised him to give up photography as the worry connected with that profession was sure to kill him. So after a spell in a Queensland labour ship as Government Agent, he settled down on Teste Island as a trader, making a tolerably good living by entrusting trade articles to the Teste Island boys, who barter them in the Louisiade Islands and bring back cocoa nuts and bêche-de-mer in return for tobacco, pipes, and knives, the market quotations at that time being twenty-eight old cocoa-nuts for one stick of tobacco. By the time the fruit is husked, sliced and dried, and bagged, and the freight paid to Queensland, the profit has dwindled to a very modest sum, and I could not but reflect that with the risk thrown in of being murdered on the slightest provocation the traders deserve all they can make.
Meantime the General had been pursuing his inquiries at the Mission House, the result being that Paolo Fidele and his mates are to return with their cutter to Dinner Island, proceed with us to the scene of the outrage and identify the perpetrators if possible.
Return to Dinner Island—Rendezvous with H.M.S. "Diamond" and "Raven"—Excursion to Heath Island—Departure for Normanby Island—Diaveri—An Exciting Chase—Fruitless Negotiations—Capture of an Alleged Murderer—A Mistake and its Rectification—The Real Simon Pure—His Adventures in Sydney—Return of the Author in H.M.S. "Dart"
On our return to Dinner Island, where we dropped anchor on the morning of the 10th October, we found H.M.S. "Diamond" awaiting us, and the "Haven" arrived a couple of hours later bringing a small mail from Australia, which afforded me the first news I had received since leaving Sydney. Visits were exchanged between Captain Clayton, Commander of the "Diamond," and H.M. High Commissioner, a salute of honour being fired to the terror and astonishment of the natives on shore and the consternation of our poor cat.
The next day being Sunday I determined to make an excursion to some of the adjacent islands. Our second officer, Mr. Rossiter, and Mr. Smart, the third engineer, offered to accompany me with Captain Lake's permission, and two sailors volunteered to take an oar each. Thus our crew, including self and assistant, was composed of six men all well armed and quite prepared for any adventure that might befall us. We set out at daybreak taking a keg of water, some biscuits, and other pro visions ample for the day. My photographic instruments were of course not omitted, but it turned out too windy to use them to advantage.
We first made for a little island about mid-way between Samarai and the mainland of New Guinea. If I recollect rightly, it is named on the chart Middle Island. This little spot, though probably not containing more than ten acres of land and at the highest part not above fifty feet higher than the sea level, is covered with an endless variety of tropical verdure, from the graceful cocoa palm to the wonderful orchid. The rocks and the gnarled stems of the Malavas near the water's edge are now covered with many kinds of dendrobia, some of them in flower; I noticed one beautiful species, white waxlike pendant blossoms, and another with green flowers delicately shaded from olive to brown in the centre.
Shells in profusion were found on the beach; Mr. Smart, being an ardent conchologist, was in his glory, and we experienced some difficulty in getting him to leave the new wonders he was discovering at every turn. A gigantic white convolvulus attracted our attention, and I collected about a dozen kinds of seeds in this locality. Some of each kind I gave to Mr. Guilfoyle, the Director of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, on my return.
It was about 7 a.m. when we pulled away towards Heath Island. We had to row hard to cross a swirling tide-rip, and it took us nearly two hours to reach the smooth water of the little straits that separate Heath Island from Bonarua Island, where Miller had erected a copra station not long before his untimely death. The place was then in charge of a family of natives from Heath Island. The Heath Island natives are reputed cannibals, and were said to be at war just then with a tribe from a neighbouring shore. But as we were not actually forbidden the place we made up our minds to visit a few of their villages.
Near Miller's store we landed and lit a fire to boil a billy of tea and have some breakfast. We were soon noticed, and the natives flocked around us both from the little island we were on, as also from the shores of Heath Island opposite. There were men, women, and children among the crowd, and they certainly appeared a most peaceful lot of people. After breakfast Smart amused them with his conjuring tricks while we inspected Miller's Store. Several tons of dried cocoa nut (copra) were stacked up there ready for shipment, but the industrious owner now rested peacefully in his grave near the Mission Station at Samarai, beyond all troubles and earthly care.
Uproarious merriment and laughter recalled us from our meditations, and coming near our boat we found Smart excelling himself to everybody's delight. The natives had no weapons with them, but promised if we would cross to their village they would sell us plenty. The crossing took but a few minutes and we were accompanied by the whole crowd. They had seen and smelt our tobacco, and not receiving visitors often were all the more anxious to trade with us. I asked, and was given permission to inspect a number of their houses, and allowed to handle anything I pleased. On visiting native houses it is absolutely necessary to observe a certain amount of etiquette to avoid giving offence. For instance, I would never dream of entering a house without first inquiring for the owner and obtain his permission to enter. In most cases this is readily given.
We had no interpreter on this occasion, and had to manage as best we could with signs and gestures. We came upon flagged places such as I described at Garihi. I interrogated by signs what these places were used for, and they seemed reticent to explain. I had a suspicion that they were used in connection with their cannibal feasts, and in order to facilitate explanation, I first pointed to the flags, and then taking up Smart's immense bare arm, I made a movement as though I would take a bite of it. They understood my meaning evidently, for they burst out into immoderate laughter, especially when I, following up the strain, took out my long hunting knife and pretended to kill Smart, suggesting meanwhile to them to get a fire ready to roast him.
44. Paddles, Native Ornaments, and Implements from the Neighbourhood of Dinner Island and China Straits
We visited seven villages during the day, and not to weary the reader I must omit many interesting incidents. We did a roaring trade with tobacco in exchange for weapons and implements. There were lots of skulls hanging up, more or less fractured, which we might have had, and very little persuasion accompanied by tobacco would have secured a few bundles of the smoke-dried remains of their ancestors. But I was chary about bringing these interesting objects on board. We had four or five on the sick list and, under these circumstances, a collection of human skeletons would scarcely have been considered an acquisition.
We returned on board at sundown, after two hours' smart rowing against wind and tide, having travelled over about twenty miles of land and water, but we counted the trouble for nothing as against our interesting excursion and the considerable additions made during the day to our ethnological collections.
On Monday, the 12th October, the little flotilla hove anchor and left Dinner Island, the "Diamond" and "Raven" preceding, and the "Governor Blackall" following in their wake. The naval procession up China Straits possessed a certain dignity and solemnity, intensified by the nature of the errand on which it was despatched. The lovely surroundings were lighted up by the sun, which broke through the clouds soon after starting and dispersed the haze hanging over the land. The dangerous navigation rendered caution necessary, and we threaded our way through the coral reefs with the greater care from the want of a reliable chart, no adequate survey having yet been made. On our way up the Straits, H.M.S. "Dart" met us and signalled that she had Diaveri, Captain Miller's murderer, in custody on board. Coming alongside the "Diamond" the prisoner was shipped on board that vessel. It appears that the "Dart," on the outrage being reported, went direct to the scene of the crime and, through a native interpreter, demanded the murderer; what ensued is remarkably characteristic of native manners. The culprit himself came voluntarily on board, bringing presents to atone for his crime, and to make peace. The commander of the "Dart," however, not viewing homicide in the same light, made him a prisoner and delivered him on board the "Diamond." This duty performed, the "Dart" left us at Cape Ventenat and proceeded with her surveying duties.
Passing Normanby Island we anchored off Digaragara Island, the scene of the tragedy, in a bay unnamed in the chart, which it has been suggested should be called "Avenger" Bay. The native name of the locality is Negarera. Boats containing armed parties were sent on shore from each of the three vessels about five o'clock in the afternoon, to open up communication with the natives, but although a number were seen ashore at the time of anchoring, no sooner did the boats put off than they vanished like spectres into the dense forest, whence they could descry our movements, their own being completely hidden from view. Under these circumstances the recall was sounded, and the crews put off for their ships at dusk. On their way several canoes were seen leaving the shelter of a promontory and paddling with all the speed they could towards the north to get out of the bay. Our officers thinking these might be the persons we were in quest of, or at any rate people who could supply information, gave orders to pursue, and a most exciting chase commenced, the boats' crews giving way with a will, and the canoes, seeing themselves chased, paddling with might and main for the shallow water where they would be safe from pursuit.
Each boat made a capture, the "Raven" laying alongside a canoe containing three natives, while the "Blackall" boat captured another with two. The little dingy, after a desperate pull, overtook a canoe containing two men within a few boat-lengths of the reef, of whom one took to the water and escaped to the shore. It was nearly seven o'clock when the boats got back, and a signalman from the "Diamond," who was on board the "Blackall," wishing to report progress, used the steam whistle on the Morse principle, giving short and long splashes of sound. He certainly succeeded in making a hideous din, echoed from all the inland hills, whether intelligible or not I cannot say, but our poor prisoners were nearly frightened out of their wits, being too terrified to swallow the food we gave them.
On the arrival of Mr. Chalmers, which took place shortly after, they were interrogated through his means and that of Paolo, and it turned out that they were natives of a northern district, who had been on a visit to Negarera. In order to afford Captain Clayton an opportunity of seeing them they were kept in custody till next morning, being stowed away for the night in the boatswain's locker and sailroom, where they must have spent a most miserable night. As they had no information to impart when taken on board the "Diamond" they were sent ashore with a few presents and dismissed. Early next morning, the 13th October, the General and Captain Clayton started on a cruise of inspection round Cape Ventenat, to the village whose inhabitants were known to have participated in the murder of poor Captain Miller, I profiting by the occasion to borrow the dingy to go ashore and take some views. I found, however, an insurmountable coral reef outlying the whole of the land, and as leaving the boat and thus cutting off our retreat was not to be thought of, we contented ourselves with admiring the marvellous marine formations over which our boat drifted.
A party of natives, some ten in number, waded out towards us but could not be persuaded to approach closely. At length my assistant met them half way, and giving them some tobacco, with some difficulty induced one of them to trade a spear, which he fetched from shore and, though with great hesitation, brought to the boat. At this point and while we were negotiating for some sea urchins to be got out of the clefts of the coral reef, we were signalled for from the ship, as it was thought dangerous to trade with the natives during the existing state of affairs. Later in the morning Captain Lake, with two armed boats' crews, went ashore, pulling round Cape Ventenant and landing at the village, and I was allowed to accompany him, and was fortunate enough to get several good views of this interesting locality. This is the spot which was shelled next day and the houses destroyed, it being the settlement nearest to Digaragara Island, where poor Miller was murdered. The few huts along the beach were deserted, but the smouldering fires showed how recently they had been tenanted, and we had no doubt the natives were watching us from their hiding places. In the afternoon Paolo Fidele and two native interpreters were sent ashore, and succeeded in interviewing the old chief, who resolutely refused to come on board, and said it was impossible to give up the accomplices as they had taken to the bush. He further pleaded that the man Diaveri, who actually committed the deed, had gone on board of his own free will to make atonement, and nothing further having been seen of him since he naturally concluded that he had been killed. According to Normanby Island law, the culprit had done all in his power, and having offered native jewellery in value equal to the life he took, he fully expected to have squared matters. The Chief, from his point of view, thought that our party had treated Diaveri treacherously, and steadfastly refused to have any more parley unless the man was returned. Finally, he ordered interpreters and all to quit the island. Our people withdrew, for there was certainly no use in prolonging the interview.
Still, as punishment was considered due according to our laws, Sir Peter and the Senior Captain of the Squadron determined to shell the village near which the murder was committed. This, as stated above, was done next morning. Three shells, one of which exploded before reaching the shore, were thrown, to warn any stragglers to clear out. The "Diamond" and "Raven" then sent an armed boat each, and fired a few huts. Signals were then given to proceed on our cruise, and no sooner had we shaped course than the natives appeared on the beach again. We closely scanned their movements through the glasses but could not discern any signs of distress. I do not think a single native was hurt during the fracas; in fact, the Commanders never intended to take life, but simply to administer a wholesome lesson. Another incident happened on the previous day which I must not forget to mention.
During the interview with the old chief the interpreter from Dinner Island recognized among the bystanders, from his red hair, a man named Baelala, who he made certain had taken an active part in the murder of Captain Fryer at Hoop Iron Bay, and so positive was he that it was determined to capture and take Baelala on board. The arrest was cleverly effected on trading being commenced, and he was shipped on board the "Diamond," handcuffed, and a sentry placed over him, his wretched wife making the beach resound for hours with shrieks of terror and grief.
On reaching Hoop Iron Bay a couple of days afterwards, it was found that the interpreter had made a grievous mistake. A party landing to parley with the natives, the real Baelala turned up. There could be no mistake this time, as the narrative will show, and to make amends it was determined to send the innocent man back to his home immediately. The mistake was interpreted to him, and after being loaded with presents, Mr. Chalmers personally conducted him to Negarera Bay, the "Raven" being told off for that duty. The joy of his poor wife and friends on his return may be better imagined than described.
After the punishment dealt for the outrage at Digaragara, the fleet proceeded to Slade Island, Engineer group, to inquire into the circumstances of the murder of a trader named Reid. It was found, however, that this man had been rather a lawless fellow, who for a long time set all native rules and mere common decency at nought. Sir Peter, considering that his fate had been brought about by his bad conduct, decided not to take any further steps in this matter. Hostilities being expected, I was not allowed to land the day we arrived, but matters being amicably settled, enabled me to get a characteristic village view before leaving next day. The houses here being differently built to any place we yet visited, I was very pleased to secure this picture. Many returned Queensland boys were met with here, Mr. Romilly being recognized by all who came on board, having been in charge of the "Victoria" on her cruise to return the natives, who had been labouring on the Queensland Plantations.
The Slade Island affair being thus disposed of, we steamed westward, and soon reached Moresby Island. We anchored about mid-day at Hoop Iron Bay, where the above-mentioned episode with Baelala took place.
45. Village at Slade Island (Engineer Group)
Relations here with the natives were not considered safe, and much to my chagrin I was not allowed to land. Not lying far from shore, I could see several beautiful spots just fit for the camera, and to the west of the ship there stood the skeleton of an enormous Malava tree, its bleached limbs standing out distinctly against the bright green of the tropical forest. The scene reminded me of part of a certain picture by Doré, and I felt I could have braved a whole village of natives to secure a negative of it. But both Sir Peter, and afterwards Captain Clayton, were inexorable, and much against my inclination I had to stay aboard.
Before leaving Hoop Iron Bay, the real Baelala gave a minute description of how Fryer was murdered. This will be found amongst the official records of the trip, and need not here be repeated. But an episode from Baelala's life, which he related to us, will not be out of place. It appears that some years ago a trader, whose name I have forgotten, took Baelala to Sydney, and there exhibited him in a tent for money. When the novelty had worn off, and no more could be made out of the poor savage, the unscrupulous fellow simply turned him adrift. For some weeks the Papuan led a precarious existence, picking up bits of food from even the dust-pans and gutters, sleeping about the wharves in any corner he could find. After a while a publican in that neighbourhood took compassion on the homeless man, and in return for various small services fed him and gave him a place to sleep. This affair got talked about in Sydney, and Baron Miclohon Maclay, who passed through at that time, chanced to hear of it. Like a good Samaritan the Baron took charge of Baelala, and eventually brought him back to Moresby Island, on his way to the North Coast of New Guinea.
Towards noon on the 16th October, we anchored again at the roadstead of Dinner Island. Next day the "Harrier" arrived from Cooktown with the Australian Mail. It brought me rather distressing news. My wife's health, delicate always, had become worse, and grave fears were entertained. Though in her own letter there was nothing to cause immediate alarm, my friends urged me if possible to return. It so happened that H.M.S. "Dart" was to leave here for Sydney on the 21st to pay off, and ship a fresh crew. When I made my wish to return known to Sir Peter, he seemed to regret the circumstances very much, and expressed the hope that I might be able to accompany him again next season. He also kindly promised to speak to Captain Clayton (who as senior of the station had to be consulted) about a passage home in the "Dart." Captain Clayton consenting, Captain Field, of the "Dart," courteously acceded to Sir Peter's wish, and I was granted a passage home in that vessel. The time of the change in the trade winds was approaching, and the few days before our departure the weather had been very uncertain. I made several attempts, but only got one chance of getting a few views of Dinner Island and Anchorage.
I must not omit to mention that Diaveri was ultimately taken to Port Moresby and liberated there, the laws of the protectorate not allowing a severer punishment than exile.
46. The Voyage Homeward, on board H.M.S. "Dart" (on the Job)
We left Dinner Island on October 21st, and after a most pleasant voyage reached Sydney on Sunday afternoon, the 1st November. My ethnological collections I shipped by the "Lyeemoon" to Melbourne, but my negatives, numbering about 128, I took for safety sake with me to Melbourne by rail, arriving on November 3rd, in the middle of the bustle and traffic of Cup Day. On reaching home I found the wife's health considerably improved, though not quite restored.
Visit to Killerton Islands—The Juliade Islands—Reprisals for the Murder of Captain and Mrs. Webb—Colombier Point—Unsuccessful Attempt to Communicate with Natives—Hoisting the Union Jack at Moapa—Inland Excursion to Koiari Villages—Ascent of Mount Variata—Meet Mr. Forbes—Sogeri—Mr. Forbes' Station—Return to Port Moresby and Hula—Bentley Bay—Ascent of Mount Killerton—Illness of Sir Peter Scratchley—Character of the Coast—The Jabbering Islands—From Collingwood Bay to Cape Nelson—Mountains and Harbours—Departure of the "Governor Blackall" for Australia—Illness of Sir Peter Scratchley—His Death—His Funeral
The closing scene of the expedition I was not privileged to witness, but by the great kindness of Mr. Chalmers I have been supplied with a full account of what occurred between my departure in the "Dart," on the 21st October, and the lamented death of Sir Peter Scratchley on the 29th of the following month. That I was spared this painful episode I am thankful. I give an abstract of Mr. Chalmers' narrative in his own words. It commences with an account of a visit to the Killerton Islands, on the 21st October, in consequence of a hostile attitude of the natives of Bon being reported.
On the landing of the General and myself, Mr. Chalmers says, all the natives disappeared. Soon one old man, their chief, came out weeping bitterly, and explained the cause of his grief to be the refusal of his men to appear and show the friendliness with the white men and teachers, as they had no quarrel with them, but only with the natives of Barabara. I certainly believed in the sincerity of his professions, and subsequently walked over the largest of the group, finding in some parts good plantations, a lagoon at the east end, and a very good mission station at the west. On the 22nd we returned to Dinner Island, and on the 23rd anchored between Dufaure Islands and the mainland in a very fine harbour, which it is proposed to call Port Scratchley. In the afternoon we landed, and, after meeting the good old Chief Mendi (since dead), we strolled into the thick tropical bush with which the island abounds. From sea level to summit it is covered with dense scrub, greatly impeding exploration. The "Ellengowan," which arrived this day from Cooktown, brought the ships' mails, which rejoiced all on board.
On Saturday, the 24th, we weighed anchor and proceeded to the Juliade Islands, where the "Blackall" and "Diamond" remained, the General and myself going on board the "Raven" to Port Milport, the scene of the murder of Captain and Mrs. Webb. The object of sending one vessel only was to invite a collision with the natives. As soon, however, as they saw the ship they commenced clearing out, and sought shelter in the scrub behind the villages, where it was impossible to follow them without great risk and with no reasonable probability of any substantial result. As they persistently declined to show themselves, the villages where the skulls of the victims were said to be were shelled and destroyed on Monday morning.
This step, I have since heard from Toulon, has had a very good effect, the people being thoroughly frightened and sorry for their conduct, without indiscriminate and unnecessary effusion of the blood of not only men, but women and children who, in all probability, took no part in the outrages. Although these cannot be defended, much less exculpated, it must be borne in mind that Captain Webb and his wife owed their fate to their own rashness. They were warned not to venture among the natives of this island, who were known to be treacherous and unfriendly, and as the result of their temerity they were attacked and killed soon after setting foot on shore.
After the return of the "Raven" to Port Milport, the "Blackall" steamed to Aroma, where Koapena was taken on board, and the three vessels rendezvoused in Cloudy Bay, proceeding thence to Colombier Point, where the village of Dedele formerly stood but was destroyed a few years back by H.M.S. "Beagle." Our object was to open up communications with the natives and make the bay safe for bêche-de-mer fishermen. However, although we found some small lean-over huts, showing that the people are beginning to return, we saw no human beings, and had to content ourselves with sending peaceful messages through the Aroma people, to the effect that we should call again and hoped to see them. In the evening the "Blackall" left for Port Moresby, and I accompanied the General on board the "Diamond."
Next morning, October 30th, an armed party was landed from both vessels and marched from Keppel Point to Moapa for the purpose of hoisting the flag. Before this ceremony was performed Captain Clayton insisted on the skulls of the murdered Chinamen being taken down and buried, which was done by the teachers, as no native dared touch them. This being done Captain Clayton and the General, accompanied by Koapena, followed by the other officers, marched to the chief's house where a flagstaff had been erected, and Captain Clayton addressed the chief and people in the following terms:—
"Koapena and people of Aroma! On behalf of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, I have come here to hoist this flag to-day. It will be to you a token of friendship and an emblem of peace, and in all future dealings with her people you will keep a kindly remembrance ever before you. If at any time the white man should offend against your customs, you will at once report the matter to the proper authorities, and they will see that justice is properly dealt towards you. Rest assured that Queen Victoria will ever regard you as her own children, and as she cherishes her children so will she cherish you, and bear in mind that when the white man comes among you, you must treat him well, and on no account interfere with him, always remembering that the ceremony you have seen performed this day is the abiding emblem of peace and lasting good will. God save the Queen!"
The Union Jack was then hoisted, a feu-de-joie fired, and the "Diamond" gave a royal salute of twenty-one guns; the band playing the National Anthem. Great enthusiasm and excitement prevailed among the natives, of whom some 3,000 were present, and no dissatisfaction of any kind was evinced. We all then marched back, followed by a great crowd showing the most friendly disposition, and when about half way to the ship an invitation from Koapena was conveyed to Captain Clayton that all should sit down and take refreshment. This hospitality was accepted, and soon native lads were seen climbing trees in all directions and throwing down cocoa-nuts, which were opened and handed round by others, while Koapena, sitting on the platform of his plantation, superintended all the proceedings.
After this interesting episode he came on board the "Diamond," and was much interested in all he saw. He made an earnest application for the release of the prisoner Diaveri who was on board, and begged that he might not be hung. In the evening we left Aroma, and, steaming slow all night, were off Port Moresby in the morning of the 31st October. The following day the "Blackall" left for Townsville with Mr. Askwith, who was much prostrated by fever, the General and his private secretary remaining on shore.
The High Commissioner being anxious to visit inland, and if possible to get as far as Sogeri, where H. O. Forbes had his head camp, a party was formed, and on Wednesday, the 4th November, started at daylight. The sun was very hot by the time we got to the creek, where we decided to breakfast. About 1 p.m., when the south-east breeze found us out, we started for the nearest Koiari village, Sadara, where we arrived about 4 p.m. We pitched our camp on a spur about one mile from the village. The General was tired, but nothing much. After dinner he got to his hammock, and was soon asleep.
The next morning we were away by dawn, and reached the foot of the Astrolabe about 9.30, where we breakfasted. After a rest we ascended the mountain at Variata, 2,500 feet, and there we remained some time. It was cheering to see the General in such good spirits and splendid walking trim. We walked leisurely into Taburi, where we arrived about 3.30 p.m. About 5.30 Mr. Forbes arrived on his way to Port Moresby. We arranged with him he should return with us to Sogeri, and all come to port the following week. We all sat long after dinner chatting, and the most lively of the party was the General. The next morning we were away early, and after crossing the river about three miles inland of Taburi, we kept on until mid-day, having had breakfast at camp in the morning.
In a pleasant shade by a small stream we rested, and had something to eat. Accompanied by Mr. Sharpe (a young missionary), who was one of the party, I started for Nakari, to arrange the camp for the night. Assisted by the people of the village, we soon had tents up and water boiling. About five the General and his party came in just in time to avoid heavy rain, the first we have had in all our wanderings. We got a pig from the chief, which greatly pleased our carriers, and added new life to the camp.
The following morning, after breakfast, we struck camp, and got speedily into marching order. It was fine, bright weather, and the ground being less difficult than hitherto, we succeeded in reaching Sogeri before nightfall. On our way Mount Owen Stanley had been visible to its summit, while on our right Mounts Bellamy and Nisbet marked the lay of the Stanley range till the view was stopped by Mount Obree, whose lofty mass rises over ten thousand feet above sea level. Mr. Forbes had sent on a native attendant of our party to warn his Malay servants of our approach, so that we had a warm welcome, and a good set meal ready for us by the time we had refreshed ourselves with a wash, and settled the quarters for the night.
The next day was a day and "the day" of rest. The General made a careful inspection of the station, and congratulated Mr. Forbes warmly on his arrangements, promising material assistance for his explorations. Mr. Forbes' house, built of native materials, stood on the steep side of a natural basin, without doubt the crater of an extinct volcano; through it ran a small river; on the opposite side of the crater stood the native village, backed by steep and thickly wooded crags reaching to the summit of Mount Owen Stanley. Mr. Forbes discoursed with Sir Peter on the explorations he had made and contemplated, on the observations in which he was engaged, and showed the natural history specimens he had collected.
The next day our party, including Mr. Forbes, started on the return journey to Port Moresby through an undulating country, with a dry, parched soil, stunted gum-trees, and occasional extensive patches of long, coarse grass. It was a good hunting country, swarming with wallaby and pig. We encamped for the night before commencing the rough ascents of the Astrolabe range, and by the evening of the third day we reached Port Moresby. The whole journey had been accomplished without danger, and without any serious fatigue. Our native attendants were rewarded with presents of red cloth, fish-hooks, and tobacco, and went off with shouts and rejoicing to the fishing village of Hula, to which they belonged.
The General stayed at his quarters at Port Moresby till the return of the "Governor Blackall" on the 15th, when he resumed command, and on the 19th proceeded to Milne Bay, passing on the 20th into hitherto unsurveyed waters at the head of the bay to a place called Maivara. From here to Bentley Bay, the most southerly portion of the N.E. coast, calling on the way at Killerton Islands, and as reports were rife of the Bentley Bay natives and their antagonism to white men, and feeling sure it was a mistake, we arranged a party to test it. By six the following morning (21st), we left the ship and the General, and on landing got a number of natives as carriers. We followed the creek for some miles until we reached the Stirling Range, ascended Mount Killerton, where we had breakfast. It was indeed cold on the top, and I was glad when the descent on the other side was begun. It was very steep, and in many places merely side paths like goat paths along the side of precipices. On our arrival at the first village, the women at once got us water to drink, and set to cooking yams, taro, and bread-fruit for us and party, several of them bringing us fine ripe bananas. All were exceedingly friendly, and showed no appearance of timidity. The "Raven" passing to the anchorage, we went along the beach with a crowd of men, women, and children increasing at every village, until we came opposite the anchorage, when there were several hundreds all anxious to show us some kindness, supplying us with an abundance of mangoes and cocoa-nuts.
We were kindly entertained on board the "Raven" by Commander Ross and his officers until the arrival of the "Blackall" about 4.30 p.m. On going on board we found the General in his cot on deck, and complaining of feeling out of sorts, restless, and no appetite. It was evident from his appearance, also, he was in the first stage of fever. Fearing he might grow worse, I suggested that if not better in the morning we should return; Mr. Forbes and I remain at South Cape, and he with the "Blackall" proceed at once to Australia. He decidedly objected to go back until he had been to the Boundary or Mitre Rock.
On the 22nd we steamed close in shore through Bentley Bay, Bartle Bay, Goodenough Bay to Rawden Bay, where we had anchored. The coast all along these bays looks poor indeed, much worse even than that about Port Moresby. In many places the mountains run steep to the sea, and in no place we saw could settlement be made. Two peaks not on charts, but standing out and well defined, we named Lady Scratchley Peak and Mount Service, and the nomenclature has since been reported to the Royal Geographical Society. I again suggested to the General we should at once return and hurry on to Australia, but to no effect, as he insisted on seeing Mitre Rock.
On the 23rd we rounded Cape Vogel to the Jabbering Islands, where we anchored. We spent several hours ashore with the natives, climbing the sandstone cliffs, and walking back into the country, which was poor, and terribly burned up for want of rain. The natives were very noisy, and yet very friendly. Their houses were small, miserable huts, built on posts, with small verandahs on the side, on which cooking was done. They have earthenware pots as in other parts, in shape similar to Teste Island. On the morning of the 24th we were away from our Jabbering friends, through Collingwood Bay, keeping close in round Hardy Point to Cape Nelson, and passing many good harbours, one of which we named Fort Harbour after our hearty, pleasant friend, the private secretary, whose life seemed entirely devoted to the General. When in good health, he and the General appeared as if father and son; the General becoming sick, Fort, as a son, nursed him day and night, assisted by Dr. Glanville. Only when Fort was near the cot was the General satisfied.
Two very high mountains seen to-day, and position taken, were named Mount Romilly and Mount Ross, the former after the well-known Western Pacific Commissioner, and the latter after the excellent commander of the "Raven." Rounding Cape Nelson we skirted the shore of Porlock Bay to Dyke Acland Bay, and anchored about 3.30 p.m. near to Cape Sud Est.
Before coming to Hardy Point, Mount Nelson was very distinct, and had all the appearance of a crater on its east side, and certainly there were more on board in favour of its being a living volcano than against it. Heavy clouds hung over the top, and at various places long jets of steam appeared to rise. The country we passed to-day seemed much better and more suitable for agricultural purposes. Early on the 25th we were under way, and passed some splendid looking country through Holnicote Bay, round Caution Point to Richie Island, and on to Mitre Rock. The country was well wooded, with apparent large plains; a very good harbour is just on our side of 8th parallel, which we called Annabella Harbour. Some of us landed on the rock, but not having a line with us we could not ascend. It is in German territory, just beyond the parallel.
The General feeling better, seemed to enjoy the sight of the boundary. There was no time to lose, so without anchoring we went round and away full speed to the south-east, anchoring in Holnicote Bay. On the morning of the 26th, it being impossible for our good captain to see his way amongst innumerable reefs with the sun ahead of him, we landed at a number of small islands named by us "Glanville Islands," after our Zulu Soudan doctor. The natives were noisy and friendly, and came out to the boat quite unarmed. They are dark, and very much like the natives of Motumotu, only they are circumcised, which is unknown on the south-east coast. Their ornaments were very poor, and they seemed to have little to trade.
About ten we were under way, and steamed through Dyke Acland Bay, where we saw a large river, which seemed to drain all the back country. We called the river "Rossitter River," after our second mate. There seems a very large mangrove fringe all round this bay. We anchored about 6 p.m. in Porlock Bay, and the following morning at six o'clock pulled in shore, and into a large inlet or lagoon, which we named "Clayton Inlet." We rowed up what seemed to be a river, and were met by a noisy crowd all unarmed, and extremely anxious to trade with us. There was no mistaking their friendliness, and we allowed them round the boat as friends. We pulled out of the inlet, and round on to the beach, where we landed and again met the people. They had very few things worth trading for. They were greatly delighted with pocket handkerchiefs, and danced and shouted when they possessed a piece of red cloth.
Getting on board we were under way by eight o'clock, and steaming all day we anchored at the Jabbering Islands about 6 p.m. We did not think the General looked worse, only he complained of feeling terribly prostrated, and at night could not sleep. He would not take quinine in any form whatever. On Saturday (28th) before daylight, we were under way and off for Lydia, where we arrived about 2 p.m. We spent several hours ashore, and everywhere met with kindness. Several boys from Queensland were here, who told us frequently, "White man no good. New Guinea man very good;" "White man no gammon, too much fight."
When passing through Chads Bay, we had difficulty in getting canoes alongside. One approaching with clothed men, our interpreter recognized boys as some who had been returned in "Victoria," and knew they belonged to a place where a labour vessel killed several natives and stole quite a large number. Of the latter were some of those in the canoe.
On Sunday morning, the 29th, the General was much worse. We arrived at Dinner Island about 10 a.m., got mails on board, and away to Suau. When reading his letters he seemed to revive, and spoke quite hopefully and pleasantly of his return next year, when together we should do the north-east coast and D'Entrecasteaux Group well, visiting every nook and corner, and making excursions inland, meeting the vessel at points decided on.
At 2 p.m. Mr. Forbes and I landed at South Cape, and the "Blackall" steamed away for Australia, we hoping that the next news would be that our good kind General would have quite recovered, and that a quiet rest in Hobart with Lady Scratchley and family would set him up for another season.
On the "Raven" coming to take us to Port Moresby, Commander Ross told us the sad, sad news, that the General was dead, died when near Townsville—the natives, knowing by our looks something had happened, pressed round to know, and on being told, they too felt full of sorrow as for a friend. He was much respected on board, and by all who met him. He was kind and true, would do his duty, and never mind the consequences. He came rather prejudiced against natives, he left their friend, and much interested in them. He would have done a splendid work if only he had lived two years more, and laid the basis of a good government that both races would have felt to be for their benefit.
We all deeply sympathize with Lady Scratchley and her family in their great sorrow.
47. "The End," Sir Peter Scratchley's Catafalque, on board S.S. "Governor Blackall"
The remains of General Scratchley were brought to Melbourne in the "Governor Blackall," and temporarily interred in the St. Kilda Cemetery on the 16th December, 1885. The Dean of Melbourne and clergy performed the funeral service. Sir Henry Loch was present in person, and all the Australian colonies. Governmental departments, civic bodies, and learned professions were largely represented. The pall-bearers were Mr. Fort, Captain Lyster, Lieutenant-Colonel Sargood, Major-General Downes, Colonel Roberts, Mr. J. C. Tyler, Mr. James Service (Premier of Victoria), and Colonel Trench. The "Melbourne Age," of December 17th, describing the occasion, says:—
" The half-masted flags floating yesterday over Melbourne, the predominance of sombre costumes among civilians, and the presence of officers bearing mourning badges hurrying off to their rendezvous, betokened the day to be one of sorrowful observance. The duty of the day was that of paying the last tribute of respect to the memory of the late Sir Peter Scratchley, High Commissioner for New Guinea, by honouring his remains with a public funeral, attended by his Excellency the Governor in person, a special representative of Lord Carrington, Governor of New South Wales, and deputies from all the Australian colonies. The ministry of Victoria, the consular body, the bench, the bar, the other learned professions, and the local forces contributed to swell the procession, which was upwards of a mile in length, its route being lined by thousand of serious and orderly spectators."
49. Sir Peter Scratchley, K.C.M.G., and Mr. G. Seymour Fort, Private Secretary (on one Plate)
48. The Honourable John Douglas, C.M.G., Sir Peter Scratchley's Successor; Captain T. A. Lake, Senior Captain of the A.S.N. Company's Fleet, and Commander of the S.S. "Governor Blackall" (on one Plate)
Such was the fatal termination of an expedition which had about it, from first to last, an air of romance and adventure, which acquired information respecting the south coast and immediate interior of New Guinea far in excess of any previously obtained, and which, it is confidently hoped, has prepared the way for the settlement of a valuable British possession.
I. Veata of Maiva — II. The Koitapu Tribe and their Witchcraft
Like all other savages, the Papuans are a prey to superstition. As an example of the beliefs they entertain, and the fears they cherish, I will narrate my adventures with a great sorcerer, a Maivan, dreaded by his countrymen on account of the power he is supposed by them to possess. Like other pretenders of the same class, he was himself the dupe of his own cabalistic juggleries, and as big a coward as the simple folk who hung upon the rites he practised. I had often heard of this man, but never met him personally till, when in Maiva, I was presented at an inland village with a broken crystal, and on inquiring if there were others of the same kind about, I was informed they all came from the vicinity of Mount Yule, but that one in particular, by common report surpassing all others, was in the possession of Veata, the mighty sorcerer, never to be seen by mortal eye except his own, for no other person could look on it and live. One of our teachers hearing of it, and thinking, I suppose, it was some precious stone, offered the sorcerer several tomahawks only to be allowed to see it. On returning to the coast I went to my friend Miria, and asked him to use his influence with Veata to show me his burning jewel. "Yes," he replied, "but I am afraid; I myself have never seen it, although he is my cousin, and should he show it to you will you not die?" "No, Miria, that cannot kill me;" and then I told him of the many charms, fetishes, &c., I had from other places. He was evidently distressed, for after thinking the matter over, he said, "Were there only two Tamates it would be right one to die and one to live; we have only one, and cannot get another." "Miria, do not be alarmed. I can look on all Veata's things and know I will live." "Well, I will ask him."
After some time, Veata and Miria came into the house, and, sitting down in front of me, I asked the former if the latter had spoken to him of what I was anxious to see. Veata looked steadily at me, and said, "My friend Tamate, I would, but I am afraid, very much afraid. No living soul but my sister and me has ever seen those things, and you know very frightened Maiva is." "Veata, friend, do not be afraid, your kohu goods cannot injure me, and I alone will see them." "To-night I will return, and you will see them, and no one but ourselves must be in the house." "Good, friend, now do not deceive me."
He is a man some forty years old, about 5 feet 8 inches in height, well made, with a peculiar anxious expression and dark restless eyes. He would have been killed long ago, but his party is large and influential, and all of them would rally round him, as, apart from relationship, he is the source of food and property to them.
Long droughts will bring large quantities of yams, bananas, sugar cane, betel nut, cocoa nuts, pigs, fish, tobacco, arm-shells, ear, neck, and forehead ornaments.
When one is sick friends will do the same. If death follows he is blamed. When my old friend Oa died, Veata had to leave for some time, until it was shown by his friends that he could not have caused Oa's death, and the blame was then laid on another.
This superstition is the source of constant trouble in the Gulf, and amongst the inland tribes on the Owen Stanley Range. Last year Motu-Motu, on their return from Port Moresby, where they had been trading with arrowroot, attacked Keveri, a district near Cape Possession, and killed three men, themselves losing two. Since then they have threatened to return, but were afraid of the teachers at Maiva, and my old savage father, Semese, said he would not consent, as he did not wish to break faith with his foreign son.
Four weeks ago Lese invited Motu-Motu to a large feast. A large crowd assembled, and when the time for talk came on Keveri alone was the subject. Many were excited and determined on fighting. When the talk was at its highest a strange native stepped into their midst, and said, "I am a Keverian, I wish you to kill me, or if you save me I shall lead you to Keveri. A dear friend has been killed by a vatavata (spirit), and Keveri will not help me to revenge on the sorcerer. I do not wish for life, but if you spare me I shall be yours." Some said, kill him at once; Semese said, "No," and stepping over to him took his net bag from him, giving him his, exchanged head dresses and armlets, and then took him by the hand, saying, "You are mine, and live." He took him home to Motu-Motu, and the following week landed him on the beach near Keveri, telling him to make known to Keveri his great wish for peace, and that he and his son would be found in Maiva with the teachers. Soon a messenger came in begging Semese and his son Rahe to go out, which they did, and made friends and peace.
At sunset Veata returned, looking very serious, and sitting down near to me, he said, "Oh, Tamate, are you sure it will be right for you to look on these things—what if you die? Where shall I go? Every tribe on New Guinea would seek my destruction." "Nonsense, Veata, I am very anxious to see your kohu, and you will find I live." He left me in great doubt, but I was determined not to be done. I have had a good deal to do with these gentlemen, the most troublesome men on New Guinea, and the same in other lands; many known as Protestants, and hosts as Romanists. Bigoted priests, Protestants or Romanists, are not near so easily managed as my savage friend and priest Veata, and I thought I would yet see his articles of might, especially the burning jewel of death.
The sun had long set, and a very dark night had come. I sent for Miria and asked him why Veata did not return. "Oh, Tamate, we are all afraid; were there only two Tamates, one to die and one to live, it would be right, but to lose you now and through my friend." "Miria, do not be afraid, die I shall not, but if I should there are others to take my place. Come, and we shall go to Veata." Consenting, we started, and walked for nearly a mile, when we came to Veata's village. At this season the Maivans turn night into day, because of the mosquitoes. They walk and sit about and smoke all night, and sleep during the day. In walking through the village during the day, groups on mats, dead asleep, may be seen everywhere. Except Rakaanya, of the Humphrey group, I know no place to beat Maiva for these annoying creatures. One of my boat's crew said, "Their noise is loud as Rouna (a large waterfall), and their bites I cannot describe." A teacher walking through the village one evening saw a man killing and eating these enemies. "What, are they nice that you eat them?" "No, but they take my blood, and I kill and eat them in revenge."
Veata, with his wife, was sitting on his platform in the dark, afraid to have a light near that would draw the mosquitos. "Friend, I have come to see your kohu, and especially the burning one." Having strongly impressed on Miria, going along, the necessity of his assisting me, I found now I was about attaining my object. "Tamate, you will see it, they are with my sister; whilst with me I lost father, mother, brothers, sisters, wife and children; and, being frightened, I gave them to my one sister to keep, and she hides them in the earth." After a chew of betel nut we start for the sister's, where he begs to remain awhile to follow us in a short time. On arriving at the Mission House Miria told the natives about to keep away as Veata was coming with his kohu. The teacher's wife had to leave the house, and I with the teacher long waited. The wife, tiring of the long delay, returned and informed us it would be long ere he came, as he was "going through his prayers," and there sure enough he was, on a platform near our house, busily engaged with his bags in front of him. After a long stay Miria entered and saw the house cleared, then Veata came, put down my curtain that makes my end of the house private, asked me to take the light inside, showed me where I was to sit and not lean over his things. Again he began, "Tamate, I think it is good and no harm will come to you; but do not show them to any Maivan or Motuan."
" Yes, it is good, and no harm will be mine." Muttering hurriedly to himself, he pulled carefully each finger, cracking all, till he came to the ninth, no crack, then more earnest muttering, and an appealing look to me, "Tamate is it good?" "Yes, Veata," A long, hard pull, and a crack, and then the tenth—all right. In some places the pulling the fingers signify friendship, and everywhere it is done by friends to any one taken suddenly sick. I remember once at Aroma, a chief not much accustomed to smoking had two or three long whiffs from a bamboo pipe; he was sitting close by me and thrust his hands towards me; not knowing what he wanted, he turned to the other side, and a friend caught his hands and pulled his fingers, not at all happy if one failed to crack. The man, I found, was smoke-sick, and this was the cure.
I was going to ask Veata what it all meant, but he insisted on my not speaking. The first thing produced was a small net bag containing two large seeds; on one was a very good, clear, and well shaped crystal, and underneath small shells to represent nose and eyes. That was the male, and the other, unadorned, was the female. They were never spoken to but for death, and were the cause of many deaths. He now asked me if I was afraid? "Oh, dear no, go on." He next produced a piece of bamboo ten inches long in which there was a black stone, basaltic, and another very small one. The one was father and the other child; these were for seasons, and gave plenty or scarcity. In taking the large stone out it fell, which much disconcerted him, and he had again to go over his prayers. Next came a cone, from the end of the pandanus growth, and made like a scent bottle. He took the lid off, and wrapped in various kinds of weeds was another stone he handled very carefully, a co-partner with the last, only both together produced sickness and death; the latter was a female.
He then laid down a small parcel done up in native cloth very carefully, and whilst undoing it was very solemn in appearance, and muttering all the time. Another stone was produced wrapped in weeds, with two small stones enclosed in a network of string, and another substance wrapped up in leaves. These were of power to make children, and were appealed to for the barren, only the women must never see them.
He then said that was all. I said, "No, Veata, I want to see the bright burning stone; but never mind just now, will you sell these?" "No." "Then put them up and go and get the other." After a little deliberation and a good deal of muttering, he asked what I should give him if he would sell, and on mentioning a tomahawk, native beads, arm-shells and tobacco, he was satisfied, and I packed my curios away, lest repentance on his part should deprive me of them. I forgot to say that Miria was first consulted, and he was favourable to the sale. We then went out to Miria, and I told him what I wanted, Veata left, and in about an hour returned with a small parcel of crystals. We again retired, and the small crystals were produced. I bought them, and then in great secrecy he brought out a large piece of crystal quartz in a small net, and said that was what I had heard about, and no one must look on it but myself. It was the "death stone," and of which all Maiva was afraid. It was now getting into the small hours of morning, and I wished my friend would go, but he lingered long instructing me, and begging of me not to exhibit these things to Maiva and Motu.
The next morning there was trouble. It was noised all over Maiva I had got these things. My inland friends begged of me to have nothing to do with them, our boat would sink or we should all die, or I might live, but Motu would suffer. No one on board knew where I had them until after leaving Yule, when my stroke asked me, and I told him they were in a box under his seat. During the trip back he never once returned to that oar. In crossing Redscar Bay we had dirty weather and a very dark night. It arose from Veata's stuff—throw it overboard. No, it must not go overboard. I never had a quieter crew, and all were frightened. They begged for a reef to be taken in. I was anxious to get to Redscar Head by morning, and would not consent. They asked to throw some of our food overboard, and to that I also objected, as at Maiva and Delena, they persisted in filling the boat too full. I heard them saying amongst themselves, "What folly to keep these things on board; he is not afraid, but what of us?"
KOITAPU TRIBE AND SORCERY.
As a tribe the Motuans have few traditions, and very little mythology, although a very superstitious people. One night, sitting with a number of old men, they told me that with the Koiari and Koitapu tribe they came from two ancestors, named Kaimaikuku and Kirimaikapa, who came from the earth with one female dog, which they took unto themselves. A son was born, then a daughter, and again a son followed by a daughter.
The first two grew up and married, and their children numbered fourteen. Two went far back and became the progenitors of the Koiari tribe, two went in from the coast by the banks of the Laroge, and from them descended the Koitapu tribe. The others all went to Eelema, where they increased. Long after a quarrel occurred in Eelema. An elder brother desired his younger one to procure him some sago, but the younger, intent on making a bow, turned a deaf ear to the request. Again and again was the request made, but with the same result. Other members of the family, knowing the eldest brother's request, went and procured sago, but would on no account let the younger brother have any, and threatened any who would give him even only a grain, with death. The difficulty increased, and the younger brother decided with a good following to leave, which accordingly they did, and arrived at Taurama (Pyramid Point), where they long remained, increasing in numbers and strength, and finally came to Hanuabada (Port Moresby), where they now live. They speak of themselves as "sea natives" and the Koitapuans are "the land natives."
When leaving Eelema the Spirit said, "Go, but never forget me. In feast and in dance I will be with you, and the sound of your drums will be heard by me when I shall indeed bless you."
They found the Koitapu tribe a very powerful one indeed, with chiefs innumerable, who not by fighting merely killed their enemy, but also by "meamea" (prayer). They had not long to wait, until they found to their cost they too were under the spell of the Koitapu tribe. Long droughts, only these sorcerers could stop, and to get them to do so, meant pigs, stone adzes, spears, sago, toeas (armlets), and pearl shell, and often these were given with no good results whatever. Something was wrong, and again presents would be gone over.
These Koitapuans held also the Spirits of life and death, and to keep friends with them was one constant aim with the Motu tribe. These spirits travelled in darkness, and would thrust a sharp-pointed instrument between flooring, touch a sleeper, and he or she would surely sicken and die, the latter certainly if the sorcerer was not called in and well paid. Many prefer sleeping in the open and on the ground, so frightened are they of these pests.
A fortnight ago a Motu youth killed a pig belonging to a Koitapu chief, a fight took place, in which over two hundred people took part, and when several got bad knocks. My friend Mabata, a great chief and sorcerer amongst the Koitapuans, seeing his people were likely to be worsted, ran into his house, and brought out a parcel done with native cloth, and with glaring eyes, distended nostrils, and terribly excited, ran in and out of the crowd, tearing the cloth, and scattering a kind of powder, and calling out "To your houses, it is death;" and many did go to their houses quicker than they have run for many a day, but the young men cared not, and meant to carry it on, until prevailed on by stronger friends. Mabata is even feared by the mountain tribes.
The one uncompromising enemy of the Koitapu tribe is Hula of Hood Point. When these natives are down this way and fishing, and when unsuccessful, they at once say "Koitapu at it, let us for them," and a few years ago it meant the death of several Koitapuans.
When new sago canoes come in from the West they collect splinters from each, and the following year, when all are in the Gulf, and the time is nearing for the return home, these sorcerers give it out that they must be considered. A morning is set apart, and a large quantity of food is collected, on the top of which may be seen tomahawks, beads, tobacco, toeas (armlets), spears, and pearl shell. The sorcerer holds in his hand a piece of an earthenware pot in which there is a parcel containing the splinters, and over which he is supposed to "Meamea." Lost canoes are always easily accounted for by these sorcerers. They have often tried to exorcise the white missionaries and teachers, but of no use, and they give up, saying, "God is strong." Many in the Motu tribe have thrown them over of late years, their revenue has been little. Very few of them come to church yet, we are friendly indeed. My real object in writing this chapter is for the following, which happened only a very short time ago, and four miles from here.
An old widow woman with her two sons, a few years ago, left the village of Kevana—forty miles from here (Port Moresby)—where a part of the Koitapu tribe live, and went to Padiri to live. She was always looked upon as a great sorceress, and her sons assisted her.
Unfortunately she boasted constantly of her great power, which was very displeasing to the chief Eheita and others. During the first months of last year we had no rain on the coast, and many of the plantations suffered in consequence. The old lady and her sons did not try to hide their having something to do with the drought, and for a long time were kept in food and other things; but no rain coming, it was too much for Eheita, and he determined to get rid of so obnoxious a personage and her sons. She was known to have a large bag containing pieces of all kinds of food, which she kept buried near her house. She told them she kept it to prevent rain, and to show them they had no power, that power of that kind rested with her. Eheita must have the bag. One morning very early he came with a pig to her, and begged her to give up the bag and all it contained. After some hesitation one of the sons was sent, and it was brought, Eheita taking it, and scattering the contents all round. The pig was killed and divided, the elder son went with his wife to a plantation to get food, the mother was under the house with a number of other women, and the younger son in the house. Eheita with two others followed to the plantation, and when he had done his work he would shout so that those in the village could do theirs. On reaching the plantation he asked the widow's son for a smoke, the man went aside to his bag for tobacco and a leaf, and whilst engaged in preparing the pipe, Eheita rose, lifted his spear, and sent it clean through him, the other two doing the same. He then gave the long signal shout, and those in the village began; the old woman was soon despatched, but the son in the house defended himself for some time, but was overcome, and done with. Friends (?) came and took up the bodies and buried them. An influential man from here, visiting the village the same day, was told of the murders by Eheita himself, who also said to him, "Tell the white friends not to be angry, but I could stand it no longer, and now it is done. I am glad, and so must be everybody else." I send him word that I thought he should be hanged.
There is a place in the bush near to Port Moresby sacred to the Koitapuans, where no one ever treads; to do so would be instant death. Such places there were in many of the South Sea Islands. The name of this Koitapu place is Varimana. Long ages ago mighty men went inland to Sogeri, and carried away a very large stone, on the way down many died, and when it arrived near the coast range the tribe, as a whole, begged it should be left at Varimana lest all should be exterminated.
Long after it was carried in to the Koiari, and they too died in large numbers. Again it was returned, and buried at Varimana close by a young tree; the tree has grown very large, and now the stone is quite covered by it, but no one ever goes near it. The stone before burial was carefully wrapped in native cloth, and bound round with well made twine.
For many generations, the old people of Rarotonga spoke of a stone, te nooanga a Tari—Tans seat—that was long, long ages before covered over by a large Tamanu tree, close to the Mission grounds. The grounds were sacred, and none carelessly trod there. To approach was the priest's place, and he only uncovered and crouching. When a limb of the tree fell, some one of the chief's family should die, and on several occasions such was the case. In the year 1867 the tree itself fell, and soon after the King Daniela died, leaving office to my friend Abela. When it was known the tree was down people from all parts came in to see for themselves the truth or falsehood of many generations, and there, sure enough, was the stone with the short bark scar. Many times I have seen it and sat on it. Abela gave me Tuarca (name of large tree) to do with as I liked, only he could not assist in cutting it up. Having at the time many students, fine young men, anxious for work, they in their odd hours cut it up into logs, and the school children sledged up to Mission ground. Only the root was left, which was afterwards used in burning lime. A few months passed, and I gave orders one morning after classes to roll out the best log, and get it over the sawpit. This was soon done, and I had just returned to the house, when a native came running to me, saying, Makea Abela was dead. The night before I spent an hour with him in front of his house, and he was then in excellent health. That same morning I heard of him threatening some of his people. I ran over and found him in the bush quite dead. He died of heart disease. Many natives said it was Tuarea. Ah, well, we shall make his coffin from it. I ordered the morning's log to be rolled back and dug out for a coffin. The stone and tree superstition is very common, in Eastern Polynesia.
Although the Motuans fear the whole Koitapu tribe, there are two men of that tribe living in Redscar Bay they fear more than all the rest. Maba, of Lokurukunu, holds great power over the north-west wind, rain and sun; and Taru, of the same place, holds the south-east entirely in his power. To these presents were constantly brought. When about to start for the west on a trading voyage Maba was given a large present that he might not send the north-west wind, and Taru as large that he might continue the south-east. When the returning season comes, end of December or beginning of January, Taru was appealed to to stay the south-east, and Maba to give the north-west.
When planting yams, the Koitapuans, holding a stone in the left hand over the seed, pour water on the stone with the right, and allow it to fall all over the yams to be planted, repeating very quickly the following:—
Asindvaridaudau, asindvaridaudau, asindvaridaudau,
Huevara daudau, huevara daudau, huevara daudau.
Bedovari daudau, bedovari daudau, bedovari daudau,
Naevari daudau, naevari daudau, naevari daudau,
Eogovari daudau, eogovari daudau, eogovari daudau.
When the yams are just above ground the following is repeated in the plantation:—
Sinari kenikeni (repeat twice more),
Hueri kenikeni (repeat twice more),
Ruela kenikeni (repeat twice more),
Naera kenikeni (repeat twice more).
Mabata, the chief of one of the Koitapu division, a great man in the tribe, a kind-hearted fellow though a great sorcerer, has just come in whilst writing this, and he has given me the following prayer used by him when he hears there is going to be fighting. He says when he uses it the fighters' hands hang down with weakness, and their knees tremble.
Tuanugi i ae mai (three times),
Kornanugu i ae mai (three times),
Vangu i ae mai (three times),
Vanugu i ae mai (three times),
Tuauru i ae a (twice),
Eorigori e ae a (twice),
Kuru e ae a (twice),
Eaubu i ae (twice),
Suuri i ae ma (three times),
En boriboro (four times),
Koieri gamia a (twice),
Eairaki beriboro (twice),
De umu ba ba (twice).
It is gone over and over again, truly "vain repetitions."
Just now, as I write, the village of Hanuabada (Port Moresby), is one scene of life—truly animated human nature from the oldest man to the youngest bairn kicking in its net cradle, rocked by an elder brother or sister to still its impetuous nature. Who can sleep amidst the thud, thud, of many native hammers (long sticks) used in ship-building, or the slap, slap, of native trowels used by women in the manufacture of native pottery? Now, what does it mean, whence has it sprung, and what object has it? Categorical, no doubt, but to an old stager easily answered.
The village within Port Moresby counts about 1,000 inhabitants, 700 pure Motuans, and 300 Koitapuans. The former are seamen and travellers who came in past ages from the distant west, and settling first at Taurama, Pyramid Point, notwithstanding all its barrenness, and living principally on fish and kangaroo, not objecting to an occasional dog. The generations rolled on, and the newer ones think a better place can surely be found than that barren, rocky hill, and they emigrate to this commodious harbour, perhaps the most central of all centres in New Guinea. Plantations were made on the hill sides, and in the somewhat more fertile valleys, on land belonging to a once powerful tribe of sorcerers known as the Koitapuan tribe. Now this Koitapu tribe to the present day is of note on this coast. Once they lived well back near the Koiari, owning then as now all land back to the Laroki river, the Koiarians claiming all on the other side. They are a people much feared because of their wonderful power over sun, rain, heaven, and earth; north-west and south-east monsoons, these especially are theirs. Only yesterday one old chief, an arrant blackguard from Padiri, marched through Hanuiibada, and some occupant from nearly every house came out to meet him with a present, a stick of tobacco, a tomahawk, an arm-shell, or some other article of value, so that he might be friendly to the proposed trading expedition. They are no doubt the real owners of the soil, and it may be some day in a Land Court presided over by a British judge, they will have much to say. By no conquest do the Motuans live here, but simply because the Koitapuans allow them, saying, "Yours is the sea, the canoes and the nets, ours the land and the kangaroos; give us fish for our flesh, and pottery for our yams and bananas. What a power these Koitapuans have! midnight spirits travel at their will, strong men are laid low by them, canoes on distant travels never return because of them, burning sun, cracked earth, dried up bananas, and harvest-time and famine all belong to them. Who will not try to appease their wrath, to gain their favour? He is dead now, my old friend, Taru, but I remember well how all along this coast he was feared, and how from far and near they came with offerings to him. But worse than anything mentioned is that often they cause murder, or commit it to further their dark designs. To hang a few of them may yet become necessary, although since the missionaries have come here they are not so exorbitant, and the others are not so blind. As readers may know, the Motuans are at Pari, Hanuabada, Poribada, Lealea, and Manumanu, in Redscar Bay, a tribe numbering about 2,000 only; their dialect is spoken by about 5,000, and they being the people of commerce (the Britons of New Guinea), through their dialect it is possible to communicate with nearly 20,000 people. The Koitapuans are to be found tacked on to the Motu tribes at Pari, Hanuabada, Poribada, also Boera and Lealea on the east side of Redscar Bay, and inland at Padiri and Kevana, and numbering about 2,000, very much cut up into parties. I have never heard of the two tribes fighting, but often the Motu tribe being the stronger has helped the Koitapuan against their enemies, the Hulans, who come from Hood Point.
The Motu natives are the traders, theirs is the sea. Now it is interesting to go back to the origin of things. How interesting it would be to know to a certainty all origins. But we do know from out of a very distant past, so distant that all we have comes through cobwebs of many, very many generations, a kind of myth which many present day scholars accept before fact. Well, myth or whatever else, here it is. Away, far away, in those hoary ages, a canoe with several men on board went out fishing. They lowered their net and all dived; one, named Edae, near a large rock, in which there was a cave, and into which he looked, was seized by the spirit of the deep and kept, only his toes being left above water. His companions wondered what had become of him, and on looking around saw his toes, and at once tried to pull him up, but could not succeed. Letting go, he disappeared entirely, and they returned home disconsolate and crying all the way. When the sun was near its dipping hour, and the tide was low, they again returned and found Edae's whole foot above water, and had no difficulty in getting him on board, and laid him in the canoe, crying bitterly over him as dead until near the shore, when he opened his eyes, and told them what he saw, heard, and was told to do. It was a large cave in which a great spirit dwelt who caught him and kept him down, so that when they tried to pull him up by the feet the spirit just pulled him right in and told him not to fear, but to wait patiently and hear how the hungry north-west season might be got over—have a season of sacredness, then cut large trees, dig them out, and when finished lash them together, then get masts and sails, and when all is finished take all the pottery the wives and daughters have been making on board, and sail away to Eelema.
On his arrival at home he told the same tale to his wife, and at once he became sacred. His brother-in-law, Nohokinoboki, a Koitapuan, opposed his going and said, "Why leave? I have plenty of yams, some in the house for the North-West season, and some to plant, but Edae must go and get some sago?" He told his wife he should be long gone, and on no account to give him up. Months passed and he did not come; the men who accompanied him left their wives, hoping to be soon back, and because they did not return when expected the wives got married to others, and began to forget Edae and his party. But his wife never gave him up, and she encouraged her daughter-in-law to hope on.
At last she had a dream, and saw Edae, who told her he was leaving Eelema on his return journey. She waited a few days, and then early one morning sent the daughter-in-law up to the highest hill to look away to the westward. On her return she reported something on the horizon beyond Redscar Head, but could not say what it was. Later she returned again, and after sitting awhile felt convinced it was Edae, and the next morning was up early. The daughter-in-law again ascended the mountain, and this time returned with the thrilling news that it was Edae, and the lakatoi was near. Both took sticks and beat on the floor, and shouted for joy. The people came running to know what was the matter, when they were told Edae was coming, was near, and that very day would anchor near his house. During the time Edae was gone his wife never allowed the fire to go out, did not go to other houses, had nothing to say to other people, and never bathed. Now she broomed the house, set things to rights, and had a bath, then she anointed her body and dressed in her best. The lakatoi was nearing, and she gave orders for a canoe to be got ready, and getting into it she was paddled off, and when alongside the lakatoi beat on the bulwarks and shouted, "All your wives are married again, I only with our daughter-in-law waited till now." The men were struck dumb, and felt much pained indeed; Edae was full of delight, and on seeing his wife broke forth in song.
Receiving some sago the wife returned, and set to cooking for her lord when he should land. Great was her joy on landing, and rehearsing all she heard and reporting what she saw. Sago in quantities far beyond her power to describe, and all the men looking well. Soon the lakatoi anchored, and after the visiting was got over, Edae landed amidst the plaudits of the assembled villagers, another Columbus returning from an unknown region. The first part of the night he spent in rehearsing in a loud voice from his house the incidents of the journey, the people he was amongst, their kindness and anxiety to have him remain. He wound up his discourse by an attack on the faithless wives, who were terribly ashamed.
In the morning his sister-in-law, Mohokinoboki's wife, came to get sago, but he sent her back to live on her yams. Day after day she returned, until at last he relented, and told her to tell her husband, and not to be so bumptious in future. When her husband tasted the cooked sago, he could do nothing but praise Edae and condemn himself.
This journey to the West for sago has been continued ever since, and at present great are the preparations. Long before daylight may be heard women making their pottery, and a walk through the village is indeed interesting. Some women are just returning from the clay pits with heavy burdens of clay of various kinds, black, red, yellow, brown. Some are spreading the clay out to dry, others are pounding with a stone the dry clay, some are damping and kneading it, and mixing it with very fine sand. Salt water alone is used. Others have a lump of clay, and are beginning to make various kinds of pottery. Some have theirs half finished, others quite finished, while others are burning theirs in large fires, and staining them with a dye made from a mangrove bark. Every woman has her private mark, and marks everything she makes. Here is a list of their pottery:—
Hodu = water vessel.
Uro = large cooking vessel.
Nau = dish for serving.
Ohuro = large cup.
Keikei = small pot.
Ituru = small cup.
Kebo = basin.
Kibokibo = small basin.
Kaeva z= pot with rim.
The men are busy getting their canoes together, work all day, and at night pooling them well out where the man first proposed the trip, and who is captain, sleeps with a few others. Long ago the captain has been secured. In the morning at sunrise the lakatoi is brought in to have her work carried on. Four large canoes are lashed together, then bulwarks are made of leaves from the stemless palm sewn together, and well fastened with long poles, and caulked with dried banana leaves. A stage is made all round, so that the sailors can work her without getting inside of the bulwarks. Masts of mangrove, with the roots at right angles, are stepped on to the centre, and large sails made of mats all sewn together, and shaped like crabs' claws, are fixed for working with ropes made from the bark of the large yellow hibiscus. The anchor is a large stone made fast with long canes, sometimes 100 fathoms in length. Fore and alt are small houses, where the captain, mates, and boatswain sleep or smoke. A day or two before leaving they sail about the harbour with all the young swells, male and female in killing costumes, on board, and then they have a hearty song, with drums beating, and bodies swaying, and the ladies' petticoats flying about. The wind is favourable, the cargo on board, and the pole out a mile or two to the eastward: then set sail and away, whilst friends at home remain to weep. With a fine breeze following fast, the men most worked are the helmsmen, three or four of them with large paddles standing aft whilst the others are drum-beating and singing the following Hues taught Edae by the spirit:—
Bokibada oviria nanania
Ario visiu na verianbro
Boebada eraroi nanai
Trope immanai ale Dauko
Eela lao mauaro diaia
Pinuopa diaid iauoro nairiuovox
Eela lao melarara memem.
There are many others, but the above is sufficient. When the port where bound is reached, they are received with great delight, pigs and dogs are killed for the reception feast, after which they distribute their pottery, to be paid for when ready to take their return journey. They sleep on the lakatoi, the shore people cooking them food and taking it to them. They ascend the rivers, cut down large trees, and make canoes of them to take home laden with sago. On the return journey they will have as many as fourteen and fifteen canoes for one lakatoi. Now they go wealthier than formerly, taking with them tomahawks, knives, bead looking-glasses and red cloth. They return with many tons of sago, which they dispose of to Tupuselei, Kaile, Kapakapa, Hula, and Kerepunu, these natives paying them in arm-shells, and other native articles. They keep very little for themselves. During the time they have it the whole settlement smells of nasty sour sago, as they like it best when it ferments, so keep it damped in large uros.
A list of the places they visit for sago may not be out of place—Oiapu, Lokea, Lese, Motumotu, Moneave, Karama, Namai, Silo, Pisi, Kerema, Keura, Vaidala, Ileran, Orokolo, Maipua, Ukerava, Kairiu, Keropenairu, Kaiburave.
The great trade on the coast and inland is pottery, the natives very seldom making a native oven like the Maories of New Zealand and South Pacific. On the east the most of the pottery is made on Teste Island and the islands of the Engineer Group, that is traded as far west as Orangerie Bay.
Their pottery is much finer than that west, but perhaps not so strong. Travelling west, we find the next pottery makers in Aroma chiefly at the large village of Maopa. They supply as far east as Mailuikolu (Toulon Island), and send a little to Kerepunu on the west, but the great supply for Kerepunu and Hood Bay come from the Motu tribe. The Hula natives bring cocoa nuts to Pari, Port Moresby, Porebada, and Boera, and in exchange load up their canoes with earthenware of various kinds.
Pottery is made at the above-mentioned places, also at Manumanu in Redscar Bay, and Delena in Hall Island.
An article of very great value to the native is the ornamental toea or arm-shell. A few small ones are made on this part of the coast, but the best come from the east, as far away as the D'Entrecasteaux Group. They trade them for pottery, &c., to the Dauni natives, whilst the Dauni natives sell them again to Mailuikolu for sago, dogs, &c., and these to the Aroma natives for pigs, dogs, and canoes. The Aroma natives trade them to the Hood Bay, Kerepunu, Kalo, Hula, Papaka, and Kamari natives for birds' plumes of various kinds, and these again to the Motu natives for sago, and the Motuan to the Eelemaites for sago in bulk, weighing 2 or 3 cwt. From the time of the return of the trading canoes, the Motuans keep collecting things until the next season. The most industrious woman, the one who cultivates best on the plantations and makes the most and best pottery, is sure to have her husband's praise, and she "has of the fruit of her hands, and her own works praise her in the gates."
It is to be hoped that in the future when a civilized power governs these children of nature, they will not do away with the present occupations and systems of trade, and let us hope the missionaries will remember that Anglicising is not Christianising, and Christianising should have little to do with Manchester. For myself I think the natives with a little bit of loin cloth better off far than our whitewashed Europeanized, shirted and trousered natives. Leave them alone in their trading and their pottery, and leave them alone on their lands. Why deprive them of these?
New Guinea has a peculiar fascination for the traveller although it is said to be sickly, and in the uttermost degree detrimental to European constitutions; in which statements it is to be feared there is a great deal of truth. Yet New Guinea possesses such a charm, or magnetic force, that a traveller who has once been there is sure to be drawn back.
There is a serenity and solemn grandeur in those primitive forests, untrodden by civilized man; danger and climatic troubles are never thought of by the true traveller, but onward is his sole aim, and the further he plunges into the woods in New Guinea the greater becomes his desire to penetrate into the unknown regions of this beautiful island; it is the naturalist's paradise, where his labours will be amply rewarded and every anticipation fully gratified.
At the same time I am sorry to confess my own labours in New Guinea were not crowned with that success as anticipated, but this was owing to various circumstances which other travellers can avoid.
I shall now proceed to give a short narrative of a trip up the Hilda river. In November, 1884, I set out from Port Moresby for Maiva, a coast village about ten miles west of Yule Island, and in 140° 40' east and 8° 40' south latitude.
For the reason that it was rumoured that Mr. Forbes had chosen Mount Owen Stanley as his field of operation, I directed my attention to Mount Yule, where I expected great results in floral discoveries; and on the suggestion of Mr. Chalmers and Captain Liljeblad, made Maiva my headquarters, as from here it was thought I should have easy access to Mount Yule. After a fortnight's stay at Maiva I had so far gained the confidence of the natives that they undertook to pilot me part of the way towards Mount Yule, and I set out with ten native carriers. Travelling about two miles in an east-south-easterly direction through low country dotted with mangrove swamps, and bearing the appearance of being subjected to heavy floods, as flood-marks appeared on the trees in every direction, I soon arrived at a village called Paihana, about five miles in a direct line north of the coast, nearly opposite Hall Sound. The village contained about thirty houses mostly poorly built and situated in a dense wood, intermixed with cocoa-nut palms, and distant about one mile south of the Hilda river. The natives were friendly and offered us cocoa-nuts and betel-nuts, the former welcome to me and the latter to my Maiva friends. Here I observed a custom among the natives not seen by me anywhere else in New Guinea, every male native carried a bark blanket on his shoulder, and before seating himself would first spread this blanket on the ground.
After having a chat, through an interpreter, with the chief, he promised to supply me with carriers the next morning to take me away to the next village, and moreover the old chief, Aruoba, would accompany me himself, and I rejoiced over my success so far; but when evening came, the worthy chief had got lame on one foot in some mysterious way, and of course could not accompany me, nor give me men, he said none would undertake the journey. However, the next morning I mustered a small party and crossed the Hilda River in order to reach a path about a mile up the other side, where we entered, and walked under a complete archway of tall rank grass extending for about three-quarters of a mile, when we came to an open forest country admirably suited for stock. Here we met a number of natives, men and women carrying fruit and vegetables in netted bags, to be bartered with the people on the other side of the river, where they had a proper marketplace and three or four tribes met on certain days for exchange of goods, which arc mostly food and fruit; those who are badly off, barter ornaments or war implements for food. On seeing me the people got greatly excited, as I was the first European they had seen, but they soon became calm, and most of the men conducted us to their village, Nauea, and on entering this village the inhabitants raised their voices to the highest note in astonishment at seeing such a party carrying articles incomprehensible to them. After a formal introduction to the chief, and my name ascertained—it is always a custom amongst the Papuans to ask a stranger's name, where he comes from, where going to, and his errand amongst them—a house was placed at my disposal, and food was brought for us all. I say the house was placed at my disposal, but I feared every minute the frail structure would give way under its burden, for every available space was occupied by inquisitive natives to see the wonderful Albus man, the first one who had visited them. These people conversed at the very top of their voices; frequently my own voice was not audible, and to amuse myself while they were talking over all the wonderful things they saw of mine, I commenced to whistle, and before long found myself singing an operatic song, and the natives were as quiet as if a wonderful charm had acted upon them, with their mouths wide open, and staring at me. I had found the secret how to subdue their deafening conversation; I always applied the same means when I desired quietness, and it never failed to produce effect.
Every day, during my stay amongst them, I was requested to sit on the verandah of the house I occupied, and exhibit my white skin; it took place as near as possible between 4 and 5 p.m.; at this hour the people came in from their plantations or hunting excursions, and they appeared never to get tired of looking at me, and feeling every part of the body, and to all this I had to submit with a gracious smiling face.
The Nauea village contains about 1,500 inhabitants, with fairly good houses and small enclosures where variegated plants grew. The people are of a small stature, healthy and industrious, clean and orderly, well fed, and mostly of a light colour, even as light as many half castes of a Tahitian origin, with bright intelligent faces. Tattooing was not much practised, and the string used by the natives at Port Moresby and in the Astrolabe ranges is dispensed with here and replaced by a wide fibre cloth fastened like a suspender at the back, terminating in a long pendant ribbon-like tail. The women wear a short petticoat dyed black, and seldom more than one, but at Port Moresby, Hulu, Kerepunu, and other places the women generally wear two or three; at every house I saw hammocks made of bark cord, on the same principle as our European hammocks.
I stayed at Nauea for several days, and explored the locality, and found it most valuable for pastoral and agricultural purposes. It will no doubt in time to come play an important part as a European settlement, and I have every reason to suppose the climate is salubrious, as all the people here looked exceptionally healthy.
There is one thing about the Papuan all over New Guinea that I am sorry I cannot record favourably on, that is, their statements and promises cannot be relied upon. When it came to the day of my departure to proceed on my journey towards Mount Yule—from Nauea about two days' march—here also I was refused assistance, on the ground that the Nauea people feared that the mountain people would kill me; but on investigation I found it was nothing but jealousy of my trade, as they did not wish it to pass into the hands of other tribes. Notwithstanding my remonstrances, I could not induce them to take me beyond their own district, and I with sorrow and dismay had to return to the coast, and leave Mount Yule unexplored for the present by me.
The Nauea natives gave many interesting narratives relating to the people on the other side of Mount Yule, such as the existence of a tribe with long tails. The natives in the Astrolabe ranges have the same story about Mount Owen Stanley; although I did not attach much importance to these wonderful tales, what I saw and heard greatly stimulated my desire to visit Mount Yule.
In reference to the Hilda River, whether it will be of any practical navigable service to future settlers is more than I can say. The natives say the river always contains plenty of water; at the time of my visit the wet season had already set in, and the river banks were overflowing, with a strong current which prevented my progress; but as far as I ascended the stream, it was not less than two chains wide, and in some places much more, and with almost perpendicular banks. The Hilda river flows into the Ethel river near the coast, and empties itself into the sea.
I am of opinion that the Hilda derives its source from the interior, immediately at the back of Mount Yule, and as the western side of the mountain terminates very abruptly, and apparently almost forms a perpendicular wall, I do believe the river has its source under this wall, or within a short distance of it. If this be correct, and the river proves navigable at all seasons of the year, it will be a most important route for future explorers, as this route would bring them into the centre of the south-easterly portion of the island. And as the western side of Mount Owen Stanley range gently slopes into the eastern side of Mount Yule, and forms a saddle between the two mountains, I believe from this centre the Mount Owen Stanley ranges can easily be explored, and probably from this point the summit of the mountain itself can be reached.
As it appears to me that Mount Yule terminates very abruptly when it meets the Hilda river, I have every reason to think my supposition is correct, and from that point a vast extent of level country extends in a north-westerly course for many miles, and will, beyond doubt, eventually be one of the localities for European settlements.
In retracing my steps to the coast, I passed through several villages, and was astonished to find a number of fowls cooped up in true European style; the birds are merely kept for the feathers of the male, which are particularly bright and used for ornaments; they are similar to the Malay fowls, with the exception of being a shade bigger.
On my return to Maiva I again stayed there a few days, and made a small collection of botanical specimens. The Maiva district is dry, consisting of a series of hills, up to 600 feet above sea level, with slate and ironstone; the vegetation is mostly a stunted eucalypti growth, and the natives are compelled to have their plantations in the valleys where there is more moisture and shelter for the fruit trees and vegetables. I found several quartz pebbles of a very good quality, water-worn, which in all probability had been washed down from the hills. The natives used large brilliant crystals as charms when hunting or courting; these crystals were found in the Maiva district.
On the hills, a mile from the village, I discovered in calcareous beds a number of marine fossils of a recent formation, I venture to think that gold will also be discovered in the Maiva district, but in what quantity I do not venture to predict.
The Maiva district has a large population with apparently abundance of food of every description. The people are kind and friendly disposed towards strangers, and intelligent; the men are full of conceit, and pay great attention to their scanty attire. Many of them are handsome, and have an aristocratic bearing. The women, who have sharp masculine features, and much tattooed, are less pleasing than the men.
The marriage custom at Maiva, unlike all the places I have seen in New Guinea, where, when a woman is married, she is deprived of all her hair and ornaments, differs in this that she retains them at Maiva, being allowed to keep her pretty hair. As a young girl she is tattooed all over her body, with the exception of her face, which is left to be alone when she is married, to indicate that the woman has entered into the matrimonial union. At the marriage ceremony the bride and bridegroom are dressed in their best, ornamented with feathers, shells, and bright foliage plants; friends and relatives are invited, all giving presents, chiefly food. After the feasting is at an end, the marriage ceremony is considered legal, and the young couple are left to struggle for themselves. Each wife is bought from the parents, or from relatives, should the girl's parents be dead. The payment usually consists of pigs, food, and ornaments, tomahawks, and pearl shells, with calico, beads, &c., if any articles of European manufacture have found their way to the villages; but the pig is on no account omitted.
It is of frequent occurrence that the lady leaves her husband three or four times during life, and vice versa in each case always taking a fresh partner. At each such mishap cocoa-nut trees and vegetable gardens belonging to the peccant wife or husband, as the case may be, or co-respondent, are destroyed by the injured party, a severe fight being usually the result. I saw in Maiva many marks of the infringement of the marriage law, such as half the trunk of a beautiful cocoa-nut palm standing as a monument of the unlawful event.
The only drawback to Maiva ever becoming a European Settlement is the heavy surf on the coast, which makes it very difficult to effect a landing even with a canoe, but I dare say when Europeans are allowed to settle in New Guinea, and should Maiva ever become a European Settlement, civilization will devise some means of approaching it.
Motu-Motu is situated on the eastern bank at the entrance of Williams River, in longitude 146° 9' east, and latitude 8° 13' south; the district is an immense extent of sago country, very humid, and beyond doubt the fever-bed of New Guinea.
The population here I should estimate at 1,500; the people are as a rule of tall stature, well built, and in good condition, as here is no lack of food; considering the humidity of the district they keep in excellent health. Smallpox has at some time or other visited this district, as unmistakable evidences show on middle-aged men who say they had a great sickness when they were boys, and many people died.
These people have many interesting customs; for instance, at a certain time of the year, usually September and October, when vegetables are abundant, youths are sent into the Elamos, or sacred houses, as Mr. Chalmers calls them, but this word is a misnomer, as my readers will see further on. The youths having reached the age of fourteen or fifteen, all the hair is shaved off their heads. On the day of their entering the Elamo all the people feast on pigs, yams, taros, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, cocoa-nuts, and betel-nuts, &c. All this food is collected and placed in huge heaps outside each Elamo where a boy or several is to be imprisoned, as I call it; it is distributed amongst the people, then cooked and consumed; singing and dancing follow. These boys remain in the Elamo for eight or nine months, or until such time as the hair is completely grown over the head, so that when they marry—which they are at liberty to do when they come out—it can be tied in a mop at the back of the head. All the time they remain in the Elamo they are allowed to communicate with none but men, who bring them food, &c. They take outdoor exercise at night, as they must avoid all contact with women, and not even be seen by old or young, sister or mother. When the hair is grown to the required length they are set free; they are then considered men, and allowed to take part in matters concerning the tribe.
The Elamos, it is said, are sacred houses, but I am sorry to say these people have nothing sacred; all married and single men sleep in these so-called sacred houses; here they gossip, eat, drink, and create mischief of every description. If a sanctuary is used for such debasing work it cannot justly be called a sanctuary. Death sentences have been passed upon many innocent men from these so-called sacred houses.
I said married men slept in the Elamos; yes, this is rather a peculiar custom in the matrimonial union amongst these people; every night the husband leaves his wife and family and betakes himself to the house of mischief, there to sleep. Not unfrequently when the husband leaves his wife in the evening, some single man will go to the wife, give the name of her husband, and have a little love adventure—the readers will wonder how this can be done, but it is easy enough, as there is no light in the houses; sometimes the woman will find out the mistake and give alarm, and the intruder will find himself in a serious trouble, which frequently is fatal to him.
The images of birds, fishes, pigs, and men are kept in these houses only as ornaments, as these people acknowledge no deities.
On the whole these people are very egotistic, and not easy to deal with; they are by nature rowdy and quarrelsome, and were at one time considered the warriors of the coast; and even at the time when Messrs. Lawes and Chalmers took up their residence at Port Moresby, they threatened to go and fight them. And for my own part I have not met a more selfish lot of people than the Motu-Motuans. The Aroma and Motu-Motu people are certainly the most noisy folks I have met in New Guinea as yet, and my wife has named them the Irish of New Guinea. They will receive strangers very kindly, but this is policy, as they know strangers are generally liberal with their tobacco, &c.; but were the young people taken in hand and taught what is right and wrong—for at present they don't know what is right, except from their own point of view—they could be made a useful people; they possess intelligence, and are quick of comprehension. They are independent, because nature is kind to them; they need not worry for to-morrow, and when their larder is exhausted they need only to go into the bush, cut down a sago tree, which will supply a family with food for weeks; cocoa-nuts they also have in abundance, and on the whole the Papuans are the happiest people on earth, the country supplies them with all their wants, without much exertion on their part; poor mortals in civilization have to toil and struggle all their life long, and in most cases only for a miserable existence. The savage is indolent, blood-thirsty, and in every way opposed to the moral laws laid down for the guidance of humanity, yet the Creator provides more readily for the savage in New Guinea than for the civilized man.
BRITISH NEW GUINEA.
REPORT ON BRITISH NEW GUINEA, FROM DATA AND NOTES BY
THE LATE SIR PETER SCRATCHLEY, HER MAJESTY'S
MR. G. SEYMOUR FORT,
Private Secretary to the late
SIR PETER SCRATCHLEY, R.E., K.C.M.G.
PRESENTED TO BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY'S COMMAND.
* * *
BRITISH NEW GUINEA.
Report by G. Seymour Fort.
A record of places visited, proceedings taken in connection with the erection of buildings, purchases of land, judicial matters, &c., judicial proceedings, and other administrative matters.
Statement of the existing state of the country, the character of the natives, their system of land tenure, resources—actual and potential, &c.
The views of the late Sir Peter Scratchley with regard to the present political position which British New Guinea occupies in the Anglo-Australia System—also his views with regard to its future position and future administration.
Sir Peter Scratchley arrived in Melbourne at the end of the year 1884. Before, however, he was able to proceed to New Guinea, two main questions had to be settled—
(1) To find a suitable vessel in which to go to, and remain on, the New Guinea coast:
(2) To arrange with the various Australasian colonies with regard to the present and future contributions towards the expenses of administering the Protected Territory. In order to settle this latter question. Sir Peter Scratchley visited the colonies of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, and New Zealand, and personally interviewed their respective Ministers. Ho also met and interviewed the Premier of South Australia. The purport of the replies from these colonies with regard to this point was to the effect that they would continue to contribute their respective quotas for periods varying from two to five years, on the condition that a certain share in the expenditure should be borne by the Imperial Government.
The difficulty and delay in obtaining a suitable vessel for service on the New Guinea coast was intensified by the threatened rupture between England and Russia, which was imminent during the months of March and April of that year. Early in January, 1885, Sir Peter Scratchley had gone to Sydney, and while there the Government had offered to place H.M.C.S. "Wolverene" at his disposal for service on the New Guinea coast for six months. This offer was accepted, and the vessel was placed in charge of Captain Taylor, who was instructed to carry out the necessary refittings and repairs. In the meantime, Sir Peter went to Tasmania, and not long after his return to Melbourne from that colony the threatened rupture with Russia appeared so imminent that he felt it his duty to resign the "Wolverene" and place her again at the disposal of the New South Wales Government. For a considerable period after this his time and attention were devoted to the defences of the various colonies. As soon as the alarm with regard to the danger to be apprehended from Russia had somewhat subsided, he advertised for tenders for the chartering of a steamer for service on the New Guinea coast. Twenty answers were received, but the prices asked by the majority of the tenderers were so exorbitant as to leave only one or two to choose from. After considerable trouble and deliberation, Sir Peter Scratchley accepted the tender of the Australasian Steam Navigation Company for the s.s. "Governor Blackall," and in July she was laid up in Sydney for the purpose of refitting and preparing for her work on the coast of New Guinea. In the meantime, at the request of the Governments of Queensland and New Zealand, Sir Peter Scratchley visited those colonies for the purpose of conferring with the Ministers on the subject of his mission.
By the end of July, the "Governor Blackall" was ready, but, owing to his illness. Sir Peter Scratchley was unable to start until the middle of August. On the 13th of that month the "Governor Blackall" left Sydney, and, after calling at Brisbane, Townsville, and Cooktown, arrived at Port Moresby on the 22nd August.
After arrival of Sir Peter Scratchley in New Guinea, his time may be divided into three periods:—
(I.) From 28th August to 12th October, during which period he was engaged in establishing the seat of Government at Port Moresby, and in inspecting the country from Port Moresby to South Cape and Dinner Island. Redscar Bay was visited, and an expedition made inland, for about twelve miles, to the Kabadi district. The following places along the coast were also visited:—Bootless Inlet, Tupuselei, Kailee, Kapakapa, Hula, Kemp, Walsh River, Kerupunu, Kalo, Aroma, South Cape, Teste Island, and Dinner Island. From each of these places expeditions were made inland, in some cases penetrating to the interior to the distance of fourteen miles.
(II.) Period from 12th to 30th October. During this period. Sir Peter Scratchley, in company with H.M.S. "Diamond" and "Raven" who were awaiting his arrival at Dinner Island, was engaged in investigations concerning the killing of white men, which had occurred among the islands on the South and South-East Coast, in the Louisiade Archipelago, &c. The following cases were investigated:—The killing of Captain Miller, at Normanby Island, on the 3rd of that month; the killing of Reid, at Slade Island, Engineer Group; the killing of Captain Friar, at Moresby Island; the killing of Bob Lumse, at Hayter Island; the killing of Captain Webb, in the previous year, at Milport Bay; the attack on the schooner "Wild Duck," in Cloudy Bay, in June, 1884. For the purpose of obtaining evidence, the following islands were visited:—Killerton Island and the main land in Milne Bay, Dufaure Island, Lydia and Toulon Islands. On the 29th, the vessels returned to Aroma, where the flag was hoisted, in the presence of about 2,000 natives; and on the 31st they returned to Port Moresby.
(III.) From 1st November to 1st December—a period of exploration and discovery. On the 1st November, the "Governor Blackall" was sent back to Australia, in consequence of the dangerous illness of Mr. Askwith, serving on staff, and Sir Peter Scratchley remained on shore at Port Moresby for twelve days, making an expedition 50 miles inland to Mr. Forbes' station, at the base of Mount Owen Stanley. After the return of the "Governor Blackall," he went to Hula, and, on the 15th, held a Court of Inquiry on the conduct of two white men. On the 19th, ho proceeded to Discovery Bay, in Milne Bay, exploring on the way a hitherto unknown river on the north-east portion of the bay. On the following day, the "Governor Blackall" was taken into hitherto unsurveyed waters, at the head of the bay, to a place called Maivara. From here the vessel went to Bentley Bay, the most southerly point on the North-East Coast, calling on her way at Killerton Island, from which place an expedition was made across the hills, extending from Milne Bay to Bentley Bay, through a country which was reported to be teeming with hostile natives, who were, however, found to be most friendly. From Bentley Bay the vessel cruised along the North-East Coast to Mitre Rock, which forms the boundary of the English territory on the North-East Coast. Mitre Rock was reached on the 25th November. From this point, owing to the illness of Sir Peter Scratchley, the vessel steamed direct to Australia, calling at Dinner Island and South Cape on the way, arriving at Cooktown on the 1st December.
Two important results are to be noted:—
(1) The practical knowledge gained of the country, the natives, and their environment.
(2) The friendly relations opened up everywhere with the natives. With regard to the first point, at each place visited a record was kept of the name of the district and its chief; the approximate number of villages and population; the native teachers resident; the character of the natives, climate and nature of the soil; the natural products and industries, &c.; and any incidents of importance. Each of these points will be dealt with in a subsequent part of the Report.
With reference to the opening up communication with the natives—at each place, wherever possible, the chiefs were collected, presents made, and the intention of the Government and its wish to protect black and white alike explained. The chiefs were told that all complaints against white men were to be made to H. M. Special Commissioner or his representative, who would constantly patrol the coast; that no chief was to take the law into his own hands; that tribal warfare was to be discouraged; and the absolute authority of one chief to be recognised. The position of the native teacher, as exercising a beneficial influence, was also everywhere recognised.
On arrival in New Guinea the subjects demanding immediate attention were—(1) The appointment of officers; (2) The establishment of a seat of Government; (3) The purchasing of land from the natives; (4) The erection of a house for the Government Resident.
Captain Musgrave, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, was placed in charge and entrusted with the administration of affairs for the district, extending from Yule Island to Hood Bay. The Honourable J. Douglas, who was Government Resident at Thursday Island, was also appointed Assistant Deputy Commissioner for the purpose of exercising control over the western portion of the protected territory. Mr. Frank Lawes was appointed Postmaster, Harbour-master, and Clerk to Captain Musgrave. Two brothers, by name Hunter, of considerable practical experience in New Guinea, were also taken into Government employ—the one to act as forester and inspector of the timber trade, the other to inspect the bêche-de-mer industry.
Port Moresby was established as the seat of Government, and the sole port of entry. The reasons for this selection were—(1) because it was the only place where any permanent attempt at civilization had been made; (2) because of its comparative healthiness; (3) its vicinity and easy access, especially for sailing vessels, to Cooktown, and a telegraph station.
A considerable area of land, comprising the best sites in the harbour and nearly the whole of the frontage to the sea, was, with but small difficulty, purchased from the natives. In summoning together the claimants for this land, and in obtaining their assent to parting with their property in perpetuo, and thus securing a sound title for the Government, the assistance rendered by the Mission was invaluable. A portion of this was set aside for Government buildings; part was reserved as a site for a future township, and a portion was also to be held as a native reserve.
Previous to the arrival of Sir Peter Scratchley at Port Moresby, the only houses were those belonging to the Mission and to a storekeeper of the name of Goldie. Consequently, all Government officials, and to a large extent all visitors also, were dependent upon the hospitality of the Mission for board and lodging. A site was, however, carefully selected by Sir Peter, on which a large two-roomed house, which had been ordered at Townsville, was erected. This is at present occupied by Captain Musgrave, and is the only Government residence in the island. By means of pipes laid on from a natural spring, the house as well as the native village below, is amply supplied with water. A prison was also in the course of erection, and Captain Musgrave was instructed to collect materials for the building of a native bungalow. A small printing-office was also established, and Regulations were printed, copies of which were sent to as many white traders as possible, and to the native teachers in each district.
Boevagi, the chief of the village, was formally recognised as chief of the district. He was instructed to refer all complaints, whether of a tribal nature or against white men, to the Special Commissioner. Twenty-five of the sub-chiefs of the district were summoned on board the "Governor Blackall," were presented with presents, and were told by Sir Peter Scratchley—firstly, that they were to regard the white man as their friend, whose presence would be to their advantage; secondly, that they were to regard Boevagi as their chief, to whom they were to refer to in all cases requiring arbitration.
In addition to the land at Port Moresby purchased by the Government, a large tract of land, comprising nearly one half of Stacey Island, was purchased at South Capo. In this case, the transaction was simplified by the fact that there was only one owner, and that the rest of the tribe recognised his individual right to dispose of the land. No title deeds were drawn up, nor did the seller attach his name to any document; a statement was signed by the Rev. J, Chalmers, the native interpreter, and others, to the effect that the native (Pusa) had a solo right to the land, that he had parted with it voluntarily, and that he and the tribe were satisfied with the payment given—about £5 worth of trade. These were the only purchases of land made.
Owing to the somewhat unstable and unique relationship that the Imperial and Colonial Governments had occupied with regard to New Guinea, several Europeans had gone through the form of purchasing land from the natives. Two classes of claimants to land were dealt with—those who based their claims on purchases made prior to the proclamation of the Protectorate; those who claimed a prescriptive right to lease lands, on the ground of occupancy or original exploration.
Of the first class, a claim to about 700 acres of land at Port Moresby in 1878, and a claim to 15,000 acres of land alleged to have been purchased in the Kabadi district in 1880, were the most important. Although, under paragraph No. 6 in Commodore Erskine's Proclamation of November, 1884, these claims had no legal basis whatever, yet as there might be special cases, where individuals might in equity appear entitled to consideration, each case was thoroughly investigated by Sir Peter Scratchley.
In the first case, the original purchase had been made in July, 1878; the original purchaser, who had been master of a trading vessel, had died and had assigned his claims to the present claimant, who now claimed about 500 acres of peninsula headland, and two other allotments of about 100 acres each, these two being comprised in the land purchased by the Government as a native reserve. In the purchase of these it was alleged that £600 had been spent. After careful inquiry, it was made clear that certain transactions had taken place, and that certain natives had signed their names to these transactions. It was, however, made equally clear that, putting the trade at its highest figure, not more than £8 was given to the natives for the land.
The claim was refused on the following grounds:—
(a) Under Commodore Erskine's Proclamation it had no legal basis.
(b) Neither of the parties to the transaction had any legal or official authority.
(c) There was no reason shown why in equity any consideration should be given.
As the land in the Kabadi district was stated to be very fertile, the area claimed extensive, and the claim already possessed an official history, a special expedition was made for the purpose of investigation.
This claim was refused on the following grounds:—
(a) Sir Arthur Palmer's Proclamation.
(b) Commodore Erskine's Proclamation.
(c) There was no reason shown why in equity the claim should be recognized.
In support of this last cause, Sir Peter Scratchley wrote: "I have ascertained, by inquiries on the spot, that the purchase of the land was not completed by you or your late partner, and that your negotiations for the land have at no time been acknowledged by the chief of the district."
I may state that one of the partners has voluntarily retired from his alleged claim—the other still importunes the Government on the subject.
The applications for leases were based on the grounds of occupancy or original exploration. They were all temporarily shelved or refused until the places had been visited by Sir Peter Scratchley or one of his officers.
The following applications for concessions of land were recorded:—
(1.) From a firm in Australia, on behalf of a German Company, for the purpose of establishing trading stations.—This application was referred to the Imperial Government.
(2.) From the New Guinea Land and Emigration Company in London, to which the following reply was returned by Sir Peter Scratchley:—"Being anxious to assist in every way the enterprise of persons desirous of developing the resources of the British portion of the island, I regret to state that the project, as laid before me in your prospectus, is altogether unworkable and premature."
(3.) From a New Guinea trader, in order to enable him to start a company for the development of native industries.—The correspondence in reference to this application was never completed.
Permissive occupancy of Government land, for the purpose of erecting a house and store, was granted to two traders at Port Moresby, and also at South Cape.
Permission was granted to Mr. H. O. Forbes, who has a station at Sogere, about 50 miles inland from Port Moresby, to purchase land from the natives in that district.
A registration of claimants to land or to leaseholds, on the same plan as that adopted in Fiji, was in the course of compilation. As soon as this had been completed, the claims of those persons who had expended money in the purchase of land, or who had worked and cultivated land on terms of agreement with the natives or otherwise, would have received prior consideration as against all subsequent requests to lease or purchase.
In addition to the claimants already mentioned, there are others whose claims date back for some years, who arc only waiting the result of test cases before they take any action.
As it was found that no vessel would undertake the conveyance of a monthly mail to Port Moresby at an economical rate, it was considered necessary to abandon, for the present, the project of a monthly mail service. The Queensland Post Office authorities agreed, however, to regard New Guinea in the same light as an isolated station in Queensland. That is to say, letters posted in New Guinea, and bearing a Queensland stamp, would be charged Queensland rates; while all letters addressed to New Guinea would be forwarded to Cooktown; and would there await the departure of any vessel that might be returning to New Guinea, no extra charge being made for their transference from Cooktown to their destination. The Queensland Government were also good enough to allow the Auditor-General to make a half-yearly audit of the accounts. Official notices with regard to New Guinea were also, by the courtesy of His Excellency the Governor and the Premier, allowed to be inserted in the Queensland "Government Gazette."
As, in Sir Peter Scratchley's opinion, the indiscriminate influx of adventurers and speculators would be to the disadvantage of the country, no person was allowed to go to New Guinea without a permit. Several permits to trade were granted to private companies and individuals; but it is a significant fact that, although the requests for these permits were very urgent, yet in the majority of cases the applicants did not avail themselves of them when granted. Each permit was granted subject to the observance of conditions. The customs officer, both at Townsville and Cooktown, was authorized by the Queensland Government to prevent any vessel without a permit from clearing from either of the above-named ports.
It was a prominent item in Sir Peter Scratchley's policy to encourage as much as possible explorations, conducted upon a proper footing and under recognised leaders. Many persons applied for permits to explore who were totally unfit to do so, and whose attempt, had permits been granted them, would have been ruin to themselves, and would have made a breach in the relations with the natives which it might have taken years to heal. The following remarks on this question appear in his note book:—"All explorations must be methodical and systematic. No time must be fixed for the return of the exploring party, which should be composed of as few members as possible. No exploring party should act independently of the Government."
The two most important explorations undertaken during Sir Peter Scratchley's administration were—
(1.) The expedition of the Australasian Geographical Society, under Captain Everill. The whole history of this expedition is so well known that remark is unnecessary.
(2.) Mr. H. O. Forbes, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, arrived in Australia in August, and accompanied Sir Peter Scratchley in the s.s. "Governor Blackall" to New Guinea. His object is to explore the Owen Stanley Range. For this purpose he has established himself, with 25 Malays, at a station at the base of the mountain, and has opened up friendly relations not only with the natives immediately around him, but also far back into the interior. Early in the dry season he will attempt the ascent of the mountain. In the meantime, he is engaged in making observations and collecting Botanical and Natural History specimens. He will eventually furnish the Government with a Geological Report upon the country through which he passes. In order to assist him in his operations. Sir Peter Scratchley has authorized him to purchase land from the natives, for the purpose of introducing the cultivation of rice and maize, and a considerable amount of the former, for seed purposes, was ordered from Batavia. Sir Peter also furnished him with a large number of seeds for the purpose of forming a Government garden. It had also been the intention of Sir Peter Scratchley to have granted him from the Government funds a considerable sum of money to enable him to continue his operations after his ascent of the mountain. His long experience in dealing with natives, the accurate records kept by him of the natural features and natural products of the country, render his work as an explorer of exceptional value in adding to the knowledge of the country.
(3.) An application was made from the Mayor of Townsville for a permit to be granted to a gold prospecting expedition to visit the country. This was granted, and Sir Peter Scratchley promised to instruct his officers to assist the expedition in every way possible. It was, however, pointed out that it would not be advisable for the expedition to start until the end of the rainy reason.
During his cruise along the coast, many instances of strained relationships existing between the trading whites and the natives were brought under Sir Peter Scratchley's notice.
The most important complaint made by natives against white men was a
charge brought by Renaki, chief of Hula, against two white men, by name Guise and Currie. These two men had been resident in that district for some time, and the chief had made a complaint to Mr. Romilly about them in December, 1884. He complained that, although they were resident in the district, they followed no trade; that they were in the habit of systematically violating the young women of the tribe; and, what appeared to be the chief cause of his complaint, of violating the married women also. He further informed Mr. Romilly that they had spoken disrespectfully of the Commodore. Acting upon this complaint, Mr. Romilly requested the captain of H.M.S. "Swinger" to deport the men from Hula. This was done, and they were taken in that vessel to Australia. They, however, again returned in a vessel which had no permit, and took up their residence at Hula. On Sir Peter Scratchley's first visit to Hula, in September, the chief Renaki made a formal complaint against these two men, and asked Sir Peter Scratchley if he was strong enough to remove them. At that time Sir Peter Scratchley was unable to remain at the village, but he promised that he would return and investigate the matter. Accordingly, when he visited Hula in November, a Court was held on board the s.s. "Governor Blackall," and the two men, Guise and Currie, were summoned by warrant to appear. The native evidence taken before the Court was not strong enough to justify their deportation under clause 26 of the Western Pacific Orders in Council, but they were proceeded against under clause 27 of those Orders, which prohibits residents in the Island from remaining there if their presence shall be considered by the Commissioner detrimental to the peace and good order of the Pacific Islands.
A few minor complaints, made against some of the traders on the coast, with reference to the prices paid for bêche-de-mer, &c., were also adjudicated upon.
The principal complaint of whites against natives was a charge of robbery with assault, committed by some of the natives at Aroma, upon a trader called Dan Rowan. This case was carefully investigated on the spot by Sir Peter Scratchley, and the native evidence taken in the matter, the result being that the chief was ordered to restore the stolen property, which was done.
Six cases of white men who had been killed during the past two years on the New Guinea Coast were investigated. The results of these investigations went to show—
(1.) That the white men killed fell into two classes:—(a) Those who were killed for their individual crimes against native laws, either immorality, as in the case of Reid, or of unfair and unjust dealing, as in the case of Bob Lurase, or, as in the case of Webb, for recklessly ignoring of tribal feuds and warfare, (l) Those who fell as victims to native superstitious ideas, and the demand for vengeance which the evils of the labour traffic had aroused, vide Frier and Miller's case.
(2.) That in every case, therefore, there was either direct or indirect aggressive provocation on the part of the whites against the blacks.
(3.) That, in the majority of cases, there was reckless disregard on the part of the murdered of warnings given. Frier refused to believe the native boy who told him the natives had determined to kill him. Miller had been warned by Captain Bridge of H.M.S. "Espiegle," and by Mr. Chalmers, not to go to Normanby Island.
So many and so various are the difficulties connected with the question of punishment, that to administer justice according to European notions for these outrages is impossible. A murder is committed, and a man-of-war proceeds to the spot. She finds that every person in the village has left, taking everything with them; by waiting a day or so, some of the men will return. They will not, however, fight—at the first sign of hostility they flee into the jungle, where to pursue them would be fatal, as for every native caught, ten white men might be speared. Should, however, the natives remain and consent to give evidence, such evidence is wholly unreliable, partly from the difficulty of interpretation and explanation, and partly also from the readiness with which, when they do understand, they will endeavour to adapt their statements to the leading idea or apparent wish of the questioner. Then, again, the native custom with regard to payment for murder, and their low estimate of human life, forms another difficulty. In the case of Miller, one of the murderers came off to the ship voluntarily, bringing his payment or wergild for the murder he had committed. He was detained on board, but to have punished him with death, in the face of his having voluntarily paid what, according to his standard of justice, was a full penalty for his deed, would have been revenge and not justice.
As a result of the experience gained by Sir Peter Scratchley during these investigations, the following conclusions wore arrived at:—
(1.) That the Government cannot be responsible for the protection of irresponsible traders, who cruise from place to place in vessels insufficiently manned, whose defenceless position, and the possession of trade which they injudiciously expose, are almost invariably a source of incitement to the natives to attack them.
(2.) That men-of-war vessels are not suited for the purpose of administering justice and punishing outrages on the New Guinea coast; that under the peculiar conditions for which they are required, they combine the least amount of efficiency with the greatest display of force.
(3.) That the most effective police would be a selected crew of Samoans or Fijians, under the charge of an English officer, who would be constantly patrolling the coast. This force could also be utilized for the prevention of tribal warfare. It would of course be necessary that the officer in charge should send in a written report of his proceedings.
The above-mentioned administrative proceedings were more or less of a provisional nature, and were incidental to what appeared to Sir Peter Scratchley to be the main object of his cruise, namely, to gain a practical insight into the actual condition of the country, in order to be able to lay before the Imperial and Colonial Governments some scheme for its administration. As it is evident, on account of the climate, that as the natural resources of New Guinea can only be developed by means of coloured labour, the distribution of the natives, both as to population and disposition, is perhaps of paramount importance. With the exception of some portions of the North-East Coast, almost the entire littoral of the Protected Territory is inhabited. In the West and North-West, from the Fly River to Hall Sound, the natives are very numerous, the tribes are large, and a higher stage of tribal development is reached than elsewhere. The soil is in some places extremely fertile, and the sago produced in this portion of the coast supplies the districts on the South-West Coast as far as Kaile.
The natives inhabiting not only the coast, but also the high lands and valleys from Port Moresby to Kerupunu, are numerous, peaceable, and show themselves willing to adopt European ideas with regard to labour, &c. This is especially the case among the fertile lands behind Kapakapa, Hula, and Kerupunu. At Aroma, Cloudy Bay, Milport Bay, and Toulon Island, the character of the natives changes; they are very numerous, their tribal organization is more complete, and their individual physique finer, but they are not to be trusted—their latent capacity for bloodshed is strong, and with difficulty restrained.
The population from South Cape to Bentley Bay and East Cape is more scattered, the villages are small and numerous, the people small in stature, and of peaceable disposition.
But little is known of the natives on the north-east coast; the few that were visited were visited during the cruise of the "Governor Blackall." Several places were visited where no white man had ever been before; although shy, the natives appeared to be friendly; in some places the villages were very large.
Most of the islands in the Louisiade Archipelago and D'Entrecasteaux Group are thickly populated; the natives are, however, treacherous, and less to be trusted than those on the mainland; in most of the islands also, as well as on the mainland from South Cape to Bentley Bay, the natives have been and are cannibals.
From what is known of the interior, the villages appear to be numerous, and the people friendly. At Mr. Forbes' station, the furthest settlement inward hitherto attempted, the natives are not only friendly, but have caused tribes living far away in the interior to become friendly also.
During his tours of inspection. Sir Peter Scratchley personally visited no fewer than 18 districts, 27 islands, 51 inland villages, and nearly 60 coast villages. Except on rare occasions, no arms were carried; and on no single occasion was the slightest hostility shown, or was there a single disturbance with the natives.
The social and political organization of the New Guinea natives is quite rudimentary. Even the tribes in the West, who are less barbarous than elsewhere, have no fully developed tribal system, such as existed in Fiji, Java, or New Zealand. On the other hand, however, nowhere arc they nomadic or so low in the scale as the Australian black.
The infinite variety of dialects to be found throughout the Protected Territory is a prominent element of difficulty in dealing with the natives, whether for trading or investigation purposes. Not only each district, but each village, has very frequently a different dialect. The Motu dialect prevails over the largest area, namely, from Port Moresby to Kapa Kapa.
Owing not improbably to the influence of the ISIalay element they have everywhere shown themselves ready to trade with Europeans, and eagerly exchange, not only natural products, pigs, Sec, but even personal ornaments, relics, house utensils, Sec, for tobacco, axes, cloth, Sec. They have also a good deal of inland trading among themselves, the inland supplying the coast tribes with food products in exchange for fish, salt, &c. In the Port Moresby district large expeditions are annually made to the Gulf of Papua for the purpose of exchanging the pottery (burnt clay pots) made at Port Moresby for the sago grown in the West. These expeditions arc undertaken in large crafts (Lakatois) made by lashing several canoes together. In those they frequently go out of sight of land, and steer by the stars. It was estimated that in one of these expeditions, which started from Port Moresby shortly after the arrival of the "Governor Blackall," 20,000 pots were taken, for which they would bring back in exchange about 150 tons of sago.
As the natives exist almost entirely upon vegetable diet—yams, bananas, &c.—they are obliged to undergo a certain amount of labour in tilling the ground. This, however, is done mainly by the women, who are not unfrequently skilful agriculturalists. The men, however, as a rule, are not industrious, and seem incapable of any systematic permanent labour. The principal food sources are bananas, yams, sweet potatoes, tare, coca-nuts, sugar-cane, bread-fruit, and other native fruits, fish, &c.
In order to render the natives more capable of self-government among themselves and useful instruments in developing the resources of the country, it will be necessary that native customs and institutions should be reformed by Government in two directions.
(1.) It will be necessary to create in each district a tribal chief, who will also be a British official. This chief will be trustee for the lands, and responsible for the conduct of the inhabitants in its district.
At present, not only in each district but in each village, there appears to be a chaos of authorities. Under the present circumstances, each man, beyond conforming to certain established customs, is a law to himself. In a single village there is not unfrequently to be found three rival chiefs, each basing his claim to chieftainship upon a different basis; there is the patriarchal chief, who is, more or less, connected by kin with all in the village; there is the man who is chief by virtue of his individual prowess in war; and there is also, perhaps, a sorcerer chief. It occasionally happened that all three attributes, or perhaps two, were centred in one chief—as, for instance, Koapena, chief of Aroma—but this is the exception, and not the rule. The remedy suggested by Sir Peter Scratchley was to introduce a modified form of the Java system, crushing out the minor chiefs, and making the Government-elected chief the recipient of a certain annual payment. He would then be held responsible for the safety of all foreigners, and for the maintenance of law and order within his district.
(2.) It will be necessary to raise the standard of native comfort, by introducing the cultivation of rice and maize.
This could be done by means of the official chief and native teachers. Its effect would be to increase the number of requirements among the natives—to give them an inducement to steady labour and systematic cultivation. Hitherto tobacco has been current coin among the natives, and only so long as they were in want of this would they work, consequently their labour could never be depended upon. At Port Moresby, however, and elsewhere, the introduction of a meal of rice, as payment for a day's work, was appreciated, and proved a far greater incentive to steady and reliable labour than tobacco.
The system of land tenure in New Guinea is generally admitted to be a complicated one. Those who have hitherto written and reported concerning it have almost without exception regarded it as an organized system of tribal ownership; but although the natural boundaries of the tribal district are always known to each member of the community, yet it seems probable that there is no idea of tribal ownership as it is generally understood.
The actual ownership of the land appears to be based upon the basis of kinship. The land is divided into divisions and subdivisions, owned by groups of individuals, who are all more or less connected by kin. The number of individuals in these groups is variable. The group may have dwindled down to one representative, or it may have indefinitely increased. Each member of this family group regards himself as having a distinct interest in the land appropriated to his kinsmen; not only, however, can no one member alienate the land without the consent of the family group, but each member lays claim to receive a share of the profits of the sale of such land. The sense of individual proprietorship is very strong, and extends to particular trees, and even to the fruit upon these trees, &c.
The position and action of the chiefs will vary in proportion to their individual influence and power. If the land to be disposed of belong to the family group, of which the district chief is also the patriarchal head, he would be the most prominent figure in any transactions with the land; but if the land in question belong to a different family group from that to which he himself belongs, and he has no voice by virtue of kinship with them, then his authority and power as district chief will, with reference to this land, be almost nothing. It is exceptional to find a chief strong enough to negotiate independently for the disposal of the land belonging oven to his own group. It is, therefore, still less common to find him negotiating with regard to land in which, from want of relationship to the owners, he has not himself any share. However vague these distinctions with regard to the interests of chiefs and of members of family groups in land may appear to Europeans, they nevertheless seem to be pretty well defined and understood by the natives themselves. As a practical illustration of the strange degrees in which various members and chiefs of tribes are interested in the tribal lauds, I may give the following:—
There was a small piece of land at Port Moresby for which thirty or forty members of a tribe alone claimed payment. These, however, were not the whole of the tribe but only a part, and their apparent right to receive the money was acquiesced in by the rest of the tribe. At South Cape, however, the independent right of one individual, and he was not a chief, to dispose of a large area of land was recognized by the whole tribe—no one, not even the chief of that tribe, putting forward any claim for payment; while again, for the land adjoining, there were many owners out of the tribe, each of whom, including the chief, would have had to receive payment in settlement for any land sold. At Kabadi, a piece of land belonged to a family group, of which the district chief was not the patriarchal head, and he was consequently, on the sale of the land, only able to veto the transaction, but could not stop the transactions in connection with the sale of the land.
Although it is probable that the confidence of the natives would best be gained by avoiding for the present any attempt to purchase land, yet this course is now hardly practicable. It is, however, evident that with all these different and conflicting interests in any one piece of land, it is absolutely necessary that there should be one recognized source and channel from which a good title could be drawn, otherwise it might be that two or three members of one of the groups might pretend to have authority to sell land to any purchaser, but in reality they would have only a small interest in the purchase-money, each of the other members of the group having an equal right to their share in it. The conditions for bringing about a war in connection with land, similar to that which occurred in New Zealand, are abundantly present in New Guinea, and unless the land transactions are controlled by Government, complications with the natives must arise. It is not easy, however, to define in what most practical and economical manner this control could be exercised. One means towards this end would be the creation of an official tribal chief, through whom theoretically the title would issue. No title would be valid without his assent, but this assent must be certified to by the Sub-Commissioner in charge of the district, and, if necessary, receive the approval of the Special Commissioner. Transactions for land, however, under a certain defined area, might, under special conditions, be made directly with the natives. Other means might also be devised on the spot for ensuring a good title to lands.
The London Mission Society commenced to work in New Guinea in 1871. In its constitution and principles it is unsectarian, but for many years it has been mainly supported by the Congregational Churches of the British Isles and Australian Colonies. The Mission districts are as follows:—(a) The Western begins at the Baxter River, embraces the Fly and the Katan Rivers, and ends at the Aird River. This is under the care of the Rev. S. McFarland and the Rev. — Scott. The head-quarters of this district are not situated on the main land but at Murray Island, where natives are instructed and sent to the coast to open Mission stations. In the institution many industrial arts are taught, and a schooner for Mission purposes has been recently launched which was built by the students under the direction of an English boat-builder. (b) The Central District begins at the Aird River and ends at Orangery Bay, having Port Moresby for its head-quarters, and the Rev. W. G. Lawes, F.R.G.S., and the Rev. J. Chalmers are at the head of this district. (c) The remaining district extends from Orangery Bay eastward, and is under the care of the Revds. — Savage and W. Sharpe.[*] At Port Moresby is a college and school, whereat native teachers are trained for the purpose of carrying out Mission work.
[* Since writing this the Rev. W. Sharpe has died from fever in New Guinea.]
There are thirty South Sea Island and ten New Guinea teachers, located at as many stations. These stations form a chain from East Cape to Maclatchie Point, and then again on the Fly River, and to the west of it. Although the whole of that coast line is not actually occupied, the gaps are being rapidly filled up. Between the two places mentioned above, there is only one gap, namely, Cloudy Bay, where the natives are not on friendly terms with the teachers. At each station the Mission teacher has a large house and a garden, also a whale boat; at the majority of stations there is also a church built. It would be impossible to define the area over which the influence both of Mr. Chalmers and Mr. Lawes as well as of the native teachers extends. One positive result of the labours of the Mission is that they have succeeded, not merely in opening up communication with the natives along nearly the entire littoral of the Protected Territory, and far into the interior as well, but, what is more important, they have inspired those natives with confidence. Had the result been reversed, and the natives rendered aggressively hostile or suspicious, none but armed bodies of men could have ventured into the interior, nor could single individuals have cruised from point to point along the coast in fair security. Under the present conditions, a single white man, unarmed, can go fifty miles into the interior from any point between Port Moresby and Hula in perfect safety.
The successful results attained by the Mission in this respect are due, partly, to the special qualifications for the work possessed by the Revs. W. G. Lawes and J. Chalmers. The former has acquired a scholarly mastery of the native language, has compiled a grammar and dictionary from an unknown language, and has organized a body of interpreters. To his efforts are due the possibility of being able to carry out investigations and enter into explanations with the natives. The latter, by his energy and enthusiasm—by his courage and tact—has not only overcome native shyness and distrust, but wherever ho has gone ho has upheld the moral superiority of the white man, and inspired even the wildest barbarians with trust and confidence.
Success is also partly due to the native teachers, who frequently, with their lives in their hands, have been pioneers to break down native superstition and distrust. They are the channels of communication between European ideas and native superstitions, and their usefulness from a political point of view is very considerable. To their devotedness and zeal is due the fact that Europeans are able to go with tolerable security into places which otherwise must have remained sealed to any but armed forces. By their means, moreover, the natives might be induced to undertake the cultivation of rice, maize, &c. They are excellent gardeners themselves, and have cultivated limes, Papua apples, pine-apples, oranges, tea, potatoes, &c.
Experience shows, that the presence among primitive barbarians of Missionaries of different sects is not infrequently the cause of political disturbances, or even civil war. This was especially the case in some of the islands in the Western Pacific, Rotumah, &c. The efforts of the Roman Catholic Mission to establish themselves in places which the London Mission Society had occupied for years, were, in Sir Peter Scratchley's opinion, upon political grounds, to be discouraged. He considered that the London Mission had, in equity, a prescriptive right within certain districts, and that the intrusion within these districts of a rival denominational sect was likely to produce trouble among the natives. Hearing, therefore, that certain Roman Catholic priests had established themselves at Yule Island, which had been previously occupied by the London Mission, he wrote to the head of the Roman Catholic Mission at Thursday Island, and pointed out the settlement on Yule Island of these priests was undesirable, and that other areas were available for their efforts. He further offered to take the priests in the s.s. "Governor Blackall" to the Louisiade group, or any other island they might desire.
There are, in all, about twenty white men now resident in New Guinea. The majority of these are traders, who are backed in a small way by merchants and firms in Australia. There are three stores at Port Moresby, and one settler has erected a sawmill. The traders, as a rule, live in their boats, but a few native houses at Hula and Killerton Island have been erected by Europeans. In consequence of the recent murders that have been committed in the islands, and the disturbed state of the natives generally on the South-East Coast, warnings were sent round to as many traders as possible.
The climate of New Guinea must doubtless be considered as one of its greatest drawbacks. In the first place, it is enervating, and Europeans are incapable during the summer of performing much continuous labour; and, secondly, the fever, which is everywhere prevalent, is of a severe character. Although all early attempts at permanent settlement, especially on the coast, must be attended with a high rate of mortality, yet it seems not improbable that there the New Guinea climate will resemble that of the north of Queensland, and that in proportion as settlement advances and the soil is worked, so the pestilential character of the climate will become modified. In breaking up land for sugar plantations in the north of Queensland, every one, Kanakas as well as Europeans, were attacked, some fatally, with fever. On the same stations fever is now almost unknown. With regard, however, to the present state of the climate in New Guinea, all that can be done is to point out some of the least unhealthy spots on the coast, such as Cornwallis Island, Port Moresby, Dinner Island, Killerton Island, Teste Island, and several places on the North-East Coast. In the interior, although fever prevails, it is not of so severe a character as that on the coast, while the atmosphere, especially on the highlands, is more bracing and invigorating.
The commencement of the seasons in New Guinea are:—Spring, September 23rd; Summer, December 21st; Autumn, March 20th; Winter, June 21st. The rainy season commences in December, and lasts with more or less fall of weather until April. The rough statistics collected with regard to the rainfall shows as follows:—
On the North-West Coast, as far as to Redscar Bay, rainfall moderate throughout the year; excessive during rainy season. Most healthy portion of the year from June to October. On the South-East Coast, from Port Moresby to Kerupunu, rainfall almost nil for sometimes six months in the year; during this season this district, especially Port Moresby, is, comparatively speaking, healthy. From Aroma to East Cape the rainfall in the summer is considerable. At South Cape the least unhealthy season is during the north-east monsoon or rainy season. On the southern portion of the North-East Coast the rainfall is apparently small. Among the islands the rainfall throughout the year is considerable, and the most unhealthy portion of the year throughout the Protected Territory is in April and May, as the floods are subsiding after the rainy season.
The whole of the Papuan Gulf may be regarded as unsafe for vessels to visit. The water is always muddy, and reefs cannot be seen. Moreover, there is little depth of water for miles from the shore, very often not more than two fathoms, and heavy rollers are constantly coming in. From Redscar Head eastwards the South Coast is skirted almost continuously by a reef, an outlier of the great Australian Barrier Reef. This reef extends from the shore, at a distance of some five to six miles, and the numerous indentations afford excellent harbours and anchorage. Along the whole of the North-East Coast, from East Cape to Mitre Rock, are numerous large harbours. The most important harbours, however, which would afford anchorage to any considerable number of vessels of a large size are Port Moresby, Orangerie Bay, Milport Bay, and South Cape. At some of these, however, landing for small boats is difficult, on account of the fringe of reef. The navigation along the whole coast is difficult, and no vessel can travel at night.
There are a large number of rivers in the Protected Territory, and the whole of it, with the exception of the district around Port Moresby, appears to be well watered. The largest rivers are those which drain the basin of the vast level region which begins on the west side of the Gulf of Papua. The largest of these rivers is the Fly River, which rises some hundreds of miles in the interior. It is supposed that many of the smaller rivers are mere branches leading into the Fly. Owing to the action of the south-west monsoon, which blows during the healthy season, the mouths of these rivers are silted up with sand and mud, and are unnavigable. This is especially the case in the Aird River, which it is only possible to enter during the north-east monsoon, or unhealthy season. On the South-East Coast the rivers are numerous, and the soils on the banks fertile. As, however, the elevated land is near the coast, they are small in comparison with those in the west. The North-East Coast appeared to be well watered, and several rivers of considerable size were seen. In Dyke Acland Bay, where there is a vast tract of level country, densely wooded, intervening between the coast and the highlands, which are very distant, the mouth of a very large river was discerned. This river was not marked on any map.
In Milne Bay, two rivers, not mentioned in any map and apparently unknown, were discovered and explored. The first river (native name Davadava) was discovered in the north-east of the Bay, and was explored for a distance of about six miles. The banks were steep and precipitous; vegetation rank; timber; depth from eight to twelve feet; small bar at its mouth, navigable for a small steamer. It is comparatively a small river, rising in the mountains near the coast. The other river (native name Hadara) was a very large one, and apparently led into the heart of the country. There were several deltas at the mouth. The land on either side was flat and the soil very rich; vegetation very tropical and in abundance; depth of river from twelve to sixteen feet. Large numbers of natives were seen; they were, however, very friendly.
Within a radius of 100 miles from Port Moresby, the wallaby is to be found in large numbers. The undulating plains which extend at the back of Port Moresby are great hunting grounds for wallaby and pigs. Outside this radius the wallaby is not found. Wild pigs are found everywhere in the Protected Territory. The cuscus, an animal resembling the Australian native bear, and a species of tree kangaroo are to be found in the southern portion of the Peninsula. These animals, together with the wallaby, are marsupials. It is supposed that monkeys exist in the interior in the west. Birds of all sorts—pigeons, duck, cassowary, birds of paradise, &c.,—are very numerous.
The mineral resources of the Protected Territory, both as to kind and quantity, are still a matter of conjecture. With regard to gold, two specimens of sand, one from the Larogi and the other from Milne Bay, have been assayed. The assay of the specimen from the Larogi River yield gold, but not in payable quantities; the results of the assay of that taken from Milne are not yet known. It is the opinion of Mr. H. O. Forbes, based upon his geological observations, that gold will not be found to the westward, but might lie among the high country in the Milne Bay district, and on the North-East Coast. Plumbago has been seen at various places along the South-West Coast. Pebbles and small fragments brought down from the interior, consisting of mica slate, quartz, sandstones, greenstone, and jasperiod rocks, show the formations there to be undistinguishable from the Silurian and Devonian series of the goldfields of New South Wales. Rocks of similar ago, with granite and gneiss, were also found.
The following industries are at the present time in operation in the country, from which a revenue could be immediately obtained:—Timber, bêche-de-mer, copra-making, pearl fishing, &c.
The glowing accounts which have appeared in the newspapers of the prospects of the timber trade in New Guinea have raised expectations of a very sanguine nature. It is true that there are large quantities of cedar and malava (species of cedar) on the banks of the rivers in the west, in the Manu-manu district, and on the Kemp, Walsh, Edith, and other rivers; but it is not generally known that a very large proportion of this timber is so small as not to be of marketable value. As large quantities of cedar had been felled before the proclamation of the Protectorate by firms in Australia, permits were granted to remove this timber, but the felling of fresh timber was prohibited until the spot had been visited by Sir Peter Scratchley or one of his officers. The wisdom of this step was shown by the fact that large numbers of young cedar trees, too small for use, had been cut down in sheer wanton waste. To prevent this for the future, a Forester was appointed, whose duty it was to prohibit the felling of timber below a certain girth. It was stated, verbally, by an agent for an Australian company who had for some years past been engaged in felling timber in New Guinea, that out of 10,000,000 superficial feet of cedar and malava fallen, only about 500,000 superficial feet were of marketable value. He further went on to state that he did not think the future prospects of the cedar trade were hopeful, and that he himself would hardly be able to recover the money he had already spent in felling and removing timber. Besides the cedar and malava, there are, however, large quantities of india-rubber trees, massoi, sandalwood, ebony, hardwood, tamonu, &c.,—especially in the district around South Cape, ebony grows in considerable quantities. Two or three large firms have invested capital in this trade in New Guinea. By one firm a number of Kanakas were employed, but hitherto no complications have arisen with the natives with regard to this industry.
Bêche-de-mer, or the sea-slug, which is an article de luxe among the Chinese, is to be found all along the coast from Port Moresby to Aroma, including Constance Island, Milport Bay, Milne Bay, Slade Island, Bentley Bay, and, it is believed, in some bays on the north-east coast. The number to be obtained, however, especially on the south-west coast, has materially decreased during the last few years. The profits are small and precarious, and a considerable amount of hardship has to be undergone in prosecuting the trade. There is also a further difficulty in some districts where the natives, through superstition, dislike handling the bêche-de-mer. It was estimated that the actual annual export in this industry amounted to about £8,000; and it was suggested that the revenue raised by a tax on this trade might eventually be considerable. The expense, however, of collecting this tax would absorb a large portion of the amount raised. It was the intention of Sir Peter Scratchley to establish a depot for this industry at Teste Island. An inspector was appointed, whose duty it was to report the number of vessels engaged, and the number of tons of fish exported. According to his estimate, there are now ten schooners occupied with this work, and the estimated amount of fish exported is about 500 tons. The persons engaged in this pursuit are, generally speaking, small irresponsible traders, who are constantly coming into collision with the natives with regard to payments, &c.
Copra is made by splitting open cocoa-nuts and drying them either artificially or in the sun. It is used in large quantities in Europe as an element in oil cake and other cattle foods. The localities at present suited for the manufacture of copra are on the south-west coast from Hula to Roma, all along the shores of Milne Bay, at Bentley Bay, and along the north-east coast as far as Dumpier Straits, and many of the Islands of the D'Entrecasteaux and Louisiade Group. At each of these places cocoa-nuts grow in abundance, and could be purchased from the natives at a low price. It would, moreover, be very easy to induce them to plant more cocoa-nut trees, which, if planted in a certain manner, would bear fruit in three years. Thus, this industry is likely to yield a considerable profit to the individuals engaged in it. In order, however, to facilitate its development, it would be necessary to have a chain of stations at various points, whereby a constant supply of nuts could be obtained. The natives show themselves willing to work in procuring the nuts, and are often found trustworthy agents, and capable of rendering a correct account of any trade left in their hands for the purpose of purchase. In consequence of the moisture of the climate at Milne Bay and surrounding islands, there would be considerable difficulty in drying the nuts in the sun. As sun-dried copra is superior to the smoke-dried copra, it has been suggested that it would be more profitable to bring the nuts to Port Moresby, to be dried there by the sun, rather than treat them by artificial means.
The seat of the pearl fishing industry has hitherto been on the western extremity of the Territory, and occasionally large amounts of pearl have been collected. Quite recently, however, a large find of pearl was made in the Louisiade Group, and it is not improbable that this industry may assume much larger proportions, especially among the islands on the East Coast.
On the well-watered valleys of the Astrolabe ranges, and on the fertile areas distributed all over the Protected Territory, the following articles, for which a market could be found in the Australian colonies, could be produced without competing with colonial industries:—Cinchona, coffee, rice, on the hills, as in Java and Timor-Laut; and on the swamps, on the north-east coast, sugar, arrowroot, cotton (which grow wild), vanilla, tobacco, &c. In course of time, the natives themselves might be taught to cultivate these, and would return the produce to the Government, a certain portion being reserved as their contribution towards the expenses of Government, and the surplus being made over to them as wages.
The following are some of the natural articles of commerce already growing in the country, and capable of forming sources of revenue in addition to the industries mentioned above:—Nutmegs, ginger, pepper, india-rubber trees (those grow to a large size in the Tabouri district), spices of all kinds, sago, hemp, tnassoi bark (largely used for medicinal purposes), cocoa-nut fibre, sandalwood, saffron canes, rattan.
In some portions of the interior it would be possible to graze sheep and cattle—these might supply a local market—but the obstacles in the way of developing purely agricultural interests in the country, on account of the difficulties of communication, would be very great.
A central range of mountains running north and south forms the backbone of the Protected Territory. The highest point in this range is supposed to be Mount Owen Stanley, 13,200 feet. Leading to the base of this central range on either side, east and west, are a series of high ranges or spurs, whose sides are covered with dense tropical forest of a virgin growth. Interspersed among these ranges are open valleys, full of rich deep soil, table lands, patches of open country covered with coarse grass, and craters evidently formed by recent volcanic action. Many of the hillsides and valleys had been cleared, fenced, and cultivated by the natives. In some cases the ranges come almost sheer to the coast; in others, as at Kabadi, &c., the intervening land between the ranges and the coast is perfectly flat and open; while, again, at other places such as Kapakapa, Hula, &c., miles of gently undulating country, well watered, with patches of forest intervening, stretch far back into the interior from the coast. The character of the vegetation, especially on the coast, and in many cases of the soil also, is entirely Australian; towards the interior, however, it becomes more tropical, both as regards its character and density.
Before any definite programme of administration for the Protected Territory can be laid down, two questions of considerable political importance must first be settled. In the first place, the status and authority of the Special Commissioner watching the Protected Territory requires to be more clearly and definitely defined, and secondly, the present political relationship of the Imperial Officer administering the country with respect to the Imperial and Colonial Governments is a wholly anomalous one, and one which apparently will not prove workable. Under the present arrangement. New Guinea forms no integral part in the Anglo-Australian System.
With reference to the first point, namely, the authority and status of the Special Commissioner, the following is the conclusion of a legal opinion obtained from the Hon. Mr. Griffith, Q.C., Queensland, given as Q.C. and not as Premier:—
"I am therefore of opinion that General Scratchley has at present no legal jurisdiction and authority of any kind, except such as he can exercise as a Deputy Commissioner for the Western Pacific; and in particular that he has no power to make any regulations having the force of law, or to impose or collect any taxes or license fees upon exports or imports, or otherwise to exercise any legislative or judicial functions in the Protectorate."
With reference to the second point, and especially the relation of the Imperial
Officer and the Australasian Governments, the following is the written opinion of
Sir Peter Scratchley:—
"A Crown Colony, with the simplest machinery for its government, will probably be the best. The judicial powers of the Governor should be such as to enable him to deal summarily with minor offences, and to remit, say to the Queensland Courts, offences of a more serious nature. Everything will, at first, be necessarily of a tentative character.
"What proportion of the expense of the cost of government will be borne by the Imperial Government? This is of paramount importance. If the whole of the expense is to be borne by the Colonies, the Imperial Government will practically have no control, and I foresee that a deadlock must eventually arise between the Imperial officer and the Australasian Governments.
"The exercise of tact, patience, and diplomacy will keep matters going for the first two or three years; but the deadlock will ultimately occur, as he will be dealing with half-a-dozen Governments, all holding more or less divergent views."
With regard also to the method of contributing, Sir Peter Scratchley writes as follows:—
"The ignorance of the intentions of the Colonial Office as to the future creates difficulties in the colonial Governments coming to an agreement with the Imperial Government on the subject of the cost of governing British Now Guinea.
"Until full information is given on all points, there is little prospect of a permanent settlement of the question, and the policy of the Australian colonies will continue to be of a hand-to-mouth character.
"The object should be to get the several Governments to propose acts of Special Appropriation to their local Parliaments, in order to permanently secure the contributions to be granted yearly to Her Majesty.
"An Act has been passed in Queensland, and, although that Government declines to increase its contribution, there is little fear of the Act being repealed.
"It is doubtful whether the other Governments will do more than vote the contribution yearly. If so, every year there will be discussions, more or less unpleasant, in the local Parliaments; and it will be difficult for the Imperial officer in charge to look ahead and establish an economical administration."
It has also been suggested that—
(1.)The payments should be made half-yearly.
(2.) The financial year should commence on 1st January instead of 1st June.
Pending the settlement of these important political questions. Sir Peter Scratchley had intended to restrain, as far as possible for the present, the indiscriminate influx of white traders until the necessary machinery for control over whites and natives had been established. In order to obtain this, he had proposed establishing a chain of Government officials at various points along the coast.
Each Sub-Commissioner would have to be provided with a house, a schooner or whaleboat, one trusty and reliable European, and a crew of Solomon Islanders or Fijians, who should all be married. The duties of the Sub-Commissioner would be—to act as port officer, health officer, &c.; to superintend all commercial transactions between natives and whites; to adjudicate on all cases arising between them and white men; to initiate the cultivation of grain for the natives; to encourage exports of natural products; to superintend and report upon all local industries; to control and advise all exploring expeditions in his district. The salary of the Sub-Commissioner should be at £400 a year. The establishment of these officers would be preparatory to, and a means of, systematically opening up the country, so that, when an influx took place, not only would it be possible to exercise control, but the lands best adapted for various industries could be at once pointed out.
After carefully considering all hydrographical, sanitary, and tribal conditions, it will perhaps be found that the best sites for these ports, which would be ports of entry, would be as follows:—Cornwallis Island, which would command the entrance to the various rivers on the Western Coast. The situation is healthy, and it is within easy communication of Thursday Island and Port Moresby. The central seat of Government would be at Port Moresby, for reasons mentioned above; and the Government Resident would have charge of that district from Hall Sound to Hula. Aroma would be another centre, extending over the Hood Bay district, and along the coast to South Capo. Dinner Island could be made another centre, to control Milne Bay, the Louisiade Archipelago, and the D'Entrecasteaux Group; while it might be found necessary to have an officer stationed at Rawden Bay, for the purpose of controlling the North-East Coast from Bentley Bay to Mitre Rock.
With regard to the natives, it had been Sir Peter Scratchley's intention to have formed depots at these ports of entry, and elsewhere, to which the natives might be induced to bring trade. Regulations would be in force at these depots controlling the prices to be paid to the natives, the method of conducting trading operations, &c.
As the area of square miles in the Protected Territory is estimated at 80,382 sq. miles, some portion of this might be handed over to a company for administrative and commercial purposes. It had been the intention of Sir Peter Scratchley to have encouraged in Australia the formation of a trading company on a basis somewhat similar to the British North Borneo Company. With regard, however, to the tenure of land by this proposed company, Sir Peter Scratchley consulted the experience of Sir F. Whittaker, whose opinion it will be pertinent to quote:—"I may say that, if the Australian Company is to be empowered to acquire and cultivate land, this would, I think, be very objectionable; in fact, would at once introduce into New Guinea all the objectionable features that have been incident to the colonization of New Zealand and Fiji, in an exaggerated form. If, on the other hand, the Australian Now Guinea Company intends only to establish trading stations on sites to be held under license from the Crown, then I think it would be of great use in promoting the interests and civilization of the inhabitants, and therefore should receive encouragement and assistance."
Referring to the statement made by the Auditor-General of Queensland, 1st February, it will be seen that the amount received for the year 1884-5 was £15,171, the actual amount expended from 1st January, 1885, to 30th January, 1886, being £15,018. Adding £500 to this for outstanding accounts, the total expenditure would amount to £15,518. It will be remembered that the amount £15,171 was the amount due from the Colonial Governments from 1st June, 1884, to 1st Juno, 1885. As the contributions for the year 1st June, 1885, to 1st June, 1886, have not yet been paid in, there is consequently a very considerable balance to the New Guinea account, and not a deficit as publicly stated.
Moreover, by referring to Sir Peter Scratchley's memorandum of 1st April, 1885, forwarded to the Governments of the Australasian colonies, it will be seen that ho divided expenditure into three heads—(a) Capital, or first cost, to be raised as a loan; (b) Estimated expenditure for the first year; (c) Annual expenditure for years subsequent. Had he lived to have carried out this classification, which was approved of by the Colonial Governments, many of the items—such as building of houses, &c.,—which, under the Auditor-General's Report, appear as annual expenditure, would have been charged to a loan or first cost account. In no way can the expenditure of the year from January, 1885, to January, 1886, be taken as the basis for future expenditure. The work done by Sir Peter Scratchley was preparatory and tentative. He states—"I consider that my duty is to examine and report upon the country for the information of the Imperial Government."
If any systematic administration of the country be attempted, the machinery of government will have to be increased, thereby involving increased expenditure both in—(a) Capital, or first cost; (b) In salaries of Government officers. The principal items under (a), or first cost, will be the building of the houses for the Sub-Commissioners along the coast, providing accommodation for native police, providing whale-boats, &c. The increased expenditure under Schedule B will be the salaries of the Sub-Commissioners and native police, the establishment of a regular mail service, &c. It can, however, be reasonably anticipated that the increased expenditure for administration will index a proportionate increased development of natural sources of revenue.
It has been confidently anticipated by those who have seen the fertility of the Protected Territory, and its capacity for producing articles of tropical growth, that it will ere long become self-supporting. Although in its present condition this, perhaps, would hardly be possible, yet the following methods of raising a revenue to defray local expenditure might be found practical and economical:—
(1.) License fees on all bêche-de-mer and pearl fishing boats. These would be registered, and have to report themselves at Port Moresby at least once a year.
(2 ) License fees for the erection of smoke huts and copra stations.
(3.) Export duties on cedar and malava, at a fixed rate for so many 100 superficial feet of timber; ad valorem duties on sandal woods and black woods. With reference to this last duty, I may mention that one timber trader alone, if he had paid on his privileges according to Queensland timber dues, would owe the Government about £2,000. The Customs officers at Cooktown and Townsville might, with the consent of the Queensland Government, be empowered to act for the New Guinea Protectorate.
(4.) Funds arising from trading licences, judicial fees, harbour dues, and leases of certain unoccupied lands.
(5.) Import duties.
(6.) Native contributions to the expenses of government. These would have to be paid in kind, and could hardly be calculated as a source of revenue for some years to come.
The question with regard to New Guinea which at present is most prominent is whether it can be made a successful outlet for capital, or, in other words, a commercial success. Before, however, considering this point, it will be necessary to recall the fact that New Guinea was primarily annexed for a strategical purpose. Its value to Australia in this respect has not been diminished by the fact that portion of the country has been ceded to Germany. Not only is the British territory nearest the Australian shores; but it contains the best climate, the finest harbours and ports, the most fertile lands, the largest rivers. The object, therefore, for which the country was primarily annexed has been obtained, and its strategical and negative value in this respect is not unfrequently lost sight of by those who only look for positive financial results.
The next point which demands attention is the responsibility which rests with the annexing powers with regard to the protection of the natives. Probably, in no country, and at no period of history, was there a more favourable opportunity for successfully adjusting the mutual interests of European and blacks than in British New Guinea. On both moral as well as politic grounds, it is essential that the natives should be protected, not only negatively from aggressive violence and usurpation on the part of the whites, but positively also from moral contamination and corruption. Regulations with regard to the introduction of spirituous liquors must not exist merely on paper—they must be strictly and rigidly enforced; and, as far as is practicable, the system of appointing teachers to official positions must be avoided. The following statement with reference to this question appears among Sir Peter Scratchley's notes:—"The only hope of making Now Guinea pay is the employment of the natives, who can, by patience and care, be trained. If they disappear, other natives will have to be imported. Putting, therefore, the protection of the natives on the lowest ground, it will be seen that it will be cheaper to preserve and educate them. New Guinea must be governed for the natives and by the natives."
The future of the country depends largely upon the attitude of the natives. If they are rendered either hostile or corrupt, then it will continue to be the hunting ground of needy adventurers or desperate speculators; if, on the other hand, they learn confidence in their rulers then settlement in many parts is possible, and the country may become the regular source of supply of tropical products to the Australian markets. On this point, therefore, the duty of the Government and the interest of the speculator coincide, and if, in the scheme for the administration of the country, the positive protection of the natives be comprehended, the introduction of European capital will materially benefit them, will create in them a useful and willing instrument, and thus be the first means towards rendering financial success ultimately possible.
Briefly to summarize the foregoing points—
(1.) Now Guinea was primarily annexed for a strategical purpose—that purpose has been obtained.
(2.) Having been annexed, it is the duty of the annexing power to protect the natives.
(3.) It is doubtful whether the country can ever be self-supporting, partly on account of the climate, and partly owing to the attitude and condition of the natives.
(4.) Nothing can be done towards systematically administering the country and developing its resources until it is made an integral part of the Anglo-Australian political system, and the position of the officer administering its Government, both with regard to the country itself, and also to the authorities to whom he is responsible, shall have have been more definitely determined.
G. SEYMOUR FORT.
March 30th, 1886.
Meeting of the Geographical Society of Australasia to receive the Official Report of Captain H. C. Everill, Leader of the Society's New Guinea Exploring Expedition.
A public meeting in connection with the New South Wales Branch of the Geographical Society of Australasia was held in the Royal Society's room, Elizabeth Street, yesterday afternoon. His Excellency the Governor presided, and in addition to a large audience of ladies and gentlemen, there were upon the platform Messrs. E. De Faur, Thompson, M.A. (Secretary to the Queensland Branch of the Society), Gerard (Hon Treasurer), Myring (Hon. Secretary), Sir Edward Strickland, K.C.B. (President), and other gentlemen. The principal business of the meeting was the hearing of an official summary of the results of the recent expedition to New Guinea, under the leadership of Captain Everill. A large sketch map of that island had been prepared, from the plottings of the explorers, by Mr. M. Gautschy, C.E., its measurement being 16 feet by 15, and the scale 4 miles to the inch, and the tracks of recent exploration parties were shown.
Lord Carrington excused himself from offering any lengthened remarks, on account of the long programme which was before him, and he called upon the Honorary Secretary, Mr. T. H. Myring, to read a paper which he had prepared, on "The aims of the Geographical Society."
Mr. Myring having read his paper, His Excellency then said he would call upon Captain Everill to read his official report of the recent expedition, which was the principal business of the meeting.
On Wednesday, June l0th, s.s. "Bonito" left Sydney in tow of the "Egmont" with part of the exploratory party on board, in charge of Mr. Hemsworth, Nautical Sub-leader, Drs. Haacke, Bernays, and Messrs. Senior and Vogan following with myself in the steamer "Wentworth." We left Sydney about 4.30 p.m. on Saturday, June 13th, the President, Sir E. Strickland, with the Administrative Council, and many of our friends being kind enough to see the last of us, and bid us God's speed. Mr. Maiden, Hon. Secretary, accompanied us to Brisbane, partly in connection with the departure of the expedition, but mainly to assist in forming a new Branch of the Society in Brisbane, which I am glad to say is now successfully formed. After a rather rough voyage we arrived in Brisbane on Tuesday the 18th instant; the only notable event on the voyage being a stoppage of some time near the wreck of the steamer "Cahors." During our short stay in Brisbane, Mr. Maiden and myself called upon such members of the Queensland Ministry as were in town. We also were fortunate enough, through the kindness of the Postmaster-General, to obtain the free use of the Government telegraphs for the transmission of news to the Society. I here found, from the Nautical Sub-leader's report, that the "Bonito" had encountered very heavy weather on her passage, and was somewhat strained by a heavy sea striking her. However, on inspecting her I found the damage was apparently not sufficient to delay her voyage, and made arrangement for a temporary repair to enable her to proceed on the morrow, thus avoiding a delay here as the steamer to Thursday Island only connects once a fortnight. Accordingly the "Bonito" left Moreton Bay at 2 p.m. on the 17th, in tow of s.s. "Wentworth." Our party with the exception of Senior (who had joined the "Bonito" at Sandgate) leaving by the s.s. "Alexandra" some hours later. I must here take the opportunity of thanking the Queensland Government for their kindness and the assistance so freely accorded us during the progress of the expedition.
From Brisbane to Cooktown we had a pleasant voyage, the "Alexandra" taking the "Bonito in tow from Townsville. At Cooktown we found the steamer "Advance," which the Queensland Government had kindly sent to convey us to the mouth of the river Aird. I saw Captain Williams the night we arrived, and found that he objected to go to the Aird, and he strongly recommended me to go elsewhere; but as my instructions did not permit my making such an alteration in the plans of the Council, I of course could not discuss the question; explaining that the Society had matured their plans and issued their instructions after considerable deliberation, and that I could not think of any deviation from the line laid down by them, unless I had the direct evidence of its impracticability from some one of local experience, which Captain Williams was unable to give me; his objections being principally founded on rumour, and not on practical experience. However, I telegraphed to the Society, but as the steamer left at daylight next morning could not get a reply. I also, on Captain Williams's request, put to paper what I had previously said.
We arrived at Thursday Island June 20th, went alongside the A. S. N. Company's hulk to coal and tranship provisions; but before doing this, in accordance with my instructions, I had the "Bonito" surveyed, and found that she required some repairs; the heavy tow, together with the high seas experienced between Sydney and Brisbane having strained her considerably. These repairs were effected under the survey of Captain Wilkie, Government Pilot, and Captain Dubbins of the "Elsca." While these repairs were proceeding, the scientific staff made what collections they could on Thursday and adjacent Islands. These collections, together with some sketches and photos, were duly forwarded to the Society before our departure, and I have learnt since our return that they were very good, some novelties having been found among them; so that it is satisfactory to know that our unavoidable detention was not time lost. While at Thursday Island I received a telegram from the President requesting me not to attempt the Aird River or to cross the Gulf of Papua. This telegram altering the whole plan of the expedition, and in fact forbidding me going eastward of the River Fly; but fortunately the Rev. Mr. M'Farlane coming to Thursday Island enabled me to obtain his valuable advice and experience; and after some consultation with him and the Hon. Mr. John Douglas, I resolved to go up the river Fly, and to take the first large branch to the eastward. Mr. M'Farlane, who was then on his way to the river Fly, kindly offering to assist me in obtaining interpreters, &c. This circumstance, together with that of Mr. Douglas who was also going to Kewei in the "Mavis," afforded us an excellent opportunity of going in company, and giving the Society the advantage of the report of a good clear start.
As a great deal has been written in the Press about our equipment of fire-arms, I may here state that the majority of the fire-arms sent by Messrs. Hoffnung and Co. to Thursday Island wore found unsuitable from various causes, and did not correspond with the copy I received from the Secretary of the President's order to that firm (the fire-arms not being selected by myself, or any opportunity of inspecting them having been given me before arrival at Thursday Island), so I called a survey on them, and such as were condemned I sent back to Sydney, and after considerable trouble, managed to replace them from Thursday Island, Cooktown, and Townsville. But when we left Thursday Island, our armament was quite complete in every respect, as per list, and Sub-leader's receipt forwarded to the Society, which I read.
List of Fire-arms.
8 Winchester repeating rifles,
6 Double-barrel fowling pieces,
1 Rook rifle,
5 Colt's improved revolvers (6 chambers),
13 Bull-dog revolvers (6 chambers),
with an abundance of cartridges and reloaders, with spare powder and shot.
These firearms were, I consider, quite sufficient for our party, consisting of twelve Europeans and twelve Malays.
The repairs, together with the difficulty of obtaining firearms, detained us on Thursday Island until July 14th; our party also here became one short—Mr. Broadbent returning to Sydney sick—and on leaving Thursday Island consisted of the following:—
Dr. Haacke, Chief Scientist (Zoology and Geology);
Dr. Bernays, M.D., and Botanist;
Mr. Hemsworth, Nautical Sub-leader;
Mr. Creagh, Land Sub-leader;
Mr. Froggart, Zoological Collector and Entomologist;
Mr. Bauerlin, Botanical Collector;
Mr. Senior, Surveyor and Explorer;
Mr. Shaw, Photographer and Explorer;
Mr. Vogan, Artist and Explorer;
Mr. M'Gechan, Engineer and Explorer;
Mr. Waddick, Seaman and Explorer;
and eleven Malays and one cook Cingalese, the Malay names being difficult to remember. Some of the most facetious of the party re-christened them by the following names, which will be found used in the narratives. Marco Polo, Barabas, Lucy, Scotch Lizzie, Anchises, Chandos, &c.
While in Thursday Island, we received every assistance from the Hon. Mr. John Douglas, and Mr. Bowden, of Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Co., was good enough to place their jetty at our disposal, besides assisting us in many other ways.
50. Fly River Explorers, Signer Luigi Maria D'Albertis, and Captain H. C. Everill (on one Plate)
We left Thursday Island; I having arranged a rendezvous with the "Mavis" and "Mary" at Missionary Pass, it was intended that the "Advance" should tow the "Bonito," but an incident prevented it. But however, we all arrived at Missionary on July 17th, excepting the "Mavis," and next morning left for the Fly in tow of the "Advance." At noon the "Advance" cast us off at the mouth of the Fly, and we proceeded under steam, following the missionary lugger "Mary," and at 4 p.m. anchored off Neboo, taking our first hold of New Guinea soil. After anchoring, found the "Mavis," which, through the kindness of the Queensland Government and the Hon. John Douglas, had taken twenty tons of coal for our use, was on the other side of the island, and we made arrangements for getting her up next day.
Neboo, the first settlement made by the missionaries, is a large, low, sandy island, with an abundance of cocoa-nut and other palms growing on it. It does not appear to contain any regular inhabitants, but the natives from the neighbouring islands and villages come periodically to collect nuts and cut the nepa palm-leaves for roofing their houses. The missionary establishment is now moved from Neboo to Kewei. The anchorage is a deep channel between two islands, where a vessel can lie in smooth water. In the river, which is very wide here, a very nasty sea and swell is constantly experienced during the south-east monsoons. We remained at Neboo until Sunday morning, July 10th, when our squadron (now consisting of the "Mavis," "Mary," "Venture," and "Bonito") went over to Kewei, which is a village situated on the north side of the channel. After anchoring there, Messrs. Douglas, MacFarlane, Captain Cater, and myself, went on shore, taking four of the "Mavis" men with us. I intended to have landed a collecting party, but it was not considered wise to do so; the old chief, Duropa, having attacked the teachers of the mission a month or so previously, with a view of making bacon or "long pig" of them, wild pigs being uncommonly scarce that season. Mr. Douglas and myself landed first, and found a few natives completely naked, grouped in front of a large house, the principal of whom was an old white-headed man, intelligent looking, to whom Mr. Douglas, with his usual good nature, immediately gave a new suit of serge clothes, and assisted him to don them. This was hardly done, when up came Mr. MacFarlane, with Captain Cater, and to our great dismay we found that we had made friends with the wrong man, and that it was the chief "cannibal himself" that we had been making "chums" with. We remained on shore the rest of the day, and walked through the villages and plantations, seeing some curious looking graves, and some remarkably fine sago palms. The natives did not strike me as being particularly friendly. We saw no women; all the houses on Duropa's side of the creek being closed up, and the men and women had gone to another village on the approach of our vessels, but I distinctly heard the voices of women in suppressed tones inside the houses.
Kewei consists of two villages, separated by a salt-water creek. The natives on the east side of the creek (which is bridged by a method peculiar to the Malay countries) being far more friendly than those on the west. There appears to be no fresh water near the village. We intended to have landed some coal here, and to have formed a depot, but the sea and surf were too heavy to attempt it, and we concluded to make the depot at Sumanti, the next large river further up, and after finishing our business here. We left Kewei for Sumanti at noon, 20th July, the "Mary" going back to Thursday Island, and the "Mavis" accompanying us. We anchored off the village about 4 p.m., and when about to land discovered that by some mistake no interpreters had been brought. Sumanti lies at the mouth of a creek, at the edge of which we saw a number of natives waving a white flag. I landed with four Europeans and four Malays of my own party, armed, and found the natives exceedingly friendly, and after distributing some presents among them returned on board. We remained here landing coal and spare stores until July 23rd, and the scientific staff collecting. We found the natives very docile and friendly on the whole, Mr. Douglas especially succeeding in gaining their friendship and I may say affection. After the departure of the "Mavis," I succeeded in obtaining the services of three Papuans, viz., Korossa, Atar, and Gesau, who have since attained considerable notoriety throughout the world. I left Sumanti the same afternoon about four hours after the "Mavis," and pushed up the river as rapidly as possible, my object being to get up the river while the party were fresh, and before sickness attacked us. We found little difficulty in getting through the islands at the north of the river, and clearly made out the passage at the north end of the Kewei, hitherto not named, and which I purpose naming Griffiths Channel; the north-west point of Kewei, C. Dickson; and keeping the whale-boat ahead sounding, we reached the main banks of the river Fly on Saturday, July 20th, naming the point to the southward, which is a good distinguishing mark, and the first point that you can get between the regular banks, Fortescue Point.
Here are two or three large villages on the south side of the river, but the water was too shallow on that side to go close in; so standing across to the north side of the river, we found a deeper channel. The right or north bank of the river here appears to form another entrance from the sea farther to the eastward. This entrance I have named the M'Ilwraith Channel, in commemoration of the first annexation of New Guinea by the M'Ilwraith Ministry. We now steamed between the main banks of this river.
The river here is wide, and there are at least two deep-water channels, but also a number of shoals and sand-banks. The trees are very high and the foliage is luxuriant. In places on the left bank are numbers of cocoa-nut and banana plantations. We also began to get among the pandanus, and a very bright green tree, commonly known as the fresh water mangrove, we saw no signs of natives on the north side, excepting a bridge across a creek. The greater portion of the country appeared very swampy, and the banks are only just out of the reach of high water. We passed on the north side two lots of red cliffs, forming small hills forty feet high. One of these corresponds with D'Alberti's Howling Place. Passing through the Fairfax Group, which is formed of small islands almost under water, very thickly wooded with high trees, we anchored for the night; next morning we proceeded up the river, meeting the same kind of scenery, low banks, covered in places with the fresh-water mangrove, and again we found the banks ten and fourteen feet high in detached and broken places, and composed of red clay. We also came across immense numbers of flying foxes.
We saw no signs of permanent houses, but the remains of temporary shelters, and the only sign of human life was a solitary canoe made fast into the bank. Animal life was well represented by black cockatoos, numerous pigeons, hornbills, small green parrots, lorrykeets, with plenty of swallows and smaller birds. The banks of the river were a little higher (in places), and had been cleared in places, now overgrown with coarse grass and bamboo, the remains of native houses. We found very deep water, seven and eight fathoms, no bottom. The weather was squally, with showers and strong south-east winds blowing. Higher up the river, as we neared the Ellengowan Island, the banks appeared covered in places with a species of long reeds or grass, of the same family as sugar-cane; and wherever these appear there is generally a mud or sand-flat extending a little way from the shore. We went round the north side of Ellengowan Island, and on getting to the west of it, saw a village on the south side, but did not stop.
Above Ellengowan Island, the birds appear to become scarcer; but in some places the trees were literally black with flying foxes, hanging like pears on a tree. The vegetation appears the same, but there are no signs of coca-nuts to be found; and from the masthead the country presents a more open appearance. The river above Ellengowan Island is not nearly so straight as it is below, it winds in almost complete circles, so that progress up country was much slower here. Alligator tracks are very numerous, the country generally low and swampy, and very few birds about. We did not see any natives for a considerable distance, until we saw a canoe round a point ahead, with some men, apparently drawing their bows. We stationed our party to act on the defensive, and held out a large table-cloth as a sign of friendship.
On rounding the point we found a large number of canoes full of men, who kept pulling ahead, close into the bank, until they entered a small creek. On both sides of the river there were a large number of low houses, roofed in a very primitive manner, and standing about four feet high; these houses were apparently abandoned by everybody excepting one man, who extended his arms, evidently to show that he was not armed, and was friendly disposed. He was black, and perfectly nude, excepting the usual shell, which the Sumautese call "We-der-ow." The creek that the canoes had entered we found connected with the river round a small grassy island. I did not stop to communicate with these natives; but as we passed them I saw several of them in the trees watching us, and when we had passed by, the canoes came out of the creek again, apparently greatly relieved at our not having molested them. We now found the country altering a great deal. The outstretching spits were now more sandy than before, and the country appeared more open; grassy plains stretching to the westward, where I could also see several lagoons inland, and to the north-west there appeared higher land thickly wooded. About 4.30 p.m. on the same day, July 28th, we came to a junction of the river, one arm going north-east and the other north-west. On the east point of this junction, where the sand spit extended, it was completely covered with large logs of drift-wood, forming, in fact, a complete timber stack. I carefully examined both branches, and finding a strong current and large logs of wood drifting down the north-east branch, determined upon ascending that river, it lying in the direction the Society wished to explore. This branch joins the Fly in latitude 7 degrees 34 minutes south, longitude 141 degrees 21 minutes east; I named this the Strickland River, in honour of Sir E. Strickland, President of the Administrative Council of this Society, and Chairman of the Melbourne Geographical Conference, at which the New Guinea Expedition was decided upon.
We upon the voyage wondered why this river was not noticed in Mr. Hargrave's notes concerning the exploration of the river Fly (vide vol. i. of the Society's proceedings), and unfortunately had no copy of D'Alberti's work with us; but since returning I have read his work on New Guinea, and find in vol. ii., page 260, that he discovered this opening, and says in his account of his third voyage:—"For half our voyage the river appeared to be of the same breadth, but after we had passed a large opening, which occurs on the right bank, in a north-easterly direction, and which I must confess I do not remember observing last year, it becomes much narrower, and runs between two banks covered with grass. I think the opening we saw to-day may be the river Alice, which, after leaving the Fly River at Snake Point, returns here. I intend on our return to explore it." (Which, however, he never did).
I may here say that, on our return, we ascended the Fly for two and a half hours twelve minutes, and found the country above the junction much as D'Albertis describes it, and the Fly taking a westerly, and even a west-south-westerly direction; and even the country on the south side of the Fly and that on the east side of the Strickland River differ greatly in my opinion. Ascending the Strickland River we stopped one day for collecting and cutting fire-wood; and proceeding upwards found the current getting much stronger, and at first we saw no signs of natives. The sand-spits became more numerous, and the sand is of a darker colour.
A little higher up we again began to pass native shelters, and some small canoes. In the bends of the river there were many large logs of drift timber stranded; also many large snags stationary in the middle of the channel, now easily kept clear of as they were in sight. Rut they would have proved very dangerous if the river had been a few feet higher. Still higher up, the banks began to rise a little, and the trees and vegetation changed. The river is constantly changing its channel; one side continually being washed away, while a bank is forming on the other; and in places the water appears to have cut a new channel, and formed comparatively large islands in the middle of the river, with the stream running on both sides. The newly-formed land is covered in some places with a short bright green grass; in others with long reeds. The red cliffs also occur again in small hillocks, 25 to 40 feet high. They are formed of red and yellow ochre; the side facing the river generally being steep, and almost perpendicular; and it appears as if the water had literally cut its way through them. The other side presents the usual flat bank, with brown alluvial soil, and is thickly wooded with forest trees. These hills occur very frequently, and wherever found the river makes a broad circuit and comes up with them again after some distance has been traversed.
We now found the native shelters and abandoned houses becoming more plentiful; and, though we saw no natives we heard them, and also heard their dogs howling. The level of the river we found to be rapidly rising, the current getting stronger, and its direction more circuitous. We continued to ascend the river, stopping in the forenoon to collect and take observations, still passing the same scenery; but the rain squalls were now left behind, and the air became clearer. At 8 a.m. on Sunday, August 2nd, on rounding a bend, a change of scenery took place; a grassy flat appearing ahead, and to the westward of us the country appeared more open from E.N.E. to S.E., and a little further up I found that the river formed a large circle, and branched to the E. S.E. and N.N.E. I kept to the easterly one, as it turned to the north a little higher up; but the other branch (which I have since named the Service River) will, I think be found to connect with the river Fly at Snake Point, opposite the junction of the Alice River—in fact that south-south-easterly branch which D'Albortis speaks of.
The river now got much more difficult to navigate, on account of the large snags in the middle of the stream. The water constantly undermining the concave bank, when the freshets come down very large portions of the bank are washed away, leaving the trees in the middle of the river, where they lodge, and in places almost form rapids. For instance, we passed close here some enormous trees grounded in 45 feet of water, and forming a fence of snags in two or three places right across the river, leaving barely room for the "Bonito" to steer between them. A few miles above Service Junction we saw some canoes full of people, who at first showed a hostile front, but, as we approached nearer, deserted their canoes and took to the jungle. I showed a white flag, and made friendly signs, but without effect, and landing a party tried to communicate but did not succeed in assuring them of our friendly intentions. I left them some presents of cloth, tomahawks, tobacco, beads, &c., and selecting some articles from their canoes, which were very full of their household goods, proceeded on our voyage. The current was now getting too strong for us to stem when burning a mixture of wood and coal, as we had been doing for some days, and we had to burn all coal to get steam enough to make headway at all. On Monday, August 3rd, our first and only serious brush with the natives occurred.
Early in the morning we saw a number of canoes on a sand-spit, and on approaching, finding some of the natives standing their ground, I took the dingy, and with two Malays, pulled for the shore, standing up in the boat with my arms outstretched to give them confidence, and to show that I was not armed. I landed, thinking that the fact of my being unarmed and distributing presents among them, would perhaps gain their friendship and confidence, but I soon found myself placed in a very critical position; the natives increasing in numbers, and coming up in full war paint, brandishing their weapons, and some of them pointing their arrows at me. In fact, the only way I prevented them from shooting was by walking towards such of them as appeared the most hostile, and assuming an unconcern which I confess I was far from feeling. I remained on shore perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes and thought myself very lucky in getting off with a whole skin.
The story of the attack afterwards made is fully written in my journal, and all I will here say of the matter is, that finding it impossible to communicate with them I steamed up the river, the natives following along the banks. On nearing the bend we saw a village which the natives made for. Seeing them hostile, I blew the steam whistle, which they did not appear to mind. They now mustered eighty to one hundred fighting men (there were only forty-six when I interviewed them on shore), and seeing them make preparations to fire I called the man in from leading, and sent the Malay off the bridge, taking the wheel myself. In less time than it takes to relate we were saluted with a perfect shower of arrows, some striking and some going over the vessel; luckily none of us being hit. I reluctantly gave the order to fire, and they were dispersed after some shots. The same afternoon we grounded on the first hard bottom we had met with in the river, and being only about four miles miles from the village, were placed in a very dangerous position.
Finding the water leaving us rapidly, with a view to meet any emergency, after landing the coal, &c., to lighten the vessel, I had a clearing made, and built the framework of a house, intending to make a permanent depot there in case of the water not rising, or in the event of anything happening to the "Bonito." The clearing was made, and the house ready fur roofing when, on August 8th, the water rose, and the "Bonito" was afloat again. Taking in the stores again as quickly as possible, we proceeded up the river. We named this reach "Douglas Bend," after the Hon. John Douglas, C.M.G. The bed of the river is here composed of hard large shingle, and the current is so rapid that it is impossible to stem it with a boat. Just above where we stranded we found a passage with only eight feet of water on it during the freshets. Proceeding onwards, the river began to get much shallower, in places giving barely water enough for the "Bonito" to steam over, and a hard shingle bottom formed the bed of the river, with no anchorage for the rest of our voyage. The red cliffs became more numerous, and increased in height as we got further up.
At 5 p.m. on August 9th, we came to a dead stop, the river dividing, and neither channel containing enough water for us. Here we remained fourteen days before the water rose and enabled us to proceed further up. During this time we explored and collected round this neighbourhood, and made an attempt to cut our way into the interior, but did not succeed in getting more than ten miles. While here, also, our three Sumantese, Korossa, Gesau, and Atau, deserted us.
As it has been stated that we were massacred in our sleep, and no watch was kept (although on whose authority I do not know), I may say that the Doctor and one Malay were on watch, and awake too when the wily Papuans left. We had established a camp some distance from the vessel, and meant to try and cut inland from there, when, on August 23rd the waters again rose, and we steamed further up. On August 24th and 25th we again cut inland in hopes of seeing the mountains, and attained a position of 250 feet high, by climbing a tree on the top of a hill, but could find no trace of highland or clear country. We proceeded further up the river, searching vainly for the mountains, until we finally grounded, on August 27th, where, as has already been related, the "Bonito" remained until October 21st. But not without incident, for on the 31st instant, the gravel washing away from under her caused a capsize, and it was only by the great exertions of the party that the provisions were landed, and most likely a great disaster averted, the capsize taking place in the middle of the night, and the vessel filling with water almost immediately.
The conduct of the party on this occasion is deserving of the highest praise. After this we housed all our stores on shore, half of us camping and half remaining on board. In the midst of our troubles we had a visit from hostile natives, who luckily were dispersed without bloodshed. After righting the "Bonito," drying and housing our stores, we again tried to cut inland, but found too many difficulties in the way to hope for any success in gaining the mountains in that way; so after two or three preliminary excursions in which we could find no definite traces of mountains or open country, I organized a boat expedition, and on September 16th, left Mr. Hemsworth in command on board the "Bonito," with the following party:—
Dr. Bernays, in charge of sick, which numbered seven.
Bauerlin, to continue his collecting.
Malays—Mandore, sick, boil and fever.
Carpenter, cut his leg half through with an axe.
Barabas, foot injured.
Anchises, fever and unsound.
Lous, cook, troubled with fever and not fit for hard work. We broke up the camp on shore, having previously built a house for the provisions under the bank where it was covered by the rifles of the "Bonito."
The whale-boat party consisted of Dr. Haacks, Messrs. Froggart, Shaw, Creagh (Sub-leader), Waddick, six Malays—the only sound ones at my disposal—and myself.
We named our station here "Observatory Bend;" it is in lat. 6° 38' 30" S. long. 142° E. Our boat contained tents, trade, instruments, Sec, and with ten days' provisions, twelve men, sails, awning, &c., was fully laden, in fact too crowded for convenience. It being my intention to try and discover the position of the mountains, and failing to do that to ascend the river as far as possible.
Accordingly we proceeded on the morning of the IGth, sometimes using the oars in the slack water reaches, but mostly six or eight hands wading through the water tracking or towing the boat with a rope over the sharp stones. We frequently had to cross and recross the river, sometimes to cut away snags to get the boat through, the river becoming more difficult if possible every mile we ascended; even if the "Bonito" had not been stranded she could not have got two miles further up the river. The Red Hills becoming more frequent and rising in altitude as we ascended, but still of the same formation, excepting that the lower strata is very much honeycombed and of a duller colour.
The birds were represented by parrots, hornbills, many and various descriptions of pigeons, including the Goura or crested pigeon, night herons, eaglets, swifts, swallows, cockatoos white and black, many varieties of king-fishers and king-hunters, small insect and honey-eating birds, cassowaries, oriels, and occasionally we have heard the note of the bird of Paradise. We had not yet seen any four-footed animals in New Guinea, and only tracks of pigs, and some which we afterwards found to be those of bandicoots and rats. There were many tracks of alligators, which caused us considerable anxiety, as our men were in the water fully three-quarters of the day. Also, we found many tracks of river turtle, but although we frequently tried the river with fishing-lines we caught nothing, and even by dynamiting all the likely places we only got a few cat-fish and some smaller species resembling minnows.
There were many descriptions of non-edible wild fruits, including a large variety of figs, a species of broad-fruit just fruiting, which afterwards proved an excellent article of food; the sago palm appears to nourish everywhere about here, as we found it in more or less quantities throughout our journey. Tree ferns also began to get plentiful; but I leave the details of these important subjects to be treated by the special scientists who accompanied the Expedition, and to proceed on our journey.
The river must have been unusually low even for the dry season when we ascended it, and is very noticeable here from the immense gravel wastes or circuit of shingle and stone that was now exposed to view from the low state of the water; in places there being a distance of 1 to 2 miles between the banks proper of the river; the intervening space being filled with the dry beds of the river, and small islands formed by the deposits of sand and silt, some of those islands being thickly wooded. In another place the river runs between two stacks or neatly piled heaps of large stone or shingle, as level and neatly stacked as if placed by hand, and in these places, nearly always forming a rapid, the water rising its level very fast, that sometimes on looking over the narrow ledge we were tracking the boat along we found the water to be 10 and 12 feet lower than where our boat was floating, giving it the appearance of a lock-gate only being parallel with the river instead of crossing it. This is of course caused by the channel being blocked or blind, and the water having the same level as the lower water-level of the rapid. In some places these rapids were very difficult of ascent.[*]
[* N-B.—We always had to get into the water, and drag and carry the boat over.]
One place notably, we were twelve of us one hour and twenty minutes in the water holding on to the boat, scarcely gaining anything, the stones shifting and washing away from under our feet with such force that sometimes the bow of the boat was afloat and the stern high and dry with the force of the current washing or wedging the stones under her. It was only with the utmost difficulty that we could prevent the boat from obtaining the mastery: for the bow to have moved round one point of the compass meant to us the loss of arms, ammunition, food, boat, and everything else, and this at a distance of 70 miles from the depot was at least serious.
The ascent in the whale-boat proved very trying work to the party, made as it was under a tropical sun directly overhead, our latitude and the sun's declination being almost approximate. These gravel wastes or circles form natural reservoirs, and during the rainy season are of course full of water, and must form quite lakes or lagoons whenever freshets come down the river. We ascended thus for seven days without much change of scenery, during which time we saw no natives, but passed plenty of shelters, and occasionally the recent foot-prints of small parties, and although the red hills got higher as we ascended, they still kept the east side of the river, and we could not see the mountains. The channels becoming narrower, and snags more awkward and numerous as we advanced, making it very difficult to prevent the boat being stove.
On September 22nd, after coming up a long straight reach, we dropped upon a recent camp of natives on a gravel spit where the river makes a junction and receives a large tributary apparently directly from the mountains. I think they must have taken the boat for some new animal seeking to devour them, for they fled on first sighting us, leaving everything behind them, even to their fire-sticks. This tributary goes to the north-north-east, while the main river takes a westerly bend. I name this the Carrington Junction, and the river the Cecilia River, named in honor of Lady Carrington.
To me the deposit of stone and sand coming from this river differs somewhat from that of the Strickland. There appeared to be more of the lignite or coal mixed with the stone, and the magnetic iron-sand was much purer and heavier. Much as I should have liked to examine the Cecilia I had to keep to the main stream; and leaving a large present close to the food the natives had abandoned, and planting a red ensign on a pole, we proceeded.
About here, there must be at times immense bodies of water coming down. There are a number of dry channels to be seen, looking like roads cut through the high forest trees; they are almost as straight and regular as if made by the hands of man; from 80 to 200 yards wide, and many of them contain a fall of, I should think, 1 in 100 feet.
Soon after passing this junction we saw many signs of human life, and passed some houses and a very primitive raft. I was also pleased to see the hills, which hitherto have only appeared on the east side, are now to be found on both sides, the river now cutting right through them.
The land here is swampy; back from the river and in the gullies close to the hills the sago palm appears very plentiful, and there are also plenty of natives hereabouts. The level of the river is also rising very rapidly; it has quite become a case of getting upstairs to ascend the rapids at all. I should estimate a rise of 30 feet in the water-level in half a mile in some places.
The current was so strong that we had to use a number of devices to ascend, and the snags outlying from the banks made it very dangerous; the current rushing over and round them made it appear like a series of boiling whirlpools and breakers, and in many places we had to pass a long rope under the snags up the river, and make it fast to a snag or tree in the bank, then sheer the boat outside or between the snags, and haul up foot by foot, fleeting the rope again and again until we came to easier ground.
But on the afternoon of Thursday, September 24th, on rounding a point we were rewarded by the sight of a low range of hills about 1,000 feet high, over which was a complete view of two distinct ranges of mountains, the nearer one perhaps 50 miles[*], and the farther one 80.
[* Von Mueller range.]
The river now became straighter, and ran between high steep banks, or rather a series of small hills. I estimated we wore about 18 miles from the lowest range of hills, and between us and their base the country formed a series of low hill-ranges 200 to 300 foot high, gradually increasing in height as they wont north.
We were now nine days from our depot, and our provisions were nearly finished, part of them having been spoiled by the boat getting stove as we ascended a rapid; but determining to reach the hills we pushed very hard during the ensuing three days, and finally reached the base of the hills on Sunday, September 27th, twelve days after leaving the "Bonito." The river about here presents a most beautiful appearance; in one place, for instance, a long, straight reach, with the hills rising in places perpendicularly 300 feet from the river, which is about 50 to GO feet wide, and flows with groat force through the gully or funnel formed by the high banks, which are covered with beautiful trees on the top, and even their steep sides are covered with plants and vegetation, among which, flowering creepers, ground orchids, ferns, and tree-ferns are numerous. The country appears to be comparatively thickly populated. We passed a number of houses and clearings, and a great many very small canoes. But the natives about here appear to be a very timid race; had they been hostile they might easily have done us considerable damage, without our even seeing them; as it was we ascended expecting a shower of arrows every minute; but instead of attacking us they fled from their houses at our approach, and the only one we caught sight of was of a light copper-colour, well made, and clean-limbed, and ornamented with the usual shell. We did not attempt to enter their houses on the way up, but left presents on the banks opposite the houses; but on coming down, on examining them, found the houses had all been deserted for some days, and the presents untouched.
On arriving at the base of the highest range of hills our provisions were finished, excepting one meal and a little Liebeg's extract, so necessity compelled almost immediate return. However, Dr. Haacke, Mr. Shaw, and myself, with three Malays and two dogs, commenced the ascent of what we thought to be the highest hill, and were lucky enough to gain a ridge or spur, which we followed over one hill 310 feet high, and from there ascended another 460 feet, where, as Dr. Haacke wished to return, I sent a Malay back with him, and proceeding with Shaw and the others gained the top of the hill, which the aneroid showed to be 750 feet; but to our great disgust we found that other hills still higher obscured our view to the N.W. and N.N.E., and as it was near sunset we had to return. We were fortunate enough to get down all right and reached the camp one hour after sunset, completely done up, rifle, revolver, axe, &c., being a very heavy handicap for hill-climbing on short commons.
I estimated the highest position reached to be latitude 5' 30" S., longitude 142° 22' E. Unfortunately we had very heavy thunderstorms at night while up here, which prevented good observations being taken; but I have a very fair position, taken from a native house, marked on plan, taken on Monday, September 28th, on our homeward journey.
The country hereabouts, and right as far as we could see to the northwards, is composed of undulating hills, very heavily wooded, which appear to go as far as the Von Mueller Range. The further range we saw was very high indeed, and I think considerably above snow-level. This range will in all probability turn out to be the northern coastal range.
The lower hills will I think be found admirably adapted for growing coffee, cinchona, cocoa, gutta, and other valuable tropical productions, while the lower alluvial lands cannot fail to produce rice and other grain.[*] But the report of Baron von Mueller, when he has classified the botanical specimens, will be an invaluable proof of the nature of the soil and its probable value for future plantations.
[* Good sugar country.]
I also expect some valuable timber will be found among the forty specimens that we have brought back, and which as yet are not classified. I look upon the botanical collection as perhaps the most valuable work done on the Expedition.
On Monday, 28th, about 10 a.m., we commenced our return, collecting a few ethnological specimens on the way down, and arrived safely at Bonito Depot, Observatory Bend, on the night of 29th, and found all well there. I intended to have ascended the river again, but the health of the party would not allow it, most of the river party being laid up after our return. That circumstance, together with the dangerous position of the vessel, decided me to do all that was possible in the way of collecting until the water rose, and then to commence our return journey, stopping and giving as much time to the collectors as circumstances would permit. Keeping in mind my instructions, and the necessity of catching the steamer leaving Thursday Island November 21st. This I adhered to; and as time and space does not permit me to detail our homeward journey, I will briefly state that we left Observatory Bend, October 25th, leaving one Malay buried there, and the health of the party far from good at that time, safely journeying down the Strickland River with a few adventures-, meeting far more natives than we had supposed lived on the river.
On one occasion, in a thickly populated place, which I estimate contained 2,000 natives, what threatened to be a serious tragedy was turned into a comedy by our blowing the Syren whistle, which on that occasion certainly saved the lives of a great number of natives and perhaps of some of our own party; but proceeding, we left Strickland Junction, November 9th, Sumarti, November l0th, Mouth of the Fly, November 18th, and arrived at Thursday Island at 10.30 a.m. on November 28th (up to time). On arrival there, finding a relief party had gone to our assistance, on consulting with the lion. J. Douglas, we despatched a lugger with Mr. Senior in charge to recall them. Mr. Senior earnestly requested this duty might be allotted to him, which I did on the Doctor's assurance that it would in all probability benefit his health, which was far from good, and was not likely to stop or impede his recovery. It is only fair to the rest of the party to say that there were plenty of other volunteers for that service.
We left Thursday Island on November 21st, in tow of s.s. "Alexandra," and arrived in Sydney on December 3rd, all well, and on behalf of the Exploratory Party I beg to return our most hearty thanks for the very generous and cordial reception we received from the Society and public, and also for the kind and deep interest felt for us when we were supposed to be in trouble.
In conclusion, I also report that the Expedition was entirely dependent on its own resources. I was scarcely able to supplement our provisions at all, game of all kinds being very scarce, and extremely shy. It was from first to last conducted on temperance principle, no stimulants being taken as stores excepting as medical comforts. I hold the opinion that any hard work can be performed just as well without alcohol as with it.
Quinine was also taken by all the party daily from the time we left Thursday
Island until we returned there, but even that did not prevent our suffering
rather severely from fever, as four of the Europeans were dangerously ill, but
there is no doubt in my mind that it was extremely beneficial in staving off
malaria: and finally, in conducting the Expedition, I have endeavoured to
follow out my line of instruction as well as I could, and to keep in mind the
duty I owed to this Society, the members of the Expedition, and the natives of
the country we were sent to explore, and can at least congratulate myself that
no serious complication with the natives arose at all, and I think other
parties that may follow in our footsteps will benefit from any communications
we had with the native tribes.
Captain Everill was heartily cheered at the conclusion of his address, and His Excellency the Chairman invited discussion.
Mr. Mann said that, after having carefully examined the map, and having listened to the leader's remarks, he was inclined to think that the country which had been traversed was a series of deltas or islands. Possibly, also, the Aird River might unite with the Strickland. It was very probable that future explorations would bear out this idea.
Dr. Belgrave thought that Captain Everill might well be congratulated upon the success of the expedition. (Hear, hear.) He was only away some four months, and about three thousand specimens were collected, in addition to exploration work and its attendant risks. He had discovered, amongst other things, most valuable and extensive cedar forests, and also a site for what might prove a city, from whence the interior of the island might be explored. The expedition was a success, and it well repaid the money and the labour which had been expended, and ho heartily congratulated the leader and his party. It would be, in his (Dr. Belgrave's) opinion, a mistake to continue sending expeditions, and he advocated the formation of settlements. (Hear, hear.) Some central settlement could be made, for instance, not far from the junction of the Strickland and the Fly Rivers. He would like to be informed whether any communication had been received from Mr. Stockdulo with reference to an expedition.
Sir Edward Strickland said that he had recently received a communication from that gentleman, but he had not yet perused it, and until he had done so no answer could be given.
Mr. Thompson, the Secretary of the Queensland Branch of the Society thought that thanks were due to Captain Everill, for many reasons; not the least of which was the establishment of friendly relationships with the natives, and the saving of white men's lives. He disagreed with Dr. Belgrave, and believed that the time was not yet ripe for the establishment of a central depot. The Society and the public now had an idea of what was really required to explore a tropical country like Now Guinea, and the knowledge would be of extreme benefit in future. He suggested that in succeeding expeditions there should be fewer Europeans and more Malays. When discontent commenced in a party it was like a cancer, and ate its way into the heart of the enterprise. He felt certain that the world in general would hereafter thank Captain Everill and those who had formed the expedition. (Cheers.) He had much pleasure in moving that the Society's hearty thanks be accorded to them.
Mr. Du Faue seconded the proposition, and it was carried unanimously.
Sir Edward Strickland, on behalf of the members of the Society, then presented Captain Everill with an illuminated address, which had been signed by the various officers, and was inscribed to the leader and the members of the party. Ho briefly alluded to the value of geographical research, and highly eulogized the efforts of the explorers. Ho expressed the hope that the expedition would be supplemented by others, and that the public would benefit greatly thereby. The present one had shown how future trips might be carried out more economically. Ho looked upon the work as a very gallant one (Lord Carrington: Hear, hear), and he hoped that one and till would join in congratulating Captain Everill and his comrades upon having done their duty to their country and to those who had employed them. (Cheers.)
Captain Everill cordially acknowledged the gift, and he referred to the sincere feelings of thankfulness which he and each of his party had experienced, and had expressed, for the assistance which had been offered upon the occasion of the rumour of their massacre. He quoted from a letter from the Hon. John Douglas, in which an absolute denial was given to a rumour, that had emanated from Cooktown, to the effect that ingratitude had been shown.
Sir E. Strickland, as the President of the Society, made a few remarks with respect to the advantages of geographical knowledge; and he suggested the advisability of efforts being made to obtain copies of apparatus, &c., similar to that which was exhibited in London in connection with the study of this branch of knowledge. He felt satisfied that the Government would not ignore an appeal if it were made to them for assistance in this respect. (Hear, hear.)
A vote of thanks was unanimously accorded to His Excellency for having presided, and the proceedings were terminated about 6 p.m.
Mr. Knappe, German Consul at Samoa, was a passenger by the "Alexandra," for Sydney yesterday, after making an official tour in the German territories of the Pacific. In the course of a conversation with a representative of this journal on board the steamer, he stated that, acting under instructions from the Imperial Government, ho left Samoa in June last, and was transported by the flagship of the German squadron, the "Bismarck," to New Britain and the Marshall Group, where he consulted the leading German traders with reference to important matters relating to the government of those islands, and the better organisation of the group.
After spending a few weeks among the various islands Dr. Knappe arrived at Finschhafen, and at once accompanied a scientific expedition in the "Ottilio" up the Empress Augusta River, which empties into the sea some hundreds of miles from Finschhaven. He describes it as a magnificent stream, varying in width from one to two miles. There is no bar, and the "Ottilie" steamed up it a distance of 310 miles. The party then took the steam launch and navigated the river for another ninety miles. At the furthest point reached they were fifty-three miles from the Dutch boundary on the west, and sixty-three miles from the British boundary on the south. The river for the whole of the way up varied in depth from ten to fifteen fathoms. For the first 250 miles the country was fertile, with portions liable to inundation; not far back on the right hand side, however, a range of mountains towered aloft. The river had previously been explored by Captain Dahhnann in the Samoa, for a distance of fifty miles, and after his point of exploration was passed, landings were made daily to observe the quality of the country, and to propitiate the natives who assembled in large numbers on the banks. Dr. Knappe's account of these savages is very interesting. He states that they were quite overcome on beholding the "Ottilio," and pointing reverentially to the sun (whom Dr. Knappe believes they worship) they foil at the feet of the explorers, as much as to say—"Children of the Sun we worship you." They are a powerful and apparently a contented race.
Although every few miles the language was different, the mode of life and habits were similar. The largest village or plantation met with was about 240 miles up the river. It was situated some distance from the river, and contained from fifteen to twenty large houses at some distance from each other, and built at a height of about twelve feet from the ground on piles. Each house is very solidly built, large beams being used in the framework, which is covered by a thick thatch of grass. A peculiar custom obtains with reference to the separation of the sexes, the males and females occupying different houses. Each house or ward has accommodation for about fifty. The male children, up to the age of about thirteen years, inhabit the female wards. Owing to the brief stay and ignorance of the language. Dr. Knappe says he was unable to ascertain what are their customs with regard to marriage. As in other portions of New Guinea, the natives go in for extensive plantations, their special products being yams and other tubers, of which Dr. Knappe possessed no knowledge. Sago palms, bananas, and cocoa-nut trees also were growing wild in profusion. The favourite kind of ornamentation indulged in in the men's huts were rows of grinning skulls, in which the human and the crocodile were awarded the place of honour, the skulls of the dogs and pigs that surrounded them evidently not being held in such high reverence. The natives are not by any means vegetarians, deriving their supply of flesh from the hordes of dogs and pigs which surround their villages. They have also a kind of fowl, but Dr. Knappe did not observe at any of the feasts at which he was present that poultry was provided. Their bows, arrows, and spears are not nearly so well-made or so formidable as those of the coastal natives, and their canoes are nothing but trees hollowed out, first by chopping with their inferior stone axes, and then by fire. Dr. Knappe said that in one he counted twenty-two occupants. No out-riggers or rowlocks are used, the canoe being propelled by paddles, which are used by the rowers standing up.
The natives, both men and women, are inveterate smokers of cigarettes, which they manufacture from the tobacco leaf, which is indigenous. The tobacco leaf is rolled tightly up, and enclosed in the green leaf of a pepper tree. Dr. Knappe smoked one himself and found that though a decided novelty, it was not all unpleasant. Another custom is betel-nut chewing. They chew the nut, then place the end of a small stick in their mouth. The moistened part is then dipped in lime and again transferred to the mouth. Dr. Knappe was urgently invited to participate, but not having a cast-iron tongue, declined the request. The costume of the natives is rather primitive. The men go about entirely nude and the skirt worn by the women is remarkably scanty. Iron, which is generally so highly prized by savages, found no favour in the eyes of the natives there, but turkey red had not lost its power to charm, and the native that secured an empty bottle was an object of the greatest envy to his fellows. The prize was at once filled with lime and surrounded by betel-nut-chewers who in ecstasy dipped their lime-sticks in it and were happy. During the trip many geological specimens were obtained, including quartz, but as Dr. Knappe confessed that he was entirely ignorant of such matters ho was unable to state whether the country was likely to be auriferous.
After a very pleasant and instructive trip of three weeks the party again reached the sea, and on their way to Finschhaven inspected the stations at Feldthaven and Hatsfeldt Harbour. Both were found to be flourishing, especially the latter, which had experienced entire immunity from sickness for the past six months. Dr. Knappe spent a few weeks at Finschhaven as the guest of the Governor, Baron Schleintz, and expresses his belief that there is a great future before CJcrman New Guinea. The German New Guinea Company have been so far most fortunate. They have had no trouble to speak of with the natives, over 100 of whom, men and women, they have now working for them, the solo payment in return being an occasional donation of turkey red, scrap iron, or beads. The Malays, too, are working well, but, as is almost invariably the case, have to be ruled with a firm hand. It is intended by the Company to establish stations all along the magnificent stream opened up by Dr. Knappe and his companions, and in order to do so speedily an officer of the Company, Mr. Graboffski, accompanied Dr. Knappe to Cooktown, where he is now waiting the arrival of a British-India steamer. He will then proceed to Batavia, and engage 150 more Malays for this Company, who will employ them on the new plantations.
The outlay of the Company up to the present has been considerable, without taking into consideration the loss of the Papua, but Dr. Knappe is of opinion that the privileges they have obtained will be of enormous value in the future. By their charter they have possession of all land not actually claimed by others, and as the natives do not care a rush for the land not comprised in their plantations the company practically own all the German territory. He also believes that the foundations of a prosperous colony have already been laid. Fortunately for Dr. Knappe, the "Ottilio" arrived at Cooktown just in time to catch the "Alexandra," which steamer will roach Sydney next Monday. Dr. Knappe the next day transships into the Lubock, which steamer will land him at Samoa in time to form one of the Commission recently appointed by the British and German Governments to inquire into matters concerning the islands at present under his especial charge.
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