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' 1. °\ 


/ ^ *^'\^\^\^ %^ t^i^iy ^^^ 










St. liutuitan's |gou0c> 
Fetter Lane, Fleet Street. 









^ Set(tcatet(, 






In presenting the result of my Explorations and 
Adventures in New Guinea to the public, I have been 
actuated mainly by a desire to create an interest in 
those great but little-known islands comprising the 
Papuan Group^ For the work itself, as a literary 
effort, little can be said. From the first it has been 
no part of my plan to aspire to literary renown ; but 
rather, in the plain homely language of a British sailor, 
tell my tale as simply as possible, and, by adhering 
strictly to the truth give to my readers some idea of the 
rough work that has to be accomplished by pioneers 
and explorers in our southern lands. In these pages 
the reader will find no tale of deeds of heroic daring, 
nor of that noble self-sacrifice, in the interest of science, 
to which so many travellers lay claim. There are 
recorded some hairbreadth escapes, and claim is laid to 
a certain amount of energy and patient perseverance 

vi Preface^ 

under many difficulties and disadvantages. Many 
phases of native life are presented ; also an impartial 
and unbiassed account of the work performed by the 
London Missionary Society in Southern New Guinea. 
These are the main features of a work which I make 
no apology for placing before the British public. 
Should the perusal weary any who read these pages, 
it may be some satisfaction to them to reflect that the 
weariness of the perusal cannot ecjual that so often felt 
by the author in the prosecution of the explorations 
these chapters record. 



Fellow Colonists. — Before offering to the world the 
result of my Explorations and Adventures in and 
around New Guinea, it becomes necessary among other 
things to consider to whom my imperfect attempt at 
book architecture should be dedicated. Pondering 
over the subject, my thoughts flew over the sea to 
sunny New South Wales, to the brave city of Sydney 
— wife, child, and trusty well-tried friends; to the 
many vicissitudes and trials of an adventurous career, 
which has brought with it both good and evil reports. 
The effects of the latter would have been disastrous 
to me, but for the able, prompt and strong support of 
so many friends in the Le^slature of the Colony and 
on the Press. Besides being ever secure in the 
confidence of six hundred of my brother seamen who 
compose the Sydney Marine Benefit Society, with 
hundreds of other warm-hearted friends, whose kindly 

viii To the People of New South Wales. 

word and generous assistance has so often enabled me 
to ride triumphant over every difficulty which has 
beset my path. To you then, my friends and fellow 
Colonists of New South Wales, with deepest devotion 
and respectful regards, may 1 be permitted to dedicate 
* Explorations and Adventures in New Guinea ' ? ' 

Ever yours faithfully, 

John Strachan. 

Kingston-on-ThameSj 1888. 




The Shape and Size of New Guinea — ^How my Interest in 
the Island began — First Visit in 1874 — ^Appointed to 
lead an Expedition of Discovery in 1884 — ^Making a 
Start — ToiTes Straits — ^Thursday Island — Purchase of 
the ** Foi " — My Crew — Scenery and Sport at Moa — 
At Anchor in the Harbour of Mabiac — The War 
Canoes of the Natives — ^The Mission Station — ^The 
Ormond Reefs — ^Billy's Confession — Farewell to Civili- 
zation — ^Dowan Island — A false Alarm — Scott — ^The 
best Man of my Party — A South Sea Islander proves 
a Friend in Need — Jakobo — The Missionary — Shylock 
in New Guinea ....... 



Polygamy at Saibai — The Pigs of the Village marching to 
Church — Engaging native Guides — An armed Demon- 
stratioD at Biago — Dragging the Boat — 'Making the 
Entrance to the Mia Kasa River — Discover two 'i'ribu- 
taries, and name them the Gregory and the Neill — ^An 




inland Sheet of Water — ^Name two large Streams which 
empty themselves into the Mia Kasa, the Tokuda and 
the Bradley — Characteristics of the surrounding 
Coimtry — ^Is this a River or an Arm of the Sea ? — I 
build Castles in the Air — ^We land and explore the 
Country — ^A Scene of Enchanting Loveliness . . 24 



The Junction of the Mia Kasa and Prince Leopold Rivers 
— Determine to return to Saibai to get more men — A 
Fleet of Canoes sweep into Sight — Hemmed in by hostile 
Natives — Compelled to abandon the " Foi," and march 
over Land — ^An Infidel and a Coward — On the March 
— ^Arrive at the Bank of the Gregory River — Our Raft 
sinks like a Stone — Crossing the River with Cowards 
who cannot swim — Scott to the Rescue — The Revolver 
as a Help to Decision — ^Encoimter a huge Python — 
In Sight of the Sea at last — Scott's Gallantry — ^A last 
Farewell to the brave Fellow — Once more at Dowan 
— False Charges — ^Lord Derby publishes my Letter of 
Vindication — ^A few Months' Rest in Sydney . . 43 




At the Instance of some of the leading Citizens of Sydney, 
I again take the Field in 1885 with a good Schooner 
and Steam-Launch and a Party of eighteen Men — 
Sad Changes at Dowan — Grouri's Widow and Children 
— Two of my Men treat the Natives badly — I send for 

■ 1 I I ■—— i^— — Pi— —■— ■—g— PPl 

Contents. xi 


the Mamoos, or Chief — A Visit to Jakobo — The Hero 
of the River Bank threatens to kill me — Pinno secures 
two Interpreters for me fix)m his Flock at Baigo — 
Steaming up the Prince Leopold River — At the Mouth of 
the Kethel River — ^A Shower of Complaints — Shooting 
native Dogs — ^Taming a Savage — A Papuan Beauty — 
Taking a Photograph of the Members of the Expedition 70 



A fine Stretch of open Forest Land — Gbrougi as a Diplo- 
matist — ^The Entrance to Prince Leopold River — 
Forsyth Island, and the Trouton Group — I name a 
Tributary of the Leopold the Herald, after my Schooner 
— ^Well-cultivated native Plantations — How to Climb 
a Cocoanut Tree — ^A graceful young Savage — ^An 
almost impenetrable Scrub . * • • .91 



Making our way through the Forest — ^A green Tree-Snake 
A rush of armed Natives — I am introduced to Kamara, 
Chief of the Daapa tribe— Garougi and Auiti explain 
the Object of my Visit — ^The Appearance of the Women 
and Children — ^I hold out the Olive Branch — ^A Famine 
at Baigo — Kamara explains that his People have never 
seen white Men before — ^I name his Territory, Strachan 
Island, and promise to return — I clothe Kamara — ^His 
dismay at my white Skin — Kamara sends me a Pre- 
sent of a small wild Boar ..... 100 


xit Contents. 




Lovely Flora of the Island — Splendid Timber — ^Flocks of 
black and white Cockatoos — ^Keeping Watch by Night 
in the Tropics — Following a Native Track — ^Plunging 
through a Cane Brake — Bush Work in the Wilds of 
New Guinea — ^The Prospects for European Settlers . 113 



I determine to explore the Mainland to the Eastward, and 
leave the Ship in a native Canoe — Native Gardens, and 
the Remains of an old Carap — Arrival amongst the 
People of Bern — Nature of the Soil — Comparative 
Powers of Endurance of Natives and Europeans — 
Statement of the Rivers discovered, and partially 
explored, during the Progress of the Expedition — ^My 
Theory, as yet unverified, is tbat all of these Streams 
are Tributaries of the Fly River . . . .122 


THE "herald" steers EASTWARD. 

At the Mouth of the Mia Kasa — ^Pinoo and Dr. Macfarlane — 
The Atrocities committed at Baigo by the Tngara men 
— No Protection to the Natives we have Christianized, 
thouorh there are plenty of idle Officers promenading 
the Streets of Sydney, and British Gunboats dodging 
aimlessly about between Port Moresby and Cook Town 

Contents. xiii 


— An Appeal to England and Australia on behalf of the 
native Races of New Guinea — Sir Robert Macgre^or's 
Advent to Power a hopeful Sign — Talbot Island and its 
People — ^A native Pastor at Saibai — ^The great and 
beneficent Work achieved by the London Missionary 
Society 130 



Engaging Interpreters at Daubo — A Journey into the 
Interior — ^lam introducedtoEmari, Chief of the Daubo 
People — ^His Friendly Attitude — A Question of ** Roast 
Pier" — ^Return to Saibai — Proceed Eastward to 
Mowatta — The Mission Station at the Mouth of the 
Katow River — ^I try to gain the confidence of the People 
of Goua — The Purchase of the Idol " Seegur ** — Arrival 
at Taun — The Villages in the Neighbourhood of the Fly 
River — Suspicions of the Natives and what gave rise 
to them — ^We part good Friends — The Village of Turi- 
Turi — We return to Sydney — ^News of Sir Peter 
Scratchley's Death — Unfortunate Selection of his Suc- 
cessor — The Future Prospects of New Guinea . . 139 



Attitude of the new Commissioner — Feeling in New 
South Wales— Discovery of Gold-fields in Western 
Australia — ^McClure's Gulf — Followers of Islam — 
Abdul Delili, Rajah of the Gulf Tribes — Spudeen takers 

XIV Contents. 


refuge on board my Ship — Mr. Hartog's Report of 
McClure's Gulf — A Journey inland with the Rajah — 
Aspect of the Country — Patipi Bay . . .171 



Segar Bay — Rajali Pandi — Picturesqueness of the Scenery 
— A decayinsc Race — A Reception by the Rajah — 
Negotiations for Nutmegs — A Crowd of Extortioners 
— The Bird of Paradise — Clearing the Decks — I take 
Spudeen's Advice ...... 195 



Spudeen laughs to scorn the Notion that the Flotilla of 
Prows are leaving to buy "Sago — The Secret out — A 
Slave-hunting Raid — Starting to the Rescue— A poor 
little Captive — ^I adopt the Child — An Attack of Fever 
— The Rajah proposes to seize the ship— Amongst the 
Bentouni Men — The Post Holder of Gissor's opinion 
of the Natives of New Guinea —A suspicious-looking 
Prow — A Council of War — A plain Talk with the 
Rajah — Encountering a Simoom — Kiliakat — In search 
of Provisions . 211 



The Island of Tarak — The Orang Bisar— Mineral Wealth 
of Shemai — A self-assertive old Man — He gives me a 

Contents, xv 


Piece of his Mind — I return the Compliment — A Visit 
to the House of a great Man — ^"l^he Kajah of Ati Atf — 
A Chinese Joss — I give the Pilot a Certificate — The 
Bugis Captain and Moy — ^I succeed in warding off 
Viengeance — A Present of Firearms .... 242 



The Island of Adi — Sending a Native in: search of the 
Rajah — ^The Rajah arrives with a laden Prow — We fail 
to come to Terms — ^Moy's Treachery — I send him 
about his Business — ^Arogoni Bay — Nutmegs and 
Tortoise-shells — A fertile Territory .... 265 



Dutch Charts — ^Nimatota — The Chinese Storekeepers of 
Dobo— The Post Holder's Wife and the Policeman — 
Off Ki Island in a Hurricane — At Bauwar — Breakers 
under the Bow — My little Papuan Boy — ** Water, 
water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink!" — A 
straight Run for Australia — Mr. Macfarlane's Teaching 
bears Fruit — ^A safe Return — ^Results of the Expedition 
— Mahometans versus Kafirs — ^Responsibility of the 
Government of the Netherlands — The Importance of 
New Guinea to England and Australia . . . 276 



Portrait op Captain John Strachan Frontispiece 
The Chief's House at Saibai, South Coast op 

New Guinea To face 32 

The Exploring Schooner " Herald " at anchor 

IN Mia Kasa Eiyer, opposite Strachan Island „ 80 

Explorers Fraternising with Natives . . „ 104 

Native Camp in centre op Strachan Island . „ 118 
The Mission House, Mowatta, Teacher's Wife 

AND Child „ 144 

Village Scene, South Coast, New Guinea . „ 170 
Alfuru Warriors at the head water of Mc- 

Clure's Gulf, North- West New Guinjsa . „ 192 

Natives of Bentouni, North-West New Guinea „ 222 


West New Guinea. The first Papu'an broug ht 

TO Europe „ 287 


1. Map of 'New Guinea : Showing the explorations of 
Captain Strachan, F.E.G.S. 

2. Map op North-West New Guinea : Showing the explo- 
rations of Captain Strachan, F.R.G.S. 

8. Kew Guinea: Showing the explored territory west of 
TOE Fly Eiver by Captain Strachan, F.R.G.S. 








The Shape and Size of New Guinea — How my Interest in the 
Island began — First Visit in 1874 — Appointed to lead an 
Expedition of Discovery in 1884— Making a Start^ — ^Torres 
Straits — Thursday Island — Purchase of the "Foi"— My 
Crew — Scenery and Sport at Moa — At Anchor in the 
Harbour of Mabiao — The War Canoes of the Natives — 
The Mission Station — The Ormond Reefs — Billy's Confession 
— Farewell to Civilization — Do wan Island — A false Alarm 
— Scott — The best Man of my Party — A South Sea Islander 
proves a Friend in Need — Jakobo— The Missionary — Shy lock 
in New Guinea. 

A GLANCE at the map will show hovering as it were 
over Australia a great island which in appearance 
resembles a bird. The "portion to the north-west may 
be considered the head, McClure's Inlet the mouth, 


Explorations in New Guinea, 

the rugged mountain ranges which separate Gleevink 
Bay from the Arafura Sea the neck, the part extend- 
ing to the south from the De Groot River to the 
Papuan Gulf, and from the Ambemo River to the 
Astrolabe Gulf on the north the body, while the long 
tapering Peninsula may be designated the tail. If 
in addition to all this we regard the Islands of Talbot 
and Saibai as the feet, we shall then have an interesting 
specimen of a rara avis. 

This huge bird extends for a distance, in an oblique 
line, from the extreme north-west to the extreme south- 
east, of 1200 geographical miles, whilst its extreme 
breadth reaches 380 miles ; and the fact of its lying 
under what in physical geography is known as the 
rainbelt, sufficiently accounts for New Guinea being 
the best watered country in the world. It is a land of 
mountain and of flood, of rare and lovely birds, beauti- 
ful butterflies, curious insects, and strange animals, and 
it is peopled by wild, daring races of men who have so 
incessantly waged war upon and devoured each other 
that the country is now but sparsely populated. 

My own interest in New Guinea began so far back 
as 1869, by reading the following extract which was 
affixed to an old map of Australia, executed under the 

How my Interest in tlie Island began, 3 

superintendence of Abel Tasman, by order of the 
Dutch East India Company, and published by John 
Harris in the year 1744. 

The note, written in italics across the then unknown 
track of Central Australia, was as follows : 

'^ It is impossible to conceive a country that promises 
fairer from its situation than this of Terra Australis, no 
longer incognito as this map demonstrates, but the 
southern continent discovered. It lies precisely in the 
richest climates of the world. If the Islands of 
Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, abound in precious stones, 
and other valuable commodities, and the Moluccas in 
spices. New Guinea and the Regions behind it must, 
by a parity of reason, be as plentifully endowed by 

" If the Island of Madagascar is so noble and plenti- 
ful a country as all authors speak it, and gold, ivory, 
and other commodities are common in the southern 
part of Africa, from Meliuda down to the Cape of 
Good Hope, and so up again to Cape Gonsalez ; here 
are the same latitudes in Carpentaria, New Holland, 
and New Zealand. 

" If Peru overflows with silver, if all the mountains 
of Chili are filled with gold, and this precious metal 

B 2 

Explorations in New Guinea, 

and stones, much more precious are the products of 
Brazil, this continent enjoys the same position, and, 
ilierefore whoever perfectly discovers and settles it mil 
become infallibly possessed of territories as rich, as 
fruitful, and as capable of improvement as any that 
have been hitherto found out, either in the East Indies 
or the West:' 

Having visited the coast of New Guinea and the 
islands adjacent in 1874-5, when public interest 
became attracted to this great, but little known Island, 
I was induced in the beginning of 1884, to lead an 
expedition thither from Melbourne, and passed north 
by way of the inner route. Of the beauties of this 
passage, so much has already been written, that it 
would be superfluous on my part to inflict on my 
readers any further account, and therefore without 
additional preamble, I will begin the narrative of the 
first Expedition to New Guinea, which I undertook to 
lead in the spring of 1884. 

After passing Haggerston, the Home, Cockburn, 
and other islands scattered over the Coral Sea, we 
entered the Albany Pass, running between the main- 
land of Australia and Albany Island, from which 
latter it takes its name. The little nooks and bays 

En route to New Guinea. 5 

with their strips of white coral sand beach, the varie- 
gated foliage of the trees, and the green hills and 
knolls on which browse the well-bred cattle of Mr. 
Jardine, the oldest resident in these parts, combine to 
furnish a scene of rare beauty and transcendent loveli- 
ness. On the mainland are the handsome bungalow, 
store-houses, boat-sheds, and all the other appurtenances 
of a pearl-shelling station, while a part of Mr. Jardine's 
pearling flotilla rides snugly at anchor in the Pass. 
Scenes such as these excite the interest of the traveller, 
and help to relieve the monotony of ship-board life. 

After wending our way through the intricacies of 
the Pass for a distance of five miles, we entered Torres 
Straits, having the high island of Mount Adolphus on 
om* right, the Sextant Eocks and Cape York on our 
left ; we shaped our course thence for Thursday Island, 
taking the channel between Horn and Wednesday 
Islands, and were there boarded by the pilot, and soon 
afterwards moored alongside the British India Com- 
pany's Hulk in the Harbour of Port Kennedy. To 
many people, Thursday Island, the most northern of our 
Australian Ports, is but a name, few knowing the vast 
amount of trade transacted on that far away island. 

Mr. H. E. Chester, who, it will be remembered. 

Explorations in New Guinea, 

annexed New Guinea on behalf of the Queensland 
Government, was at the time of our visit police magis- 
trate and harbour master, and we found him to be 
a well-cultured gentleman of considerable ability. 

Thursday Island is of no great extent and somewhat 
barren. Wandering over it we gathered a few seeds, 
and saw some rare and beautiful butterflies, also many 
birds of the parrot kind, but no animals indigenous to 
the soil. The native Islanders, or Bingis — ^as all 
natives of the Straits Islands are called — have migrated 
to Prince of Wales Island, the coloured races being 
represented by South Sea Islanders, Malays, and 
Manilla men, who are imported by the pearl-shellers. 

In accordance with our plan we here purchased a 
small lugger of seven tons burthen which was named 
the " Foi " (faith) ; when failing to procure a crew of 
coloured boatmen, we determined, although the party 
numbered only five including myself, to proceed on 
our expedition. 

On the 22nd April, 1884, having stowed everything 
roughly, we got under weigh and beat a short distance 
down the pass, where we anchored for the night, to 
allow two of the landsmen to get sober. 

At daylight on the following morning we were oflF 

En route to New Guinea. 

again, and after a long dreary beat with wind and 
tide against us, succeeded in weathering Wednesday 
Island about 2 p.m. The wind now being on the 
quarter, the little hooker went merrily along, dancing 
and prancing with as many capers as a young lady at 
her first ball, to the great inconvenience of the 
landsmen, who apparently found a seven-ton lugger 
somewhat less suited to their tastes for sailing o'er a 
lumpy sea than a seventeen hundred ton steamer would 
have been. Night closing in, and my charts being 
very general, I decided to run for Travers Island, and 
anchor for the night It was dark ere we made the 
island, so we could not get into good shelter, and had 
to anchor in eight fathoms of water, hoping to get a 
few hours of much-needed rest. But, as Burns sang, 

" llie best-laid schemes of mice and men 
Gang oft agley," 

for the wind blowing half a gale from the south-east, 
and the tide setting out like a mill race against it, 
kept the lugger rolling, moaning, pitching, and tossing 
to such an extent as not only to banish sleep, but to 
keep me anxiously awake the whole night, while some 
of the landsmen became suddenly religious, and made 
anxious enquiries as to the possibility of a capsize. But 

8 Explorations in New Guinea, 

the longest night must have a morning, and morning 
dawned at last With the first streak in the east we 
took up anchor and were off, shaping a course for Moa 
(Banks' Island on the charts), and running along close 
in shore, where the water is bold,* and the land high 
and rugged. Huge granite boulders crop out along 
the ridges, and the deep gorges and ravines are 
heavily wooded with what we afterwards found to be 
excellent timber. We passed many inviting little bays 
with fine stretches of sandy beach, and as a heavy 
squall was looming ahead, we ran for shelter into one 
of the bays on the west side of the island, and came to 
an anchor, sending one of the men ashore with a billy 
and provision, and two of the landsmen with double- 
barrelled guns to shoot pigeons. After seeing every- 
thing snug and secure on board, my only sailor pulled 
me ashore, where, stretching myself at full length, 
first covering my feet and legs with sand, I fell asleep, 
tired and weary with my long vigil, and when called 
for dinner felt considerably refreshed by my short nap. 
I subsequently started, in company with one of the 
men, for a ramble through the island. Our camp on 
the beach was rather prettily situated ; in our rear was 

* Bold — ^nautical phrase meaning deep. 


Description of Islands in Torres Straits. g 

an old native camp, on our left a native burial ground, 
the graves in which were surrounded by stakes; on 
each grave was a large conch shell, while strewn over 
the surface were numerous turtle skulls, and sticking 
out of the centre an old paddle, some water bottles, 
&c. The paddles were placed there, I suppose, to 
assist the departed spirit in propelling its way through 
worlds unknown. 

Debouching into the bay are two streams of ex- 
cellent fresh water, one of which we followed for some 
considerable distance, through much luxuriant tropical 
vegetation, until we fell across native tracks. These 
we followed, but unfortunately we failed to fall in with 
the Bingis, although they were, as we afterwards 
learnt, closely watching us. 

The principal timber on the island is the Bloodwood 
tree, but cedar of a somewhat inferior quality is found 
in quantity in the gorges. 

On returning to the beach, I found the sportsmen 
had returned, having failed to bag any of the 
numerous gouras we had seen flying about, but they 
brought back a Manacoda and two other birds, the 
names of which were unknown to us. These were 
cooked, and after supping gipsy-fashion and enjoying 

10 Explorations in New Guinea, 

the luxury of a bath in the limpid stream, I gave the 
order to return to the lugger. 

The tide had by this time receded, until the little 
dingy was lying high and dry, full half a mile from 
the water's edge, so reeving a sapling through two 
straps, the men lifted it up and started to march 
across the sand and coral reefs while I led the way. 
As darkness had by this time spread its mantle o'er 
the scene it was certainly as laughable a march as 
could well be imagined. 

Three of the men were stalwart fellows, while the 
fourth was so diminutive that he was forced to raise 
his hands over his head to take his share of the weight. 
Suddenly the foot of one would sink in a crab-hole and 
down he would go, bringing the other three, boat and 
all with him. Then the party would go splashing 
through one of the numerous little salt water lagoons 
usually scattered over the surfaces of a coral reef, 
making the phosphoric sparks fly in all directions, 
recalling to me the words of the Phantom Horseman : 

" Tramp, tramp, tramp, across the land we ride ; 
Splash, splash, splash, across the sea." 

However, after a good deal of amusement, we 
reached the lugger where, setting an anchor watch, I 

Description of Islands in Torres Straits. 1 1 

retired for the night On the following morning, as 
soon as the tide answered, we got under weigh and 
shaped a course for Mabiac (Jervis Island on the 
charts). Passing Bond Island the lugger's head was 
laid so as to pass close to Passage Island, but the tide, 
which in these seas runs with great velocity, swept us 
imperceptibly down on top of the Jervis Reefs, where 
fortunately, seeing my danger in time, I hauled up to 
the northward until close to Passage Island, and, 
sighting the beacon leading to Captain Brown's pearl- 
fishing station, I ran down and was soon riding 
snugly at anchor in the harbour of Mabiac. On 
landing, I was met by Captain Brown, whom we had 
previously encountered on Thursday Island, and after 
an introduction to Mrs. Brown, I started across the 
island to pay my respects to the missionary. As I 
passed along, I was much pleased to see the care that 
Captain Brown had taken for the comfort of his 
people. The houses were all built of galvanized iron 
and whitewashed, giving the station the appearance of 
a considerable village. At the doors squatted women, 
dressed in long robes reaching from neck to ankle, 
while troops of little urchins were gambolling about, 
dressed in full Adamite costume. 

12 Explorations in New Guinea, 

The native village of Mabiac is built in the bight 
of a long sweeping bay on a plain, having as a back- 
ground a range of hills which rise in gentle undulating 
slopes to a considerable height. Lying on the beach 
in front of the village were a fleet of from twenty-five 
to thirty war-canoes, many of which measured from 
sixty to seventy feet in length, and were decorated 
with some pretensions to taste. They had a platform 
in the centre, either for the warriors to stand on or to 
carry passengers, and from this erection extended long 
outriggers with canoe-shaped floats at their extremity 
about ten feet long. The boatmen, or rather those 
who paddle, stand in the bottom of the canoe at either 
end having a grass plaited rope stretching from the 
platform to each end of the canoe to steady them. 

A stone's throw inland from the fleet was the 
mission station, consisting of two neat little wattle or 
daub cottages, with a small barn-like church of the 
same material carefully fenced around. All these 
buildings are whitewashed and have a very cleanly 
appearance. I entered the enclosure and approaching 
the missionary's house found his wife, a fat pleasant- 
fac«d woman from the Murray Islands, squatting on 
the floor nursing a baby. On enquiry she informed 

Mission Work among the Islanders. 13 

_> . ___■_ ■ ■■ _■___ 

me that as it was Friday her husband was conducting 
service in the church. At my request she accom- 
panied me thither, where I took a seat amongst as 
attentive and decorous a conoreffration as I have ever 
met, and the preacher — Achin by name — a native of 
the Murray Islands, preached what seemed to be an 
impressive sermon. Grouped on either side of the 
building were the old men, and in the centre was a 
highly raised seat for the Mamoos, or chief, and his 
family ; the younger men occupied seats at the back. 
Squatting on the' ground in front were the female 
members of the congregation, and a corner near the 
preacher was set apart for the youngsters — wild tricky 
little rascals who kept punching one another and 
making grimaces at me. 

The service over, I introduced myself to the 
preacher and requested his assistance in procuring 
men to accompany me to Dowdie (the native name 
for New Guinea) but only succeeded in extracting a 
promise that he would not prevent the men from going 
if they wished. I could not induce him to persuade 
them to go. 

On arrival at the house the whole of the men of 
the village gathered round, and to them Achin ex- 

14 Explorations in New Guinea. 

plained what I required, when an animated discussion 
took place, the only words I could distinguish being 
•' Tugari " and " Dowdie/' both words being accom- 
panied by a good deal of significant head-shaking, 
which promised little for my success* I was therefore 
not surprised when Achin informed me that Dowdie 
was too far away, and contained wild Tugara men of 
whom they were afraid, so after making a few trifling 
presents to the missionary and his wife, I returned to 
Captain Brown's station, pausing on the way to 
look at the grave of an old brother mariner (Captain 
Owen) who was unfortunately burnt to death, and to 
whose memory Mr. John Bell, of Sydney, his employer, 
has caused a handsome tombstone to be erected. 

The evening was pleasantly spent in conversation 
with Captain Brown, from whom I learned that his 
station was one of the largest in the Straits, employing 
over one hundred men and twelve vessels, all busily 
and profitably employed in the pearl shelling. At 
night I stretched my hammock on the verandah, and 
in the moraing returned to the lugger, and set to work 
to stow away everything ship-shape preparatory to my 
long voyage on the coast of New Guinea. After a 
hard day's work we had everything ready for a start 

The Ormond Reefs. 1$ 

on Monday morning. Owing to boisterous weather, 
however, and the tide not answering, it was Tuesday 
before we were able to make a start ; then, however, I 
followed the lead of one of Captain Brown's pearling 
boats, whose Captain, Billy Tauna, had received 
instructions to pilot me over the Ormond Reefs, which 
extend north and south for a distance of twenty-five 

The whole of the lee or western side being un- 
surveyed and consequently not marked on any chart, I 
had made up my mind to beat a passage to windward, 
and then shape a course along the weather edge of the 
reef where there were no obstructions, but as Captain 
Brown very kindly profiered me the services of a pilot 
I changed my plans. Through a misunderstanding, 
however, I left the pilot boat, believing myself well 
clear of the reef, and only discovered my mistake on 
making the inner part of the eastern edge which I 
followed round until noon, hoping to find a channel 
through which to pass. Not succeeding in this I was 
compelled to run back to Billy Tanna, who had 
anchored, and was waiting with considerable anxietj, 
fearing I was going to attenlpt to jump the reef, or, in 
other words, force my way out through the surf. As 


1 6 Explorations in New Guinea, 

soon, therefore, as I anchored, Billy came on board in 
a state of great excitement, exclaiming — 

" Say, me think go jump um reef, suppose you do, 
stone all same horse's head, make um hole in bottom, 
then what me do? Captain Brown he tell-um me, 
Billy, you see that lugger, you take um safe over reef, 
or you look out." 

Assuring Billy that the fault was not his, and that I 
had not the slightest intention of crossing the reef, I 
opened the ammunition chest, and taking out a bottle 
of " three star," passed it to Walker, one of the lands- 
men, with orders to give Billy and my own people a 
glass of grog ; then, slinging my hammock, I turned 
in. The grog having loosened Billy's tongue he soon 
became garrulous, recounting his many exploits since 
leaving his own sunny isle of Tanna some sixteen 
years since, fourteen of which had been spent in the 
Beche de Mer and pearl fisheries in Torres Straits, 
during which period Billy had evidently been a gay 
Lothario, having by his own account stolen no less 
than forty women. He concluded the account of his 
adventures by emphatically assuring his audience that 
he was " one black rogue." Upon this one of my men 
replied — 

The Ormond Reefs, 17 

" I don't think you are a rogue, Billy ; there is no 
harm in stealing a woman.'' 

With glistening eyes Billy stretched out his hand^ 
and said, ^' Shake um my hand, you all same me, me 
one black rogue, you one white rogue— we two rogues 

And he was right I laughed heartily, and turning 
out took up the bottle, now half empty, with the 
intention of locking it up, when Billy, holding my arm 
said, " Tou no trouble, captain, give um me, I take 
aboard." So giving him what remained of a bottle of 
brandy I again turned in for the night. 

Before sunrise on the following morning Billy came 
on board. Getting under weigh, we were soon safely 
through the intricacies of the Ormond Reef, and, 
shaping a course for Dowan Island, I bade farewell to 
the last link of civilization. The wind, which was 
blowing strong from the south-east, had raised a short 
nasty beam sea, compelling me to remain at the helm 
the whole way, and we shipped a considerable quantity 
of water, which materially assisted in washing the 
cobwebs off two of the landsmen. All hands were 
glad when at two o'clock I anchored under the lee of 


1 8 Explorations in New Guinea, 


After dinner I landed, accompanied by two of the 
landsmen, and we were met by several natives, to 
whom we gave small pieces of tobacco and pipes. 
Having informed us that on the island they had a 
missionary teacher, they conducted us to his house, 
and we introduced ourselves. He was a Bingi native 
from the island of Maer, near Cape York — Whiteman 
by name. 

The island of Dowan is situated seven miles from 
the coast of New Guinea, and is high and rocky, 
rising fully twelve hundred feet above the level of the 
sea, and containing a population of about sixty souls, 
all of whom are missionary men.* 

After introducing myself, I took a short walk 
through the island, accompanied by an old man, 
dressed in a shirt that had once been white, an old 
battered hat, and ragged trousers, who informed me 
that he was the Mamoos of Baigo. He quietly took a 
pipe out of my mouth, put it into his own, and after 
taking two or three long whiflFs, he quite uncon- 
cernedly passed it back. Feeling tired, and finding I 
could get no men here, I resolved to return to the 

* Missionary men — *.c., men attending the Mission for 

War Canoes of the Natives, .19 

lugger, my companion the Mamoos offering to take 
me off in his canoe, as the two men had wandered 
away into the interior of the island. 

On the way to the beach we passed through a native 
village, and were regarded with considerable amaze- 
ment by two or three old women, while troops of little 
naked urchins ran away screaming with fright, which 
made the Mamoos laugh heartily. 

A large war-canoe having been launched, I took my 
seat on the platform, accompanied by several of the 
missionary men. Rounding the point, I was amused 
to see the consternation which our appearance caused 
on board the lugger. The two men who had been 
left on board seemed to be jumping about like a pair 
of cats on hot bricks, but my amusement was soon 
chanofed to alarm when I saw one of them issue from 
my little cabin with my Winchester repeating rifle. 
The other buckled on his revolver, which he drew 
from the holster, and both appeared to be making 
ready to fire upon the canoe. 

Standing up with outstretched arms, I hailed to 
know what was the matter, when they laid down 
their firearms, and we paddled alongside. After 
making the natives a few presents, and purchasing a 

c 2 

20 Explorations m New Guinea, 

few cocoanuts and some yams which they had brought 
on board, I dismissed them, requesting that they 
would presently return to the lugger with the two men 
who had been left ashore. 

At sundown, however, when darkness had set in, I 
became anxious, and was somewhat relieved at the 
report of one of their guns on the beach, and I im- 
mediately sent a man away in the dinghy to bring 
them oti board. But when, after the lapse of half an 
hour, he returned alone, I became still more anxious 
for their safety. It seemed prudent, however, to wait 
for daylight, when, getting under weigh, I beat round 
the island until in front of the missionary's house, but 
still there was no sign of the wanderers. At length I 
stood close in and fired three shots from my revolver, 
this being my appointed signal either for recall or 

This soon brought them out of the missionary's 
house accompanied by most of the men, women and 
children of the village. Sending the sailor away in 
the dinghy, to bring the two absentees on board, 
assisted by Scott, — who, although a landsman, gave 
promise of becoming an active sailor, — I put the 
lugger round and stood away from the land until 

Jakobo. 21 

the dinghy pushed ofF from the shore, when I again 
stood in and picked them up. 

From the men I learnt that they had been very 
kindly treated, and passed a comfortable night, 
sleeping on mats in the Mission House. I then 
shaped a course for Saibai, where I arrived before 
noon and anchored in six feet of water. 

A canoe came off from the shore containing Palen, 
a South Sea Islander, who spoke very good English, 
and who promised me great assistance in procuring 
men for my main journey to the westward. 

Prior to leaving Mabiac I obtained letters of 
introduction from Achin to Jakobo, the head teacher 
of the London Missionary Society's Mission in these 
parts, requesting him to assist me in getting men, and 
also to forward my correspondence to Captain 
Brown of Mabiac. After seeing everything secure, 
I gave to each of the crew a double-barrelled gun, 
and allowed them to go ashore in the canoe for an 
afternoon's shooting. 

When Palen pulled me ashore in the dinghy, a 
number of the leading men of the village came to the 
beach, and to eax^h of them I presented small pieces 
of tobacco and stopped for a few minutes' chat. 

22 Explorations in New Gtiinea, 

Suddenly a dusky lady with a head of hair which stuck 
out on either side like a mop, a pair of dark flashing 
coquettish eyes, and tattoo marks from mouth to chin, 
marched up and taking hold of my hand in both of 
her own, gave it a hearty shake and led me forcibly 
away towards a neat little white cottage, where she 
introduced me to her husband Jakobo, the missionary. 

After giving away the few presents brought for that 
purpose, I presented niy letters, which contained much 
interesting news. Paleu wai3 then sent for, and a warm 
discussion ensued. While the palaver was going on, 
the principal men of the village dropped in, and after 
shaking hands squatted round in a circle on the 
matted floor. As the discussion proceeded, happening 
to turn my head, I saw seated behind me an old man, 
whose profile was the exact counterpart of Shylock in 
the • Merchant of Venice ' — the hooked nose, the high 
receding forehead, and the dark skin — each feature 
distinctly Jewish, with a strong tinge of Moorish blood. 

I stared at the old man until I grew positively 
ashamed of ray rudeness, but at length, to break the 
spell, I requested Palen to enquire if they had any 
traditions concerning their first settlement at Saibai. 
Then while Jakobo was trying to explain that some 

Jakobo, the Missionary, 23 

islands grew smaller, and others grew larger and the 
natives shifted from one island to the other, I fell 
asleep, and did not awake until called to go aboard, 
when I found that the dusky lady had been careful of 
my comfort, having placed a down pillow under my 
head, and a covering over me. 

24 Explorations in New Guinea, 



Polygamy at Saibai — The Pigs of the Village march ins: to 
Church — Engaging native Guides — An armed Demonstration 
at Biago— Dragging the Boat — Making the Entrance to the 
Mia Kasa River — Discover two Tributaries, and name them 
the Gregory and the Neill — An inland Sheet of Water — 
Name two large Streams which empty themselves into the 
Mia Kasa, the Tokuda, and the Bradley — Characteristics of 
the surrounding Country — Is this a River or an Arm of the 
Sea ? — I build Castles in the Air — We land and explore the 
Country — A Scene of Enchanting Loveliness. 

The island of Saibai is situated about three and a 
half miles from the coast of New Guinea, and is long, 
low, and swampy. The village is built in a little 
muddy bay, and contains from thirty to forty houses, 
which are raised six or eight feet above the ground 
on posts. This is necessary, on account of the 
swampy nature of the island. The inhabitants number 
about one hundred and thirty. Polygamy is practised, 
and although all are professedly missionary men, 

An amusing Incident 25 

they are not yet suflSciently Christianised to be 
content with one wife. The young women are well- 
made, and not bad-looking, but they soon age, and 
then the best word for their appearance is " hideous." 
There is a fine cocoanut grove stretching right round 
the bay, which supplies the people liberally with food 
and drink. 

While sitting talking to Palen one afternoon, I saw 
a sight which was certainly unique, for it was neither 
more nor less than the whole of the pigs in the village 
marching decorously to church! As grunter after 
grunter passed sedately along, I enquired the meaning, 
and was informed that, Divine Service being held every 
Friday afternoon, the men were all at church, and the 
pigs, being pets, had gone there also to find their 
masters, while the boys had scampered ofi^ into the 
swamp after my fellows. For this they had all to 
appear before the missionary and the Mamoos in the 
evening, and would probably have received a severe 
wigging had I not interceded for them. (I have often 
been questioned as to how these pigs behaved. I can 
inform my readers that they behaved very much like 
many Christians — that is to say, they listened to the 
singing and snored through the sermon.) 

26 Explorations in New Guinea, 

Collecting the Mamoos and principal men of the 
village, I — through the interpretation of Palen — 
requested that from four to six men might accompany 
me as boatmen and interpreters, a service for which I 
offered to pay liberally. 

" He can pay — he got plenty of things ; he no all 
same Beche-lura fellows (Beche de Mer men) ; he no 
trade — he come from Melbourne, look all about/' 

At the word Melbourne they seemed nonplussed, 
and scratching their heads, kept repeating "Mel- 
bourne," until Palen said, " You savey, Syd-eny." 
Oh, yes, they all **savied" Sydney. *'Well," said 
Palen, '* Melbourne all same bigger Sydney, as Sydney 
bigger Saibai.'' 

Now as the village only contains some thirty houses, 
I can hardly conceive what their idea of the extent of 
Melbourne can be ; but in spite of Palen's persuasion 
only four men could be induced to accompany me for 
longer than a fortnight. As this would not suit me, I 
determined to push on with the few men I had brought 
with me — they were only four, and in two of them I 
had no confidence* The arms, too, had proved very 
inferior — mere Birmingham rubbish. Out of four 
double-barrelled guns, two were already useless, and 

Farewell to Saibai, 27 

altogether, my prospects for the future were ominous 
and dark. 

I overheard on the same day a rather amusing 
question asked of Palen by one of my men, a servant 
who wished to be considered a bit of a naturalist. 
Walking up to Palen's house, and leaning one arm on 
his gun, and with the other akimbo, the would-be 
naturalist said, with all the affected drawl of a Bond 
Street exquisite, *' Palen, have you the Paradisea 
Rubra here?" To which Palen readily replied, 
"No savee." I here interposed with, "Some fel- 
low red pigeon come here, Palen?" To which he 
replied, "Oh, yes, plenty fellow come over from 

I pointed out the absurdity of attempting to jabber 
Latin with a black fellow, and leaving Mr. " Paradisea 
Rubra " to digest the rebuke as best he could, returned 
to the lugger. 

After a short trip over to New Guinea in the 
mission boat, during which nothing occurred worth 
recounting, I determined to make a final start on 
Monday morning. 

. On Sunday morning many earnest prayers were 
offered for our safe return by our kind friends the 

28 Explorations in New Guinea, 

missionaries, and by Jakobo; indeed, I had the 
satisfaction to learn that I carried with me the best 
wishes of the whole village. On Monday morning, 
after bidding a kind farewell to our friends, who came 
off in numerous canoes to bid us good-bye, we got 
under weigh and steered for the west. 

The coast here being unsurveyed, the charts gave 
no information, and I had an anxious time winding my 
little craft through the numerous sand and mud banks, 
to say nothing of the coral reefs, which must always 
render the navigation of these seas dangerous, and I 
was glad to come to an anchor opposite the little 
village of Biago, with whose Mamoos I have already 
mentioned our meeting on Dowan. 

Our arrival had evidently thrown the inhabitants 
into a state of consternation, as all the men gathered 
on the point, armed to the teeth with bows, arrows, 
spears, and a red flag flying moreover on one of their 
canoes. Seeing we paid no attention to their hostile 
demonstrations, they plucked up courage, and, launch- 
ing a canoe, four of them came off, bringing cocoanuts 
and yams, which I purchased, and then went ashore 
with them and bought some poles, which I required to 
make bulwarks round the lugger. 

An Experience of the New Guinea Coast, 29 

This village only consisted of five houses, and from 
twenty to thirty people, most of the natives having 
been killed and eaten some three years since by the 
Tugara men from the west. 

Upon my return to the lugger, Scott and two others 
went ashore to shoot pigeons, in which they were not 
very successful, and in getting back they had anything 
but a pleasing experience of the New Guinea coast 
It being low water, they were compelled to drag the 
boat several hundred yards through a soft mud flat, 
often sinking waist-deep in mud and water, and obliged 
to flounder and sprawl about in all directions. When 
at last they succeeded in reaching the lugger, covered 
with mud fi'om heel to head, they were in anything but 
a cheerful frame of mind, and although assured that 
they had caused us on board a good half-hour's amuse- 
ment, and many a hearty laugh, they did not seem to 
understand where the joke came in. 

On the following morning, Tuesday, May 7th, as 
soon as the tide answered, we got under weigh, and 
steering north-west for a distance of five miles to clear 
a mud bank, we hauled the lugger up to north, and 
shaped a course for the Mia Kasa River, the entrance 
of which we made at 9 a.m., when we were agreeably 

30 Explorations in New Guinea, 

surprised to see before us a broad sheet of water full 
two and a half miles in width, and very deep. 

The lead, which had been kept constantly going since 
leaving Biago, never indicated less than five fathoms, 
and as we entered the river the water deepened rapidly 
to seven and eight. The land on both sides was 
comparatively low and densely wooded. After sailing 
some five miles, we opened out a large tributaij stream 
full half a mile wide, which I named the Gregory. 
From this the land begins to rise, the banks being 
about twenty-five feet high. 

With a strong south-east trade wind, and the flood 
tide in our favour, we sailed rapidly up the river at 
the rate of fully ten knots an houn For the first 
twenty miles we steered north-half-east, then bore to 
the north-west through a long wide reach for some 
seven or eight miles, where we found another river 
debouching into the main stream from the eastward. 
This I named the Neill, and on its north bank we 
found the remains of an old native camp ; but although 
we carefully scanned the banks on both sides, we saw 
no sign of natives. 

Passing the camp, we again headed to the north- 
ward, through a short reach about three miles long. 

A River or an Arm of the Sea ? 31 

which opens out into a magnificent sheet of water 
running due west for a distance of fourteen and a half 
miles. Into this two large tributaries empty them- 
selves from the northward; the larger named the 
Tokuda, after my friend the Imperial Commissioner 
for Japan, and the smaller the Bradley, after my friend 
Mr. Bradley of the firm of Bradley and Sons of 

Sailing through this splendid sheet of water, I was 
pleased to see the land rising in gentle undulating and 
heavily wooded slopes, while the soil, which hitherto 
had been principally red clay, had now changed to a 
rich chocolate. 

At the end of this reach the river again trended to 
the north-west, but darkness coming on I brought up 
for the night in eight fathoms of water well pleased 
with my first day's work in New Guinea, having made 
an actual distance of fifty-six miles, sailing over a 
broad, deep, and rapid stream, and passing what 
appeared to be magnificent country on either side. 
In fact, during the day, I could not help thinking 
that we were not sailing on a river at all, but were 
on an arm of the sea, which would in all probability 
extend across the whole island from south-east to 

32 Explorations in New Guinea, 

north-west opeuing into the Arafura Sea at that part 
known to the Dutch as the Utanata River; and I 
built a good many castles in the air in consequence, 
hoping we had found a new channel to China and the 
East. The many rivers too, which we had passed 
during the day, helped to convince me that I had 
made a discovery of great value — and one which I 
fondly hoped would cause jny name to be transmitted 
to posterity. Setting an anchor watch, I retired for 
the night, and dreamed that I was piloting large 
steamers through New Guinea. 

Making a fresh start at daylight, we continued in a 
north-west direction for a distance of some ten miles, 
when right ahead we saw what appeared to be the end 
of navigation — the gulf seemed to terminate in a bay, 
and all my air-castles of the previous day came down 
with a vengeance. However, I determined to push on 
and land at the end of what appeared to be a bay, 
where it was purposed to remain for a few days in order 
to explore the adjacent country and then to return and 
proceed along the coast to the westward. 

My feelings can therefore be better imagined than 
described when passing a small jutting point I saw 
coming from the north and trending at right angles 

/ build Castles in the Air, 33 

across the Mia Kasa to the south-south-west a noble 
river fully a mile wide, while a fine open country came 
into view, with numerous cedar, black walnut, and 
other trees of value. 

My people were very anxious to be allowed to land 
and explore hereabouts, but having made up my mind 
prior to starting that I would run to the end of 
navigation, and then trust to Providence and my own 
judgment, to take me safely back, I would not consent 
but pushed onward as fast as wind and tide could 
carry me. Moreover, I did not know but that our 
track was being closed in by hostile natives. 

During the afternoon, we passed a clump of cocoa- 
nut trees, and then another river from the eastward, 
and at night brought up off the mouth of still another 
large river, having penetrated ninety miles into New 
Guinea in two days. 

The water here had lost its saltness, but was still 
too brackish for use; the river, too, had narrowed 
down to about five hundred yards in width, and its 
depth had decreased to five fathoms. 

At daylight we again set sail, but having lost much 
of the tidal influence, and the wind being light, did 
not make much progress, only covering a distance of 


34 Explorations in New Guinea, 

— 1 1 

fifteen miles by nightfall when I anchored in a very 
pretty bend of the stream fringed with the broad- 
leaved palm, which I named Scott's Bend, after the 
best and most faithful man of my party. 

The river here being narrow, it became necessary to 
keep a good look out, I therefore kept the first watch 
myself. As I sat, rifle in hand, listening to every 
sound and straining my eyes watching, I was startled 
to see a war-canoe shoot rapidly round the point. 
With rifle at full cock I gazed eagerly forward, 
debating in my own mind whether to call the hands, 
when I was relieved to see that what I took for a 
canoe was only a Palmyra-palm floating down with 
the stream. Then crashing through the palms on 
the river banks, came some huge amphibious monster, 
which, plun^ng into the water, disappeared from 

Incidents such as these, combined with the dismal 
bellowing of the bull-frog and the hoarse croaking of 
numerous night birds, make solitary vigils, in a strange 
and, in all probability, hostile country, anything but 

In the morning I determined to explore the 
surrounding country for some distance, more especially 

I !■ I—I-. 

We land and explore the Country, 35 

as the timber looked heavy and valuable. I took a 
tomahawk, revolver and rifle, and Scott, who accom- 
panied me, carried an axe and his revolver. 

Landing, we entered some splendid scrubland, 
composed of rich black vegetable mould, and wooded 
with many kinds of timber, the principal being black 
walnut of excellent growth. I noticed several cedars, 
but these were very sparsely scattered through the 
forest, and many other trees that were entirely new 
to me, notably one bearing a fruit as large as a 
cocoanut, the rind of which was about a quarter of 
an inch thick, but the kernel bitter and nauseous to 
the taste, containing much tannin. On either hand 
were huge black walnut and other trees. 

Handling his axe with a will, Scott soon felled 
one of these monarchs of the forest to the ground, 
and hailing for a cross-cut saw, we cut it into lengths 
and found it to be a black walnut of excellent quality, 
sound to the core and beautifully marked. 

Having completed our task we started forward on 
our inland trip. Scrambling through much heavy 
tropical vegetation for a distance of some five miles 
we entered the open country and here found the 
high grass teeming with life, noting especially the 

D 2 

36 Explorations in New Guinea, 

huge red kangaroo (the Euro) and Wallaby, and in 
the gulleys the stately Cassowary. Crossing through 
the scrubs we saw some iguanas, many of them three or 
four feet in length, which ran up the trees at our 
approach. Having proceeded so far as it was safe 
we returned to the lugger. 

By the side of every stream and in every swampy 
hole were numerous pig tracks, but we saw no pigs, 
as they only leave their lair in the thickets after 
nightfall. We also came across several nests of the 
Megapode {Megapodivs tumvlus), a peculiar bird 
about the size of a barn-door fowl, dark brown in 
colour with a craning neck and tufted head, which 
raises a mound or hillock often twenty-five feet high 
and from thirty to fifty feet round the base, in which 
to deposit its eggs, leaving them to hatch by the 
internal heat of the nest. At night the parent pair 
sit on the tree branches overhead making the woods 
resound with their cry. 

In the afternoon I made another start up the river 
and with the dinghy ahead towing, and two of the 
men plying long oars or sweeps, succeeded in making 
a distance of ten miles before dark. 

In the morning Scott and I landed, and scrambling 

.^< ' —- • ■ ■ IJI , ■ ■ 5, 

A Scene of enchanting Loveliness, 37 

»^™' ■■■■Ml II ■ I ■ ■■ ^ ■■ I ■■■■■^■11 »^»^^^^^^^^»^»^^i»^»^«^^^^^^^^^^^^M^^^^^^^^^,^1^^p— — ^^ ■ ■ ■ ■ 

up a bank about thirty feet high we came on a fine 
open plain stretching away to the northward, while 
on our right was a dense forest, which we entered^ 
trying the timber with our tomahawks as we proceeded, 
but finding nothing new. We had, however, a narrow 
escape from being bitten by a long slender snake, 

which disappeared like a lightning flash down its 

Returning on board before noon, I succeeded in 
getting good observations, and was therefore able to 
determine my position. Finding we were only ten 
miles from and running at right angles with the 
great Fly River, we made another start after dinner 
and after covering some twelve miles, we anchored 
in a beautiful little reach lined on both sides with 
borders of broad-leaved palms with high land ahead 
heavily wooded. 

After supper two of the men, although tired with 
their long spell at the sweeps, took the dinghy and 
went for a short pull up the river but returned in 
a state of great excitement, reporting that they 
had seen one of the most lovely and brilliant 
sights possible, and urged me to go and look for 

38 Explorations in New Guinea. 

Taking Scott with me in the dinghy we now 
leisurely pulled up stream. It was a calm still night, 
and the sheen of the moon shone resplendent on the 
placid waters of the river ; long avenues of broad- 
leaved palms glistened in the silvery light, whilst 
the large trees in the background were illuminated 
by fire-flies. Presently we stopped, entranced by a 
scene which for enchanting loveliness surpassed any- 
thing 1 had ever seen before. 

The country we had already passed wa^ beautiful, 
but nothing to be compared with this. We sat gazing 
enraptured on a pyramid of living light, suspended as 
it were by threads of fairy gold. On a huge black 
walnut tree there had gathered myriads of fire-flies, 
. which, moving through the dark foliage as if to the 
time of some enchanter's music, presented a scene of 
exquisite loveliness, which it is impossible to describe* 
As the fiery mass revolved, now up, now down, then 
round, as if to the measured time of a dance, my com* 
panion in ecstasy exclaimed, " Captain, I would work 
twelve months for nothing to see such a sight as this." 
Alas I he little knew how short his life was to be. We 
returned to the lugger, and permitted my people, 
who were enchanted with a scene so lovely and so 

Birds of Paradise, * 39 

rare, to pull up and down the river until far into the 

In the morning, as. the river had now narrowed to 
about eighty yards, and was much obstructed by 
snags, I determined to remain until I had surveyed 
ihe river in a small boat. Taking Scott with me in 
the dinghy, we pulled up the stream for a distance of 
fifteen miles, until we were finally stopped by a fallen 
tree, which was stretched across the stream from one 
side to the other, and completely barred our further 

During this trip we saw several red birds of Paradise 
(Paradisea rvhra\ also one or two twelve-wired 
birds of Paradise (Paradisea nigricans) while many 
beautiful racquet-tailed kingfishers of brilliant 
plumage were flitting about on the river banks. 

Landing in several places, we found the same 
grand country composed of rich black soil, with much 
excellent timber and still not the faintest trace of man 
having been there before. 

We returned to the lugger, and the next day being 
Sunday we enjoyed a well-earned rest. On Monday 
I let three of the men go up the river, while Scott and 
I hauled the lugger alongside the bank. Landing, 

40 Explorations in New Guinea, 

we travelled up the ridge until we attained a height of 
some four hundred feet, from whence we had a good 
view of the surrounding country.. 

Away to the south was heavy forest-land, rolling 
away to the east were grand undulating plains of 
magnificent country, while at our feet rolled a deep 
rapid river. The dense forest and high land to 
the north and west obscured our view in these 

As I stood contemplating the scene before me, my 
mind wandered away into the not distant future, when 
the axe of the woodman would make the welkin ring 
again, when the plough of the husbandman would 
turn up and sweeten the soil, when, instead of the 
vast primeval forest stretching away on every hand, 
the sugar cane and maize crops would wave on that 
virgin soil. I pictured the time when the placid 
waters of the river would be lashed into foam by the 
propeller, the huge monarchs of the forest be broken 

down by the saw, and the juice crushed from the cane, 
— ^all by the mighty power of steam. I thought how, 
in days to come, standing on some such spot as this, 
the colonial youth, proud of the race from which he 
sprang, and contemplating the scene before him, 

A Peculiar Little Fish, 41 

would turn with pardonable pride to the wondering 
Papuan by his side — and pointing to the busy engines 

"See yonder, where these engines toil, 
There Britain's piide and glory are. 
The trophies of a nation's spoil, in bloodless war — 
Brave weapons these. 

With these she digs, she weaves, she tills, 
Pierces the everlasting hills. 
And spans the seas." 

Returning to the lugger we set to work to fill up 
our water casks, and then amused ourselves watching 
a peculiar little fish, about three inches long and 
marked on either side with three black spots, shooting 
out a tiny jet of water to a distance of some eighteen 
inches, drenching the unwary fly which then fell an 
easy prey. 

On the return of the boat, i tripped the anchor and 
dropped down the stream for a few miles, and then 
brought up for the night. During the passage I 
examined many places but saw nothing new, and at 
last, anchored at the mouth of the large tributary I 
have already mentioned as being ninety miles inland, 
which I named the Wallace, after my only son. This 

42 Explorations in New Guinea, 

we followed for a distance of seventy miles through 
the same class of country, and then returning to the 
main stream we proceeded towards the coast 

During this trip up the river we suffered severely 
from heavy rain and thunderstorms, the effects of 
which were felt by all. 

( 43 ) 



The Junction of the Mia Kasa and Prince Leopold Eivers — 
Determine to return to Saibai to get more Men — A Fleet of 
Canoes sweep into Sight — Hemmed in by hostile Natives^— 
Compelled to abandon the " Foi," and march over Land — An 
Infidel and a Coward — On the March — ^Arrive at the Bank 
of the Gregory River — Our Raft sinks like a Stone — Crossing 
the River with Cowards who cannot swim — Scott to the 
Rescue — The Revolver as a Help to Decision — ^Encounter a 
huge Python — ^Li Sight of the Sea at last — Scott's Gallantry 
— ^A last Farewell to the brave Fellow — Once more at Dowan 
— False Charges — Lord Derby publishes my Letter of Vindi- 
cation — ^A few Months' Rest in Sydney. 

In the passage down the main river we landed on 
the only piece of poor soil we had seen in New 
Guinea, a cold clay plain covered with hematite 
l)oulders and dotted over with huge ants' nests, and a 
few stunted honeysuckles. Retracing our course we 
lurived at the junction of the Mia Kasa and the main 
stream which I had named the Prince Lfeopold, after 
the late Duke of Albany. 

44 Explorations in New Guinea, 

Turning down to the south-south-west, we passed 
three large rivers setting down from the westward and 
fell across a native camp, but still no sign of the 
natives themselves. Being now near the coast I felt 
convinced from the size of the camp that we were in 
close proximity to a large body of natives, who would 
most likely prove hostile, and whom, owing to the 
weakness of my force and the inferiority of our arms 
I was in no condition to meet. I therefore decided to 
return to Saibai and get more men at any cost. We 
got under weigh and returned to the Mia Kasa, where 
I anchored for the night. 

On the following day we had a long weary beat 
down the river, and at three o'clock, when opposite the 
Tokuda river, I was startled to hear what seemed at 
the time to be the report of a rifle in the forest. 
Towards evening the wind dying away, and the strong 
ebb setting down, we made rapid progress and it was 
long after dark ere I anchored at the end of the Short 
Reach in twenty fathoms of water. About eight 
o'clock, I thought I could see the reflection of two fires 
far down the river. At four o'clock in the morning, 
the watch called me to report that he heard another 
rifle shot in the forest ; for which he had to stand a 

A Fleet of Canoes sweep into Sight 45 

considerable amount of chaff from the others on 

To me the report caused grave anxiety, more 
especially when, after getting under weigh, I saw 
ahead, and paddling swiftly down stream, and close 
into the mangroves, what appeared to be a canoe. 
My glasses were brought to bear, but the glare of the 
rising sun being in my eyes prevented my seeing 

Not wishing to alarm my people, I told them it was 
only a piece of driftwood, and dismissed the matter 
from my mind until nearing the mouth of the river. 
Then we passed a tree which had stuck in the centre 
of the stream, and which at a distance had the 
appearance of a man standing up in a canoe. I then 
grew anxious, and kept carefully scanning the mouth 
of the river on both sides, when a whole fleet of canoes 
suddenly swept round the point from the westward, 
and another fleet round from the eastward, completely 
blocking the mouth of the river. 

I grew seriously alarmed, and with a cry of, " To 
your arms, men!" leapt below, and, opening the 
ammunition chest, passed up a good supply of 
ammunition. Then, buckling on both my revolvers. 

46 Explorations n New Guinea. 

and grasping my Winchester repeater, sprang again 
on deck, where I stood with outstretched arms calling 
out"Pouda, pouda" (Peace, peace). Upon this the 
canoes paddled rapidly towards us. Dropping one 
arm, I made signs for only one canoe to approach, but 
as they paid no attention to my signals, I fired a shot 
across the bow of the nearest canoe, upon which they 
struck up the war song and paddled rapidly up the 
stream to meet us. 

It was a grand and imposing sight, for no less than 
twenty or thirty canoes were assembled, each con- 
taining about forty men, great stalwart fellows, 
whose tawny black skins glistened in the evening 
sun. The whole line advanced in good order, the 
men paddling to the music of the song, while warriors 
on the platform beat time with the butt end of their 


I ordered my people to fire a volley, in the hope of 
frightening them, but as the shot fell short, they 
yelled back defiance. I kept blazing away with my 
Winchester, but could not intimidate them, and as the 
nearest canoes were now within one hundred and fifty 
yards of us, I up helm and ran back up the river, at 
the same time firing off* a rocket. This fell short, near 

Compelled to abandon the " Foi!^ 47 

the foremost canoe, and made them pause until the 
others came up. I then fired a second rocket, which 
fortunately fell in their midst, and caused them to fall 
back into the mangroves on either side. 

The wind dying away, and darkness setting in, I 
was compelled to anchor to prevent the lugger drifting 
down amongst them. I then fired my third and last 
rocket, which was answered by yells of defiance and 
the brandishing of fire sticks right down to the river's 
mouth, a distance of five or six miles, which showed 
me the impossibility of escape. At the same time it 
let me know that the enemy had landed, and we had 
little to apprehend until the tide turned at midnight, 
when I knew we should be attacked on all sides in 
force. I therefore caused a torpedo to be made out of 
a tin trunk, in which I placed twenty-five pounds of 
gunpowder, and ballasted it with two 28-lb. bags of 
buck-shot, and, having attached a fuse, set it adrift. 
After floating about half a mile, it exploded with good 
effect, bringing back to us another chorus of yells and 
a second edition of the fire stick business. 

As escape by water was clearly impossible, I now 
determined to abandon the " Foi," and march over land 
to Saibai. After serving out a glass of grog to the 

48 Explorations in New Guinea, 

men,* 1 told them my plan, at the same time calling 
for a yolunteer to remain with me on the lugger and 
%ht it out. (This I did for fear it should be said 
that I abandoned the lugger through cowardice.) 

Finding there was no one eager to remain and die, 
I gave orders to haul the boat alongside, and, in- 
structing Scott to mix salt in three 7-lb. bags of 
oatmeal and then make the whole up in a bundle, 
served out to each man a necessary quantity of 
ammunition, tobacco, matches, and other necessaries. 
Then, getting them all into the boat, we slipped the 
chain and laid the lugger's head up the river, deter- 
mined if possible to make for one of the tributaries 
which would take us to the eastward, and then to 
abandon the craft and strike due south for Saibai. 

On casting my eyes astern, I saw the whole fleet 
paddling silently and rapidly up towards us. There 
was not a moment to be lost, so, lashing the helm 
in order to make the craft sail up mid-stream, I 
stepped into the boat and, hauling it ahead, pulled 


* It may here be mentioned that in all my explorations 
while carrying a case or two of the best brandy for medicinal 
and other purposes, it has been the rule of my life never to 
taste it myself. 

March over Land. 49 

away in a line with the vessel until enveloped in the 
darkness, when I edged the boat under the mangroves, 
and, pulling up stream for a distance of some two or 
three miles, landed in a small creek. Here, after 
seeing everything ashore, we swamped the dinghy, 
and sent it adrift, so as to make the natives think it 
had capsized and that we were drowned. 

We marched half a mile inland, clear of the man- 
groves, and then camped at the back of a hill for the 
remainder of the night. Telling the men to go to 
sleep while I kept watch, I soon had the pleasure of 
hearing them all snoring loudly. 

As I sat on the damp ground nursing my rifle, 
reflecting on the fact that I had lost my fine little craft, 
and that within a mile of us were twelve hundred can- 
nibals, who were thirsting for our blood, my condition 
was not to be envied by the proverbial English 
gentlemen who sit at home at ease. Presently I was 
startled by the sound as of some heavy animal creep- 
ing towards me, with a peculiar noise as of the crack- 
ing of a pair of castanets. 

With rifle in readiness and kneeling on one knee, 
I strained my eyes in an endeavour to pierce the 
darkness, when I was relieved to find that it was 


50 Explorations in New Guinea. 

one of my own men who, unable to sleep from fear, 
approached, and with chattering teeth and quavering 
voice said — 

"D — d — do you th — th — think you will save us, 
captain ? " 

He had been the greatest braggart of the party, a 
professed infidel, and when the time for action came 
he proved himself an arrant coward. 

I therefore replied, " I have been in worse positions 
than this, and the same God who guided me through 
them can guide me through this if it is His will. But 
there, you dont lelieve in OodJ^ 

To which he whiningly answered, " I — I — I believe 
in Providence, captain." 

I then said " We only want another brush with the 
natives to make a Christian of you," and ordered him 
to go to sleep. 

At daylight I called the men from their damp 
malarious bed, and striking away to the south-east 
made a march of about six miles, when we crossed a 
native garden, and then, getting entangled among the 
mangroves, floundered about for an hour. Issuing 
from this swamp we entered some clear forest land 
and then made the Gregory River. After an hour's 

On the March. 51 

rest we struck away to the east to clear the numerous 
bends of the river. 

Leading the way, with the men following in Indian 
file, I forced my way through numerous cane-brakes 
and at last entered some fine open country. Over 
this we travelled until dusk, when we camped in a 
small belt of timber on the plain, having cut down 
saplings and undergrowth to make a mia-mia.* We 
spent a miserable night, for the rain fell in torrents, 
and the numerous pigs rooting about the camp added 
not a little to our discomfort Daylight dawned at 
last, and after a breakfast of oatmeal and biscuits we 
were glad to be once more on the march. During the 
forenoon we had heavy travelling through the cane- 
brakes, but towards noon made open country until we 
again touched the river. 

Believing we were sufficiently clear of our enemies 
to cross without being seen, I determined to make the 
attempt. Judge then of my surprise on reaching the 
river bank to learn that of all my party only Scott 
could swim. Before leaving Melbourne, I had been 
careful to enquire whether each man, if put to the 
push, could swim, and each and all assured me they 

* A one-sided hut — ^something to shelter from the wind. 

E 2 

52 Explorations in New Guinea. 

could. And now here we were with twelve hundred 
bloodthirsty savages in all probability close on our 
track and a river five hundred yards in front, and only 
one other man besides myself capable of swimming the 

I debated rapidly in my own mind what was best to 
be done, and selecting two trees which we thought 
would float, we felled them, and cutting them into 
suitable lengths made a catamaran. Then having 
cleared a traek right through the scrub we carried 
our rude raft to the river bank in readiness to be 

We then retreated about a hundred yards to the 
plain and formed a camp, and as soon as darkness 
closed in, the men were told to get some sleep, and to 
take as much rest as possible while I again kept my 
weary vigil. 

About nine o'clock, I imagined I could hear a 
soiihd of human voices as if singing. Calling one of 
the men, I requested him to put his ear to the ground 
and listen, but he apparently could hear nothing. I 
then called Scott, who imagined he could hear the 
sounds, but thought them to be only the night sounds 
peculiar to the forest 

Our Raft sinks. 53 

At twelve o'clock the men were called, and we 
launched the raft, which, to our utter dismay, sank like 
a stone. At the same moment a canoe shot rapidly 
round the point. I ordered the men back to the 
plain, until well clear of the timber, when we camped 
for the remainder of the night, drenched with rain 
which chilled us, and stung by myriads of ants, we 
having unfortunately seated ourselves on one of their 

At daylight we tramped painfully along, and I 
began to feel my strength failing, having had little or 
no sleep since Friday night, and it was then Tuesday. 
I therefore stopped at nine o'clock and rested for three 
quarters of an hour. Then we again marched onward 
until half past ten, when we lighted a fire and made 
some porridge which warmed and strengthened us all. 

At noon I determined to have two hours' sleep, and 
leaving two of the men on watch with instructions to 
keep a vigilant look-out and to call me on the first 
sign of danger, even if they saw so much as the tall 
grass waving more than usual, I stretched myself at 
the foot of a tree, and soon fell asleep. My eyes 
could scarcely have been closed more than half an 
hour, when I was awakened by a roar from one of the 

54 Explorations in New Guinea, 

men who simultaneously fired off one barrel of his 

Starting up, rifle in hand, I saw standing on the 
brow of the hill about a dozen natives armed to the 
teeth, and yelling their war cry of " Woo hoo, Woo 
hoo.'* With a cry of "Follow them up, lads," we 
began firing rapidly amongst them, when we were 
gratified to see by the unsteady motion of the natives 
that their hearts had failed them, and their arrows, 
which were drawn to the head, were let go without 
either aim or nerve* As we drew near they threw 
away their bows and arrows and ran, and I imme- 
diately gave the order to cease firing. 

A random shot of the natives had unfortunately 
wounded one of my men slightly in the great toe, the 
arrow having gone clean through his boot and his toe. 
I examined the arrows to see if they were poisoned, and 
was pleased to find that they were using such weapons 
as were generally carried for hunting purposes. 

Believing the party we had dispersed to be only the 
advanced guard of a numerous force, I again 
determined to make the river, and cross it at all 

We accordingly proceeded due south, and at length 

Scott to the Rescue. 55 

reached a creek across which Scott and I with much 
difficulty succeeded in dragging the other three. We / 
left them on the banks to rest, while we prospected the 
river bank for a piece of wood that would float them 
over. Providentially, we found a large piece of 
bamboo sufficient to carry all the party across, could 
they be trusted to retain their presence of mind. 

Having launched the bamboo, and placed the men 
upon it, we pushed it oflT from the shore, Scott with 
one hand holding the fore-part of the bamboo, and 
swimming with the other, myself at the other end 
doing the same. No sooner were we out of our depth 
than the three men, who had been instructed to lie 
low in the water, jumped on the bamboo forcing it 

One of them letting go, grasped me round the 
neck. I was already heavily laden, and consequently 
we sank like stones. 

Shaking him off, he rose to the surface, and was 
grasped by Scott, and carried safely to the bank* I 
attempted to rise, but with the weight I carried, 
could not succeed in doing so, having a Winchester 
slung over my shoulder, a heavy bag of ammunition on 
one side, a bag of journals on the other, two revolvers, 

56 Explorations in New Guinea, 

a bowie knife and a tomahawk in my belt, while each 
pocket was filled with ammunition. 

Throwing off my rifle, the ammunition bag, and the 
journals, in less time than it takes to tell the tale, I 
was enabled to rise to the surface when my faithful 
henchman Scott leapt in and, grasping me, assisted me 
to the bank thoroughly exhausted. The case was now 
desperate, so much so that I was tempted to abandon 
these three men as worthless and leave them to shift 
for themselves. 

But my duty was clear, either to take the men safely 
back or die with them. It was therefore decided that 
Scott should carry them over one at a time on the 
bamboo, while I kept guard on the bank. 

When this proposal was made known to them, a 
question arose amongst them who should go first. I 
finally ordered the men to proceed as instructed by 
me, and Scott started with one man on his perilous 
journey, which was safely accomplished, and he 
returned for another, with whom he again crossed in 
safety, leaving me on the bank with the poor creature 
already spoken of as believing in Providence. This 
man sat at the foot of a tree talking to himself. 

It was a pitiful scene — a man of thirty-two years 

The Revolver as a Help to Decision, 57 

of age, who had been the loudest talker of the party, 
sitting weeping like a child, and asking himself 
questions which ran thus : — 

**You wanted to come to Dowdie, Charlie, you've 
got to Dowdie and you'll never get out of it. If you 
do get out of it you'll never come back again, will 
you, Charlie? It'll kill your mother — it'll kill your 
mother, you're her only son, Charlie, you know you'll 
never get back out of it, you'll never cross that river, 
Charlie, you woa a fool to come." 

On Scott's return with the bamboo raft, tired with 
this fellow's chatter, I said sternly — 

" Have done : get ready to cross the river." 

He replied " I can't cross, captain, you'll have to 
leave me." 

Drawing my revolver from its holster and placing 
it at full cock I replied, " I will leave you, but I will 
be able to swear wher^ I left you." 

" You wouldn't shoot me, would you, captain ? " he 

" Oh no," I replied, *' not shoot you, only leave you 
in such a position as to know where to find you. 
Come, cross the river." 

Scott also urged him, saying, " Come, come, get on 

58 Explorations in New Guinea, 

to the bamboo, there is nothing to fear in the water if 
you only keep your presence of mind." 

As with a miserable whine he said, " I Euppose it 
is as well to be drowned as to be shot," we succeeded 
in placing him on the bamboo, where he lay in such a 
position that those of my readers who know anything 
of Eastern life will not fail to recognise it by calling to 
mind the manner in which a Chinaman carries a pig. 

All being safely across, I also jumped in and swam 

Having drawn the arrow from and dressed the 
wounded man's foot, I cut him a stick as a support, 
and we again proceeded on our weary journey. 
Having reached a distance of four miles, and crossed 
several native tracks, we camped on a bare plain for 
the night 

Here it may be mentioned that in crossing the 
river we had lost the whole of our oatmeal except 
one small bag, and this being saturated with salt 
water had become mouldy, so that we had now 
nothing to eat, and as it rained all night we had 
to shiver through it as best we could. Bad as was 
our plight, exhausted nature caused us to sleep by 
fitful starts. 

On the March, 59 

Rising betimes, and walking about briskly to keep 
our blood in circulation, at daylight we again started, 
following a general south-east track. In the tall 
grass, kangaroo, wallaby, and cassowary sprang up 
almost at our feet, but we dared not fire for fear of 
attracting the natives who might be in close proximity. 
Our matches were all destroyed, and had we so wished 
we had no means of lighting a fire, as the sun was 
obscured and our sun-glasses were consequently useless. 
About noon we came to a belt of scrub where we 
found a native track. Creeping through it, we came 
upon a recently cut sapling, evidently cut by a stone 
hatchet. Crawling on hands and knees to the edge 
of the scrub I saw before me a native hut and a native 
leaning against a tree as if watching for something. 

Holding up my hand as a signal for the men to 
stop and to keep silent, I returned and again made for 
the open plain and led the men to the edge of the 
scrub belt which we skirted until clear. 

I now determined to change my course to due 
south and make the ocean. After marching for 
about three hours over a splendid country we came 
to a track covered with screw-palms and flooded with 
water. The ground here was very rugged, and for 

6o Explorations in New Guinea, 

an hour we floundered about in all directions. We 
emerged on a piece of fine country and came upon a 
cocoanut grove. 

None of us being in a condition to climb the trees, 
it was suggested by the men — weary, worn, and 
starving — that a tree should be felled for the purpose 
of getting at the fruit This I forbade, believing that 
in future intercourse with the natives, with whom I 
hoped to establish — ^and have since established — 
friendly relations, tlie bare fact of having destroyed 
one of their trees might raise within them a hostile 

Crossing a knoll, we descended into what may in 
truth be called a "dismal swamp." Knee-deep in 
water, with the malarious vapour rising to a height of 
from fifteen to eighteen feet above our heads, the 
leeches sticking to our legs until our very boots were 
filled, and the water around stained with our blood, 
we tramped wearily onward. 

Night was coming on apace, and the trees, which 
are known as a species of the Eucalyptus, and in 
common phraseology as the paper-bark, presented no 
branches on which we could rest for the night It 
seemed as if we should have to pass the night up to 

A huge Python, 6 1 

our knees in water, with the leeches sucking our 
blood, when fortunately, as we were beginning to 
despair, that Providence who watches over man in his 
extremity, raised before us a small dry spot in the 
middle of the swamp. 

Having cut for our couch a number of bad-smelling 
swamp bushes, which were, however, but little better 
than the oozy ground itself, we lay down to sleep, but 
not to rest, and all were thankful when daylight 
dawned. Before starting on the march, T placed about 
three grains of dry quinine on every man's tongue with 
the point of my bowie-knife to kill the malaria. 

Leaving our island, and again steering due south, 
we went splashing along, myself leading the way, 
when presently 1 was startled with a cry of "Hoo 
hoo " from Scott, this being the war-cry of the natives. 
I drew my revolver, and, placing it at full cock, 
turned sharply round, believing the natives to be in 
our rear. 

With blanched cheeks Scott stood pointing to the 
tree over my head, when, looking up, I saw to my 
astonishment a huge python coiled round the branches, 
his head within three and a half feet of my own, 
and his huge glassy eyes looking down upon roe. 

62 Explorations in New Guinea. 

Pointing my revolver at his head, I stepped slowly 
backward, and the men gathering romid, we held a 
consultation as to what we should do with his snake- 
ship. Finally it was decided, as we were afraid to fire 
for fear of attracting the attention of the natives, that 
we should act as the wise men of Gotham did, and 
leave him to shift for himself. 

Again resuming our march, we passed through a 
rather pretty piece of swamp, like a small artificial 
Jake, on which floated gracefully numbers of beautiful 
white ducks with black wings. The ducks glided 
away at our approach. We next came upon a pair of 
megapods picking up their morning meal alouc^ide of 
the mound. Had we had time to dig into the mound 
we might possibly have found some of their eggs, but 
being anxious to reach the sea, we pushed onward. 

At about 11 A.M., as near as I could guess, for my 
watch had stopped in crossing the river, and we had 
no means of telling the time, I heard the welcome 
sound of the ocean surf, and in about two hours I 
beheld, with feelings of indescribable joy and pleasure, 
that friend of my life, — the sea. 

No words of mine can depict my feelings on again 
beholding the ocean over which for so many years I 

On the March. 63 

had sailed. A feeling of safety and of hope seemed to 
inspire me, and added new vigour to my exhausted 

We had now been without food for over two days, 
when providentially we saw before us a bed of mud- 
oysters. We sat down and, with tomahawks and 
bowie-knives, opened the oysters, and using our 
mouldy oatmeal, made what to us, who had not tasted 
food for days, seemed a sumptuous repast. 

Again starting forward, we tramped along, some- 
times knee-deep in mud and slime, until our course 
was interrupted by a narrow, deep, and rapid stream. 
Fortunately the water was fresh, and by using our caps 
we were able to have, after our oysters, a good drink 
of rather coarse, swampy water. 

The difficulty now presented itself of crossing this 
stream. Fortunately after walking along the side for 
some hundred yards we found a fallen tree stretching 
from bank to bank. Across this we scrambled, and 
again proceeded forward, working almost due east 
until night came on, and we camped among the 
nrangroves on a dry piece of ground. 

Froili entering the dismal swamp until now, our 
tortures from that pest of mankind, the mosquitoes, 

64 Explorations in New Guinea, 

had been indescribable. They swarmed over face, 
hands, neck, and even under our clothing, and our 
whole bodies were swollen with their stings. Indeed, 
so much disfigured were we, that one man of the party 
could barely recognise another. 

The night wore away, and in the morning such was 
our hunger that we were glad to gather the snails 
from the trees and eat them as we proceeded onward. 

We soon came to another stream, when, selecting a 
tree of sufficient length, we lay to with our toma- 
hawks and felled it across the river. Here again we 
were fortunate in the water being fresh. 

This weary tramping continued for three days, 
until we reached a point opposite to the island of 
Dowan, where we were again fortunate in finding rock 

On this night, owing to the influence of the malaria 
and the torture of the mosquitoes, we decided to 
perch all night among the branches of the niangrove 

The next morning my feet, which were poisoned and 
swollen by the leech bites and the swampy water, were 
so painful that I had to cut my boots off and crawl 
upon my hands and knees for about a mile, where we 

Scotfs Gallantry. 65 

found the remains of an old village directly opposite to 
the island of Saibai. There was a great deal of 
bamboo strewn about, and Scott proposed to make a 
raft and cross over to Saibai for assistance. 

This I strictly forbade him to do, assuring them 
that so soon as the sun — which by the way we had not 
seen for some days — shone out, and we could make a 
fire, the natives would come over to our rescue, for I 
had before leaving made arrangements with the 
Mission teacher and the chief that, in the event of 
their seeing a fire on the beach, they would guess who 
it was and would come over to our relief. 

The men became clamorous, and complained that I 
wished to keep them until the natives, whom they 
believed to be following on our track, would be upon 
us. They were assured that there was not a hostile 
native now within a hundred miles of us, but Scott 
being extremely anxious to make the attempt, and as 
by this time I could not stand, I at last reluctantly 
gave my consent. A raft was made, and at slack 
water between the tides the brave fellow started oflF on 
his voyage. 

As he left the strand he grasped me by the hand, 
saying, ** Good-bye, Captain, God bless you ! Til get 


(:6 Explorations in New Guinea, 

. ' I- I ■ ■ ■-' — -■ - ■ - 

safe across ; " to which I replied, " Good-bye, Scott, 
God bless and speed you! but, remember, you are 
going against my wish and against my judgment." 

Pulling myself up a tree, I watched him until three 
parts of the way across, when he suddenly disappeared. 
No help coming the next day, I felt sure that he was 

On Tuesday, 3rd June, the sun shone out with 
unusual brilliancy. By the aid of my sun-glass a fire 
was lighted on the beach, and on Wednesday the 
Mission boat came over with five native teachers and 
rescued us from our perilous position. In the boat 
they brought tea, clothing, and food. Black though the 
skins of those men were, their hearts were kind and 
Christian-like. Their cries and lamentations and their 
tears of joy at our rescue will for ever be indelibly 
impressed upon my memory. 

Arriving at Dowan, Jakobo and the dusky lady 
his wife, mentioned in the early part of this narrative, 
were found awaiting us. Carried from the boat to the 
Mission House, by her I was carefully nursed, and 
tended with almost affectionate care. 

Here I found that they had seen no trace of Scott, 
but I still hoped that he might have again made the 

Once more at Dowan. €y 

mainland at a point a few miles higher up than our 
position. Accordingly, on the following morning the 
Mission boat started out to search for him, and tracked 
the coast right along, accompanied by one of my men, 
but the boat returned without finding the slightest 
trace of Scott or the raft. I felt that my worst fears 
were verified, and that the best, the truest, and the 
most noble man of my party was, through my weakly 
yielding to others against my own experience and 
judgment, lost — for time, but I pray God not for 

He was a noble fellow throughout the whole of this 
perilous expedition, as this narrative shows. He stood 
by my shoulder as a faithful companion and friend : 
wherever I led he followed, and when it became 
necessary for me to remain, he led. 

A native-bom Australian, a son of whom Australia 
may be proud, — b, native of St. Arnaud in Victoria, — 
his loss has been the one great sorrow of my life. 

Nothing more was to be done. 

The pain of my foot became so excruciating that I 
could neither rest nor sleep, but thanks to the tender 
nursing of Janee (Jakobo s wife) and the attention of 
every teacher of the London Missionary Society, I 

F 2 

68 Explorations in Nevj Guinea, 

soon began to mend. The kindness I received from 
these dusky natives proves conclusively to me the 
power of the grace of God over the human heart. 

When sujQSciently well to travel again, their boat 
was got ready, and we were taken back into civilisa- 

Here, dear reader, should end the narrative of my 
first expedition to New Guinea, but it is incumbent 
upon me to refer briefly to a disagreeable matter 
which I had to face on my return to Sydney. 

On arrival in the South, the outrageous and uncon- 
scionable lying of some of my party, the very men who 
at the risk of my life I had dragged from death, and to 
save whom my faithful companion and friend had 
sacrificed his life, gave rise to the publication of sensa- 
tional matter in certain sections of the public press, 
wherein I was accused of blowing up three canoes and 
killing a hundred men with dynamite, and shooting 
four hundred and fifty men in the plain. Mr. David 
Gaunson, M.L.A. of Melbourne denounced me in the 
Parliament of Victoria as a "red-handed murderer 
who had tramped through New Guinea knee- deep in 

To myself, personally, these reports caused little 

A few months' Rest. 69 

annoyance, but they occasioned great grief to the 
members of my household. 

Some of my best friends advised me to take legal 
action, but this I declined to do, as the papers which 
had published the reports were respectable, and, had 
these reports been true, I should have deserved to 
have been brought to condign punishment. I there- 
fore contented myself ty writing the particulars of the 
case to the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, 
Lord Derby, making an offer to justify and vindicate 
any act or acts of mine in New Guinea before a pro- 
perly constituted tribunal. 

Lord Derby caused this letter to be published in 
Australia for public information, and a revulsion of 
feeling was evoked in consequence, and I was allowed 
to rest for a few months and recruit my shattered 
health, ere I resumed my work of exploration in New 

70 Explorations in New Guinea. \ 



At the Instance of some of the leading Citizens of Sydney, I 
again take the Field in 1885 with a good Schooner and 
Steam-Launch and a Party of eighteen Men — Sad Changes 
at Do wan — Gouii's Widow and Children — Two of my Men 
treat the Natives hadly — I send for the Mamoos, or Chief — 
A Visit to Jakobo — ^The Hero of the Kiver Bank threatens to 
kill me — Pinno secures two Interpreters for me from his 
Flock at Baigo — Steaming up the Prince Leopold River — At 
the Mouth of the Kethel River — A Shower of Complaints — 
Shooting native Dogs — Taming a Savage — A Papuan Beauty 
— Taking a Photograph of the Members of the Expedition. 

After the proclamation of Her Majesty's Pro- 
tectorate over the southern portion of New Guinea, 
and the appointment of Major-General Sir Peter 
Scratchley as Special Deputy High Commissioner, it 
was urged upon me by some of the leading citizens 
of Sydney that it would be good service on my part, 
not only to the Commonwealth of Australia, but also to 
the native races themselves, to equip and carry out a 
second expedition to open up the country for settle- 

Sad Changes at Dowan. ' 71 

ment and commercial enterprise on a just and equit- 
able basis. The opinions of these gentlemen being 
favourably commented on by the press of New South 
Wales, I again took the field, and having secured a 
good schooner and steam-launch, and a party of eigh- 
teen men, in 1885 I once more sailed for New Guinea 
on. my Second Expedition. 

Once more we steered our course towards the north. 
Touching at a Queensland port, and making three 
anchorages in the Inner Route, we duly arrived 
at the island of Dowan. When I left some few" 
months before, Dowan contained a population of 
about eighty souls, living in a neat little village 
in the bight of a bay. 

In the little Mission House on the point lived 
Whiteman, the teacher, with his wife and children. 
Here too are the teachers of the London Missionary 
Society accustomed to come from the malarious 
districts round the coast of New Guinea, to recruit 
their health and recuperate their fever-stricken frames. 

As I landed and approached the Mission House, a 
death-like stillness seemed to reign over the island. 
As I drew nearer a solitary man emerged from the 
teacher's house. I asked for Whiteman, and was told 

72 Explorations in New Guinea, 

that he bad removed up the coast to KooninL I 
enquired after his wife and children, and also after 
Gouri, one of the men who had been most kind to me 
when rescued from New Guinea on my last expedi- 

* Taking me by the arm, the man led me into the 
little enclosure round the church, and pointing to a 
grave, said, " Whiteman woman there," and to another 
grave said, "Gouri there." And for name after name 
that I asked, he showed me a grave. 

I then asked for Gouri's widow and children, when, 
pointing to a natural arch formed by three huge 
granite boulders, which had been thrown up by some 
convulsion of nature, he called my attention to a poor, 
emaciated, fever-stricken half-naked woman, lying 
under the shelter of the stones, and two little naked 
children running about. 

My mind flew back to my own condition some 
few months before, and to the kindness of her late 

I leapt the fence and ran towards her. 

The poor creature seemed frightened, and held 
up her hand and motioned for me to go away. 

I waited until the Mission House keeper came up, 

GourVs Widow and Children. 73 

who could speak some English. Through him I asked 
her — 

" Are you Gouri's woman ? " 

She replied, "Yes." 

I said ; " When I had no clothes, Gouri give me 
clothes ; when I had no food, Gouri give me food ; 
when I had no sakooba (tobacco), Gouri give me 
sakooba : you would not be afraid of Mr. Macfarlane, 
would you ? Don't be afraid of me ; Gouri's dead. 
Now you have no clothes, I give you clothes; you 
have no food, I give you food ; you have no tobak, I 
give you tobak." (This tobacco was given to purchase 
the services of the other natives.) 

Ordering the boat off to the ship for a supply of 
sugar, tea, biscuits and tobacco, I returned to the 

To the right was all that remained of a once 
populous and lively little village. The deserted houses 
were dilapidated and falling to decay. Around me 
in mound after mound were the graves of those 
who a few short months ago had appeared in the 
very vigour of health and strength. The village which 
had contained eighty souls now only contained twenty — 
eight of whom were men, the rest women and children. 

74 Explorations in New Guinea, 

I cast my eyes to seaward, and then along the 
swampy shores of New Guinea, and I asked myself 
what is the meaning of this ? Can it be that it is the 
will of the Great Maker that these poor creatures who 
but twelve short years before lived upon the flesh of 
man, have, through the influence of that glorious 
Society (the London Missionary Society), been allowed 
to realise the blessed truths of the Gospel, and then 
taken from the face of the earth ? I fear it is even so. 
My heart was full, and as I looked upon the graves of 
some of those whom I had hoped to repay for the 
kindness shown to me and mine, in bitterness of spirit 
I asked myself the question. Would it not have been 
better to have left them in all ' their original savagery ? 

But quick as thought the answer comes : ^' No, dear 
reader, no." Rough, rude sailor though I may be, I 
realised the fact that these people having once gained 
that " peace which passeth understanding," death was 
robbed for them of its sting. 

The boat returned to the shore, and the men 
approached with arms full of biscuit, sugar, tea, 
tobacco, and other necessaries ; the little ones in their 
innocence of childhood were made happy with a 
biscuit each ; a billy was put on the fire of the Missioa 

GourVs Widow and Children. " 75 

House, and with pannikin in my hand I sat down by 
the side of the dying woman, and soaking pieces of 
biscuit, gave them to her to eat. She seemed to have 
lost all power to swallow the biscuit, but gratefully 
drank the tea. Daily I visited her until the little ones 
ran towards me at my approach, the instinct of child-* 
hood teaching them that they had found a friend. 

Could I have succeeded in inducing the mother to 
take medicine, I should, in all probability, have saved 
her life ; but the great trouble with the natives is, that 
when once fever-stricken, or attacked by any epidemic, 
it is almost impossible to get them to take medicine or 
to observe the necessary precautions for recovery. 

For instance — when the measles swept through the 
Torres Straits and Murray Islands, the stricken na- 
tives in order to cool their heated bodies rushed into 
the water and came out to die. 

Walking through the island during our visit on one 
Xjccasion, I came upon two of my men talking to a 
native, who was standing with a single cocoanut in his 
hand. The men asked the native for it, but he wanted 
to know what was to be given in exchange. One or 
^two little native boys were also standing round. Th6 
native said he would not give his cocoanut for nothing, 

76 Explorations in New Guinea, 

but if the men gave him a little piece of tobacco, they 
might have it. 

Upon this one of the Europeans said, " Give him a 
clout under the ear and take it away ; that is how we 
used to serve the natives when I was in India." 

Stepping forward, I told one of the small boys to 
run for the Mamoos or chief, and to tell him to come 
to me quickly. 

On his approaching, I touched him with my fore- 
finger on the breast and said, " You Mamoos ? " then, 
touching myself on the breast, I said, ** Me Mamoos," 
then holding up two fingers, I said, "Two Mamoos. 
Suppose some fellow belong me " (the men were stand- 
ing by waiting to see what was to come) " take some 
things some fellow belong you, you speak me," and 
crossing my hands, I continued, "and I tie um up. 
Suppose some fellow belong you, steal some thing 
some fellow belong me, me speak you, you tie um up." 
He answered, " Good, captain, good I " 

I then ordered them on board the ship, and they 
slunk away muttering to themselves, were discontented 
for the rest of the expedition, and on returning to 
Sydney said that I was too tyrannical to go to sea 

A Visit to Jakobo. 77 

Before proceeding to the westward, I made another 
trip to Saibai in a native canoe, for the purpose of 
presenting to Jakobo and Janee the presents I had 
brought for them as some token of the gratitude and 
respect entertained for the uniform kindness to myself 
and party, both before leaving that island and more 
especially when rescued on my last perilous expeditiom 
For Jakobo and Janee jointly I carried a large 
illustrated family Bible, with a suitable inscription, 
which was interpreted to them by the son of Dr. 
Samuel Macfarlane. From my wife I carried for 
Janee herself needles and thread, two small boxes of 
Quoing Tart's best tea, sugar, clothing, and toys for 
her child, and to Jakobo I gave a large quantity of 
tobacco, knives, tomahawks and axes. 

Before leaving Dowan for Saibai, I was told by the 
natives that the man who made such a conspicuous 
figure in my last expedition, and who so suddenly 
believed in Providence, was on the island, and that he 
had been talking loudly to the natives that he was 
waiting for me to go over to New Guinea, so that he 
might shoot me for what I had said about him in the 
south. I therefore went over alone and unarmed. 
The pleasure of the natives at meeting me wad 

78 Explorations in New Guinea, 

great, and without delay I proceeded to give away 
my presents ; Janee was overjoyed with hers, Jakobo's 
delight in his large Bible was almost childlike. The 
natives gathered round him, and it was plain that 
from the vivid word painting of the missionaries they 
quite understood the pictures, as they could be heard 
calling out with ejaculations of delight the names 
of those whom the pictures were supposed to represent, 
" Abram, Mosee, Jakobo, Jesu." 

Janee, who had slipped out, came running excitedly 
into the house and taking both my hands in her own 
said — " Captain, captain, you know Charlie, you know 
Charlie, Charlie he here.*' 

Lifting my coat, she looked to see if I carried my 
revolver, and then felt my haversack, then folding her 
hands together, her cheeks somewhat blanched, said, 
'*Away, away," and spoke rapidly in the vernacular 
to Jakobo, who said something, and two little boys 
ran away and came back with the two chiefs attended 
by some of the principal men of Saibai. Then taking 
me by the hand she led me to the door and pointing 
across the swamp said, " There Charlie, he kill you." 

I saw the hero of the river bank swaggering with 
gun on his shoulder and revolver hung to his side. 

A Visit to Jakobo. 79 

while a troop of little boys followed him carrying three 
ducks. Some tea having been prepared I sat down to 
ity and as this gentleman arrived at the door, I arose 
and looked him straight in the face. 

He looked the other way and hurrying past me 
slung his gun and his three ducks in the corner, 
muttered something and walked out, and when last 
I saw him he was leaning over a stump about a 
quarter of a mile from the village. 

Jakobo lifted the gun — a breechloader — to see if 
it was loaded, and finding that it contained no 
cartridge, he said that this man had sworn that he 
had come up specially to kill me, and seemed very 
much surprised when I laughed at the idea. 

Night coming on apace, Annu, the Mamoos, got 
Jakobo's large canoe ready to return with me to the 

• After bidding a kind farewell to Janee and Jakobo, 
we pushed out of the little muddy bay and paddled 
until we cleared the westernmost point of the island. 
The wind was blowing half a gale from the south-east, 
the mat sails were set and the canoe fairly leapt over 
the waters. A short lumpy sea was rolling, but 
Annu at the steering paddle was evidently a master of 

8o Explorations in New. Guinea, 

^ ■- - _ 

his work, for the huge unwieldy craft seemed to leap 
over the waters like a thing of life. Those who have 
been used to boat sailing can have no idea of the 
exhilarating pleasure there is in sailing before a strong 
breeze over a lumpy sea in a well-handled Papuan 

We arrived at the ship at eight o'clock, when a 
diflSculty arose as to how I was to pay these men. At 
this particular season of the year the edges of every 
water-hole were lined with wild duck and geese. The 
men who were so fortunate as to possess muskets were 
very eager to obtain ammunition, but this the law 
distinctly forbids the white man either to give or to 
sell to the natives under a penalty of three months' 
imprisonment without the option of a fine. 

Being anxious to accommodate those whose kindness 
to me had been so uniform, I was placed on the horns 
of a dilemma, but having confidence in their integrity, 
and being anxious to serve them while keeping within 
the strict letter of the law — for the white man already 
mentioned being on the island might be trusted to 
take the first opportunity of reporting any neglect to 
the authorities — I at last decided to place the required 
ammunition on my cabin table. Having done this I 

A little Spotted Cuscus, 8i 

lit my pipe and went on deck to give some orders to 
my officers. On my return the natives had all left 
my cabin and some of them were in the canoe. 
I gave the chief an American axe in addition 
to some tobacco, and on returning to my cabin I 
missed a twenty-eight pound bag of No. 4 shot, half 
a dozen half-pound flasks of powder, and a box 
of caps. 

The following day we got under weigh and steered 
for the westward on the track of my previous ex- 
pedition, and in due course anchored off the village of 
Baigo. Although dark a canoe containing Pinno, the 
Mission teacher (who has since been killed and 
eaten by the Tugara men), came ofl^ from the shore. 
As he was one of the boat's crew who, with Gouri and 
others rescued my party from New Guinea, it became 
necessary for me to give him some suitable reward, 
which I did to his entire satisfaction. 

On the following morning he returned to the ship 
with Garougi the chief and Auiti his son, and brought 
us a present from his wife — a little spotted cuscus* 

I explained to Pinno the object of the expedition, 

* A tree-climbing animal of the opossum kind, peculiar to 
New Guinea. 


82 Explorations in New Guinea, 

and requested him to use his influence to get two 
interpreters to accompany me, as it was my intention 
to make a comprehensive exploration of the interior 
of the country. This he promised to do, and I 
accompanied him ashore to his house, where, after a 
long discussion as to pay, &c., matters were satis- 
factorily adjusted, and Garougi, the Mamoos (who, 
the reader will remember, took the pipe out of my 
mouth when I landed at Dowan in my first expedition), 
and Auiti agreed to accompany me for two weeks 

Made wise by the experience of the previous 
expedition, I agreed to these terms, trusting so to 
conciliate them when away from their homes that they 
would be willing to remain with me for any reasonable 
time that I might require their services. 

At daylight on the following morning they came on 
board, accompanied by Pinno, who desired to wish us 
God-speed on our journey. After bidding Pinno 
farewell we again got under weigh, and, with tKe lead 
constantly going, we entered the Channel — which I 
have already described in my first expedition — having 
iD two days made fifty-six miles. 

The schooner was brought to and anchored, and 

P^^nV^i9^PWWi^*<l*VPV^^WV^^x)- " 'W P»-yi« ' vBv^^vn^w in pwa n ■' ■ ^ ^'^^ -^^*«'— _ , <— ■ --*-iv^ ^j*^?-^ 

Steaming up Prince Leopold River, 83 

the steam launch was brought into requisition, in 
which we steamed up the Prince Leopold River to 
my old ninety-five mile mark, and we returned 
to the schooner, as I had decided not to explore 
the Wallace River, but to confine our operations 
mainly to a comprehensive exploration of Strachan 

Our water supply becoming scarce — and even at 
the ninety-five mile mark the water of the river was 
brackish — we decided to return nearer the coast, 
where Garougi assured us we should find an abun- 
dance of water. We therefore followed the Prince 
Leopold, and after a beat of two days reached the 
mouth of the Kethel River, being now only eight 
miles firom where the interpreters assured us there was 
plenty of fresh water. At daylight we got up steam 
and proceeded towards the mouth of the Prince 
Leopold — the distance must have been nearer twenty 
miles than eight. At length we came to the mouth of 
a narrow creek, up which we steamed. 

As we proceeded up the creek the scene beccime 
very beautiful. The mangroves disappeared ; beauti- 
ful shrubs and noble trees covered the creek side, and 
these, together with the many rare and flowering 

G 2 

II mm,tM I. 

84 Explorations in New Guhtea, 

creepers and sword-shaped bean-pods, proved the 
fertility of the land, whilst at almost every pufF of the 
engine innumerable birds of varied and gorgeous 
plumage took to flight, startled at our approach. 

After proceeding about three miles, the creek became 
so narrow as to barely leave room to turn the launch. 
It therefore became necessary to haul her into the 
bank and make her fast. Leaving two men in charge 
of the launch we landed, and after a sharp walk of 

two-and-a-half miles we came to some fresh water at 
the head of a creek. 

The distance being altogether too great to admit of 
watering the ship, we contented ourselves with filling 
our buckets and returned to the launch. Ere we were 
able to make a start on our return journey darkness 
set in, and it was three o'clock on the following 
morning before we reached the ship. Although 
anxious on account of the scarcity of water, I could 
not but be impressed with the fertility of the country, 
and I determined — for a time at least — to make this 
ray base of operations. 

When daylight broke, the launch was hoisted on 
board and the two engineers set to work to convert 
the launch's boiler into a condenser, with which we were 

A Shower of Complairits. 85 

able to condense from thirty to forty gallons of water 
per day. My anxiety being thus relieved, we got 
under weigh and beat a passage down the river to the 
mouth of the creek, where we arrived at four o'clock in 
the afternoon. I allowed a party of my men to land 
accompanied by Garougi and Auiti, and to form a 
camp in the vicinity of the watercourse. 

On the following morning I landed, and proceeded 
to the camp, where I was greeted with a shower of 
complaints. One man had been found asleep in his 
watch, and another had been calling one of his 
companions names, and several of them had been 
reviling each other. That which raised my in- 
dignation most, however, was when perhaps the most 
treacherous man in my ship led me aside and pointing 
to two native dogs with bullet holes through their 
heads, asked me if I did not think they were beautiful 

I ordered a hole to be dug, and buried the dogs ; 
being in the vicinity of a native camp, the dogs had 
wandered away into our camp to be shot. Anticipat- 
ing trouble from this injudicious act, I ordered all 
hands on board the ship, after which I told oflF a party 
consisting of seven men, my second oflScer and the 

"^P^^PI»^^^^^^^P"^"*^^»"^^^'^*^ "I JJI^ I '■ l"»l«»IJ»» .^J^JP 1 

86 Explorations m New Guinea. 

two interpreters to accompany me on the following 

Shortly before dawn we left the ship and proceeded 
to the old camp, and then, while breakfast was being 
prepared, accompanied by the interpreters and two 
men, we proceeded cautiously to the native camp. 
Scrambling down one side of the creek we clambered 
up the other and came suddenly upon the natives all 
fast asleep. Garougi hailed them, when starting up 
like frightened deer with a yell they leapt from their 
hard beds and rushed into the forest, making the 
w^oods resound with their cries of " ou mogie oua, ou 
mogie oua, du mari, du mari " (Be friends, be friends, 
don't fight, don't fight). 

We captured one poor deformed creature who, 
being lame, could not run off with the others. His 
terrified appearance was pitiful, his palpitating breast, 
and every limb shaking as with palsy, his teeth 
chattering and eyes rolling depicted overwhelming 
terror such as I had never before witnessed. I tied a 
handkerchief round his neck, and a piece of red cloth 
round his waist. I then took my own pipe out of my 
mouth and put it into his, but he let it fall to the 
ground. I patted him on the head and back and 

■*' ^^^ >-.^«^^^HVf««BPmviB«MM^MHBVHm 

Tamhig a Savage, 87 

chafed his hands in mine. I then put my hand on his 
pulse and put his fingers on mine while Garougi, all 
excitement, first patted him on the shoulder and 
then patted me. Then taking my hand he placed 
it in his and shook ihem, saying " du mari, du mari." 
Calling the men up, I got some sugar and put 
it into his mouth, but so agitated was he that it 
fell out. 

While this was going on, Auiti, who could run like a 
deer, had followed the rest of the tribe into the forest. 

By persistent kindness we in a measure allayed 
this poor deformed creature's fears, and at last suc- 
ceeded in getting him to sit down alongside of me 
on a log. It may here be mentioned that while 
Garougi kept repeating " du mari, du mari," he pulled 
his beard, but the significance of this act I do not 

For over two hours this man and I sat on the log 
until he became thoroughly calm and confident. My 
own men, too, behaved well, each one giving him some 
little present, and showing tokens of amity. All this 
while the woods were ringing with the cries of the 
natives who had scattered on either side. Having 
fairly pacified him we made him numerous presents, 

88 Explorations in New Guinea. 

and Garougi sent him away to tell the others that we 
had come as friends, and not as enemies. 

Instructed by Garougi, he shook hands with myself 
and each member of the party and went away slowly 
as if loth to go, laden with treasures which would make 
him the richest man of his tribe. 

Garougi now gathered all the bows, arrows, and 
spears which were slung on every bush around the 
camp, also a stone club of considerable weight, with 
a handle made from the creeper or cane known as the 
" lawyer " — a formidable weapon. These were all 
placed in the centre of the camp and formed a con- 
siderable heap. 

After Garougi had left us, we examined the camp, 
but did not touch one article belonging to the natives. 
There were net-bags, hanging on sticks, headdresses, 
bamboo pipes, combs, pigtails used as charms, women's 
grass waist cloths, bamboo knives, daggers made of 
cassowary bone, a few yams and tara here and there, 
some sugar cane, and numerous fires were still 
smouldering. Having completed our examination w© 
sat down in the centre of the camp, to discuss the 

Presently we heard a rustling as if of some one 

A Papuan Beauty. 89 

coming through the brushwood, when, emerging from 
the scrub, with her baby on her shoulder, came a 
tall woman of commanding appearance, perhaps one 
of the most stately of her sex that I have ever 
seen. We got up, and I approached her, holding up 
a pipe and a stick of tobacco ; but she rejected them 
with a gesture of disdain, and pointing towards the 
river where the ship was lying, with a wave of her 
hand she spoke some words which we interpreted to be, 
" Go back to your ship, you ugly-looking villains, how 
dare you come and disturb our household ? " Then 
picking up a net-bag and her baby, which she had 
placed on the ground, she threw the bag across one 
shoulder, sat the baby astride the other, and strode 
majestically away. 

The time now seemed to pass slowly, and my 
anxiety was intense. With the exception of the two 
men and myself, the remainder of our party was 
scattered in twos and threes through the country, and 
we longed for the return of Garougi and Auiti, so that 
we might return to our camp. 

At length Garougi returned, and clearing a space 
in the middle of the camp, broke c^ some green 
boughs, one of which he stuck in the ground and to it 

90 Exploratmis in New Guinea, 

tied some clay pipes and a few sticks of tobacco, then 
with his foot he made some symbolic marks on the 
ground, laying the remainder of the boughs in different 
positions. We then started back to the camp, where, 
after breakfast, I had the party photographed, 
Garougi being on one side of me and Auiti on the 

( 91 ) 



A fine Stretch of open Forest Land — Grarougi as a Diplomatist — 
The Entrance to Prince Leopold River — ^Forsyth Island, and 
the Trouton Group — I name a Tributary of the Leopold the 
Herald, after my Schooner — ^Well-cultivated native Planta- 
tions — ^How to Climb a Cocoanut Tree — A graceful young 
Savage — An almost impenetrable Scrub. 

We now decided to travel inland, so, dividing the 
party into two, and leaving one to watch the camp 
and photographic apparatus, I proceeded with the 
other due east through a fine stretch of open forest 
land. We passed many neatly fenced and well- 
cultivated plantations of tara, yam, plantains, and 
bananas, the bunches of the latter being covered with 
native mats to prevent the fruit ' being eaten by the 

After a sharp march of eight miles due east through 
many pretty ravines, we returned towards the camp 
taking a course about two points to the northward of 

92 Explorations ifi New Guinea. 

that by which we had come. As we again approached 
the camp of the natives (Washies by name) I called a 
halt, while Garougi went forward to the camp, where 
he found three men, to whom he explained that the 
captain was a good man and had come there as a 
friend and not as an enemy. He told them also that 
I had tooreek (iron axes) and knives, tobacco and 
cloth, all of which I had brought to give to them, 
as I wanted to come and live amongst them, and if 
I came, there would be no danger of the Tugara 
men attacking them any more, because I would give 
them a flag, and when the Tugara men saw that flag 
they would all run away. ^ ' 

To this the natives very reasonably replied : 
" If your captain is a good man, why did he kill our 
dogs, and come here to frighten all the women and 
children with thunder and lightning ? " 
This Garougi came and reported to me. 
I sent word back that the captain was tired, and 
that he was not on shore with the men when these 
dogs were shot, for, had he been, he would not have 
allowed the men to shoot the dogs ; and further, 
that the men who shot the dogs were not allowed 
to come on shore, but were kept on the ship; and 

Garougi as a Diplomatist 93 

that if they would let the captain come to their camp 
he would himself tell them all about it. 

To this they answered that they were frightened 
for the captain to come to the camp, but if he was 
the good man Garougi said he was, he would go away 
and not stop and frighten women and children. 

I now replied that to show them that the captain 
was a good man I would go away, and when they 
were not frightened I would come back. 

At this time I had much difficulty in restraining one 
of the men from firing at a noble specimen of a cas- 
sowary that was feeding in the creek. 

On Garougi's return from this diplomatic mission, 
we continued our journey along the opposite side of 
the creek to that of our own camp, till we came upon 
a piece of perhaps the finest soil it is possible to find 
anywhere — rich red volcanic soil, from which sprang 
many tall stately trees and much luxuriant vegeta- 
tion. Here, too, were many plantations. Sending to 
the camp, we photographed some of the scenery here. 

After a cup of tea we started for the ship, because 
it was now drawing towards sundown, and as our 
course lay through a long creek, the banks of which 
were lined with brushwood, we had some fear of an 

94 Explorations in New Guinea, 

ambuscade, but we reached the mouth of the creek in 
safety at the last gleam of daylight* 

As soon as we sighted the ship I observed that 
all was commotion on board, and on the other side of 
the river the natives were shouting their usual cry 
of '' du mari, du mari.". Directly I got on board I 
found all the men standing to their arms, and was 
informed that three canoe loads, two small and one 
large, had crossed the river with green boughs in 
their hands with which they kept lashing the water, 
continuing the cry of *'du mari, du mari." Fortu- 
nately the wisdom of my chief officer and one of my 
men, Charles Larsen, had prevented any hostile shot 
being fired at the natives. 

Late as it was, I gave to Garou^ and Auiti, for 
presents, long knives and tomahawks, and despatched 
them ashore in the boat to interview the Washies, 
who, immediately the boat left the ship, rushed off into 
the bush, and although Auiti was fleet of foot he 
failed to come up with them, and after an hour's 
absence returned to the vessel. 

Having given the situation my careful consideration, 
I decided, as the natives were evidently terror-stricken, 
to give them time to recover, and in the morning we 

The Entrafice to Prince Leopold River, 95 

got under weigh and proceeded towards the mouth of 
the Leopold. At the same time I blamed myself fof 
allowing any party from the ship to land unless I was 
there in person to command. There can be no doubt 
that the indiscriminate firing and the shooting of the 
. two dogs had struck terror into the hearts and raised 
distrust in the minds of the natives. My object was 
now to conciliate the natives and to remove the false 
impression created by the injudicious conduct of my men» 

Towards evening we approached the mouth of the 
river, and anchored in eight fathoms of water. In the 
morning, taking two seamen with me in the boat, I 
sounded the channel at dead low water, and found 
not less than four fathoms in any part of the channel. 

The entrance to the Leopold is well sheltered, and 
protected to the south by the island of Mata Kara, 
and to the west by a large island named by me 
Forsyth Island, and a group of three islands which 
we named the Trouton Group. 

The river debouched into the ocean by a channel 
running to the eastward, although, as a matter of 
fact, there are many other channels between the 
islands. The eastern channel would be perfectly safe 
for steam vessels, or for sailing vessels entering the 

96 Explorations in New Guinea, 


Leopold, but, being rather narrow and intricate, is yet 
too dangerous for a sailing ship to attempt to bea4: 
through. I therefore got under weigh and returned 
up the Leopold, and in the evening anchored opposite 
a tributary, the entrance to which was five to six 
hundred yards wide. This I named the Herald, 
after my schooner. 

At daylight we again proceeded up the river, 
passing the Kethel and Macqueen, which I had named 
in my previous expedition, and the confluence of the 
Leopold and Mia Kasa. Opposite the Tokuda River 
we anchored and landed a party, and did a con- 
siderable amount of exploration. Here the shelving 
river bank rises to a height of some twenty-five feet, 
and the land rolls away in undulating waves. 

The soil is exceedingly good, being mostly a dark 
vegetable loam. The country is undulating, and is 
finely wooded with valuable trees. We felled a 
number of black walnut trees, which were close 
grained and had something of the nature of the 
lignum vitse, and were much harder than the species 
usually imported from America. We also found the 
ebony tree and several other valuable timbers which 
were entirely new to us. 

We proceed towards the Wynne. 97 

A long march into the interior revealed the fact 
that the island was teeming with animal life. In 
every swampy marsh were numerous pig tracks, and 
on every green patch were congregated hundreds of 
kangaroos, while from amongst our feet the peramles, 
or little New Guinea rat, would start up and run off 
amongst the shrubs or the long grass. We saw no sign 
of natives, although the distance is less than fifty miles 
from the coast. We had to clamber through the heavy 
scrub and brushwood to the summit of some heavily 
wooded ridges, on which we found the cedar tree, and 
also that species of pine known in Australia as the hoop 
pine and highly prized for building purposes. 

As I was anxious to make the acquaintance of 
the natives, as well as to ascertain their number in 
the island, it was decided, on the advice of the 
interpreters, that we should go nearer the mouth of 
the Mia Kasa and make the estuary, marked on the 
map as the Wynne, our base of operations. 

We arrived here in due course, and having moored 
the ship, manned the boat and rowed eight miles up 
the creek accompanied by the two interpreters. I 
was armed with Winchester and revolver, and carried 
a haversack containing tobacco and other presents 


98 Explorations in New Guinea. 

for the Datives. Leaving the seamen in charge of 
the boat I proceeded alone with the interpreters to 
interview the Daapa men. 

We found within a hundred yards of the banks three 
well-cultivated native plantations, and proceeded along 
the beaten path through a beautiful country of excellent 
soil covered with luxuriant tropical vegetatioa We 
scrambled through some deep gullies, where we were 
pleased to find the sago palm growing in abundance, 
while beautiful ferns of many varieties filled up the 
intermediate spaces. 

From one of these gullies we clambered up a hill of 
some three hundred feet in height, and found that 
the whole of the summit had been cleared and made 
into a beautiful plantation fenced round in a circle. 
In this plantation were cocoanut trees, plantain and 
bananas, tara and yams. As the heat was intense and 
my thirst equally great I suggested that we should 
secure some of the young cocoanuts. Auiti cut a vine 
and stripping off his clothing reeved the vine round the 
tree and round his body ; then, taking the bight of this 
natural rope in both hands he lifted it above his head, 
gave a spring and caught the tree with his feet. This 
brought the strap to down below his waist. With 

An almost impenetrable Scrub, 99 

another jerk he raised it far above his head and another 
spring brought it lower still, and so he continued with 
bounds almost equal to those of a greyhound until he 
reached the top of the tall cocoanut tree. 

As I stood watching him I could not help admiring 
the splendid limbs and lithe activity of this young 
savage. It was certainly a case of natural beauty 
unadorned. He detached the cocoanuts by twisting the 
stems and letting them fall to the ground. 

After he had gathered a sufficient number we called 
him down, and having refreshed ourselves with the juice 
of the cocoanuts piled the rest in a heap ready to take 
back on our return. 

At the foot of a hill we came to a little valley, some- 
what swampy, and what may be aptly termed a pine 
wood, many of the trees in which were of excellent 
growth. One which I measured with my tape had a 
circumference of eighteen feet at the base. Marching 
from the valley we crossed a series of hillocks, some of 
which were under cultivation, and we next becaipe 
entangled in an almost impenetrable scrub through 
which ran a narrow native path. 

H 2 

ICK) Explorations in New Guinea, 



Making our way through the Forest — A green Tree-Snak( 
A rush of armed Natives — ^I am introduced to Kamara, 
Chief of the Daapa Tribe^Garougi and Auiti explain the 
Object of my Visit — The Appearance of the Women and 
Children — ^I hold out the Olive Branch — A Famine at Baigo 
— ^Kamara explains that his People have never seen white 
Men before — I name his Territory, Strachan Island, and 
promise to return — ^I clothe Kamara — His dismay at my 
white Skin — Kamara sends me a Present of a small wild 

Travelling now became difficult. From the hu^e 
trees hung creepers of many descriptions, most of 
tliem being of a prickly nature, the snake-like vine 
with thorns, similar to those of the bramble, fastening 
itself round one's throat until cut through with the 
bowie kniln. On the tree branches overhead were 
many beautiful orchids, some of which were entirely 
new to us ; however my object on this journey was not 
to explore the country but to meet ' a race of wild 

A green Tree- Snake, loi 

savages who had never seen the face of a white man 
before, and with whom I hoped to establish friendly 
relations. After clearing the hill country we came te- 
a cane brake and from thence marched into beautiful 
open forest land. 

The interpreters, light of foot, trudged bravely on, 
but with the weight of arms and clothing, and with 
a vertical sun overhead, I felt well-nigh exhausted, 
when suddenly our guides uttered a cry to warn 
the natives of our approach, and, turning round, 
informed me that we were now drawing near their 
camp. Auiti ran forward while Garougi remained 
with me. 

In a few minutes Auiti returned to say that the 
natives had left the camp, but that there was plenty of 
water there. We entered and Auiti brought me some 
fresh water in a cocoanut shell from a creek sur- 
rounded by a plantation of bamboos. 

Whilst waiting for him to come up, my attention was 
attracted by a rustling among the leaves of one of the 
bamboos, and, looking overhead, I saw what at first sight 
appeared to be a piece of green bamboo moving. This 
proved to be a green tree-snake about three feet long. 
It was a beautiful creature, and would have been a 

i02 Explorations in New Guinea. 

prize for any naturalist. I wanted to cut the bamboo 
and kill it, but for some reasons the interpreters 
begged me to refrain. 

Time being precious, we continued onward, and 
passing through a belt of scrub again reached the 
open forest. As we approached a piece of. rising 
ground the interpreters again uttered their cry, and 
presently we saw starting from every corner of the 
bush and rushing towards us men armed with bows 
and arrows and spears. Auiti ran towards them, 
speaking rapidly as he ran. Garougi remained with 
me. His and my arms were stretched out, but with 
my revolver dangling to my right wrist. 

They gathered round Auiti, who presently returned 
holding by the hand a lithe, wild-eyed, determined- 
looking young cannibal, to whom I was introduced, 
and who in return was introduced to me, Kamara, the 
Chief of the Daapa tribe. The rest of them flocked 
around; I opened my haversack, and gave small 
pieces of tobacco to each native, and we proceeded 
towards their camp. The men laid aside their bows, 
arrows, and spears, a native mat was spread upon the 
ground and we sat in a circle. The men were perfectly 
nude, being adorned only with charms around their 

The Women and Children, 103 

necks, the tail of a pig, a boar's tooth, a cassowary's 
quill or some other trophy of war or chase. 

Garougi and Auiti having explained the object 
of my visit, and informed them about the dog shooting 
with the Washies, went on to say how anxious Captain 
Strachan was to be friendly with all the tribes, and 
that it was his intention to come and live amongst 
them if their country was good. If he came they 
would then have no more to fear from the Tugara 
men from the west, but would have good houses, like 
those they had in Baigo, plenty of cloth, tx)bacco, 
tomahawks and knives, and would find in the white 
man a friend; and '*by-and-by missionary he come 
and they speak book same as men at Saibai." 

By the expression of the men's countenances it was 
evident that they were delighted at the prospect, 
and they rose and brought me to eat a piece of wood 
called betesi, which is the pith of the sago tree dried 
in the sun. The natives are not sufficiently advanced 
in civilization to understand the washing of the sago, 
but they simply dry it in the sun and eat it in its crude 

The women, who were somewhat numerous, sat in 
the rear. They were certainly not beautiful ; their 

104 Explorations in New Guinea. 

dress consisted of a grass waist cloth. In the lobes 
of their ears were square pieces of wood : the carti- 
lage between the nostrils was pierced and through it 
were driven pieces of wood until the natural features 
were completely distorted. Many of the children, 
however, were not bad looking, and as they gathered 
round and gained confidence they grew playful. 

After giving away all the presents I had brought, 
Kamara informed me that there was a better and a 
nearer route to the camp by moving the ship a little 
further down the river, a course which would obviate 
the necessity of pulling up the creek. I requested 
lum to send to the Washi, the Mata, and the Boogi 
tribes, and ask them to meet me there in three days' 
time when I would come with a party of my own 
people to meet them. I added that I wished to assure 
them that my visit was one of peace and not of war, 
that I wanted to be friendly with them, and to come 
iand dwell amongst them. 

. Pointing to the vast extent of territory, I explained 
that there was a great land and few people, that they 
had no houses, that they were being continually devoured 
by the wild men of the west, and in turn again devoured 
those whom they could surprise and capture. If the 

/ Jtold out the Olive-Branch. 105 

white man came amongst them all this would cease ; 
they would be protected, and the wild men driven 
back. I told them I would pay them now for the 
land, and, when I came to dwell amongst them, in 
return for their labours, men would come to teach 
them the same as Auiti and Garougi had been taught. 
I said, " It is not seven years since Garougi and Auiti 
ate men, now they will not eat men. They had no 
clothes, they were naked as you, Kamara ; now they 
have clothing like me. Would not this be better for 
you, than being driven in terror from place to place 
through the island before the Tugara men ? " 

Between them, Garougi and Auiti interpreted this 
to the chief and the natives, who seemed to understand 
and grasp the meaning perfectly. 

I then promised that until we met again I would 
not allow any of my people to travel through the 

Returning by the same track, we gathered the 
cocoanuts that we had left, and reaching the boat 
returned to the ship long after dark. The inter- 
preters, who had now been with us a month, had 
grown very anxious to return home. Having paid 
them liberally for their services, the boat was manned 

Io6 Explorations in New Guinea. 

and they were taken by myself to the mouth of the 
river where we made a ' fire aa a signal, and a canoe 
came from Baigo, distant seven miles, and took them 
to their homes. They promised to send over other 
interpreters the next day. 

On the following afternoon, three canoes came over 
and informed me that fish were scarce and it was a 
dry season, so that in consequence there was a famine 
on the island. Since we left they had been living 
on the roots of the young mangrove, and at present 
the women were sleeping to deaden the pangs of 
hunger. I gave the men something to eat, and on the 
turn of the tide dispatched one canoe with two 
hundredweight of rice and a bag of biscuit*- for the 
women and children. One canoe remained at the ship 
all night, and the other made for the shore, where the 
crew proceeded to the camp of the Daapa men to urge 
Kamara to have the whole of the tribes gathered by 
Wednesday (it was now Monday). 

On Tuesday we landed on a black ironstone sand 
beach. The country here rises gradually from the 
river bank to a height of perhaps two hundred and 
fifty feet. The timber was heavy and valuable, and 
as it was my intention to carry specimens back, I 

Medicinal ^'Birds' Eyes'' 107 

sent the boat again to the ship for axes and a cross- 
cut saw. We felled many trees, the timber of which 
was of great value, notably one which, when polished 
in Sydney, presented the appearance of waterlaid silL 
The soil too was everywhere excellent and well 
adapted for almost any kind of tropical or semi- 
tropical products. The south-east trade winds, blow- 
ing into the river and through the scrubs and forests 
over nine months of the year, make this part of New 
Guinea also comparatively healthy. 

Here again we saw many interesting insects, birds 
and butterflies, and in a hollow at the back of the high 
ground were flocks of ducks and geese and many pig 
tracks, but we did not actually see any animals. The 
day was spent rambling about in groups within a couple 
of miles of the shore, but none of us proceeded inland. 

I gathered many strange seeds, and beans black as 
ebony, some of which are now set and used as 
bracelets ; and from a variety of long grass I collected 
bottles full of small red and black seed, to which my 
sailors gave the name of "birds' eyes," the native 
name being " tigi tig." I have since learned that this 
seed is of great medical value. and is now eagerly 
sought after by the faculty. 

io8 Explorations in New Guinea. 

On Wednesday morning a native returned from the 
Daapa Camp, and informed me that Kamara would 
have the people all ready at the appointed time. 
With a party of eight and about a dozen Baigo men, 
we proceeded by a winding path around a hill, across 
what in the rainy season would be a swamp, and 
again entered the open forest; we passed through 
the camp already spoken of, and in due course 
reached the camp of the Daapa people. The natives 
rushed out to meet us, thi» time unarmed, having on 
only their kadigees, armlets or gauntlets, plaited 
from split cane and used to protect the wrist from the 

Kamara walked with me to the camp, and a little 
man from Baigo, who called himself a missionary, 
brought the chiefs of the Mata, Boogi, and Washi 
tribes, to all of whom 1 gave presents. I upbraided 
the latter in no measured terms at being terror-stricken 
at a friend, more especially when that friend was ac- 
companied by the chief of Baigo and his son. 

He explained that they had never seen white men 
before and, being suddenly awakened from their sleep 
by the noise of guns as of thunder, were frightened. 
The shooting of their dogs had still further alarmed 

Assurances of Peace and Amity, 109 

them. Kamara had told him that I had come to see 
him alone and they were not frightened now ; if I 
returned they would not run away. My sailors had 
carried a large quantity of trade consisting of axes, 
long knives, tomahawks, pipes, tobacco, beads, cloth 
and handkerchiefs. I again explained my object 
in visiting their country, and from them received every 
assurance that they would dwell in peace and amity 
with me and would be glad if I would come and dwell 
amongst them. On the other hand I explained that 
they would be protected from the murderous raids of 
the Tugara men from the west. They were assured 
that their plantations would not be touched, unless 
fairly purchased from them at the time with their con- 
sent and with the consent of the whole tribe. *' Look," 
I said " at this great island, there are no men here ; 
you stop little while here, Tugara men come, you run 
away, Tugara men come another place, you run 
away. Suppose white men come, you come make 
house and live near white man. Tugara men come, 
white men make Tugara men run away." They all 
laughed and seemed delighted. I then enquired the 
numbers in each tribe, and summing them up I calcu- 
lated the total to be one hundred and eighty souls on 

no Explorations m New Guinea. 

an island containing seven hundred and fifty square 

My trade was then opened and laid bare and 
parcelled out to each chief according to the number of 
people in his tribe. The question was then asked, 
**Are you willing that I come and possess this 
island?" *'A11 man keep his own garden and all 
the ground that is not used are you willing to give it 
to me?" They all signified their willingness and I 
told them the name was *' Strachan Island," and by 
this name the natives know the island at present. 

I then said, " I will not be back again at the camp, 
as I want to see the country, but my men will be walk* 
ing one's and two's and three's all over your island. 
They will go to shoot burum (pigs) and also birds. 
They will go to look at trees. If women work in 
garden, some men speak to her, she shall not run away. 
She no savee what my men speak, •they no speak bad. 
They speak good. They will look at women' work a 
little while and they will walk away. But if man 
speak bad, women can speak Kamara, Kamara will, 
come to me. That man will not speak bad more. If 
some man meet my man, he will shake hai^s and they 
will be friends. If some man have something for to 

/ clothe Kamara. in 

give, my man give him knife or tobacco or handker- 
chief for something. My man must not take some- 
thing from Mata, Boogl, Washi or Daapa man S&t 
nothing, so we will be good friends." 

Independent of the trade given to the chiefs I made 
small presents to every man, woman and child of the 
tribe. This being done, I took a walk through the 
camp, talked to the women, played with the children, 
and seeing a number of cassowaries, I purchased them 
from them. 

When it was late in the afternoon we prepared to 
return to the ship, I having persuaded Kamara and 
two of the others to accompany me. We arrived at 
dusk and introduced the Chief to those on board the 
ship, which ordeal he went through with a certain 
amount of natural grace hardly to be expected in a 
naked savage. I then gave him food, and while he 
was eating I looked out some clothing. 

By the assistance of the interpreters I clothed him 
in a white shirt, trousers, and a blue coat with brass 
anchor buttons ; but we had some difficulty about the 
coat, as he persisted in putting it on the wrong way 
and could not understand that the open part should be 
in front. However, after some difficulty we got him 

112 Explorations in New Guinea, 

clad in the first garments that had ever covered his 

I then presented him with a looking-glass. While 
he was admiring himself, I quietly unbuttoned and 
withdrew my upper garments. He lifted his eyes 
fix)m the glass, and seeing my white skin he dropped 
the glass, staii;ed to his feet, looked towards the cabin 
door as if he would like to rush outj then sat down 
breathing hard with his head half averted. He kept 
looking at me with the timid look of a hunted wild 
animal. The look was not altogether one of fear nor 
was it entirely one of surprise. It was positively one 
of repulsion and of loathing, as if my white skin was 
too horrible to look upon, and he seemed relieved 
when I re-dressed. 

They remained on board the ship all night. In 
the morning they landed, and in the afternoon Kamara 
sent me off a present of a small wild boar, which I 
ultimately presented to the Zoological Society of New 
South Wales. 

( 113 ) 



Lovely Flora of the Island — Splendid Timber — Flocks of black 
and white Cockatoos — Keeping Watch by Night I in the 
Tropics — Following a Native Track — Plunging through a 
Cane Brake — ^Bush Work in the Wilds of New Guinea — 
The Prospects for European Settlers. 

The men were now allowed to explore Strachan 
Island in small parties, and accompanied by my 
second officer^ a good Australian bushman, and two of 
my seamen, I proceeded with the boat up the Wynne. 
We followed the stream for a distance of some eighteen 
miles, until it became so narrow that the boat had to 
be propelled by sculling astern. Here we landed on 
the north side, and following the track through a 
cane brake for a distance of some fifty yards we 
again entered some excellent country, the soil of which 
was composed of dark vegetable loam. 

The flora in this part was very lovely ; from and 
between the huge trees were suspended vines bearing 


114 Explorations in New Guinea, 

many beautiful flowers. We also came across a great 
variety of- orchids and many other plants, which 
would have cheered the heart of my friend Baron 
Ferdinand Von Muller. As my mission was not 
that of a collector of botanical specimens, but rather 
to open up this fair land for settlement, for the 
benefit not only of the white man but the native 
races also, I contented myself with admiring the 
natural beauties by which I was surrounded. 

Continuing our journey we came to a deep gorge, 
the dry bed of which we followed for some consider- 
able distance. Here my attention was attracted by a 
pretty little bird, no larger than the humming bird, 
flying amongst the shrubs on the banks. Clambering 
up the side of the ravine we tried the various trees 
with our tomahawks and axes, the old bushman, who 
was expert in using the axe, cutting out several blocks 
of considerable size, which were ultimately taken to 
Sydney and pronounced by experts to be timber of 
great value, many of them very valuable for cabinet- 
making purposes. Throughout the whole of this day 
our examination of the country had been carried out 
with care, and being now some five miles from the 
bank of the creek we had again lost all signs of native 

Keeping Watch by Night. 115 

tracks. Overhead and in the outer branches were 
flocks of black and white cockatoos. We passed a 
few red birds of paradise and also the twelve-wired 
birds of paradise, but saw none of the other species 
of these beautiful birds that are known to inhabit 
New Guinea. We passed numerous pig tracks^ but, 
strange to say, during the day saw no sign of the 
kangaroo. Near every pool of water in the ravine 
numbers of beautiful butterflies, of the genus Papilio, 
were disporting themselves, and as towards nightfall 
we retraced our steps to the boat, the air became 
blackened with beetles of different descriptions. 

Reaching the boat, we pulled down the creek for a 
few miles until we found a suitable place to camp for 
the night. The billy was put on and we were soon 
busily engaged at our evening meal, which consisted of 
tea, hard biscuits, and parrots, which we roasted over 
the fire by holding them on a pointed stick. 

The watches were then arranged. I kept the 
watch from eight to ten, from which the time until 
three was divided among the others. As it is in the 
^arly hours of the morning that the savage usually 
makes the attack, it was imperative that I should keep 
the last watch, from three o'clock, myself. 

I 2 

Ii6 Explorations in New Guinea, 

The excitement of the day, the hideous noises of the 

forest, the sharp crackling sound of the jaws of the 

alligators in the stream, the rushing of pigs and other 

animals in the brushwood on the creek side, the flocks 

of huge vampire bats flying and shrieking overhead, or, 

attracted by the fire, sometimes flying so low as almost 

to touch one, and the peculiar cries of the night birds 

added to the weirdness of the scene, and caused a 

feeling of superstitious awe to creep over me, so that I 

felt inclined to call one of the men to keep me 

company. When relieved at ten o'clock, I rolled 

myself in the rug and lay down by the fire. Ere I 

had slept ten minutes I started up in a fright with 
something cold running over my face. 1 thought x>f 

snakes, but it was only a little field mouse, and it 

instantly darted away into the long grass. 

The night passed ofl* quietly and at three o'clock I 

was again called. During the long dreary last 

watch the time passed slowly, and at half-past four the 

men were summoned, the billy put on, and our morning 

meal made off a pannikin of tea and biscuit. As soon 

as daylight dawned we struck a course away to the 

south and west, leaving two men in charge of the 

boat. The country for about half a mile back from 

Following a Native Track. 117 

the creek bank was comparatively level but showed no 
evidence of ever having been flooded. 

The country presented the same features as the 
district we had examined on the previous day, save that 
we came across many specimens of the cedar tree, both 
red and white, and also of the beech. After travelling 
some three miles we reached a poorly-fenced native 
plantation, but which I concluded had been abandoned, 
although the soil was excellent 

It being our intention to work through the scrub 
into the open country, we struck into a native track, ' 
and, following it, at a distance of five miles from the 
creek bank, came upon open forest land. The 
travelling through this scrub was heavy in the extreme. 
Our flesh was wounded and our clothes torn with the 
thorns of the numerous creepers and that wretched cane 
known as the " lawyer." On emerging into the open 
forest we continued to the westward for a distance of 
some three miles, when we again entered the scrub so 
as to make the creek bank at a distance of some five 
miles from where we had left our boat. 

If our journey to the forest was hard, our return 
journey to the creek was worse, for we had to break 
our way through every foot of the scrub for fully two 

Ii8 Explorations in New Guinea. 

miles and consequently did not average one mile an 

Here I committed the grossest error I have ever 
made in my experiences of New Guinea exploration. 
Issuing from the scrub, we came upon a heavy cane 
brake, the cane in which was like tinder, for it was in 
the month of November in the dry season. Instead of 
following the edge of the brake and working round we 
plunged in, and after an hour's hard work broke our 
way through. 

If the natives who, although not seen, were no doubt 
watching us, had been hostile, they need only have set a 
spark of fire to the cane and we should have been burnt 
like rats in a hole. I failed also to take the precaution 
of making the men put out their pipes, a spark from one 
of wluch might have had the same efiect, and, strange 
as it may appear, I never realised the danger that we 
were in until thinking quietly of the journey the 
following day on board my own ship. We, however, 
got through safely and without accident, and arrived 
on top of a hill which had been cleared and which was 
surrounded on two sides by cane brakes. 

Here a dispute arose between the bushman and 
myself as to the position of the boat This man, who 

I ^ Bush Work in the Wilds, 119 


was a good axeman and a good average man, had 

always declared that his instinct and bush lore would 

' lead him better than my compass. As he spoke so 

' confidently I determined to give him a trial and he 

started off to lead the way. He led us down the hill 

\ through some scrub and in half an hour brought us 

back to the very spot from whence we had started, 

having completed a circle. We then struck due north, 

and having passed through a pine-wood forest, made 

the creek bank at a distance estimated by me to be 

five or six miles westward of the camp. 

Once more a dispute arose between the bushman and 

myself, he asserting that the boat was lying to the 

westward, while I declared that it was six miles to the 

eastward. Having had sufficient of his guidance for 

one day, I gave him the option of going west himself, 

and promised when we reached the boat to send it 

after him if he stuck to the creek's side. 

Continuing eastward we came to a narrow inlet, 

on the banks of which we felled a tree and scrambled 

across. Continuing east we were stopped by the 

cooing of our bushman. The second officer returned 

to see what was the matter, and found old Ben on the 

other side of the creek wanting to know how he was to 

120 Explorations in New Guinea, 

get over. He was directed to the tree, but in 
attempting to scramble across he tumbled in and came 
up with our party, out of breath and dripping wet, 
to tell us of his marvellous escape. 

We now began firing our signals as we scrambled 
through the brushwood and after an hour we had the 
satisfaction to hear them answered from the boat, 
the sailors in which, when they heard the first shot, 
with great good sense began pulling up the creek to 
meet us. We repeated the signal, which was again 
replied to, and I called a halt and waited for the boat 
to approach. 

We arrived at the camp, and after a hot cup of tea 
started on our return journey to the ship, which we 
reached at eight o'clock in the evening, well tired with 
two days' hard bush work in the wilds of New Guinea. 
The trip had been altogether a satisfactory one. It 
proved conclusively to me that there was a splendid 
country containing much excellent timber and good soil 
everywhere, cut up with good waterways oflfering easy 
facilities for transport. The small portion of this fine 
island required for the purposes of the natives does not 
amount to one thousandth part of the whole, and 
convinced I am that the advent and settlement of 



Tke Prospects for European Settlers, 12 1 

the white man under wise guidance and control would 
be most advantageous to the few natives inhabiting the 

The following day being Sunday, we rested, and on 
Monday dispatched another party to go over the same 
ground, so that we might have an independent opinion 
as to the resources of the ishmd. During the absence 
of the party those who remained were employed on 
shore cutting specimens of the various timbers, which 
were ultimately carried to Sydney and their relative 
values favourably reported on by experts. 

On Tuesday evening the party in charge of my 
second officer returned, and an old Indian planter, one 
of the party, who had volunteered to accompany me, 
reported the country to be capable of growing any 
tropical or semi-tropical product. 

122 Explorations in New Guinea. 



I determine to explore the Mainland to the Eastward, and leave 
the Ship in a native Canoe — Native Gardens, and the 
Kemains of an old Camp — Arrival amongst the People of 
Bern — Nature of the Soil — Comparative Powers of En- 
durance of Natives and Europeans — Statement of the Rivers 
discovered, and partially explored, during the Progress of the 
Expedition — My Theory, as yet unverified, is that all of 
these Streams are Tributaries of the Fly River. 

I NOW determined to explore the mainland to the 
eastward, and at daylight next morning, accompanied 
by one white man, I left the ship in a native canoe. 
In crossing the river I made an important discovery of 
a rock, with only two feet of water covering it at 
low tide, and situated directly in the mid-channel. 
Paddling to the eastern shore we soon got into shallow 
water and the paddles were laid aside and the canoe 
propelled by poles. Two men stood in the prow 

Native Mode of Spearing Fish. 123 

armed with fish spears, in the use of which, however, 
they did not seem to be very dexterous, for on passing 
through shoals of mullet, instead of throwing the spear 
in the manner which I had seen practised by fishermen 
in many other parts of the world these Papuans made 
a lunge, falling into the water with the spear, which 
never left their hand. Although they captured many 
fish their mode of procedure seemed to me most clumsy. 

Arriving at a shelving beach of ironstone sand we 
landed on an old camp ground, where it was explained 
to me that we were at the camp formed by the Tugara 
men when waiting to capture, myself and party in 
the previous year. The natives lit a fire, and we made 
our morning meal on tea, biscuits, and newly caught 
fishes. Our repast being over we made a start inland 
to meet the people of Bern, six Baigo men accompany- 
ing us as guides, one of whom was also to act as 
interpreter. Several of them could speak some 

Having surmounted the sloping river bank we 
descended into a lovely valley dotted over with beautiful 
tree ferns, and although it was the month of November, 
with an almost vertical sun, vegetation was every- 
where luxuriant. The grass was somewhat coarse but 


124 Explorations in New Guinea, 

I was assured by my companion, the old bushman, that 
it was admirably suited either for sheep or cattle. My 
own opinion is that the country is too far within the 
tropics for sheep to thrive. On the eastern side of 
the valley ran a heavy scrub, through which we 
passed without any inconvenience, by a native track, 
and then entered the open forest country, passing 
long stretches of scrub on both hands, to north 
and south, in some of which were gullies of good 
fresh water. The country here as elsewhere was un- 
dulatin<]j and seemed to run in lonof land waves. 

Some six miles from the river we came upon native 
gardens and the remains of an old camp. Here we 
called a halt, and sent some of the natives to fill our 
bamboos with fresh water. After a drink and a 
smoke we continued our journey, and again entered 
the scrub. In the damp ground we found growing 
in great profusion the sago palm with its beautiful 
broad fern-like leaves; these together with the dense 
foliage of the heavy timber trees, the many creepers 
and vines and delicate ferns, presented a very pretty 
picture of tropical luxuriance. The sun being now 
near the meridian, as we emerged from the scrub belt 
into the open the heat became intense, and our native 

Arrival amongst the People of Bern. 125 

guides began to show signs of fatigue and requested 
me to return. We had continued since leaving the 
river at a swinging pace, but, being determined to 
interview the natives, I continued onward. 

The natives, who were ahead, made an attempt to 
deceive us by leading us back again to the river in a 
circle, unconscious of the fact that I was noting the 
direction by compass and that they were bringing 
the sun to bear on our back instead of on our right. 
I therefore let them continue for a short distance until 
we came to a water hole in a gully, where we sat 
down in the shade and rested for a few moments, 
when, pointing to the sun, I commanded them to 
guide us on the right course, and after another hour's 
hard tramping we arrived among the people of Bern, a 
small tribe not numbering in all thirty souls. 

These people were once a powerful tribe, but had 
been mostly killed and eaten off the face of the earth 
by the Tugara men. Having much intercourse with 
the people of Baigo, who are under missionary 
influence, although they had not seen white men 
before, they expressed litde or no surprise at seeing 
me, but were greatly astonished at the manner in 
which I had carried my party safely through their 

126 Explorations in New Guinea, 

— 7- — ' — -^~ 

country without having been seen or overtaken and 
captured by the Tugara men in the previous year. 
When I told the tale of how, though starved with 
hunger and parched with thirst, I refused to allow the 
men to cut down one of their cocoanut trees in order 
that when we met we might be friends, they appeared 
much gratified. I made careful enquiry as to the 
number of the inhabitants and as to the locality of the 
nearest tribe, and was assured that with the exception 
of a small tribe, the Bai-Bai, people on the other side 
of the Gregory, whose numbers were not in excess of 
their own, there were no other tribes nearer than 
Daubo, a distance of seventy-five miles. 

Like Strachan Island, the country everywhere is 
suitable for tropical agriculture, and, as this narrative 
shows, the natives are not sufficiently numerous to 
justify any Government in blocking British or Aus- 
tralian enterprise. The natives, although the distance 
was not twenty miles, difiered considerably in colour 
and physique from those on Strachan Island, the latter 
being coal black, while the people of Bern were what 
may perhaps be termed a dirty brown. 

The day was wearing on apace, so we started on our 
return journey, and by rapid marching succeeded in 

Comparative Power of Endurance, 127 


reaching the river bank by dusk. The boatmen 
during our absence had caught more fish and 
many crabs. The billy was boiling and we sat down 
in the middle of these wild men to supper, and then 
returned to the ship. 

During this journey I had an opportunity of noting 
the difference between the powers of endurance of the 
European and the native of the country. Ere our 
journey to Bern was half completed the natives began 
to show signs of exhaustion and fatigue, while my 
companion and myself, although heavily laden, were 
comparatively fresh, and on the latter part of the 
journey the natives were only kept going by alternate 
promises and threats, so that on our arrival at the 
river, with one exception, they all lay down completely 

In the morning I sent my second officer to sound 
the rock I had discovered on the previous day and to 
define its position. We then made ready to leave the 
Mia Kasa, but before proceeding further with the 
narrative of my voyage it may be well to enumerate 
the numerous rivers discovered, and to some extent 
explored, during the two expeditions. 

Five miles from the entrance is the Gregory, so 

128 Explorations in New Guinea, 

named after Mr. Edmund Gregory, of Brisbane. At 
twenty miles, again, debouching into the Mia Kasa 
from the eastward, is the Neill, and at twenty-five 
miles, debouching from the northward, the Tokuda, 
and at thirty miles another stream, the Broom- 
field, named after Captain John Broomfield, the Vice- 
President of the Marine Board of New South Wales, 
From Strachan Island, and coming from the south- 
ward, is the Bradley; ten miles further on is the 
Curnow, named after the able editor of the Sydney 
Morning Herald; again coming from the northward 
and at a distance of fifty-six miles we made the junction 
of the Prince Leopold and the Mia Kasa Rivers. The 
Mi^ Kasa itself was discovered by Dr. Samuel Mac- 
farlane as far back as 1877, and was named by him the 
Baxter. At a distance of some eighty miles the Prince 
Leopold again divides into two branches, the eastern of 
which is the Wallace. The Leopold itself trends to the 
westward, from which debouch into the Leopold five 
tributary streams which have been named the Gard, 
the Cook, the Macqueen, the Kethell, and Herald 
Rivers respectively. 

All of these eastern tributaries, in my opinion, 
flow fi'bm the Fly River, or from the great swamps on 

A Theory. 129 

its southern side, or possibly by an underground current 
from the Fly. This hypothesis, however, I have never 
been able to actually prove, owing in some measure to 
the insufficiency of time at my disposal, and partly to 
that bugbear of so many explorers, the want of 
sufficient capital. 

130 Explorations in New Guinea. 


THE "herald" steers EASTWARD. 

At the Mouth ^f the Mia Kasa — Pinoo and Dr. Macfarlane — 
The Atrocities committed at Baigo by the Tugara Men — ^No 
Protection to the Natives wo have Christianized, though 
there are plenty of idle Officers promenading the Streets of 
Sydney, and British Gunboats dodging aimlessly about 
between Port Moresby and Cook Town — An Appeal to 
England and Australia on behalf of the native Races of New 
Guinea — Sir Robert Macgregor*s Advent to Power a hopeful 
Sign — ^Talbot Island and its People — A native Pastor at 
Saibai — The great and beneficent Work achieved by the 
London Missionary Society. 

Our work in this part of New Guinea being thus 
completed, we determined to proceed to the eastward, 
and with the afternoon's tide we got under weigh, and 
with three Baiffo canoes in tow worked down to the 
mouth of the river, where we anchored for the night. 
At dawn, the tide answering, we weighed anchor and 
made sail and with a strong ebb tide in our favour 
made the western end of Talbot Island. 

From Talbot Island the passage up to Baigo lies 

Pinoo and Dr. Macfarlane. 131 

through a channel in many places ten to seventeen 
fathoms in depth. At midday we anchored oflF the 
village in four fathoms of water and remained for two 
days. On landing, we were informed that Pinoo, the 
mission teacher, had proceeded with his wife to the 
Murray Islands, to pay his respects and bid a farewell 
to Dr, Macfarlane, who was leaving the mission, after 
years of noble sacrifice and devotion in the cause of 
God and humanity, to return to England to spend the 
remainder of his days in a well earned and richly 
merited repose. 

Having heard so much of the depredations of the 
Tugara men from the west, and having in the previous 
year suffered severely from them, I made careful 
enquiry as to how they came to attack the people 
of Baigo and their treatment of their prisoners. 

From the information gathered it would appear that 
after lying in wait for some time on the mainland and- 
among the mangroves on the opposite shore, and making 
occasional raids among the Bai-Bai and Beru tribes on 
Strachan Island, they planned a great attack on the 
village of Baigo which was at that time inhabited 
by a population consisting of about three hundred and 
fifty souls. 

K 2 

132 Explorations in New Guinea, 

At four o'clock in the morning, when all were asleep 
these bloodthirsty wretches — ^not less than a thousand 
strong — surrounded the village and began to massacre 
men, women and children. Between thirty and forty 
escaped into the swamp and those who were not killed 
were captured and thrown bound into the canoes. 
The conquerors then made fires and commenced to 
make a feast off the slain. 

For some days they remained feasting, singing, and 
dancing with devilish glee until they had eaten those 
killed in the affray. Finding that the legs of their 
victims swelled from the cords which bound them 
and that they were likely to perish from sheer agony, 
they cut the cords and with their clubs broke their 
limbs and from the living victims cut pieces of flesh 
which they roasted and ate before the faces of the poor 
wretches, who lay writhing in agony until mortification 
set in and death put an end to their sufferings. 

This horrible account is true, and though 1 shudder 
as I record the facts, my blood boils with indignation 
when I think that we, the people of a great arid a 
free country send out the missionary with the Bible in 
one hand to preach that "God is love" ; to tell men 
who had been prepared to defend themselves, that there 

No Protection to the Natives. t33 

' - - - 

is peace and safety in the Gospel of Christ ; to teach 
them to break their bows and their spears, and to live 
in harmony with their fellow-men. Then, having 
brought cannibal savages to live in a state of child- 
like sympathy and trusty we take no means to protect 
them from such incarnate fiends as those I have 
described. We have war ships in Sydney harbour by 
the dozen ; we have officers dressed in gold lace 
and brass buttons promenading Sydney streets ; we 
have gunboats dodging about between Port Moresby 
and Cook Town, and Australia has spent £50,000, for 
which she has got in return a Government Bungalow 
and a gaol, but no war ship has stirred, nor one penny 
of that £50,000 been expended, to protect our 
Christianized fellow-men in the West ! 

Men of England, I appeal to you; mothers of 
England, to you I look, that this great injustice shall 
continue no longer. Fellow-citizens of Australia, I 
call upon you to be up and doing, to see that Australia's 
might and Australia's right is respected even in 
New Guinea, I feel confident that if the Noble 
Lord who rules the Colonial Office so wisely and so 
well directs his attention to the matter, prompt, 
decisive, and humane action will speedily be taken. 

134 Explorations in New Guinea, 

If I write strongly, the reason is that, on this 
subject for years past my heart has bled for these 
I)eople, who are being obliterated from the face of the 
earth, and melting, as it w^ere, like summer snow. I 
feel that, small as the matter may seem when compared 
with those questions now distracting the attention of 
statesmen in Europe, our failure to protect these 
subjects of Her Majesty's latest dominion is a scandal 
to our policy and a reproach to us as a Christian 
nation. I sincerely trust that now that Sir Robert 
Macgregor has become Administrator something may 
be done to remedy this painful state of affairs. Surely 
his great experience in all matters pertaining to the 
natives of the South Sea Islands will cause him to 
extend his countenance and protection to the people 
of the west, instead of devoting, as his predeceasor 
did, his whole energies merely to ameliorating (?) 
the condition of the ti'ibes about Port Moresby. 

Talbot Island, which has been roughly surveyed and 
is marked on the Admiralty charts as of considerable 
extent, could be utilized for many practical purposes, 
as it is eminently adapted in places for growing rice 
and maize and contains a considerable quantity of 
valuable timber. 

Talbot Island. 135 

During our two days' stay here the wind blew 
strongly from the south-east and was dead against us, 
but there was nothing to be gained by remaining, for 
the natives being now rich beyond their most sanguine 
expectations in axes, tomahawks, knives, cloth, tobacco, 
&c., were eager not only to try the effect of their, tools 
in house-building but to return to the mainland in 
order to do a little trading on their own account. We 
therefore landed and bade them good-bye for a year, 
promising to return, and instructing Garougi* and 
Auiti to keep up continual intercourse with the four 
chiefs of the island and to protect my interests. I 
returned to the ship, accompanied by one canoe and 
the two interpreters, who were to act as pilots, and to 
point out the way through a broader and a better 
channel than that by which I had come down the 

We got under weigh, and, having made our course 
through the channel, anchored at dusk for the night. 
Our friends returned to their village, a watch was 
set, and we rode snugly at anchor, until the tide 
answered in the morning. Then having to beat a 

* Garougi has since been killed Jand eaten by the Tugara 

136 Explorations in New Gtiinea. 

passage the whole way, with the lead constantly 
going, we were enabled to make a fairly accurate 
survey of this part of the coast The depth of water 
in the channel varied from seventeen fathoms to three 
fathoms until reaching Taun, where, owing to the 
numerous reefs, the water shallowed considerably. 

Without anchoring at Taun, we proceeded to 
Saibai, where we were informed that Jakobo and 
Janee had also gone to the Murray Islands, to take a 
farewell of Mr. Macfarlane, and that AnnU, who . 
eleven years before had been a wild, bloodthirsty 
cannibal warrior, and is head chief of Saibai, had 
charge of the Mission. 

As 1 was anxious to see how this old cannibal 
would conduct the religious ordinances in the 
absence of the missionary, I remained on shore until 
after evening prayers. As the time for service 
approached, the bell was rung, and Annu, taking me 
by the arm said, "Now we go pray, captain." I 
accompanied him to a large native house on the floor 
of which were several bright wood fires, round which 
the natives were seated. Alees, the second or lower 
chief, then arose and proceeding to a corner of the 
building brought forth a number of paper-covered 


Great Work of the London Missionary Society, 137 

books, which I found to be copies of a native transla- 
tion of the Gospel of St. John. These he handed 
round to a considerable number of the natives. 

Annu opened the service by kneeling and praying 
with apparent earnestness in the native tongue for a 
few moments. The people again sat down, and 
opening the book, Annu read what appeared to be the 
first verse of the first chapter of St. John's Gospel and 
was followed in succession by the others until the 
chapter was finished. A pause ensued for a few 
moments and then, turning to the beginning, Annu 
started to expatiate on the chapter they had just read. 
When he had finished, he was followed by others, until 
nearly all who had been engaged in reading had 
made some remarks. Then after singing a hymn, 
Annu closed the service of the evening, with the bene- 
diction in the nati\e tongue. 

Those who doubt the value of missions should study 
the great and beneficent work of the London Mis- 
sionary Society in New Guinea during the short space 
of twelve years. There is no need to go further back 
than Lieutenant Connor's report of a Survey of this 
part of the coast in 1872 made by him on behalf of the 
Colonial Government There they will find described 

138 Explorations in New Guinea, 

that the very men, with whom I sat in perfect safety, 
listening to them uttering songs of prayer and praise 
to that great invisible Euler who controls the destinies 
of men and of nations, were then a tribe of wild blood- 
thirsty savages, who at that time hunted and murdered 
their fellow-men for the sake of collecting their heads 
and eating their flesh. With them, indeed, in a very 
wonderful sense, ^^ old things have passed away and all 
things have become new." 

( 139 ) 



Engaging Interpreters at Daubo — A Journey into the Interior 
— I am introduced to Emari, Chief of the Daubo People — 
His Friendly Attitude — ^A Question of "Roast Pig" — 
Return to Saibai — Proceed Eastward to Mowatta — The 
Mission Station at the Mouth of the Katow River — I try to 
gain the confidence of the People of Goua — The Purchase of 
the Idol *' Seegur " — Arrival at Taun — ^The Vills^es in the 
Neighbourhood of the Fly River — Suspicions of the Natives 
and what gave rise to them — We part good Friends — The 
Village of Turi-Turi — ^We return to Sydney — News of Sir 
Peter Scratchley's Death — Unfortunate Selection of his 
Successor — The Future Prospects of New Guinea. 

In the morning I arranged with Annu for ten men 
to accompany myself and party into the interior from 
a point some miles to the eastward, so that I might 
meet and hold converse with the Daubo tribe. Matters 
being arranged, we agreed to start on the following 
morning in a native canoe. For the services of these 
men we agreed to pay ten trade sticks of tobacco 

143 Explorations in New Guinea. 

per head for the trip, and to give the chief an axe. 
At the appointed time, instead of one canoe and ten 
men, four canoes containing in all thirty-six men came 
alongside, and Annu explained "Captain pay good, 
all men want to go." 

To this I consented, and leaving the ship, we 
paddled along the New Guinea shore until we came to 
a creek, which we entered. Landing among the man- 
groves, after a tramp .of two miles we emerged into an 
open forest park-like country across which we travelled 
in a north-west direction for a distance of about eio:ht 
miles, when we entered a grand piece of scrub-land, 
the centre of which had been cleared. It contained a 
splendid cocoanut grove with some fine plantations. 

A good house had been built there by the London 
Missionary Society for one of their teachers — my 
friend Pinno, already spoken of as being at Baigo — 
but, being an islander, he has grown afraid to live in 
the heart of the forest. It was therefore deemed 
advisable to remove him, and he was sent to Baigo, 
the consequence being that no teacher has been 
stationed there since. 

Clearing the scrub, we entered a morass, which we 
crossed by a narrow native track and then had to 

/ am introduced to Emari, 141 

clamber over some rugged country and afterwards 
entered a dense forest which we found all ablaze. So 
fierce was the fire and so dense was the smoke, that 
at times we were compelled to close our nostrils and 
mouths and rush past the flames and through clouds 
of smoke, with crackling burning branches and limbs 
of trees falling around us in all directions. We 
were all well nigh exhausted ere we reached the open 

After a short rest we started forward again and a 
second march of two miles brought us to another belt 
of scrub partially cleared, containing cocoanut trees 
and good plantations. Here we took a long rest and 
regaled oui-selves with green cocoanuts, tea, biscuits 
and a quiet pipe. 

On again continuing to the north-west, the Saibai 
men began to fire their Sniders, until at last we heard 
a yell or a howl ; and then some of them ran forward 
and returned leading one man by the hand, followed 
by a number of others. They introduced me to 
Emari, the Chief of the Daubo people, and a noted 
warrior, whose face was scarred all over with wounds.. 
The others were introduced as they came up and we 
proceeded towards their camp or village, on the 

142 Explorations in New Guinea, 

outskirts of which were neatly fenced, well-cultivated 

It may be well to inform the reader here that 
this tribe, which now consists of only thirty-five 
souls, represents the population of five villages on the 
sea coast, the whole of the rest of the people 
having been killed or captured and eaten by the 
Tugara men from the west. The Saibai men 
explained to them that our mission was to see the 
country, and informed them that it was possible that 
white men might come to dwell among them. ■ 

On learning this Emari expressed his great gratifi- 
cation, he being, as I shall subsequently show, a man 
— albeit a savage — considerably in advance of his 
fellows, and having for years past been anxiously 
endeavouring to gain the friendship and the acquaint- 
ance of the white man. When white men came to 
Saibai he sent a messenger to convey presents and to 
ask the Saibai men to send him a white man's name 
for his boy, who at the time of my visit was a fine 
open-faced young fellow of about eighteen or twenty 
years of age, with the most honest countenance I have 
ever seen on a savage. 

Unfortunately for Emari, and for the credit of the 

Emari, 143 

white men, the only man the men at Saibai could ask 
was a Beche-de-mer man, who was at anchor off the 
island, and he sent back word to call him by the vilest 
epithet we have in the English language* and by this 
name, in their ignorance, the boy was called. When 
introduced to me, through the interpretation of the 
Saibai men, I explained the meaning of the word and, 
changing the name to my own (pronounced by the 
natives Tron), gave great satisfaction to both his father 
and his mother and also delighted the lad himself. 

The natives all came in from the plantations and 
the women and children gathered round. My people 
were mostly busily engaged in exchanging tobacco for 
bows, arrows, and spears, while one of the Saibai men 
v/as empowered to trade on my own account. I thus 
had leisure to converse with Emari and endeavoured to 
persuade him to allow his son to come south with me 
to Sydney so that I might send him to school. 

The young man was anxious to accompany me, but 
his father and mother deemed the distance too great, 
but Emari promised me that he would send him to 
Saibai to be instructed by my friend Jakobo. 

These people, savage as they were, impressed me 
favourably, and I wrote to the Rev. Harry Scott, the 

144 Explorations in New Guinea, 

acting Superintendent of the London Missionary 
Society at the Murray Islands, on their behalf. Their 
dwellings were a considerable improvement on those of 
the natives of Strachan Island, being triangular-shaped 
and closed at the south-eastern end with a movable 
hyrdle-like matted frame for a door. 
. As it was now late in the afternoon, we decided to 
return as far as the empty Mission House and there 
camp for the night, T having succeeded in persuading 
Emari and his son to accompany me back to the ship. 
Amongst other things we purchased a pig, and they 
brought another pig so as to make a feast in the 
evening with the Saibai men, when we camped, in 
return for their having brought the white men to see 

Having made small presents to the women and 
children we took our leave, and started on our return 
journey and travelled rapidly, only pausing at intervals 
to. bring down some of the numerous ducks and geese 
which we. found resting near or clustered about every 

On arriving at the Mission House, as there was still 
half an hour of daylight, I decided to make an attempt 
to return again to the [^ship the same night, and as 

A Question of " Roast Pig!^ 145 

Emari, his son and several of his people were with 'us, 
and the Saibai men were well acquainted with the 
country, I thought there could be no danger in travelling 
in the dark. I therefore ordered them to continue to 
the canoes, which they did much against their will, the 
Saibai men being naturally anxious to remain until 
the pig was killed and roasted. However, by dint oi* 
much persuasion, I compelled them to continue the 
journey and we arrived at the creek between eight 
and nine o'clock. 

Emari and his son were, however, afraid to venture 
to sea in the dark. Many of the Saibai men also were 
anxious to remain, so that they might make a fire and 
roast the pig, and it was with some difficulty that I 
could induce one canoe to start on the return journey 
with my party. In this, however, I at length 
succeeded, but on clearing the creek I found it 
blowing half a gale from the south-east, with a short 
lumpy sea. The canoe, a large one, rode bravely 
through it. The wind being fair, sail was set, and 
at about ten o'clock we reached the "Herald" tired 
and hungry with our hard but successful day's work. 

The country through which we had passed that day 
had all the characteristics of that to the westward pre- 


146 Explorations in New Guinea, 

viously described. But the natives themselves seemed 
to be of a more mild, placable, and trustful disposition. 
This I think may, in a great measure, be accounted for 
partly by their connection and intercourse with the now 
Christianized men from Saibai, and partly by the great 
and crushing defeats which they had suffered at the 
hands of the Tugara men. Be this as it may, I could 
not help feeling greatly and kindly interested in these 
people and I trust the day is not far distant when, 
under the protection of our glorious flag, they may be 
enabled to dwell in safety, and advance in the arts of 
peace and civilization. 

In the morning Emari and his son came on board, 
as did also the whole of the boatmen from Saibai. To 
these latter I paid three hundred and sixty sticks of 
tobacco for their services, and to my own namesake I 
presented a suit of clothing, an axe, a knife, a toma- 
hawk and some tobacco, besides bestowing similar 
presents on his father. The rolling of the ship made 
them somewhat uncomfortable and I accordingly landed 
them at Saibai. They remained there, imtil I moved 
my ship to Taun, for the purpose of filling up our 
casks with fresh water, and then they returned to their 

Proceed Eastward to Mowatta. 147 

While the men were thus employed, I returned with 

the steam launch to Saibai, and arranged with the 

chief for the loan of a mission boat ; and with a boat's 

crew proceeded to the Tillage of Mowatta, on the 

Katow River, forty miles to the eastward of Saibai. 

Returning to the ship our preparations were completed, 

and on the following morning we returned to Saibai. 

A party was then selected for the mission boat, which 

was taken in tow by the steam launch ; the ship's boat 

which had accompanied us, in charge of the second 

officer, returned to Taun while we proceeded to the 

eastward to Mowatta. 

The channel between the mainland of New Guinea 

and Saibai is very intricate, and much obstructed by 

coral reefs. The tide being in our favour we made 

considerable progress and arrived at the mouth of 

the Katow in nine hours. Here we were met by 

the chief Tamea and the mission teacher Annu, 

the latter being one of the men who in the previous 

year had rescued my party from New Guinea. 

Boarding the launch he piloted us into the Katow and 

we anchored opposite the Mission House. 

We also found located an American negro, an 

African negro, and an old Greek, known through the 

L 2 

148 Explorations in New Guinea, 

Torres Straits by the sobriquet of " Old Louis," together 
with two castaways, one Martin, an Irishman, and the 
other a Hindoo named Peeroo Nersoo. The last 
named had served Her Majesty in the Soudan, and 
was decorated with two medals. On landing he 
accosted me and begged for a passage to Sydney. He 
presented his certificates of discharge from Her 
Majesty's Service and as these were satisfactory I gave 
him the passage asked for. 

It being late in the afternoon we camped at the Mis- 
sion House for the night, and in the morning, accom- 
panied by the teacher, the chief, and a number of the 
natives, we proceeded by the steam launch up the Katow 
for a distance of fifteen miles to where the river divides, 
one branch running to the north-east and the other to 
the north-west. The water in this river is fresh, and 
within a few miles of the mouth the scenery on both 
sides presents an appearance of exquisite tropical 
loveliness. Here we found cedar trees growing in 
abundance ; also many other valuable timbers, and 
in the clearings were large well-cultivated plantations. 

When we landed, we were met by a large number 
of boys some of whom were hooped round the waist with 
great bands of split bamboos. I enquired from the 

y .SA^ ^ ^ W^ ' '- ■ ■ "'^^ ■ -- ^^^ ■■■■ ^.^v. ^ .^p* fc ^#w 

TAe Village of Goua. 149 

teacher the significance of this, and his answer led 
me to believe that it was a sign of purity. In this, 
however, I subsequently learned I was mistaken. 

Accompanied by the natives, who were more numer- 
ous in this part, and by the Mowatta men, we followed 
a native track to the village of Goua through a country 
described by an Indian planter who accompanied the 
expedition as the best tropical lands he had ever seen. 
We tramped for a distance of seven or eight miles and 
then drew near to a very large village, the houses in 
which were all well built of gaba gaba, that is to 
say of the wood of the sago palm, and thatched with 
atap — the leaves of the same palm. The chief to 
whom we were presented was a rather kindly looking 
old man; as for the women, they peered round the 
corners of the houses and from behind the trees, but 
ran away screeching on our approach. 

I gave presents and started, accompanied by some 
of the natives, for a tour of inspection through the 
village, which was not badly planned, being built so 
as nearly to approach a square, with some vacant 
ground in the centre. At the eastern end of the 
village was a large open house, and there, standing 
against the wall at the western end, was a huge 

150 Explorations in New Guinea, 

ochre-covered idol. Before M-as raised a rude altar 
upon which lay fruit, flowers, seeds, pieces of cocoa- 
nut and other offerings, and in attendance were 
two priests. 

I determined, if possible, to secure this object of 
native devotion. I therefore began assiduously to 
cultivate the acquaintance and make the friendship of 
the priests, to whom 1 presented knives, and tobacco 
and other trivial articles. Having in some measure 
gained their confidence, through the interpretation 
of the teacher, I made a proposal to purchase the god, 
which overture seemed to astonish them, and they 
distinctly replied that under no circumstances would 
they part with him. I then enumerated the large 
number of articles which I was prepared to give in 
return for the idol, and the teacher told them of all the 
axes, tomahawks, cloth and tobacco that would be forth- 
coming provided they were willing to part with the 
hideous object, which I took care to explain could do 
them no good. Putting the end of my stick in a fire 
which was burning on the floor, I burnt the end off 
and again explained that that same fire could as easily 
burn off their god's head. Then striking it with a stick 
I told them that it had no feeling, neither had it 

The Idol Seegiir, 151 

power, and although they might think that I wanted 
their god for some good that it could do, such was not 
the case. I only wanted to take it so that the people 
in my country could see it and laugh to think that 
they were so foolish as to worship a piece of wood. 
Their god — by name Seegur — could not make the 
winds blow, neither could it make the rain fall. It 
could not bring the leaves nor the fruit upon the trees. 
It could not help them in sickness and, I added, 
pointing at the same time to the sun overhead, it could 
not make the sun shine, neither could it make the day 
nor night. I would pay them well for their idol, and 
if they gave it to me I would do more when I 
returned to my own country. I would send to them 
a teacher like Annu who would tell them of a better 
God, — One Who could see everywhere, who made 
the very air that they breathed, and if they listened 
to that teacher they would be ashamed to think that 
they had been so foolish as to worship such a hideous 
monster as Seegur. 

I know not what impression my speech made, but 
I do know that the large number of things I had 
offered (to the value of fully £5 sterling) greatly 
excited the cupidity of these two priests, and had I 

152 Explorations in New Guinea, 

had the goods with me on the spot there is no doubt 
that I should have taken the god back with me to 
Tauan. As it was, I arranged that Annu and Tamea 
should come and interview them again, and, if possible, 
negotiate the purchase. 

One of these priests accompanied me again into the 
village, where I found some of my people had made 
considerable progress in gaining the friendship of the 
natives. Many women were gathered round, clapping 
their hands and laughing, and exhibiting signs of 
wonder and surprise. The cause I found to be the 
peculiarity of our feet, and to show them that we had 
feet — although white — like themselves, some of the 
men had taken off their boots and stockings. So 
interested had some of the old women become that 
they were going from one to the other in the party 
requesting them to take off their boots and stockings 
so that they might see their feet inside. 

We purchased some curiosities and returned to the 
launch, and proceeding down the river I determined, 
as the country in this part was exceedingly fertile, and 
much cedar and other valuable timber seemed easily 
procurable, to leave the launch and party at Mowatta, 
and, if possible, to engage one of the Beche-de-mer 

Arrival at Taun, 153 

■ - — 

men to take me in his lugger to Taun, and then to 
return with the ship and make the Katow the base of 
our operations for a few weeks. Annu having pro- 
vided quarters for my people, 1 bargained with 
Thomas, the African negro already spoken of, to get his 
craft under weigh, and carry me to Taun. This we 
reached without mishap in twenty-four hours, and 
found that the men during our absence had completed 
their task of filling up our fresh water. 

It was now the turtle season and all was activity 
and life on the two islands of Saibai and Taun. 
The men were all out in their canoes with long spears 
spearing turtle, while the women were gathered on a 
high rocky point with green boughs, signalling to the 
canoes when they saw turtles to seaward. On 
one of the canoes succeeding in making a capture the 
excitement of the natives on shore was not only 
intense but ludicrous. In the evening several of the 
canoes came alongside and from them we purchased 
turtle at the rate of one tomahawk per head. 

The passage between Saibai and the mainland of 
New Guinea being too intricate even to attempt 
beating through with the schooner, it was decided to 
go outside the island through that portion of 

154 Explorations in New Gtiinea, 

Torres Straits marked on the charts as unexamined. 
The African who had brought me down professed to 
know the road, but I soon discovered that he was 
grossly ignorant, not only of the route, but of almost 
everything pertaining to the profession of a seaman, 
and I therefore had to depend on my own resources* 
The wind being light, it took just three days to cover a 
distance of little more than forty miles. 

When we arrived at Taun we found the party left 
behind had been living almost solely on native fare — 
their own provisions having given out — and all hurried 
eagerly to the ship to get something to eat. On landing 
we decided to take the vessel into the river, and moor 
her there. The channel is a mere gutter, but after 
some difficulty we succeeded in making our way 
through, and moored the ship opposite the Mission 

By the teacher and chief I was informed that they 
had succeeded in purchasing " Seegur " and that it 
was now with two smaller idols at the Mission House. 
From my own people I gathered that the priests in 
selling this god had nearly created a serious dis- 
turbance, and that the peoples of three principal tribes 
(the Goua, Massigari, and Koonini) had gathered 

Bamboo badge^ a Sign of Shame, 155 

4 , 

around to prevent them carrying it away, besides men 
from some of the farther inland tribes. I therefore 
determined to interview the whole of these people on 
the following day, and sent word up the river for 
them all to meet me at the landing. 

I sat up the greater part of the night cutting trade 
sticks of tobacco into halves, and on the following 
moniing, accompanied by interpreters, a party of my 
own people, and a immber of Mowatta and Saibai 
men, I proceeded up the river. 

Having arranged the tribes in double files, I again 
explained that Seegur was not purchased by me for 
my own benefit, but that on proceeding to my home 
I should be able to show my people how foolish they 
were in giving adoration to a piece of wood which 
could do no more for them than one of the branches 
of dead wood that were lying about their feet; that 
when my people saw Seegur they would be anxious 
to send them some one to teach them a better faith. 

By this time I had learnt that the badge of bamboo 
worn by many of the youths was a mark of infamy 
and shame. I therefore took the opportunity, with the 
assistance of Annu, the teacher, to explain to them the 
terrible things that happened to the cities of the plain. 

156 Explorations in New Guinea. 

Having completed what may be aptly called a 
practical lecture under difficulties, I caused one of the 
pieces of tobacco I had brought in a sack with me to 
be given to each man there assembled. They all 
expressed themselves satisfied, and offered to work at 
felling cedar trees, so that I might take samples back 
with me to Sydney. 

It will not be out of place here to mention that on 
iny return to Sydney, the same god Seegur was sold to 
the trustees of the Sydney Museum, for £20, which 
sum was handed over to the London Missionary 
Society, who promised that it should be used to pay 
the expenses of a native teacher for the first two years. 

The interview with the native tribes over, several 
cedar trees were selected and felled by my own people 
and by the aid of a cross-cut saw made into suitable 
lengths, the natives clearing a track and rolling them 
to the river's bank. In the evening the whole party 
returned to the vessel. 

Being anxious to ascertain the nature of the 
country, I remained on shore and held a consultation 
with the Greek already mentioned as known by the 
sobriquet of " Old Louis," and who had long been 
residing on and about the Katow River. The result 

Absentees with " Old Louis^ 1 57 

was that I decided to send a party away into the 
interior under the guidance of Louis, while I remained 
to secure specimens of the cedar and other valuable 
timbers which in this part were growing in great pro- 

On my return to the ship a party was detailed 
to start on the following morning, and, with a Working 
party in the steam launch, we towed them in the ship's 
boat to the junction, where they landed and proceeded 
in a north-west direction towards the Fly River. The 
remainder of the day was spent in towing cedar logs 
to the ship, stowing them away, and making prepara- 
tions for our homeward voyage. 

On the third day the launch was dispatched up the 
river to wait for the party, but returned late in the 
afternoon without them. As they were only provi- 
sioned for two days, I became uneasy, and ordered the 
launch to return and wait until nightfall. In the 
meantime I made preparations to proceed on the 
following morning into the interior to look for the 
absentees, but shortly before dusk, I was relieved 
to see the launch steaming down the river with all 
on board. 

The country was described as magnificent, but as 

158 Explorations in New Guinea. 

-1—1 II I I -■ I I 1 - - I - ■ 11- ■TIT W- - T - • • - - 

usual in a party going away without a recognised 
head, there bad been considerable friction amongst 
themselves, so much so that old Louis assured me he 
was glad to get them safely back again. He reported 
that while camped between two tribes of strange 
natives, the man whose duty it was to keep watch had 
fallen asleep, and he therefore decided to return to the 
ship, which he would not have otherwise done, because, 
although only provisioned for two days, an abundance 
of native food was to be procured in the interior. 
From my own people the reports were exceedingly 
conflicting, so that I regretted having allowed them to 
go a second time by themselves into New Guinea. 

Having completed taking in my timber samples, I 
decided to go and see the country for myself, and, 
having arranged with Louis to lead me over the same 
track, I started on my journey accompanied by two 
men. Instead of stopping at the junction, we steamed 
up the north-east arm of the river until we came to a 
rude bamboo bridge. Here we landed and striking to 
the north-west we came to the large populous village of 
Koonini where we were surprised to find every house 
closed, and the village apparently deserted. 

Walking through the village we found seated at the 

An Inland March, 1 59 

corner of one of the houses an old man to whom I 

offered a piece of tobacco^ This he refused to take, 

and with an impatient wave of the hand said " Yow, 
yow " (Go away, go away). As we emerged from the 

village, numbers of youths armed with their bows and 

three or four poisoned arrows began to join the party. 

These I compelled to march ahead of us and although 

many endeavours were made on their part to get 

between and behind us, I succeeded in keeping them 


We now continued our march for many miles, pass- 
ing through much rich vegetation and many well-tilled 
gardens ; the large bunches of bananas were carefully 
covered with mats to prevent them being destroyed by 
the birds, the tara and yam plantations were also well 
kept and free from weeds. Cocoanut trees were 
everywhere abundant and many lovely flowers. Also 
pendent from the tree branches was a creeper having 
a great sword4ike pod, commonly known as the 
Queensland bean. 

At a distance oi about five miles from Koonini we 
came upon another village through which the party 
had passed. Here also we found the place apparently 
deserted ; such inhabitants as remained ran into their 

l6o Explorations in New Guinea. 

houses as soon as they saw us, and closed the doors. 
As before, only one man remained visible, and he 
refused to accept anything from us or to respond to 
our demonstrations of friendliness, but kept repeating 
the one word ** Yow, yow." 

Determined, if possible, to go over the ground 
covered by the party, we still continued to the north- 
west, and as we proceeded some uneasiness was 
occasioned us by noticing standing by every remark- 
able tree, a native armed with his poisoned arrows and 
bow as for war, who, as we passed, joined the throng, 
which by this time numbered no less than fifty, and was 
surrounding us on all sides. We continued, however, 
until we came to a magnificent spring, a gi'eat pool of 
clear crystal water the depth of which we could neither 
see nor fathom. There are numerous similar springs 
scattered over the land and it is from these that I have 
been led to the conclusion that the many rivers which 
intersect this part of the coast, if they do not run 
directly from the Fly River, are fed by an under 

Having remained a few moments here, we again 
continued, until we made the bank of the river where 
we stopped to rest, my own party of four being in- 

Suspicions of the Natives, i6i 

strueted to keep close together and on no conditions to 
turn their backs to the natives. 

Turning to some of my people either to give an 
order or to make some remark, I caught a native in 
the act of drawing his hand across his throat, while 
another was pointing at me. Going up to the man 
and looking him straight in the face, I said in 
English, *' Do that again." Although of course he 
could not understand the words, he understood my 
looks and appeared somewhat crest-fallen. 

Being now convinced that something had happened 
between the natives and my own party I determined 
to return to Mowatta and secure the services of inter- 
preters, so that I might find out the cause of the 
natives' grievances ; for as they had hitherto been 
friendly I could not but believe that something had 
occurred to change that friendliness into hostility and 
distrust. I was therefore gratified to learn that there 
was a track by which we could return to the launch 
without again having to pass through the villages. 
This we followed and arrived at the launch late in the 
evening, where 1 found the two men left, in charge had 
not in any way been molested. Steam was got up, 
and in due course we arrived at Mowatta. 


1 62 Explorations in New Guinea, 

Upon a consultation with the chief, the mission 
teacher, and the Beche-de-mer man already spoken 
of, there was a consensus of opinion that something 
must have been done by my own people to cause such 
a sudden change in the bearing and disposition of the 
natives, and it was arranged that they should 
accompany me on the following day to again interview 
the tribes, so that we might find out the cause of their 
hostile demonstrations, and if possible explain them 

Returning to the vessel, I held consultations 
privately with various members of the Expedition, but 
as each had something to say against another, I could 
form no opinion and passed a restless night. 

In the morning, accompanied by the interpreters 
and a number of Mowatta natives, we again returned, 
and, landing, soon arrived at the second village, where 
an explanation was demanded. Imagine my indigna- 
tion and surprise when I gathered that one of my 
J)eople, through sheer want of thought and brag- 
gadocio, had seized one of the natives, a man who had 
never seen a white man before, by the bead, drawn his 
bowie knife and said we were come to cut all their 
throats. It was simply the act of a madman and 

We part good Friends. 163 

might have cost every member of the party his life, or 
at any rate have ended in a great eflFusion of bloud, 

To the natives I again explained that oiir visit was 
one of peace and not of war, that the man was foolish 
and did not know what he was doing, and that he 
should not again come among them. Presents were 
then oflFered and accepted and we parted apparently 
good friends, but both the mission teacher and the chief 
assured me that although I had endeavoured to eradi- 
cate the false impression created by this man — who, it 
may be mentioned, was the one already spoken of as 
the old Australian bushman — that the natives would 
talk it over among themselves and it would go from 
tribe to tribe until they would believe it to be true ; 
and that, sooner or later, through having taken as into 
the country, they, the people of Mowatfci, would be 
attacked by the bush tribes. The missionary added, 
" I am missionary, I must die, I have no gun, I must 
not fight" The chief also pleaded with me to leave 
him some ammunition. 

I was eager and anxious to supply to these men the 
means of protecting themselves, but the law, «.«» already 
stated, is such, that whenever a white man gives, sells 
or barters firearms or ammunition to a native he lays 

M 2 

1 64 Explorations in New Guinea. 

himself open to three months' imprisonment without the 
option of a fine. 

I returned to the ship and promised to think the 
matter carefully over, and in the morning I landed and 
took the London Missionary Society's teacher back 
with me to the ship. I then presented him with a 
Winchester rifle and one hundred cartridges, asking 
him first to sign the following receipt in the ship's log 
book: — 

** Received from Captain John Strachan, of the 
Exploring Schooner 'Herald,' one twelve-shot 
Winchester rifle to be delivered by me to the Rev. 
Harry Scott, Superintendent of the London Missionary 
Society's Mission, New Guinea, with the compliments 
of the donor. 

** Signed, Annu, Mianonary^ MowcUta, 

** Witness, George Burgess, Mate" 

For the rev. gentleman I also left a letter requesting 
him, if he did not require the rifle, to allow the teacher 
to keep it, and from him I received a most cordial 
letter in reply stating that he had no need of a rifle> 
neither did the Missionary Society recognize that any 
of their teachers required a carnal weapon to defend 

The Village of Turi-Turi. 165 

themselves, but committed themselves to the care of the 
God of battles. 

Our work in the interior of New Gmnea for this 
Expedition was now drawing to a close, and the 
changes of the monsoons were rapidly approaching. It 
therefore became our duty to prepare for the home- 
ward voyage. Several trips were made to Massagari^ 
a bush village to the westward of Mowatta. This 
being a facsimile of the villages already described I 
need not weary my readers by useless repetition, but 
should here say what I have omitted before, that in 
the many journeys into the interior my attention had 
been attracted to a pretty tulip-like bulb. I now 
determined to take some specimens with me to Sydney. 
Having gathered a sufficient quantity, they were sub- 
mitted on return to the ship to the old Indian planter 
before mentioned and pronounced by him to be tur- 
meric, largely used in the manufacture of curry. We 
also discovered ginger, and the natives were set to 
work to collect specimens of these two staples, and 
also to gather kapok (a species of tree cotton), of 
which we obtained large samples. 

A visit to the village of Turi-Turi disclosed to 
us a new phase of native life. The houses here were 

1 66 Explorations in New Guinea, 

exactly like those represented by Mr. Jukes in his 
account of the voyage of the " Bramble " and " Fly " 
on the shores of the Papuan Gulf in 1843-45, 
Some of the houses were from 100 to 150 feet in 
length, and the men and women lived in separate 
houses, not even the married people living together. It 
is a strange arrangement and one not reconcilable with 
European ideas of domestic comfort. The houses are 
raised from the ground and a broad step ladder leads 
to a platform at either end. There are also platforms 
round the sides with several small doors or openings at 
intervals along the buildings, which have much the 
appearance of roughly constructed barns, or perhaps it 
would be a better description to say badly built hay- 

As we entered the village, the women came 
crowding out on the platform eager to purchase 
looking-glasses, handkerchiefs, and other finery, for 
which they exchanged their combs, plumes made of 
Paradise feathers, work bags, and other articles of 
native industry. To the old chief I presented a 
tomahawk and by him was asked if I wished to 
purchase " some man's head." I asked to see them. 
He returned to his house and came out followed by two 

Work of this Expedition. 167 

men carrying a string of human skulls well smoked, 
grim and ghastly, attached to a piece of bamboo, in 
the same manner as the Channel Islanders string 

Considering it possible that the skulls might be of 
value for scientific purposes, I purchased three, which 
were presented to medical gentlemen of scientific 
proclivities in Sydney. One was sent through Dr. 
Ashwell of that city to his old Professor, Sir William 
Turner, the College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. Here 
we also purchased numerous pigs, cocoanuts, tara, 
yams, and plantains; and some half-dozen canoes 
returned laden to the ship, while we went back by 
the beach to Mowatta. 

The actual work of this Expedition in New Guinea 
was now accomplished, a large and varied stock of 
samples of the products and natural resources of 
the Island had been secured, a large expanse of country 
traversed and fourteen different tribes of natives 
met with and interviewed, and in all cases friendly 
relations had been established, and not one hostile shot 
fired. I therefore felt that I could return again to the 
south with feelings of satisfaction at the result of 
an Expedition, carried out under many disadvantages 

1 68 Explorations in New Guinea. 


and difficulties, but which nevertheless would compare 
favourably with some others that had left the shores of 
New South Wales. Throughout the whole Expedition 
the men had been kept well in hand, and no native 
had been unjustly treated, for the incidents already 
mentioned as having caused me regret were but exem- 
plifications of Hood's lines that :— * 

"Evil is wrought by want of thought 
As well as want of heart." 

The peoples we had met varied in colour from 
a glossy coal-black in Strachan Island and the parts to 
the westward, to a decided brown as we drew nearer the 
shores of the Papuan Gulf. In the latter districts were 
many remarkable men and women with skins as red as 
those of the American Indians. The black men were 
all cannibals, wild, dashing active fellows, " native heroes 
trained to war," but not addicted to any of the 
disgusting vices so common amongst the brown skin 
races living near to the western shores of the Papuan 

On board the ship all was activity, some were stowing 
away and packing up their curiosities, others lashing 
water casks and making everything secure for the 
homeward passage. The steam launch was hoisted in 

We return to Sydney. 169 

' i III I ■ 

and fasteoed, and at length all was in readiness for 
the homeward voyage. The two Bechede-mer men 
already mentioned (Francis and Martin) were left to 
watch over and protect my interests under a written 
agreement. Provisions, trade and arms of the value of 
£100 were supplied to them, witli which they were 
to pay the natives for felling cedar against my return^ 
To the mission teacher, the chief, and people I made 
my parting presents. Then crossing Torres Straits I 
anchored in Albany Pass for a few hours and landed 
at Somerset to pay my respects to Mr. Frank L. 

Returning to the ship we again proceeded to the 
south and in due com^e arrived at Sydney. There 
I found I had to deplore the untimely death of Major- 
General Sir Peter Scratchley, Her Majesty's first 
Commissioner to New Guinea. He was a gallant 
soldier and an eminent engineer, who had rendered 
valuable service to the people of Australia. He had 
faults, but they were of the head, not of the heart, and 
had he been spared to gain greater experience in his 
office, there is no doubt in my mind that he would 
have made an able and vigorous Administrator. 

At this time much influence was being brought 

I/O Explorations in New Guinea. 

to bear, more especially by a section of the people 
in Queensland, to secure the appointment for Mr. 
John Douglas, who at one time had been Queensland 
Premier. These efforts were so far successful that 
Mr. Douglas received an acting commission, on receipt 
of which he very quickly gave evidence that he was^ 
the last man in Australia fitted to guide the fortunes 
of a newly acquired territory where there were so 
many conflicting interests. A man without confidence 
in himself, he naturally leaned on others, who led 
him as their interests or inclinations prompted. The 
result was that he succeeded in estranging many of his 
best friends. He insulted the heads of several of the 
Colonial Governments, for which he apologised, and 
after a short reign of eighteen months was compelled 
to resign to make room for a better and an abler man. 
I need not weary the reader by saying more. This 
gentleman has now retired and sunk into the obscurity 
from which he should never have been taken, but it is 
to be hoped that in the future, under the wise rule of 
better and more able men, the vast natural resources of 
New Guinea will be developed until that beautiful and 
still practically unknown territory becomes not the least 
valuable or important dependency of the British Crown. 

( 171 ) 



Attitude of the new Commissioner — ^Feeling in New South 
Wales — Discavery of Gold-fields in Western Australia — 
McClure's Gulf — ^Followers of Islam — ^Abdul Delili, Rajah 
of the <iulf Tribes — Spudeen takes refuge on board my Ship 
— ^Mr. Hartog's Report of McClure's Gulf — A Journey inland 
with the Rajah — ^Aspect of the Country— Patipi Bay. 

The work accomplished during my second expedition 
was commented upon in favourable, not to say 
flattering, terms by the whole of the leading Colonial 
press, and I had moreover the countenance and 
support of the most intelligent and influential part of 
the population of New South Wales. Therefore I lost 
no time in applying to the new Commissioner for the 
fiilfilment of the concessions promised in writing by his 
lamented predecessor. 

After considerable correspondence, I deemed it my 
duty to wait upon him personally. The result of 

172 Explorations in New Guinea, 

our interview was not satisfactory and ended by 
the Commissioner informing *me that " as all pioneers 
and explorers lost their money I should have to 
lose mine." This he afterwards to some extent 
retracted and promised in writing that when Her 
Majesty's sovereignty was proclaimed the claims I 
put forward would be acknowledged ; he also oflFered 
me a permit to return to the 'country, an altogether 
un-English proceeding, and one which I accordingly 
declined to accept. 

Returning to my home, the matter was taken up by 
such papers as the Sydney Morning Herald^ the 
Evening News, and the Brisbane Daily Telegraph; 
some of which criticised the action of the Commissioner 
in no measured terms. 

Secure in the good feeling of New South Wales and 
of the ultimate recognition of my claims by Her 
Majesty's Government I determined to continue my 
explorations, not only for the purpose of strengthening 
my own individual claims to properties I had acquired 
in New Guinea, but also from a broader and more 
patriotic motive— the advancement and development of 
the trade of those great islands for the benefit of the 
great Australian Commonwealth. 

Gold-fields in Western Australia, 173 

Circumstances did not favour my immediate return 
to New Guinea^ but when I was almost despairing of 
being able to do so, news arrived of the discovery 
of gold-fields in Western Australia. 

The excitement caused in Sydney by this intelli- 
gence was intense. ' Steamer after steamer left the 
wharves laden with their living freight. Sailing ships 
were put into requiation to carry round stores. 
Believing that, if one of the first in the field with a 
cargo, I should clear at least a hundred per cent., I 
loaded up a cargo of the value of some £1 600 at my 
own risk, and made one of a fleet of five vessels 
which left Port Jackson bound for Derby, Western 
Australia, on the 18th of June 1886. I had not one 
penny of insurance on my cargo, hence it was 
fortunate that, out of the five sailing vessels which left 
the Southern ports mine was the only one to arrive at 
its destination without accident ; some were totally lost. 

We found on arrival in North- West Australia 
that the reports had been vastly exaggerated and that 
there were no purchasers for cargo. Thus, as a 
natural consequence, all perishable goods had to be 
thrown overboard, to the value of nearly £400, and ere 
I left my losses amounted to considerably over £1000. 

174 Explorations in New Guinea, 

But my plans had to be carried out in their entirety 
and with this extra load on my shoulders I shaped a 
course for McClure's Gulf, North- West New Guinea. 

Passing the islands of Dana and Douw we sailed 
along the coast of Rottie, across the Straits of Shemau, 
and shaped a course through the Omba passage which 
runs between the islands of Timor and Allore. At 
the latter island some years since a well-known sea 
captain, Francis Cadell, was murdered and his ship 
burnt to the water's edge by order of the Bajah of 
Allore. As the death of this officer and the loss of his 
vessel had been shrouded in mystery, I made enquiry 
as to the cause of his murder, which so far as I can 
gather was brought on through his own cruelty to the 

Passing from here, we sighted the islands of 
Amljoyna and Saparua and anchored for one day at 
the small island of Rouen, in the Banda group. From 
there we proceeded along the southern shores of the 
great island Ceram until we reached the Keefing 
Straits, separating the islands of Gissor and Kiliwaru 
from a cluster of small islands on a reef which extends; 
several miles ofiF the eastern end of Ceram. 

Being now in soundings, the lead indicating fifteen 

Depth of the Water, 175 

fathoms, we decided to anchor, and landed at Gissor, 
where a Dutch Commandant holds post, for the 
purpose of obtaining some information as to the 
character of the natives on the New Guinea coast 
adjacent. The ship was rounded to and the anchor let 
go in 200 fathoms of water. 

So abruptly does the water deepen in these seas, 
where the islands are all volcanic, that a drift of less 
than fifteen fathoms had altered the soundings from 
fifteen fathoms to two hundred. As the tide swept us 
through the straits our only course was to weigh 
anchor, make sail and continue our voyage towards 
New Guinea, the high land of which we discovered at 
daylight on the following morfaing. 

By noon we were sailing along the coast within a 
few hundred yards of the shore, but to one acquainted 
with Southern New Guinea from the Papuan Gulf to 
the westward, the country here presents a marked 
contrast. There we first beheld a low swampy 
mangrove shore with mud-fiats extending miles to the 
seaward. Here we had a bold coast line : mountains 
rising abruptly from the water's edge to the height of 
many thousand feet, densely wooded from base to 
summit, whilst dashing down their precipitous sides 



176 Explorations in New Guinea, 

were streams of excellent fresh waten The depth of 
water is so great, — ninety and a hundred fathoms — that 
we sailed along within a stone's throw of the shore in 
perfect safety. 

We reached McClure's Gulf at four p.m. and to- 
wards evening entered a small bay in the centre of 
which stood a solitary rock. Inside of this we anchored 
at six p.m. in eight fathoms of water between the main- 
land and the small island of Wass. So soon as all was 
secured, the boat was launched and we rowed round 
the island. 

Sighting two canoes, several shots were fired to 
attract attention, but the natives paid no heed to our, 
^gnals and paddled rapidly away. We returned to 
the ship, pausing on the way to examine some deserted 
houses on the island. 

At eight o'clock armed watches were set for the 
night, the officer of the watch remidning forward while 
one man was stationed at the gangway and the other 
at the cabin door. At three a.m. the watch called me 
and reported that two large prows had pushed off from 
the mainland and were paddlmg silently down 
towards the ship. 

The men were called to their arms and when all was 

McClure's Gulf, 177 

in readiness the prows were hailed in Malayan. There 
was no response, and the interpreter was ordered to 
hail them again. This was done three times, when 
receiving no answer and as they were now within fifty 
yards of the ship, the men were instructed to prepare 
to fire a volley, to aim low and endeavour to strike the 
prows at the water line, taking time from myself. 

The volley was fired at the nearest prow. W6 
distinctly heard the bullets strike the timber and 
through the darkness saw the craft heel over, but still 
the natives uttered no cry. The leading craft seemed 
to alter her course, however, and presented a con- 
siderable broadside towards us. This the Malays of 
my crew said was caused by the natives being all in the 
water on the other side. The second prow also sheered 
off and although several volleys were fired we heard no 
sound of human voices and the prows were soon lost in 
the darkness. 

With the first streak of dawn we made sail and 
proceeded up the Gulf; at seven o'clock the look-out 
from the masthead reported a flotilla of fifty war- 
canoes paddling along in shore. The men were 
got under arms and we ran down among them, and 
then — rounding the ship to — waited until the nearest 


178 Explorations in New Guinea, 

canoe came alongside. This they did with every 
demonstration of friendliness and informed me that 
they were the Roearabati, Patipi, Salakiti, Taur and 
Segar men on the war path to fight against the 
Rajah and people of Ati Ati who had previously 
murdered a Prince and two Rajahs from Tidore, 
the Sultan of which island is, by an arrangement 
made with the Dutch some eighty years ago, Lord 
Paramount of North-West New Guinea. They 
emphatically declared that the prows into which 
we had fired that morning were manned by the 
people of Ati Ati, and that had it not been for the 
vigilance of the watch and the warmth of their 
reception we in all probability should have been at- 
tacked and murdered. 

Many of their canoes came alongside and we saw 
that the men were all armed with old-fashioned 
flint lock Tower muskets, besides a goodly supply 
of bows, arrows, and spears. 

They informed me that they were followers of Islam. 
Many of them were gorgeously dressed in green 
silk tunics, and Wore the Mahometan fez or cap, which 
in some cases was richly embroidered. In some 
instances the nether garments were kept together 

Followers of Islam, 179 

by a silken girdle over which they had a belt of 
plaited grass. Into this belt were inserted rows of 
bamboo tubes containing powder ; in a net-bag 
suspended from their shoulders they carried bullets 
or slugs, while in another bag they carried the 
inevitable scare box with their betel nut for chewing. . 

They were very demonstrative and talkative, readily 
answering any question put to them, mostly in the 
affirmative. But I subsequently discovered that their 
answers were usually diametrically opposite to the 

It was decided that one prow should remain and 
return with us to Roeambati, the abode of Abdul 
Delili, the Kapala or head Rajah of all the Gulf tribes, 
who was confined to his house by a severe attack of 
asthma. The other prows continued on their way 
to fight the Ati Ati men. 

The ship was kept away and at ten o'clock we 
anchored about a cable's length from the shore at 
the village of Roeambati. 

Selecting a few presents I landed, accompanied 
by my interpreters, at a staging in front of the 
village, which after the custom of the Malays, more 
especially the Mahometans, is built on posts in the 

N 2 

l8o Explorations in New Guinea, 

shallow waters of the bay and at such a distance* 
from the shore that at the spring tides water rises 
to within a few inches of the floors of the houses. 
The staging on which we larded was a rickety one. 

We were met by such of the chief men as were not 
on the war path, and were conducted round a number 
of houses at considerable risk to neck and limb, to say 
nothing of the chance of tumbling into the water, until 
we arrived at the dwelling of the great man, Abdul 

H6 received us in state on a platform in front of his 
house. A calico canopy had been spread overhead, 
and clean native mats on the floor, in the centre of 
which a large four-legged table had been placed, a 
cotton quilt doing service for a table-cloth. A couple 
of arm-chairs were brought from the house and placed 
pne at each end of the table for the Rajah and myself. 
The chiefs and ray interpreters sat on either side on 
old boxes, baskets, blocks of wood, &c. When seated, 
I presented, through the interpreters, the articles I had 
brought for the Rajah. 

His dress consisted of a pair of spring-side boots, 
black alpaca trousers, white calico shirt, black alpacja 
coat, Mahometan cap, and a pair of large Chinese 

Abdul Delili. i8l 

horn-rim spectacles. In front of hira on the table lay 
his open journal in which he keeps a daily record of 
events, written in Arabic characters. His appearance 
did not prepossess me in his favour, his quick restless 
eyes and twitching mouth denoting cunning and 
duplicity. His features were of the Arab type and he 
presented all the aspects of a wizened cunning old 
miser, of whom I should imagine Dickens's Fagin in 
' Oliver Twist' to be a fairly representative specimen. 

As I sat opposite to him I could not help reflecting 
that he was a man capable of doing a great deal of 
mischief and suflSciently cunning to throw the blame 
upon others. But for all this I found him keen and 
intelligent, reading arid writing Arabic fluently, with a 
knowledge of men and things hardly to be expected 
from a native of New Guinea. 

He had obtained from some signal books copies of 
the flags of all nations save the English, which^ strange 
to say, were wanting. 

His ideas, too, of the power of the Sultan of Turkey 
were absurdly at fault, for he believed the Sultan to 
be the greatest potentate on earth, and Mecca and 
Medina the largest and most wonderful cities in the 

1 82 Explorations in New Guinea, 

He informed me that he held sway over the whole 
of the Gulf tribes, whom he had summoned to punish 
the Rajah of Ati Ati for having murdered the Prince 
and the two Bajahs from Tidore. He further informed 
me that the villages in the Gulf contained ten thousand 
inhabitants, but before our conversation had finished 
he assured me that they held at least seventy million 
of inhabitants, and this he said without a blush I 

When the subject of purchasing a cargo of spices 
and other articles was broached, he at first said we 
had come too late and too soon, meaning that we 
were too late for the one season and too early for the 
other, but said he would come on board the ship, when 
he would be able to tell me if I should be likely to 
secure a cargo. 

We were then shown round the village, which con- 
sisted of ten houses and a Mahometan mosque, none 
of the houses being large. On returning, I enquired 
the number of inhabitants in the village. With the 
utmost effrontery, he replied: "More than twelve 
hundred." As a matter of fact, it was impossible that 
the houses could contain two hundred souls. 

On returning to the house of the Rajah, I found 
several of the inhabitants had brought net-bags of 

Spudeen takes Refuge on Board my Ship. 183 

nutmegs for sale, but the prices asked were so exorbi- 
tant, that I returned to the ship, and gave orders to 
heave up anchor and get under weigh. This had the 
desired eflFect, and I was able to purchase all the nut- 
megs they had to dispose of at the rate of about six- 
teen shillings per picul. 

The anchorage here being unsafe, and without 
shelter from the westerly winds, we proceeded a few 
miles up the coast, and anchored in a snug land-locked 
bay near the villages of Patipi and Salikiti ; the Rajahs 
o^each came on board during the afternoon to pay 
their respects, accompanied by their sons, whom they 
left on board as hostages for our safety. As, however, 
each young rajah brought with him a dozen followers, 
I deemed it necessary as a matter of precaution, to 
keep the ship's company continually under arms. 

After dark a small canoe came off from the shore in 
which was an old Malay and his son, who, so soon as 
he reached the ship's gangway, asked in Malay : ** Is 
this an English ship ? " 

On being answered in the affirmative, he said : 
"Then here I stop, if Alufurus come. Englishmen 
fight ; " and turning to his son, said : " We are safe 
now, Madhi, Papua men cannot hurt us here." 

184 Explorations in New Guinea, 

He then asked for the Nakoda (captain). He was 
brought aft to me, but he spoke with such volubility that 
I had to request him to stop, so that the interpreter 
might translate what he was saying, my own know- 
ledge of the language at that time being somewhat 

He said his name was Spudeen, and that of his son 
Madhi; that they were natives of Saparua, near 
Amboyna ; that by trade he was a goldsmith. They 
had come over to trade in a small way, with 
ornaments amongst the natives of New Guinea, by 
whom they had been plundered and would have l>een 
murdered but for our timely arrival. He requested 
that I would give shelter and protection until oppor- 
tunity offered of landing them on one of the islands of 
the Austro-Malayan Archipelago, from whence they 
could get to their homes. 

To their request I readily acceded, and towards 
midnight, another poor wretch reached the ship badly 
wounded, craving shelter and protection. This was 
also granted, and the three remained on board the 
ship until I was enabled to land them in safety at 

In the morning we had another visitor, one Anga- 

Mr, Har tog's Report 185 

wearo, a native of Cerara, who infonned me that he 
acted as trade master to Mr. Hartog, a Dutch mer- 
chant, who visited the Gulf in the steamer "Egrou" 
in 1877 and subsequently made several voyages 

On his return from his first voyage Mr. Hartog sent 
a report, which was published under the auspices of the 
Royal Geographical Society, London, a portion of 
which runs as follows : — 

" All the bays or creeks on the west coast of New 
Guinea which offer a safe anchoring place to small 
craft as well as larger vessels are surpassed by 
McClure Gulf which is broad, deep, and in every way 
superior to them, land bordered by impenetrable high 
woods surrounds the inlet, the woods yield several 
productions the principal of which are nutmegs. There 
are living along the Gulf about 12,000 inhabitants in 
forty villages. The heat was on an average less than 
at Java. There prevailed the fresh breezy atmosphere 
and there was no complaint about violent epidemic 
diseases. New Guinea is thickly populated (?). 
Agriculture is carried on, good tobacco is cultivated, 
and trepang (Beche-de-mer), turtle and an abundance 
of cattle and poultry are found." 

1 86 Explorations in New Guinea, 

The people according to his experience are neither 
savage, cunning nor treacherous, as most authorities 
described them, but rather lively and energetic, showing 
great eagerness for bartering. 

The whole of the above quotation, as I shall sub- 
sequently show, is altogether inaccurate ; at the same 
time it is but fair to Mr. Hartog that I inform my 
readers that he wrote, not from his own knowledge, but 
from informatioti received from Rajah Abdul Delili 
during a short stay of one week. He did not himself 
venture farther up the Gulf tkan Segar Bay. 

That Mr. Hartog had no intention to mislead is self- 
evident from the fact that he returned, and in 
subsequent voyages learnt to his cost how thoroughly 
unreliable, cunning and treacherous were these followers 
of Islam. 

This man Angawearo made oflFer to act in the same 
capacity for me and assured me that he had conducted 
Mr. Hartog's business to that gentleman's entire satis- 
faction. He was asked for certificates from Mr. Hartoff 
but could not produce any and assured me that they 
were not usual among the tribes. 

Being anxious to secure a cargo, I entrusted him 
with trade to the value of £150, the Rajah Abdul 

A Journey Inland, 187 

Delili, in his capacity of Chief and High Priest of the 
Mahometan religion, becoming guarantor and giving 
himself up to me as a hostage for Angawearo's fidelity. 
Having secured the goods Angawearo, who owned a 
large junk, proceeded up Patipi Bay ostensibly to 
purchase nutmegs, birds of paradise, &c 

The Rajah Abdul Delili having examined my ship's 
hold, assured me that when once they fairly started the 
cargo would come alongside so rapidly that I should fill 
up in three days, and he suggested in the meantime 
that I should accompany him to the mountains and see 
for myself the splendid palla or nutmeg country. 

Having carefully considered this proposal, I decided 
to accept it, but was strongly urged by my own people 
not to run the risk, and old Spudeen assured me that 
when once in the interior I should be murdered and the 
Rajah would return and pretend that I had been killed 
by the Alufurus. 

Being, however, determined to see the country so 
that 1 might form some idea of its resources I thought 
it worth the risk, and taking with me one single 
Malayan boy for an interpreter I accepted the Rajah's 

Before leaving the ship I made up two heavy charges 

1 88 Explorations in New Guinea. 

of dynamite, with cap and fuse attached, each 
weighing half a pound ; then buckling on a short 
cutlass and my revolver, and slinging my Winchester 
rifle over my shoulder I gave a Snider carbine to 
the Malay and accompanied the Rajah to Taur Bay 
near Roeambati. 

Prior to leaving the ship the man whom I had 
promoted from an able seaman to acting mate was 
instructed to be cautious and vigilant and not to allow 
any canoes alongside during my absence ; in event 
of my failing to return at sunset to get under weigh 
and stand off shore. 

Entering Taur Bay we pulled to the village of that 
name, which consisted of seven houses and about 
eighty inhabitants. Here we had a long conversation 
with the people, made several small presents and 
arranged to purchase from them some nutmegs of the 
last season's growth. At about nine in the morning we 
prepared to land on the south side of the bay. 

No sooner had we left the village than five or six 
canoes shot out, bringing with them a party of not 
less than fifty men. 

Having only the Malayan boy with me, and not 
liking the appearance of so many men all armed 

A Journey Inland, 189 

to the teeth with bows and arrows, spears, long 
macassar knives, tomahawks and flint-lock muskets, 
I enquired of the Rajah if it was necessary that so 
large a force should accompany us. He said that 
it was because at any moment we might be attacked 
by the Alufurus or Ati Ati men. This led me to 
ask how the fight between his men and the men 
of Ati Ati ended. He said there had been no fio^ht 
as there had been no enemy. 

Not feeling comfortable amongst so many, and 
remembering the urgency with which old Spudeen 
requested me not to go, I ordered the whole of the 
canoes to go ahead. Then taking from my haversack 
a half-pound charge of dynamite I cut the fuse to 
six inches, lit it and threw it into the water 
among a shoal of fishes. The volume of water 
it threw up was immense, besides which it killed 
thousands of fishes and struck terror into the 
natives who, however, soon recovered from their 
fright and jumping overboard collected a great quantity 
of fish. 

Their excitement was intense. When it had some- 
what abated I called the canoes around and assured 
them that it would be no more diflScult for me to 

190 Explorations in New Guinea, 

exterminate every man of them, than it had been 
to kill the fish. 

The eflFect was excellent, as the natives who were 
now thoroughly frightened gave me to understand 
that it was their intention to be faithful good friends. 

Paddling into a little cove on the south side of the 
bay we landed beside a clear rippling stream and, 
having ordered the whole of the men to march in 
Indian file in front, we started by a little rugged 
path into the mountains, with my interpreter im- 
mediately behind me and the Rajah just in front. 

Every foot of the journey, which was laborious in 
the extreme, disclosed fresh scenes of verdure and 
tropical splendour. Winding along the sides of deep 
ravines, sometimes dragging ourselves up by the 
creepers and undergrowth, we ultimately attained an 
altitude of about 1000 feet above the sea and then 
entered the nutmeg country. Here we halted and 
rested. The Rajah pulled some of the nutmegs and 
explained how far they were from being ripe. 

Having rested suflSciently, we again started forward 
and after scrambling along for about an hour we gained 
a fine piece of tableland, over which we travelled for 
about another half an hour, when we reached three 

Aspect of the Country, 191 

houses erected in the very heart of the forest. These 
were used by the natives for drying the nutmegs. 

The country was everywhere magnificent and the 
aroma of the spice-laden air, delicious. Nutmeg 
and other equally valuable trees were everywhere 
growing in great profusion. The fruit of the nutmeg 
in appearance resembles a pear, and when ripe opens 
and displays the nut covered with a beautiful red 
coating of mace. The nuts are then picked from 
the tree, put into baskets and taken to the houses, 
where they are husked and placed on shelves. They 
are then partially roasted over a slow fire until all 
the moisture is extracted. After this they are cooled 
and carried down to the village in nets ready to be 
bartered to the Bugis, Arabs and other traders who 
frequent the Gulf in their small prows or junkos at 
the proper season. 

Gladly would I have remained here for a few days 
to have seen something of the interior of this fair and 
magnificent land, but the sense of insecurity and 
anxiety for my ship and people decided me to 
return, as the sun was far past the meridian. 

Owing to the rugged nature of the path the descent 
was somewhat perilous and was not accomplished with- 

192 Explorations in New Guinea. 

out some nasty falls, one of which landed me at the 
bottom of a ravine. These accidents, although trifling 
in themselves, were attended by considerable danger 
owing to my weapons being loaded and also from the 
possibility of the dynamite I carried exploding. 

The descent was at last, however, accomplished and I 
succeeded in reaching the ship after dark, just in time 
to prevent the mate obeying my orders by standing 
out to sea. 

. The Eajah of Roearabati, according to the agreement 
between him and Angawearo, remained on board all 
night. Towards morning Rajah Pandi of Segar also 
came alongside bringing some nutmegs for sale, which 
were purchased, and in the morning another start was 
made for Segar Bay twenty-five miles further up the 
Gulf, which was the extreme limit reached by Hartog. 
The information supplied in the sailing directions 
was very meagre and altogether inaccurate. Great 
caution was therefore rendered necessary on our part, 
more especially in leaving the Bay. We accordingly 
made arrangements with the Rajah to supply us with a 
loas or pilot who was well acquainted with all the 
outlying dangers. ; 

Patipi Bay is about seven miles wide and faces to 

Patipi Bay. 193 

the west. It is well sheltered by several small islands 
and reefs and its entrance is completely land-locked. 
It affords excellent shelter for well-armed and well- 
manned vessels. Having cleared the islands and reefs, 
we stood up the Gulf, making about a north-east 
course until we reached the northern shore, where 
we anchored for the night in eleven fathoms of water 
off a small village situated at the mouth of a river. 

Here the country is low and swampy and the in- 
habitants are in a state of natural savagery. Large 
quantities of sago and arrowroot are coarsely manu- 
factured and furnish not only the staple food of the 
inhabitants, but also their only article of trade with 
their half- civilized Mahometan neighbours on the 
opposite shore. 

That the sago palm must grow here in great abun- 
dance is evident from the fact, that for one American 
axe we purchased ten hundredweight of sago and one 
hundredweight of arrowroot. 

Here, also, the Eajahs come to purchase or capture 
slaves as best suits their convenience — but of this 

Although the shores of this portion of New Guinea 
are low, mountain ranges rising to heights of fourteen 

194 Explorations in New Guinea, 

thousand feet are seen far into the interior. This 
part of the country is known by the name of Polo 
Berau (or the Island of Berau). 

In the morning we continued up the Gulf towards 
Segar, but having to contend with strong adverse tides 
and currents, together with a head wind, it was the 
fourth day ere we reached our destination, a distance 
of twenty-five miles from Patipi. 

( 195 ) 



Segar Bay — Kajah Pandi — Picturesqueness of the Scenery — A 
decaying Race — A Reception by the Rajah — Negotiations for 
Nutmegs — A Crowd of Extortioners — The Bird of Paradise 
— Clearing the Decks — I take Spudeen's Advice. 

The scenery as we entered Segar Bay was very 
beautiful. Dotted across its mouth are numerous 
little islands densely wooded, between each of which 
are deep water channels, the strong tides rippling like 
a boiling cauldron. 

As we stood in towards the anchorage with our 
colours flying, a large prow pushed off from the shore 
with drums and gongs beating and many Mahometan 
flags flying from poles, while above all was the ensign 
of the Netherlands. The men chanted a rather 
pleasing boat song, to the time of which they paddled. 
The refrain was as follows . — 

"Ana kori, koki tori, aris aris, paran pua, pendi-pendi, 
samuna, laki-laki, ana kori, koki tori, ariss aris:?." 


196 Explorations in New Guinea. 

On a platform and stage in the midship of the prow 
stood our old friend Rajah Pandi, dressed in hright 
scarlet and gold and beating time with his umbrella. 

We came to an anchor, and the natives paddled three 
times round the ship, fired several volleys from their 
flint-lock muskets, and then Came alongside. 

Old Pandi presented me with a bird of paradise 
and bade us welcome to Segar. He then introduced 
us to his son, a rather pleasing young man of about 
nineteen years of age, by name Abdul Achman. 

His people, having secured the prow alongside, quickly 
came on board and, fraternising with the Rajah's people, 
presented a rather interesting picture. Some few had 
brought trifling articles for sale, and although all were 
professedly followers of Islam the universal demand 
was for Irepanas (literally fire-water) and Tandown 
(opium). These they usually obtain from the Arabs 
and Bugis, who, although also professedly faithful 
followers of the Prophet, yearly smuggle these articles 
by way of Singapore and through the Chinese 
merchants located on the islands of the Archipelago. 

The Bay of Segar afifords a secure anchorage in five 
or six fathoms of water to shipping during every 
monsoon. On its shores are three villages with 

Picturesqiieness of the Scenery. 197 

an aggregate population of not more than twelve 

The surrounding country is considerably elevated, 
exceedingly fertile, and picturesque in appearance. 
The forests in the background abound with the 
valuable timber trees, of which the chief are black 
walnut, ebony, and splendid red woods, besides 
nutmegs, indigenous to the soil, and misoi, from the 
bark of which valuable oils are extracted. There are 
also many woods and herbs valuable for medicinal 
purposes ; and wild pigs, the cuscus, the philander or 
tree-climbing kangaroo, the wallaby and many similar 
animals constitute the fauna of the country. There 
are no cattle here, as was erroneously reported by 
Hartog, although on the adjacent islands of Ceram 
and Kiliwaru deer are abundant. The feathered 
tribes present iiany varieties, the chief of which are 
the cassowary, several species of the gaura or great 
crowned pigeon, some beautiful doves, birds of 
paradise, the podargus, racket-tailed kingfishers, lorys 
and lorikeets with many other birds of the parrot kind. 
The butterflies and insects are innumerable. I was 
informed by the natives that a Dutch or German 
-naturalist had spent some two months here and made 

198 Explorations in New Guinea, 

an excellent collection. In the waters of the bay are 
numerous small beds of pearl shells, but very few are 
collected, as the natives will not dive for them. The 
same applies to the trepang or Beche-de-mer, of which 
there is an abundance, and in which a large trade 
could be initiated if the natives would work. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the abundance 
of sago, the ease with which a large supply of fish can 
be procured, together with the value of the nutmeg 
crop and the association with the Mahometan traders, 
have injuriously aflFected the natives of these parts 
both physically and morally. Having little heed to 
labour to procure the necessaries of life, rich in valuable 
commodities which they exchange for what is not only 
luxurious but pernicious, viz., strong drink and opium, 
together with fine clothing, brass guns, gongs, powder, 
and muskets, instead of advancing in civilization they 
are in my opinion a rapidly decaying race, lazy, trea- 
cherous, cruel, thieves and liars, who, without the 
appearance of any violent epidemic disease, are 
rapidly disappearing from the face of the earth. In a 
sojourn of two months and a half in the Gulf, the 
death rate was amazingly large, and failing to trace 
anything like an epidemic among those people I came 

A Decaying Race, 199 

to the conclusion that the fiat had gone forth that 
they should disappear, to make room for a better and 
a nobler people. 

Following the Eajah came numerous canoes bring- 
ing nutmeg, tortoise, and pearl-shell in small quantities, 
some of which were purchased, and it was far into the 
night before our decks were cleared of visitors. The 
last to go was the Rajah, who left his son as hostage, 
and arranged that I should return his visit on the 
following day when he would send a prow for me, as I 
did not desire to take my own boat and crew away 
from the ship. 

Throughout the night the men kept sea watches 
under arms. 

At dawn the prows came oflF from the shores to 
trade and considerable barter was effected before the 
morning meal. Afterwards, as I had to prepare to 
return the visit of the great man, Bajah Pandi, accom- 
panied by one more powerful than he, Kapala Rajah 
Abdul Delili, the prows were ordered from the ship. 

When the last boat had departed, we began to 
make our preparations. My own were of the simplest 
description ; I had only to examine my revolver and 
Winchester, to see that my cutlass worked easily in 

200 Explorations in New Guinea, 


its scabbard and to put my haversack, in which there 
were a few presents, over my shoulder. 

With my hostage, the Rajah Abdul Delili, the case 
was somewhat diflFerent He had first to shave the 
heads of his four attendants and then one of those 
same attendants had to do the like for him. Ablutions 
had next to be performed, and a piece of beeswax 
borrowed with which to set up his moustache before a 
small looking-glass. At length he came on deck 
dressed in a pair of tweed trousers, white cotton shirt, 
black alpaca coat, Mahometan cap and a pair of large 
Chinese horn spectacles, so that his grotesque appear- 
ance caused considerable merriment among the crew, 
who were with diflSculty restrained from laughing 
outright. Old Spudeen, who loved him not, indulged 
in a considerable amount of sneering. 

At eleven o'clock a large gaily decorated prow 
came oflF to the ship with a gong and drum band to take 
us to the house of the Rajah. Having served out 
strong spirits to the boatmen, we embarked, and whilst 
the drums and gongs were vigorously beaten we pushed 
off to the shore. The whole of the way the natives 
sang as they bent to the paddles. 

As we neared the village, which contained a row of 

A Reception by the Rajah, 201 

fair-sized houses built as usual on posts and enclosing 
a point or tongue of land,^ the natives began to fire/ 
their flint locks and the men redoubled their efforts 
with the drums and gongs ; meanwhile the rowers 
bent to their paddles, vigorously singing to a not un- 
pleasing tune a boat song of which the refrain, many 
times repeated, became indelibly impressed on my 
memory, and was as follows : — 

"Raja' tour, Rajah mooder, 
Raja* mooder, Rajah tour, 

' Nakoda Angalice."* 

Flag staffs of bamboo were erected, in front 
of every house, Dutch, Arab and Chinese flags were 
flying, while crowded along the path or stage which 
does service for a street were the whole of the 
inhabitants of the village, who kept blazing away with 
their muskets and waving flags in response to the 
people in the prow. 

Having rowed at least a dozen times backwards 
and forwards along the whole length of the village the 
prow remained stationary for a few minutes at the 
lower end and the boatmen then paddled slowly along 

* Translated literally : The old Rajah, the young Rajah, 
and the English Captain. 

202 Explorations in New Guinea, 

in front of the houses, the owners of which lowered their 
flags and tossed them, staves and all, into the prow, 
where one of the Rajah's men received them. 

This ceremony over, which I confess was both tedious 
and tiresome, we were landed at some rough steps 
at the house of Rajah Pandi and by him were escorted 
with a very great deal of ostentatious ceremony within 
doors to the great hall or reception room. 

This was positively well furnished. The floor was 
covered with a heavy felting of bright colours ; lashed 
to posts against the wall were several large brass 
cannons, a proof of the wealth of the Rajah, while 
at the upper end of the room on a raised platform 
or dais was a common sea-chest, such as sailors use, with 
a covering of cloth of gold and a cushion as a seat of 
honour for the Kapala Rajah Abdul Delili and myself, 
the Rajah's seat being somewhat higher than my own. 

Rajah Pandi had reserved for himself an ottoman at 
our feet. The remainder of the company, in all about 
forty persons, sat in a single row on the carpeted floor. 

It was rather amusing to see the assumption of 
dignity on the part of Rajah Abdul Delili, and it was 
with some difficulty that I restrained myself from 
laughing outright when Pandi, suddenly taking in the 

Negotiations for Nutmegs. 203 

situation, slipped irom his seat on to the carpet^ and 
rolled lazily on the floor. 

After some moments, the silence was broken by 
Pandi saying " Captaine cashie sopie " (literally, 
captain give spirits) ; I ordered the interpreter to pass 
the two bottles that I had brought for presentation 
first to Delili, whom I told to give them to Pandi. 
The latter I expected would have opened one of the 
bottles and passed it round to his high chief and 
people, but instead of this he seized the bottles, slipped 
them under the ottoman and said, "tre ma cashie" 
(thank you). 

The continued rustling at the wall on the eastern 
side of the house attracted my attention, and on 
looking, I saw peering through the crevices numerous 
black eyes which belonged to the women of Pandi's 

These people are professedly followers of Islam, but 
are addicted to the use of ardent spirits and opium- 
smoking to a degree little dreamed of by the Nether- 
lands authorities. 

The conversation was at last opened by a speech 
from Rajah Abdul Delili. I was informed that at the 
new moon the tribes would be in a position to load my 

204 Explorations in New Guinea, 

ship with nutmegs and other staples, and also that the 
Rajah Mooders would be dispatched into the interior 
to buy from the Alufurus or bushmen their nutmegs. 
Meanwhile Abdul Delili and a boat's crew would pro- 
ceed up the gulf to the island of Arogoni, and to 
Bombarai for the purpose of collecting tortoise-shell 
and pearl-shell. Pandi's son was to remain in the 
ship as a hostage for our safety. 

This looked promising, and after two hours' tedious 
desultory conversation, we took our departure for the 
ship, suffering the infliction of the same ceremonies 
again with which we were received on landing. 

We were followed by numerous prows each of which 
it appeared contained a Rajah Mooder, who according 
to agreement was about to proceed into the interior. 
They had come off for the purpose of receiving goods 
with which to purchase the nutmegs. This I was assured 
by Abdul Delili and Angawearo, who had followed me 
to Segar, it was customary for the trader to give, and 
I was also told that Abdul Delili would take a list of 
all goods supplied, and would become as Kapala Rajah 
responsible for every article. On this understanding 
I supplied the men liberally with goods, and they left 
the ship. 

A Crowd of Extortioners, 20$ 

On the following morning the Eajah and his people 
also left the ship for the purpose of proceeding to the 
two places already mentioned. They returned on the 
following day and the Eajah assured me that the next 
morning a number of canoes would be down laden 
with pearl and tortoise-shell. He said he had spoken to 
all the people and they had all gone vigorously to work, 
and that when they came I would be able to see for 
myself the wealth in pearl-shell alone that was to be 
acquired in McClure's Gulf. 

About eleven o'clock the next day ten canoes were 
seen hovering between the islands, and the Rajah 
informed me that they were waiting for his signal 
to approach the ship. The signal was hoisted and the 
canoes came alongside. 

The mate with four of the crew were stationed 
forward with their revolvers in their belts and their 
rifles in their hands, while one man with the interpreter 
remained aft with me. 

As soon as they came alongside I noticed that each 
prow was heavily armed, and enquired why they came 
alongside of a British ship in that fashion. 

They assured me that it was unsafe for them to 
travel unarmed, as they were at war with the Alufurus. 

2o6 Exploratmis in New Guinea, 

The Bajahs of Arogoni and Bombarai were 
introduced to me by Delili and were ordered to 
seat themselves on top of my cabin. They were given 
some tobacco to smoke and their men w ere ordered to 
keep in the gangways. 

By this time there were ninety-five men on the 
schooner's deck, jabbering, chattering and wishing to 
force themselves everywhere. They were ordered 
to bring out of the prows what pearl-shell they had 
brought for trade, when, instead of tons as promised 
by Rajah Abdul Delili, the ten canoes had brought 
eighteen pairs of inferior shells, the value of which 
might have been ten shillings sterling, but for which 
they asked such an exorbitant price that I refused to 

It was not long ere I discovered that they did 
not come to trade but to beg. It was therefore decided 
for the sake of example not to purchase what they had 
brought at any price whatever, and the shell w^as 
returned to the canoes and they were ordered to leave 
the ship. This they did with evident reluctance. 

It now first dawned upon me that there was mischief 
brewing and that the anxiety of Rajah Abdul Delili to 
visit these difierent tribes in advance was possibly 

The Bird of Paradise. 207 

to concert some scheme whereby we might be surprised 
and the ship captured. 

Having with some difficulty cleared the decks and got 
the prows from the ship the men were instructed 
td redouble their vigilance and to report to me the 
slightest thing that came under their notice. 

About four o'clock in the afternoon one of the Rajah 
Mooders came round the point, followed by four canoes 
manned by Alufuru men, which he brought alongside. 
These men brought several bags of nutmegs and a 
beautiful live bird of paradise on a stick. This lovely 
creature seemed perfectly tame and I agreed to 
purchase it together with the nutmegs. It was handed 
to me and from me to the interpreter, who stood holding 
it in his hand. The Eajahs were smoking and in less 
than three minutes, whether from fright or the noxious 
tobacco smoke, this beautiful creature dropped from its 
perch dead. 

The Alufurus from the bush, although wild, rough- 
looking fellows, impressed me more favourably than the 
mixed Mahometan villagers on the coast, and I could 
not but regret that our trade relations could not 
be carried on except through the latter. 

The night had now considerably advanced, my men 

2o8 Explorations in New Guinea, 

were tired and anxious, so it became necessary for me 
to clear the decks and send the natives on shore. They 
left the ship with some reluctance, leaving a small canoe 
from one of the little villages in Segar Bay, the owner 
of which claimed to be a big man and insisted on / ' 
remaining on board the ship all night to watch over 
ftie great man Delili. 

Unfortunately for his design the interpreter had 
previously called my attention to him when in the act 
of stealthily rolling up a knife, something like a High- 
lander's dirk, in the folds of his girdle, and he was 
consequently given to understand that if he did not 
speedily take himself off he would be thrown over- 
board. This had the desired effect and our decks were 
cleared with the exception of the Rajah and his men. 

On the following day the Eajah Abdul Delili ex- 
cused himself and said that he had to leave as he was 
going with others to Berau to purchase sago and 
arrowroot, but that Pandi's son would remain on board 
the ship as hostage and that the Rajah Mooders and 
Angawearo would be returning daily with plenty of 
nutmegs for the ship. 

They left me with every demonstration of friend- 

Birds of Paradise, 209 

Throughout the day several single canoes came -off 
and some goura or great-crowned pigeons were pur- 
chased. A cuscus and a philander were also brought 
alongside, but for some reason were taken away again 
before I had time to bargain for them. 

On the following day (Sunday) the Rajah Mooder 
(Manare) brought some birds of paradise for sale. 
He had previously been introduced to me by Abdul 
Delili at Patipi and I was assured that the head Rajah 
regarded him as a brother. He also wanted a little 
trade, but said that he could not trade to the value of 
more than £1. He assured me that he could not be 
back to the ship iu less than a fortnight, but that on 
my. re turn from the upper waters of the Gulf he would 
have many birds of paradise ready for me. The 
required trade was. given and he left the ship accom- 
panied by our hostage, who said he was anxious to see 
his mother. 

Our decks were now free for the first time 
since entering the Gulf, and with the exception of 
Spudeen, his son, and the poor wounded creature 
already spoken of, we had only the ship's company on 

Towards evening Spudeen brought the interpreter 


2IO Explorations in New Guinea. 

aft and said he thought it would be advisable if I 
shifted the ship farther to seaward as he did not think 
the " Orang Papua (Papua men) meant good." The 
tide answering, the ship was shifted a little farther 
down the bay. 

( 211 ) 



Spudeen laughs to scorn the Notion that the Flotilla of Prows 
are leaving to buy Sago — ^The Secret out — A Slave-hunting 
Raid — Starting to the Rescue — ^A poor little Captive — I adopt 
the Child — An Attack of Fever — The Rajah proposes to seize 
the Ship— Amongst the Bentouni Men — The Post Holder of 
Gissor's opinion of the natives of New Guinea — A suspicious- 
looking Prow — ^A Council of War — A plain Talk with the 
Rajah — ^Encountering a; Simoom — Kiliakat — ^In search of 

On the following morning there was great activity 
at the villages from, which war-prow after war-prow set 
sail. From Arogoni we observed many prows stand to 
sea and shape their course for the opposite shore. 
Spudeen laughed at the thought of all those prows 
leaving for the purpose of buying sago or for trade, 
and explained that when they went simply to purchase 
food they did not go in war-prows but in junkos, large 
lumbering craft that would carry good cargoes, and 

p 2 

212 Explorations in New Guinea, 

he assured me that they were on the war path aud 
were going to catch men. The villages being now in 
some measure deserted, at least half of the fighting 
men having left, we had few visitors, but towards 
evening Angawearo, the Ceram man, came to the ship 
and brought some nutmegs, which he left 

From a conversation with Angawearo I was con- 
vinced that these men had gone on a slave-hunting 

It should here be mentioned that all the prows 
as they left the villages were flying the ensign of the 

I explained to Angawearo that if these men were 
slave-hunters they had no right to display the flag 
of a Christian nation. 

He gave his shoulders a shrug, and said, " Orang 
Papua tribai," that is to say " Papua man no good." 

He left the ship, and having no more visitors I was 
enabled to calmly consider the situation, and decide 
in some measure my plans for the future. My 
reasoning ran thus : — This slave-hunting raid has been 
planned for the purpose of bringing the warriors of the 
tribes together so that at a safe distance they may consult 
as to the best means of capturing my ship and murdering 

A Slave-hunting Raid. 213 

myself and crew. Within a month a prince and two 
Eajahs from Tidore have been foully murdered for the 
sake of their trade. These men claim to be subjects 
of Holland, and each prow is flying the flag of the 
Netherlands. Their ostensible mission is an unlawful 
one. Would I be justified as a free Briton, a citizen of 
the good city of Sydney, and, above all, a British 
sailor, in interfering, breaking up their expedition, 
freeing their captives, and sending them to their 
homes ? 

Having reasoned thus I concluded that if not acting 
within the strict letter of the law, I could safely depend 
upon public opinion to carry me through. 

It was far into the night ere I retired. 

At daylight the Australian ensign was hoisted at 
the fore, the British ensign at the main, and the ship 
got under weigh. The wind and tide, which had been 
against us coming up, were now in our favour, and 
at night we anchored in forty-nine fathoms of water, 
opposite the smaU village of Tambani, on the north- 
western shore, ten miles from where we anchored 
coming up, and where we were assured the prows were 
to be found. 

About nine o'clock on the following morning we 

214 Explorations in New Guinea, 

proceeded down the Gulf, and after an hour's sail 
descried the flotilla of prows coming towards us. 
Singling out that of the Rajah we ran alongside and 
lay to. 

The Rajah came on board and appeared delighted 
to meet us. We asked him what he had been doing, 
and why so many canoes had left us so abruptly. 

He said they had gone to buy sago, but were 
attacked, and they had driven the natives back. 

This speech made old Spudeen shrug his shoulders. 

The interpreter asked him how many men he had 

He said only one small boy. 

Lying in the bottom of his canoe was a child of 
about two years of age who, as I looked over the side, 
fixed his eyes pleadingly on mine. I ordered him to 
be lifted on to my vessel's deck, when it was found that 
there was a deep gash on the back of his head, caused 
by his being thrown into the prow. The little fellow 
stood in the gangway with a pleading wistful look. 

Ordering the mate to let the sails draw and the 
helm to be put up, I let the ship stand to the seaward 
with the one prow in tow and the Rajah and some 
of his people on board. 


A poor little Captive. 215 

Then pointing to the flags overhead I explained 
that that child, being now under the British flag, was 
free, and that it would be impossible for me to return 
him to them ; that they did wrong to steal men and 
children, and that if the authorities of the Nether- 
lands knew it was customary for them to make raids 
they would send a man-of-war to punish them ; that 
I did not want to quarrel with them but wanted to be 
friends, so that while I determined to keep the child 
and return him to his parents 

Here I was interrupted by the Eajah, who told me 
that the boy's parents were killed and a great 
number slaughtered. 

On my saying I would be willing to give some 
presents in compensation for taking the baby from 
him, he asked for my watch, a cheap one which had 
only cost £3. lOs. Ocf., which I gave him. He asked 
for some cloth, then for some tobacco and would have 
asked for the ship had I not refused to give him any 

The child's head was dressed and he was taken 

The vessel was then tacked and we steered through 
the flotilla to see if they had any more prisoners, but 

2i6 Explorations in New Guinea, 

the people had evidently been fortunate in having 
timely warning, and had escaped. As they had no 
more prisoners, I did not allow any more prows 
alongside, but shaped a course for Arogoni, whence 
Spudeen assured me I could easily proceed to sea 
with any wind. I arrived at the anchorage towards 
dusk and no prows were allowed alongside for the 

In the morning the Bajah, whom I have already 
mentioned as coming with the ten prows, arrived from 
the shore, but only to beg. 

His village is a considerable one and constitutes 
three sides of a square on the shores of a high rocky 
island, within a mile of the mainland. 

Here on the suggestion of Abdul Delili I secured 
the services of a pilot and interpreter who could 
speak the language of the people at the head of 
the Gulf and also Malay. 

We then proceeded towards the head waters of 
the Gulf and after touching at Bombarai, a small 
village containing only thirty inhabitants, we continued 
towards Bentouni. 

In the vicinity of Bombarai the aspect of the country 
changes entirely. The high rugged mountain lands 

An Attack of Fever. 217 

terminate and their place is taken by a low swampy 
coast similar to much of that on the southern shores 
of New Guinea. The vast amount of floatage, to 
say nothing of the numerous reefs and sand-banks 
which were continually cropping up, made navigation, 
even in the day-time, somewhat hazardous and 
necessitated our keeping a vigilant look-out. The 
wind as usual was dead against us, and under these 
circumstances our progress of necessity was slow. 

On the second day we arrived at the middle of the 
Gulf, where the channel narrowed down to some ten 
miles in width, and we there anchored for the night. 

On the following day we passed the village of 
Bentouni, and steered for an anchorage under the lee of 
a small island, where the pilot assured us that we should 
be able to ride snugly in smooth water. To reach this 
we had to wind our way through many reefs and sand- 
banks, but at last we anchored in four fathoms within 
two hundred yards of the shore on each side. I 
noticed that numerous channels ran in to what is 
supposed to be the mainland. 

My health, which for some time had been bad, now 
compelled me to lie up with a severe attack of fever. 
I had a small tent rigged on top of my house on deck. 

2i8 Explorations in New Guinea, 

where I lay for some days in an almost helpless condi- 
tion until the fever turned. 

While lying here I overheard a conversation 
between Abdul Delili and the pilot, the half at least of 
which I understood, its tenor being that the time had 
now come to attack and capture my ship. 

The Bajah, who believed me to be in the cabin, 
started and turned positively pale with alarm, when I 
sprang up and called for the interpreter, to whom, 
without waiting to be questioned, he said, " I have just 
been saying to the pilot that if the captain was to die, 
what could I say, people would blame me for killing 

The interpreter was told to tell him that he lied, 
and that the captain perfectly understood what he had 
been saying to the pilot. 

The boat was ordered to be cleared and the Kapala 
or head Bajah of all the Gulf tribes, his followers and 
the pilot, were put into her as prisoners, and a guard 
set over them. 

The excitement and the danger of our situation did 
much towards my recovery and, although our position 
was not an enviable one, I determined to continue to 
the very head of McClure's Gulf. 

Gleevtnk Bay. 219 

The night was anxiously spent, the men keeping 
sea watches under arms, and in the morning we 
got under weigh. The pilot was brought aft to stand 
by my side and we sailed round the island, entering 
the Gulf by the eastern channel. 

This island is of no great extent, but is valuable in- 
asmuch as it is covered with the Misoi tree, from the 
bark of which, as already stated, valuable oils are 
extracted. The whole of this portion of the coast is 
intersected by channels which I think arc connected, 
and instead of the mainland there is a group of islands. 

In three days we arrived at the head of the Gulf and 
anchored opposite what afterwards proved to be an 
island. Here two channels, one to the north and the 
other to the south, debouch into the inlet. The latter 
we entered and followed until we reached a bend, at a 
distance of not more than three miles from Gleevink 
Bay, where we anchored. 

Here the channel is between two and three miles in 
width and the depth of water seven fathoms. My 
charts showed the opposite shore to be entirely unsur- 
veyed and faced by many islands ; the inhabitants of 
which I had reason to believe were hostile. 

These considerations, together with the fact that I 

220 Explorations in New Guinea, 

had already seven prisoners on board the ship, my own 
health broken and my crew considerably weakened by 
constant exposure and coarse inferior food, and, more- 
over, as we had met no natives and had not succeeded 
in trading for one article for nearly two weeks, 
decided me to return, although well convinced that by 
continuing another two or three miles I should enter 
the broad waters of Gleevink Bay. 

We accordingly returned, and sailing around the 
inland already mentioned re-entered the Gulf by the 
northern channel. 

This channel stretches away to the north-west 
towards a small rugged range of mountains, and most 
probably again enters the Gulf at one of the openings 
shown on the map after trending to the west and 

We anchored off the northern shore, the low islands 
of which are somewhat flat. At a distance of some 
thirty miles to the northward rise range after range of 
mountains, some of them not less than 14,000 feet 
above the level of the sea. 

We continued cautiously down the Gulf and 
anchored opposite Bentouni, where we hoisted the 
Rajah's flag to bring the natives alongside. One 

Ill ' • ■■ 

Tlte Bentouni Men, 221 

canoe came off heavily armed. They brought some 
nutmegs and also a small quantity of the Misoi bark, 
which we purchased. 

The Kajah was brought aft but was not allowed 
to converse in Papuan^ all conversation having to 
be carried on in Malay so that the interpreters might 
understand him. He was anxious to know what 
was our intention with regard to himself and his 
people. The Bentouni men were told that we were 
going to proceed slowly up the coast ; they were also 
informed that this Rajah had told us when we first came 
as friends to his village that there were 10,000 men in 
the Gulf, and that he had ended by assuring us that 
there were 70,000,000. They were told that he had 
proved himself not only a liar but also a murderous 
villain, who, for the kindness shown and confidence 
reposed in him had planned how he was going to take 
advantage of my illness to murder us and seize our 

In the presence of these men he was asked if he 
believed in Mahomet 

He said " Yes, Master." 

He was then asked if he believed in God. 

He said " Tes, Captaine." 

222 Explorations in New Guinea. 

Then I said " Pray to God. He may save you — 
Mahomet cannot — ^for he was as great an impostor as 
you are." 

Turning to the Bentouni men, I told them to send 
word up the coast that the Rajah and his men 
were prisoners, that we were but eight men in all, five 
only of whom were white, and that if these 70,000,000 
warriors had the heart of men, they would meet 
us on the passage down and rescue their head Rajah ; 
and that it was my intention to proceed with him 
to the Dutch Commandant at Gissor, who would send 
him and his people to Temate to be punished by the 
proper authorities. 

The Bajah asked permission to write letters, which 
I granted, and the men remained until he had completed 
his correspondence. This he assured me was only an 
urgent request that Angawearo and the Rajah Mooders 
to whom I had supplied trade would either have 
the goods ready to return, or the nutmegs which 
they had obtained in exchange, by my arrival at Segar. 

The prow left the ship, the prisoners were placed 
in the boat, and although late in the afternoon we 
again got under weigh and anchored about five miles 
from Tambani in fifty fathoms of water. 

The Post Holder of Gissor, 223 

By this time old Spudeen had become very fidgety 
and declared that we should never get out of the Gulf, 
since they would swarm round us, and our throats 
would be cut. 

In the morning we stood over, and by evening made 
the anchorage opposite the village of Arogoni. 

The next day several of the leading men with their 
Rajah came off from the shore to visit our prisoners, 
but, as they were only permitted to converse in Malay, 
they did not remain long. 

Fast prows were continuously coming and going, so 
that it was thought well without further delay to 
proceed to Gissor, distant one hundred and thirty-five 
miles. In the afternoon the ship was got under weigh, 
and we stood across the Gulf. Passing north of the 
Pisang (banana) Islands, we in due course made the 
coast of Ceram, and on the evening of the third day 
rode snugly at anchor within a hundred yards of the 
shore of the little village of Gissor. 

The Post Holder, Trimerman, came on board and 
the matter was laid before him. 

He seemed deeply impressed with the manner in 
which I had acted, and in broken English said, 
"Englishman the devil. These New Guinea men are 

224 Explorations in New Guinea, 

no good, Captain, they shake one hand and hold the 
other in the breast with the knife ready to plunge into 
you. Why did you not shoot them? I can do 
nothing, I have no power. Here I represent Amboyna 
and have nothing to do with the Residency of Ternate, 
where you will have to take them." 

He was told of the slave-hunting expedition and 
shown the little fellow that I had on board and whom 
he advised me to keep, as he had no power to receive 

As by this time the lad had ingratiated himself into 
the good graces of all, I readily consented to adopt and 
bring him up as my own, and the little fellow, who is 
with me in England, has in a shoit eighteen months 
lost all traces of his original savagery, is sharp and 
intelligent, and, if I am spared to train and educate 
him properly, will, I trust and believe, grow up to prove 
how fallacious is the belief that the wild savage of New 
Guinea is incapable of culture, or so deficient in 
intelligence that it is impossible to fit him to take 
his place and fight his battles in the front ranks of 

It is my intention so to train this child that when he 
has come to years of discretion I may be able to turn 

The Post Holder of Gissor. 225 

him over to the London Missionary Society ; and it is 
my fervent hope that I may yet live to see him doing 
good work in reclaiming his less fortunate brethren in 
the wilds of New Guinea. 

From the Commandant I received an invitation to 
dine, and the Rajahs of Kilwaro and Gissor were 
invited to the house to meet me, so that we might talk 
over the serious position in which I was placed. 

Old Spudeen hid already gone on shore but left his 
son still on board the ship. The wounded man, to 
whom I had also given protection, came aft and 
tendered his thanks and with some friends went on 
shore. Old Spudeen, who was evidently well known, 
returned with a host of friends to the ship. After I 
had landed he assured my people that I was a very 
good man and had given him a passage, but he thought 
that having saved his life I might have given him a 
good present 

When I arrived at the house of the Post Holder that 
worthy told me that his wife had never seen an English- 
man and she had often expressed her anxiety to see 
one. I upbraided him for not telling me that he had 
a wife, so that I might have taken some pains with my 
toilet, and proposed that I should return to the ship, as 


226 Explorations in New Guinea, 

I was certainly not in a costume fit to appear in the 
presence of ladies^ — being clothed in strong boots, 
white ducks, red shirt, broad brimmed straw hat and 
broad leather belt with cutlass and revolver. My hair 
was uncombed and beard scraggy. However, as the 
gentleman was evidently dying with anxiety to present 
me to his Beini (wife), he would not hear of my 
returning so I was perforce compelled to accompany 

His house was a large, comfortable, airy, well-built 
edifice and fairly well furnished. 

The wife, a Ceram woman, was a pleasing little body 
and when I saluted her on the cheek and told her that 
was English fashion she said " oraug bai " (the man is 

The dinner consisted of fish cooked in a variety of 
ways, rice and tea. 

The meal over, the Rajahs, who had been sent for, 
arrived accompanied by a very old man, the father of 
Prince Abdul already mentioned. The Prince, it will 
be remembered, together with two Rajahs from Tidore 
had been murdered in New Guinea fourteen days 
before our arrival. 

The old man was evidently grief-stricken and I was 

The Rajah of Kilawaro, 22/ 

assured that for a long time his lamentations were 
heart-rending. He pleaded with me to shoot every 
man of them in revenge for the murder of his son. 
Having assured the old man that it was no part of the 
duty of a Briton to kill men except such as had been 
condemned by the laws and were executed under the 
authority of those laws, we proceeded to discuss my 
peculiar position in regard to our prisoners. 

The Commandant, as in duty bound, strongly advised 
me to endeavour to take them to Temate or at least to 
the Sultan of Tidore, but the consensus of opinion was 
strongly in favour of taking the men away and 
shooting them. 

To this of course I could not agree, and made up 
my mind if at all possible that I would endeavour to 
take them and hand them over to the proper authorities 
at Tidore. 

The Rajah of Kilawaro gave me a cordial invitation 
to spend a day with him and shoot deer, but I 
regret, the wretched state of my health prevented my 

Here we purchased many deer horns and caused 
great excitement and amusement and considerably 
benefited the villagers by killing thousands of fishes 


228 Explorations in New Guinea. 

with dynamite. The dead fiah were collected and 
taken on shore, and to the credit of these islanders be 
it said, that having collected the fish they each brought 
one to the ship and took another to the house of the 
Commandant, so that we were well stocked for some 
time with fish. 

After a stay of one week we took our departure from 
Gissor and shaped a course so as to pass between 
the islands of Salawattey and Mysol ; but the wind, 
which had been fair on leaving Gissor, headed us and, — 
as the squalls were sweeping the seas with hurricane 
force and a strong current was running against us, — 
I found it impossible to get to the westward. I 
therefore ran back into McClure's Gulf and again 
anchored opposite the village at Berau. 

Here we encountered a strong westerly gale, which 
compelled me to run for shelter under the lee of 

It may be mentioned that by this time Abdul Delili 
had made a full confession and acknowledged that 
it was their intention, had we not been so watchful, 
to have seized the ship. He also assured us that we 
were in no danger now as all the men were frightened. 

We anchored well towards the eastern end, and 

A suspicious-looking Prow. 229 

prows were dispatched ordering all those who had 
trade to come down to the ship. 

One man, the Bajah Mooder Lakate, came down on 
the following day bringing such nutmegs as he 
had secured and the portions of the trade that he 
had not got rid of, except a few trifling articles 
which he said he had left with the Alufuru people. 

The Rajah Mooder Manare, on hearing of our 
arrival, got his war-canoe ready and dodged backwards 
and forwards among the islands the whole day within 
gun-shot of the ship. This was well known to Abdul 
Delili, who, although professing regret and sincere 
penitence for what had happened, took care not to point 
out the prow to me. It was pointed out by Lakate, 
who was considerably more honest than his neighbours. 

As the movements of this prow were suspicious, the 
occupants were carefully watched and enquiries made 
as to what was their object. The answer was that they 
were looking for a good place to fish. 

The old pilot had come alongside ; I dispatched 
him to order Manare to come to the ship, but instead of 
doing so, he endeavoured to get in shore of the pilot's 
prow so as to escape out of gun-shot range. This 
decided me to act promptly. 

230 Explorations in New Guinea, 

Taking a long range rifle I tired into the canoe. 
They then began paddling rapidly and although 
I fired many shots I could not round them to. 

Darkness was now fast closing in, war canoes 
were pouring into Arogoni and I had no means 
of sending Lakate and a friend, who had come off with 
him, in the pilot's prow back on shore. 

There were now nine Papuans on board the ship, 
seven prisoners and two armed men. My own party 
numbered ten all told, two of whom were children and 
three Malays in whom no dependence could be placed. 
I therefore decided to disarm the two men and get the 
ship under weigh and stand out to sea. This was 
quickly done, I^kate being assured that in disarming 
him we were only taking a necessary precaution. 

The night came on dark and gusty, but fortunately 
we were enabled to thread our way out into the deep 
water without mishap, and then shortening sail we 
continued under easy canvas across the Gulf until we 
got anchorage in fifteen fathoms of water. 

I positively did not know what to do with the nine 
Papuans, for as I had only one boat I could not land 
them. To have done so would Lave been to weaken 
my own crew, and to trust them with my own boat 

A Council of War. 2^1 

would have meant simply to lose it, because it would 

not have been returned. 

My own men were called aft and their opinion 
asked, but as each had an idea of his own — some were 
for flogging, some were for killing, and others for 
throwing them overboard- and letting them find their 
way on shore as they best could — they were dismissed. 

The eflects of the fever which had told severely 
upon me and the intense anxiety of mind and 
excitement led me to the conclusion that I was not in 
a fit state to come to a fair, a calm, and an unbiassed 
decision, and that whatever I might do in the way of 
punishment might in calmer moments be regretted. 

This reflection finally decided me. 

The only practicable course appeared to be to 
return these men in safety to their homes. 

It was far past midnight when I arrived at this 
decision. The Bajah was brought into the cabin, and 
the interpreter roused up — ^although by this time I could 
converse with tolerable fluency myself. I explained to 
the Rajah that as they were under the authority of the 
Netherlands, and as the Netherlands and the Britons 
were good friends, I conceived it my duty to return 
them to their homes — not but that they richly 

232 Explorations in New Guinea. 

deserved punishment, and not because I felt any 
sympathy for them — but simply for the respect I had 
for the flag of a friendly nation ; and he was warned 
in future in all his dealings with Englishmen, even 
were they few, never to try, or to contemplate trying, 
to capture an English ship, for, should he succeed, we 
had tens of thousands of men who would come and 
avenge the death of their countrymen. 

I then pointed out how different our relations would 
have been had he acted fairly and honestly to me. 
That, having secured a fair return for my outlay, I 
would have been coming to his country year after year, 
and many others would have followed me, so that, 
instead of living the wretched miserable lives that they 
were now living, large trade relations would have been 
opened out, the valuable timber in their mountains 
would have been cut down, while the spice trade alone 
would have been the means of making him rich beyond 
anything that he had the intelligence to understand. 

I then carefully presented to him the reverse side of 
the picture, telling him that, even had he succeeded in 
his plan of seizing the ship, the news would sooner or 
later have got abroad ; and that, as I had been careful 
to write so that my people knew where we were, a man- 

A plain Talk with the Rajah, 233 

of- war would have come, and he and all concerned 
would have been hanged, their villages would have 
been destroyed and the country left to the Alufurus. 

He either saw or pretended to see the force of all 
that I said, and, with tears streaming down his cheeks, 
swore by God and Mahomet that he would never 
think of trying to do the like again. 

I then dismissed him to the boat, to tell the others 
that as soon as I got down to Roeambati I would signal 
for a canoe to take them off, and let them go to their 

Having settled this matter I felt much lighter of 
heart, and turning into my bed slept soundly till 
morning, when getting under weigh we stood over 
towards the island on the southern shore. 

The wind was light and baflSing, and heavy dark 
clouds were rising to the westward and came working 
down upon us. Between three and four o^clock in the 
afternoon the clouds gathered near the ship and sucked 
up from the bosom of the Gulf no less than six 
tremendous water-spouts, which travelled rapidly 
towards us. 

One huge simoom of the deep came whirling along 
directly towards the vessel. The men were called to 

234 Explorations in New Guinea. 

their arms, the big guns were loaded and covered 
ready to fire when the huge column of water was within 
two hundred yards. The rifles were kept continuously 
firing, but from excitement or some other cause I could 
not get the men to fire well together, and one of the 
most tremendous water-spouts that ever I had seen was 
within five hundred yards of the vessel ere the rifles 
succeeded in breaking it. 

I have repeatedly described water-spouts in other 
parts of the ocean as having nothing grand or imposing 
about them. This I can say no longer, for as the 
monster rushed down towards the ship like an avalanche, 
it seemed to be dashing spray for at least thirty or 
forty feet above its base, and can only be compared to 
some huge steam engine, rushing without control with 
the valves open, and shooting out a tremendous volume 
of steam round a great spiral column of smoke. 
While standing port-fire in hand at the swivel-gun, I 
was enabled to determine that the great spiral column 
of water was revolving from left to right. 

No sooner had we succeeded in breaking it than 
a sharp breeze sprang up and dispersed the five 
remaining water-spouts and carried us rapidly along 
the coast, which I had hugged pretty closely with the 

Encountering a Simoon. 235 

intention of hailing a canoe from the village of 

When opposite the islets and reefs, already described 
as enclosing Patipi Bay, the wind died out as suddenly 
as it had sprung up, and it became imperative for us 
to anchor in twenty-six fathoms of water within fifty 
yards of the reefs edge. 

A large prow pushed oflF from the shore, but as 
darkness was now setting in the natives were told to 
return and to come off at daylight. 

As the night advanced signal fires were lit on the 
points, and considerable commotion was observable at 
Roeambati, Patipi, and Salikiti. 

A light breeze springing up, at ten o'clock I decided 
to get under weigh, and if possible to obtain a better 
offing. Sail was made so as to forge the ship ahead to 
her anchor, but the great length of chain told upon 
the men, who were tired and weary with continuous 
watching, and the work was slow and laborious ; so 
that before the anchor was up, the ship had drifted 
into dangerously close proximity to the reef. 

By the aid of long sweeps, however, we managed to 
keep her from striking, and the men were instructed 
that, in the event of the ship taking the reef, nothing 

236 Explorations in New Guinea, 

remained for us but to be prepared to cut out 
Angawearo's prow, first silencing those on board. But 
that great Power whom I have ever found to watch over 
man in his extremity, did not leave us to that terrible 

The current as we swept down the coast seemed also 
to help us to seaward, and inch by inch we gradually 
drew away from our dangerous position. When a 
sufficient distance in the offing, the ship was hove to 
and allowed to drift with the tide till the morning, when 
a small canoe came off. 

Having returned the two natives their arms, the 
whole party came aft and thanking me got into the 
canoe and paddled away to their homes. 

Circumstances now compelled me to run in and 
again anchor at the place in which we brought up on 
the night of our arrival at McClure's Gulf, but on the 
following morning we were enabled to get under weigh 
with a good breeze and to shape a course for the 
island of Gorong, where we arrived without mishap. 

This island, as also the island of Kiliwaru, has been 
so well described by Mr. Wallace in his * Malay 
Archipelago ' that it would be superfluous for me to 
tire my readers with any description. 

KiliakaU 237 

• On arriving ofF the village of Kiliakat the wind died 
away and the ship lay becalmed, surrounded by reefs, 
with no anchorage. 

A large prow containing no less than forty rowers 
put off from the shore and another speedily followed. 
As they drew near the ship they struck up a very 
pleasing boat-song and beat their drums and gongs. 
Motioning for them to come on board they pulled 
alongside, and then I saw that the rowers were all 
boys or youths, while several venerable, kindly- 
visaged men were seated on tlie platform. The first to 
come on board was a decently dressed respecfable man 
who carried a stick in his hand. As soon as he crossed 
the gangway he put his hand into his pocket and 
taking out a flat-headed, oct-agon-shaped silver knob, 
on which were engraved the arms of the Dutch, he 
placed it on top of the stick ; then, holding it towards 
me, informed me that he was the Orang Kay or head 
man of the village and offered to tow us into a secure 

The prows were got ahead and towed us into 
soundings, but for the night we were compelled to 
anchor in thirty fathoms. 

The following morning three well-manned prows 

238 Explorations in New Guinea. 

came off and soon towed us inside the reefs, where 
we anchored in nineteen fathoms secured from almost 
any wind. 

We landed at the village and were taken round 
by the Orang Kay and others to see many of the 
houses. They were a simple primitive people 
dwelling in peace and harmony one with the other, 
having no quarrels nor wars amongst themselves. 
The boys were sent to fill our water casks with fresh 
water, which came running down the hill-side in a 
clear gurgling stream, and the only remuneration 
asked was a small box of wax matches to each boy. 

The natives are adepts at making fancy grass boxes 
which they send to Gissor and sell to the Bugis 
and Chinese traders. They have much valuable 
timber and I think precious stones are found on the 
island. In former years these people used to trade 
with the people of New Guinea, but the treachery 
of the Papuan was such that not a year passed but 
some of their prows were captured and their crews 
murdered, more especially about Shemai; so that 
for a people living in primitive simplicity the New 
Guinea trade has been considered too dangerous and 
is now entirely abandoned. 

hi Search of Provisions. 239 

When I explained to them that I was going to 
return to Shemai, Kapow, Karas and other parts 
of the coast, and asked for intei*preters to accompany 
me, they looked positively terror-stricken and declared 
that we should never get away from New Guinea 

Our provisions were by this time running short, 
and for several weeks we had tasted nothing in the 
shape of meat. Our bread w^as so weevily that it 
was positively running away from us, and would fall 
to pieces at the touch. Our flour supply was also 
well nigh exhausted and we had no sugar. I there- 
fore endeavoured to purchase what vegetables I could 
from these natives ; but they had little else save fish 
and sago to sell. The latter, though very coarse, was 
considerably better than that which we had purchased 
in abundance in New Guinea. I therefore bought 
several mats of sago, also native prepared sago cakes, 
a few tara and yams, and trusted to Providence to 
be able to pick up more provisions on the New Guinea 

Having now a full supply of water and having 
rested in peace and safety for a week, we made a few 
small presents and again got under weigh to return to 

240 Explorations in New Guinea. 

New Guinea. The wind was blowing fair off the island 
when we started, but we had barely cleared the reefs 
when it came rushing down with hurricane force, and 
throughout the night it blew a terrific gale, which 
moderated somewhat towards daylight. Keeping the 
ship under press of canvas, towards midday we again 
made the mainland of New Guinea, and, rounding 
into a deep bay, anchored in thirty fathoms of water. 

Although the shores of the bay were carefully 
scanned we could see no sign of inhabitants, and only 
one fire, and that was at a considerable distance up 
the mountains. 

We shifted our anchorage and stood over towards 
the island of Shemai, which we found to consist of one 
main island and an innumerable group of smaller 
islands. Still, as we discovered no natives, we decided 
to run for Karas, and rounded the westernmost point 
of that island about four in the afternoon. 

Seeing a couple of houses on the beach we stood 
close in shore with colours flying and laid the ship to 
the wind until a small canoe came off with a couple of 
natives, one of whom piloted us round to an anchorage. 
By the time we had all secured darkness had set in, 
and having paid the pilot, who promised to return in 

In Search of Provisions, 241 

the morning with some fish and tara, we set anchor 
watches and retired for the night. 

In the morning, true to promise, the pilot 
brought off fish. This time he was accompanied by a 
Ceram man (Moy by name), who said that he had 
been trading on the mainland, and had been robbed, 
but had escaped to Karas, where they had protected 
him. He offered to work his passage to the island of 
Adi, where he had a brother living under the pro- 
tection of the Kajah. 

Throughout the day several prows came bringing 
nutmegs, all of which we purchased, but the anchorage 
being very unsafe I decided to run for the island of 
Tarak, where Moy assured me I should find safe 

Here we arrived in the evening, and were boarded 
by an intelligent little man, who produced a certificate 
granted by a Dutch captain to his father, and who 
asked to be allowed to pilot us to Shemai, where 
he thought he could purchase Misoi bark and nutmegs. 

To this I agreed, and we sent away a boat ahead to 
inform all those who had nutmegs to sell, that we 
would again anchor in the bay, already mentioned, 
where I had previously seen no people. 


242 Explorations in New Guinea. 



The Island of Tarak — ^The Orang Bisar — ^Mineral Wealth" of 
Sheraai — A self-assertive old Man — He gives me a Piece of 
his Mind — ^I return the Compliment — A Visit to the House of 
a great Man — The Kajah of Ati Ati — ^A Chinese Joss — ^I give 
the Pilot a Certificate — llie Bugis Captain and Moy — ^I 
succeed in warding off Vengeance — A Present of Firearms. 

The island of Tarak is one of two which with Karas 
enclose a bay thirty-five miles in extent, and in which 
the reefs are almost innumerable. These reefs are 
positively teeming with trepang or Beche-de-mer, a 
kind of sea slug much used in China, the average price 
of which when cured runs from £140 down to £60 
per ton. On either side of the bay the land is 
high and mountainous, but in the bight it is only 
moderately elevated forest country inhabited by a 
small bush tribe, numbering, I was assured, less than 
forty souls, who wander about from place to place in a 

The Orang Bisar. 243 

state of natural savagery much after the manner of the 

natives of Strachan Island. Had I been on a fishing 

cruise, and carrying apparatus, there is no doubt that 

I should have filled my vessel with a valuable cargo in 

a couple of months. 

The news arriving that the pilot's people had made 

enquiry as to the quantity of nutmegs likely to be 

brought to the ship, and also the quantity of Misoi 

they had to sell, I decided on the following day to 

return to Shemai, and with the morning breeze suc- 
ceeded in again anchoring in the bay, this time in good 


Immediately we anchored, a number of canoes were 
seen paddling towards us from several points of the 
compass, and we were soon busily engaged in bartering 
for nutmegs, and a brisk trade was carried forward, 
both on that and the following day. 

In the evening a large prow came out from Shemai, 
and brought a man who informed us that he was the 
Orang Bisar or great man of the place. He was a 
man of distinctly marked features, and had a deter- 
mined treacherous look and was evidently held in some 
fear by my little pilot. To myself he made great protesta- 
tions of friendliness, and expressed himself exceedingly 

R 2 

244 Explorations in New Guinea, 

— — - - 1 - "* -- 

anxious that I should shift my anchorage and go over 
and anchor opposite his rooma or house. He assured 
me that he had a very large quantity of the Misoi 
bark for disposal, as also nutmegs, and offered to take 
a man with him who could see for himself. 

One of the Malayans volunteered to accompany 
him and, on the Orang Bisar promising to bring him 
back in safety the next afternoon, I ordered the man 
to go, and to carefully note the quantity they had for 
sale, as also the number of people about, and to 
gather any other information that might be of service. 
I gave him a rifle and revolver and he left the ship. 

Our anchorage was within fifty yards of the shore, 
opposite a clear crystal stream which trickled down 
the mountain's side. 

In the morning, accompanied by two men, I landed 
and, after a bath, we proceeded up the mountains, 
dragging ourselves up by the creepers along the 
rugged banks of this stream, which had cut a channel 
through a species of decomposed quartz. 

The vegetation was very dense, and we discovered 
many trees not met with before by us in New Guinea, 
notably one, a hard red timber, somewhat similar to 
the jarah wood of Western Australia. Here we also 

A self-assertive old Man. 245 

discovered a species of the India-rubber tree, but of 
imperfect growth. We came across many deep 
ravines composed of quartz-rock with out-croppings of 
slate, and those of my crew who had spent some years 
among the gold-fields of Australia declared the 
country likely to contain gold. My want of geological 
knowledge precludes me from ofiering an opinion on 
this subject, but having seen something of the mineral- 
bearing countries of Australia, I am disposed to think 
that before very long gold and other minerals will be 
found in considerable quantities amongst these ranges. 
We cut some specimens of the timber and chipped off 
pieces of the quartz, and then, as some prows were 
making for the ship, we returned on board, to await 
their arrival. 

The first prow to come alongside contained three 
men with their wives, besides some with two or three 
slaves to paddle the prow. A self-assertive old man 
who came aboard told me he had brought his wife 
and also his brother and his wife, and his son with his 
wife, and he would bring them aboard to look at the 
ship, provided I would make them a good present. He 
said they came from the island of Shemai, and he was 
the big man there. They had plenty of nutmegs, and 

246 Explorations in New Guinea, 

if I paid well, they would bring plenty in a few days, 
but they would like to see what I had got to give them 
in exchange. 

The brother and son then came on board, and after 
some talk, the ladies were helped out of the canoe. 
They were well dressed, wearing heavy gold bands 
around their ankles, heavy bracelets of gold and silver 
on their arms, and huge golden earrings. Their 
features were not unpleasing, but it was evident that 
they were not of the pure Papuan type. The old lady, 
the wife of the man who first boarded the ship, evi- 
dently had a considerable mixture of the Chinese even 
to the almond eyes, while the others presented at 
least a three-fourths mixture of Malay* Their hair was 
carefully parted in the centre, and their colour was 
very much lighter than that of the Papuan. 

They were taken into the cabin and presented with 
looking-glasses, but the old man was not satisfied and 
insisted that they should be each presented with a 
dress piece for their trouble in coming to see me. 
When informed I had no dress pieces to give, and that 
while I had presented them with looking-glasses so 
that they could admire themselves he had made no 
present to me, he very coolly told me that I was in 

He gives me a Piece of his Mind, 247 

their country, and that it was my place to make 
them presents and not theirs to make presents to me, 
but if I would not give them any more perhaps I 
might show them what I had, so that they would 
know what goods I had to give in exchange for such 
commodities as they had to barter. 

As article after article was laid before them and 
the price named he repeated the one word " Machal " 
(too dear) and disparaged the quality of every 
article that I produced, until my patience became ex- 
hausted, and I refused to show them any more and 
ordered the goods to be put away. He next asked for 
" sopie " (spirits). This being refused he demanded 
" sandown " (opium). When informed that we carried 
no opium, he coolly told me I was no good. The 
women also pleaded hard that I should give them 
more presents after their coming to see me, when, find- 
ing me obdurate, they returned to the prow in a huff. 
I sent the men on deck, where again the old man gave 
me a considerable piece of his mind. He told me I 
was mean and that I ought to have been pleased to 
give them good presents for coming to see me and, if 
I did not give good presents, it was of no use coming 
there, that I did not know their fashion, which was that 

248 Explorations in New Guinea. 

when people came to their country they were to make 
good presents. 

To this I answered that his country fashion and 
mine were different, that when people came to our 
country it was we that made them the presents, and 
that when he was ready to bring his presents to me I 
would be pleased to accept them. 

To this he replied, "trebai" (no good). 

Being now thoroughly annoyed, I ordered him 
to clear out of the ship. With some reluctance he 
went into his prow, and after some talk passed out of 
the house or cabin three large net bags of nutmegs 
which were brought on deck, and for which he asked 
a price of about five times their value. I was so 
disgusted with the self-assertive insolence of the 
old fellow that I made offer of about half the price 
that under ordinary circumstances I would have been 
willing to give, which caused the old man to hold up 
his hands in apparent amazement, and he wanted to 
discuss the matter. I ordered them to go to the 
canoe and to take their trade with them, as I would 
not buy it from him at all. This had the desired 
efiect, and . they let me have the nutmegs at my own 
price, conditionally on my giving them a little tobacco 

I UVIJUiJI I n I ^"^P^^'^VM^WPPWi 

/ return the Compliment. 249 

as a present. This I did, and they paddled away from 
the ship grumbling. 

In the afternoon the Orang Bisar returned with my 
man, who reported that they had two houses full of the 
Misoi bark, that they had very few nutmegs, that there 
were not many men, and that everywhere they 
had treated him kindly, I therefore decided on 
the following morning to go over and anchor as 
requested inside of the island of Shemai. 

The Orang Bisar and his people camped on the 
beach all night while my own watches under arms kept 
a sharp look-out In the morning the little pilot, who 
had been absent, returned bringing with him about 
four hundredweight of nutmegs, which he had purchased. 

We then got under weigh and stood over to Shemai. 
On the Dutch charts this is marked as one island with 
a clear channel between it and the mainland. This 
is altogether inaccurate as from the end of the 
main island the bay is studded with innumerable little 
islets, the passages between which are mostly blocked 
by coral reefe, except in one place, where there is 
a narrow intricate channel. Through this it w^as 
proposed to take us ; our little pilot, however, urged us 
not to risk it, but to anchor on the seaward side 

250 Explorations in New Guinea, 

of the group. Subsequent events proved that this man 
was faithful, and it was fortunate that I acted on his 

Having anchored in a small natural lagoon with 
reefs, which dry on either side at low water, the 
big man went on shore for the purpose of loading up 
the Misoi and nutmegs to bring to the ship, and 
we remained all day in idleness. Only one or 
two fishing canoes came alongside and they would not 
sell their fish. 

On the following afternoon as there was no sign 
of the great man returning, I became anxious, and, 
getting the boat out, took two of my Malays with 
the Ceram man (Moy), and rowed into the house 
for the purpose of finding out the cause of the delay. 

The pilot was left at the ship so that, in the event of 
anything happening to myself, he could take them to a 
place of safety. 

Our way lay through a group of beautiful little 
islets, some of them not a hundred yards in circum- 
ference and none larger than half a mile, mere rocks 
thrown up by some convulsion of nature, but each, 
owing to the humidity of the climate, densely 
covered with vegetation — pretty little emerald gems 

A Visit to a great Man. 251 

sparkling on the bosom of the ocean. An hour and a 
half s pull brought us to the house of the great man, 
who received us at the platform or staging with much 
ostentatious ceremony. 

Leaving one man in the boat with instructions never 
to let his rifle out of his hand, accompanied by 
my other man ^nd Moy I entered the house, which 
positively bristled with long steel-headed spears. 

Having seated myself, I enquired of the great man why 
he had not brought the Misoi oflF according to promise, 
when he coolly informed me that the Misoi did not 
belong to him, but to another man who was away a four 
days' journey, and that he had sent to him to come back. 

I accused him of having deceived me, and said 
that I had been told that it was their fashion about 
Shemai to lead the unsuspecting trader into a snare 
and then murder him for the sake of plundering his 
vessels ; that at Kiliakat in Gorong, the Orang Kay 
had informed me that they had murdered all his people, 
who had come amongst them to trade, as also the 
men from Ki and Ceram ; that owing to the murder 
of the Prince and two Eajahs of Tidore a Dutch war- 
ship was coming down to punish them; but that 
we belonged to a country the lives of whose people 

252 Explorations in New Guinea, 

were sacred and that if the meanest man in my ship 
suffered the slightest injury at their hands my country- 
men, who were as numerous as the sand on the sea 
shore and correspondingly powerful, would come and 
destroy every man of them, not stopping while one 
of them lived. Rising to my feet, I pointed to the 
two Malays and said, "You see that I myself have 
come amongst you alone because I have nothing 
to fear, you might kill me without much trouble now, 
but that would be nothing, because I know that for 
every hair in my head and every hair in my beard 
my country would send a man to exterminate you 
from the face of the earth." 

He said it was true that they had killed and 
plundered all the people I had enumerated, but not 
for six years, as none of them had come to their 
place, and I was the first visitor they had had for 
that time; but now they would not kill white man, 
for they were too frightened. 

While this conversation was going on, an old lady, 
the mother, brought a small basket and a few bananas, 
tara, and yams, and calling for one of her maidens 
she instructed her to bring some water-melons and 
pumpkins, all of which she laid at my feet and told me 

The Rajah of Ati AH. 253 

they were a present I shook the old lady by the hand 
and made her some small presents in return and then 
the Orang Bisar having promised that if he heard no 
word by the following day, he would take upon himself 
to bring the Misoi to the ship, we got in the boat 
and returned on board. 

On the way back the Oeram man, Moy, said he 
thought when we were going that they would have 
killed us, that we were the first that he had heard 
of who had gone down there and come back alive. 
When asked if they would have killed him also, he 
said " No, no good to kill him, he had got nothing." 
I then asked him why he did not join the pilot in trying 
to dissuade me from venturing among them, the only 
answer to which was a shrug of the shoulders, which 
decided me to watch Mr. Moy. 

When we arrived on board, the little pilot seemed 
overjoyed to see us, and expressed a desire that I 
should move the ship a little farther to seaward, which 
was accordingly done. 

On the following afternoon two large prows came 
alongside laden with Misoi and another with the 
Orang Bisar on board, also two other prows in which 
were women with nutmegs. The whole of these 

254 Explorations in New Guinea, 

products were purchased after a considerable amount 
of haggling, and the boats left the ship. 

Throughout the day also several scouting prows 
came down from Kapow and Egga, and through the 
pilot I gathered that they were sent by the Rajah of 
Ati Ati, who had been the principal in the murder of 
the Prince of Tidore and his followers. This ruler 
had heard of my dealings with the tribes in the Gulf, 
and was anxious to discover what force I had on board 
and what my intentions were towards himself. 

When I was told this I called the men to me, and 
told them to tell the Rajah from me that the Prince 
of Tidore had determined to send down a force of five 
hundred prows to punish them for murdering his 
people (this fact I had learnt from the Commandant 
at Gissor), and that a Dutch man-of-war would also 
be dispatched by the Governor-General to punish 
them, and that the Rajah of Ati Ati and the two 
Rajah Mooders had a very short time to live, because, 
if not killed by the Sultan's prows, they would be 
hanged to the yard-arm of a Dutch man-of-wan 

They then asked me if I would be prepared to help 
the Rajah of Ati Ati, to which I sent reply that I had 
made ofier to the Commandant at Gissor to take their ' 

The Rajah of Ati Ati. 255 

Rajah aad the two Rajah Mooders over as prisoners 
to him, providing he would receive them, and that if 
the Sultan of Tidore's prows came, my duty was 
clearly to help them; and further, that now English 
ships had come amongst them, it would not be well 
for them if they murdered any more men. 

The men left the ship sullenly, and having paddled 
to the nearest shore, stopped and held a long con- 
sultation. Then embarking in their prows, they 
proceeded to their homes by different routes. 

The pilot now strongly urged me to remain there 
no longer ; but the breeze, which had been blowing oflF 
shore, died away as soon as the anchor was atrip, 
compelling me to again anchor for the night, and it 
was noon on the morrow ere we got a breeze to carry 
us back to the island of Tarak, where we remained 
for a couple of days. 

I should have mentioned that while here previously 
in walking along the beach I came upon an old house 
that had been destroyed by fire, some of the old 
timber of which I had cut up and sent on board for 
firewood. While turning over the rubbish I came 
upon three idols, two of them the common wooden 
idols, facsimiles, of those shown by Mr. Wallace in 

256 Explorations in New Guinea. 

his 'Malay Archipelago,' and one a half-charred 
Chinese Joss. These I took on board the ship, the 
(Jeram man, Moy, who was with me At the time, 
having assured me that they were no good, and 
that I was doing no harmu Now on our return, 
although somewhat late in the evening, I was sur- 
prised that no prow came off from the shore, and I 
sent the little pilot on shore in the ship's boat to 
ascertain the cause. 

In the morning he returned with a number of men, 
and after some talk with my Malays and interpreters, 
the pilot said the men were all in great trouble and 
the women were all frightened because I had stolen 
their god. 

I brought out the two native idols, but they did not 
care for them. As I had placed no value on the 
Chinese Joss, it had been thrown down into the hold 
among the firewood. The men were sent to look for 
it, and, fortunately, it had not been split up and burnt, 
so that I was able to restore it, to the great relief and 
satisfaction of these people, who assured me that had 
that god not been found, it would have been impossible 
for the ship to get away. I asked them who told 
them such stupid nonsense, adding that it was only a 

A Chinese Joss. 257 

piece of wood gilded over with *^ mass " (gold), that it 
had no power, and that in all probability in another 
day or two it would have been burnt ; for as I found 
,it in the old burnt house I thought they attached no 
value to it. They said they had purchased it for a 
very high price from a Chinaman, who told them it 
was a big god, and while they kept it, no harm could 
come to them, and whoever stole it would never be 
able to go away from their island. I said the China- 
man was a great rogue and had robbed them — that 
he knew very well that the idol could do them no 

They then went on shore, leaving the pilot on board, 
but instead of proceeding straight to the beach, they 
rowed twice up and down in front of the house singing 
songs while one man stood holding aloft the idol. 
They then landed and carried it affectionately up to 
one of their houses. 

This done, all who had nutmegs or other staples for 
trade returned with them to the ship and we were very 
good friends. 

The little pilot, having again produced his father's 
certificate, requested that I would write him one like it 
so that he could show it to any other stranger visiting 



258 Explorations in New Guinea, 

their islani This I readily did in the following 
certificate : — 

" iBland of Tarak, 19th January, 1887. 

"The bearer, the Capitan of Tarak, is the only honest, 
truth-speaking man I have met in North- West New Guinea, 
and, as such, can be recommended. Strangers are warned to be 
cautious in their dealings with the natives, more especially with 
the Gulf tribes, and the men of Shemai, Kapow, and Ati Ati. 

(Signed) " John Strachan, of Sydney, 
" New South Wales." 

Besides paying him liberally for his services I also 
presented him with a suit of clothes, and he went ashore 
perfectly satisfied, and apparently grateful. 

1 had decided to leave the Ceram man here under 
the protection of the Capitan, but he begged me to 
take him to Adi, as he was afraid of the Papuan men ; 
and as the people did not want him, he was permitted 
to remain in the ship. 

A breeze springing up we got under weigh, when 
having cleared the island of Tarak we shaped a course 
for Adi, proceeding with a fair wind until we reached 
the southern point of the adjacent island. The wind 
here shifted to right ahead and rendered it imperative 
that we should seek anchorage before nightfall, the 
depth of water being great, and the bay covered with 
innumerable reefs. We therefore ran back for a 

The Eugis Captain and Moy, 259 

harbour which the Capitan had said we should find in 
a small bay near the western end of the island. 

The Ceram man urged me not to risk entering this 
harbour, which he said was full of reefs. But seeing 
a large junk riding snugly at anchor, we sailed in until 
within one hundred and fifty yards of her, and brought 
the vessel to an anchor in good water with no sign of 
any reefs. 

The captain of the junk, a Bugis trader, came off 
from the shore in his boat, and, immediately the Ceram 
man saw him, he pretended to be taken suddenly ill, 
and went into the forecastle. The captain came on 
board and enquired if we had a Ceram man named 
Moy with us. On being answered in the affirmative 
he said that this man was one of his people whom he 
had sent to trade with the natives ; that he was a 
deserter, and had taken with him a considerable 
quantity of trade goods. 

Moy was called out of the forecastle and brought aft, 
when the Bugis captain spoke to him in stern 
tones, adding that he had come to take him back 
again, if I would give him up. This he now requested 
me to do. In reply I expressed my anxiety to be rid 
of a man, whom I believed to be an arrant scoundrel, 

8 2 

26o Explorations in New Guinea, 

whom 1 knew to be untruthful, and who, while we 
were at Shemai had allowed me to land, without 
warning, amongst a people who were known to murder 
all their visitors, and who, when the safety of my ship 
compelled me to seek anchorage, had lold me this bay 
was too dangerous to enter, owing to the number of 
coral reefs. I added, that he was of no use to us, the 
Bugis was welcome to him. 

This being interpreted, Moy fell on his knees and 
with tears running down his cheeks begged me not to 
give him up to be murdered. He assured me that so 
soon as the Bugis captain got him on board his own 
ship, he would send him on shore and the Papuan 
men would kill him; that the Bugis captain would 
then return and report that one of his men had been 
murdered by the natives of New Guinea. 

I enquired of the Bugis captain if this were true. 

He gave his shoulders a shrug and said " Perhaps it 
is true, perhaps it is not true." 

It was then explained that in my country men were 
not killed for stealing, nor for running away from their 
engagements. They were punished by being made 
fast and locked up, but that men were killed only 
for killing their fellows, and that however bad the 

The Bugis Captain and Moy, 261 

man Moy was or might have been, I dare not give 
him up knowing for certain that he w^ould lose 
his life. 

The Bugis promised that if I would give him his 
man he should be punished in the way I said ; they 
would tie him up for a while, and then let him go to 
work again. 

Moy, who had remained on his knees, continued to 
weep, and begged most piteously, offering to work for 
me all his life for only his food, if I would keep him on 
board the ship. 

Not wishing to do an injustice to the Bugis, who 
seemed a respectable trader, and on the other hand 
being determined to give no man up to be murdered, it 
was decided to run back and obtain the advice of the 
Capitan of Tarak. The distance between the two 
islands, it may be mentioned, was only two miles. We 
immediately got under weigh and stood back to our 
old anchorage and hailed for the Capitan to come on 
board. Moy was ordered forward so that he could 
not speak nor hear what was said. 

When the Capitan arrived the matter was put before 
him and his answer was literally as follows: *'The 
Captain Bugis will not kill Moy, but he will send him 

262 Explorations in New Guinea, 

away, and he will never come back to Captain Bugis' 
ship; the Papuan men will kill him. The Captain 
Bugis will go back to his own country and will say 
the Papuan men kill Moy. That will be all." 

I said : " Then I cannot give him up to be 

He said : " No, better, you take him Adi." 

Thus convinced that if I gave the man up, I should 
in some measure be an accessory to a murder, I 
decided to retain him on board the ship, and returned 
and again anchored near the Bugis junk. The 
captain of the junk again boarded us, and I told him 
that it would be impossible for me to give the man up ; 
because if anything should happen to Moy my country- 
men would not hold me guiltless, and that he had 
better dismiss the matter from his mind. 

The Bugis accepted this decision good-humouredly, 
said that, although he would like to get the man back, 
he gave me credit for keeping him, and passed some 
very high encomiums on the English people as a 

Our provisions by this time had run very short and 
when he found that for six weeks we had been living 
on sago and other coarse native fare, he showed his 

A Present of Firearms, 263 

practical sympathy by sending us a bag of one and 
a half hundredweight of rice, about twenty -four 
pounds of sugar and two tins of fancy wine Mscuits. 
He also offered us dried deer flesh, but having 
tried it before and found it uneatable we declined to 
receive it. 

I returned with him to hia junk, where he got me to 
write my name in hii book so that we might be 
friends. I asked wbat present I could give in return, 
for all the things he had given to us. After some 
hesitation, he said that if I could spare^ one he should 
like a rifle. As we had several long range converted 
Enfield rifles to spare, I decided to present him with 
one. and also with a couple of hundred rounds of 

Here again I was met by a Dutch Act which pro- 
hibits the sale or presentation of firearms to any 
natives on the Archipelago under penalty of one thou- 
sand guilders ; but being prompted by the higher law 
of necessity and wanting if possible to g6t some more 
provisions, I decided to risk the fine, presented the 
rifle, and sold the ammunition, for some more sugar, 

curry-powder, and other articles. 

A strong breeze springing up in our favour, we got 

264 Explorations in New Guinea, 

under weigh, and clearing the islands and reefs 
shaped a course along the bold highlands of the Onin 
peninsula for the island of Adi— distant more than a 
hundred miles. The wind blew fitfully and unsteadily 
all night, so that by the morning we had only accom- 
plished about half of the distance. 

( 26s ) 



The Island of Adi — Sending a Native in search of the Rajah — 
The Rajah arrives with a laden Prow — We fail to come to 
Terms — ^Moy's Treachery — ^1 send him about his Business 
— Arogoni Bay — Nutmegs and Tortoise-shells — ^A fertile 

As we sailed along close to the shore we could see 
that the country was everywhere magnificent, but could 
not discern the faintest trace of inhabitants. Towards 
noon we rounded the eastern point of the peninsula, 
and hauling up to the northward with a strong breeze 
we sailed along within one hundred and fifty fathoms 
of the shore, huge black mountain storms travelling 
along the land within half a mile of us, until we came 
to the westernmost point of the island of Adi. This 
we rounded and anchored opposite a small village. 

Here the head man boarded us, and by him we were 
informed that the Bajah, who resided some eight miles 


266 Explorations in New Guinea, 

distant, was preparing: his large prow to carry a cargo 
of Misoi to Tarak, word having been sent him in 
some mysterious manner that we were there. We 
were assured by him, too, that in all the numerous 
islets and in Adi itself there is a large quantity of 
black walnut, known to them by the name of Berlau, 
with which timber I had intended to complete my 
cargo of New Guinea specimens. 

Several of the natives came from the shore and 
brought small parcels of tortoise-shell and pearl-shell, also 
Beche-de-mer for barter, all of which were purchased. 

The head man requested that I would send one 
man with him to inform the Eajah of our arrival, 
so that he might come quickly, and bring what he had 
to dispose o£ This was a^^reed to, and one of the 
Malays was dispatched in the evening, the natives 
promising to return on the following morning. 

As the whole of the next day passed without any 
sign of their return, I manned my boat with one white 
man and two Malays, one of whom was Moy, and 
started to the village of the Eajah. Moy, who pro- 
fessed to be \iell acquainted with the island, agreed to 
act as pilot. 

The weather was intensely hot, and as we pulled 

The Rajahs Prow, 267 

across bay after bay the men began to fag desperately, 
so that it became necessary to land and take a rest. 

After rowing about three hours we rounded a point 
and saw coming towards us the Kajah's prow, with 
colours flying, drums and gongs beating, and the men 
singing as they paddled. Ordering the men to rest on 
their oars, we waited for the Rajah's approach, and, 
boarding, found our man, who told us that he had 
been kindly treated, that the Rajah had told him that, 
prior to our arrival, he had dispatched three large 
prows to tlie Ki Islands heavily laden with Misoi, 
nutmegs, tortoise- and pearl-shell for barter there. 

This I subsequently learnt to be an utter and 
uncalled-for falsehood, spoken with the intention of 
impressing upon us the wealth of these people. As a 
simple matter of fact not one prow had been sent from 
Adi to the Ki Islands. 

The Rajah's prow, which was a large one, was fully 
laden, and contained at least half a ton of Misoi bark, 
besides yams, tortoise-shell, and other staples, Moy's 
brother, who was living under the protection of the 
Rajah, was also on board. 

We returned to the ship followed by the prow, 
which was made fast alongside the vessel. The Rajah 


268 Explorations in New Guinea, 

was brought into the cabin and asked at what price he 
was prepared to sell his cargo. For the Misoi bark he 
asked fifty rupees per picul, the highest trade price 
being equal to eight For tortoise-shell, which, being 
of inferior quality, would have been worth about five 
shillings per lb. in Sydney, he asked five rupees per 
lb., and everything was priced at the same exorbitant 
rate. I told him that it was to be regretted he had 
troubled himself to come so far, as he would have to 
take the whole of his staples back with him again ; that 
it was not possible that we would do business, for 
Englishmen had one fashion, which was to ask a fair 
price in the first place, and not to abate it afterwards. 
To this he made answer, ** That is my price. You are 
Englishman, you give yours." 

He next informed me that he had seen an 
English ship before, which came there some forty years 
prior to our visit, when he was a little boy ; that the 
captain's name was Paul. This recalled to me a 
report that I had heard in McQure's Gulf of a Sydney 
schooner which had visited the Gulf some eight or ten 
years previously, the captain of which had told the 
natives that his name was '* Hot Cofice." 

It is a most stupid thing for travellers to give 

We fail to come to Terms. 269 

fictitious names to uncivilized natives. Vessels trading 
amongst the islands in unknown seas are constantly 
being lost, leaving no trace behind them ; whereas, if 
their commanders were careful to impress upon the 
friendly races with whom they came into contact their 
proper name, those who followed after would be able to 
trace them and, if not to render assistance, would at 
least be able to give their friends some idea as to 
what had become of them. 

But to return to our barter. ^ The Rajah having 
again asked me to name a price, I made offer of 
goods to the value of five rupees per picul for the 
Misoi, and a half rupee for the tortoise-shell, and for 
everything else at a corresponding rate, and from these 
prices I would not move* Finding that we were not 
likely to agree I told him he had better leave the ship 
and go ashore. 

On going on deck I found Moy and his brother in 
deep conversation forward. Before taking the Bajah 
below I had instructed one of the Malays to keep 
within earshot of Moy, and, if possible, dbcover what 
he was saying. 

Finding no trade could be done with the Rajah it 
it was decided that he should return to the ship on the 

270 Explorations in New Guinea, 

following morning. He asked me for the usual 
presents. These I refused to give, and consequently 
we parted not very good friends. Moy also wanted to 
accompany his brother on shore, but this I refused, 
and detained him on board the ship. 

As soon ajs the prow had left, the Malay reported 
that Moy had told the natives to ask a big price for 
all their trade, because I did not understand its>value, 
and if they only stuck out they would get all they asked. 
I gave " Mr." Moy a night in irons and at daylight on 
the following morning put the men to ball practice with 
their rifles at a rock, distant one thousand yards across 
the bay. Then, taking the irons ofl* Moy, I told him 
he might swim to the shore, a distance of about three 
hundred yards, and tell the Rajah from me that 
under no circumstances would I now purcnase any of 
his cargo, so that when next he met an Englishman he 
might know that it was to his advantage to deal 
fairly, and ask a reasonable price. I also told 
him to say that, having considered the exorbitant 
price that he had asked from me, I had come to 
the conclusion that the five rupees which I had 
offered him for the Misoi would, according to his 
valuation, be altogether an inadequate price to fix for 

/ send May about his Business, 27 1 

staples which he valued so highly, and that I had 
further decided to have nothing to do with them ; so 
that, while not allowing him to cheat or rob me, he 
could not say that in any way I had cheated or robbed 

The island of Adi is from twenty to twenty-five 
miles in length, is hilly and densely wooded in places, 
and contains possibly from one hundred and fifty to 
two hundred inhabitants. Owing to the numerous 
coral reefs the navigation is intricate and dangerous, 
but there is good safe anchorage at its western end. 

Moy having reached the shore, the natives gathered 
round him on the beach where they were evidently 
holding a somewhat excited and animated discussion. 
To prove that I was in earnest I immediately got the 
ship under weigh and stood away to the north-west for 
Arogoni Bay. After threading our way through 
a number of islands adjacent to Adi, each of which is 
surrounded by a fringing coral reef, we entered the 
channel, and running before ^a strong breeze, we 
continued towards Arogoni Bay, the lead indicating 
from four to five fathoms of water. 

The highlands of the Peninsula here end abruptly 
in an almost direct line from the western end of Adi, 

272 Explorations in New Guinea. 

and right up to Arogoni the coast-line is comparatively 
low but not swampy. From the lowJying shore a 
great reef extends for a distance of from two and a 
half to three miles. We followed its edge until we 
drew near the mouth of the bay, on the eastern side of 
which is a remarkable sugar-loaf mountain. 

Here we saw numerous canoes proceeding under sail 
towards the village. Rounding to, we waited until one 
of them overhauled us and then got a native on board 
to act as pilot and by him we were carried safely to an 
anchorage opposite the village, which consisted of three 
larore houses. No sooner had we anchored than three 
prows left the shore and came off to the ship bringing 
the whole of the men of the village with them. 

The Rajah, an old man, came on board and saluted me 
by telling me that I was his papa or father. This is 
simply a native dodge so that they can have a claim upon 
you to ask for presents. I therefore told him that he was 
an older man than me and that he should be my father 
and that if he had any presents to bring I should be 
very glad to receive them. I enquired as to the- 
number of inhabitants, He said they had plenty of men, 
a great number of people. I asked where all their 
houses were. He pointed to the village containing 

Nutmegs and Tortoise-shelL 273 

three houses. I then asked where all the men were 
and he pointed to my decks on which were gathered 
natives to the number of about forty. This would lead 
me to suppose that along about one hundred and 
eighty miles of coast line there are only about two 
hundred and fifty to three hundred souls. 

At a distance of three miles from this village a 
considerable river runs into the ocean, and I had 
decided to enter and explore it into the interior, but 
was assured by the Rajah that the whole of it was his 
country and that there were no people there. 

Having gathered considerable information as to the 
resources of the place, I asked the question " Have you 
got pearl-shell ? " 

" Oh yes, a little at the house." 

" Have you got tortoise-shell ? " 

" Yes, a little at the house." 

** Have you got nutmegs ? " 

" Yes, a little at the house." 

They promised that they would come off early m the 
morning with their trade. I made them some presents 
and they returned to the shore. 

In the morning they again arrived at the ship, 
bringing some very fine pearl-shell but in no quantity. 


274 Explorations in New Guinea, 

They also brought fifty or sixty nutmegs and two 
or three pounds of tortoise-shell. The price asked for 
the pearl-shell was too high for me to entertain the 
idea of purchasing, and I again refused to trade unless 
they would abate their prica This they subsequently 
did and I purchased all they had at fairly reasonable 

Being determined to see for myself if this was 
the only village, we got under weigh and proceeded up 
Arogoni Bay for a distance of some ten miles, until our 
urther progress became so much obstructed by snags, 
sand banks, and reefs that I did not deem it advisable 
to risk being blocked in. 

The men from Bentouni, already mentioned as 
residing in the upper shores of McClure's Gulf, yearly 
come over here with their Misoi and nutmegs to sell to 
the Arab traders, the distance being only a day's 
journey. As they must of necessity bring their cargoes 
in their canoes I am led to believe that this supposed 
Arogoni Bay is connected with McClure's Gulf by one 
of the numerous channels already noticed, which 
are defined on the chart numbered [3]. 

The country, I need not repeat, was everywhere 
fertile and capable of supporting numerous inhabitants. 

A fertile Territory. 275 

On the south-western shores of the bay was fine densely 

wooded undulating country ; on the north-eastern shore, 

high, rugged, mountain lands with deep valleys, all 

capable of utilization for the benefit and advantage of 

the human race. 

Returning by the north-eastern shore, we found the 

water considerably deeper than ofi^ the low lands on the 

south-west, and at night anchored near two little 

islands, to await daylight ere we proceeded on our 


T 2 

276 Explorations in New Guinea, 



Dutch Charts — ^Nimatota — ^The Chinese Storekeepers of Dobo — 
The Post Holder's Wife and the Policeman — Off Ki Island In 
a Hurricane — ^At Bauwar — ^Breakers under the Bow — ^My 
little Papuan Boy — " Water, water, everywhere, but not a 
drop to drink 1 " — ^A straight Run for Australia — Mr. Mac- 
farlane's Teaching bears Fruit — ^A safe Return — Results of 
the Expedition — Mahometans versus Kafirs — ^Responsibility 
of the Government of the Netherlands — The Importance of 
New G-uinea to England and Australia. 

On the following morning, continuing to the east- 
ward, we passed two deep bays, but as we could see 
no sign of inhabitants did not enter, and by noon made 
the island of Niraatota, which is marked on the Dutch 
charts as a long narrow island. The charts we soon 
discovered to be again in error, as instead of one 
long island, Nimatota consists of a group of islands 
with narrow channels between them. From the 
seaward, however, they could easily be mistaken for 
one island. 

Dutch Charts. 277 

As we reached the eastern end of the group we 
sighted a native house with a flagstaff, where they 
hoist the flag of the Netherlands. One small prow 
pushed ofl^ from the shore, while another came from 
between the islands, and conducted us to a very 
insecure anchorage, where, however, we remained 
all night In the morning the prows came oflF from 
the shore and brought some nutmegs, but advised 
us to sail the group, where we should have better 

This was done, and we anchored close to the shore in 
fifteen fathoms. The tide runs between the numerous 
islands with great velocity, and makes the passage 
exceedingly dangerous, as it is only on the top of 
patches of reef that anchorage is to be found. As soon 
as we anchored, the people requested us to fire our 
big guns so as to attract the attention of the 
neighbouring natives, who inhabit what, according 
to the charts, is a part of the mainland, but in reality 
a group of islands. 

The whole of the charts issued under the authority of 
the Dutch are inaccurate, and, having now followed 
this coast line for a distance of some three hundred and 
fifty miles, I found that in hardly any case could they 


278 Explorations in New Guinea. 

be depended upon ; in fact, for all practical purposes the 
coast has never been surveyed. For example, besides 
the mistakes about Nimatota and the adjacent islands^ 
we find Shemai represented as consisting of one large 
island, while it is really made up of innumerable islets. 
Similar mistakes occur in the charts of McClure's Gulf 
and Arogoni Bay. 

With a handy steamer, one could spend months 
in exploring these comparatively unknown waters, 
moving from isle to isle, and revelling in scenes 
of wild natural beauty ; but with a half-starved crew, a 
vessel dependent entirely upon the wind, three anchors 
lost and only sixty fathoms of chain left for the 
one remaining anchor, the further examination of this 
coast became too serious a matter for me to entertain. 

It had been my original intention to follow the 
coast line round to where a river debouches into 
the Arafuru Sea, opposite a shoal marked on the 
charts as Providential Bank, which river will I believe 
be found connected with the Fly river at its junction 
with the Alice river, discovered by D'Albertis. My 
provisions having dwindled down to half a sack of rice 
and six hundred native sago biscuits or cakes, and 
being unable to purchase any more food from the 


The Mayor of Adimoni. 279 

natives, it became imperatively necessary for me 
to think of returning to Australia. 

I therefore decided to stay no longer than one 
day at each place, and the natives were instructed 
to bring such staples as they had for barter within 
that time. Here we secured a few hundredweight of 
nutmegs ; and in the afternoon the Mayor of Adimoni 
paid a visit, and assured us that the Rajah had plenty 
of nutmegs. I determined to proceed immediately 
to Adimoni, having already purchased such staples 
as the people of Nimatota had for sale. 

The Mayor accompanied us, and entered into 
an agreement to collect for me against my return. 
I gave him a written document that I would return, 
and he gave me a silk handkerchief to signify that 
he had ratified the agreement. 

On arrival, however, at Adimoni, we discovered 
that, as usual, we had been led astray, arid that they 
wanted time to go into the country to collect nutmegs 
and the Misoi bark. As this meant simply a further 
waste of time, I decided to remain no longer. 

On weighing my provisions I found them to consist 
of forty pounds of rice and less than six hundred 
sago cakes, while the distance to Cape York was 

28o Explorations in New Guinea, 

750 miles. I therefore determined first to run for 
Dobo in the Arm Islands, so well described by Mr. 
Wallace in his * Malay Archipelago.' 

We got under weigh at three o'clock in the after- 
noon, with the tide in our favour and a light breeze. 
No sooner, however, had we rounded the point from 
Adimoni than the tide rushed through the islands 
dead against us, and began to drive us in amongst 
the cluster of islands situated where the chart re- 
presents the mainland. The men were put to long 
oars or sweeps, at which they dragged wearily from 
four o'clock in the afternoon until eleven o'clock 
in the evening, when a breeze springing up, the ship 
gathered way, and we were enabled to clear the sur- 
rounding dangers. 

In due course we reached the low, flat, swampy island 

of Dobo, when on anchoring we were boarded by an 
Amboynese clerk and a solitary constable, from whom 
we learnt that the Post Holder was away on the 
pearl-shelling grounds at the other side of the islands. 
We landed for the purpose of endeavouring to 
procure some provisions, more especially flour and 
sugar. We were not, however, very successful. 
Although there were numerous Chinese storekeepers 

The Post Holder's Wife and the Policeman, 281 

in Dobo, they had only a fifty pound bag of rather 
mouldy Californian flour, which they generously 
offered to sell me for £2 sterling. 

It being the middle of the fishing season, the 
place was deserted except by the storekeepers. I 
went from store to store in a vain endeavour to 
get some provisions, and then proceeded to the house 
of the Post Holder for the purpose of presenting 
my letter of clearing. As the front door was closed, 
we proceeded through the yard or compound to the 
back, where, on a verandah at the back of the house, 
we found the clerk and the policeman hugging the 
Post Holder's wife, who as soon as she saw us rushed 
screaming into the house. The Amboynese policeman 
jumped up, and with all the fierceness he could assume 
and waving his hand and pointing to the gate, said, 
" Pigi de pigi ! " (Go away, go away I ). To this I 
replied, *' Beta pigara de Post Holder de police de beni 
trebai banyak trebai," literally, " I will speak to the 
Post Holder that his wife and the policeman are no 
good, plenty no good," and with that turning on my 
heel, I left. The clerk ran through the house, and 
opening the front doors, wished me to come in, but I 
continued down to the beach, determined to get 

282 Explorations in New Guinea. 

under weigh immediately and not bother about 
entering the ship in or out of the Port. As I 
approached the boat the clerk came running after me 
and said, "Tuan Post Holder's beni belee tombak 
Anglici sediki sediki," — that is, "The Post Holder's 
wife will buy a little English tobacco " To this I 
replied, " Pigi de pigi ! " and stepping into my boat, 
pulled off to the ship, got the boat in, the anchor up, 
and with all sails set, shaped a course for the Ki 
Islands, where one of the Malays assured me I should 
get plenty of provisions. 

The distance between these groups is only sixty 
miles, and as we had a leading wind, I hoped to make 
the great Ki island by daylight on the following 

At three o'clock the officer of the watch called me 
to report that we were drawing near to the land. On 
reaching the deck I saw to the windward what ap- 
peared to be the outline of the great Ki island. The 
ship was kept away to run down along the coast, then 
strangely the island seemed to alter its shape, and 
the ship was kept away a little more. The island next 
appeared to be advancing towards us, and it suddenly 
struck me that it was one of those terrific hurricane 

A Hurricane. 283 

squalls that sweep these seas, which, having come over 
the great Ki, was advancing towards us, presenting 
an outline something like that of the island. Sail was 
immediately shortened, and shortly after the squall 
struck us with hurricane force. Eain fell In torrents, 
and the vivid flashing of the lightning, with now and 
s^gain a sharp crack of thunder, as if the earth was 
rending in twain, made the experience not a pleasing 
one either to myself or to my ill-fed crew. 

The oscillation of the compass too was something 
remarkable. During the height of the storm the 
compass seemed to oscillate at least one hundred and 
eighty degrees, while the roaring of the wind-spouts 
passing within a few hundred yards of the ship, 
showed in how close proximity we were to destruction. 

For over two hours and a half the squall raged with 
the violence of a terrific hurricane ; then it passsed 
over, and was followed by numerous short squalls of 
less force. 

Succeeding in ultimately gaining an anchorage at 
the Ki, we found we were again disappointed in 
procuring provisions, but were assured that we should 
find plenty of provisions and pigs at Bauwar, another 
island separated from the great island by a channel 

284 Explorations in New Guinea. 

ten miles broad, and opposite which the chart showed 
good anchorage in ten fathoms of water. 

Although only distant some twenty miles, it was three 

days ere we reached the anchorage. We were at once 
boarded by the Eajah, and informed that farther up an 
Englishman had a coffee plantation, and that on the 
small island of Kadoolen, Captain Langer, a German, 
had a saw-mill. The Eajah was a Mahometan, and 
did not keep pigs, but at another village there were 
some Hindoos who did. 

To this village we proceeded, and found several fat 
grunters, for the smallest of which a sum in money 
equal to about £3 sterling was asked. This, although 
we were starving, I refused to give, and had to leave 
without adding much to our stock of provisions. We 
were however enabled to purchase sufficient yams and 
enough sweet potatoes for about two meals, and we 
continued our course between the islands until we 
came to another village. Here we got a few more 
yams and purchased a large quantity of candle nuts, 
in all about a ton. 

We landed at this village for the purpose of in- 
specting their timber, and we found them to be a most 
industrious people, who had many large prows on the 

The Island of Bauwar. 285 

stocks, built of almost imperishable timber, known 
amongst themselves as " kiu beshie," or iron-wood, of 
bright red colour, and very prettily marked. They 
had also another wood, the knots of which are much 
used for veneering work. This they call "kiu 
lingua," and I was assured that in a bay some short 
distance up there was plenty of black walnut. 

To this bay we proceeded, and landing, found the 
black walnut, of moderate growth, in abundance ; but 
when the men were set to fell the trees, I found that 
with their weakened emaciated frames, they were 
altogether unequal to this laborious work. I therefore 
had to abandon the idea, and to return to the ship. 

Here I secured the services of a pilot to take me 
to Captain Langer's saw-mill, where I was informed 
the Englishman who owned the plantation was staying, 
and from whom I hoped to get some provisions. 

This island of Bauwar, which is marked on the 
charts as one island, is comprised, as usual, of 
numerous islets, with deep channels, through which 
rush strong tides. 

Our anchorage being very unsafe, and the pilot 
assuring us that there were no outlying dangers, save 
one reef which I had already detected between Ki 

286 Explorations in New Guinea, 

Bauwar and Ki Doolan, I decided to continue all 
night As soon as the sun set, the weather became 
stormy, squall after squall rushing down upon us with 
hurricane force. Our pilot took fright, and went 

A strong current had evidently swept us consider- 
ably out of our course, so that at twelve o'clock I 
sighted a reef to leeward, facing the great Ki Island. 
The ship was tacked, and we again stood over to the 
opposite shore, as close as it was deemed advisable, 
and the wind at last favouring us, we were able to 
shape a course which it was supposed would clear us 
of all dangers, and at half-past one I went below. 

I returned on deck at three, and again at four, and 
then to my surprise saw breakers immediately under 
the bow. The helm was rolled down, and the ship 
brought to the wind, but she would not stay. The 
anchor was let go, but there was no bottom until we 
got to the reef edge, when we found that we had only 
six feet of water under our stern, and the vessel 
bumped among the coral in the middle of a heavy 

The chain was paid out, and the vessel forced on 
to the reef, after which all sail was snugly stowed, 

My little Papaun Boy. 287 

yards sent down, and everything done to ease the ship, 
but we continued to bump heavily. 

The boat was got out alongside, with the intention of 
remaining in it until daylight, but no sooner were the 
men in her, than a huge roller capsized and swamped 
her, at the same time sweeping the ship broadside on to 
the surf, and so into shallow water. 

All this time I had clinging to my neck, the little 
Papuan boy Roeambati, whom I had rescued in 
McClure's Gulf. The little fellow seemed to realise 
his danger, and clung to me without a murmur. 

Our boat was righted and baled out, but we had 
lost all our oars. Fortunately daylight began to dawn, 
and showed us two villages on the shore about four 
miles distant. 

The tide had by this time receded, so that We could 
walk round the vessel, and found that she had sustained 
little or no damage except to her copper, and that the 
reef was composed of small stones^ and clumps of rotten 
coral. It seemed that if assistance could be procured 
to underrun our anchor it would be possible to save the 

Having a number of natives' paddles on board, they 
were put into requisition in lieu of oars, and we started 

288 Explorations in New Guinea. 

for the shore to seek assistance. The natives ran out 
of their houses and by signals guided us into a safe 

We had fortunately landed at a kafir or heathen 
village. A mile distant was a Mahometan village, 
from which the people came flocking to see us. These 
Mahometans, as usual, treated us with callous in- 
difference, but the heathens prepared breakfast of sago, 
rice, tara, yams and sweetmeats made from sago, and 
gave us Sewair, a kind of palm wine, to drink. 
Nothing could exceed the kindness and hospitality of 
these people, a bright contrast to the cold-heartedness 
of their Mahometan neighbours. 

The old chief informed me that he would bring 
three large prows full of men, and we should get the 
ship off all right, and he spoke words of comfort and 
endeavoured by his evident sympathy to show how he 
commiserated with our condition. 

I decided to return in a fast prow, and to leave the 
mate and the crew to come off with the ship's boat 
and three prows full of men to assist us. I intended to 
have left the boy at the village, as he would only be in 
the way, but he howled and cried so, that I thought it 
better to take him with me. 

Assistance from the Natives. 289 

The natives struck up a song, and the prow fairly 
dashed through the water, sending continuous sprays 

over us, so that I rolled my little savage boy in my 

oilskip coat, and he fell quietly asleep in my arms in 

all the trustful innocence of infancy. 

We reached the ship, and the tide, which was now 
rising rapidly, was again causing her to bump a good 
deal. But having previously made a bed in the loose 
stones, this did little or no damage ; and by the time 
the assistance which had followed us from the shore 
. arrived, she was afloat and riding to her anchor. 

Having improvised a jury-anchor with a piece of 
spare chain round a coral clump, the strain was taken 
from the anchor, the cable underrun, and the anchor 
picked up and got on board. Then cutting the warp 
attached to the chain round the coral, we made sail on 
the vessel and forced her over the reef, and, running 
down, anchored snugly under the little island of Eflat, 
within one hundred and fifty yards of the shore. 

At low water we beached the vessel and repaired 
some damage done to the rudder, and got our boat on 
board for repairs. 

The surf breaking over the vessel had destroyed 
the whole of our fresh water, and our boat being stove 


290 Explorations in New Guinea, 

could not be utilised for the purpose of getting a fresh 

The men who had assisted us off had been paid in 
clothing, axes, knives, tobacco, and other trade goods 
to the value of about £70, and had returned to their 
homes. I therefore sent for the hfeid man of the 
island, who came on board in^ a large canoe. Like 
his people, he professed the Mahometan faith. 

Having passed the usual salutation, he seated 
himself on the ship's rail, while I took a seat alongside 
of the wheel. I there explained to him our pitiful 
plight, that we had little to eat and that we now had 
no water to drink, and asked him for what sum he 
would bring us four casks of water. He promptly 
answered eight dollars, equal to ten shillings sterling, 
per cask. He was asked if he would take payment in 
trade. He said " No, I must have money." I said 
" But I have not got money, and we must have water 
or we will die." He replied that he could not help 
that; unless we were prepared to pay money we 
should get no water. 

I instructed the mate to hoist our ensign with the 
union down, and pointing to the flag asked him if he 
understood its significance. He said no, he knew 

In Want of Water, 291 

nothing about it. I said, " That means that we are in 
distress, we have no water, we have no food. But you 
come to ray country with your flag flying like that, and 
they would give you clothing and would give you 
shelter." To this he made answer, **They are very 
good people in your country, very good, but we don't 
do things like that at Efiat. If you want water you 
must pay for it." 

I then ordered the interpreter to bring me a 
pannikin of water from the tank, and taking a 
mouthful of it spat it out, arid then passed it to the 
hesid man, who tasted it and said, " If you drink that 
you will soon die." I said, " Yes, we must die unless 
you will give us water. You see how we are placed ; 
will you bring us some water ? " He answered, " No, 
not unless you pay me." 

Making a jump from my seat, I clapped one hand 
across his breast and the other under his legs, and 
saying, "Then you shall drink the same as we are 
drinking," I threw him overboard. His followers all 
jumped after him. 

Calling out to the interpreter for my rifle, I sprang 

upon the tafirail and, pretending to be in a towering 
rage, called them orong makin babi (men that ate 

292 Explorations in New Guinea, 

pigs), whose hearts were no good, and threatened to 
write to the Governor-General. 

Had it not been for the seriousness of our position, I 
should certainly have laughed outright, for as I shook 
my rifle, and now and again presented it at him, he 
beamed upon me with a smile that was childlike and 

They reached their prow and pulled ashore, where 
all the people congregated on the beach to meet them, 
and after some discussion a boat was dispatched 
bearing two large jars of water, and they promised 
that they would fill up the whole of our casks on the 
following day. 

This was done, and they were liberally paid for it in 
cloth and other goods. 

After great difficulty in working our way out 
through the reefs, I decided to make a straight run for 
Australia, and on the fourth day from leaving the Ki 
islands made the lightship at Proudfoot shoals, at the 
entrance to Torres Straits. 

Passing through the Prince of Wales Channel, I 
again hauled up for the coast of New Guinea, and 
anchored off the village of Mowatta in the Katow 
river. Here, so soon as my old friends knew that we 

Missionary Men at Mowatta. 293 

were short of provisions, canoe after canoe came off to 
the ship laden with cocoanut, tara, yams, and pig, and 
fijom a Beche-de-mer man we got fifty pounds of flour 
and some sugar. Over three thousand cocoanuts were 
brought on board, and without any dispute the natives 
were paid at the rate of one stick of tobacco tor every 
five cocoanuts. 

Here also I found that the natives, although I had 
been long absent, had been faithful to their trust and 
had felled a large quantity of cedar, some of which I 
took on board. The bushmen also, from whom it will 
be remembered I purchased their god, also came down 
to see me, and presents were made to them, and goods 
left to be sent down the coast to pay my people to 

The reader will remember that in my last expedition, 
when at Tun Turi, I purchased three skulls from 
the chief, and that they were greatly prized by 
medical gentlemen in Sydney. This led me to en- 
quire of one of the missionary men at Mowatta if they 
had any more skulls to dispose of — an enquiry which 
brought upon me a just, though severe rebuke. 

The man said : *' I cannot understand you white 
fellows. Mr. Macfarlane come here and he say, * You 


294 Explorations in New Guinea. 

no cut man head off, that no good, you cut man head 
off, God be angry.* Then you white fellow come you say, 
* You got man head, you got man head ; suppose you 
got man head, me buy him from you ? ' What fashion 
you call that ? Suppose we no kill man we no take 
um head. Suppose we kill man, we let him lie, we no 
take man bead. Now what you white fellow always 
speak same that for ? " 

I felt the rebuke and explained that Mr. Macfarlane 
was quite right, and that it was wrong to take the men's 
heads, and that I only asked out of curiosity to know 
whether they still kept any men's heads, but I do not 
think he believed me. 

Our food, though still coarse, was plentiful, and the 
men were beginning to gather strength ; but the 
constant exposure of the voyage had terribly told upon 
my own health. During the passage from the Ki 
Islands until we anchored in Torres Straits — four and a 
half days — I had never been below nor closed my eyes, 
and my stomach had been so weak that when food was 
placed before me I could not eat it. It therefore 
became necessary for me to think about returning 
to the south, more especially as I was already nearly 
four months overdue in Sydney. 

End of my Exploration, 295 

Having left goods to be sent on to my friends in 
Saibai, Daubo, Baigo and Strachan Island, I bade 
farewell to my good friends at Mowatta and Turi 
Turi, and standing across the straits, reached the 
hospitable mansion of my kind friend, Mr. Frank L. 
Jarduie, at Cape York, on the 2nd March, 1887. By 
him I was hospitably and kindly received, provisions 
were sent to my ship and a comfortable bed provided 
for me, and there I was carefully nursed until suflSciently 
recovered to proceed home. 

Here for all the objects of exploration my narrative 
must end. The work performed during this last 
expedition was of a most comprehensive character, and 
disclosed not only many varieties of life and different 
traits of character in peoples living within short 
distances of each other, but also conclusively proved to 
me the influence of the difierent religious teachings 
upon the human race. 

The bulk or the greater proportion of the tribes met 
with in the north-west were followers of Islam and, as 
this narrative proves to demonstration, they are a race 
of liars, thieves and murderers, whose main object in 
life seems to be to deceive. Devoid of all principles of 
honesty and honour, they cannot recognize nor 

296 Explorations in New Guinea. 

appreciate such principles in others. The Prince and 
two Bajahs from Tidore, so frequently spoken of, were 
co-religionists of these people, and their master, the 
Sultan, was Lord Paramount of the land. Yet no 
religious feeling nor any sentiment of loyalty to their 
lord restrained them fix)m brutally murdering these 
unfortunate chie& when they were their guests. 

I have read much of the rights of hospitality as 
practised among the Mahometan races, but from a long 
experience I am led to the conclusion that these sacred 
rights, so much talked about by travellers, do not exist. 

On the other hand, the savages or, as they are called 
by their Mahometan neighbours, Kafirs — a word 
which I suppose has been imported by the Arab traders 
and which signifies heathen — ^are a more reliable people, 
more honest in their dealings, and ever willing to show 
a kindness to the stranger. 

When, however, we contrast either the Kafir or the 
Mahometan with those who some few years ago were 
wild cannibals on the south, but who, through the efforts 
made by the noble band of men representing the London 
Missionary Society, have within the last twelve or 
fourteen years been brought to a knowledge of the 
Christian religion, the difference is most marked. On 

Responsibility of Government of Netherlands, 297 

the one hand we see bloodthirstiness, treachery and 
cunning, and on the other, child-like simplicity and 
innocent trust 

I confess to feeling that the Government of the 
Netherlands cannot be held blameless for the state 
in which I found these people. The importation 
of spirits, opium, powder and arms is, it is true, 
prohibited, but the Arab and Bugis traders yearly 
visit these places carrying large suj^lies of each. No 
eflTective restriction is placed upon the action of the 
natives. Traders are murdered and they murder one 
another, friendly tribes join together and organize 
great slave-hunting expeditions, attack the more 
savage races and carry off their women and children 
into slavery. At the same time not one of these 
barbarians proceeds one hundred yards from the shore 
in a canoe unless flying the ensign of the Netherlands ; 
and I consider it the imperative duty of the Dutch 
Government to send round a ship of war to collect 
every flag from these tribes, because the stranger, 
running down amongst them and seeing the flag of 
a friendly nation flying, receives them with full con- 
' fidence, and finds to his sorrow when it is too late, 
that instead of being among people representing a 


298 Explorations in New Guinea, 

civilized and cultured nation, he has run into a horde 
of savages who, to use the words of the commandant at 
the island of Gissor, will smile in your face, "shake 
one hand and hold the other in the breast, with the 
knife ready to plunge into you." 

The whole of the vast extent of territory which 
these pages show to have been visited, is capable of 
being utilized to the utmost advantage for the benefit 
of the overcrowded centres of such a country as this ; 
and to me it seems incomprehensible that the apathy of 
our rulers in matters pertaining to New Guinea should 
be so great. For years past it has been lying without 
our reach, and it is still almost a tefrra incognita. With 
their portion the Dutch have done simply nothing, and 
I have been well assured by those in high places, that 
were an offer made by the Imperial Government of 
Great Britain to the Government of the Netherlands 
to relieve it of its portion, such an oflFer would readily 
be accepted. 

The people of Australia, if assured by the Imperial 
authorities that they would not be, as hitherto, casting 
their money into a bottomless sack, would readily pay 
any expenses attending either the purchase or the 
government of this fair land. The Colonies have 

Importance of New Guinea to England, 299 

1 , . 

already expended £50,000, and all they have got in 
return has been a Government bungalow and a goal 
erected at Port Moresby; and the effect of the 
contribution has been to facilitate the settlement of 
foreigners in the country and to prohibit the settliement 
of the Australian or the Briton. 

Foreigners may acquire as much territory as they 
like in British New Guinea, but no Englishman has 
the privilege of purchasing a single acre from the 
natives. If he does purchase any, he is warned that 
at no time will his acquisition be recognised by the 
Imperial Government. This may be in strict harmony 
with the ideas of a Liberal policy and of Liberal 
justice ; but it is hardly calculated to draw more 
closely the bonds which unite the Australian people 
to those of Great Britaia Neither is it likely that 
statesmen such as Sir Henry Parkes, the Hon. 
James Service, Sir Samuel Griffiths, Sir Thomas 
MTUwraith, and others who watch over and guide 
the destinies of Australia, will expend Australia's 
money to make room for the alien in a country from 
which their own fellow-colonists are excluded. 

These are things that have caused the friction 
between Australia and the so-called Government of 

300 Explorations in New Guinea. 

the British Protectorate in New Guinea — friction 
which I trust is now over, thanks to the interest taken 
by the Noble Lord who at the present time conducts 
Australian affairs in the Imperial Colonial Office and 
whose desire, from his entry upon office, has ever been 
to promote Australia's prosperity and to encourage 
Australian enterprise. 














x> a,i t 









Cagptam Sirajcban,EIlJ&.S 

1 1 « i> ii . <- 


Nautical Miles 

jas^ *^. ^. 





-iSS Irtw ite- 








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