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OUR NEW 
POSSESSION 



J. LYNG 



OUR '" *" 



NEW POSSESSION 

(LATE GERMAN NEW GUINEA) 



BY 
J. LYNG, CAPT., LATE A.I.F. 

Author of " Teddy Wilkins' Trials " and 
"The Scandinavians in Australasia" 



MELBOURNE PUBLISHING COMPANY 

CROMWELL BUILDINGS 

MELBOURNE 



Dedicated 
to the memory of the late 

Major-General W. Holmes, C.M.G., D.S.O. 

and 
Brigadier- General Sir Samuel Pethebridge, K.C.M.G. 



CONTENTS. 



Chapter. Page 

I. Who Discovered German New Guinea? . . . . 11 

II. How Germany Came into the Pacific 19 

III. The Late German New Guinea Protectorate . . 24 

IV. Early History of New Britain Archipelago . . 34 

V. Economical Development 51 

VI. Social Conditions G9 

VII. The Australian Fleet Visits Eabaul 77 

VIII. Capture of German New Guinea and Australian 

Occupation 82 

IX. Garrison Life 102 

X. New Britain 114 

XI. Eabaul . . 122 

XII. The Western Islands 135 

XIII. Neu Guinea C'ompagnie 147 

XIV. Something About the Natives 148 

XV. Amongst the Natives in Former Days 192 

XVI. Mission Work in German New Guinea 218 

XVII. Why Papua Lags Behind, and Problems of the 

Future . . 233 



1162803 



PREFACE. 



HAVING in my younger days received a 
military training and been a commissioned 
officer in the Danish army, and later on 
having held a commission in the Commonwealth 
forces, it became my duty, at the outbreak of 
war, to volunteer for service abroad. The Naval 
Board, on learning of my qualifications as a lin- 
guist, requested me to proceed to the fleet as inter- 
preter to Admiral Patey. After the capture of 
German New Guinea and the appointment of 
Colonel Holmes as military administrator I was 
transferred to the occupying force. To my duties 
as official interpreter was for a considerable time 
added that of military censor of foreign mail. 
I was also appointed Government Printer, and in 
this capacity became editor of the "Government 
Gazette," and later on of the "Rabaul Record." 
The knowledge I acquired of German New Guinea 
in the carrying out of my various duties, and by 
coming in touch with German records and litera- 
ture, was added to by personal observations made 
in different parts of the Possession, and by a 
term of service as district officer and officer in 
command of the garrison at Madang, on the 
New Guinea coast. The chapter "How the Ger- 
mans Came into the Pacific" was written for the 
"Rabaul Record" by Lieut. Leach, and has been 
included in this book by his courtesy. 

J. S. LYNG. 
Melbourne, 

October, 1919. 



INTRODUCTION. 



When our globe was still young, mighty vol- 
canic forces created some of the islands now 
embraced in the late German New Guinea, whilst 
at other places, where subterranean mountains 
in vain had striven to emerge from the mighty 
ocean, billions of minute creatures set to work 
building homes, eventually bringing into being 
the picturesque coral islands with which the 
South Seas are dotted. 

As time went on, birds perhaps different from 
those now in existence tired of their flight over 
the endless waters, occasionally rested on these 
new-born islands, laid their eggs in the sand 
deposited by the waves, hatched their young ones, 
and gradually fertilised the ground. The sea car- 
ried seed from far-off lands and dressed the 
islands in a green garment of vegetation. When 
pre-historic man arrived, he found in readiness 
for him coconut palms, bread-fruit trees, taros, 
yams and a number of other life-sustaining plants. 
Where these people came from no one reallj 
knows, and perhaps not a great many care. The 
principal thing, in our age of commercialism, is 
that they came from somewhere. They started 
placing their new home in order, constructing 



8 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

shelter of what material was to hand, and gather- 
ing their food in the bush. Certain characteris- 
tics evolved into customs, which again evolved 
into unwritten laws and regulations, and eventu- 
ally organised societies of a kind arose. Some 
scientists believe the Kanakas came from a now 
extinct continent in the Indian Ocean, and con- 
clude, from their highly efficient and intelligently 
constructed languages, that they at one time 
were mentally better endowed than are the 
present-day Kanakas. Whether they have pro- 
gressed or retrograded is, however, merely a 
matter for speculation. All we know with cer- 
tainty is that, when the Europeans came into 
the South Seas, these savages were living in the 
stone age. 

The first ones to honour them with visits were 
early navigators moved principally by curiosity. 
Next came Spanish-American labour recruiters 
moved entirely by greed. Then came whalers, 
traders, missionaries, and planters from various 
parts of the world, and again labour recruiters 
turned up. It was a motley crowd, bent on dif- 
ferent errands some prepared to give their 
lives to the natives out of human kindness, others 
ready to take the lives of the natives for the sake 
of a few coconuts. It was a time of general con- 
fusion. 

Some day in the Lord's year 1883 an Australian 
statesman hoisted the Union Jack and pronounced 
the islands British territory, but his voice was 
too feeble and died away. The following year a 



INTRODUCTION 9 

man-of-war came along, a party of sailors went 
ashore, the German flag was hoisted, the sailors 
sang "Deutschland Deutschland iiber alles" and 
the German version of "This bit of the world 
belongs to us" thus the German era was in- 
augurated. 

The Germans commenced straightening up their 
new house, as the Kanakas had done before them, 
and the Australians are doing to-day. History 
keeps on repeating itself. From Germany more 
missionaries, traders and planters arrived, and 
in addition a number of officials, some of whom 
were titled persons. From China came the lowly 
artisan the carpenter, the tailor, the cook, the 
joiner, etc. and, later on, Chinese of all classes 
and descriptions, till it was feared that, by the 
time the house was in order, German New Guinea 
would be populated by nothing but Chinamen. 

Some years went by. More men-of-war came 
along; a force of soldiers landed, lowered the 
German flag, and once more the Union Jack was 
hoisted. They then sang "God Save the King" 
and "Australia Will be There," while salutes from 
the bay ushered in the British era. What 
this is going to be, time will prove. It is well to 
commence by acquainting ourselves with the house 
and its contents. 




Eastern Corner of New Britain: Administrative, Commercial 
and Social Centre of late German New Guinea. 



CHAPTER I. 



WHO DISCOVERED GERMAN NEW 
GUINEA? 



While there is some doubt as to who first 
visited that part of the Pacific Islands which in 
1884 was annexed by Germany, we know for 
certain it was not the Germans, and consequently 
they could lay no claim to them from the point 
of discovery. Though the discoveries in the South 
Seas will be familiar to most people, a brief 
retrospect, with a special reference to New 
Guinea, may not be out of place. 

The earliest navigators of the Pacific probably 
were the Babylonians, who, according to tradi- 
tion, already long before the birth of Christ 
traded on Ceylon, the Indian Islands and China 
following a course south of Sumatra and Java, 
passing Timor. Their vessels could only have 
been small, and, with nothing to guide them but 
the stars, they must frequently have been taken 
out of their course. Hence it is more than likely 
that some of these enterprising sailors had sighted 
New Guinea and the islands of the Bismarck 
Archipelago, and that their existence, together 

11 



12 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

with other South Sea Islands, was generally 
known. With the decline of the middle eastern 
empires all connection with the far east ceased, 
and, whatever may once have been known of the 
Pacific was lost, save for some vague ideas pos- 
sessed by ancient Greek and Roman geographers. 
In going that far back into the past, there is, 
however, little but the material clouds are made 
from to work upon, and not till the beginning 
of the sixteenth century can we commence to 
reckon with facts. 

The honour of re-discovering the Pacific fell 
to the Portuguese and the Spaniards. Vasco da 
Gama, as we know, led the way when, in 1497, 
he rounded the Cape of Good Hope and crossed 
the Indian Ocean ; and another Portuguese, Fran- 
cisco Serrano, discovered some of the East India 
Islands. Two years later Balbao stood on the 
Darien heights, at the Panama Isthmus, and in 
wonder gazed over the vast, inscrutable ocean 
spread before him. This later was to be known 
as the Pacific. At the- expense of the Spanish 
Government the Portuguese sailor, Magelhaens, 
in 1520, in an effort to find a new route to the 
East Indies, passed through the strait south of 
the American continent, crossed the Pacific, 
arrived safely at his destination, and discovered 
the Philippines. It is probable that Magelhaens 
on this trip saw the high mountain ranges of 
what is now known as New Ireland. In 1527 
Saavedra, sailing out from New Spain, went quite 
close to this island, remaining there for a whole 
month. The large island of New Guinea, of 



GERMAN NEW GUINEA 13 

which he thought New Ireland formed part, he 
called Papuasia. 

After much quarrel Spain, in 1829, transferred 
her rights in the East Indies to Portugal, and 
not till 1840 did Spanish ships again leave New 
Spain on fresh adventures, their object on this 
occasion being to form settlements in the Philip- 
pine Islands. 

In 1645 Juguo Ortez visited Papuasia, and, 
finding a great similarity between the natives 
there and on the Guinea coast in Africa, he 
renamed the island New Guinea. Little by little 
a fixed route across the Pacific was established; 
this lay to the north of the equator, and the 
Spanish as well as the Portuguese Government, 
having attained their object of shortening the 
route to the wealthy spice islands, for the time 
being took no heed of anything lying south of 
the line. While, however, the maritime countries 
of that time satisfied with the immense areas 
which, by the discoveries of Colombus and others, 
already had been added to their dominions 
were not anxious to send out new expeditions, the 
viceroys in New Spain and their associates of 
restless spirits had retained the old vigour and 
desire of adventure. Probably a favourite topic 
of conversation in the cabarets of New Spain 
or among the citizens as they were promenading 
along the shores of the Pacific, was about a con- 
tinent which, according to tradition, was to be 
found somewhere towards the south. This was 
assumed to possess immense wealth, and to be 
inhabited by beings different from those in any 



14 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

other part of the world. The idea of a vast con- 
tinent in the above direction had originally arisen 
from the apparently sound way of reasoning that 
a vast area of land in the south was necessary 
as a counterbalance to the land in the north, and 
probably this assumption had gained additional 
strength by some vague, or real, knowledge of 
Australia. 

In an old manuscript by Macrobius, of the 
tenth century, is a map where this southern con- 
tinent is indicated, and again in a map of 1536 
in the British Museum. On this latter it is called 
Java la Grande, while French geographers even 
showed the coastline of Northern and Western 
Australia and some of the adjoining islands to 
the north. It was to discover this new continent 
that Garcia de Castro, in 1566, fitted out two 
ships and put them in command of Mendana. 
The expedition, having discovered some of the 
Solomon Islands, but having failed to discover 
Australia, returned to Peru after an absence of 
two years. Mendana's belief in a new continent 
was unshaken, and he made it his life's object 
to find it. Still, not until he was an old man did 
he succeed in entering on his second and last 
expedition. Fate was against him he got only 
as far as the Solomons, where he died, the second 
in command taking the ship back to New Spain. 
A later expedition under Pedro Fernandez dis- 
covered the New Hebrides, while his second in 
command, Torres, on a subsequent trip, discovered 
and sailed through the strait between Australia 
and New Guinea. 



GERMAN NEW GUINEA 15 

The decline of Spain and Portugal and the 
liberation of Holland from Spanish oppression 
ushers in a new era in the history of the Pacific. 
The Dutch commenced planning how first to cap- 
ture the trade in the East Indies, and afterwards 
how to secure the whole Possession. With this 
object in view, the Dutch-India Company was 
formed in 1602. The company was most success- 
ful, but made itself unpopular in Holland by 
creating a monopoly, and it was its assumed greed 
which, in 1616, caused Shouten and Le Maire to 
fit out an expedition, consisting of two ships, to 
go to the Pacific. Having passed Cape Horn, 
they crossed the ocean and arrived at New Ire- 
land, which also by them was considered to be 
part of New Guinea. They remained there for 
some time, discovered several of the adjacent 
islands, and had an encounter with the natives. 
Proceeding further on their journey, they dis- 
covered the Admiralty group. Further dis- 
coveries in the Bismarck Archipelago were made 
by Tasman in 1642 when undertaking his jour- 
ney in search of Australia. In the course of this 
he discovered Tasmania and New Zealand. He 
sailed along the coast of New Ireland, trading 
with the natives, and afterwards crossed over 
to New Guinea, following the coast almost to the 
passage between New Guinea and New Britain. 

For about a generation or so the attention 
of Europe was mainly directed towards the 
American continent, with its wealth and vast 
possibilities, and the Pacific was fairly well left 
alone. When interest for geographic explora- 



16 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

tion revived, the cloak of the Dutch fell on the 
shoulders of the British. 

The British era in the Pacific opened in 1649, 
with the memorable Dampier, followed by Cap- 
tains Byron, Wills, and Carteret, and later on 
by the immortal Captain Cook. Also the French, 
in the latter end of the eighteenth century, did 
valuable work, and, in particular, the name of 
the ill-fated La Perouse is well known to the 
Australians. 

Attention had been drawn towards Dampier 
through his adventures in America and East 
India, and, at the instigation of Lord Oxford, 
Lord of the Admiralty, he was put in charge of 
an expedition to the South Seas. He left Eng- 
land in 1699 on board the Roebuck, and, having 
visited the west coast of Australia, he proceeded 
to Timor. Continuing his journey, he arrived 
at St. Mathias in February of the following year. 
Sailing along the north-eastern coast of New Ire- 
land to the southern-most point, which he named 
Cape St. George, he entered what he considered 
a big bay, naming it St. George's Bay, but which 
afterwards, by Carteret, was proved to be a chan- 
nel separating New Ireland from New Britain. 
From his anchorage he noticed an active volcano 
on the "Mother" Peninsula. A British expedi- 
tion under Captain Byron was sent to the South 
Seas in 1764, and three years later another, under 
Captain Willis. The latter expedition consisted 
of two vessels, the Dolphin and the Swallow. 
The Swallow was an old and very slow boat, and 
in the Magelhaens Strait she lost the Dolphin. 



GERMAN NEW GUINEA 17 

Her plucky commander, Lieutenant Carteret, 
however, continued his journey alone, discover- 
ing the Carteret Islands, Nissan and Buka. Pro- 
ceeding, he sighted St. John's Island, and also 
Nova Britannia, shortly afterwards entering St. 
George's Channel, where he dropped anchor. 
Carteret discovered the Duke of York Islands, 
and in his report he describes the "Mother" and 
her two daughters, three well-known landmarks 
just outside of Rabaul; but does not mention 
anything about an active volcano, presumably 
because it was quiescent or already extinct. The 
utmost point of the "Mother" Peninsula he called 
Cape Stevens, while to New Ireland he gave the 
name of Nova Hibernia. Also New Hanover and 
a number of smaller islands in the New Britain 
Archipelago were discovered by Carteret. 

A French expedition, led by Bougainville, dis- 
covered in 1768 the biggest of the German Solo- 
mons, which is named after him. Continuing his 
cruise, Bougainville discovered the Anchorite 
Islands and the Echiquier Islands. 

A Spanish man-of-war discovered in 1781 the 
Hermit group. 

During the first half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury the archipelago was visited by both British 
and French expeditions, and it is interesting to 
learn from a British expedition in 1840 that 
already Australians traded in these islands. 

The British man-of-war Blanche, commanded 
by Captain Simpson, discovered, in 1872, Blanche 
Bay, and dropped anchor in Simpson's Haven, 
behind Matupi, and on which Rabaul is situated. 



18 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

Of German explorers Dr. Finsch is perhaps 
the best known. He sailed along the north-east 
coast of New Guinea in the early eighties, here 
and there erecting tin sheds, and landing a few 
bags of coal as visible proof of "German Commer- 
cial Interests." Having done very little explor- 
ing themselves, the Germans endeavoured to 
make up for it by introducing names of their 
own. Native names were replaced by names 
of German Royalties, while lack of piety towards 
early navigators resulted in "New Britain Archi- 
pelago" being altered to "Bismarck Archipelago," 
"New Britain" to "Neu Pommern," "New Ire- 
land" to "Neu Mecklenburg," the "Duke of York 
Islands" to "Neu Launburg," and so on. It may 
be said that all the islands in what subsequently 
became the German New Guinea Possession had 
been discovered by the middle of last century. 
What discoveries have since been made are 
details. The first and in no way least interesting 
chapter in the early history of the Possession 
was thus brought to a close, and an entirely new 
era that of traders and planters commenced. 



CHAPTER II. 



HOW GERMANY CAME INTO THE PACIFIC. 

Now that Germany has been blotted out as a 
colonising power in the Pacific, it is interesting 
to look back and see how she ever managed to 
get there at all. The story is a long one, and 
covers over half a century of political, commer- 
cial, and social striving before Germany estab- 
lished her power in the South Seas, as it was 
on that fateful day in August, 1914, when she 
declared war on the civilised world. From data 
gathered in various quarters, the following brief 
outline of Germany's advance in the South Seas 
is compiled. 

Among the big shipping and trading firms at 
Hamburg seventy years ago that of Godeffroy 
and Sons was amongst the most prominent. 
Their ships were known on nearly every sea, and 
they traded regularly to the Indian Ocean and 
the west coast of South America, among other 
parts. Cochin was their headquarters in Asia, 
and there they had a large copra mill, and so 
were well acquainted with one of the chief pro- 
ducts of the Pacific. On the South American coast 
the firm had many agents, and the trade was 
chiefly in saltpetre, copper, and cochineal. The 

19 



20 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

principal agent of Godeffroy and Sons was sta- 
tioned at Valparaiso, and in the latter fifties it 
was a Mr. Anselm. He was a keen business man, 
and energetic in pushing the interests of his firm. 
Occasionally schooners from Tahiti and the 
Society Islands put into Valparaiso with cargoes 
of copra, shell, and other produce, and returned 
with flour for the French garrison in Tahiti. As 
Mr. Anselm sipped his lager and smoked his 
cigar, he thought about those South Sea Island 
schooners and their trade, and wondered if he 
could not secure some of it for Godeffroy and 
Sons. He quickly made up his mind to try, and 
went over in a schooner to Tahiti. There Hort 
Brothers and Mr. John Brander, two English 
establishments, were the big trading firms, and 
Mr. Anselm saw they were making fine profits, 
mainly from coconut oil and pearl-shell. He 
immediately established an agency in the Tua- 
motu group, and studied the method of his Eng- 
lish trade rivals. He found each of them had 
also branches in Samoa, which formed a kind of 
half-way house between Tahiti and Sydney, so 
he followed their example, and opened a trading 
station there. 

The success of Mr. Anselm's operations soon 
attracted his principals at Hamburg, and there 
is little doubt that the Prussian Government at 
that stage decided to try and acquire control of 
some territory in the South Seas. At any rate, 
Mr. Anselm was instructed to make Samoa the 
headquarters of Germany in the Pacific, and he 



HOW GERMANY CAME 21 

did so, with the result that Messrs. Hort Brothers 
and J. Brander were soon beaten out of the trade 
in that group. Soon after that Mr. Anselm was 
drowned at sea, but he had laid a solid founda- 
tion, and the business continued to flourish. 

The next representative of Godeffroy and Sons 
in the South Seas was Mr. Theodore Weber, a 
very shrewd and enterprising young man, who 
had the confidence of his firm and the imagina- 
tion necessary for empire builders. He purchased 
about 25,000 acres of land in Samoa, at a price 
averaging less than seventy-five cents per acre, 
and paid for it largely in arms and ammunition. 
He grew coconuts and cotton, and generally 
pushed ahead with development work. The firm's 
agencies in the Tuamotus and other dependencies 
of France were abandoned in 1867, ostensibly 
because the price of pearl-shell was unusually 
low, but more probably because German states- 
men had at that time decided on a definite course 
of action, which diverted the energies of the com- 
pany in another direction. Instead of looking to 
the eastward of Samoa, Mr. Weber turned his 
eyes more to the north-west. Godeffroy and Sons 
had established agencies to the southward in the 
Friendly Archipelago, including Niue, Fortuna, 
and Wallis Islands; and now sent agents to the 
north to Tokalau and the Ellice and Gilbert 
groups. From there they were sent out to the 
Marshall group, and then on to the Carolines, 
where they got to Yap. There the firm purchased 
3000 acres of land, and established a large trading 



22 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

depot, which was intended to serve as a half-way 
station between Samoa and their old station at 
Cochin. In 1873 Godeffroy and Sons had an 
agent in the Union group, three in the Ellice 
group, twelve in the Gilberts, five in the Mar- 
shalls, three in the Carolines, one in the Pelaw 
group, one in New Britain, one in New Ireland, 
and one in the New Hebrides. 

They had secured a very firm commercial posi- 
tion when the Franco-German war broke out in 
1870. At that time Mr. Weber was preparing a 
gigantic colonisation scheme in Samoa, which was 
remarkably well conceived. There was wonder- 
fully rich soil and a delightful climate, and it 
only required labour to develop enormous pro- 
fits. His firm approved, and so did the North 
German Confederation. Had that project been 
completed, it is probable that many thousands of 
German farmers would have been settled in 
Samoa, and the Australian Fleet might have 
found its job in 1914 a little more difficult. 
Before 1870 the Prussian Government had plans 
prepared, a programme of colonisation was drawn 
up, the German Consul at Samoa was given 
extraordinary powers, arms were sent out from 
the Prussian Royal arsenals for the "protection" 
of the settlement, and every detail was prepared 
for the new colonists in Samoa. 

When the Franco-German war broke out, the 
French fleet blockaded Hamburg, and Messrs. 
Godeffroy and Sons were so disastrously affected 
that they got into financial troubles. Prince Bis- 



HOW GERMANY CAME 23 

marck had been a strong friend of the Godeffroys, 
and when peace was again declared he strongly 
supported a proposal in the German Reichstag 
to give Godeffroy and Sons an Imperial guaran- 
tee to enable them to carry out their South Sea 
Island schemes. The Reichstag at Berlin, how- 
ever, by a majority of 16, defeated the measure, 
despite Bismarck's strenuous support, and so col- 
lapsed the great colonisation scheme of the Godef- 
froys, while the firm itself lost its influence. 

The foregoing brief sketch will show how from 
such a small thing as a trading schooner landing 
some shell and copra at Valparaiso Germany was 
led into an attempt at empire building in the 
South Seas, and also how the innocent-looking 
shipping or trading company may be but the tool 
of the Government behind it. 



CHAPTER III. 



THE LATE GERMAN NEW GUINEA 
PROTECTORATE. 

Area, Population, Climatic Conditions, Physical 
Features and Government. 

The full meaning of the words "German New 
Guinea" was by many only partly realised, and 
a mistake often made was to ascribe the name 
merely to that part of the New Guinea mainland 
owned by Germany and by the Germans called 
Kaiser Wilhelm's Land. The better informed, 
however, knew that German New Guinea, as 
understood by the Germans, meant all the terri- 
tory governed from the central seat of adminis- 
tration at Rabaul, viz.: 

Kaiser Wilhelm's Land, 

Bismarck Archipelago, 

The German Solomon Islands, 

Nauru, 

The Caroline Islands, 

The Marshall Islands, 
The Marianen Islands (except Guam). 
The three latter groups, which in the begin- 
ning of the war were occupied by Japan, and 

24 



THE PROTECTORATE 25 

over which she has received a mandate, cover, 
according to Prof. Ohlman, an area of approxi- 
mately 960 square miles, and sustain a native 
population of 59,000 people. The figures for each 
of the groups, given by the same authority, are 
as follow : 

The Carolines, 700 islands, 561 square miles, 
41,000 inhabitants. 

The Marshall Islands, 33 islands, 157 square 
miles, 15,000 inhabitants. 

The Marianen, 15 islands, 242 square miles, 
2600 inhabitants. 

The natives of these groups are principally 
Micronesians. 

The Old Protectorate. 

The part of German New Guinea over which 
a mandate was given to Australia is known as 
"The Old Protectorate." It consists of Kaiser 
Wilhelm's Land, Bismarck Archipelago, and the 
German Solomon Islands, a total area of approxi- 
mately 90,000 square milejs, or a trifle bigger than 
the State of Victoria. \^ 

Kaiser Wilhelm's Land covers an area of over 
60,000 square miles. High ranges run parallel 
with the coast plain, which is from sixty to one 
hundred miles wide. The ranges in the interior 
have been little explored, but some of their sum- 
mits are known to exceed 12,000 feet. The prin- 
cipal river is the Kaiserin Augusta or Sepik, 
which is navigable for over 250 miles. It rises 
in the Dutch territory and flows easterly. The 



26 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

Ramu or Ottillie rises in the south-east, and flows 
into the sea about twenty miles east of the mouth 
of the Sepik. The Markham is another large 
river which flows into Astrolabe Bay. 

The climate is hot and the rainfall large. The 
mean annual temperature is 77 deg. Fahrenheit. 
This, with the high percentage of humidity, makes 
the climate, especially in the low-lying parts, very 
trying to Europeans. The opening up of virgin 
forests accentuates the unhealthiness, but under 
modern hygienic conditions and more settlement 
the climate will become more endurable. The fol- 
lowing mean annual rainfalls have been recorded : 
Friedrich Wilhelmshafen, or Madang, 130 in.; 
Adolphhafen, 120 in.; Hatefeldthafen, 100 in. 

The Bismarck Archipelago consists of a large 
number of islands. The chief islands are : New 
Britain, area 13,000 square miles; New Ireland, 
4000 square miles; New Hanover, 530 square 
miles ; Duke of York Islands, 22 square miles ; the 
Admiralty Islands, 600 square miles. The archi- 
pelago lies between 141 degrees and 154 degrees 
east longitude, and the Equator and eight degrees 
south latitude. The other groups included in this 
archipelago are the Matthias Islands, Gardner 
Islands, Abgarris or Fead Islands, Nissan or Sir 
Charles Hardy Islands, The French Islands, Rook 
Islands, Hermit Islands, Ninigo Group, Anchorite 
and Cammerson Islands. In these various groups 
there are upwards of one hundred small islands. 

New Britain, the largest island of this group, is 
a long island running in a crescent shape lying 



THE PROTECTORATE 27 

east and west. It has a mean breadth of fifty 
miles and a length of three hundred miles. Except 
for the peninsula in the north, called the Gazelle 
Peninsula, which is practically undeveloped, there 
are only a few isolated stations on the coast, west 
of Henry Reid Bay. The interior of the island is 
little known. The climate is more healthy than 
New Guinea, and the rainfall is less. It is about 
76 in. per annum. New Ireland, the second in 
size and importance of the Bismarck Archipelago, 
is situated north of New Britain. It is a long 
narrow island with a range of mountains running 
through it. New Ireland is of older formation 
and does not show any signs of recent volcanic 
activity. There are no large rivers. The prin- 
cipal harbour is Nusa, on the north coast, on which 
Kaewieng is situated. The interior of the island 
is not very well known. The Admiralty Islands 
are the most important of the small groups. The 
chief island is Taui or Manus, sometimes called 
Great Admiralty Island. The principal European 
settlement is Lorengau, on the north-east coast. 
In the Bismarck Archipelago most of the rain falls 
from about November to April, when a north- 
west monsoon is prevailing. During the remain- 
der of the year the islands are fanned by the 
southern trade wind blowing from south-east. 

The German part of the Solomons consists of 
the two northernmost islands, Bougainville, with 
an area of about 4000 .square miles, and Buka, 
300 square miles. Both islands are very moun- 
tainous. Of the several volcanic cones, Bagana 



28 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

is the only active volcano, and is a very con- 
spicuous sight when in eruption. The highest 
mountain is the volcano, Mount Balbi, 10,170 feet 
high, which is situated in the centre of the island. 
Both peaks are in the Crown Prince Range. The 
principal harbour is Kieta, situated on the east 
coast of Bougainville, where there is a Govern- 
ment station. 

Government. 

Kaiser Wilhelm's Land and the Bismarck Archi- 
pelago were, as before stated, acquired in 1884, 
and some of the Solomon Islands two years later, 
the sphere of influence being finally determined 
by the Anglo-German Agreement in 1889. In 
1885 the Protectorate was handed over to "Die 
Neu Guinea Compagnie," which had been formed 
in Berlin. Experience proved that the task of 
administering and developing the Possession lay 
beyond the power of this company, and in 1899 
the German Government took it over. In the same 
year the Marianen Islands, the Caroline Islands, 
and the Marshall Islands were bought from Spain 
and added to the Protectorate. The first seat of 
government was at Finschhafen, on the New 
Guinea coast, from where it was shifted to 
Stephansort, further north, and afterwards to 
Madang. When the Imperial Government took 
over the reign, Kokopo, or Herbertshohe, as it 
was called by the Germans, situated at the east- 
ern end of New Britain, was made the capital, 
and remained so till all the Government offices 
in 1910 were transferred to Rabaul. 



THE PROTECTORATE 29 

The Governor, who administered the Protecto- 
rate in the name of the German Crown, had 
very extensive power. An advisory council was 
made up of the higher officials and a few repre- 
sentatives of the large trading concerns. The 
laws of Prussia were basic laws, and these were 
supplemented by ordinances emanating from the 
Kaiser, the Chancellor, and the Governor. The 
Protectorate had a financial status of its own 
under a special law of 1892, and was no part 
of the German Customs Union. 

For administrative purposes the part of the 
Possession occupied by the Australians in 1914 
was divided into nine districts or Bezirks, each 
of which was controlled by a Bezirks-Amtmand. 
Kaiser Wilhelm's Land constituted three districts, 
viz., Madang, Eitape and Morobe; the Admiralty 
group formed one district; New Ireland was 
divided into two districts, viz., Kaewieng and 
Namatanai; New Britain made another two dis- 
tricts, Rabaul and Kokopo; while the German 
Solomons constituted one district. The British 
Administration has subdivided some of these dis- 
tricts, whereby two new stations in New Britain 
and one in Kaiser Wilhelm's Land have been 
added to those opened by the Germans. 

Population. 

Europeans. 

The European population chiefly Germans 
and which at the beginning of the war numbered 
1273 persons, was distributed as follows: New 



30 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

Britain 690, Kaiser Wilhelm's Land 333, New 
Ireland 140, the Admiralty group 50, the Solo- 
mons 60. Of the above number 135 were officials; 
about 400 were attached to various mission socie- 
ties; a similar number were engaged in planting 
and trading; while the remainder followed a 
variety of occupations or were women and chil- 
dren. 

Asiatics. 

The Asiatics numbered about 1800. Of these 
236 were Japanese, 1377 Chinese, and the remain- 
der mostly of the Malay race, hailing in the main 
from the Dutch Indies. 

Of the Japanese, who had increased from five 
in 1909 to 236 in 1914, 151 were artisans and 
32 engaged in business, while 65 were women. 
The Chinese in the same period had increased 
from about 325 to 1377. Of these 583 were arti- 
sans, including 44 mechanical engineers, 186 were 
labourers, and 172 engaged in business; whilst 
from the balance the colony was supplied with 
the traditional cook, steward, vegetable gardener, 
etc. Upwards of a thousand lived in Rabaul and 
neighbourhood. 

Native Population. 

Kaiser Wilhelm's Land is inhabited by Papuans, 
with a sprinkling of Melanesians; the German 
Solomons by Melanesians; the Bismarck Archi- 
pelago by Melanesians, with a sprinkling of 
Papuans in the western corner of New Britain 
and some of the islands nearest to the main- 



THE PROTECTORATE 31 

land; while a cross between the Melanesians and 
the Micronesians is found in the north of New 
Ireland and on many of the islands approaching 
the equator. The native population in Kaiser 
Wilhelm's Land is, by Professor Ohlmann, esti- 
mated at 110,000, while the late German Admin- 
istration in Rabaul did not venture to give an 
estimate, on the ground that so little was known 
of the Possession. The population of Bismarck 
Archipelago is, by Professor Ohlmann, estimated 
at 210,000, while the German Administration 
gave it at approximately 195,000, and that of 
the German Solomon Islands at about 40,000. 

It is obvious from the foregoing figures that 
the Possession is very thinly populated, with but 
approximately four inhabitants to the square 
mile. Quite true most of Kaiser Wilhelm's Land, 
Bougainville, New Britain, New Ireland and 
several of the smaller islands are mountainous 
and difficult of approach; still there are very 
extensive areas of comparatively level land, and, 
considering the richness of the soil, the heavy 
rainfall, and the frugality of the natives, no one 
can doubt that the Possession is capable of sus- 
taining a vastly increased population. Still the 
population, instead of increasing, is at many 
places believed to be decreasing, though no figures 
are available to prove such is the case. 

Assuming that the belief generally held as to 
a decrease of the native population was correct, 
the late German administration instructed Dr. 
Kopp to investigate the possible causes. These 



32 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

investigations covered certain parts of New 
Britain, and, as far as they went, disclosed the 
fact that the number of children born is compara- 
tively much larger than in any European coun- 
try, but that the mortality is exceptionally heavy, 
due in the main to the lack of hygienic observ- 
ances in everyday life, whereby the road is paved 
to all sorts of diseases. The report afterwards 
submitted to the Government ends up by saying: 
"The native population in New Britain is not 
degenerate, but it is sick." 

An additional cause for the decrease in the 
native population, as given for some of the out- 
stations is the lamentable fact that race suicide 
has set in and appears to be spreading. Isolated 
instances of race suicide, due to superstition, 
have probably always existed. The late Mr. R. 
Parkinson, in his excellent work "Dreizig Jahre 
in der Sudsee," relates cases where a chief, on 
his deathbed, decreed that no children should be 
born in his tribe, or their number be much 
reduced, and for fear of his spirit the decree 
has been observed. More .serious, however, are 
the cases reported by some of the district officers, 
where the cause for race suicide is ascribed to 
a general disinclination on the part of the women 
to rear children in other words, to moral degene- 
ration. , 

A district officer some time ago pointed out 
to a native chief that unless more children were 
born the race would in time die out. To this 
the chief merely shrugged his shoulders, as much 




[J. H. Marge tt> 
Native Woman .from.' N;iku na i. New Britain. 



THE PROTECTORATE 33 

as to say: "My troubles." On asking the chief 
why he himself only had one child, the officer 
received the reply: "Mary no like." While, 
therefore, the assumption that the native popu- 
lation is decreasing may be correct, when the 
Possession is taken as a whole, it is encouraging 
to be told by some of the missionaries that in 
the districts where they are operating the oppo- 
site is the case. These missionaries have for a 
number of years kept records of births and 
deaths, and are thus in a position to know; we 
may infer, therefore, that the efforts of the mis- 
sionaries to stem the evil of race suicide, to some 
extent at least, have been successful, while their 
example and teaching, in conjunction with the 
rudimentary ideas of cleanliness and sanitation 
retained by natives who have served at the plan- 
tations or have been employed by the Govern- 
ment, have led to some improvement. 



B 



CHAPTER IV. 



EARLY HISTORY OF NEW BRITAIN ARCHI- 
PELAGO. 

The Pacific was in former days looked upon 
as a vast unknown, possessing nothing tangible 
worth having except cheap labour and tor- 
toise shells, the economic value of the coconut not 
being fully realised till a later date. It was 
above all things a place for adventure and 
romance. 

In promenading along the shores of one of the 
South Sea Islands on a calm moonlight night, 
the silvery waves rolling solemnly towards land, 
melting away in a murmur on the coral-dotted 
beach, the south-east breeze whispering in the 
feathery palm leaves, the flying foxes soaring by 
like restless spirits, one almost feels how nature, 
in its own vague way, tells about the past of 
life amongst the savages during a long line of 
generations of visits by old-time navigators 
of recklessness and daring by early fortune- 
seekers of unrecorded shipwrecks and myste- 
riously lost crews of strange and weird hap- 
penings of many kinds. Yet through our inability 
to interpret the language of nature the bygone 
remains in a haze, and except for a few half- 

34 



NEW BRITAIN ARCHIPELAGO 35 

obliterated footprints left on the sands of time 
by early traders our knowledge of the bygone 
would have been almost a blank. 

These early traders, principally hailing from 
Sydney, at first only paid flying visits, from their 
ships bartering with the natives. As to the 
nature of the business, we get an idea from the 
memoirs of the old Swedish sea rover, Captain 
Strasburg, who spent upwards of 40 years in 
the Pacific. A skipper would leave Sydney with 
a hundred pounds' worth of those peculiar 
articles coveted by primitive man, such as goiv 
geously coloured print, necklaces, looking glasses, 
tomahawks, knives, mouth organs, umbrellas, 
clay pipes, and tobacco. Perhaps as a side line 
he would take with him some scores of dogs. 
These dogs he bought from street arabs in Syd- 
ney for from two to three coconuts apiece, always 
exercising sufficient tact not to question the boys 
as to how they got the dogs. With a motley col- 
lection of mongrels and pure breeds howling a 
melancholy good-bye to Sydney, the South Sea 
trader steered through the Heads, and set his 
course for the islands. 

Arriving at his destination, he would drop 
anchor opposite a populous native village, and 
ere long the place would be alive with excite- 
ment, canoes and catamarans incessantly travel- 
ling to and fro. Unfortunately no rate of 
exchange has been handed down to us, though 
presumably such was evolved. Captain Stras- 
burg tells us that for a dog ten green parrots 



36 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

were paid, and also that dogs were much in 
demand, the natives at a pinch eating them. 

"The Kanakas were in this respect not particu- 
lar, and the dogs were not asked." 

Labour recruiting became later another profit- 
able side line. After a short cruise amongst the 
islands, if not sticking on a coral reef, the trader 
returned to Sydney with his cargo of coconuts, 
oil, tortoise shells, birds, feathers, curios, pearls, 
and other odds and ends. As to the profit he 
made, the following equations give an idea: 
Id. tobacco equals three coconuts equals one dog 
equals ten parrots equals 5. 

As the value of copra for soap making and 
other industries gradually rose, oversea firms 
commenced placing traders amongst the natives 
to gather in the greatest possible quantity of 
coconuts. These they paid for in trade goods 
to the value of anything below a pound per ton 
of copra. Once or twice a year a schooner would 
call on the trader with provisions and trade 
goods, and take away copra and coconut oil, 
paying him probably as many pounds as the 
trader had paid shillings. Sooner or later the 
trader would get killed, and sometimes eaten, and 
his place taken by some other adventurer, igno- 
rant of what he was up against. In Weberhafen 
alone fourteen traders were killed in the course 
of a comparatively short time, while the total 
number of traders and others, but mostly traders, 
done to death in New Britain has been put down 
roughly at one hundred. 



NEW BRITAIN ARCHIPELAGO 37 

The reasons for the natives despatching the 
trader were threefold: (1) To rob his store; 
(2) to revenge themselves for wrongs committed 
by recruiting skippers; (3) to get even with the 
trader for vilifying the native idea of morality 
and fair play. The trader's life, apart from 
being lonely, was pregnant with peril. His only 
friend was his rifle, and even that availed noth- 
ing against an armed band of natives hiding in 
the bush with their spears. A personal friend 
of the writer, a previous cavalry officer and ex- 
barrister, who, as a last resource, went to the 
islands as a trader, was speared shortly after 
his arrival. Often the trader trespassed on exist- 
ing customs through sheer ignorance, while at 
times undoubtedly he invited disaster himself. 
Still, whether good or bad, his only safety rested 
on the natives fearing him. Thus we find that 
often the honest, kind-hearted trader was killed, 
while the callous villain and the depraved beach- 
comber, who knew a little about conjuring, and 
in other ways understood how to take advantage 
of native superstition, defiled their women, and 
took the best of everything with impunity. Nor 
was the position of the small trader so remune- 
rative as one would imagine. The margin of 
profit was certainly large, but the quantity of 
nuts produced in those days was very limited. 
From this had to be deducted what the natives 
required for their own sustenance and for feed- 
ing their pigs. 

It has been mentioned before that the Austra- 



38 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

lians were trading in the New Britain Archi- 
pelago as early as 1840. For over a generation 
they had the place to themselves. In the early 
seventies, the previously referred to Hamburg- 
Samoan firm, Godeffroy and Sons, stationed a 
trader at Nogai, close to the foot of Mount 
Mother, and another at Matupi. Four weeks 
later the trader at Nogai had to seek refuge with 
his colleague at Matupi, and in the course of 
another three weeks both of them had to flee 
for their lives to Port Hunter, in the Duke of 
York group, where an Australian trader was 
stationed. The following year the same firm 
started a permanent station at Mioko. In 1876 
a German, Captain Hernsheim, started a trading 
station at Makada, afterwards, for health rea- 
sons, shifting it to Matupi. 

It was about this time the first missionary, the 
stout-hearted Wesleyan minister, George Brown, 
arrived in the New Britain Archipelago to bring 
to life the dormant souls of the ferocious canni- 
bals. Starting in the Duke of York group, he 
gradually extended his activity to New Ireland 
and New Britain often sick from fever, always 
exposed to danger yet singlehanded plodding on 
till the foundation for what has since blossomed 
into a widespread mission society was solidly 
laid. He had with him only a few native teachers 
from Fiji, and none of them knew a word of the 
native language. After a year's labour, the little 
band of Christian enthusiasts had acquired the 
language and made a number of converts. The 



NEW BRITAIN ARCHIPELAGO 39 

native population was very friendly disposed 
towards them, and, thus encouraged, George 
Brown decided to go to Sydney for his family. 
During the following years he had several nar- 
row escapes and many hardships to fight against. 
In 1878 an old volcano outside of Rabaul became 
active, and destroyed several native villages 
which had been won for Christianity. The same 
year some natives close by killed and devoured 
one of the Fijian teachers and four of his asso- 
ciates, and as a similar fate threatened the few 
white traders in the vicinity Brown was requested 
to take the lead of a punitive expedition. He 
had in vain tried to Christianise these people, 
and it had become evident to him that the only 
thing they respected was brute force. Weakness 
towards them would have imperilled not only 
the lives of the white traders, but actually endan- 
gered the mission work he so successfully had 
commenced. He therefore gathered a sufficient 
force of friendly native spearmen, and, assisted 
by the traders, went out to punish the marauders, 
the result being that a good many were killed, 
and future danger averted. 

Later on a British man-of-war appeared, and 
took a report of what had happened, and the 
British High Commissioner in Fiji disapproved 
of what he called a gross act of violence against 
the natives. Brown was brought before the 
court, charged with manslaughter; a charge of 
which he, however, was acquitted. Eventually 
his health gave way, and, more dead than alive, 



40 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

he left his wife and three children for a trip to 
Sydney. On the return journey, via the Solomon 
Islands, the schooner he travelled in was nearly 
wrecked in a cyclone, and the skipper decided to 
return to Sydney. For months Brown waited 
for another vessel to go to the islands, and even- 
tually he got as far as the Solomons, whence his 
old friend, Captain Fergusson, a well-known 
South Sea trader, who shortly afterwards was 
killed by the natives, took him to his mission 
station at Port Hunter, in the Duke of York 
group. Brown had been away about eighteen 
months, during which time he had received little 
or no news from his family. Naturally he looked 
forward to a hearty welcome, but to his astonish- 
ment the station was deserted. The natives told 
him they had all been ill from fever, and showed 
him where two of his children lay buried. Mrs. 
Brown and the last child had then gone to New 
Britain, where a fellow-missionary and his wife 
lived. The staunch pioneer and empire builder, 
George Brown, whose name is still revered by 
the natives in these parts, later on in life pub- 
lished an extensive volume of his mission work 
and manifold experiences in the New Britain 
Archipelago and other parts of the South Seas. 
In this he also describes the disastrous attempts 
made by the Marquis de Ray to colonise part of 
New Ireland. 

Marquis de Ray, whose failures as a colonist 
landed him in gaol, and afterwards in the lunatic 
asylum, where he died, left over three hundred 



NEW BRITAIN ARCHIPELAGO 41 

trusting people helpless in the fever-stricken 
jungles of New Ireland. He was the Bolivian 
charge d'affaires in France, and possessed both 
wealth and imagination; and succeeded in gain- 
ing support for a colonising scheme in the South 
Seas. A suitable vessel was purchased and fitted 
out, and in September, 1879, the first batch of 
colonists, consisting of forty Germans, twenty- 
five French, eleven Swiss and Italians, and five 
Belgians, left on what proved to be a perilous 
wild goose chase. The undertaking was widely 
advertised, and for awhile gained popularity in 
different parts of Europe. In France, Spain, and 
Belgium companies were formed to work and 
push various industries in connection with the 
new colony, the shareholders apparently being 
as sanguine as the colonists with regard to the 
wonderful results to be achieved. The colony 
was started at the southern end of New Ireland, 
and called Nouvelle France, and it may have suc- 
ceeded had it been properly managed. Ignorant 
of the conditions of the islands, and expecting to 
reap before they had sown, the colonists brought 
with them elaborate machinery for distilling, for 
sugar refining, seed crushing, sawmilling, also 
incubators and agricultural implements, and even 
180,000 bricks. They had plenty of axes, but are 
stated to have forgotten axe handles. Instead of 
quinine they brought a statue of the Madonna; 
instead of doctors they brought priests. The 
first place selected for the colony was too hilly 
for cultivation, and after a considerable amount 



42 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

of labour had been done it was decided to trans- 
fer it to the opposite side of the island. The 
colonists had been chosen without discrimination, 
and contained a considerable number of adven- 
turers, frail women, and small children. One of 
the leaders, in a letter dated 13th February, 
1880, wrote: "I have an ugly time of it. More 
than half my men are laid up with sore feet, 
and the other with laziness. One of the greatest 
difficulties is to procure water, for the men pre- 
tending to go for it go bathing, remaining away 
three or four hours." The vessels which should 
have supplied them with provisions, and kept 
up communication between the colony and the old 
country, were seized for debts contracted by de 
Ray. Dissension arose amongst the colonists, fever, 
dysentery and tropical sores broke out, while scar- 
city of food added to the general state of misery. 
In their despair, three German immigrants went 
in a boat to Port Hunter to appeal for help from 
the Wesleyan mission, and George Brown, though 
ill at the time, returned with them 160 miles in 
a whaleboat. He found the settlers in a deplor- 
able condition, and forty-five sick colonists were 
subsequently removed to the mission station in 
the Duke of York's, one of them dying on the 
way and seven more succumbing at Port Hun- 
ter. In March, 1881, a disabled steamer, origi- 
nally secured by Marquis de Ray, struggled into 
Numea, in New Caledonia, having on board the 
remainder of the settlers from Nouvelle France 
all starving and without a drop of water. Hav- 



NEW BRITAIN ARCHIPELAGO 43 

ing been succoured here, they proceeded to Syd- 
ney, and eventually settled down in the northern 
part of New South Wales, where some of them 
are still to be found. The expensive machinery 
was left on the beach in New Ireland, and what 
has not rusted away is now buried under a dense 
carpet of jungle. 

The recruiting of coloured labour for oversea 
plantations commenced in 1879, and resulted in 
much hardship to the natives and the consequent 
untimely death of many innocent traders. To 
end this deplorable state of affairs, missionaries 
and traders urged the British Government to de- 
clare the yet unannexed islands a British Pro- 
tectorate, but received no response. Despairing 
of British politicians, the Premier of Queensland 
in 1883, to restore order, and at the same time 
remove a political danger to Australia should a 
foreign power step in, annexed on behalf of this 
continent all New Guinea not already occupied 
by Holland, and all the islands comprised in the 
New Britain Archipelago. The proclamation 
issued to that effect was accompanied by the 
hoisting of the British flag at Port Moresby. The 
British Government, instead of sanctioning this 
courageous and wise act, reprimanded Sir 
Thomas Mcllwraith for having taken unto him- 
self power he did not possess. Meanwhile the 
desire to acquire oversea colonies had been 
steadily growing in Germany, and suddenly, at 
the latter end of the following year, a German 
man-of-war hoisted the German flag at Matupi, 



44 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

in New Britain, and at Mioko, in the Duke of 
York group, declaring the archipelago a German 
Protectorate. This act stirred up Downing- 
street, and for some time a race ensued along 
the coast of New Guinea between a German and 
a British warship in hoisting the colours of their 
respective countries, the boundaries between their 
spheres of influence eventually being fixed by a 
joint commission. 

Amongst the most successful traders of an 
early period were the German South Sea skip- 
per, Hernsheim, and Mrs. Forsayth, commonly 
known as "Queen Emma." Starting in a small 
way, they gradually widened their nets of opera- 
tion, scattering traders over a considerable part 
of the archipelago, and founding respectively the 
later so important trading concerns, "Hernsheim 
and Co." and "Forsayth and Co.," both of which 
in a material degree have contributed to the 
development of German New Guinea. Hernsheim 
as well as "Queen Emma" accumulated immense 
wealth, while the latter, in addition, gained fame. 

Probably no name is so well known in the 
Western Pacific as that of "Queen Emma," and 
it can be truly said her life is one of the most 
interesting romances of the South Seas. The 
Samoan race is renowned the men for their har- 
monious build, the women for their natural 
charm. Consequently the fact that the young 
American Consul, Mr. Coe, shortly after having 
taken up his duties in Apia, fell in love and mar- 
ried in succession two little Samoan maidens, 



NEW BRITAIN ARCHIPELAGO 45 

needs no apology. Emma was his second child. 
She is said to have grown up to be the cleverest 
and prettiest girl in Samoa. After having been 
educated in San Francisco, she married a 
Britisher, Mr. Forsayth, by whom she had a son. 
The alliance was unhappy, and she threw in her 
lot with a New Zealand miner, Mr. Farrel, who 
at the time was conducting a shanty in Samoa. 
To be free in the enjoyment of their happiness, 
they fitted out a schooner, and went in search 
of pastures new. Passing through the Solomon 
Islands, they arrived at the Duke of York group, 
where they commenced trading with the natives. 
Some time later they went to New Britain, and 
in spite of the ferocity of the native population 
effected a landing close to where Herbertshohe 
later on sprang into being. From the chiefs they 
bought for a few trivialities in the usual Kanaka 
trade an extensive area of land, the purchase of 
which Emma registered at the office of the 
American Consul in Sydney, and upon which in 
time arose the first coconut plantation in Ger- 
man New Guinea. 

Little by little Queen Emma brought most of 
her brothers and sisters and some nieces to New 
Britain. One sister was married to the inde- 
fatigable research worker, R. Parkinson, son of 
a Britisher, who in his younger days settled in 
Schleswig, and became master of stables to the 
Danish Governor; two others married seafaring 
Swedes in Emma's employ. The whole family, 
which is still well represented in these parts, are 



46 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

amongst the most pushing and successful 
planters and traders in the archipelago. 

Mr. Farrel died after some years, and Emma 
took full control, and although she took a promi- 
nent part in social life in those days mainly 
made up of champagne and love she continued 
with wonderful skill and determination. When 
a middle-aged woman she bought as her husband 
a young, handsome German ex-officer, Herr 
Kolbe, Emma paying his not inconsiderable 
debts, and at her death agreeing to leave him 
half her fortune. In 1912 she sold out her inte- 
rests in the islands to a Hamburg syndicate for 
175,000. Before she left with her husband for 
a trip to Europe the residents showed their re- 
spect to this remarkable woman by giving her 
almost a royal send-off. The title queen, which 
at first was a nick-name expressing envy, by then 
commanded respect. Both died at Monte Carlo 
with but a day between them. The mystery sur- 
rounding their sudden death has never been 
cleared up, and all we know is that a lady from 
Germany, claiming a prior right to Kolbe, had 
arrived at Monte Carlo, and that Emma survived 
her husband by a day. A remarkable career was 
thus ended, to which was given this finishing 
touch. Her body was cremated, and the ashes 
interred at the same place in New Britain where 
she, a young and charming woman, thirty-three 
years earlier, had landed. 

Peter Hansen, another old pioneer, whose 
experiences throw light on the conditions, and 



NEW BRITAIN ARCHIPELAGO 47 

the particular way life shaped itself in the South 
Seas twenty to thirty years ago, is still amongst 
us. Mr. Hansen, by birth a Dane, had left his 
ship in 1881, and was aimlessly wandering about 
in Sydney, when afforded an opportunity of going 
to the Duke of York Islands, trading for the 
Mioko Company. Having made his first pile in 
the islands, he returned to spend it, which he 
succeeded in doing, and, being again in need of a 
job, he took service with the German explorer, 
Dr. Finsch, who in 1884 departed from Sydney 
on his New Guinea expedition. Afterwards 
Peter Hansen commenced trading for Queen 
Emma, being sent first to Lord Howe Island, and 
Tasman Island, and later on to French Islands, 
which group for many years he had entirely for 
himself. Through a tidal wave in 1888 he lost all 
he possessed, save an obsolete rifle. To this 
weapon he ascribes his still being alive, the 
natives in their hearts blaming him for the catas- 
trophe. No relief arriving till nine months later, 
he had to adapt himself to the primitive life of 
the savage. When, however, his house had been 
re-erected, and his stores replenished, then he 
soon revived his business, and regained his tem- 
porarily lost prestige. For the copra he paid 
the natives 15/- a ton in trade goods, and sold 
it to Queen Emma for 8 to 10. In the begin- 
ning he only got from seventy to eighty tons a 
year, but after a smallpox epidemic in 1894 had 
swept away most of the inhabitants, the pigs 
feeding on the dead and dying, the quantity rose 



48 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

to 350 tons, thus giving him an annual income of 
from 2000 to 3000. 

It was probably from that time Peter Hansen 
started the extravagant life of which so much 
is still being talked in German New Guinea. He 
kept the most open house in the Possession, and 
his trading station at the beautiful harbour, now 
known as Peterhafen, became the favourite pic- 
nic place for German officers and globe-trotters. 
The surveying ship Moeve seems to have spent 
most of her time at Peterhafen, where cham- 
pagne, whisky, and beer abounded, and even 
dusky maidens generously supplied by the hos- 
pitable trader assisted in making the stay plea- 
sant. Of his own attachment to the daughters 
of the South Seas much has been said. When, 
however, people talk about thirty wives, and a 
progeny of which Peter Hansen himself knew 
no number, it is considerably exaggerated, and, 
as Peter remarked with a laugh when not so 
long ago in Rabaul, "not quite fair to an old 
comrade in arms." As a matter of fact, his life 
was but the life generally led in the South Seas 
in those days. To be sure, when we are told that 
even nowadays no skipper in the South Seas em- 
barks on a cruise without taking with him one 
or two native girls, one is apt to think life in 
the Pacific has not altered so very much. In 
any case people in the islands blame Peter Han- 
sen less for his extravagant life than for his 
lack of circumspection, which prevented him 
from being the wealthiest man in German New 




pq 



NEW BRITAIN ARCHIPELAGO 49 

Guinea. He was the first trader in the French 
Islands, and the only white man who spoke the 
native language there. He knew all the chiefs, 
and could bend them at his will. In their eyes 
he was the great white chief, living like them- 
selves, only on a much grander scale. The 
islands would have been his for in time having 
applied for them, as was actually proved when, 
later on, acting for "Die Neu Guinea Com- 
pagnie," he bought the whole group himself to 
be the manager and remain the sole trader. 

It may be considered an 'indisputable truth 
that when the natives sell their land to Euro- 
peans they are, in the majority of cases, ignorant 
of what they are doing. If a native sells a piece 
of land to another native he retains the owner- 
ship of the trees standing on it. Thus the chiefs 
in the French Islands did not comprehend the 
consequences when, for 50, they sold to "Die 
Neu Guinea Compagnie" the group even the 
land upon which their huts stood, and the plots 
from which they drew their food. When, there- 
fore, by order from headquarters, the clearing 
process commenced, and their breadfruit trees, 
bananas and pawpaws were cut down before their 
very eyes, they stood flabbergasted. It was quite 
evident to them that they had been betrayed, and 
eventually, in 1903, they settled matters in the 
old-fashioned way by seizing Peter Hansen's 
stores and ship, killing the storekeeper, the engi- 
neer, five Chinamen, and eighteen native boys. 
Peter Hansen, who was away from the station 
when it all happened, beat his way to a friendly 



50 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

tribe, where he received protection till, later on, 
he saw a chance to escape to New Guinea. Being 
prevented by the German Government from 
returning to the French Islands, he accepted the 
position as manager of a plantation on the main- 
land. Afterwards he went to Bougainville, at 
first managing a plantation for an Australian 
syndicate, and now struggling manfully to bring 
under culture a couple of hundred acres of his 
own. 

Peter Hansen may be considered the last, yet 
living, of the old-time traders in late German 
New Guinea. True to the sentiments of his 
tribe, he worries not. "Why should I?" he said, 
when reminded of his wasted opportunities. "I 
have had a glorious time; what can a man have 
more?" When asked by a missionary if he ever 
thought of the next life, he replied, with a grin: 
"Bless me soul, it takes me all my time to think 
of this." VWfF 

They were hard doers, these old traders and 
skippers, yet they possessed grit and humour, 
and are as interesting to read about as are the 
South Seas themselves. 



CHAPTER V. 



ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT. 

The number of coconut palms owned by the 
natives in pre-European days was even more 
limited than now, and as the price of copra kept 
on rising a great stimulus was given traders to 
combine planting with trading. Thus the first 
plantations in New Britain were founded while 
it was still No Man's Land, the enterprising 
Queen Emma taking the lead. 
\X Land in those days was exceedingly cheap, and 
was sold by the acres for pipes of tobacco. Queen 
Emma bought a big stretch of country not far 
from where Rabaul now is situated for a box of 
trade goods, probably not larger than she could 
carry under an arm. The Mortlock Islands she 
bought, it is told, for five pounds of trade tobacco, 
representing a cash value of half a sovereign, 
and some years later the native chiefs in French 
Islands sold the whole group lock, stock and 
barrel to "Die Neu Guinea Compagnie" for 
50. 

Labour was more difficult to obtain, and had 
to be imported from the Solomon Islands, the 
local natives in the beginning not taking too 
kindly to plantation work, and were only to be 

51 



52 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

relied upon for a few days at a stretch. This 
probably explains that, although the first plan- 
tation in what afterwards became German New 
Guinea was started in 1879, planting to any 
great extent did not commence till the middle 
of the nineties or even later. 

The process of making a plantation in the 
happy bygone was this: A trader would ac- 
quire from the chiefs suitable land, ranging in 
size from a thousand acres upwards. Next he 
would hire a couple of hundred natives to clear 
the land and plant coconuts. At the same time 
he would carry on trading with local natives, 
thus earning sufficient to pay for all improve- 
ments. From the time he had organised the 
work and trained some of the more intelligent 
boys as overseers, he could practically spend his 
days in his lounge chair on the verandah, con- 
templating. In the course of ten to fifteen year? 
he would be a wealthy man, if in the meantime 
he had not either been speared or drunk himself 
to death. 

When the German Government took posses- 
sion and law and order to some extent were 
established, the acquisition of land was regu- 
lated and connected with various fees, which, 
though not excessive, naturally represented 
higher values than pipes of tobacco and yards 
of cheap print. These land regulations appear 
to have been altered and stiffened during the 
course of years, eventually evolving into the 
"Land Regulations of 1st January, 1914." Ac- 



ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT 53 

cording to these regulations a distinction was 
made between native-owned land and Crown 
land, the latter being void of human life and 
unclaimed by any chief. In both cases the land 
had in reality to be bought from the Govern- 
ment. After a purchaser had agreed with a 
native chief about the price of a certain area, 
he had to submit the matter to the Government, 
which, if of the opinion that the sale was detri- 
mental to the tribe, would disapprove of it. If 
approved of by the Government, the purchaser 
would pay the chief whatever they had agreed 
on, mostly in Kanaka-trade, and afterwards pay 
the Government the same as for Crown land, the 
trifle received by the chief not being considered. 
The price paid to the Government varied accord- 
ing to the quality of the land and to its situation, 
the minimum price being twenty marks per hec- 
tare (two and a half acres), five marks to be 
paid down and the balance at a later date, when 
it became freehold. To the purchase sum were 
added fees for locating the land, for registra- 
tion and surveying. The purchaser had to pos- 
sess not less than 30,000 marks for each one 
hundred hectares he bought, a reduction, how- 
ever, being made in the case of bigger areas. 
Furthermore, it was made compulsory that a 
fifth of the area was brought under culture within 
the first five years, and three-fourths during the 
first fifteen. Apart from these general terms 
there were the so-called "Easy Terms," calcu- 
lated on helping qualified persons with little capi- 



54 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

tal on to the land. Such persons fulfilling the 
conditions as to age, residence, etc., and other- 
wise approved of by the Government, could 
obtain up to 150 hectares for one mark per hec- 
tare, and were not called upon to pay any Govern- 
ment fees. These easy terms applied to land pur- 
chased by mission societies as well. Also a lease 
system was in vogue extending over a period 
of thirty years, and applying to areas not less 
than fifty hectares, the annual rental being not 
less than half-mark per hectare. 

In German New Guinea, like in all new coun- 
tries, land grabbing naturally took place. What 
land some of the companies possess is only now 
being ascertained with any degree of exactness, 
much of it having not previously been surveyed. 
The following figures may, however, be accepted 
as approximately correct: "Die Neu Guinea 
Compagnie" lays claim to 337,270 acres; Queen 
Emma had acquired something like 63,970 acres, 
which now are owned by "Hamburgische Sudsee 
Aktiengesellshaft" ; Hernsheim, who did not com- 
mence planting till pressure was brought to bear 
on him by the Government, owns but 9742 acres ; 
and the old Mioko Company only 5765 acres ; the 
Australian firm, " The Choiseul Plantation Co., 
owns 12,500 acres in Bougainville; the Catholic 
mission, "The Sacred Heart of Jesus," owns 
32,000 acres ; another Catholic mission, " The Holy 
Ghost Society," 16,000 acres; the Lutheran mis- 
sion, " Neue Dettelsauer," 12,000 acres ; the Aus- 
tralian Methodist Mission Society 3600 acres ; the 



ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT 55 

French Catholic mission, "The Marist Society," 
3500 acres; and "Die Rheinsche Mission" 2350 
acres. Also, private individuals are in possession 
of considerable areas. Thus Herr Wahlen, who 
started his career as an ordinary clerk at Herns- 
share of Matty and others of the western islands, 
and is probably the wealthiest man in the Posses- 
sion. A Samoan woman, who came to New 
Britain as lady companion to Queen Emma, owns 
the Mortlocks, while many other privately owned 
areas of considerable size are met with all over 
the archipelago and on the mainland of New 
Guinea. 

The total area owned by Europeans in late Ger- 
man New Guinea may be put down at, approxi- 
mately 650,000 acres. Out of this area 
85,475 acres had been planted up to the beginning 
of 1914. By now it will be a great deal more, 
planting having been pushed during the war 
while labour was still cheap as compared with the 
British Solomons and Papua. Besides, with 
copra realising twenty odd pounds a ton or more, 
it does not pay to have land lying idle longer than 
can absolutely be helped. Out of the 85,475 
acres under culture in 1914, 77,746 acres were 
planted with coconut palms, 5600 with rubber 
trees, and the remainder with various food-pro- 
ducing and industrial plants suitable to the 
tropics. The rubber plantations hail in the main 
from the time of the big rubber boom; the low 
prices prevailing during the latter years have 



56 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

rendered them unprofitable, and the rubber tree 
is gradually giving way to the coconut palm. 
Cocoa, coffee, tobacco, cotton, arrowroot, sisal 
hemp, and rice are all grown, but not to any great 
extent, and in the case of some of them may be 
said not to have reached beyond the experimental 
stage. 

Let us go back to the planter in his lounge 
chair on the verandah, contemplating and dream- 
ing, and hazard a random shot at the thoughts 
passing through his mind. He has read a para- 
graph in some journal about coconut butter, a 
discovery which will do away with cow butter. 
The brainy chemist, who sounds the deathknell to 
the good old Jersey and Ayrshire, claims that 
coconut butter can be made for sixpence a pound, 
that it is more nutritive and keeps better than 
cow butter, besides carrying no danger of tuber- 
culosis and typhoid. The planter says to him- 
self: "The coconut palm requires tropical heat 
and low-lying land, washed by the sea or exposed 
to the salty breeze; hence the world's area suit- 
able to coconut culture is fairly limited, whereas, 
by this new invention, there is no limit to the de- 
mand for copra." He commences to take an in- 
ventory of his own personal prospects, and a smile 
lightens his face, while his thoughts wind their 
way towards the life he sees before him. He has, 
say, 600 acres, which, when planted and in full 
bearing, will produce 300 tons of copra a year. 
Fixing the profit at 12 a ton, he will have an 
annual income of 3600. The embryo plantation 



ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT 57 

owner sings out to his house-boy to bring him a 
bottle of beer, quick, and a smile broadens his 
face as he whispers to himself : " Some day it will 
be all champagne." Those are the dreams occupy- 
ing the planter's mind in his many lonely hours, 
and which at times make him forget the difficul- 
ties to be surmounted. 

To begin with, the time has passed in German 
New Guinea when an enterprising trader or re- 
tired skipper could lie on his back and have a 
plantation made for him. The small European 
trader, during the latter years, has practically 
been squeezed out of existence by John Chinaman. 
One needs only drive a few miles out of Rabaul, 
and he will, in less than an hour, pass a dozen 
Chinese traders, living mostly in miserable huts 
put up by themselves, but always with some trays 
of copra drying in the sun, and generally sur- 
rounded by an interested group of natives. His 
stock of Kanaka merchandise occupies but a 
couple of shelves, yet he makes money. The 
native will not go two miles to a white trader 
when he can sell his coconuts to a Chinaman liv- 
ing but a stone's throw off, and, besides, John 
may pay him a trifle better. At times the 
Chinese traders live in comfortable wooden houses 
owned by the big firms to which they are bound 
by contract; but even when on their own the 
Chinese know quite well how to shift for them- 
selves and find profitable trading places. 

To see a plantation of a thousand acres through 
under present-day conditions is, according to 



58 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

local opinion, required a capital of not much less 
than 6000, and even at that an absolute success 
is not assured. The coconut beetles, or scales, or 
an exceptional dry season, may play havoc 
amongst the young plants ; or there may be diffi- 
culty in getting the necessary native labour. 
Some of those young planters who bought land at 
the time no guarantee was required with regard 
to capital have had the struggle of their lives 
trying to keep things moving by doing as much 
trading as circumstances and Chinese rivals would 
permit, or a little recruiting for older-established 
plantations, or bird of paradise hunting, all the 
while getting deeper into debt with the big com- 
panies. One of the medical officers attached to 
the occupying force, on returning from the un- 
healthy New Guinea coast, stated that some of 
the planters there were actually racing with 
death. They were full of fever and down in con- 
dition. If they left their work but half finished 
all their worry and self-denial would have been 
in vain. If they persevered till the place was 
planted and commenced bearing they would be 
wealthy men, and could live leisurely in any part 
of the world they liked. 

The question which, during the latter years, has 
given most trouble to planters is that of native 
labour. The wages question was, by the Ger- 
man Government, settled to the planter's satis- 
faction, the monthly salary being fixed at 5 marks, 
most of which was not payable till the end of the 
labourer's three years' service, and could be liqui- 



ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT 59 

dated in trade goods. In addition, the labourer 
was entitled to his food, most of which was grown 
on the plantation; also two sticks of tobacco, a 
box of matches, and i Ib. of soap weekly, and a 
loin-cloth and a clay pipe every month. The same 
scale of pay is still in vogue. As will be seen, the 
labourers are not overpaid; the trouble, however, 
is at times to get them. The Kanakas do not 
rush the plantations for jobs, and the planters are 
forced to send recruiting agents round to the dif- 
ferent islands in search of boys. The skipper 
might be successful, and he might strike bad 
luck; it all depends on circumstances and the im- 
pression he makes on the natives. It is not like 
in former days, when the traffic was uncontrolled, 
and, if worst came to worst, he could kidnap the 
boys. It might even happen he gets no response 
at all, or he might get a few boys here and a few 
there, having to travel from place to place. In 
such circumstances, recruiting becomes an item 
which the planter does well in reckoning with 
when laying plans for the future. A recruiting 
schooner fitted out by Hernsheim and Co., on one 
occasion brought back one single " monkey." 
That lad stood the firm in 300. 

The labour question being of so vast import- 
ance, it is but natural that when planters meet, 
the conversation, sooner or later, turns on that 
subject. Hitherto planters, who treat their boys 
well, by putting themselves about, have managed 
to secure the necessary labour. Worse off are 
those who have earned the reputation of being 



60 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

harsh and cruel. During the course of a few 
years, right through the native world the names 
of such planters have got an evil sound, and it 
may well happen that eventually they find them- 
selves short of labour and are forced to dispose 
of their plantations. This may explain the lamen- 
tations occasionally voiced with regard to the 
labour market becoming exhausted. In any case, 
the assertion is not supported by facts and 
figures. The native population of German New 
Guinea may safely be put down at not less than 
300,000. When Kaiser Wilhelm's Land is better 
known we shall probably find it is a great deal 
more. The number recruited during the last 
three years before the war is given as 27,797, 
namely, 7740 in 1911; 8245 in 1912; 10,848 in 
1913. That would, however, include those who 
went to Samoa. The number employed on 1st 
January, 1914, in the territory occupied by the 
Australian Forces, would be approximately 
20,000, out of which 17,529 were engaged on the 
plantations. In conjunction with these figures it 
must be remembered that most of the work 
amongst the natives themselves is carried out by 
the women. While it be admitted that cer- 
tain parts of the Possession have been severely 
drained of native labour, it is well to bear in mind 
that other parts have not yet been unlocked, and 
particularly that the interior of Kaiser Wilhelm's 
Land forms a vast unexploited labour reserve. 

Another point which ought to comfort planters 
is the possibility of labour-saving appliances 



ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT 61 

being invented. So far, labour in German New 
Guinea is being squandered because it is cheap; 
nothing but the most crude implements are used, 
and it is quite a common sight to see a gang of 
perspiring Kanakas cut grass with pieces of hoop 
iron, while extensive plantations are being kept 
clean with the aid of old-fashioned hoes. 

The most serious feature of the whole question 
is the decline of the native population, at some 
places caused through race suicide, and at others 
by various diseases, several of which have been 
brought to the islands by Europeans. The de- 
cline is probably as yet confined to certain locali- 
ties, and there is no immediate cause for alarm; 
still, when we learn that the native population in 
Matty, during the last twenty years, has dwindled 
from 1500 to 300, that a similar decline has taken 
place at other of the western islands, that at 
Mortlock the original population has entirely dis- 
appeared, or that the women on some parts of 
the mainland possess upwards of twenty different 
herbs and remedies to prevent continuing their 
race, it is evident that the question of preserving 
the native population cannot be treated in a light- 
hearted way. 

In dealing with the development of German New 
Guinea there is yet to consider the role an in- 
creased utilisation of domestic animals is likely 
to play in the future, not merely as beasts of 
burden, but in supplying food for the native 
population when, by degrees, their hunting 
grounds are transformed into plantations. Realis- 



62 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

ing the importance of these questions, the Ger- 
man administrator, as well as some of the mis- 
sion societies and the firms, years ago took steps 
to introduce domestic animals, while much time 
and money were spent in testing the suitability 
of the different breeds. The results of their 
efforts were contained in a report from the 
government veterinary surgeon, Herr Braun, pub- 
lished in one of the last issues of the official 
gazette, and of which the following is an 
extract : 

The number of domestic animals in German 
New Guinea at the ends of 1912 and 1913 were 

1912. 1913. 

Horses 452 . . 524 

Mules > - 6 . 8 

Donkeys 22 .. 22 

Cattle 2,638 . . 3,067 

Buffalo 183 .. 225 

Sheep 963 . . 1,420 

Goats 617 .. 870 

Pigs 2,866 .. 3,081 

The above figures apply to animals owned by 
Europeans only, thus excluding the numerous 
pigs kept by the natives. 

The horses are either of Australian origin, and 
more or less thoroughbred, or else they hail from 
Dutch India. The latter are ponies, known as 
" Macassars." From the above parent stock 
horses are bred locally. A cross between the 
Australian horses and the " Macassars " has, in 
most cases, turned out satisfactorily. Also a 
few Manchurian ponies have been introduced. 



ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT 63 

The cattle represent a variety of races and 
crossbreds. Bali cattle, Indian Zebus, Austra- 
lian Jersey and Guernsey, and the small Javanese 
breed are all met with. The cattle either serve as 
beasts of burden, or they are kept for the purpose 
of keeping down the grass in the plantations, sur- 
plus stock being occasionally killed for the sake of 
the meat. Only in odd cases are the cows milked. 

Sheep are principally kept for the sake of the 
meat, and are of the Dutch-Indian breed. Some 
Australian sheep have, as an experiment, been 
introduced by the mission station at Sialum, 
Kaiser Wilhelm's Land, but, although the wool 
has, so far, retained its high quality even on 
locally bred stock, it cannot as yet be said if it 
will continue to do so. Besides, the area suit- 
able for sheep breeding is probably very limited. 

Pigs seem to thrive better in these parts than 
any other animal does. They are the pets of the 
natives. The Kanakas know all about pigs, and 
love to work amongst them. To own a herd of 
pigs gives a native as much standing as to possess 
a fortune in shell money or half-a-dozen wives. 
A good pig fetches a higher price than a young 
bride, and if it were possible to count the number 
of pigs throughout the length and breadth of Ger- 
man New Guinea, one would probably be aston- 
ished at the figures. Near the European settle- 
ment the Yorkshire and Berkshire breeds are now 
fairly common. t^The native pig is rather an in- 
ferior animal; it is, however, hardy, frugal, and 



64 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

fast growing. Crossed with the Yorkshire or 
Berkshire, excellent results have been obtained. 
Braun, in his report, rightly points out the im- 
portant part pig raising plays in sustaining the 
native population. He goes a step further by 
saying that he sees no reason why the Kanakas 
should not take to small cattle, sheep, and goats 
as well, and recommends the Government that 
these animals be introduced amongst them. An 
experiment made in that direction with goats has, 
he states, given encouraging results. 

Fish at various places constitutes one of the 
main diets of the native population. Fishing is 
carried out along the coast wherever natives 
domicile, but only the most primitive appliances 
are used. Nets are practically unknown, and, in 
any case, would be of little use, the sea bottom, 
with its many coral reefs, not lending itself to net 
fishing. The only modern weapon used is dyna- 
mite. Most of the fish consumed by Europeans 
and their labourers, are obtained by the use of this 
somewhat ticklish explosive, in spite of the fre- 
quent accidents. Mother-of-pearl and trocus 
shells are found at various places, and constitute 
one of the regular export articles. More im- 
portant than shells were, in the German time, the 
shooting of goura or crested pigeon, and bird of 
paradise hunting. This industry was re- 
stricted to the mainland, neither of the birds 
being met with in the archipelago. It played an 
important part in the economical life, and, as a 
source of revenue, ranged next to copra. 



ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT 65 

Efforts at procuring from the Possession itself 
the timber needed for local use have resulted in 
the establishment of several sawmills, and, 
although most of the timber required for the 
elaborate Government buildings was imported 
from Australia, the local product has gradually 
gained ground, and, in the case of hardwood, un- 
doubtedly in time will cover all demands. In 
addition to buildings, it is used as ships' material, 
for which it is said to be well suited. With a 
single exception, the sawmilling industry is car- 
ried on by the mission societies. 

Although German New Guinea at places is sup- 
posed to be rich in a variety of minerals, and gold 
has been proved to exist in some of the river beds 
of the mainland, mining was, by the Germans, a 
neglected, and to outsiders a prohibited, industry. 
The mining laws were the same as in force right 
throughout all the German colonies, save German 
South- West Africa. They were, as could be ex- 
pected, stringent, and in some respects compre- 
hensive, yet leaving much to the discretion of the 
local Governor, probably with the object in view 
of encouraging German companies and excluding 
foreigners. Thus, for instance, the royalty to be 
paid to the Government by individuals as well as 
by companies was fixed at 1 per cent., but this 
could be raised to any amount if considered ex- 
pedient by the Governor. It stands to reason 
that the prospects of the miner under so uncer- 
tain conditions became chimerical, and may even 
have scared Germans themselves. At any rate, 



66 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

the few attempts in the way of prospecting made 
by them were half-hearted and led to no results. 
Some forty Australian gold diggers, in 1908 and 
1909, entered German territory from Papua, and 
in the Warria river obtained gold variously esti- 
mated at from 12,000 to 20,000. The German 
Government, however, got to hear of it, a Govern- 
ment station was established at Morobe close by, 
and a heavy royalty imposed on the miners. 
This soon drove them back to British territory. 
Three Australian gold-diggers, who arrived in 
Rabaul a few years ago to get permission to mine 
in Kaiser Wilhelm's Land, were allowed to do so 
by paying 40 per cent, of the return in royalty 
to the Government. Should the Government have 
reason to suspect them of giving false returns, it 
reserved to itself the power of testing their 
honesty by, for a time, working the mine, and if, 
in so doing, its suspicion was confirmed, a heavy 
penalty would be the result. The three Aus- 
tralian gold-diggers, pretending they accepted the 
conditions, went to Kaiser Wilhelm's Land bird 
of paradise shooting, and, in all probability, made 
more out of this than they would have done out 
of gold digging. It is not difficult to understand 
that under such conditions minerals did not ap- 
pear in the list of exports from German New 
Guinea, while, from the Government's attitude to- 
wards the whole industry, it may be assumed that 
the Germans themselves were not ready in a sys- 
tematic way to exploit the mineral resources of 
the Possession, and they did not want outsiders 
to benefit by them. 



ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT 67 

Shipping has naturally grown in proportion to 
the development of the place. A regular steam- 
ship service was, several years ago, established 
by the North German Lloyd, the steamers arriv- 
ing alternately from Hong Kong and Sydney, and 
calling at the principal settlements, the copra and 
other produce finally being transhipped at above 
ports into homeward-bound liners owned by the 
same company. Shortly after the outbreak of 
war, and the capture or internment of the Ger- 
man steamers, Burns Philp & Co. extended their 
Papuan service to German New Guinea. The 
inter-island trade was attended to, and is so to- 
day, by a busy fleet of small steamers, auxiliary 
schooners, and sailing craft owned by the big 
firms and the planters. Rabaul possesses two 
slips, capable of turning out vessels of up to 60 
tons carrying capacity. The wireless service, 
primarily intended to bring the colony in quick 
communication with the outer world, has been 
considerably added to by the Australian occupy- 
ing force, and every one of the out-stations can 
now reach Rabaul by wireless. 

Roughly, the financial structure of economical 
life was, and still is, the following: The main 
pillars are four big companies with head offices in 
Germany and branches all over the Possession. 
These companies are, "Die Neu Guinea Com- 
pagnie," " Hamburg Sudsee Aktien-Gesellschaft," 
Hernsheim & Co., and Wahlen & Co. Of less im- 
portance are " Bremen Sudsee Gesellschaft " and 
the old Mioko company. These firms own exten- 



68 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

sive plantations, are the wholesale traders, as well 
as the principal retailers, at the same time acting 
as bankers, agents, and financiers to the smaller 
companies, individual planters and traders, and 
Chinese stores. Most of the copra, shell, and 
other produce pass through their hands, the pay- 
ment for the most part being made in supplies 
and Kanaka merchandise. 

I/The export in 1913 represented a money value 
of 400,513, showing an increase from the pre- 
vious year of 149,957. The export of copra alone 
amounted to 308,604 ; birds of paradise, of which 
16,691 were exported, represented a value of 
54,848; mother-of-pearl, 8767; cocoa, 7571; 
and rubber 5980. In the case of copra, the 
figures should soon more than double, considering 
on 1st January, 1914, only 23,797 acres were in 
bearing out of 77,745 under coconut culture, and 
that much has been planted since. What these 
islands can be made to yield of tropical products 
in times to come is hard to foretell irrespective 
of whether big companies, small holders, or a com- 
bination of both be favoured. * 



CHAPTER VI. 



SOCIAL CONDITIONS. 

The functions of the different races engaged in 
developing late German New Guinea apparently 
follow certain main lines. The Europeans are 
the rulers, the teachers, the planters, and the 
wholesale vendors; the Asiatics are the artisans 
and the retail vendors; and the Kanakas primi- 
tive agriculturists, from whose midst are drawn 
the lowly labourer, the plantation hand, domestic 
servant, and cheap sailor. There are, however, 
signs of these lines on several points being wiped 
out. Some of the Chinese stores are gradually 
growing in size and importance, and, since the 
establishment in Rabaul of a branch of the Com- 
monwealth Bank, have commenced to emancipate 
themselves from the controlling influence of the 
European firms. Odd Chinese and Japanese have 
acquired land and started plantations, while one 
Chinaman, who commenced his career as cook for 
Captain Hernsheim, to-day owns the Rabaul Post 
Office, a ship yard, several plantations, and a con- 
siderable part of Chinatown. In the big stores 
Malay clerks and salesmen are working side by 
side with Europeans. 

69 



70 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

From a social aspect, the line of demarcation 
between the different races is naturally far 
sharper drawn. When the day's work is done 
each race retires into its own distinct world, the 
Asiatics having no time for the Kanakas the 
Europeans having time for neither. That the 
latter, in the German time, occasionally engaged 
as housekeepers maidens of foreign races did not 
materially affect the natural course of social life 
more than did half-caste children, whom the mis- 
sion societies have made a special feature of 
rearing. 

That the Europeans, the Mongols, and the 
Negroids do not easily blend is but natural ; their 
appearance, their way of living, and their way of 
thinking being so vastly different. They have no 
language in common pidgin English, though ex- 
tremely useful, does not lend itself to general con- 
versation. That, however, the class distinction, 
so conspicuous in Germany, should have been car- 
ried to its extremity amongst a mere handful of 
men, all serving the same cause and separated 
from their native land by thousands of miles, is 
more difficult to explain. Such was, nevertheless, 
the case. 

During the German regime the officials were, of 
course, the ruling caste, and, as such, they looked 
down upon all others. The Governor, though 
guided by a council made up of high officials and 
two or three outsiders, was responsible for his 
actions to the home government only, situated 
somewhere on the opposite side of the globe. The 



SOCIAL CONDITIONS 71 

leaders of the various offices and out-stations, 
most of them scattered over a big space of the 
Pacific, had, of course, corresponding power in 
their respective departments, as the Governor 
within the Possession. Under the leaders came 
a considerable staff of other officials, arranged in 
steps and stairs, each one knowing exactly to 
whom to raise his hat, and from whom to expect, 
as his right, a similar proof of inferiority. The 
officials were divided into three classes, " over 
officials," "medium officials," and "lower offi- 
cials," and so strictly was the distinction be- 
tween these three grades of officialdom observed 
that when, shortly before the arrival of the Aus- 
tralians, a syndicate applied for a licence to open 
an hotel in Rabaul, it was only granted on the 
condition that arrangements were made to keep 
over officials, medium officials, and lower officials 
apart. Another instance of this far-fetched class 
distinction appeared at Namanula, where the 
government school and the government printing 
office were situated. The teachers' staff consisted 
of three Germans and a half-caste native from the 
Ladrones, the latter having been educated in 
Tsing Tau. In charge of the printing office and 
its staff of natives was a young German composi- 
tor. They were all single men, lived in two 
houses almost touching one another, and worked, 
so to say, under the same roof. Yet they had to 
mess in three different lots. The German school 
teachers could not sit at the same table as their 
native colleague, though he was as well educated 



72 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

and not so very much darker. Nor could they 
mess together with the compositor. The native 
teacher could not mess together with the com- 
positor, he being merely an artisan ; and the com- 
positor could not mess together with the teacher, 
he being merely a native. The same class dis- 
tinction existed amongst the employees in the 
big firms until the war somewhat levelled matters 
up in fact, right through the Possession every- 
body seems to have looked down on somebody. 
Even more strict are the few German ladies said 
to have been, and, not satisfied with the limita- 
tions of places like Rabaul and Herbertshohe, car- 
ried their sphere of activity out to the plantations. 
The German officials, who had not made them- 
selves popular even with their own countrymen, 
are, however, things of the past. Amongst the 
remainder, life is very much the same as before 
the war. Thus the feelings between the traders 
and planters on the one side, and the missionaries 
on the other, still lack cordiality. The former 
find fault with the latter for engaging in plant- 
ing and trading, and also for pampering too much 
the natives ; while the missionaries can never con- 
done the traders and planters their mode of life. 
When they talk about one another it is generally 
in an unfriendly spirit. Nor is there any love 
lost between the rivalling mission societies, which 
unfortunately at some places are over-lapping. 
While, however, all the influences liable to cause 
friction. are at work, and, from a social point of 
view, tend to separate the Europeans into isolated 



SOCIAL CONDITIONS 73 

groups, no fanaticism is displayed. Somehow, 
the passions that trouble the human heart seem 
to be toned down in the tropics. The climate is 
too enervating for unnecessary exertion of any 
kind; the phlegmatic Kanaka breathes stoicism 
into the very atmosphere, while the easy life 
makes people more forebearing. Whatever the 
cause may be, it certainly seems as if people in 
the tropics lose much of their fight, and become 
more easy going and amiable than are people liv- 
ing in more invigorating climates. 

Daily life in Rabaul is, to use a local phrase, 
" South Sea Islandic," which might be taken to 
mean that it is different to anywhere else outside 
the Pacific. Probably it is. As a matter of fact, 
it could, everything considered, hardly be other- 
wise. Investigate for a moment the human ma- 
terial upon which it is based a conglomeration 
of restless spirits from many parts of the world 
gone to the South Seas either with the object of 
making fortunes, earning high salaries, or, may 
be, for the good of their highly respectable rela- 
tives at home; but very rarely with the intention 
of settling down and making homes. Add thereto 
a scarcity of well-bred women, a sensuous climate 
and continuous tropical heat, the distance from 
civilised countries, the clashing of Western and 
Eastern civilisations and ideas, an extensive and 
incoherent native population at times express- 
ing their disapproval of matters in general by 
dispatching a white trader, but in reality entirely 
at the mercy of their white masters and their 



74 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

whims. All these causes acting and reacting on 
each other tend to breed laziness, heavy drinking, 
and loose morals. When, therefore, the Euro- 
peans in Rabaul and similar places work compara- 
tively little, drink comparatively much, and are 
unconventional, it is but the natural consequence 
of their environment. 

The men, of course, perform a certain amount 
of work. The managers of plantations must 
keep books, attend to correspondence, and keep 
an eye on their native employees. The business 
men must do the work lying beyond the intelli- 
gence and education of their staff of Malays and 
Kanakas. The same with officials in the various 
offices. So the men do work, and for five to six 
hours a day some of them might even be said to 
work hard. But after that it is a matter of kill- 
ing time, and, following the line of least resist- 
ance, they loaf while endeavouring to keep them- 
selves cool and comfortable by drinking. It is 
astonishing what people, after some years' stay 
in the South Seas, can consume and yet attend to 
their business. One German in Rabaul brought 
this virtue to such a perfection that he con- 
sumed half a case of beer per diem, or 24 bottles. 
He drank himself to death like a good many 
appear to have done in those parts yet he lasted 
and attended to his duties for years. 

As to the few white women in the Pacific, they 
show greater moderation both with regard to 
work and stimulants. They practically do no 
work at all why should they ? the thermometer 



SOCIAL CONDITIONS 75 

showing 90 degrees or more in the shade, and 
being able to get servants at five shillings a 
month and a handful of rice a day. As a matter 
of fact, it would show common breed if they soiled 
their hands with anything. 

A wife of a German official in Rabaul com- 
plained of "being worn out from work." 

" What have you been doing ?" some innocent 
asked. 

" Lately I have been playing tennis two after- 
noons a week, been to two dinners and some after- 
noon parties, besides having had visitors my- 
self." 

" But don't your maids, your native boys, and 
your Chinese cook do the work?" 

" I have had to dress, and it is such a bother." 

" Don't your maids dress you ?" 

" Yes, of course ; but there are always some 
little things they can't do." 

With a tired sigh, the worn-out lady reclined 
in her lounge chair on the verandah, instructing 
one of her maids to stand by in case she wanted 
anything. 

But, after all, considering the cheapness of 
labour, it matters very little whether they work 
or not. Of much more importance is the number 
of children they bear. On that point, however, 
they fall lamentably short, white children being 
even more scare than white women. 

The drinking habit, so easily acquired in the 
tropics, is the great danger in these Pacific 
Islands. Sober, steady men are certainly to be 



76 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

met with, and they generally succeed; but, un- 
fortunately, they do not impress by their num- 
bers. Anyhow, a short stay in Rabaul, and an 
occasional chat with residents versed in local his- 
tory, leaves a sombre impression on the mind. 
Planter after planter has gone to the wall through 
drink; employees in the big concerns, instead of 
putting money by, have got so heavily into debt 
with their firms that they practically have had no 
choice but to run the rope out; officials have, 
through drinking and high living, got into money 
difficulties, dipped into trust funds, and eventually 
blown out their brains. Not long before our ar- 
rival, three German officials had, at short in- 
tervals, finished their careers in this inglorious 
manner. These beautiful islands, embracing all 
the picturesqueness and charm man can set his 
eyes on with a profusion of life-sustaining vege- 
tation, where every thing grows less as the re- 
sult of human efforts than because it can't help 
growing are like a garden of Eden. But, be- 
ware! Like in the biblical Eden, the treacher- 
ous serpent is out for prey. Only those who are 
snake-proof ought ever to enter. 



CHAPTER VII. 



THE AUSTRALIAN FLEET VISITS RABAUL. 

When Great Britain had thrown in her lot with 
France and Russia in the tremendous war sprung 
upon the world in the first days of August, 1914, 
it fell to Australia and New Zealand to attend to 
matters in the South Seas. To Germany's credit 
in the Pacific stood several groups of islands, 
generally known as German New Guinea Pro- 
tectorate, and the Samoan Islands ; also four wire- 
less stations; half-a-dozen war ships; some mail 
steamers and trading ships, and a few odds and 
ends of small importance. Japan, in joining the 
Allies, took matters in hand with regard to Ger- 
many's Chinese possessions, and also forestalled 
the Australians in occupying the Marianen, the 
Carolines, and the Marshall Islands. New Zea- 
land, at the request of the Imperial Government, 
occupied Samoa. 

The task to be taken in hand by the Common- 
wealth with the least possible delay was for her 
new born fleet, in conjunction with the British 
Chinese squadron, to render harmless the various 
wireless stations which formed the connecting 
links between the component parts of German 
power in the Pacific. This wireless apparatus 

77 



78 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

consisted of four high power stations, situated 
at Yap, Nauru, Samoa, and New Britain, and, in 
addition, a number of less powerful plants. The 
one at Yap was destroyed by the British man-of- 
war "Hampshire," and the one at Nauru by the 
Australian cruiser "Melbourne," whereas the 
Australian fleet failed on a visit to New Britain, 
towards the middle of August, to locate the sta- 
tion at Bita Paka, some distance from Rabaul. On 
the arrival of the New Zealanders, the station at 
Samoa was rendered useless by the Germans 
themselves. 

The part Australia was to play in what may be 
termed the Pacific chapter of the great war, was 
laid down in a cablegram to the Governor-General, 
dated London, 6th August, and which read as fol- 
lows : " If your Ministers desire and feel them- 
selves able to seize German wireless stations at 
New Guinea, Yap, and Nauru, we should feel this 
was a great and urgent Imperial service. You 
will realise, however, that any territory occupied 
must, at the conclusion of the war, be at the dis- 
posal of the Imperial Government for purposes 
of ultimate settlement. Other Dominions are 
acting on the same understanding in a similar 
way, and, in particular, suggestion is being made 
to New Zealand with regard to Samoa." 

The Australian flagship was at target practice 
somewhere on the Queensland coast, when the 
Admiral received orders to proceed to Rabaul, 
engage the German Pacific fleet which was sup- 
posed to be sheltering in Simpsonhafen and to 



AUSTRALIAN FLEET AT RABAUL 79 

destroy the wireless station. The Australian 
fleet arrived outside Rabaul during the night of 
llth August, and while the main part of it cruised 
about in St. George's Channel; the cruiser "Syd- 
ney " and the destroyers dashed into Simpson- 
hafen, all hands standing to the guns. The Ger- 
man fleet, however, was not, and had not been, at 
Rabaul, though it was afterwards stated it was 
close at hand and fully aware of the movements 
of the Commonwealth fleet. 

About this visit to New Britain we are in pos- 
session of two records from German sources, one 
of them a carefully worded paragraph in the 
local official paper, the "Amtsblatt,"and the other a 
diary written by a German official and afterwards 
found in the Treasury by one of our men. The 
paragraph in the " Amtsblatt " reads, in transla- 
tion, thus: 

"The English in Eabaul and Herbertshohe. " 
"Early in the morning on 12th August, 1914, appeared 
outside of Blanche Bay the British Australian squadron, con- 
sisting of three destroyers (amongst which was the 'War- 
rego') and two armoured cruisers, one being the 'Australia.' 
The visit was undoubtedly intended for a wireless station, 
which, in their opinion, existed in New Britain. The 
' Warrego ' went to Eabaul, and wanted to know, from the 
Bezirksamtmann, where the wireless station was situated. 
Guncotton and fuse brought along by the landing party 
three officers and twelve men indicated their intention of 
destroying the station. Unable to get any information, they 
threatened, in the name of the Admiral, to bombard Eabaul 
if further use was made of the wireless plant. The 'War- 
rego' then went to Herbertshohe with the same request and 
the same threat of bombardment. After a prolonged and 
fruitless parleying, parties were landed both at Herberts- 
hohe and Eabaul, and the telephone stations at the post 
offices destroyed. Towards 3 o'clock the landing parties 
returned to their ships. The squadron remained in St. 
George's Channel during the night, and had disappeared at 
daybreak the next morning." 



80 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

As the report does not mention anything of the 
fleet, or part of it, having entered Simpsonhafen 
on the foregoing night, the conclusion may be 
drawn that the Germans were unaware of its 
presence. 

Of considerably more interest than the fore- 
going official report is the diary written down 
from hour to hour, as the events occurred, and 
with no deliberate intention of either posing or 
misleading. We have a vision of a treasury clerk 
for the time being sleeping in the treasury, as 
a precaution, on account of the war worked up 
to the high pitch of excitement which undoubtedly 
prevailed right throughout Rabaul on that par- 
ticular day and every now and again rushing to 
his private drawer in order to jot down in his 
note book the "last bulletin" brought to the office 
by a breathless messenger: 

12th August. Telephone message from the planter at 
Put Put states that several ships have been cruising in 
St. George's Channel and on the south coast of Nev 
Mecklenburg. 

At 5.30 a.m. Reported from Herbertshohe that a Bri- 
tish fleet, consisting of one liner, two big, and one 
small cruisers, and three torpedo boats, has appeared in 
the roadstead. 

At 7 a.m. Three torpedo boats appear asking for Mr. 
Whiteman. 

At 9 a.m. A boat lands six officers, amongst them the 
admiral and 12 men. The Bezirksamtmann is examined 
and by telling a lie denies knowledge of the wireless 
station. The Australian fleet threatens to bombard 
Rabaul if the wireless plant is again made use of. 

At 11 a.m. Reported from Herbertshohe that a tor- 
pedo boat has landed a party. 

At 10.30 a.m. Line interrupted. 

At 10.30 a.m. Herr Kleppek sent to the Native Hos- 
pital with orders to cut the line to Herbertshohe should 
the Australians again appear. 



AUSTRALIAN FLEET AT RABAUL 81 

At 2 p.m. The "Warrego" lands three officers, six 
men, and two mechanics. The Post Office is occupied. 
The switchboard is totally destroyed, together with the 
appliances in the office. The main line is cut. The 
British withdraw in the course of half an hour. They 
promise not to destroy private property. Kabaul is 
not to be bombarded. The Bezirksamtmann has sent 
an official, with a flag of truce, to the cruiser em- 
phasising that bombarding undefended places is a breach 
of International Law. The situation is serious. In 
a letter to the Governor whose whereabouts have also 
been kept secret Herbertshohe, as well as Eabaul, is 
threatened with bombardment if the wireless station 
is again made use of. The Governor has instructed 
that the women and children be brought in safety dur- 
ing the night. 

The Australian fleet left at dawn the following 
morning. The threat of bombarding the places 
if the wireless plant was again made use of appa- 
rently did not impress the German authorities, as 
the fleet was scarcely out of sight before messages 
in secret code were sent off from Bita-Paka. 
These were naturally picked up by the Australian 
fleet, which, however, proceeded on its journey, 
having never seriously intended damaging the 
two much alarmed little townships. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



CAPTURE OF GERMAN NEW GUINEA AND 
AUSTRALIAN MILITARY OCCUPATION. 

Simultaneously with Australian men-of-war 
paying their visit to Rabaul, volunteers were being 
enlisted for military service abroad, and, although 
very few knew to what part they were to be sent, 
the general opinion amongst men in the street 
was that the first expeditionary force to leave 
Australia would be directed to German New 
Guinea. 

The force raised for the purpose of seizing Ger- 
man New Guinea has become known as " The 
First Naval and Military Expeditionary Force." 
It consisted of one Infantry Battalion at war 
strength enlisted in Sydney; six companies of 
Naval Reservists drawn respectively from Queens- 
land, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Aus- 
tralia; two Machine-gun Sections; a Section of 
Signallers ; and an Army Medical Corps, the whole 
force numbering slightly over 1500 officers and 
men. The enlistment commenced on llth August, 
and in less than a week the requisite number of 
men were equipped, organised, and according to 
an enthusiastic Sydney newspaper turned into 

sa 



THE CAPTURE 83 

as fine a fighting force as ever bore arms ; indeed 
a marvellous record, if it had been true. Still, 
the raw material, as a whole, was excellent, pos- 
sessing both courage and patriotism, and when 
the expedition under the command of Colonel 
Holmes, on 19th of August, departed from Farm 
Cove on board the liner " Berrima," the chaps 
fully deserved the hearty send off the people in 
Sydney gave them. 

Swinging out through the Heads the "Ber- 
rima " set course towards Moreton Bay, which 
was reached on the 21st. She left again shortly 
before midnight on the same date. Proceeding 
along the Queensland coast, she was met by the 
cruiser "Sydney," and, arriving at Palm Island, a 
little to the south of Townsville, the " Encounter " 
joined the escort. 

Up till the moment the " Berrima " dropped 
anchor at Palm Island everything had been hustle 
and bustle, the boys having been carried away by 
war excitement at such a rate that there had been 
no time for reflection. This was all altered dur- 
ing a prolonged stay at the unforgettable Palm 
Island. The calm surroundings, the grim men-of- 
war with their guns bristling in all directions, the 
landing practices, the musketry course ashore, 
and drilling on board as well as circumstances per- 
mitted, the arrival of submarines and store-ships, 
all contributed to bring home to them that war 
was something more than singing " Rule Britan- 
nia " or knocking off the hats of German resi- 
dents on Manly beach. Yet, in spite of the pos- 



84 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

sibility of being attacked and sent to the bottom 
of the sea by the German Pacific fleet, or riddled 
with bullets on the shores of New Britain, the 
spirit was one of cheerfulness; and when the 
anchors eventually were weighed, and the fleet 
steamed off for Port Moresby, general rejoicing 
prevailed. At Port Moresby a transport, the 
"Kanowna," with troops from Queensland was 
met with, and also the three destroyers, an oil- 
ship, and a couple of colliers. The Queensland 
troops and the destroyers had been sent to de- 
fend the capital of Papua against a possible 
attack by the German fleet, and were afterwards 
to join the expedition to Rabaul. About half way 
to New Britain, and shortly after having been 
joined by the battle-cruiser " Australia," which, 
by the way, had been escorting the New Zea- 
landers to Samoa, the firemen on board the 
"Kanowna" struck work. Having delayed the 
entire fleet for an hour or two, hoping for a settle- 
ment of the dispute, she was, by the Admiral, 
ordered to return to Australia. But even minus 
the " Kanowna " it was a formidable fleet which, 
on llth September, steamed into St. George 
Channel. It consisted of one battle-cruiser, two 
light cruisers, three destroyers, two submarines, 
and one troopship, besides store-ships and col- 
liers. Never before had so many ships at one 
time been seen in these waters, and the hopeless- 
ness of resisting such a force must certainly have 
flashed through the minds of the Germans. 
We will, for a moment, leave the Australian 



THE CAPTURE 85 

fleet in the roadstead outside Herbertshohe, and 
see the effect the war had had on that part of 
the German Pacific Possessions, with which we 
are mainly concerned, and what steps had been 
taken to meet an attack. 

The immediate consequence of the outbreak of 
hostilities was the cutting off of supplies. The 
four German steamers which kept German New 
Guinea in touch with the outer world were either 
captured or had sought refuge in neutral ports. 
The situation was rendered more serious through 
a prolonged drought, whereby even the Bush- 
Kanakas had to tax their ingenuity to the utmost 
to keep soul and body together. The traders and 
planters felt with alarm the responsibility of feed- 
ing vast numbers of contract labourers. The 
government feared a rising of the Chinese popu- 
lation. An entry in the diary previously referred 
to reads: 

Apprehension is felt in Eabaul of a rising of the Chinese 
population, on account of unemployment and threatened 
famine. 

At the out-stations matters were very little 
better, as they depended on Rabaul for supplies. 
Under such circumstances, it afterwards caused 
some astonishment that the Germans offered any 
resistance at all to the Australians, who, in 
reality, came as deliverers to them in their pre- 
dicament. It must, however, be borne in mind 
that it was in the beginning of the war. The Ger- 
mans in Rabaul were over-confident in the power 
of the German army, and elated by highly coloured 
wireless messages of German victories, no doubt 



86 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

existed in their minds as to matters being settled 
in Europe in a few months. Probably they ex- 
pected protection from the German Pacific fleet, 
and, for that reason, deemed it necessary to de- 
fend the wireless station so as to keep in touch 
with the admiral. 

They had, in their midst, two German officers 
of the regular army, and, approximately, fifty re- 
servists, including officers, non-commissioned 
officers and men. Fifteen more were to come 
from Madang*, and, besides, there were the native 
police constabulary, numbering about 250, thus 
bringing their forces up to over 300 rifles. This 
the Germans considered sufficient to at least beat 
off a landing party from one or more warships. 
As for food supply, there was the possibility of 
some coming through from Dutch New Guinea. 

Preparations for defending the place were actu- 
ally commenced before war had been declared. 
News of the troubled state of affairs in Europe 
reached Rabaul on the 28th July. On the 1st 
August the Governor issued a proclamation noti- 
fying the population of their liability to serve the 
State in case of war. 

On the 5th August observation posts were 
stationed at different places. 

On the 6th August an extra edition of the 
"Amtsblatt" was published, containing an offi- 
cial announcement of the outbreak of war, and 

*The schooner, carrying this party, stranded on the north 
coast of New Britain, and they did not arrive till after the 
Germans had surrendered. 



THE CAPTURE 87 

those liable for military service were mobilised. 
Also, it was announced that the seat of govern- 
ment would be transferred to Toma some twenty 
miles from Rabaul. 

On the 7th August all British residents were 
arrested, and their mail seized. In fact, the 
whole time, from the outbreak of war till the 
arrival of the Australians, was one feverish get- 
ting ready for emergencies. The British resi- 
dents were transferred from Namanula to the 
Baining mountains ; telegraph and telephone com- 
munications were re-established shortly after they 
had been destroyed by the Australian fleet; trea- 
sury funds were transferred to Toma and buried 
somewhere in the bush; supplies were stored at 
different places; and the military forces recog- 
nisable by green bands round both arms, but 
otherwise without uniform were sent to Toma 
and Bita Paka. Trenches were dug and mines 
laid on the approaches to the latter place. On the 
arrival of the Australians the main body of the 
German forces remained with the Governor at 
Toma, while a smaller detachment approxi- 
mately a dozen reservists and at the most a hun- 
dred native troops manned the trenches on the 
road to the wireless station, or they were con- 
cealed in trees and potholes along the road as 
snipers. 

The Australians, before leaving Sydney, had 
obtained as much information about Rabaul and 
surrounding country as possible. They possessed 
a map of the place showing the roads and main 



88 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

features of the district, and they knew where- 
abouts to look for the wireless station. It was 
considered important to seize the wireless plant as 
quickly as possible, and for this reason two parties, 
consisting of twenty-five men each, were landed 
at daybreak in order to locate it, one of them 
being landed at Kokopo and the other at Kaba- 
kaul, the latter under command of Lieut. Bowen. 
Having proceeded some distance inland, con- 
tinually harassed by snipers, Lieut. Bowen's party 
suddenly struck determined opposition from a 
trench across the road, and, being unable to make 
further progress, he sent an urgent message for 
assistance. Before this arrived, a couple of 
hours later, the little force had suffered consider- 
ably from the enemy's fire; Captain Pockly 
A.M.C., arid one of the men were fatally wounded, 
Lieut. Bowen lay stretched on the ground with a 
bullet wound in the top of his skull, and two more 
had received slighter wounds. 

The first reinforcements, under Lieut. Com- 
mander Elwell, also suffered from the fire of 
snipers, who, unseen by our men, seemed to be 
everywhere, and the Australians had to dodge in 
and out the jungle for protection. Having ad- 
vanced almost to the first trench, Elwell ordered 
his men to fix bayonets, and, with drawn sword, 
springing out into the middle of the road to lead 
the intended charge, he was dropped to the 
ground mortally wounded. A second reinforce- 
ment arrived a little later, bringing two machine 
guns with them. Soon the native troops com- 



THE CAPTURE 89 

menced to crouch down in the bottom of the 
trench, and could not be made to show themselves, 
and eventually the officer in command, Lieut. 
Kempf , stuck up a white flag and gave himself up 
as a prisoner. After some forceful persuasion, 
Lieut. Kempf, with a white flag, consented to 
accompany the Australians to the next trench, and 
request its occupants to surrender. Some of 
them, however, bolted into the bush and opened 
fire. All opposition being eventually silenced, 
the road to Bita Paka was open, and the wireless 
station was taken possession of in the evening. 

It is outside the scope of this book to give a 
more detailed account of the clashing of arms in 
New Britain. Even when drawn in the most 
dramatic colours, it naturally fades into 
nothingness compared with the achievements 
of the Australians in Gallipoli and France, 
and it suffices to say that those who fell 
in German New Guinea were the first to give 
their lives to the Empire, and that our boys did 
the job with credit to themselves. None regretted 
more than they that it was all over in a day, and 
that most of them were out of it altogether. Ex- 
cluding the crew of submarine AE1, who were all 
lost, our casualties were two officers and four 
men killed, and one officer and three men wounded. 
The Germans had one man killed and one wounded, 
and, in addition, thirty to forty native troops 
killed or wounded. Nineteen Germans some of 
them non-combatants and fifty-six native troops 
were taken prisoners. 



90 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

Those who have passed along the narrow road 
leading to Bita Paka, and seen the impenetrable 
jungle on each side, wonder at our losses being so 
slight. A comparatively small force of well- 
trained soldiers sheltered in trenches, or hidden 
in the bush, would have caused great slaughter 
amongst our men. The explanation is that the 
native troops, while excellent in the bush when 
opposing men of their own race, have no heart for 
fighting when facing white men. They get ner- 
vous, shoot at random, and bolt at the first oppor- 
tunity. The coloured warriors failed the Ger- 
mans, and the mines treacherously concealed 
under the surface of the road failed them. The 
non-commissioned officer charged with firing the 
mines had been seriously wounded, and was lying 
helpless on the ground when the Australians 
passed over them. 

If the wireless station had not fallen into our 
hands the first day it was decided by Admiral 
Patey and Colonel Holmes to shell the road the 
following morning, and immediately afterwards 
to launch an attack by the greater part of the 
force. 

Later in the day the " Berrima " proceeded to 
Rabaul, which place was occupied and garrisoned 
without any resistance being offered. 

At 3 o'clock in the afternoon of Sunday, the 
13th September, a parade of all available troops 
under command of Colonel Holmes was held at 
an open square, now known as " Proclamation 
Square," where, during the forenoon, a flagstaff 



THE CAPTURE 91 

had been erected. The troops were formed up 
in three sides of a square, while the fourth side 
was occupied by the Admiral and his officers, 
Royal Marines, and residents of Rabaul. Pre- 
cisely at 3 p.m. the flag was unfurled and solemnly 
saluted by the troops, the ships in the harbour at 
the same time co-operating by firing a royal 
salute. The National Anthem was sung by all 
present, and three cheers given for His Majesty 
the King. The proclamation of military occupa- 
tion was then read by the Brigade Major, now 
Lieut.-Colonel Heritage, after which the troops 
marched past in column of route and again 
saluted the flag. 

The German governor was still at Toma sur- 
rounded by his officials and the main part of his 
military forces. The Admiral sent a threatening 
message, asking him to surrender, but he refused, 
giving as reason that, as he was merely acting as 
governor during the absence in Germany of Dr. 
Hahl, he had no power to do so. The result was 
that the " Encounter," on the morning of the 14th 
September, shelled the ridge in the direction of 
Toma, while Lieut.-Col. Watson, at the head of 
four companies of Infantry, a machine gun sec- 
tion, and a twelve pounder, set out to impress on 
Dr. Haber the seriousness of the situation. The 
expedition brought the desired result, inasmuch 
as the German governor made up his mind to 
meet Col. Holmes the following morning at 
Herbertshohe. 

On the above historical meeting terms were dis- 



92 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

cussed upon which the German New Guinea Pro- 
tectorate was to be formally handed over to the 
British, the surrender agreement, in its final 
form, receiving the signatures of the responsible 
parties three days later. 

On 22nd September the " Berrima," escorted 
by the " Australia," the " Encounter," and the 
French cruiser "Montcalm," left Rabaul for 
Friedrich Wilhelmshafen, or Madang, as it is now 
called. This place was reached two days later, 
and occupied without opposition. The German 
flag was lowered, and the British flag hoisted, 
while two companies were landed to garrison the 
place. The head official, Dr. Gebhard, escaped 
being made prisoner. He, having with him his 
force of native troops, had spent most of his time 
since war broke out in the mountains some miles 
to the rear of Madang. On the day of our arrival 
he fled to Alexishafen, twelve miles further north, 
where the German auxiliary cruiser "Comoran" 
was hiding. It was unfortunate that the Aus- 
tralian fleet did not stay a little longer and pay a 
visit to Alexishafen, as not only the " Comoran," 
but also "Eitel Friedrich," would have been cap- 
tured, the latter then a collier to the German 
Pacific fleet, but later a notorious raider enter- 
ing Alexishafen an hour after our fleet left 
Madang. During the first evening the Austra- 
lians spent in Madang, a German police master 
saw his chance to get past the sentries to Alexis- 
hafen, with news of the British occupation. The 
" Comoran " carried a couple of guns, and the 



THE CAPTURE 93 

Australian fleet having left in the afternoon, the 
commander desired to make a surprise attack on 
the garrison during the night, but was held back 
by Dr. Gebhard, on the ground that the Possession 
had been formally surrendered by the represen- 
tative of the German crown, and that the German 
.residents would only be made to suffer for a 
breach of the agreement. 

Other out-stations were by degree taken pos- 
session of. Thus, at Nauru, the British flag was 
hoisted on 6th October; Kawieng, the principal 
station at New Ireland, was occupied on 17th 
October; the Admiralty Islands on 19th Novem- 
ber ; Kieta, the Government station in the German 
Solomons, on 9th December. 

The government offices in Rabaul and at the 
out-stations, immediately after the occupation, 
were manned by qualified Britishers taken from 
the Force. The governor's yacht, the " Komet," 
and all the inter-island steamers some belonging 
to the government, others to the North German 
Lloyd and the New Guinea Company had been 
either captured or taken over. 

The roughest work in taking over German New 
Guinea was naturally done by the first British 
administrator, Col. Holmes, and those serving 
under him. Col. Holmes remained in power less 
than four months, and, considering everything 
had been thrown into confusion by the arrival of 
the British and the prompt deportation of all but 
a few of the German officials that all records 
were in the German language, and the Possession 



94 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

is scattered over a vast expanse of water it 
would seem he did remarkably well. Neverthe- 
less, on his return to Australia he was severely 
criticised for the easy terms given the Germans, 
and for agreeing to German laws remaining in 
operation during the occupation. Quite possibly 
Col. Holmes was greater as a soldier than as a 
diplomat his distinguished career, later on, in 
Gallipoli and France, and his promotion to Major 
General, proved him to have possessed high mili- 
tary qualifications. Still, it must be borne in mind 
that most people at that time reckoned on a short 
war with a decisive victory for the Allies. 

Dr. Haber, on his way through America back 
to Germany, boasted that he had bluffed Col. 
Holmes by leading him to believe he had a con- 
siderable military force at his command. He did 
nothing of the sort. At the conferences, at which 
I was present as interpreter, though my services 
were not required, Dr. Haber, speaking excellent 
English, certainly repeatedly referred to " his 
forces," but Col. Holmes knew quite well these 
were not great. What may have influenced him 
was that the German Pacific fleet was still intact, 
and that if the Germans in New Britain had re- 
sorted to guerilla warfare, which the natural con- 
ditions so eminently favours, they could have in- 
flicted considerable losses on the Australians, and 
much delayed the effective occupation of the Pro- 
tectorate. This, for political reasons, was unde- 
sirable, Australia not being the only power in- 
terested in the Pacific. Also, the men serving 



THE CAPTURE 95 

under Col. Holmes were much criticised, and 
one or two labour members in the Commonwealth 
Parliament made some very scathing remarks for 
things done, or supposed to have been done, by 
them. Having learned more about active warfare 
since then, it is now evident to everybody that the 
criticism was unjustifiable, and that in reality the 
Australians in German New Guinea conducted 
themselves in a manner eminently creditable to 
their country. Some Germans, who flogged a 
harmless British missionary, were merely flogged 
in return. What would have happened if some 
Belgians or Serbians had thrashed a German 
clergyman ? No private property was destroyed, 
and not a female white, yellow, or black in any 
way molested. No looting worth mentioning took 
place, and probably not in a single instance for 
the value of the things, but merely to secure 
mementoes. There was no chance of gaining 
Victoria Crosses or Military Medals, nor of 
gathering up on the battle fields German helmets 
or bayonets; yet, our men naturally desired to 
bring back to their relations some visible tokens 
of having taken part in an event which, from 
Australian point of view, was of considerable his- 
torical significance. Besides, with every mail 
news came to hand of wholesale looting by the 
Germans in France. Was anything more human 
than to reason: "If the Germans loot art trea- 
sures from the castles of France, why should the 
Australians scruple helping themselves to me- 
mentoes of small value from vacated bungalows 



96 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

in German New Guinea?" A German lady told 
me she had not lost as much as a fowl, and Ger- 
man residents have repeatedly admitted the Aus- 
tralians showed a moderation which would have 
been foreign to German soldiers. On one occa- 
sion some drunken Germans, from the balcony of 
the New Guinea Company's club building, com- 
menced passing caustic remarks at a party of 
Australian soldiers marching by. The Austra- 
lians contented themselves in the evening with 
entering the building and ousting the Germans, 
without doing any of them bodily harm. The 
officer commanding the garrison, instead of hav- 
ing the offending Germans deported to Australia, 
quietly took over the building, and turned it into 
a recreation room for our men. And, again, 
when, on one occasion, news of a German victory 
reached Rabaul, and the employees in two of the 
stores openly demonstrated their joy by a great 
drinking bout in the evening on a verandah fac- 
ing the main street, German patriotic songs and 
shouts of " Hoch der Kaiser " resounded all over 
the place , yet, not till it actually developed into an 
intentional affront to the British were they 
arrested, and even then the severest punishment 
inflicted on any one of them was a fine of 10. 

The several claims on the British Government, 
lodged by Germans in the Treasury at Rabaul for 
the loss of property, would seem to contradict 
some of the above statements. Many of these 
claims, however, even at the time when lodged, 
would not have stood close investigation. The 




w 



THE CAPTURE 97 

following rather interesting case may be taken 
as an example : 

One event occurring annually eclipsed every- 
thing else happening in Rabaul, viz., the visit of 
the German Pacific fleet, and preparations on a 
big scale were always made to meet the occasion. 
The ladies would send to Sydney for new dresses ; 
perspiring Kanakas would be doing up the streets ; 
the stores would lay in tremendous stocks of 
champagne, wine, spirits, cigars, etc. 

The German fleet was to have arrived in Rabaul 
during August, but, owing to the outbreak of hos- 
tilities, did not keep the engagement. Particu- 
larly the New Guinea Company had prepared to 
do big business. Unfortunately, the major por- 
tion of the company's warehouse had been com- 
mandeered by the Australians and transformed 
into barracks for the troops, who were cut off 
from the big stock of wine, beer, and spirit merely 
by a flimsy partition. When the New Guinea 
Company gradually developed into a benevolent 
institution, from time to time making a certain 
number of Australian soldiers happy, very little 
can be said against the latter. As one man put 
it: "The Germans empty the wine cellars in 
France why should we not empty the stores of 
the New Guinea Company, in which the Kaiser is 
one of the leading shareholders ?" A claim on the 
British Government was, of course, presented to 
the administrator, but as it was discovered the 
company's own employees had been as unprofit- 
able customers as the Australian soldiers the lat- 



98 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

ter naturally being blamed for the lot the claim 
was at least for the time not entertained. 

Only two offences of a graver nature took 
place, and in both cases the offenders were 
severely dealt with. The one case was that of a 
soldier robbing a German missionary, and the 
other that of three members of the military police 
robbing the proprietor of a Chinese gambling den. 
Yet, compared with the hideous crimes insepar- 
able from war, even such cases become so trivial 
that they are hardly worth mentioning. In fact, 
when we consider that the first force to leave Aus- 
tralia, numbering 1500 men, was, so to speak, 
gathered in from the streets of a big city in the 
course of a couple of days, and sent on active ser- 
vice with less than a week in camp, their conduct 
in German New Guinea speaks indeed well for the 
commendable qualities possessed by the young 
Australians. 

In the German New Guinea Protectorate were, 
in some measure for administrative purpose, in- 
cluded the Caroline Islands, the Marshall Islands, 
and the Marianen Islands, except Guam. To take 
possession of these groups, a second and smaller 
expeditionary force left Australia in November on 
board the "Eastern," Colonel Pethebridge being 
in command. Before this expedition reached its 
destination, information was received of a 
Japanese occupation, and the "Eastern" was, 
therefore, directed to Rabaul instead. Colonel 
Holmes and his force, at their own request, re- 
turned to Australia, with a view to further active 



THE CAPTURE 99 

service, and Colonel Pethebridge assumed the ad- 
ministration, commencing on 8th January, 1915. 

Colonel Pethebridge's successful administra- 
tion of German New Guinea has so often been re- 
ferred to that little remains to be said. His 
organising talent, his capacity for work, and a 
happy knack of getting the best result from, at 
times, inferior material, soon made themselves 
felt, and German New Guinea has probably never 
been governed better than during his reign. His 
readiness to recognise good work done, and over- 
look mistakes unintentionally made; his courtesy 
and goodwill, to even the humblest private, gained 
him the affection of everybody serving under him. 
Unfortunately for the colony, continuous attacks 
of malarial fever eventually compelled him to re- 
turn to Australia, where, shortly afterwards, he 
died. For the services he rendered the Empire 
he was promoted to Brigadier General, and some 
months before his death knighted by His Majesty 
the King. 

The interval between Sir Samuel Pethebridge, 
and his successor, Brigadier-General Johnston, 
was filled ably by the Chief Judge, Lieut.-Colonel 
Seaforth Mackenzie. 

General Johnston's ascension to the governor- 
ship of German New Guinea marked a consider- 
able change. Pethebridge had been a civil ser- 
vant all his life, and had done very little soldier- 
ing. In his opinion, the principal task was that 
of carrying on and, where possible, improve the 
administration of the Protectorate, the likelihood 



100 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

of an attack by German raiders even should 
such enter the Pacific being comparatively small. 
General Johnston is a wealthy furniture dealer, 
and fond of soldiering, which to him is a hobby. 
He made no secret of his dislike for administrative 
work, and the "Wolf" incident offered the neces- 
sary excuse for bringing the military side of the 
occupation to the fore. He obtained heavy guns 
from Australia to defend the entrance to Rabaul, 
and also what he termed his "Striking Force" to 
man the front trenches in case of a German 
attack. To make the original force in Rabaul 
more efficient as a Militia, he instituted a course 
of rigorous training. His efforts were not alto- 
gether successful, and he was continually 
struggling against great difficulties. His "Strik- 
ing Force" consisted to a considerable extent of 
soldiers who had been invalided home from 
France, and were unfit for service in a tropical 
climate. Generally, over 30 per cent, were ill, and 
it proved impossible to get men up from Australia 
as fast as they were returned as medically unfit. 
Already, before armistice was declared, General 
Johnston's "Striking Force" had practically ceased 
to exist. The members of the Militia, who were 
called upon continually to drill, in case of military 
emergency arising, and at the same time carry on 
administrative work, were discontented, and, 
being deprived of their band, their newspaper, and 
generally too tired after the day's work to get up 
entertainments or indulge in sports, wished more 
than ever that war would come to an end. 



THE CAPTURE 101 

Soldiers, who had served both in France and Ger- 
man New Guinea, frequently remarked they would 
rather be in France ; and it is doubtful if the news 
of armistice anywhere was received with more 
delight than in German New Guinea. 



CHAPTER IX. 



GARRISON LIFE. 

Looking back on those first days in Rabaul, it 
seems like a moving picture, the films of which 
run into thousands of feet, and from the begin- 
ning to the end rather pleasing to the eye. 

Let uslmagine the film taken from a captive 
balloon suspended over Rabaul. We see the tree 
lined avenues and the jetty alive with perspiring 
Australians, loitering brown skinned natives, and 
busy civilians. At first this ant-like manifesta- 
tion of life appears to move without aim and ob- 
ject, as if thrown into confusion ; but soon several 
main currents are discerned one leading to and 
from the wharf, another to and from the canteen, 
others to and from the post office, the Garrison 
Headquarters, Chinatown, the principal barracks, 
the native compound, and other places of im- 
portance. 

A ship has just arrived from Sydney with pro- 
vision and mail. It is high time, for the last fort- 
night the troops had existed on tinned herrings 
and biscuits, while in the whole of Rabaul not a 
drop of beer is left. The men had grumbled, and 
the officers felt alarmed. Anyhow, the ship turns 
up at last, and everybody is jubilant. One fatigue 
party has been detailed to take out the cargo, 

102 



GARRISON LIFE 103 

and another to transport it to the stores. There 
they are unaccustomed to wharf lumping 
battling with heavy boxes of foodstuffs drag- 
ging along with heavy truck loads of necessaries 
perspiring till the sweat runs in streams almost 
down into their boots, but, nevertheless, cheerful 
shouting, yelling, and cracking jokes at the 
stupid Kanakas, who are supposed to help, but can 
do nothing from amazement at seeing so much 
kai-kai* much more than they ever dreamt 
could possibly exist and taken completely off 
their feet by observing these funny white fellows 
from Australia doing manual labour. 

At the post office another party has been de- 
tailed to sort the mail. Never before has such 
an earnest lot of sorters been seen in Rabaul, nor 
so many anxiously waiting men hovering about 
the post office and not for an hour or two, but 
right till the last misaddressed newspaper has 
been extricated from the place. 

The post office is, of course, everywhere a most 
popular edifice, but there was something which, 
during early military occupation, made the 
Rabaul post office particularly so. The German 
postage stamps had been seized and surcharged 
for ordinary uses, and these stamps were offered 
for sale in the usual way. Whenever a new lot of 
stamps arrived the post office was absolutely 
rushed, and a long queue of soldiers could be seen 
patiently awaiting their turn to be attended to. 
Most of the stamps were bought to be taken to 

'Native name for food. 



104 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

Australia as curios, very few dreaming that long 
before the war was to close these bits of paper 
would be worth, in London and New York, thou- 
sand and thousands of pounds, some of the higher 
values realising 50 a piece. "The Government 
Gazette" a combination of official journal and 
ordinary newspaper, the publication of which was 
authorised by Colonel Holmes proved another 
big draw, and the first issue, especially, was sold 
in thousands of copies. 

Almost as busy, and not less popular, was the 
wet canteen. There always seemed to be three 
bodies of men outside the canteen one lined up 
awaiting their turn to be served another push- 
ing and fighting and elbowing themselves to- 
wards the windows and a third, a pace or two 
distant from the mass of struggling humanity, 
contentedly emptying their glasses. This per- 
sonified symbol of expectation, achievement, and 
bliss still lingers in my mind, and I often wonder 
how many of those, who once lined up outside the 
Rabaul canteen, when later in life struggling with 
a pint of beer, wish they had a thirst on them as 
in those days of the bygone. 

Close to the wet canteen was the Quarter- 
master's store, which was another much fre- 
quented place. Rations were either drawn daily 
or weekly, and it was the cooks or the duly autho- 
rised -Kanakas 'that -drew them. " The latter gave 
very little trouble they presented their written 
authority, and took what they got. The cooks, 
however, grumbled when there were no potatoes 



GARRISON LIFE 105 

or no onions, or nothing of this or that ; and there 
was always something upon which the troops had 
to be put on short rations or go without. The 
men grumbled at the cooks, and naturally the 
cooks grumbled at the Quartermaster-sergeant. 
Still, though the arguments at times were heated, 
they never came to blows, but acted as safety 
valves, minimising the monotony of every day 
life. 

The barracks were "home," to which the troops 
could always go when not on duty or tired of 
being elsewhere, and, though they were rough, 
they offered some comfort, and, like all barracks, 
witnessed much youthful mirth and many happy 
hours spent in reading letters from home, or 
newspapers and magazines sent by loving friends, 
or in sweet dreams about fair maidens, the boys 
generally ending up by gathering into small 
groups to tell yarns and exchange experiences in 
life, or to enjoy a quiet game of poker. 

The Garrison Headquarters, from a military 
point of view, was, of course, the most important 
place of all. It was open day and night any 
possible attempt by the German Pacific fleet to 
interfere with British occupation would at once 
be reported to Garrison Headquarters by sentries 
posted on all the loftiest peaks, the bugler would 
call every available man to arms, and the position 
detailed for defence taken up. From Garrison 
Headquarters, too, were sent out orders to regu- 
late business for the following day and a whole 
pamphlet of standing orders as to what the troops 



106 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

were allowed to do and what not. These were, 
however, in many instances disregarded. Thus 
the men would persist in drinking unboiled water, 
sleeping without mosquito nets, and eating fruit 
bought from the natives without first submerging 
it in boiling water, all to the annoyance of the 
medical officers, thus tending to keep the hospital 
busy. 

Of other buildings playing an important role in 
the military drama staged at Rabaul, may be 
mentioned the Administration Headquarters; the 
treasury, securely watched by a strong guard. 
Here locally manufactured treasury notes were 
issued or exchanged for German marks to save 
the gold the expedition had brought from Aus- 
tralia from falling into German and Chinese 
hands. 

To go to Chinatown was the same as "doing the 
block." The traditional bobbies, requesting 
people to move on, were represented by armed 
sentries demanding passes, but who were always 
open to reason, if taken the right way. It goes 
without saying that the supply of beer in the can- 
teen was much restricted and quite inadequate to 
satisfy the hardened beer swipers, of which, 
naturally, there were a few. Chinatown, how- 
ever, came to the rescue, and every tailor and 
bootmaker was a sly-grog vendor as well. Still, 
drunkenness was not prevalent amongst the Aus- 
tralian soldiers in Rabaul, and, apart from the 
levies occasionally made on the New Guinea Com- 
pany, only one case is of sufficient interest to be 



GARRISON LIFE 107 

committed to history : Several casks of rum had 
been sent from Sydney for the men to take to- 
gether with quinine. These casks were left in a 
shed on the wharf, and, somehow, a number of 
men managed to evade the sentry, get hold of a 
boat, and paddle it under the wharf. A hole was 
bored up through the floor and into one of the 
casks, and the rum was gathered into buckets and 
brought to the barracks. The exploit, however, 
had been too successful to be repeated. 

On Saturday afternoons, and sometimes on 
Wednesdays, well attended and keenly contested 
sports were held at one of the squares, the officers 
joining the men Herbertshohe versus Rabaul, or 
the right half of the Battalion versus the left 
half. All sorts of athletic sports were indulged 
in, prizes being supplied from the canteen funds, 
and bookmakers attended by the stereotyped 
clerks taking bets. Nothing was missing not 
even the spontaneous outbursts of enthusiastic 
barrackers nor the usual incidents which cause 
merriment. Who of those present will ever for- 
get the corpulent Major B steaming away in 

a footrace, hard pressed by the grey haired 
harbour master or the football matches 
nothing being visible but a huge noisy cloud of 
dust rolling forwards and backwards and, when 
it was all over, a number of staggering men black 
beyond description, and with big muddy creeks 
running down their cheeks. Nor will the aquatic 
sports be forgotten, with their variation of skil- 
ful performances; the queer rigouts, and the 
photographer's despair when prevented from tak- 



108 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

ing films for Australian picture shows, owing to 
some of the lads having left their bathing gowns 
behind. In fact, who of those who took part in 
it all will ever forget Rabaul? When many a 
high class concert of the bygone is blurred in the 
minds, the concerts and the locally produced farces 
performed on the crude stage, erected on a Rabaul 
verandah the audience stretched on the grass 
right down to the water's edge will live, while 
odd lines of humorous songs by local scribblers 
principally dealing with slips made by this, that, 
or the other comrade, and for which he had been 
brought on the carpet will be fresh in memory. 
And when the day was over the delightful tropical 
evening, the breath of air tempered by the sea, 
the merry voices and queer instruments rendering 
"It's a long way to Tipperary" and other popular 
songs right up till the last post sounded, when 
Rabaul would sink into soft, silent, darkness. It 
seems a pity that memories like these should be 
clouded by the unfair criticism of people who were 
never in Rabaul, and, consequently, do not know. 

The officers naturally enjoyed more liberty 
than the men a liberty, however, which was 
never abused, and I do not remember having seen 
a single case in the mess or outside where an 
officer of the first force was any the worse for 
liquor. They shared with the men the heat of 
the tropics, the disappointment of having seen so 
little fighting, the monotony of garrison life, and 
all the rest which made the stay in German New 
Guinea unenviable. Only a few privileged ones 



GARRISON LIFE 109 

were able to get horses or vehicles, and occasion- 
ally get away from the place. About half-a-dozen 
officers had a fairly good time at neighbouring 
plantations, principally owned by half-caste 
Samoans or Scandinavians; still, no impropriety 
is known to have taken place, and the only event 
which might have given rise to serious comment 
was a number of officers having as a joke ac- 
cepted an invitation to celebrate the Kaiser's 
birthday at one of the plantations. The owner 
a German was in the old country, and the wife 
a half-caste Samoan was looking after the 
place. Pro-German in a broadminded sort of 
way, and probably bored out of her life by the 
lonely existence on the plantation, she had made 
up her mind to celebrate the anniversary of the 
Kaiser's birth in the good old-fashioned way with 
plenty of champagne and all the rest, the invited 
guests being all British officers. The Brigade 
Major, however, got to hear of it, and the birth- 
day party did not come off. 

Towards the end of the six months, for which 
the Force had signed on, the men commenced to 
grow restless. Discipline had never been their 
strong point, and as time went on it became more 
slack. It is a question if they had ever felt them- 
selves as soldiers they certainly anticipated the 
time when they again would be civilians. Cir- 
cumstances, however, came to the rescue, and even 
during those, to the officers, somewhat trying last 
weeks excesses of a serious character did not 
occur. The wet season had at last set in, and 



110 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

fever commenced to rage. Half the garrisons at 
the out-stations were down with fever, and as 
these fever patients gradually were brought to 
Rabaul, the malady spread with such rapidity that 
the hospitals could accommodate them no more. 
The announcements of occasional deaths, or of 
this or that comrade being "very low," gave food 
for reflection, and was a decided damper on the 
spirits of the garrison. When at last the troop- 
ship arrived with Colonel Pethebridge and his 
men, a sigh of relief went through the whole place. 
To the departing Force the end was in sight, while 
to the one relieving the time was dawning when 
they would be masters in German New Guinea. 
The two Forces, though only together a little 
while, were never on friendly terms. Pethe- 
bridge's men called Holmes's men "babies," who 
wanted to get back to their mothers and to the 
kindergartens they had only recently left, while 
the latter called the former "Druids," who had 
done their dash and were too old to be sent to 
Europe. 

When, eventually, after much excitement and 
quite a number of farewell concerts, the troop- 
ship steamed slowly out of Simpsonhaven, the 
men on board gave vent to their feelings in ring- 
ing cheers. Their work in German New Guinea 
had been completed. Was it worth cavilling over 
a few of them having fallen short? They were 
on their way home now not riddled with bullets 
or covered with scars, but in many cases invalided 
for years to come by fever germs. To this is 



GARRISON LIFE 111 

attached neither glory nor pension. Again, many 
other fine lads were inoculated with a taste for 
liquor and gambling acquired in the barracks. 
Did these men most of whom, by the way, re- 
enlisted for service in Europe when all is said, 
not make a worthy sacrifice at the shrine of the 
British Empire? 

Garrison life in Rabaul soon lost its youthful- 
ness, its colour and mirth. The new Battalion 
Commander and his first-lieutenant were both 
stern disciplinarians, and the Force having been 
much reduced, they were able to watch the doings 
of the individual soldier more closely than their 
predecessors had been able to. The words "ex- 
tenuating circumstances" and "mercy" did not 
appear in their vocabulary, and the list of punish- 
ments daily meted out became so alarmingly large 
that General Pethebridge at last intervened on the 
part of the men, and, at a dinner in the officers' 
mess, expressed his disapproval of all this un- 
wonted sternness. A complete change took place 
when he himself, to his office of administrator, 
added that of Battalion Commander. Realising 
the war would last for a long time, everything 
tending to make life in Rabaul less monotonous 
and occupy the men's minds was promoted, such 
as rifle shooting and miniature rifle shooting for 
prizes or trophies, tennis, cricket, and other forms 
of sport. Brass instruments were obtained from 
Melbourne, and a garrison band started. A 
machine for moving pictures was secured, films 
being sent from Australia free of cost. The in- 



112 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

auguration of a monthly newspaper, "The Rabaul 
Record," was approved of, and also the formation 
of permanent entertainments and sports com- 
mittees. 

Thus, life at Rabaul, during General Pethe- 
bridge's regime, was made as pleasant as it was 
within human power to make it. Yet even then 
time was dragging, and, regarding those serving 
at the out-stations, very little could be done to im- 
prove their conditions. All in all, it was no sine- 
cure to be in German New Guinea, and the autho- 
rities experienced considerable difficulties in keep- 
ing up the Force to the strength necessary for 
the carrying on of administrative duties. It has 
been stated that it requires more courage to be a 
good infantryman than a good artilleryman, be- 
cause the former at times meets the enemy face 
to face, while the latter only sees him through 
a telescope. In German New Guinea, it took a 
microscope to see him. Yet, the many graves 
scattered throughout the Protectorate amongst 
them quite a number of Australian graves testi- 
fies to the enemy being there all the same. The 
loneliness at these far away outposts could not be 
seen by any manner or means, but it was felt 
almost to desperation, and I have often thought 
that those who served at these places for six 
shillings a day, or even a little more, were true 
patriots. When they became ill, there were no 
kindhearted nurses to cheer them up, and, in most 
cases, no doctor within possible reach, no loving 
hearts to bring them flowers and presents 



GARRISON LIFE 113 

nothing to inspire hope, and strengthen their 
desire to live. Scores of miles inland, on the 
fever-stricken shores of the Sepik river, is a 
lonely soldier's grave hidden under dense jungle 
probably forgotten by all except his mate who 
buried him, and who himself, single-handed, 
stuck to his post till weeks later more dead than 
alive he was withdrawn. 

Surely the comrades whose bones now rest in 
the soil of late German New Guinea, and those 
who came back to Australia shortly to die 
amongst them their beloved chief, Brigadier- 
General Pethebridge must be included amongst 
the noble dead, who self-sacrificingly gave their 
lives to the Empire. 



CHAPTER X. 



NEW BRITAIN. 

In the struggle for precedence between the coast 
of the New Guinea mainland and the island of 
New Britain witnessed by the first years of Ger- 
man occupation the latter had already, before 
the nineteenth century closed, reached the 
ascendency. When, finally, the government 
offices were transferred from Finschhafen to 
Herbertshohe, the predominence of New Britain 
became firmly established. Ever since that island 
has grown in importance, and for a number of 
years been the recognised centre for all activity 
in the Possession. 

This activity, as far as New Britain is con- 
cerned, is confined to the eastern corner of the 
island, or to the Gazelle Peninsula, of which, 
again, only a narrow and broken strip of coast- 
line really counts for anything. This strip of 
land, commencing a short distance south of Cape 
Gazelle, abutting on Blanche Bay, interrupted by 
the mountainous Mother Peninsula, and continued 
on the north coast towards the Baining Mountain 
Range, gains its significance by encompassing 
Simpsonhafen, the best harbour in the Posses- 
sion, Rabaul the capital, Kokopo another flourish- 
in 



NEW BRITAIN 115 

ing settlement, and, in addition, extensive coco- 
nut plantations. 

On the east coast the plantations are gradually 
creeping further south, the smoothly rounded 
mountains, of but slight elevation, forming no 
serious obstacles. On the north coast the pre- 
cipitous and lofty Baining Mountains, however, 
for a considerable distance, bar any further exten- 
sion. Stretching from Weberhafen, in a south- 
easterly direction, and only separated from the 
above mentioned belt of plantations by a few miles 
of mountain plateau, is an extensive well-watered, 
low-lying elongation of undulated country. The 
native population here is very small, thus form- 
ing a negligible hindrance to the advance of the 
white man. It is, therefore, predicted that this 
low land, in no distant future, will become the 
scene of considerable agricultural activity. 

Regarding the rest of the peninsula, though it 
has been traversed, very little is known of it 
gorges, steep slopes, turbulent rivulets, hostile 
natives, and almost impenetrable vegetation make 
exploration exceedingly difficult. Seen from the 
summit of Mount Mother, it appears that patches 
of grass country is intermixed with patches of 
forest, the eucalyptus, Naudiniana, being much in 
evidence. 

Towards south and west the view is barred by 
the blue-tinted Baining Mountains, which rise to 
an elevation of approximately 5000 feet, and con- 
stitute the backbone of the peninsula. This 
rugged and densely wooded range gives birth to 



116 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

numerous mountain streams and watercourses, 
through which, especially in the rainy season, 
huge volumes of water pour into the sea. None 
of these watercourses are at any time navigable. 
The Toriu river, however, has gained importance 
through the Catholic Mission having erected a 
saw-mill on it, and from here most of the build- 
ing material used in New Britain is obtained. 

Outside of Simpsonhafen the Gazelle Peninsula 
is not overblessed with natural harbours. Mutlar- 
hafen and Putput, on the east coast, are both 
small, though useful to local plantations. Weber- 
hafen, on the north coast, is too open to afford 
shelter the whole year round; Powelhafen is by 
far the best, and, although encircled by swampy 
mangroves will be of importance in opening up 
the fertile back country. 

Leaving the Gazelle Peninsula, we enter an- 
other, through contractions of the coast-line, 
clearly defined section of the island, covering an 
area about equal in size to the one already dealt 
with. The interior of this section is as yet un- 
explored, but, as far as can be ascertained through 
observation from the coast, it is composed of high 
mountain ranges, and is of little use to the white 
man. Nor do these mountains leave room for any 
plantations along the coast, save at the north- 
eastern corner. To further bar the intrusion of 
the planter and trader, the coast is void of ser- 
viceable anchorages, and only Jacquinot Bay, on 
the south-east coast, affords some shelter during 
the north-west season. On the west coast, 



NEW BRITAIN 117 

stretching in a southerly direction, is a belt of 
volcanoes, separated from the inland ranges 
through a dip in the country. This belt of vol- 
canoes embraces "The Father," the "North Son," 
and the "South Son," which mountains form a 
pendant to the "Mother," the "North Daughter," 
and the "South Daughter" outside Rabaul. The 
"Father," reaching an elevation of about 7500 
feet, and the slightly lower "South Son," are still 
active, while the "North Son" is extinct. 

The section of New Britain stretching between 
Jacquinot Bay and Montague Bay on the south 
coast, and Commodore Bay and Cape Quoy on the 
north coast, is likewise mountainous, and gives 
but little encouragement to the enterprise of 
Europeans. On the north coast, however, is a 
stretch of gently rising country of great fertility. 

We now come to the western half of the island, 
of which more is likely to be heard in the 
future. The interior is still terra incognita, but 
most of the coast has been explored, and it is evi- 
dent from various reports that this part of New 
Britain possesses far greater possibilities than 
does the Gazelle Peninsula. 

Travelling along the south coast in a westerly 
direction, quite a number of well-sheltered har- 
bours and anchorages are met with. These afford 
natural bases for developing the surrounding 
country. A little to the west of Cape Bali or 
South Cape is the excellent Mowehafen, capable 
of accommodating ships of any size, and predicted 
in years to come to out-rival Simpsonhafen in 



118 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

importance. The back country is well suited to 
tropical agriculture, while an overflowing stream 
supplies the place with excellent drinking water. 

Also, between Mowehafen and Cape Merkus are 
serviceable anchorages, and here several rivers 
flow into the sea. Most important of these is the 
Pulie river, which can be entered and navigated 
for a distance of twelve miles by steamers up to 
300 tons. Von Schleinitz, the first European to 
enter the Pulie river, writes : "Next to the Sepic 
river, on the mainland of New Guinea, the Pulie 
river is the most important stream hitherto dis- 
covered in the Protectorate, superseding, from a 
navigable point of view, the Ramu river." 
Parkinson, who, later on, visited the Pulie river, 
quite agrees with Von Schleinitz, and he adds: 
"The land on either side of the river is of excel- 
lent quality. The woodland, though dense, is not 
to be compared with the impenetrable and heavily 
timbered virgin forest found at some places. The 
clearing would not involve heavy expense, while 
the soil, in my opinion, is suitable to any kind of 
tropical agriculture. I saw great areas which, if 
the forest was thinned out, would do for cocoa. 
Nor is it a typical lowland, but is interspersed 
with knolls and rows of hills, rendering it, to all 
appearance, well suited for settlement. The re- 
quired building material could be obtained and 
dressed on the spot, the river supplying adequate 
and cheap power for a sawmill. I consider the 
banks of this river the most suitable for a settle- 
ment in the whole archipelago." 



NEW BRITAIN 119 

Proceeding westward, the coastline is protected 
by a fringe of small islands, of which the Lieb- 
liche Islands have already been drawn into the 
industrial cobweb by Forsayth & Co. having 
founded a plantation and trading station there. 
All along, streams of various sizes flow to the sea, 
and now and again sheltered anchorages are dis- 
covered. The coastline to some distance inland 
is of no great elevation, and suitable for planta- 
tions. A change occurs as we get further west- 
ward, the inland mountains gradually drawing 
nearer to the sea, till at last the two meet in a 
stern grip for supremacy. The westernmost cor- 
ner of New Britain is terminated by two lofty 
volcanoes, Below and Hunstein, and a number of 
smaller ones, some of them still active, while 
others are extinct. 

Turning the west point of New Britain the 
mountains again draw inland, leaving a wide belt 
of lowland stretching along the whole coastline 
till near the Willaume Peninsula, and cut at inter- 
vals by streams of various sizes and importance. 
While the lowland is well suited for plantations, 
the coast is trimmed with coral reefs, making 
navigation dangerous. The scattered islands 
along the coast are small and of no significance. 
At some places the inland mountains are of no 
great elevation, and the north coast could, with- 
out much difficulty, be connected with the south 
coast by a system of roads. Such roads, leading, 
say, towards the river mouths near Cape Merkus 
would everywhere penetrate arable country. Von 



120 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

Schleinitz, who explored this part of the coast in 
1887, writes : "The area of lowland lying between 
the block of volcanoes in the west, the inland 
mountains in the east, and the seas on the north 
and south, I estimate at 1500 square miles. The 
soil, as far as I could ascertain, is of good quality, 
and watered by navigable streams, two of which 
I examined, sailing up them a distance of four to 
six sea miles. The low sand banks blocking their 
entrance could easily be dredged, after which they 
would show a depth varying from nine to thirty 
feet. A depth of from nine to eleven feet is pro- 
bably maintained many miles inland. These plains 
have, without doubt, a great future, even should 
they contain swamps, of which, however, I saw 
no trace." Parkinson estimates the land suitable 
for tropical agriculture on the south coast at an 
additional 1500 square miles, and he sums up his 
observations by saying: "Should the Protecto- 
rate continue to progress, the western part of 
New Britain will before long out-rival the Gazelle 
Peninsula, not merely through possessing much 
more arable land, but also through that land being 
tapped by navigable rivers. The native popula- 
tion, as far as we know, is not very dense, and 
exists only on coconuts or taros. At least, those 
existing on taros could, without inflicting any 
hardships, be transplanted to other places should 
they prove to be in the road." 

The narrow Willaume Peninsula distinguishes 
itself more by natural beauty than by commercial 
value. "The numerous green-clad volcanoes in 



NEW BRITAIN 121 

serene majesty striving towards the sky, the gib- 
bering geysers and bubbling hot springs, the 
encircling silence of the blue Pacific, all combine 
to impress on the mind a picture of exquisite 
beauty." Thus is Willaume Peninsula described 
by those who have had the privilege of landing 
there. It appears to be the beauty-spot in an 
altogether charming island. 

New Britain, as stated elsewhere, covers an area 
of about 13,000 square miles. The temperature in 
Rabaul seldom exceeds 95 degrees. The climate is 
more healthy than in New Guinea, and the rain- 
fall less, amounting to about 76 inches per annum. 
Much more could be said about New Britain, and, 
may be, some conjectures made with regard to 
undetected mineral wealth. So far coal has been 
discovered, although not in payable quantities. 
Still, our knowledge of the island does, as yet, not 
extend many miles inland ; besides, in saying too 
much, undue weight is given to New Britain 
which, although exceedingly valuable, only covers 
a seventh part of the area comprised in late Ger- 
man New Guinea. 



CHAPTER XL 



RABAUL. 

Rabaul, the capital of late German New Guinea, 
is situated on a fairly big open plain, surrounded 
on three sides by green-clad slopes and moun- 
tains, and, on the fourth, facing the deep, calm 
waters of Simpsonhafen. The now prosperous 
little township came into prominence when, in 
1910, the seat of government was transferred 
from Herbertshohe to the more suitable Rabaul, 
at that time not very much more than a native 
battle ground. To-day it numbers approximately 
1500 people all told, and consists of three distinct 
quarters the European quarter or Rabaul pro- 
per, Chinatown, and the native compound, each 
possessing certain peculiarities, and exhibiting the 
mode of living and customs of entirely different 
races. 

Rabaul proper the most dignified part is 
well laid out with avenues, plenty of open space 
and squares, and possesses two jetties. There all 
the government offices are situated, also a branch 
of the Commonwealth bank and the North Ger- 
man Lloyd and Burns-Philp's offices, and here we 

122 



RABAUL 123 

find the big European trading concerns the New 
Guinea Co., Hernsheim's, and Forsayth's all pos- 
sessing extensive plantations in the different 
islands, and conducting a huge business in copra 
and all kinds of commodities. They are the whole- 
sale firms, at the same time not despising the pro- 
fits connected with retailing all the odds and ends 
required by the residents, white and black alike; 
in fact, one can buy anything there, from a needle 
to an anchor, as the saying goes. Forsayth's, or 
what used to be Forsayth's, but which is now 
known as the Hamburg Sudsee Aktien-Gesell- 
schaft, previous to the war carried on banking 
business. In Rabaul nearly all the officials and 
traders domicile, living in splendidly equipped 
government-built houses, and waited on hand and 
foot by coloured servants. The business hours 
are from 8 to 11 a.m., and from 2 to 4 p.m., five 
hours constituting a tropical working day for 
Europeans. The rest of the time is idled away on 
their respective verandahs, reading, drinking 
lager beer, and sleeping, being the most favoured 
pastimes. As a matter of fact, the Europeans in 
Rabaul, as probably is the case in other tropical 
countries, spend most of their time on the veran- 
dah. For this reason, they are spacious, while 
the number of rooms are generally confined to 
two or three. The houses are all built on concrete 
blocks or piles, partly to procure draught and 
partly to protect them against white ants and 
against dampness during the wet season. They 
are light and airy, yet strongly constructed, so as 



124 OUfc NEW POSSESSION 

to withstand the frequent and often severe earth 
tremors. In Rabaul there are also two club build- 
ings, the one originally utilised by the employees 
of the New Guinea Company, and the other by 
leading officials, traders, and planters. On the 
outskirts of the city an enterprising New Zea- 
lander, in 1914, erected a kinematograph theatre, 
and secured space for a beer garden, the latter, 
however, so far has not yet been laid out, and the 
theatre is mostly used for hotel business. When, 
at times, performances are given, different parts 
of the theatre are allotted to the different races, 
the best being set aside for the white, the next 
best for the yellow, and the worst for the black. 
The entrance fee is calculated on their income. 
The white, who earn from 25 to 50 a month, or, 
in some cases, a great deal more, pay 2s.; the 
Kanaka, whose monthly salary is from 4s. to 6s. 
and their keep, pay 6d., and the Chinese, 
Japanese, and Malays, whose incomes may be any- 
thing, but generally range between the above 
mentioned extremes, pay Is. As will be seen, the 
vendor's idea of proportion is somewhat mixed, 
and it would certainly not do for the Kanakas too 
often to go to picture shows. The war and the 
consequent British occupation naturally caused 
great changes. While the planters and traders 
are still Germans, the place of the official was 
taken by Australian soldiers, who also occupied 
the government owned bungalows. The New 
Guinea Company's warehouse was for a time 
transformed into a huge barrack, one of the 



RABAUL 125 

club buildings were made the officers' mess, while 
the other was set aside as a place of recreation 
for the troops. The avenues, where formally 
strolled the grave, dignified German official in 
his spotlessly white attire, were animated by the 
buoyant, khaki-clad Australians, singing and 
shouting, and, particularly during the early occu- 
pation, throwing all etiquette and formality to 
the wind. 

Five minutes' walk from Rabaul brings us to 
Chinatown, probably the busiest and, in some re- 
spects, most interesting place in New Britain. As 
Rabaul is the seat of administration and the com- 
mercial centre of late German New Guinea, so is 
Chinatown the centre for the Chinese population, 
numbering approximately 1500 in these islands, 
and of which upwards of 900 have made Rabaul 
their more or less permanent home. It is the 
heart from which the blood is poured out in many 
directions, and to which it again returns. From 
here the yellow traders sally forth to the native 
villages on the coast bartering cheap print, 
knives, mirrors, etc., for copra. Occasionally the 
Kanakas make short work of "Kong-Kong," whom 
they regard with distrust, but, as a rule, he re- 
turns after a successful stay amongst them, and, 
having drawn his cheque from the New Guinea 
Company, or Forsayth's, or Hernshiem's, he goes 
back to Chinatown for recreation. And, as it is 
with the Chinese trader, so with the Chinese 
artisan, the cook, and the steward they all gravi- 
tate back to Chinatown. Indeed, a number of 



126 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

Europeans and natives are continually moving to 
and from that particular place as well. There 
are half-a-dozen stores there, several restaurants, 
tailors, laundries, and bootmakers; butchers, 
bakers, gardeners, carpenters, mechanics, etc. It 
is the seat for handicraft and thrift, and, 
although most of the shops neither impress by 
size nor cleanliness, but are just what one would 
expect in a Chinese quarter, there is plenty of 
excuse for everybody to go there. Besides, there 
is something alluring about Chinatown, something 
that draws beyond the desire of ordering a suit of 
clothes or having a haircut. As to what that is 
opinion will differ with regard to details ; but, 
speaking in a general way, the main causes may be 
ascribed to the place being characteristic, busy, 
and wicked. It is as if a little East-Asiatic town- 
ship, by some magic power, had been transplanted 
to New Britain. We find the joss house, where 
sacrifices are made to Confucius, and we meet in 
the streets Chinamen, with that peculiar head- 
wear which serve as hat and umbrella at one and 
the same time, and women wearing pants, with 
babies slung over their back, and acting the beasts 
of burden generally; and the dainty Japanese 
women in the fascinating dress of their native 
land, tripping ungainly about on their wooden 
clogs and threatening every momentto toppleover ; 
or half sitting, half standing mamselles outside 
some of the restaurants, fixing their slanting in- 
expressive eyes on the passers-by. In fact, we 
see the East in the streets and in the houses ; we 



RABAUL 127 

hear it everywhere, and we recognise it by the 
smell peculiar to Eastern countries. Stoic 
Kanakas are loitering about, or are gazing with 
wondering eyes at the exhibits in the windows, 
while their women-folk pipe in mouth slink 
into a tailor's shop to ask the price of a new 
blouse. What, however, makes Chinatown most 
alluring is probably vice. To the earth-born 
brooding Adam treacherous Eves from the land 
of the chrysanthemum in former days held out 
open arms. To the wanderer, burnt dry by the 
broiling tropical sun, quite a number of places, 
apart from a hotel, offer for sale beer on the 
quiet, and locally made soft stuff. A secret dis- 
tillery produces the vile Chinese spirit known as 
"Samsue." To those who require the excitement 
of the green table, a gambling den, in the German 
time, was open day and night, and now other 
means have been found for turning the wheel of 
fortune. Also, for those possessing the depraved 
desire for opium, enterprising Chinese have 
provided. 

As will be seen, every vice is catered for, and 
the pious would not hesitate to put this interest- 
ing corner of the great Chinese realm on the black 
list. Still, Rabaul's Chinatown is probably not 
more immoral than many European cities, the 
principal difference being that the latter pretend 
to be moral, while the former makes no preten- 
tions at all. The Germans in Rabaul were not 
pious, but many things indicate they were prac- 
tical, and it is a notable fact that, in spite of the 



128 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

large Asiatic population, native women have been 
little interfered with, half-castes in Rabaul are 
rare, and venereal diseases kept well in check. 
. . . Over and above all, Chinatown is Rabaul's 
busy, unruly corner where people rise early are 
always on the move and go to bed late. While 
after sunset the European quarter becomes quiet, 
and the streets look empty and desolate, life in 
Chinatown moves on intense rapid and 
wicked. 

The native compound is Rabaul's labour suburb 
the anchorage of the sons of toil brought there 
from many parts of the Pacific. Here, at the foot 
of the towering mountain known as "The Mother" 
dwell the Malays and their kindred from the 
Marianen, the Caroline, and the Marshall Islands. 
Here, too, we met the dark-brown Kanakas from 
various islands. The former are employed in the 
big stores as clerks and salesmen, or to fill a 
variety of more subordinate positions either with 
the government or with the firms. They live in 
small, exceedingly plain and mostly windowless 
cottages owned by their employers; yet, from 
their point of view, probably considered very com- 
fortable. The Kanakas number approximately 
150 police boys and 250 contract labourers, includ- 
ing some Marys. They live in big barracks, only 
the boss boys and their Marys occupying small 
wooden huts, one room being allotted to each 
couple. In the native compound is also situated 
the police-master's residence, the jails, the maga- 
zine, and the government stables, with their im- 



RABAUL 129 

posing staff of coloured grooms. There are three 
jails one for Europeans, one for Chinese and 
Malays, and one for Kanakas. The crimes com- 
mitted are, in the case of the natives, of no great 
variety, gentleman-criminals of the higher order 
being unknown. They are in jail either for theft, 
assault, unnatural offences, or desertion from 
their masters. Occasionally gloomy looking ob- 
jects, crawling into a corner when the cell is 
entered, are awaiting their trial for cannibalism. 
In the day time life is at an ebb in the native 
compound, the place being given over to the 
womenfolk and their youthful offspring. The 
Malays are away at the offices and stores, the 
government labourers are at the wharf loading or 
unloading vessels, or they are engaged in trans- 
port work, road-making, grass-cutting, or any 
other occupation where muscles and sinews are 
in demand, and which is considered below the 
dignity of the white man, and, to some extent, 
even of the yellow man, to touch; the dark 
prisoners are doing sanitary work ; and the police 
boys are on duty, or drilling on the parade ground. 
Towards noon, and again towards evening, they 
all hark back to the compound for "kai-kai," in 
the main consisting of rice. Then, for a short 
while the compound seems very much alive. But 
the life in the compound moves on entirely dif- 
ferent lines to that in Chinatown; there are no 
shops in the native compound, and very little 
money nothing to buy, and nothing to buy it 
with nothing to draw either the white man or 

B 



130 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

anybody else. The excitement is of the kind we 
find in the Zoo when the animals are being fed, 
each one being moved by the same desire for food, 
and each little group using different sounds and 
expressions to give vent to their emotions, the 
Solomon islander not understanding the New 
Guinea boy, and the latter not the natives from 
anywhere else. It is a pandemonium of sounds 
a bable of tongues crude English with a very 
limited range of words being the only language 
intelligible to all. Occasionally there may be a 
brawl amongst the Kanakas about the few Marys 
in their midst. Divorce cases of a primitive kind 
are not uncommon. The matrimonial ties are 
loose, and cease when either of the parties are 
able to return to their native island, or when it 
pleases the lord and master to transfer his better 
half to someone else occasionally for a few sticks 
of tobacco all in all serving as an excuse for the 
faithfulness and other virtues of the Marys not 
being of a high order. 

As a rule, it gets quiet in the native compound 
not long after sunset, as the Kanaka goes to bed 
early. But sometimes life runs fast even there, 
and shouting, yelling, and singing can be heard 
till a late hour, and especially is this the case when 
some of the boys have come to the end of their 
three years' service. After, in one of the stores, 
having filled their boxes with loin clothes, pipes, 
tobacco, combs, mirrors, mouth organs, necklaces, 
and God knows what, they have still, out of their 
deferred pay, enough left to give their comrades 



RABAUL 131 

a treat. A pig is bought in one of the native vil- 
lages, and taken to the compound. It is roasted 
and devoured in the old primitive fashion; joy 
and happiness reign supreme; and if it happens 
to be moonlight as well, then the dusky sons and 
daughters of the South Seas are as near heaven 
as it is possible to be in this world of toil. On 
such evenings the Kanakas are seen at their best 
the sullen look has disappeared; they have let 
themselves go, and have become what they were 
before the yoke was placed on their shoulders 
the uncouth, simple children of the wilds. On 
such occasions they may be seen twisting and 
whirling round in the queer dances of their race 
shouting and yelling, or chanting their weird, 
mystic songs till far into the night. ... In the 
Malay part of the compound may be heard a 
screeching phonograph or an amateur string- 
band. The Polynesians are more intelligent than 
the Melanesians, wear European clothes, and re- 
ceive higher salary. They are the aristocrats in 
this dejected place. . . . The ill-paid and little 
thought-of Kanaka, with nothing else to hide his 
nakedness than a loin cloth, is thrall to them all. 
In the mountains, a mile and a half from 
Rabaul, Namanula is situated. It is healthier 
there, and slightly cooler than below. The coun- 
try is wild and wooded, the gorges are deep, and 
the level places few. When subterranean vol- 
canic forces in the unknown past lifted New 
Britain up out of the sea it handled this place 
particularly roughly. Still, nature has created a 



132 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

delightful spot around Namanula, and probably 
for this reason it has become the fashionable 
suburb. It is there Government House is situ- 
ated at the summit of a hill, surrounded by the 
most luxuriant tropical vegetation, and present- 
ing excellent views. On the one side New Ireland 
and the Duke of York group are to be seen in the 
distance, whilst on the other side the scene takes 
in Rabaul, Chinatown, and Simpsonhafen with its 
encircling slopes. Every steamer, motor-launch, 
and cutter entering or leaving port can be ob- 
served. In Namanula there are also a number 
of picturesque villas, where the higher German 
officials used to live, but which, on these being 
deported, were taken possession of by Australian 
officers and men. The European hospital, the 
Government Printing Office, and the now deserted 
schools are likewise situated there. When the 
teachers left, the white children were taken away 
by their parents, and the Kanaka boys who had 
been brought there from every corner of the Bis- 
marck Archipelago to learn German, handicraft, 
and agriculture took advantage of the upheaval 
to disappear. Boys are all the same, whether 
white or black. The printing staff, numbering 
about a dozen, and who were being instructed by 
a German, also took leave, and did not put in an 
appearance again. In fact, the war caused even 
greater changes in Namanula than in Rabaul 
proper, and particularly was this the case during 
the first few months of military occupation. 
Namanula was then bristling with life. The 



RABAUL 133 

young Australian always does know how to make 
a place gay. There were soldiers about every- 
where, and noisy niggers hauling trucks along a 
tramline leading from Rabaul. And almost every 
evening music from a variety of instruments, and 
popular songs, resounded from bungalow to 
bungalow, and mingled in a pleasant manner with 
the quaint chant of the natives as they passed to 
and from the neighbouring villages by the sea. 

Moving eastward from Rabaul along the shore 
of Simpsonhafen, we notice in the distance the 
steam from hot springs, and by bending to the 
right, eventually strike the populous native vil- 
lage of Matupi, situated on a small island which, 
when the tide was out, used to be connected with 
the mainland by a strip of dry sea bottom. On 
New Year's eve, 1916, Matupi, however, sank 
several feet, and has since been cut off by a fairly 
deep channel. There is a Roman Catholic Church 
and a Wesleyan Mission Station situated at this 
place. Opposite Matupi is a volcano, which is still 
smouldering. It was in eruption in 1878, and 
caused considerable devastation. The natives, 
even some distance off, were brought to the verge 
of famine, and the sulphurous fumes now aris- 
ing from its interior causes some apprehension 
as to what might happen in the future. 

Following the shores in a westerly direction 
one passes the native hospital, and a little further 
on the busy shipyards of Ah Tarn, and those of 
the still more enterprising Japanese captain, 
Komine. In the distance the Roman Catholic 



134 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

Mission Station and the Wesleyan Mission at 
Malakuna are visible, whilst some little way back 
from the sea our eyes are attracted by the Botani- 
cal Gardens and the picturesquely situated man- 
sion occupied by the manager of the New Guinea 
Company. 

Along the coast, starting some miles from 
Rabaul, are numerous native villages and exten- 
sive coconut plantations with beautiful home- 
steads. At Herbertshohe in itself an inviting 
little township are some of the biggest planta- 
tions in German New Guinea. Here, also, is a 
fine Catholic Church, the residence of the Roman 
Catholic bishop, and the centre for the Catholic 
mission work carried on in these parts. It was 
in this direction the German wireless station at 
Bita Paka was situated, and where the fighting 
took place on the llth of September, 1914. 

The back country is comparatively little known 
yet; nor is it considered safe to move too far in- 
land without adequate protection. The natives 
around Rabaul speak about the inland only in a 
whisper. It is "the land of the unknown," where 
strange things are still said to happen. 



CHAPTER XII. 



THE WESTERN ISLANDS. 

Some distance north of New Guinea, and sixty 
to seventy miles south of the equator, is situ- 
ated a broken belt of small coral islands and island 
groups which are known as the Western Islands, 
through them being situated in the western cor- 
ner of the Bismarck Archipelago, of which they 
form part. From time to time these islands were 
visited by early navigators, who named them, 
made a few observations, and then departed, the 
little islands again dropping into oblivion, 
patiently submitting to be given new names by 
subsequent travellers, or have their names re- 
vert to those by which they were known to 
their savage inhabitants. Thus it has come about 
that they are all double named, as, indeed, is the 
case with a good many of the islands comprised in 
the Bismarck Archipelago. 

Travelling from west to east the names of the 
islands in question are: Matty or Wuvulu, 
Durour or Aua, Exchiquier Islands or Ninigo, Her- 
mit or Luf , Anchoret Islands or Kaniet. 

Matty and Durour were discovered by the 
Spanish navigator Ortiz de Retes in 1545, and 

135 



136 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

some two hundred years later were visited by the 
British navigator Carteret, who, on his voyage, 
discovered the Exchiquier group, and, indeed, 
landed at or sighted all the Western Islands. In 
1817 Captain Bristow landed at Matty, which he 
described as being inhabited by a ferocious race 
of savages. For this reason he baptised the 
island Tiger Island. During the last twenty-five 
years the Western Islands have on various occa- 
sions been visited by scientists who stripped them 
of all their ethnological treasures to enrich Euro- 
pean museums, at the same time describing the 
natives and their habits. In 1899 the late Mr. R. 
Parkinson visited the islands, and added much to 
our knowledge of them, and finally, in 1913, 
the Swedish writer, Count Morner, spent six 
months at Matty and Durour, during which time 
he translated into Swedish their folk-lore. 

All these islands are fertile, picturesque, and 
wealthy in copra, while the surrounding waters 
abound in valuable shells, which all helps to ex- 
plain that, in spite of their remoteness, early 
graders occasionally called to barter with the 
natives. Later on, attempts were made to estab- 
lish permanent trading stations there, and, hav- 
ing paid the usual price in human lives claimed 
for commercial conquests in these parts, the 
efforts were crowned with success. From Mr. 
Parkinson we learn that in 1883 the German cor- 
vette "Carola" went to the Hermits to punish the 
natives for having killed one of Hernsheim's 
traders and his ship's crew. The same firm 



THE WESTERN ISLANDS 137 

established a station at Matty in the beginning 
of the nineties, which, however, was soon burned 
down, and the trader, a Danish ex-military officer, 
killed. When, in 1899, a new attempt was made 
the natives gathered in force at the shore, and 
showed such marked hostility that the party did 
not venture to land. Not intending to be bested 
by the savages, Hernsheim engaged a daring 
Danish South Sea trader, Ortoft, better known as 
Leonard, who had had considerable experience in 
the Solomons, New Ireland, and other places, and 
till this very day bears numerous scars from his 
encounters with the natives. Leonard effected a 
landing, and succeeded in founding a station, 
which has been flourishing ever since. The enter- 
prising Dane picked up the native language, took 
unto himself three wives, and was, some years 
back, by the natives elevated as their chief, which 
is an unusual honour for a European. 

Two Germans, Matthias and Reymers, founded 
a trading station at Durour some fifteen years 
ago. The natives soon told them to quit the 
island, and when they refused to do so an encoun- 
ter ensued, in which the traders held their own. 
After this the natives seemed to have quietened 
down, and some time later Matthias went on a 
trip to New Britain. During his absence the 
chief, on his death bed, ordered that Reymers be 
killed and his store robbed. The unfortunate 
trader was promptly speared and his body thrown 
into the sea, but it so happened that in demolish- 
ing the station the contents of a bottle containing 



138 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

spirits of salts was squirted over some of the 
marauders, and that when they returned to their 
leader, smarting from burns, the old chief had 
expired. Being prone to superstition deep gloom 
fell on the natives, and on Matthias returning 
they took to their canoes. A storm arose, a few 
of the canoes, mostly containing women and 
children, were carried to Matty, while the re- 
mainder by Parkinson estimated at 500 souls 
were drowned. 

Also, at Ninigo, the arrival of Europeans was 
the signal for disturbances, and amongst the slain 
pioneers that of a Danish trader by the name of 
Pedersen is on record. 

During latter years the Western Islands have 
become closely associated with the name of 
Wahlen and Co. The founder of this firm, 
Rudolf Wahlen, has had a truly remarkable 
career, and an outline of his marvellous success 
tends to show that the time for romance has not 
yet passed away from the South Seas. Young 
Wahlen was occupying the humble position of 
clerk at Hernsheim and Co. in Rabaul, when he 
saw his chance to acquire from his employers for 
a mere song their trading interests in the Western 
Islands. It is stated that during the first year of 
occupation he cleared 4000 from shells alone. 
Backed up with German capital, he purchased 
from the government, at the usual cheap rate, 
approximately 5000 hectares situated at the vari- 
ous islands, the governor, ignorant of facts, not 
considering them of great value. The eye-opener 



THE WESTERN ISLANDS 139 

Dr. Hahl got, when Wahlen in one year obtained 
about 200 tons of copra from native coconut plan- 
tations already in bearing, may be imagined. In 
the course of a few years the once humble clerk 
became the wealthiest man in the Possession, 
exercising an influence which even the governor 
had reason to envy him, and living in a mansion 
at Maron, in the Hermits, in luxury by far out- 
rivalling Government House at Rabaul. When 
war broke out Wahlen, together with his wife, a 
Swedish lady of noble birth, were staying at his 
lately acquired estate in Germany, and neither 
could return while hostilities lasted. 

Now about the original inhabitants of these 
islands. Who are they, and what has the Euro- 
pean invasion meant to them? 

According to Parkinson, they are Micronesians, 
a cross between the Polynesians and the Mela- 
nesians. The latter is a Negroid race, the former 
in all probability a cross between the Caucasian 
and the Mongol races. This mixture, dating 
back to before our time of reckoning, has re- 
sulted in a race with light brown skin, dark wavy 
hair, European-like features, with a slight ten- 
dency to slanting eyes, and a brain capacity rang- 
ing them considerably above the Melanesians and 
Papuans. Their houses are constructed from 
roughly dressed wood, and, in some cases, con- 
tain fireplaces of stone. Their canoes and wea- 
pons exhibit a high degree of taste and artistic 
workmanship, the songs accompanying their 
dances, and which represent the folk-lore of the 



140 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

islands, are in some instances of no small literary 
merit, and apparently they never indulged in 
cannibalism. Their religion is still one of an- 
cestor worship, no missionaries ever having 
settled amongst them. After death the souls of 
the brave and righteous proceed to a place of 
bliss, by the Matty islanders called Tinara, and 
where trees, rivers, etc., are red, red being their 
favourite colour. Here they meet the souls of 
their great departed chiefs. But woe to the 
wicked whose souls are doomed to Aipa-ai, an 
unattractive place, eternally defiled by dirt and 
garbage continually dropping down from Tinara. 

Before the advent of the Europeans they still 
lived in the stone age. The men wore no clothes, 
and the women at the best only a leaf, held by a 
band round the waist. They engaged in tribal 
warfare, occasionally extending their fights to 
neighbouring islands. Thus, for instance, if food 
were scarce at Durour, and ordinary barter did not 
meet the requirements, the men would man their 
boats and embark on a piratical cruise to Matty, 
and vice versa; otherwise, to judge from their 
folk-lore, they lived a peaceful life, experiencing 
the same joys and the same sorrows as are 
generally the lot of man. 

In comparison with the size of the Western 
Islands they appear to have been fairly closely 
populated. Thus, Durour is stated by Parkinson 
to have had 2000 inhabitants, and Matty 1500. 
Count Morner gives the same figures as Parkin- 
son. The population of the other islands 



THE WESTERN ISLANDS 141 

would be in proportion. Their number has, how- 
ever, been very much reduced during the last 
fifteen years, principally through the malarial 
fever and other diseases having been introduced 
by Europeans and their Kanaka labourers. At 
the time of Parkinson publishing his book in 
1907 only sixty of the original population in 
Kaniet were left, while in the Hermits their num- 
ber had been reduced to eighty. In the Ninigo 
group only 400 had survived. Also, the popula- 
tion in Matty and Durour were then fast declin- 
ing, which may be seen from the following re- 
marks by Parkinson : "It is to be hoped that the 
government in time will take steps to check the 
malarial fever in Matty and Durour, otherwise 
these interesting people will share the fate of the 
natives at Kaniet and the Hermits, who prac- 
tically by now are extinct." At the time of Count 
Morner's visit in 1913 the native population in 
Matty had dwindled down to 380, while that of 
Durour had been reduced in like proportion. 
* * * 

On a moonlight night, seated amongst the ruins 
of one of Matty's deserted villages the sur- 
vivors of the race having been drawn together 
into but two villages the poetically gifted and 
liberty-loving Swedish Count bursts out into 
lamentations over the fate overtaking a highly 
gifted and, in many ways, lovable race. In bitter 
words he reproaches the Germans for having 
robbed them of their coconut palms and hunting 
grounds, and reduced them from a free and happy 



142 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

people to a mournful herd of poverty-stricken 
serfs. In a vision he sees the last Matty islander 
being laid to rest, and, bending down, Morner 
presses a kiss on the forehead of Tigea, a little 
native girl who acted as his guide and he 
whispers : 

Child, you are asleep, 

Your flowing velvety hair 
Is softly spread over my knees. 

Silent, oh, how silent ! 
The dead poallas, 

The buried chiefs, 

You, who from your graves still lead your 
people, 

Receive in your royal village, 
In red Tinara, 

The last of the Wuvulus. 



LOVE SONG FROM MATTY. 

He went to his house to sleep, 

And had in the night a dream, 

He dreamt of a maid of whom it be said 

She lived at another place. 

He went to his work, but yet 

The maiden he could not forget. 



THE WESTERN ISLANDS 143 

On a moonlight night to the village 

He wandered to find the maid, 

And he banged with his spade 

Till the maid came out. 

Seeing the stranger the maiden said: 

"Tell me what brings you hither 

Dressed as if ready for war? 

Cam'st thou to take me with force 

Or are you in truth a friend?" 

He answered : "A friend. Chew Betel with me." 

She looked upon him and said : "I agree." 



To his village again he wandered 
And told to each person he met, 
"I found the maid that I dreamt of, 
The maid I'm going to wed." 
They asked in a throng: "Where does she be- 
long?" 

And he answered, "Yonder in Easter, 
But soon I will bring her hither." 



Some time passed by ere again he went 

To see the girl that he loved. 

The women were gathered down by the sea 

As gay and busy as busy can be. 

He asked : "What is on," and was told in reply : 

"A maid is awaiting her lover that's why 

They wash her." And loh, the maid looked 

round 
And saw her lover approaching. 



144 OUR NEW POSSESSION 



THE JEALOUS HUSBAND. 
Song from Matty. 

Wife. 

Oh, tell me why do you beat me, 

With none but you do I go, 

The feathers and flowers adorning my hair 

Adorn it only for you, 

And yet every night do you beat me. 



I noticed how other women 
To please you adorned their hair, 
With oil did they shine their bodies, 
Perhaps it was me who should care, 
And yet ne'er a word did I utter. 



Husband. 

It's true I met many women 

Adorning their hair just for me, 

But never you saw me caught in the nets 

So skilfully laid don't you see. 

At times they have chanted to please me, 

I flirted with them in return ; 

In spite of it all, I never did fall 

A victim to their embrace. 



THE WESTERN ISLANDS 145 

Wife. 

I never thought you deceived me, 

But why, then, think evil of me ? 

I know of no jealous person 

That ever was true do you ? 

The rings from the shell of the turtle, 

You see in my ears I wear, 

I wear them for you, and only for you, 

When your away I don't care. 



WAR-SONG FROM DUROUR OR AUA. 

On the sea black dots are moving toward Aua, 

what are they? 
Wuvulu canoes for certain, manned with men 

of bad intention, 
Men that threaten, men that lie. 

Rise, oh, brave ones, seize your weapons. 
Women, don't be scared onlookers, 

Make good food for those who're wounded, 
So that they are not to hunger. 

Seize your weapons! All be ready! 
Time is short, you see them leaving 

Their canoes in numbers great. 
All our treasures must be hidden. 

Courage! Courage! Let us show those 
Wuvulus what we can do. 



146 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

Child and women folk are fleeing. 
Woe, oh woe, the spears are flying, 

Alas, many a brave has fallen 
Ne'er to rise on earth again. 

Of our places six are captured. 
Woe, oh woe, we must go under 

Are we not at once relieved. 
They are burning now our houses, 

If a wonder does not happen 
Nothing will be left to rescue. 

Lo! Reinforcement is arriving, 
Now push on into the forest, 
In their rear they may be taken. 

Hi ! The enemy is fleeing 
To the sea to his canoes. 



No, the task is too disastrous; 
Far too many men it costs us. 

* * * 

See, they paddle off from Aua, 
May they never come again. 




Bird of Paradise Hunters. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



NEU GUINEA COMPAGNIE. 

The control and development of the old Ger- 
man New Guinea Protectorate was, as previously 
stated, in 1885 left in the hands of the "Neu 
Guinea Compagnie." The experiment, as we 
know, turned out a failure. Some of the reasons 
why are contained in a book, "Aus Papuas Kultur- 
morgen," written by a nephew of Bismarck, 
Stefan von Kotze, who served the company under 
a three years' contract in the earliest part of its 
existence. 

It would appear that the fundamental error 
committed by the New Guinea Company was to 
consider the "controlling" their main object, and 
the "developing" of less significance. Due to this 
error they established themselves on the main- 
land, where, from a population point of view, the 
centre of gravitation would naturally be. Finsch- 
hafen, in spite of poor harbour facilities, was 
selected as the most suitable place whence to 
govern, while out-stations were founded at 
Konstantinhafen and Hatzfeldhafen, both on the 
mainland; and on the little island Kerewarra, in 
the Duke of York group, the latter intended to 
serve the archipelago. 

147 



148 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

One of the first discoveries made by the new 
administration was that there was nothing to 
govern, nothing to tax, and very little to export, 
the population consisting of unapproachable 
savages, producing next to nothing beyond what 
they themselves consumed. Obviously, the most 
urgent task was, on a large scale, to enter upon 
productive undertakings suitable to existing 
natural conditions. Unfortunately, none of the 
staff possessed any knowledge in tropical agricul- 
ture ; besides, there was very little land near some 
of the stations suitable for plantations, the moun- 
tain ranges leaving but a narrow strip of swampy 
country along the coast. To natural obstacles 
was added a severe form of malarial fever, for 
which the whole coastline is noted. 

From von Kotze's writings, though probably 
exaggerated, we get the impression that early 
days in Finschhafen were characterised by heavy 
mortality, boosing, and muddling. 

Finschhafen was only in touch with the outer 
world through Cooktown, from where no fresh 
foodstuff could be brought. It was all tinned 
articles, not easy to keep up condition on. Exces- 
sive drinking made matters worse, and meanwhile 
fever was raging. So frequently did death visit 
this unfortunate settlement, that at last it made 
no impression on those who survived. Von Kotze, 
with grim humour, relates an incident character- 
istic of the place : 

The manager one day, on entering the office, 
missed Herr Muller. "Where the devil is Muller? 



NEU GUINEA COMPAGNIE 149 

Drunk again, I suppose." One of the others men- 
tioned that Muller had died in the morning. 
"Nah," the manager remarked, as he went out, 
"that is not so bad." A moment later he poked 
his head through the open door, shouting: "We 
are too busy with the mail to go to funerals." 
And so poor Muller, without ceremony or the 
shedding of tears, was taken to the cemetery by a 
gang of Kanakas. 

Von Kotze says there was very little to do at 
Finschhafen, and the employees if not like 
Muller, taken to the graveyard could generally 
be found in the drinking booth, which, anyhow, at 
intervals gave up its victims. Their morning re- 
viver was nicknamed a "b bone." This name 

was derived from the flag adopted for the Pos- 
session the German colours with what was sup- 
posed to be a glowing torch, but resembled a red 

bone and by the number of "b bones" their 

loyalty to the company was gauged. 

The only busy place at Finschhafen was the 
Administrator's Bureau, where reports for Berlin 
and ordinances for the Protectorate were turned 
out in great style. The latter no one ever read, 
and the clerk entrusted with this particular work 
being lazy, and having to write them in four 
copies one for each station commenced faking 
them. This he did undiscovered for some con- 
siderable time, and thus it happened that Ordi- 
nance No. 389, instead of containing a lengthy 
instruction relating to flagging and the erection 
of flagpoles, was merely a repetition of Ordinance 



150 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

No. 333, shortly referring to the use of artificial 
manure. On the administrator, some time later, 
visiting the out-stations, he was horrified at see- 
ing neither the flagpole nor the flag displayed. 
The officer in charge did not recollect having re- 
ceived any instructions to that effect. Ordinance 
No. 389 was demanded, and eventually produced, 
which, of course, was the end of the clerk as the 
"trusted servant." 

The failures resulting from agricultural experi- 
ments were generally due to the old delusion that 
square pegs can be made to fit into round holes. 
Thus von Kotze was put in charge of the experi- 
mental field at Finschhafen, though he himself 
declared that he had not the slightest idea what 
to do, and took far greater interest collecting 
butterflies. Nor did the native labourers give 
satisfaction, and the Germans wondered if any- 
where in the world the same number of men in a 
given time could do less work. To improve mat- 
ters, an experiment was made by importing 
Chinese coolies, but with no better result. The 
Chinamen did not thrive at Finschhafen, and com- 
menced to desert. In the beginning such an event 
was the signal for a cannibal feast somewhere in 
the neighbourhood, but after the company had 
promised the natives a reward in tobacco and 
loincloth for bringing back the escapees, the 
elusive Chinese were triumphantly returned and 
duly flogged. The Chinamen naturally resented, 
and the Chinese, as a rule, not estimating life very 
highly, commenced hanging themselves with the 



NEU GUINEA COMPAGNIE 151 

least provocation, till at last it became quite a 
mania. They, apparently, did not trouble in the 
least about the loss of capital thereby inflicted 
on the company. 

The climax was reached when, on one occasion, 
six recaptured deserters were put on board a hulk 
in the harbour, pending a settlement of their 
scores. On the following morning, when the sun 
rose, the prisoners had disappeared. Everybody 
was perplexed. No one could imagine the China- 
men leaving the hulk, the harbour teeming with 
sharks and crocodiles. The riddle was eventually 
solved by the captain on a schooner entering the 
harbour. Approaching the hulk, he turned pale, 
and, pointing towards the hulk, he shouted: 
"What, in heaven's name, have you done?" 
Everybody looked overboard, and there the six 
deserters hung cold and stiff, their glassy eyes 
staring out over the blue waters of the Pacific. 

Thus misfortune and blunders, through lack of 
experience, were responsible for continual losses. 
Expensive implements, never to be used, were im- 
ported from Germany. Through not knowing the 
waters, ships were lost as quickly as they were 
obtained. A sawmill was erected at great cost, 
but at the wrong place, and was eventually closed 
down, as it was discovered that wood could be 
imported more cheaply from Australia. In the 
meantime, some surveying had been done, and 
elaborate regulations drawn up pertaining to the 
acquisition and holding of land. 

The fact that the Protectorate was now ready 



152 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

to receive settlers was made known in Germany, 
while the staff at Finschhafen prepared to deal 
with the expected flow of immigrants. Not a 
solitary one turned up, and only two applications 
were received, the one from the mess steward and 
the other from a sailor who had tired of the sea, 
and shortly after died on the land. Afterwards 
it was considered a stroke of good luck that the 
immigrant scheme fell flat, as it, under the exist- 
ing conditions, undoubtedly, would have been a 
failure. To the Germans already at Finschhafen 
it was naturally a great disappointment. Von 
Kotze, however, tells us that they consoled them- 
selves by increasing the number of "b 

bones." 

The company's own laborious efforts at found- 
ing plantations generally met with disaster. 
Either they started at the wrong place, or put the 
wrong man in charge of the work. A cotton plan- 
tation, commenced at Kelana, some distance from 
Finschhafen, came to nothing. The place proved 
too dry, the rain clouds generally pouring out 
their contents on the surrounding high mountains. 
The top soil was but a few inches deep, and the 
sub-strata hard limestone. Still, the person in 
charge of the work declaring he had obtained 
good results under worse conditions in Fiji, the 
planting was proceeded with, and the enterprise 
not abandoned until it had proved hopeless be- 
yond dispute, and caused the company a consider- 
able loss in hard cash. 

An expedition simultaneously sent from Finsch- 



NEU GUINEA COMPAGNIE 153 

hafen to start a coffee plantation somewhere at 
the western extremity of New Britain perished 
through a huge tidal wave, caused by volcanic 
disturbances in Dampier Strait. The same catas- 
trophe caused considerable damage at Kelana 
Bay, and right along the coasts on both sides of 
the strait, sweeping into the sea many native 
villages, with their contents of panic-stricken 
humanity. 

Eventually the seat of government was shifted 
to Stephansort, further north, and here exten- 
sive tobacco plantations were started. There 
were to be no more half-hearted attempts. Two 
thousand Chinamen were imported, and a fresh 
staff of energetic young men brought out from 
Germany. Once more all calculations miscarried. 
Stephansort proved as unhealthy as Finschhafen, 
and in the little cemetery twenty-five graves of 
Europeans may yet be seen, all dating from that 
time; as for the Chinamen, malarial fever and 
dysentery so played up with them that as many 
as sixty are recorded to have died in one single 
day. In spite of all difficulties, the plantations 
went ahead, and in due course a cargo of tobacco 
leaf was sent to Holland, Germany not yet pos- 
sessing factories for turning out the finished 
product. The tobacco manufacturers in Holland, 
fearing competition to their own plantations in 
Java, refused to buy from the Germans, and the 
whole ship-load had to be stored until brighter 
days in the unknown future. 

The company's efforts at developing the gold- 



154 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

mining industry met with even less success, and 
the following incident, related by von Kotze, would 
scarcely have been credited, except for mining 
enterprises all over the world being fraught with 
deception. 

Gold had been discovered in British New 
Guinea, and some hundreds of Australian gold 
diggers and prospectors arrived in Papua to make 
their fortune. Exaggerated tales of rich finds 
reached the Germans, who quite naturally drew 
the conclusion that, when gold was so plentiful in 
British New Guinea gold would be found in Ger- 
man New Guinea as well. So the company 
engaged a geologist of much learning, but, unfor- 
tunately, with very little practical experience, and 
entrusted him to locate these yet undiscovered 
alluvial goldfields. A steamer was put at his 
disposal, and an expensive expedition fitted out. 
For some time the prospecting went on without 
bringing any result, when at last good gold was 
obtained in a river bed near Hatzf eldhaf en ; and 
so great was the excitement that the geologist, 
without any further investigation, boarded his 
ship and returned to Finschhafen. There the 
excitement intensified, and a ship was at once got 
under steam and sent to Australia with a secret 
message to be cabled to Berlin. 

The discovery of a rich goldfield in Kaiser Wil- 
helm's Land caused the greatest sensation in Ger- 
many. The shares in the New Guinea Company 
went up with a jump, and shortly after a ship 
loaded with all kinds of mining machinery and 



NEU GUINEA COMPAGNIE 155 

tools left Hamburg for the South Seas. Unfor- 
tunately, the gold had disappeared not a colour 
more was to be traced, and all washing, digging, 
and boring proved in vain. The mystery was 
afterwards cleared up through a postcard being 
received from Australia, written by a member of 
the first expedition, and in which he explained 
that, in order to play a joke on a young, inex- 
perienced geologist, he had, out of his pocket, 
slipped some gold specimens into the dish. It 
may be assumed that the people holding shares in 
the New Guinea Company did not see the joke. 

While the company had been a huge white 
elephant, some private firms and individuals, who 
had settled down at the eastern end of New 
Britain as traders and planters, commenced to 
prosper. At last there was something to govern, 
so the station at Kerawarra was shifted to Her- 
bertshohe, which place later on was made the cen- 
tral seat of government. It is not difficult to 
understand that the feeling between the govern- 
ing body and those to be governed gradually be- 
came strained. These traders and planters had 
hitherto made their own laws. To submit to the 
rules and regulations promulgated by what, in 
their eyes, amounted to little more than a rival 
firm, naturally went against their grain. To be 
called upon to pay taxes exasperated them, and 
was interpreted as nothing but the most extra- 
vagant oppression. While some of the accusa- 
tions levelled against the New Guinea Company 
probably were true, it must be admitted that its 



156 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

dual position of government and rival trading firm 
was a difficult one. Von Kotze, in his memoirs, 
entirely sides with the traders and planters, and 
describes the company as being unjust, domineer- 
ing, incapable, and envious, in its foolish adminis- 
tration even going to the length of opposing an 
organised attempt to settle German-born farmers 
from Queensland in the Possession. On the other 
hand, while von Kotze is most entertaining, he 
does not at all impress as being a reliable and 
unbiassed judge. However that may be, the New 
Guinea Company, through its failures and short- 
comings, gradually lost prestige, both in the Pro- 
tectorate and in Germany; and the time for a 
change was ripe, when eventually the Imperial 
Government took hold of the reins. 

The sorely tried company was liberally com- 
pensated for its lost privileges including that of 
coining money. It obtained large land conces- 
sions and four million marks in cash. Delivered 
of the worries attached to governing, possessed of 
valuable, though dearly bought, experience, and 
strengthened by fresh capital, the company, with 
much success, concentrated its energy on trading 
and planting, and at the end of the financial year 
1912-13 it could boast of possessing, in various 
parts of the Protectorate, no less than forty-two 
plantations, covering an area of 20,720 acres. Of 
these, 17,305 acres were under coconut culture, 
2550 acres were planted with rubber trees, 712 
acres with cocoa beans, and 153 acres with hemp. 

Whatever the sins of this in the past much 



NEU GUINEA COMPAGNIE 157 

abused company may have been, the general 
opinion held to-day is that, next to the German 
Government, it has been the most influential 
factor in developing the Possession. 

It may be mentioned as an interesting fact that 
the few New Guinea Company coins still existing 
now are considered valuable historical relics, and 
were eagerly sought by members of the Australian 
occupying force. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



SOMETHING ABOUT THE NATIVES. 

When dealing with the native races of German 
New Guinea, it is of interest briefly to examine 
the native population of the Pacific as a whole. 
In doing so and not to lose ourselves in the 
entanglements of learned controversies we chose 
as guides those scientists who separate mankind 
into three main divisions, viz., Caucasians, Mon- 
goloids, and Negroids. Migrations from each of 
these three divisions have, in all probability, in 
the dim past taken place into the Pacific, and con- 
tributed to produce the people whose permanent 
home it eventually became. 

The Mediterranean countries are supposed to 
have been the cradle of the Caucasian race. 
Through their stone-henges the wanderings of the 
Caucasians may be traced along the Atlantic coast 
of Europe and across Asia, following two different 
tracks, the one leading over India to Sumatra and 
Java, where it stops; the other leading across 
Southern Siberia, Mongolia, Manchuria, and Korea 
to Japan, from where it spreads fan-like to British 
Columbia, the Central and South American Pacific 
coast, the Ladrones, the Carolines, Samoa, the 

158 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 159 

Society group, Easter Island, and New Zealand. 
Probably their wanderings along the Northern 
track commenced over a hundred thousand years 
ago, as there is evidence of them having arrived 
in the Pacific in the Palaeolithic age. In entering 
the Pacific they are assumed to have followed a 
land-bridge consisting of numerous islands, but 
which afterwards were submerged, thus perma- 
nently isolating them from the rest of the world. 

Some scientists are inclined to believe that the 
Negroids entered the Pacific even earlier than the 
Caucasians, and that, therefore, the blacks con- 
stitute the substrata of the population in this 
remote part of the world. 

The particular type of mankind called the 
Negroids are believed to have been bred in an 
Indo-African continent, which the Indian Geolo- 
gical Survey thinks stretched in late Tertiary 
times across the Indian Ocean. As this bridge 
sank, and India and Indonesia united with Asia, 
three isolated areas, viz., trans-Saharan Africa, 
Papuasia, and Australia evolved three Negroid 
varieties. As the Negroids must have got into 
the Pacific and to Australia before the land-bridge 
connecting the latter continent with Asia was 
seriously interrupted, it may well be a toss-up 
who entered the Pacific first White or Black. 

m 

The next migration into the South Seas is sup- 
posed to have taken place when the Caucasians 
then inhabiting Japan had mastered the maritime 
art and discovered how to make canoes suitable 
for long voyages. This migration probably 



160 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

started 4000 to 5000 years before our time of 
reckoning, and lasted till the Mongoloids con- 
quered Japan between 600 and 700 years before 
the birth of Christ. 

The last migration of any consequence this 
time presumably of a mixed breed with a strong 
leaning to the Caucasian race probably took 
place about the beginning of our time and came 
from Southern Asia, while by some scientists it 
is believed that even the Malays, at a slightly 
later date, entered the Pacific, and thus contri- 
buted to produce what we now understand by the 
Polynesian race. 

The discovery of bronze, and afterwards of 
iron, which spread comparatively quickly through 
Europe and Asia, never became known in the 
Pacific Islands, all connection having previously 
been severed, and when these islands were re- 
discovered by the Europeans, some four to five 
hundred years ago, the inhabitants were still liv- 
ing in the stone age. 

It is the wanderings, the doings, the struggle 
for supremacy, the intermixing, the evolving of 
certain characteristics, and so on, of these long- 
forgotten off shoots of the old world's inhabitants 
that scientists endeavour to unravel. With this 
object in view, they are studying and grouping 
the outward appearance, customs, languages, re- 
ligious ideas, weapons, canoes, etc., of the vari- 
ous races and tribes. 

The inhabitants of the Pacific, as they appear 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 161 

to-day, may be divided into the following three 
main groups: 

1. Polynesians a cross between Caucasians 

and Mongoloids, with a preponderance of 
Caucasian blood. 

2. Micronesians a cross between Poly- 

nesians and Negroids. 

3. Negroids. 

With Polynesians we are not concerned in the 
late German New Guinea Possession, and with 
Micronesians not a great deal. The latter inhabit 
the island groups north of the equator, now 
held by Japan ; whereas in the part of the Posses- 
sion occupied by the British, they are only found, 
besides at Nauru, on a narrow fringe of small 
islands stretching from New Guinea north and 
east of New Hanover and New Ireland towards 
the Solomons. 

It is with the Negroids we principally have to 
deal. 

These Negroids who, many thousands of years 
ago, wandered by land from a now extinct con- 
tinent into the Pacific, where later on, through a 
sinking of the earth's surface, they got separated 
into smaller groups have naturally during time 
evolved different characteristics. Thus we now 
distinguish between Australian aboriginals, 
Papuans, and Melanesians. Speaking in a general 
way, and confining ourselves to the German New 
Guinea Possession, the Papuans inhabit New 
Guinea proper and the Melanesians the Bismarck 
Archipelago and the Solomons. 

F 



162 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

The Papuans, as well as the Melanesians, from 
an ethnological point of view, may be divided 
into different branches, with smaller though, to 
the trained observer, marked divergencies, and 
possessing entirely different languages; while, in 
turn, the branches through differences in customs 
and dialects may be further subdivided. 

To the casual observer, who fights shy of 
minute details, Papuans and Melanesians are one 
and the same thing. They all have dark brown 
skin, the colour varying in density, dark brown, 
almost black, frizzy hair, brown eyes, and flat 
noses. They are shorter than the white race, 
harmoniously built, and carry themselves well. 
If a native dresses his hair like a doormat or muti- 
lates his ears in a special way, we know he comes 
from New Guinea proper; otherwise we may just 
as well guess on New Britain or New Ireland as 
his place of birth. If his skin is exceptionally 
dark, we know he comes from Buka. If he is 
more than usually stupid and clumsy, we take it 
for granted that he belongs to the New Britain 
inland tribes known as Baininges. 

As with outward appearance so with everything 
else concerning these primitive people; owing to 
the natural conditions under which they live and 
have lived for hundreds of generations being so 
much alike, there is a great deal of similarity. 
Intellectually, they are fairly well all on the same 
level; their means of existence, their religious 
ideas, their social organisation, their moral code 
in fact, everything that really matters follow 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 163 

certain broad lines, and only by examining the 
often gorgeous wrapping surrounding everyday 
life, such as customs, ceremonies, ornamentations, 
etc., it is possible to discover any nuances in the 
dark carpet of humanity time and fate have flung 
over the rfouth-western Pacific. 

Mentally, the Papuans and Melanesians range 
with European children of about twelve years of 
age. Their gift to assimilate ideas has the same 
limitation. For instance, the white man's de- 
vice for reckoning time is beyond their compre- 
hension ; even those reared in the vicinity of Euro- 
pean settlements have not yet grasped the pur- 
chase value of the white man's money. They do 
not appear to have any accepted form of an 
alphabet, or written or carved signs of any kind. 
Their artistic productions are those of all savage 
races crude, with but clumsily expressed mean- 
ing, and generally lacking harmony. Of religi- 
ous conceptions they practically have none. 

With regard to characteristics possessed by 
this backward branch of the human race, the con- 
sensus of opinion is that deceitfulness and sus- 
picion are the most outstanding features. The 
reason for this is put down to lack of social organ- 
isation. The tribe has remained the social unit 
at the head of which is the traditional chief. 
From ancient customs, in conjunction with vague 
ideas of right and wrong, has evolved a code of 
unwritten laws, but no means have been devised 
to enforce these laws, consequently they are 
openly ignored by anyone who feels himself 



164 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

strong enough to do so. Thus the chief, who is 
the most powerful man in the tribe, generally sets 
the example by being the greatest law-breaker. 
The result is a state of affairs bordering on abso- 
lute anarchy, no one ever being safe. The indivi- 
dual is practically thrown on his own resources for 
protection of life and property. Danger lurks 
everywhere; he may be ambushed, killed, and 
eaten by outlaws from another tribe; he may be 
done to death or robbed or cheated by his next 
door neighbour, or even by his own brother. In 
order to survive under such mixed and lawless 
conditions a great measure of low cunning, schem- 
ing, and ever-alert suspicion is naturally required. 

But deceitfulness and suspicion far from ex- 
haust the defects of the Kanaka. A German 
missionary, Pater Kleintitschen, who has col- 
lected his impressions, and those of other mission- 
aries, in a book published some years ago, de- 
scribes the natives in the Gazelle Peninsula as 
being deceitful, suspicious, callous, cowardly, 
avaricious, untruthful, thieving, hypocritical, un- 
grateful, and lazy ; in fact, they would seem to be 
so utterly beyond redemption, and have so many 
devils to contend with, that one at first almost 
feels inclined to think the world best served by 
letting the Kanakas and the devils fight it out 
between themselves. And yet every trader and 
planter who has lived amongst the natives in any 
part of the Possession corroborates Pater Klein- 
titschen's statement. 

Just as the native expects no mercy from God 



or man, so he shows no mercy to anything living. 
He is absolutely indifferent to the sufferings of 
others. If a mother is handicapped by a sickly 
child she will put it to death. If a father or 
mother grow too old to shift for themselves they 
are uncared for, even though their own offspring 
live within sight of them. The old pot and pan 
are useless for anything, so why trouble about 
them. A near relative may occasionally throw 
a little food into the hut where they lay stretched 
on their mats neglected and slowly starving to 
death, and he may, if he sees the end is near, call 
in other relatives, who often hasten on the old 
peoples' exit or bury the poor wretches before 
life is extinct. A boy and girl caught in commit- 
ting incest the greatest sin of all in the eyes of 
the natives are at some places made to dig their 
own graves, and are then buried alive, or they are 
tortured to death by applying red-hot stones to 
their bodies, and eventually forcing them into 
their mouths ; and yet incest only means that the 
boy and girl belong to one totem. A captured 
man or woman from an enemy tribe, or a slave, 
where slaves are kept, is slaughtered and devoured 
in cold blood. The same callousness is shown to- 
wards animals. Fowls are plucked and their legs 
cut off before they are killed. Flying foxes are 
roasted alive. Even pigs, which used to share hut 
and food with their master, are mercilessly 
thrown into the roasting-ditch prior to killing 
them, so that their bristles may be burnt off. 
Their treachery and cowardice is revealed in 



166 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

their mode of warfare; and may, to some extent, 
be due to the density of vegetation, whereby the 
art of ambushing has been greatly favoured. Any- 
how, the natives rarely attack an enemy in the 
open, but throw themselves unexpectedly upon 
him from their hiding places, at the same time 
yelling and shrieking at the top of their voices. 
If one of their own is slain, they lose heart and 
flee. Also, in getting even with an enemy within 
their own tribe, the Kanaka takes no risk, but 
hires others to assist him or places poisoned 
thorns on the track the enemy is using, or he dis- 
poses of him by any other foul means. Natives 
engaged as guides and carriers by explorers and 
missionaries are always very brave in the begin- 
ning, but as they approach districts inhabited by 
other tribes they grow silent and show fear. They 
commence disappearing during the nights, till 
often by the time the traveller has reached his 
destination he has not a single boy left. 

Native avarice manifests itself in different 
ways, but is particularly marked in his insatiable 
greed after Tambo or shell money, where shell 
money is used. The importance shell money 
plays in every day life will be dealt with later on. 
According to statements made by missionaries, 
who have spent most of their lives amongst these 
people, there is not anything a Kanaka would not 
do in order to obtain them. He is prepared to 
render any kind of service for Tambo, degrade 
himself to any extent, and commit crimes of the 
most revolting nature. And, again though 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 167 

there are too few women to go round the wealthy 
Kanaka wHl keep on adding to the number of his 
wives, well knowing that every time he gets a 
new wife he also gets a new slave. Nearly all the 
native court cases brought before the District 
Officers are about Tambo, women, or pigs, and the 
experience gained from different parts of the 
colony all tend to show that the missionaries' 
sizing up of the natives is well within the mark 
not only are the Kanakas avaricious, but of a 
thieving disposition and born liars. 

The notorious laziness of the Kanaka remains 
to be mentioned. There is a particular word, 
Limlimbur, which, like kai-kai (food) and maski 
(never mind), has entered the vocabulary of 
Pidgin-English, and now is commonly used by all 
natives. The word, which has no equivalent in 
any other language, means anything that may 
stand opposite to "work." When the natives sit 
chatting in the shade of a tree they limlimbur, 
when they stroll aimlessly about they limlimbur, 
when they doze on their mats they limlimbur, 
when they play they limlimbur. When Kanakas, 
pressed by the necessity of food, make up their 
mind to clear a new patch of ground they work 
two or three hours in the morning for a couple of 
days, then they limlimbur for, perhaps, half a 
week, after which they make a new effort, and so 
it goes on with little work and much limlimbur till 
the clearing is sufficiently advanced for the 
women-folk to take charge of. In their case there 
is considerable less limlimbur and more work, 



168 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

though there is reason to believe that they, too, 
would take matters pretty easy if allowed to 
follow their natural inclination. 

The missionaries point out several other de- 
fects in native disposition, all of them tending to 
prove that the typical Kanaka is an unsympa- 
thetic individual. Still, we must admit that all 
the vices here described, and those omitted 
through lack of space, we have met with long be- 
fore we had seen a single Kanaka, and that, in 
reality, they are part and parcel of human nature. 
Obviously, they are more pronounced and more 
widely diffused amongst the savages than amongst 
civilised races, the reason for which again being 
that they have never succeeded in establishing 
organised communities or in developing a public 
moral code to keep vice in check. 

It stands to reason that when vice is so rampant 
virtues are rare. Still, they are not altogether 
absent. Pater Kleintitschen, in his book, points 
out that cases of gratitude and devotion are met 
with, that parents are fond of their children, and 
that the average Kanaka is hospitably inclined. 
From recruiters of native labour we learn that 
time-expired labourers, on returning to their 
native villages, are most liberal in distributing 
amongst their relatives and friends their hard 
earned treasures of trade goods. It is also 
generally admitted that the young Kanaka is 
willing to learn and capable of improvement. 
This latter assertion is, to some extent, demon- 
strated by the change gradually taking place in 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 169 

the habits of those living in the vicinity of Euro- 
pean settlements and in districts where mission- 
aries have laboured for a number of years. 

As a means of studying the early stages of 
human progress the Kanakas, like other equally 
backward races, afford excellent material. By 
observing their daily life, we get an idea of how 
our own ancestors lived in the remote past. The 
Kanakas have emerged from the first stage at 
which food was haphazardly gathered in the 
forest, and males and females mated like cattle; 
but, though thousands and thousands of years 
have elapsed since then, for some reason or other 
they have got very little further than to the 
second stage. This stage is generally marked 
by stone implements and the most rudimentary 
forms of agriculture; by the stronger sex enslav- 
ing the weaker; the dawning of religious concep- 
tions, and the creation of petty tribes. 

Having in the foregoing briefly outlined how 
and when the Pacific is assumed to have been 
populated, and also at some length dealt with the 
characteristics of the indigenous inhabitants of 
late German New Guinea and other Western 
Pacific islands, space may be given to the most 
important of all human affairs that of sustain- 
ing life. 

Economical Life. 

It is but natural that the same causes which 
stifled social evolution also retarded economical 
progress. No division of labour, except as be- 



170 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

tween the sexes, ever took place. Each member 
of the tribe, from the chief downwards, has re- 
mained a primary producer, cultivating the soil, 
gathering foodstuff in the bush, chasing the wild 
pig and other inhabitants of the forest, or 
paddling in the water for fish and tortoises. Odd 
tribes in New Guinea proper, the Admiralties, and 
the Solomons engage in pottery, which they barter 
for foodstuff, while at other places containing 
superior timber for canoes the making of that 
craft has, in some measure, been specialised in. 
These are, however, mere exceptions, and play 
such an insignificant part in the economical life 
of the self-reliant Kanaka that they may quite 
well be discarded. 

Food. 

The Kanaka is primarily a vegetarian, his sus- 
tenance consisting of taros, yam, sweet potatoes, 
bananas, breadfruit, and coconuts. Of less im- 
portance are tapioca, sago, sugar cane, and maize, 
while a variety of tropical fruit, such as that of 
the Pandanus palm, pineapples and mangoes serve 
more as a relish than as a nutriment. 

Taro, yam, and sweet potatoes all contain a con- 
siderable quantity of starch, in the case of taroover 
50 per cent. They take the place of our potato, 
which they very much resemble in substance. 
All are grown in cultivated fields, and can be har- 
vested in four to six months. In the vicinity of 
European settlements iron implements are now 
used, but further away sticks made from wood 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 171 

take the place of spades. Taro is the Kanaka's 
favourite food, but, unfortunately, it does not 
keep more than a few days after taken out of the 
ground, whereas yam and sweet potatoes keep as 
well, if not better, than our potatoes. Bananas, 
of which several varieties are found, are generally 
grown in small well kept plantations. From its 
trunk is obtained excellent material for rope 
making. The breadfruit tree grows as an ordi- 
nary forest tree, reaching a height of sixty or 
seventy feet or more, with a diameter of three or 
four feet. It bears twice a year, the fruit weigh- 
ing from four to eight pounds. The coco- 
nut palm only grows on or near the coast. The 
nut, when young, is consumed raw. In its 
mature state it is crudely desiccated and mixed 
with other food stuff. At the Admiralty Islands 
the oil is extracted and used for preparing food. 
The nuts not consumed are exchanged with the 
trader for implements or luxuries for which the 
natives are gradually acquiring a taste. Also, the 
shell, husk, wood, and the leaves are at times 
turned to uses. At the western half of New 
Britain, the northern part of New Ireland, and 
at many places in New Guinea, sago plays an im- 
portant part in feeding the natives. 

The pig is the principal meat producing animal. 
It exists in most islands, both domesticated and 
in its wild state. It may here be mentioned that 
the pig, the dog, and the fowl were brought into 
the Pacific thousands and thousands of years ago 
by some of those early immigrants mentioned on 



172 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

a previous page, the pig missing some of the 
islands and the dog others. In addition to these 
animals the wallaby, cassowary, and opossum are 
killed and eaten wherever found; also the flying 
fox, different species of wild pigeons and other 
winged inhabitants of the islands are included 
in the menu of the Kanaka. Fish along the 
various coasts play a certain importance in sus- 
taining the native population. They are mostly 
caught in traps made from rattan cane, though in 
the Admiralty group nets are common, while 
crudely made hooks and fish-spears are used at 
'aorne places. Also, the slow moving tortoise has 
to contribute to the native table. The balance of 
the meat required is made up of human flesh, 
cannibalism still being practised at most places 
outside of government influence. 

Their principal stimulant is the nut of the 
Areca palm, generally known as betelnut, and an 
indigenous species of pepper. Both stimulants 
are dipped in slaked lime made from burnt coral. 
In Buka and some places in New Guinea tobacco 
grows wild, and is smoked by the natives. 

Commerce. 

The natives being separated in countless tribes, 
always distrusting one another, if not actually at 
warfare, together with the numerous languages 
spoken, and the unprogressiveness of the native 
mind, have naturally hindered the development 
of commercial intercourse. Still, barter on a 
small scale takes place between neighbouring 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 173 

localities and islands; the tribes living along the 
coast exchange with inland tribes fish, lime, salt- 
water, and coconuts for taros and yam, while 
some New Guinea tribes, as already stated, con- 
duct a regular business in pottery. Also, within 
the individual tribe, selling and buying go on. 
One Kanaka has a daughter to sell, another a pig, 
a third a canoe, and so on. Not that business is 
ever brisk or plays a stirring part in daily life. It 
is conducted in the same leisurely manner as 
amongst our forefathers before the invention of 
the middleman. To facilitate these transactions 
shell money is used. 

Shell Money. 

It is necessary to give some space to this 
peculiar currency, which, where known, in a con- 
siderable degree occupies the native mind, and 
plays a similar part to metal coins amongst more 
civilised races. The inland tribes do not always 
possess them. In New Guinea and the Admiralty 
Islands the coins are shaped like small discs, not 
exceeding a sixpence in size, and made from a 
shell generally known as sapi-sapi. 

In a large part of the Bismarck Archipelago a 
small shell of the cowrie species is made use of. 
The size used in New Britain is about a third of 
an inch long. These shells are principally ob- 
tained at a place called Nakanai, on the north 
coast of New Britain, whither natives at a certain 
season of the year travel in their canoes to get 



174 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

them. They may secure them from the sea bot- 
tom through their own efforts, or they may obtain 
them by barter with local natives, or by fitting 
out regular plundering expeditions, all according 
to expediency under momentary existing condi- 
tions. Somehow they get them, and the next pro- 
cess is to clean and bleach them, bore holes in the 
back, and thread them on rattan reeds of different 
lengths. 

Smaller bits corresponding to our copper coins 
are generally carried about by the Kanaka in his 
inseparable basket. These serve as pocket money, 
and facilitate trivial everyday transactions. 
Pieces representing higher values are safely kept 
in the huts, and sometimes made into bunches or 
rolled into big coils. Such larger capital is given 
in custody to the chiefs, who, without neglecting 
their own personal interests, are a kind of trea- 
surers for their respective tribes. 

A roll of shell money in the native world pos- 
sesses the same mystic power as does a stack of 
bank notes in the civilised. By the medium of 
such wealth a Kanaka gains prominence and be- 
comes an aristocrat, to whom others pay hom- 
age. He can buy several wives, plenty of pigs, 
the finest canoes, and even secure advantages in 
the life to follow. In the matrimonial market his 
daughters fetch a higher price. They all talk 
about him much in the same way as newspapers 
write about a Pierpont Morgan or a Rockefeller. 
It, therefore, becomes the ambition of every 
native to accumulate shell money, and in order to 



obtain the wonder working article he actually at 
times exhibits both enterprise and inventiveness. 
For instance, a leading Kanaka will give his 
friends a treat, arranging a kind of native ban- 
quet, with plenty of pork and other delicacies. Of 
course, it is an honour to be invited, and the guests 
gladly present their host on such occasions with 
the customary lengths of shell money, which more 
than pays for the entertainment. Parkinson, in 
his book, mentions several instances of cleverly 
concealed scheming and frauds, quite worthy of a 
European bogus company promoter, whereby 
easily led fellow Kanakas have been sorely bled. 
Also the lending out of shell money at high in- 
terest is practised, while downright theft as a last 
resource is resorted to. 

The Tribe and the Duty of the Chief. 

The tribes naturally vary much in size. On the 
mainland they seem to be bigger than in the 
archipelago, where they seldom number more 
than a few scores of people. At the head of the 
tribe is the usual chief, whose duty it is to lead 
his people in war, or, where he is too old, to nomi- 
nate a substitute. He also acts as a kind of 
custodian, guarding the tribe's treasures in shell 
money. If he abuses the trust placed in him he 
may be deposed, and his next-of-kin elected. 

When anything of importance is to be decided, 
such as a declaration of war against another tribe, 
he summons his men together by beating the 
garamut, and afterwards leads the debate. About 



176 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

the administering of justice there can hardly be 
any question, as in daily life between individuals 
justice does not exist. Might is right. Every- 
body for himself, and the hindmost for the devil. 
As previously stated, the natives have a code of 
unwritten laws, but possess no means of enforcing 
them. Parkinson, however, relates that in the 
Gazelle Peninsula public opinion is sometimes 
aroused, and in a peculiar fashion brought to bear 
on certain crimes. For instance, a native has had 
a pig stolen, or, maybe, some money. Either he 
does not know who the offender is, or he is too 
weak to bring him to task. He may then put fire 
to someone else's hut, or destroy his canoe. The 
sufferer does the same to the property of some 
other native ; and, ere long, there is a general up- 
roar, accompanied by the most hellish shrieking 
and yelling and dancing. The moral pressure thus 
brought to bear proves, as a rule, too much for 
the culprit, who acknowledges his offence, and 
agrees to pay the damage done, and, in addition, 
of course, to return the stolen goods. Though I 
have not read or heard of this primitive way of 
enforcing justice being used at any other place, 
there is no reason to think it is confined to the 
Gazelle Peninsula alone. 

In the districts under government influence, the 
functions of the chief have gradually changed, in- 
asmuch as he has been transformed into a kind 
of local justice of the peace, or police magistrate, 
who is held responsible for the good behaviour of 
his tribe, and for the maintenance of the public 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 177 

roads leading through his district. He is to 
administer justice among his people according to 
native law, to assist the government in collecting 
the taxes, and in enforcing the regulations govern- 
ing native affairs. The outward sign of his 
authority is a peak cap with a broad red band 
round it, and, in the case of a sub-chief, or Tul- 
tul, two narrow stripes of red. In the German 
time the bands were in red, black, and white. 

The Position of the Woman in the Tribe. 

Before describing the woman's position in the 
tribe, it may be mentioned that amongst the 
Kanakas, as amongst other equally backward 
races, mother right is prevailing. The children 
belong to the mother's totem, and are under the 
guardianship of her eldest brother. In Gazelle 
Peninsula the boys, as soon as they can run about, 
leave the parents altogether, and go to the uncle's 
place. Thus it might quite well happen that a 
native with a number of sisters becomes respon- 
sible for the bringing up of a score of children or 
more. Though mother right at first would seem 
a concession to women, it is naturally just the 
opposite, as it claims no chastity on the part of 
the men, and leaves them without responsibility 
and care for the offspring. 

The necessity for mother right, and for 
totemism in order to preserve the race becomes 
obvious when we know that the women folk pass 
from hand to hand, and the moral standard, from 



178 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

a civilised point ol view, is so low that it is hard 
to tell who is the father of a child. 

When a boy is half grown, his uncle if 
pecunious buys a wife for him, the purchase 
sum to be repaid the uncle later on. The girl re- 
mains with her parents till of age, when the wed- 
ding is celebrated, generally with much ceremony 
and feasting, and exchanging of presents. If the 
man prospers he may later on buy more wives. 
On the other hand, if his uncle is poor, and he 
himself shows lack of thrift, he will probably go 
unmarried through life. 

The wife is the absolute property of the 
husband. He may chastise her ; he may transfer 
her to an honoured guest; he may hire her out 
for a consideration in shell money; he may ex- 
change her for some other woman ; or he may sell 
her. At his command she ceases being chaste 
against his will it is a serious offence, for which 
she is severely punished or returned to her 
parents, the husband claiming his purchase money 
back: or, at some places, for instance at Buka, in 
the Solomons, she may be done to death. 

This, however, does not say that the wife is 
always illtreated. The husband may be con- 
siderate and forbearing; he may put up with a 
great deal of nagging; and, even, in cases where 
the wife is the stronger personality of the two, be 
content to take a back seat. All in all, though the 
lot of these subjugated creatures is a hard one, 
they appear to be as happy, if not happier, than 
their white sisters in civilised countries. Nor 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 179 

are the gentler sentiments altogether absent. A 
missionary told me that the first letter indepen- 
dently produced in Nodup, a village close to 
Rabaul, after some of the natives had been taught 
to read and write, was a love letter; and District 
Officers relate that often, when police boys are 
entering on a long or perilous expedition, their 
wives sob most piteously, and want to go with 
them. 

/The price paid for a wife varies in the different 
localities. In the vicinity of Rabaul a healthy 
girl fetches as much as fifty fathoms of tambo, 
representing a value in European money of about 
5. My house boy told me that at Toma, only a 
day's journey from Rabaul, they are sold for 
twenty fathoms. At some places in New Ireland 
they change hands for twenty shillings apiece, 
while at Squally Island and St. Mathias they are 
stated to be of even less commercial value. 

*^ 

A planter from Squally Island relates that 
there, and also at St. Mathias, a man only keeps 
company with a woman till the natural object of 
their courting is gained; then he leaves her to 
pay his attentions to some other woman. She, 
in due course, is ready to be courted by some other 
man, and, finding children an encumbrance, and 
her mother-love not being very highly developed, 
she very often destroys the children as they come 
along, generally by burying them alive. Unless it 
be due to heavy recruiting of the male population 
for oversea plantations, it would seem as if we 
here, as in the Trobriand Islands of Papua, are 



180 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

confronted with a remnant of that particular 
chapter in human history, when the sexes mated 
indiscriminately, and which preceded the enslave- 
ment of the weaker sex. 

In the division of labour the men have chosen 
those pursuits that contain an element of sport, 
such as fighting, hunting, and fishing, the felling 
of trees, the erection of huts, and the making of 
canoes and weapons, and have allotted to the 
women all the tasks that spell toil and monotony 
the tilling of the soil, the cultivation of planta- 
tions, the carrying of burdens, the cooking, and 
the care of children. 

The tilling of the soil is, of course, done in most 
primitive fashion, but the implements used are 
correspondingly primitive, and the labour in- 
volved, therefore, considerable. The transport 
work is still heavier; the fields and plantations 
are often far away from the villages, sometimes 
even up in the mountains; the water for house- 
hold use has to be brought in hollowed out coco- 
nuts from a spring somewhere in the bush; the 
barter of foodstuffs with neighbouring tribes or 
with European settlers, increases the distances to 
be travelled. All this ceaseless carrying falls 
to the lot of the females, and it is everywhere a 
common sight to see rows of women lugging off 
with burdens that would put a European wharf 
lumper to a severe test. The household work is 
naturally reduced to a minimum, still the open 
squares in front of the huts are generally kept 
scrupulously clean. The cooking is done amongst 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 181 

heated stones the foodstuffs being wrapped in 
green banana leaves, and placed amongst the 
stones. The principle is practically the same as 
with paper bag cooking, which was all the rage 
amongst Europeans some few years back, but was 
given up, presumably because it was found more 
cumbersome than pots and pans. The children, 
though neglected, require some care, and, particu- 
larly when travelling, increase a mother's burden. 

Is it to be wondered at that the women do not 
wear so well as the men, and that by the time 
they reach thirty to thirty-five years of age they 
look old and weather-beaten hags? Or is it not 
quite natural that wherever the natives have been 
enumerated, the women have been in conspicuous 
minority. Yet they do not seem to feel their de- 
gradation. One of the District Officers was re- 
cently asked by the missionaries to prohibit in his 
district a native having more than one wife. He 
refused the request on the ground that a wife who 
lost her charm would be sold for a pipe of tobacco 
or turned adrift, whereas now, though the man 
bought a new wife, she remained at her home, and 
was quite happy in being near by, and allowed 
to toil for her old man. 

What a gulf between the woman in the tribe 
and the woman in modern society ; and what a long 
distance those women have travelled who now take 
a seat amongst men in Parliament. 

Housing and Clothing. 

The houses occupied by the natives vary con- 
siderably in the different parts of the Possession. 



182 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

and it is difficult to generalise on the subject. A 
distinction may, however, be made between the 
abodes of the Papuans and those of the 
Melanesians. The former prefer to build their 
houses on posts well up from the ground. At 
many places, both on the mainland and at the 
Admiralties, the houses are built on piles well out 
in the water. Also, the Papuans often live in 
big villages, numbering up to four thousand 
people, and they construct, for the use of single 
men, large houses which serve the double purpose 
of bachelors' quarters and public halls. In these 
houses weapons, skulls of slain enemies, jawbones 
of alligators, and other valued treasures are care- 
fully stored. The Melanesians inhabiting the 
Bismarck Archipelago build their houses or huts 
on the ground, hidden away in small clusters in 
the thickness of the woods, and erected, for pre- 
ference, at the most obscure and inaccessible 
places. As the Europeans in the Tropics spend 
most of their time on the verandah, so the natives 
spend the greater part of their lives in the open, 
and their huts only serve as sleeping places and 
store rooms for their properties, such as spears, 
clubs, fish-nets, tambo, etc. For this reason they 
are small and stuffy, protecting their inmates, who 
sleep uncovered on the bare ground, against the 
drop of temperature during the night. To keep 
out the mosquitoes a smouldering fire is burning 
in the middle of the hut, the smoke apparently 
not troubling the Kanakas. Generally, the houses 
are oval shaped, and, seen from a distance, re- 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 183 

semble large beehives. In the central part of 
New Ireland the houses are larger; in fact, large 
enough to allow the cooking to be done inside. 
They have a small front verandah, and are built 
rectangular shape. The New Britain inland 
tribes, the Bainings, who wander from taro field 
to taro field, merely put up a rough shelter re- 
miniscent of the mia-mia of their brethren in 
Australia. In the southern part of Bougainville 
we again find houses built on posts, whereas the 
northern part and Buka conform in the main to 
the Melanesian idea of house-building. 

Clothes in the South Seas can hardly be classi- 
fied amongst the things that matter, the tempera- 
ture scarcely warranting any clothes being worn 
at all. For this reason students of native life as- 
cribe the sparse garments worn either to modesty 
or to vanity. Where the natives have got in 
touch with Europeans modesty undoubtedly plays 
a great part, inasmuch as the missionaries have 
taught them they were naked, a fact which pro- 
bably had never struck them before. For this 
reason we now see them draped in loin cloths, the 
females in addition wearing a blouse a la the 
American Negresses generally showing some 
inches of bare flesh where the two ought to meet, 
or hanging round the neck like a rag. 

Where the white man has not introduced his 
idea of propriety the old customs are, of course, 
still adhered to. These customs vary somewhat 
at the different islands, thus in New Guinea the 
women wear a short skirt of grass, and the men 



184 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

merely a belt round the waist with a band drawn 
between the legs. In the Admiralty Islands the 
skirt is generally plaited, or it is made of a solid 
piece of bark. In the Baining district, as far as 
it is known, the men are entirely naked, while the 
women wear a waist band with fibres hanging 
down in front and back. In the northern part of 
New Ireland married women dress similar to the 
Baining women, whereas single girls and all the 
men wear nothing at all. In the Northern 
Solomons the natives are either entirely naked or 
the men follow the fashion in vogue in New 
Guinea ; married women wear a short skirt, while 
single girls hide their nakedness with a leaf. 
When to the above is added that the men at odd 
places hide their sex by a sea shell, all fashions in 
the way of attire prevailing amongst the natives 
have been described. 

More space would a description require of what 
may be termed native jewellery, and particularly 
is that the case with the Papuans of the male sex, 
who overload almost every part of the body, in- 
cluding ears and nose, with ornaments. Right 
throughout the colony necklaces made from the 
teeth of the dog, the flying fox, and the opossum 
seem to be the most precious adornment, also 
boar's tusks and armbands made from the trocus 
shell is seen at most places, whilst it is a common 
practice on festive occasions to paint the face, 
part of the body, and even the hair in the most 
gorgeous colours, wreaths of green leaves and 
hibiscus flowers putting the finishing touch to the 
toilet. 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 185 

Religious Conceptions. 

It is principally through the missionaries that 
we get any detailed information of the religious 
beliefs held by the natives, and as the missionaries 
so far have covered only a comparatively small 
part of the ground, our knowledge is as yet very 
incomplete. Still, sufficient is known to draw 
certain broad lines upon which the natives' 
spiritual conceptions run. They have discovered 
that something which we call the soul, and by 
seeing in their dreams departed relatives and 
acquaintances, have drawn the conclusion that the 
soul, or spirit, lives after the destruction of the 
physical body. The spirits of the dead, or, to use 
a simpler language, the ghosts, are believed to 
hover about amongst the living, for preference 
keeping in the vicinity of the places where the 
bodies are buried, or were disposed of by burning. 
Only the souls of the wealthy, at whose funerals 
food and shell money were freely distributed, are 
relegated to a vaguely defined place of bliss. Like 
the persons were in life, so the ghosts remain in 
death, and as the average Kanaka is void of 
human kindness, even great chiefs glorying in 
their cruelties and misdeeds, the ghosts are well 
and truly to be feared. 

At times inhospitable places, such as steep 
gullies and gorges, are looked upon as favourite 
retreats of the ghosts, and such places are 
naturally shunned by everybody. When the 
tunnel through Ratuval Pass, outside of Rabaul, 
was made, the Germans had great difficulty in 



186 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

getting the natives to work there, the gully lead- 
ing up to it being considered ghost-infested. But 
no one is really anywhere safe against the souls 
of the departed, for which reason the natives keep 
to their huts as soon as darkness sets in ; if occa- 
sionally forced to venture out during the night 
they carry a brightly flickering torch, at the same 
time yelling at the top of their voices to frighten 
the ghosts away. Particularly vicious are the 
spirits of slaves, where slaves are kept, and as 
these poor wretches were starved in life so their 
spirits keep starving in death; to appease them 
taros and yams are occasionally placed in the 
bush. 

While amongst more progressive races the souls 
of great heroes or exceptionally good kings were at 
first revered and later on worshipped, thus gradu- 
ally attaining to the rank of deities, such an evolu- 
tion is hardly traceable amongst the Melanesians 
and Papuans; nor did the above referred to 
grudgingly made sacrifices to the dead ever de- 
velop into higher forms of religious offerings ex- 
pressive of something nobler than fear: nor did 
it ever become a tribal concern to guard the living 
against the dead, for which reason temples and 
priests are unknown. 

An exception to the above rules is, however, 
met with at odd places, where some tribes in re- 
ligious matters are slightly in advance of others. 
Thus, at places on the mainland of New Guinea, 
and maybe at a few of the smaller islands as well, 
the spirits tend to gravitate towards a unity 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 187 

known as Tamboran. About Tamboran T. J. 
Denham wrote in the "Rabaul Record" : 

"Tamboran represents both good and evil. He 
can make men happy, give them victory over their 
enemies, good seasons, prosperous hunting expedi- 
tions, and many other blessings. But if Tamboran 
becomes angry, woe betide the villagers. The 
men foregather in the spirit house, which no 
woman can enter under pain of death. To pro- 
pitiate the spirit strange rites, sing-sings, and 
dances are practised. If they have reason to think 
the spirit is appeased they arrange a great feast." 

It would thus appear that these natives are 
approaching the second stage in religious evolu- 
tion, where out of ordinary ghosts arise master- 
spirits, or deities, and that religious matters tend 
to become a public concern. Still, with all due 
consideration to the exceptions, the religious be- 
lief of the Kanakas is best described as a medley 
of gross superstition and the lowest form of 
ancestor worship. 

The Sorcerer. 

Being always exposed to the malice of evil 
spirits, and ignorant of the laws of nature, super- 
stition everywhere exhibits a most astounding 
growth. If any kind of misfortune befalls a 
native, some hidden enemy, aided by ghosts, has 
brought it about. It can be explained in no other 
way, and possessing no natural means to combat 
the supernatural, natives with more sagacity than 
the rest have developed into sorcerers, who, for a 



188 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

consideration in shell-money, are ready to help in 
all sorts of tribulations. The sorcerers are be- 
lieved to have power over life and death, flood and 
fire, fortune and misfortune. If the parents of a 
first-born child wish to ensure its happiness and 
prosperity in life, the sorcerer is sent for; he 
blows chalk about, burns herbs, the secret power 
of which only the sorcerer and the ghosts know, 
utter formulas which inspire the listeners with 
awe, and having thus bestowed his blessings on 
the quivering little bundle of humanity, he col- 
lects his fee, if not already paid, and departs, ad- 
mired by all present. If a person is taken seri- 
ously ill, the sorcerer is consulted, and if applica- 
tion of his crude knowledge of savage herbalism, 
combined with miracle-working rites and for- 
mulas, do not restore health, it can only be ex- 
plained by some vicious and more powerful sor- 
cerer opposing him. If anybody wishes to secure 
the death of an enemy, without taking the risk 
of accomplishing same in a natural way, the sor- 
cerer, if amply rewarded, will bring it about by 
supernatural means. For instance, he may fill a 
bamboo stick with bits of chopped-up sea snake, 
herbs, roots and chalk, bewitch it by his magic 
formulas, and bury it near the victim's dwelling- 
place. Generally the latter does die. The know- 
ledge that he is doomed works on his mind, and 
he commences pining away. If the art of " sug- 
gestion" proves abortive, the sorcerer, in order to 
save his reputation, may fall back on quite natural 
means. If a native has lost anything through 



theft, or had destruction wrought on valuable pro- 
perty, he may proceed to the sorcerer, who, as a 
rule, has no trouble in pointing out the offender, 
and even, if at times the person pointed out is 
quite innocent, the sorcerer's evidence is sufficient 
to convict him. No undertaking of any import- 
ance, such as war, fishing cruises, great family 
festivities, weddings, and the like, is entered on 
without invoking the aid of the magician. The 
sorcerer, through failures in achieving the desired 
ends, may lose his prestige, be looked upon as an 
impostor, and even forfeit his life, but this in no 
way undermines the belief in sorcery and witch- 
craft, which penetrates every nook and corner of 
the West Pacific, and is an outstanding feature in 
native life. 

Secret Societies. 

Another outgrowth of this deeply rooted super- 
stition are the secret societies, of which the Duk 
Duk on the north coast of New Britain, and Iniet 
on the south coast, are the best known, but which, 
in some shape or form, appear to exist right 
through the Possession. The secrets of these 
societies are as jealously guarded as are those of 
the Freemasons; still, the veil of mysticism has 
been sufficiently lifted to show that, while native 
superstition has made them possible, they have 
nothing to do with religion ; nor have they origin- 
ated, as is the case with our own secret societies, 
from a commendable desire for mutual protection 



190 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

and assistance, but range somewhere between 
Tammany Hall and the Black Hand. Their main 
objects are graft, blackmail, and downright rob- 
bery, assassination being one of their most effec- 
tive weapons. The initial fee is generally high, 
probably serving the double object of enriching 
the members and keeping the society select. Their 
special dances no one else is allowed to partake in, 
just as no one is allowed to wear the masks and 
costumes exclusively designed for them. The rites 
practised and the secrecy, which no one dare 
reveal under penalty of death, keep the uninitiated 
in awe, and make them an easy prey to the ex- 
cesses committed by members of these societies. 



Legends. 

As with the secret societies so with the legends, 
of which a good many exist amongst the natives ; 
they are outside the scope of religion. The bulk 
of the legends, which have come to my knowledge, 
have either been unfit for publication or the most 
childish nonsense; the best of them are those 
which endeavour to explain such natural pheno- 
mena as volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, and the 
like, or refer to events which probably have taken 
place. To be sure a legend amongst the natives 
in the Gazelle Peninsula in a fantastic way ex- 
plains the creation of man, and would thus seem 
to correspond to our Genesis, but as the forces or 
master-spirit, which brought the creation about, 
have ceased to exist, if, indeed, they were ever 



SOMETHING ABOUT NATIVES 191 

believed in, they are without spiritual significance. 
All these legends are, in reality, neither more nor 
less than the unwritten literature of the Kanakas, 
related when on moonlight nights they "limlim- 
bur" on the beach or are gathered around their 
smouldering camp fires. 



CHAPTER XV. 



AMONGST THE NATIVES IN FORMER DAYS. 
False Notions about Native Life. 

The accounts given by some writers of native 
life in the Pacific convey the impression that these 
people live, as did the inhabitants of old Arcadia 
a happy, simple life, and that the intrusion of 
the white man is almost a crime against humanity. 
Such writers commit the same error any tourist 
would be apt to if, on a Sunday, he paid a visit 
to, say, one of the villages near Rabaul ; he would 
see a number of children playing merrily on the 
beach; mothers bathing their babies in the surf; 
groups of idling men sitting in the shade of broad 
leafed breadfruit trees chewing betel nuts or enjoy- 
ing their pipes; clusters of apparently sorrowless 
youths sauntering about, with hibiscus flowers in 
their hair and dressed in gorgeous loincloths ; big 
and small pigs, as tame as dogs, poking about the 
huts ; he would look into some of these huts, and 
see where the natives sleep, what they eat, and 
so on ; and, having seen them in their home, take 
back with him the impression that he knew all 
about the natives. He would overlook the im- 
portant facts that he saw them on a Sabbath day 

192 




Types of Native Women and Children near Mn 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 193 

and in a district for years under European influ- 
ence, thus entirely missing the overwhelming fear 
which is the dominant note in real savage life 
and the horrors which gave birth to the fear. 

Undoubtedly the natives experienced days of 
extreme happiness even in their cannibal stage, 
and it is well to bear this in mind when looking on 
the seamy side of their existence. So flexible is 
the human mind, and so strong the force of habit 
that we can ejoy a certain measure of happiness 
even under seemingly unbearable conditions. 
From a civilised point of view one can hardly 
understand the natives ever were happy at all, 
their days being darkened by never-ceasing dread 
of spirits controlled by evil minds, diseases they 
were unable to cope with, and by sufferings con- 
tinually inflicted amongst themselves. 

It may be admitted that the white man has not 
always been a benefactor to his dusky brother; 
still, if we take the good with the evil, and com- 
pare the life of the Kanakas to-day with what it 
used to be and as it still is in many parts no 
one will wish them back to their pre-European 
days. Before going further, we will briefly sur- 
vey the white man's relationship with the natives 
of these islands. 

The White Man and His Black Brother. 

The first Europeans to enter the South Seas 
were, of course, the navigators and explorers a 
brave lot of men who had but little intercourse 
with the natives and wished to do them no harm. 
G 



194 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

In their trail followed the South Sea pirates, 
mostly Spaniards, who scoured the Pacific Islands 
in search of slaves for the Peruvian gold mines. 
The means adopted to attain their object were 
either to trick the natives on board their vessels 
and simply carry them off, or to make slave raids 
on native villages. Generally the unfortunate 
creatures died from hardships and home-longing 
within two years of their arrival in the mines. 
British men-of-war eventually checked this 
hideous traffic, though we are told it was not 
entirely suppressed till within a couple of genera- 
tions ago. The South Sea trader was the next to 
put in an appearance; his errand was peaceful 
commerce, and he benefited the natives inasmuch 
as he encouraged them to thrift, and introduced 
iron implements. Some of these traders, how- 
ever, developed into recruiting agents, who under- 
took to supply cheap labour to plantations in 
Samoa, Fiji, and Queensland, thus inaugurating 
what is understood by the practice of "blackbird- 
ing." The natives taken from their homes un- 
doubtedly benefited by their experience abroad, 
but the methods adopted to get them caused many 
hardships. 

It may safely be taken for granted that no 
natives voluntarily left their homes for a three 
years' servitude in an unknown and far-off coun- 
try, consequently coercion had to be resorted to. 
The proceeding most commonly adopted by the 
recruiting skipper was to bargain with the chiefs, 
who, for a consideration in obsolete firearms, 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 195 

tomahawks, tobacco, prints, necklaces, and similar 
articles, undertook to supply a certain number of 
suitable men. The slaves, where slaves were 
kept, naturally went first, the remainder being 
made up out of members of the tribe. The latter 
measure was, of course, the less popular, and the 
coastal tribes, having been supplied with firearms, 
became more ruthless than ever in their slave 
hunts against inland tribes. Cruel as was this 
traffic, and resulting in much bloodshed, it har- 
monised with native ideas, and was in those law- 
less days perfectly legitimate. 

Matters became entirely different when the re- 
cruiting skippers resorted to trickery or violence. 
A single authentic example of such proceedings 
will suffice to illustrate the resourcefulness of the 
recruiting skippers and the length to which they 
were prepared to go in order to attain their 
object : 

"A recruiting skipper on one occasion dropped 
anchor opposite a christianised native village. He 
dressed himself up as a clergyman, pretending to 
be a visiting missionary, and invited the natives 
to a church service on board. Headed by the 
local Kanaka lay preacher, they came out in 
canoes and catamarangs, and were cordially re- 
ceived by the bogus clergyman. The meeting 
was held below, and opened with a hymn, and 
while the Kanakas roared this hymn, as only 
Kanakas can roar, the anchor was weighed and 
the holds suddenly closed. Starvation did the rest 
of the business." 



196 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

Such a calamity to a tribe would generally re- 
sult in those left behind doing to death a succeed- 
ing skipper or any peaceful trader living in the 
neighbourhood, one white man, to the native 
mind, being as good as the other. The outrage 
perpetrated by the natives would be reported to 
some patrolling warship, which would land an 
armed party, and the next thing would be that a 
number of the evildoers were shot and their vil- 
lage burnt. 

In most cases the native labourers were not 
badly treated on the plantations, and in due course 
returned to their homes. It happened, however, 
that the skippers, in order to save time, dropped 
time-expired labourers anywhere, with the result 
that local natives put an end to the earthly career 
of these strangers, and divided their hard-earned 
belongings. 

The excesses committed by recruiting skippers 
in those dark days of the Pacific would probably 
make a thick book, and yet, when the worst has 
been told, the sufferings inflicted seem but small 
compared with the sufferings the natives inflicted 
amongst themselves. 

When the various islands were annexed by one 
or other European power the days of the un- 
licensed recruiter came to an end, the traffic 
being regulated, and abuses severely punished; 
also, a start was made to suppress lawlessness 
amongst the natives themselves, and particularly 
cannibalism. The missionaries, by their teach- 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 197 

ing, greatly aided the government, at the same 
time successfully waging war against superstition 
and the evil influence of sorcery, and, although 
there is still a long way to go, on all the smaller 
islands, and along the coasts of the bigger ones, 
the natives now live peacefully together, and under 
conditions that make further progress possible. 
Naturally, they have to supply the labour to the 
European plantations, which, in the course of 
years, have come into being, but they are gener- 
ally enticed to do so by fair means, coercion being 
strictly forbidden. Though cases of ill-treatment 
and hardships at times are heard of, the service 
on the plantations must be considered beneficent 
to the native race. District Officers, on their tours 
of inspection, notice with satisfaction the greatly 
improved appearance and physique of the boys, 
who, half starved and filthy in days gone by, had 
been brought in from the bush and paraded at the 
district office. On the debit side of the ledger, 
however, are certain diseases assumed to have 
been brought to the islands by the Europeans, 
such as consumption and venereal diseases, and 
which it is one of the white man's primary duties 
as far as possible to eradicate. 

Let us now investigate the so-called arcadian 
life of the natives, when left to themselves, and, 
in so doing, we will choose the Gazelle Peninsula, 
the early history of which is better known than 
that of any other part of the Possession. 



198 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

The Natives in the Gazelle Peninsula. 

There exist at the present day in the Gazelle 
Peninsula four different branches of the 
Melanesian race; of these probably the most 
numerous, and which, in German records, often 
are referred to as the beach-dwellers, inhabit the 
coastline from beyond Weberhafen, along the 
North Coast, the Mother Peninsula, Simpson- 
hafen, and Blanche Bay, till about twelve miles 
south of Cape Gazelle ; nowhere do they live more 
than a few miles back from the sea, a little be- 
yond Toma being as far inland as they have got. 
The Bainings inhabit the Baining Mountains, 
which stretch right across the Peninsula. Be- 
tween the Bainings and the beach-dwellers live a 
small remnant of the once numerous Taulil tribes, 
while along the South Coast live the Sulkas. The 
latter originally inhabited the shores of Henry 
Reid Bay, but were transplanted to their present 
home by the German Government in order to save 
them from being exterminated by the more 
vigorous inland natives. Each of the above four 
groups of natives speak entirely different 
languages, and also their customs are different. 

The language spoken by the beach-dwellers has 
much in common with that spoken in the south of 
New Ireland, for which reason it is believed that 
in the dim past an emigration from New Ireland 
to New Britain took place. Having got a footing 
on the shores of the Gazelle Peninsula, the in- 
truders gradually pushed back the Bainings to the 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 199 

mountains, where they have remained ever since. 
Also the Taulils and a now extinct group of tribes, 
the Butams, are supposed to have come from New 
Ireland, but at a much earlier date. 

All the natives in the peninsula were cannibals, 
but only the beach-dwellers kept slaves ; these they 
obtained from the Earnings, the Taulils, and, in 
former days, from the Butams. Of the Butams 
very little is known, the last small remnants of 
them sought refuge with the Taulils, and were 
absorbed by them. The Taulils being squeezed 
in between the Bainings and the beach-dwellers, 
were subject to attack from two sides, the Bain- 
ings sweeping down on them from the mountains 
in order to obtain human flesh, and the beach- 
dwellers falling on them from the coast for the 
additional purpose of obtaining slaves. As late 
as 1899 two of the tribes living on Blanche Bay 
undertook an expedition against the Taulils, 
several villages on that occasion being destroyed, 
those Taulils who fell were eaten, and all the 
children carried off and sold as slaves or made 
presents of to fellow chiefs. The main depot for 
slaves, however, was the Baining Mountains. 
Originally slave-hunting expeditions to Baining 
issued forth both from Blanche Bay and from 
Weberhaf en ; as, however, the slave-hunting tribes 
at Blanche Bay declined in number, principally 
through disease, the former expeditions ceased, 
and it was left to the vigorous tribes on Weber- 
hafen and adjacent islands to procure the slaves 
and supply them to the remainder of the beacl}- 
dwellers., 



200 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

The Bainings and the Beach-Dwellers. 

Baining is a typical mountain country, with 
towering peaks, deep ravines, and steep slopes. 
It is wild and rugged, but possesses a wealth of 
natural beauty. The people living there are con- 
siderably lighter in colour than the beach-dwellers, 
square shouldered, with an almost over de- 
veloped abdomen, and a square head. They are 
thrifty agriculturists, and their taros are con- 
sidered the best in the whole of New Britain. 
They do not form tribes, but live in families, and 
wander from taro field to taro field, putting up 
their shelters at peaks and steep slopes, evading 
the coastline, valleys, and rivers. Their cere- 
monies in connection with births, marriages, 
funerals, etc., so elaborate with most Kanakas, are 
extremely plain or entirely absent. The only art 
they excel in is in making gorgeously painted 
masks and other dancing gear. Shell money is 
unknown to them. 

Their most dreaded enemies were, as stated 
above, the slave-hunters and dealers around 
Weberhafen and on the small islands Massikona- 
puka, Massava, Urar, and Watum, by whom they 
had been entirely subdued. These desperadoes, 
who regarded the less intelligent Bainings with the 
utmost contempt, and were greatly feared by their 
own kinsmen, only totalled about a thousand, and 
out of this comparatively small number some 
would at intervals be away slave hunting, or on 
cruises to Nakanai for shell-money, or out fishing. 
It was, therefore, important for them to retain 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 201 

the friendship of those Earnings, who lived in 
their immediate rear. The alliance formed natu- 
rally was in the beach-dwellers' favour. The 
Bainings were allowed to go to the sea for salt 
water, and for shells to burn into lime. Occa- 
sionally they received a few fish and, perhaps, a 
tortoise. In return, they were to supply the 
beach-dwellers with taros, yams, pigs, and a cer- 
tain number of slaves, also the Bainings had to 
work for them and assist them in their slave 
hunts whenever called upon to do so ; furthermore, 
Baining women were to weep at the funerals of 
beach-dwellers. As for the rest of the Baining 
country, it was looked upon as enemy land, and 
its inhabitants considered legitimate prey. 

How Slaves were Obtained. 

The cruises to Nakanai for the particular shell 
used for native money generally lasted three to 
four months, and were always connected with 
slave hunts. The slave raiders were skilled navi- 
gators, and knew every indentation in the coast 
line between Weberhafen and Nakanai. Save for 
two or three settlements of beach dwellers near 
Weberhafen, the whole distance of about 200 
miles was uninhabited, but Bainings regularly 
descended from their mountains to the sea for 
salt water and shells, and thus offered the neces- 
sary opportunity for capture. As soon as the 
slave-hunters, from their hiding places, discovered 
any Bainings on the beach they would endeavour 
to trap them by cutting off their retreat. Crawl- 



202 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

ing through the dense jungle, they hid near the 
tracks leading up into the mountains, and when 
the unsuspecting Earnings returned, heavily laden 
with baskets of sea shells and bamboo sticks 
filled with salt water, would suddenly fall on 
them, fill the air with their shrieks, and use their 
clubs, their spears, and, in more recent days, 
their firearms, with deadly effect. The Bainings 
who were slain made a welcome addition to the 
marauders' larder, and the remainder were carried 
off as slaves. The womenfolk who, on such occa- 
sions, fell into the hands of the raiders, were in- 
variably subjected to indignities before it was de- 
cided whether they were to be killed or made 
slaves of. 

Apart from these irregular slave hunts, a 
systematic raid on a large scale was made at least 
once a year. Villages were surprised and de- 
stroyed, the inhabitants either captured or slain, 
the beach-dwellers keeping most of the bodies for 
themselves, leaving the rest to their Baining allies. 
Such expeditions, however, were attended with 
some risk, the villages being difficult of approach, 
and the Bainings using their stone slings with 
great skill; and as the slave hunters like all 
natives were brave only when odds were greatly 
on their side, actions in the open were resorted to 
only when trickery had failed. The ruse most 
commonly used was to send up into the mountains 
messengers with offers of friendship, the new era 
of peace and goodwill to be inaugurated with a 
great feast; and the mountain dwellers rejoicing 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 203 

at the thought of at last being allowed to go un- 
molested to the sea for salt water, would forget 
past treacheries and come along laden with the 
choicest products of their fields, little dreaming 
that they had seen their homes and beloved hills 
for the last time. 

There is on record such a wholesale slaughter 
which took place in 1896, and was directed against 
the Bainings living in the Gavit ranges, some ten 
miles back from Massava Bay. The slave raiders 
and their allies having selected a suitable place 
for the debacle, sent the usual tidings of peace and 
goodwill to the Gavit natives, inviting them to the 
traditional feast, with chewing of betel-nuts and 
exchanging of presents. The Gavits walked into 
the trap, and came along laden with an abundant 
supply of taros, yams, pigs, and betel-nuts. Most 
of the beach-dwellers had arrived at the scene in 
their canoes, and remained on board, leaving it to 
their Baining allies to receive the visitors. All 
started well, the guests were embraced, betel-nuts 
chewed, and preparations made for the feast. 
After awhile the boys from Gavit were requested 
to wade out to the canoes with their presents. 
Here they were again embraced, called brothers 
and sons, and given new names. While this took 
place the canoes moved slowly further from land, 
till the Gavit lads, being held tight in the embrace, 
lost their depth. Being inland natives they could 
not swim, and, therefore, made little resistance to 
being hauled on board, where they were tied 
hand and foot. Their relatives and kinsmen 



204 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

ashore, seeing what took place, wailed and shouted 
treachery ; but at that moment the Baining allies 
seized their weapons from where they were hid- 
den in the sand, and fell on the Gavits, slaying 
them all, men, women, and children, to the number 
of about fifty, only one single native making his 
escape. The feast was then continued, the guests 
supplying the roasts. What the orgies were like 
mutilated bodies strewn about, a host of human 
devils drunk with success almost to insanity 
may be left to the reader's imagination. The toll 
of slaves secured on the above occasion numbered 
about thirty, mostly lads, who were taken to 
Massikonapuka and Massava, and sold at auctions 
to which buyers from along the North Coast and 
Watum were invited, the slaves fetching from 
twenty-five to fifty fathoms of tambo each. 

How the Slaves were treated. 

On joining the dejected class of slave the Bain- 
ing was given a new name. He had as quickly as 
possible to drop his mother tongue and the cus- 
toms he had been brought up to in his home, and 
adopt those used by the beach-dwellers. He lived 
with his master, and shared in the common meal, 
but ventured not to secure a helping till everybody 
else in the family had been supplied. He was ex- 
pected, to obey orders from anyone in the house- 
hold, and naturally all the heavy work fell to him. 
He could not acquire property, and was not 
allowed to marry, though, in that respect, excep- 
tions were at times made in order to breed slaves. 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 205 

He could, of course, be sold at any moment. 
If he took ill he was uncared for, and 
his death was only regretted to the extent of his 
commercial value. He was buried away from the 
village, and his soul doomed to roam about crying 
out for food and mercy, and thus, even in death, 
he remained an outcast. The female slave was 
slightly better situated; her master might make 
her his second or third wife, and the children she 
bore to him would be free. Young men whose 
future brides were not of age might also make 
them their temporary wives: thus they in some 
measure became part of the beach-dwelling 
community. 

The saddest point in the miserable existence of 
the slave was that, like the fatted calf, he might 
be killed at any moment to give expression to his 
master's joy. The occasion might be a wedding, 
or a funeral, or a sing-sing arranged by the secret 
society, the Iniet, whose members were not 
allowed to eat pork. There was no salvation in 
flight, even if he saw a chance of escape, because 
he would either fall into the hands of the allied 
Bainings and be returned to his owner, or he 
would be picked up by other Bainings, who would 
make a meal of him themselves. On the day of 
the event he would be seized and tied to a tree so 
that the visitors, as they arrived in their canoes, 
could inspect him and rejoice in the treat awaiting 
them. Meanwhile the women-folk would be busy 
preparing vegetables and heating the stones in 
the roasting pit, and after hours of indescribable 



206 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

anguish the trembling victim would be killed by a 
blow on the head or by a spear being run through 
him. After having been cleaned and cut up he 
would be placed in the pit. The above details and 
several more, some too horrible to describe, 
have been collected by missionaries and others, 
from natives who have taken part in such feasts, 
and have also been related to myself by an aged 
chief who, being a beach-dweller himself, rather 
seemed to regret that the good old days had gone. 
With the advent of the European recruiting 
skipper, and the consequent enhanced value of the 
slaves, it was thought more profitable to hire them 
out for service abroad than to eat them. All that 
the slaves earned on the far off plantations natu- 
rally fell to their owners; still, the slaves having 
become a source of enrichment, were relieved of 
their life-long dread of the roasting pit, and thus 
the change brought about actually marked a 
betterment of their lot. On the other hand, the 
slave raiders, having been supplied with firearms, 
became more ruthless than ever. Some parts of 
the Baining country were practically depopulated. 
An old native in the Gavit ranges, on being visited 
by a missionary, who, for his protection carried 
a rifle, asked for permission to see the peculiar 
weapon by which nearly all his people had been 
killed. 

Suppression of the Slave-Trade. 

News of the Gavit natives' sad fate was brought 
to Kokopo by a Wesleyan missionary. Dr. Hahl, 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 207 

who was Imperial Judge at the time, had, unfor- 
tunately, inadequate means at his disposal to 
bring the offenders to task; besides, it was more 
a question of suppressing the whole hideous busi- 
ness than to deal with an isolated case. Under 
the circumstances, he was glad to accept an offer 
from the Catholic Mission to open a mission 
station in the heart of the slave country, Massava 
Bay being picked as a site. The beach-dwellers 
along the North Coast were ordered to give up 
their slaves to the government, but only a small 
number was surrendered, and it soon became 
manifest that neither missionaries nor threats 
were able to cope with the evil. The judge, 
therefore, decided on a strong expedition, headed 
by himself, and he commenced to make the neces- 
sary preparations. This expedition started off in 
the following year, and had notable results. At 
Massava the chief was arrested, and a number of 
slaves liberated. At Massikonapuka matters 
took an unexpected turn. On arriving there only 
the women and children and a few old men were 
present, so Dr. Hahl left instructions that unless 
the slaves held were handed over to him at Mas- 
sava Mission Station on the following day severe 
punishment would be meted out. The order, how- 
ever, was entirely ignored, and, having waited in 
vain for two or three days, the judge again set 
out for the little island. On this occasion it was 
void of human life, the whole population having 
quitted the place and taken with them all their 
belongings. Dr. Hahl ordered the huts to be 



208 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

razed to the ground, and returned to the main- 
land, where two slave-raiding villages at a place 
called Giretar were similarly destroyed. In a 
small bay close by were discovered thirty canoes 
belonging to the Massikonapuka natives, the 
occupants having taken to the bush. These 
canoes were all destroyed, and anything on board 
worth having was distributed amongst the police 
boys. The villages at Giretar were not allowed 
to be rebuilt, but the inhabitants were to settle 
either at Massikonapuka or on the little island 
situated at the mouth of the Karro Creek. The 
land between Karro and Loan Bay was assigned 
to the New Guinea Company as conquered terri- 
tory. 

The sight of the burning huts and the destroyed 
canoes at last brought home to the slave-hunters 
the hopelessness of fighting the government, and 
eventually they submitted, and gave up a number 
of slaves. The slaves surrendered were mostly 
boys between twelve and seventeen years of age, 
filthy beyond description, full of sores, and nothing 
but skin and bone. It was suspected and it 
afterwards proved to be true that only the 
valueless slaves had been given up. 

Old customs die hard, particularly when they 
serve human greed. For years after Dr. Hahl's 
expedition slave traffic was secretly carried on 
on a smaller scale. Still, the scene of these bar- 
barities was too close to the sea and too near the 
seat of government to permit of their continuance, 




Native Woman, the Beast of Burden (New Britain). 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 209 

and on the arrival of the British in 1914 the prac- 
tices were a thing of the past. 

What still goes on amongst the Bainings them- 
selves in the yet untrodden inland regions is a 
different matter. The rugged character of the 
country has so far protected most of these moun- 
tain dwellers from interference by the white man, 
and it may be that they are still slaughtering and 
devouring each other to their hearts' content. 

One of the first results of the actions taken by 
the government to suppress the slave trade was 
that these Bainings, who had been the unwilling 
allies of the slave raiders, took heart, and shook 
off the yoke which for so long had made their lives 
miserable, and neither the beach-dwellers' threats 
nor promises could persuade them to again take it 
on. The presence of missionaries, with the 
powerful arm of the government behind them, 
gradually cleared the atmosphere, the slaves were 
liberated and returned to their homes, law and 
order established, and, as time went by, the Earn- 
ings could with perfect safety proceed to the sea 
for salt water and shells. We are, however, 
anticipating this happy state of affairs by quite a 
number of years. 

As previously stated, the first mission station 
amongst the slave traders was founded at Mas- 
sava Bay in 1897. It was called "Vuna Marita," 
which means the home of the pandanus palm; 
in the same year a station was also founded at 
Ramandu, another of the slave traders' strong- 



210 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

holds. Both stations were established with the 
double object in view of pacifying and christian- 
ising the slave hunters r and forming a base for 
mission work, which it was intended to carry on 
amongst the Bainings. The first station in Bain- 
ing country was started the following year, some 
two hours' journey back from the sea, and called 
St. Paul, Pater Rascher being the pioneer mis- 
sionary. 

The difficulties to be overcome by the mis- 
sionaries, and the dangers to be faced, are usually 
underrated by the general public. Also, we are 
inclined to pay too much attention to the strictly 
religious side of their work, with which we may 
disagree, and too little to the social, the ethical, 
and the economical sides from which the whole of 
mankind benefits. Somehow we have got accus- 
tomed to the idea that the missionaries are more 
or less blind enthusiasts, whose whole concern is 
to force upon coloured races the lef t-off theological 
garments of the white man. The fact of the mat- 
ter is that the pioneers in the mission field neces- 
sarily must be intelligent, tolerant, resourceful, 
patient, and well educated. All the Catholic 
fathers labouring amongst the natives are people 
with university educations. They must be able, 
like the late Dr. Brown, Pater Rascher, Pater 
Blyth, and others to acquire and transform into 
book language, with a carefully worked out gram- 
mar, any crude native tongue with which they 
come into contact. They are expected to do a 
certain amount of research work and exploring, 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 211 

and it is a recognised fact that we are indebted to 
the missionaries for a substantial part of our 
knowledge of primitive races; thus, for instance, 
we owe to Pater Rascher all reliable information 
we possess about the slave trade in the Gazelle 
Peninsula, and to Dr. Brown what we know of the 
early history of other parts of the colony. The 
missionaries, too, must possess a considerable 
amount of medical knowledge, so as to gain the 
confidence of the natives, and enable them to re- 
place the crude quack and sorcerer whom they 
depose. 

Beside the above and equally important tasks 
Pater Rascher in his new district had not merely 
to conciliate neighbouring tribes at conflict, but 
to establish peace and goodwill between two dif- 
ferent races who had very little in common other 
than mutual hatred and distrust. For six years 
he toiled amongst the Bainings, preaching and 
practising the gospel of love, healing their sick, 
feeding their hungry, and protecting them against 
their oppressors till they were oppressed no more. 
From his memoirs we see that he embraced these 
down-trodden Bainings with the sympathy often 
accorded the bottom dog, and which generally is 
associated with the false notion that at heart the 
weak is nobler than the strong. He spent all he 
possessed and what he obtained from relatives 
and friends in his homeland for the good of these 
people; but while their social conditions were 
vastly improved, in his latter days he often felt 
depressed at their ingratitude and the little change 



212 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

his example and teaching wrought in their hearts. 
Sometimes it even seems he had a foreboding of 
the tragic fate which awaited him and his fellow 
workers. 

The Murder of the Missionaries. 

It has often been pointed out that the Kanaka 
is void of gratitude and ready to slay even the 
hand that feeds him, and that he is treacherous. 
These traits in his character alone can explain that 
while Pater Rascher was labouring for their 
spiritual and material welfare, they were secretly 
plotting to take his life. 

An ambitious and criminally disposed native by 
the name of To Maria was the chief instigator, 
and a number of others followed him some out 
of fear for the savage autocrat, others out of 
greed, and, again, others out of an inborn lust to 
see blood. 

To Maria in his childhood had been captured by 
the beach dwellers and sold to a European trader, 
Bruno Rau, living at Ratuval. At the death of 
this gentleman, in 1890, the lad, who at that time 
was fourteen years of age, went to the Catholic 
mission station at Vlavolo, from where he shortly 
afterwards was sent to the orphanage at Vuna 
Pope. While staying there he passed through a 
severe illness, and only the tender care of the mis- 
sionaries saved his life. When full grown, he took 
service with the New Guinea Company, and for 
three years stayed on the mainland. Having 
completed his service in New Guinea, he returned 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 213 

to the mission station at Vuna Pope, and Pater 
Rascher just at that time settling around St. 
Paul a number of liberated slaves, he joined 
them. These settlers worked half their time on 
their own plantations and half their time for the 
mission, drawing the usual Kanaka pay. 

To Maria was attached to the mission's saw 
mill at Karotale, but one day he met with an 
accident; through carelessness on his own part a 
log rolled over him, and he was badly hurt. 
Pater Rascher's medical skill and devoted atten- 
tion, however, restored him to health, but hence- 
forth To Maria could not be made to work. Dis- 
appointments in his married life, and a frustrated 
attempt to elope with the wife of another Kanaka, 
probably hastened to develop his criminal propen- 
sities. He commenced sowing discontent, telling 
his fellow Kanakas that Pater Rascher had de- 
prived them of their liberty, that he himself 
would make a much better leader, and that out of 
the booty obtainable by killing the missionaries 
and looting their stores he would amply reward 
all who followed him. 

The day for the murder was fixed on the 7th 
August, 1904, but as the manager of New 
Guinea Company's plantation at Massava Bay, 
Herr Meisterfeldt, happened to visit the mission 
station that day, it was put off till the 13th. 

It so happened that they were building a new 
church at St. Paul, which was to be opened on 
the 26th August. Three lay-brothers, Schel- 
lekens, Joseph Bley, and Plaschart, were working 



214 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

on the church, and besides four sisters, Agnes, 
Angela, Agatha, and Birgitha, had arrived from 
Vuna Pope to be present at the opening ceremony. 
Pater Rascher, his usual helpers, his visitors, and 
a great number of natives, including the mur- 
derers, went to mass as usual, after which 
Rascher had intended to take all the children 
down to the sea, but, feeling indisposed, the pro- 
cession of youngsters was taken charge of by 
Sisters Dorothea and Birgitha. 

When breakfast was over To Maria, who, after 
recovering from his accident, had been made the 
shooting boy, called for the gun and cartridges, 
but, instead of shooting wild pigeons, he pro- 
ceeded to where the plotters lay hidden in the 
bush, giving them final instructions and pointing 
out who were to kill whom. A shot fired by To 
Maria was to be the signal for the onslaught. 

On sneaking to the mission station To Maria 
went straight for Pater Rascher, whom he found 
ill in bed. Both window and door were shut, but 
Rascher's houseboy, To Jul, opened the window, 
through which To Maria then shot his master, 
the body afterwards being found lying in front of 
the door. Sister Anna, pursued by To Maria, 
rushed into an adjoining room and bolted the 
door ; the murderer, however, smashed it with his 
axe, and shot her in the forehead. Sister Sophia 
was attacked and killed while on her way back 
from a neighbouring village, where she had been 
attending to the sick. Sister Agatha had her 
skull smashed by a blow from behind while attend- 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 215 

ing to outdoor patients at the mission station. 
Sister Angela was engaged in the temporarily 
erected chapel when the murderers rushed in and 
dealt her a deadly blow. The body of Sister 
Agnes was found on the verandah. Also the 
bodies of the brothers were found where these 
thrifty and self-sacrificing men had been sur- 
prised while occupied with their work. The plan 
of the murderers had, apparently, been well laid, 
and the execution of it could only have taken a 
few minutes. 

In addition to the nine Europeans, four or five 
Baining children in the care of the mission were 
killed, and their bodies taken away for the canni- 
bal feast arranged to celebrate the victory. To- 
wards dinner-time a detachment of the murderers 
attacked the mission station at Nacharunep, and 
killed Pater Rutten. 

It was part of To Maria's plan also to surprise 
the Vuna Marita mission station and slay the 
Europeans residing there and in the vicinity, but 
the robbing of St. Paul and the dividing of the 
spoil delayed matters, and meanwhile some Bain- 
ings, who had remained faithful to the mission, 
brought tidings to Vuna Marita of what had taken 
place. 

We have during latter years been hardened to 
loss of human life, through reading of thousands 
of fellow men daily having been slaughtered, of 
other thousands dying from privation in occupied 
countries, or of a "Lusitania" with 1600 helpless 
people on board, including a large number of 



216 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

women and children, in cold blood being sent to 
their doom; it therefore leaves little impression 
on our minds to read about ten German mis- 
sionaries some fifteen years ago having been 
killed in New Britain. Still, for all that, we can 
imagine the state of mind of the unfortunate 
people at Vuna Marita on receiving the gruesome 
news from St. Paul, and not knowing what mo- 
ment the same fate might overtake themselves. 
Pater van Aa, a Hollander, at once got on a horse 
and rushed off to St. Paul, where he saw some of 
the mutilated bodies, and the murderers busily 
engaged packing into their baskets the stolen 
goods. They soon turned against him, and, being 
unarmed, he had to beat retreat back to the beach. 
Later on a trader, Tom Gough, and Herr Meister- 
feldt, with some of his Buka labourers, endea- 
voured to secure the bodies of the slain, but suc- 
ceeded in getting the body of Pater Rascher only. 

During the afternoon a boat was sent to 
Kokopo with a report of the massacre, and the 
great peril surrounding the Europeans at Massava 
Bay, and meanwhile preparations were made to 
beat off a possible attack during the night. Apart 
from the Baining children at Massava there were 
seven Europeans namely, Pater van Aa, Bro. 
Stephens, and Sisters Birgitte and Dorothea, 
belonging to the Catholic mission, and Herr 
Meisterfeldt, Mr. Tom Gough, and a Miss 
Macdonald, the fiance of Herr Meisterfeldt. 
These people, armed with a few shotguns, 
and strengthened by a number of Buka boys 



AMONGST THE NATIVES 217 

armed with native weapons, gathered at the 
mission station, where they spent the night. 
About half-past four in the morning the Bainings 
arrived in force, but withdrew to the bush on see- 
ing the Buka boys. A few hours later they came 
again, and made a faint-hearted attack. As dur- 
ing the day the beach-dwellers commenced to show 
unrest the three ladies and the Baining children 
were sent to Massikonapuka, where they were con- 
sidered comparatively safe. Towards evening 
some German officials from Kokopo and twenty 
police boys arrived, and early on the following 
morning they proceeded to St. Paul. The bodies 
of the three brothers and five sisters, already in a 
state of decomposition, were buried in a common 
grave, whereupon the searching for the murderers 
began. During the following two days reinforce- 
ments arrived, including a small detachment of 
bluejackets from the Imperial surveying vessel 
the "Moewe," and eventually, after several futile 
expeditions into the bush, the marauders were 
brought to bay. A considerable number in- 
cluding To Maria were killed, and others cap- 
tured and brought to Kokopo, where seven more 
were shot. Thus ended one of the saddest 
tragedies in the history of New Britain. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



MISSION WORK IN GERMAN NEW 
GUINEA. 



The arrival of the first missionaries to what 
then, as before stated, was named New Britain 
Archipelago belongs to pre-German history. As 
far back as 1852 some Roman Catholic mission- 
aries came from Samoa and commenced mission 
work in Rooke Island, situated at the western 
end of New Britain. Some, if not all, perished 
from malarial fever, and further attempts at 
christianising the natives in these parts were 
abandoned. In 1875 the Methodist minister, 
George Brown, founded a mission station in the 
Duke of York group, from where a little later 
he extended his activity to New Britain and New 
Ireland. Five years later the French pater, 
Monsieur Couppe, arrived in New Britain as a 
pioneer for the Sacred Heart of Jesus Mission. 
Other French missionaries at a later date 
settled amongst the natives in the German Solo- 
mons, and founded mission stations there. In 
the middle of the eighties a German founded 
the Lutheran mission Neue Dettelsauer on the 
New Guinea coast. About ten years later the 

218 



MISSION WORK IN NEW GUINEA 219 

Roman Catholic Mission Society, The Holy Ghost, 
commenced work also in New Guinea, while the 
Rheinische Mission started in the beginning of 
this century. The Liebenzell Mission is the 
latest addition to the mission societies in German 
New Guinea, having commenced only shortly 
before the war. 

From a small beginning most of these mis- 
sion societies have during time considerably 
enlarged their scope of operation, the number 
of workers has multiplied manifold, and mission 
stations are now scattered over a large part of 
the Possession. To get an idea of the progress 
of mission work in German New Guinea, the 
British Administration in the beginning of 1916 
collected a great deal of particulars, from which 
the following is an extract: 

Protestants. 

The Methodist Mission Society. Head station 
at Ulu, in the Duke of York Islands; operates in 
New Britain, New Ireland, and the Duke of 
York group. It had at the time twelve Euro- 
pean workers, 224 native workers, 221 churches 
and meeting places, 269 students training for 
positions of teachers, 7722 Sunday school 
scholars, and 7324 day school scholars. 

The Neue Dettelsauer Mission. Head station 
at Finschhafen; operates in New Guinea, from 
the British border to Finschhafen. It had thirty- 
six European workers. No information was sup- 
plied as to the number of teachers, scholars and 
churches. 



220 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

The Rheinische Mission. Head station at 
Madang; operates in New Guinea, from Finsch- 
hafen to Madang. It had nineteen European 
workers, six native workers, 3702 scholars, five 
churches and twenty-four meeting places and 
schools. 

The Liebenzell Mission operates in the Ad- 
miralty group. It had two European workers 
and one coloured, and one church. 

Catholics. 

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Society. Head 
station at Vunapope, near Rabaul; operates in 
New Britain, New Ireland, the Duke of York 
group, and the Admiralty group. It had 135 
European workers, 173 native workers, 27,458 
scholars, 146 churches, and 108 schools. 

The Holy Ghost Mission. Head station at 
Alexishafen; operates in New Guinea, from 
Alexishafen to the Dutch border. It had 86 
European workers, 418 native workers, and 28 
churches. 

The Marist Mission, head station at Bougain- 
ville, had 24 European workers, 22 native work- 
ers, 184 scholars, and 21 meeting houses. 

In addition to the above, all the older estab- 
lished societies have founded orphanages, indus- 
trial schools, native hospitals, and, in the case 
of the Catholics, convents. The Sacred Heart 
of Jesus Mission alone claims twenty-five orphan- 
ages, five industrial schools and workshops, five 
hospitals, and thirteen convents. The number 
of converts is not stated; we know, however, 



MISSION WORK IN NEW GUINEA 221 

that thousands and thousands of natives are 
under the influence of the missionaries and pro- 
fess to have embraced the Christian faith. Still 
the number outside of this benevolent influence is 
much larger. So far only the Duke of York 
Islands are Christianised, also a small corner of 
New Britain, part of New Ireland, a small area 
of the German Solomons, and the coastline of 
New Guinea proper. On Rooke Island is a lonely 
missionary of the Neue Dettelsauer Society, two 
others having been killed in 1912. It will thus 
be seen that there is plenty yet to do for mis- 
sionaries in German New Guinea. Limited 
means compared with the task in hand, the fero- 
city and undeveloped intellect of the natives, the 
many different languages, and at some places a 
deplorable competition between Catholic and 
Protestant mission societies make progress slow. 
While on the mainland the different societies 
have had clearly denned spheres allotted to them, 
at other places they are intermixed, the result 
being that tribal controversy has been supple- 
mented by religious animosity, and that the 
native mind has been much confused. The 
Catholic fathers object to their followers marry- 
ing Protestants. The natives, of course, do not 
grasp the difference between the two creeds, and 
all the Catholic converts know is that the Metho- 
dist belief is no good, and vice versa. A Catholic 
teacher I once questioned on the matter replied: 
"Catholic plenty more old, him good fellow. 
Methodist plenty new, him no good." "Any other 
difference?" I asked. He looked stupid and 



222 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

remarked: "Me no savvy. Fashion belong 
Popies not all the same fashion belong Metho- 
dist." The Catholic societies have a pull over 
the Methodists by being wealthier and not ask- 
ing the natives to subscribe money and coconuts 
to the missions, whereas the Methodists have 
annual collections, generally connecting these 
offerings with a display of native dances and 
much feasting. The sum raised amongst the 
natives by the Methodist Mission in German New 
Guinea in 1917 amounted to approximately 
3000. 

Just as the Germans took no part in the early 
exploration of the Pacific, so for a long time they 
contributed very little towards Christianising the 
natives. In the Western Pacific the early pioneer- 
ing was all done by the French and the British. 
Even now only two out of the s^ven mission 
societies are purely German, namely, the Neue 
Dettelsauer and the Rheinische Missions. The 
mother house of the Holy Ghost Society is in 
Holland, while the Sacred Heart of Jesus Society 
is of French origin. The Methodist Mission 
Society is entirely supported from Australia, the 
amount annually drawn from the Commonwealth 
running into over 8000, while the Liebenzell 
Mission is an offshoot of the Methodist Society. 
France, till the beginning of the war, contributed 
liberally to the promotion of the Catholic mis- 
sion work in German New Guinea, and the sub- 
sidy in 1913 to the Sacred Heart of Jesus amoun- 
ted to 2500, while Germany contributed only 
2000. A change, however, took place from the 



MISSION WORK IN NEW GUINEA 223 

year of German annexation, inasmuch as the mis- 
sionaries henceforth, for practical reasons mostly, 
were obtained from Germany, and, although a 
sprinkling of French missionaries is still among 
them, the overwhelming majority are now of 
German origin. Even the purely Australian 
Methodist Society commenced, as a matter of 
expediency, during the latter years to employ 
Germans. 

It stands to reason that in spreading the gos- 
pel difference of nationality plays a compara- 
tively small part; German, British and French 
missionaries all worked harmoniously together, 
and any friction that occurred was due to the 
different creeds. Even these frictions, which still 
occur, are mostly of a purely local nature. 

Taking a larger view of life in late German 
New Guinea, the missionaries form one section, 
the planters and traders another, and the Govern- 
ment a third. The missionaries blame the plan- 
ters and traders for retarding the spreading of 
Christianity by their greed and mode of living, 
while the latter blame the former for retarding 
economical progress by pampering the natives, 
and, for selfish reasons, discouraging them from 
serving on plantations other than those owned 
by the mission societies; they are said to instil 
into the natives a spirit of independence through 
their teaching that in the eyes of God all men 
are alike. Both of them in turn blame the 
Government for favouring one at the expense of 
the other, yielding to the influence of politicians 
in the home country. The three sections men- 



224 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

tioned, in spite of conflicting views, naturally 
all contribute towards bringing the long neglected 
South Sea Islands into line with the rest of the 
world, each of them being but tools in the general 
scheme of evolution. But, while they all serve 
a higher purpose, their motives differ. Thus the 
missionaries are moved by certain lofty ideals, 
while the planters and traders are moved by a 
desire for material benefit. 

This difference in motive the one altruistic, 
the other egoistic not merely decides their atti- 
tudes towards the natives, but reacts on them- 
selves individually. The planter, as years pass 
by, in his way of thinking, inclines to gravitate 
towards the level of the Kanaka. If he treats 
and feeds his labourers well, it is far too often 
because it pays him to do so. His human sym- 
pathies are crippled by a feverish desire to 
accumulate wealth quickly and get away from 
the place only, however, to long to get back to it 
again. He loses refinement and culture, till 
often by the time he has transformed the wilder- 
ness to plantation, and thereby rendered himself 
a benefactor to mankind, he has lost his very 
soul. With the missionaries it is different. To 
live a life in self-denial amongst ungrateful 
savages preaching and practising the gospel of 
love and at the end of it all face death with 
a calm, happy smile, requires not only faith 
and intact ideals, but purity of soul. A French 
priest in the German Solomons was urged to 
proceed to Australia for the sake of his health, 
but he insisted on remaining and toiling amongst 



MISSION WORK IN NEW GUINEA 225 

the heathen to his last breath. A German mis- 
sionary I occasionally visited in the Namanula 
Hospital, in order to gain knowledge of native 
life, had grown prematurely old amongst the 
cannibals in the Baining Mountains the very 
same savages who eleven years earlier had slain 
his brother yet he longed to get back to his work 
amongst them. Though very ill, the only time 
I saw him downcast was one evening, talking 
about Germany, when he remarked: "What a 
pity my beloved native land should have chosen 
false gods through listening to men like Nietzsche, 
Treitschke, and Bernhardi," and, he added, shak- 
ing his head, "these islands will never again go 
back to Germany." And we have all heard of the 
Catholic Father who voluntarily went to the 
leper-island in the Marshall group to live, labour, 
and die amongst a melancholic crowd of disease- 
stricken natives. 

It is, however, not all the missionaries who 
remain true to their ideals. Some of them fall 
victims to sectarianism, whereby their high 
ideals, of spreading the gospel of love and charity, 
are replaced by a narrow interest in the welfare 
of their own particular society. By thus moving 
from altruism towards egoism they are rendered 
less proof against materialistic influences. Odd 
ones give way to the inhumanity and sensuality 
with which the native world is saturated, and I 
recollect the astonishment caused amongst the 
Australian soldiers when on one occasion a Ger- 
man Catholic Father asked the district officer 
at Kokopo to have one of the mission's own native 



226 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

labourers flogged for having helped himself to 
an unripe coconut, so that he could quench his 
thirst on the milk; and again when, some time 
after, another missionary was by the British 
authorities deported to Australia for having 
brutally thrashed a native woman. It is also 
well known that occasionally missionaries, of any 
nationality and creed, become victims to the 
temptation of native women, and either volun- 
tarily or by compulsion give up missionary work. 
Several such instances are on record in late Ger- 
man New Guinea. 

Still, the number of cases where missionaries 
have fallen short of their ideals is not nearly 
so great as could be expected of frail human 
nature, and counts for nothing compared with 
the good standing to their credit. Quite true, 
from a spiritual point of view, the mis- 
sionaries in German New Guinea as un- 
doubtedly is the case everywhere in the 
Western Pacific so far have not succeeded 
in substantially transforming the natives, and 
it is a general opinion that if left to them- 
selves for a few years they would sink back to 
their old life of anarchy and cannibalism. Still, 
where the missionaries have settled cannibalism 
has ceased, the cruelty towards one another has 
been toned down, polygamy has gradually dis- 
appeared, race suicide has become less pro- 
nounced, and the population commenced to in- 
crease. And, again, the missionaries, living 
amongst the natives, have greatly assisted the 
Government in extending law and order by 



MISSION WORK IN NEW GUINEA 227 

reporting cases of illegal recruiting, or disas- 
trous feuds, or grossly inhuman acts committed 
amongst themselves. The missionaries have 
often been the first to open up new country, and 
where traders and at times planters preceded 
them a district has not been considered safe to 
live in till missionaries have held their entry and 
made their influence felt. If the missionaries 
do not make saints of the savages, they very 
materially assist in civilising them in extend- 
ing our knowledge to them in preserving the 
race from extinction and in making them use- 
ful members of the human family. 

Leaving out all religious and spiritual aims 
of the missionaries, and viewing life in late 
German New Guinea from a strictly economical 
point of view, the cleavage between the mission 
societies, the planters, and even the Government, 
becomes less noticeable. They ,all engage in 
transforming the jungle to plantations; they all 
aim at increasing their revenue, though for dif- 
ferent purposes; and all take the sweat of the 
Kanakas for the least possible reward. 

The reasons for the mission societies engaging 
in planting and trading is, of course, to increase 
the means of extending their work and influence. 
In the beginning these societies were entirely 
dependent on voluntary support from the home 
lands. They had only the one string to their bow, 
and it did not always produce as full and round 
a tune as desired. If it snapped, the mission- 
aries and all they had accomplished were in the 
air. At the same time, as they gave their lives 



228 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

to a noble cause, they were dependent on alms 
for their own support and for the continuation 
of their work. So they commenced acquiring 
land and planting coconuts, establishing sawmills 
and engineering shops, buying schooners and 
trading with the natives; and so successful they 
have been that some of them, with regard to 
commercial importance, are catching up to the 
old established firms, and, with their easily 
obtained supply of cheap labour, in time will 
outrival them. Particularly the Catholic mis- 
sions exhibit untiring energy in strengthening 
their financial position. Between them they have 
close on 11,000 acres planted with coconuts, and 
new areas are annually added. In addition they 
own large sawmilling plants and extensive work- 
shops. Lay brothers, skilled in all sorts of handi- 
craft, have come out from Germany in consider- 
able numbers, and gladly serve for their mere keep 
and remain poor, as long as their society pros- 
pers. The result has been that the various mis- 
sions during the war were able to carry on much 
as usual, although the subsidies hitherto received 
from Europe ceased. 

The following particulars will give an idea of 
the economical position of the different mission 
societies in German New Guinea: 

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Society owns 32,000 
acres, out of which 4250 are under cultivation, 
mostly with coconut palms; the Holy Ghost 
Society, 16,500 acres, with 5250 under cultiva- 
tion; Neue Dettelsauer, 12,329 acres, with about 
2000 under cultivation ; the Marist Mission, 3525 



MISSION WORK IN NEW GUINEA 229 

acres, with 1400 under cultivation; the Metho- 
dist Society, 3600 acres, with 550 under cultiva- 
tion; the Rheinische Mission, 2350 acres, with 
650 under cultivation; the Liebenzell Mission, 25 
acres, with three under cultivation. 

In addition to plantations, the mission societies 
possess their own means of transport, and herds 
of animals. Thus the Sacred Heart of Jesus 
Society had at the beginning of 1916 a steam 
launch, four motor boats, four sailing boats, a 
motor car, besides buffalo carts and trucks and 
various odds and ends. They also had a saw- 
milling plant and an up-to-date extensive work- 
shop. 

The Holy Ghost Society possessed a steam boat, 
fourteen other boats, five lighters, thirty-five nar- 
row gauge railway trucks, etc., 570 head of cattle, 
80 horses, 28 donkeys and mules, 110 buffaloes, 
300 sheep, a saw-milling plant, an up-to-date 
workshop, a rope factory, etc. 

The Neue Dettelsauer Mission owned a motor 
schooner and ten other boats, 66 horses, 602 head 
of cattle, 215 goats, 47 sheep, over 1000 fowls, 
a saw-milling plant, a workshop, etc. 

The Rheinische Mission owned a steam launch, 
several boats, 14 horses, 54 head of cattle, 60 
goats, etc. 

The Methodist Society possessed a motor 
schooner, some boats, three horses, eight head 
of cattle, etc. 

The Marist Mission owned a schooner, a motor 
boat, some rowing boats, eight head of cattle, 
thirty goats, and twelve sheep. 



230 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

The Liebenzell Mission is the poor member of 
the family, laying claim to no other loose pro- 
perty than a cutter. 

At least four of the societies possess printing 
plants for the production of literature in the 
native language. 

It is stated that the late German Governor 
commenced to grow uneasy at the increasing 
wealth and consequent power of the Catholic 
missions. Through the Centre Party in the Ger- 
man Reichstag they started to make their voice 
heard in Berlin, and it was, for instance, due to 
their influence that shortly before the war 
planters were barred from engaging single 
females to work on the plantations. Dr. Hahl 
had allowed it in order to promote contentment 
amongst native labourers serving on plantations. 

It was probably due to fear of the growing 
power of the Catholics that he seemed to favour 
the Protestant missions, particularly the Austra- 
lian Methodists. Though first in the field, they 
had done little planting, as a matter of prin- 
ciple, relying for sustenance on voluntary sub- 
scription from friends in Australia and native 
converts in the islands; also they possessed no 
political influence. The ultimate aim of the 
Methodist mission was, and still is, to educate 
the natives so they could direct their own spiri- 
tual life and run their own churches; while the 
aim of the Catholics always has been to establish 
amongst the Kanakas a hierarchy of European 
ecclesiastics. During the latter years, however, 
the Methodists have commenced considerably to 



MISSION WORK IN NEW GUINEA 231 

enlarge their plantations. Though ill-paid, the 
Methodists do not work for their bare food, and 
an increased number of European workers is 
sorely needed. It is a deplorable fact that, while 
the native ministers and teachers are doing all 
right when under close supervision, in far too 
many cases do they sink back to their old habits 
when stationed on their own in remote native 
villages. 

From the above it will be seen that the mission 
societies in late German New Guinea have mate- 
rially assisted in the economical development of 
the colony. The extensive planting, however, 
makes them competitors on the native labour mar- 
ket, and this naturally is resented by the planters. 
Still, while we may sympathise with the ordi- 
nary planter, who often finds it difficult to secure 
an adequate number of boys, it would appear 
most commendable that the missions aim at being 
self-supporting. 

The work of the missionaries is naturally 
judged differently, according to the viewpoint. 
Thus in overcrowded cities it is a common phrase : 
"Why send money to distant mission fields, when 
in our own midst are men, women and children 
steeped in poverty and sin ?" Others, with a false 
notion of native life, but sadly acquainted with 
the large amount of corruption in white commu- 
nities, express the quite wrong opinion that primi- 
tive races are at a higher ethical level than 
civilised ones, and therefore should be left alone. 
There are again others who assert that primitive 
people are happier than their more enlightened 



232 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

brethren, and point to the many suicides amongst 
themselves, and the numerous lunatic asylums, 
as proofs. As against the critic and the pessimists, 
there are the optimists the thousands of chil- 
dren, who gladly take their pennies along to Sun- 
day schools a humble yet speaking contribution 
towards Christianising other small children in 
heathen lands ; and thousands of men and women, 
sacrificing time and money to foreign mission 
work, believing it to be a duty to God and to man- 
kind, and deriving much happiness from their 
share in spreading light where naught but dark- 
ness reigns. 

The head of the Church of England's Mission 
in Papua, Bishop Sharp, contributed an article 
to the Rabaul "Record" for April, 1916, in which 
he sounded a note of defiance against those 
opposed to the aims and objects of the mission 
societies, pointing out that the missionaries had 
gone to the Pacific and elsewhere in pursuance 
of a divine purpose, and obeying the Lord's com- 
mand, when He said, "Go ye out into the world, 
and preach the gospel to every living creature," 
and that they were there to stay. No one who 
has watched the growth of mission activity in 
German, as well as in British New Guinea, doubts 
the missionaries are there to stay, and no unbi- 
assed person, with knowledge of native life, 
wishes it to be otherwise. 



CHAPTER XVII. 



WHY PAPUA LAGS BEHIND, AND PROBLEMS 
OF THE FUTURE. 

Travellers coming to Rabaul via Papua find 
much to admire in what German enterprise has 
achieved. Their eyes are caught by the spacious 
government buildings, the picturesque and prac- 
tical bungalows, the shady avenues, the luxuriant 
Botanical Gardens, the excellent roads leading 
along portion of the seaboard, to say nothing 
about the extensive plantations studding the 
coast. It is only through comparison that our 
success, or lack of success, can be measured, and 
in comparing Papua with German New Guinea we 
must admit that in some respects the latter is 
ahead. The experience gained in Africa shows 
that Germany's iron rule and intense organisation 
so unsuited to the temperament of primitive 
races were well on their way to exterminate the 
native population, thereby doing themselves out 
of cheap labour. When, therefore, this colony 
has shown a sustained progress, much of the 
credit is due to the late German governor, Dr. 
Hahl, who unlike the military moulded governors 
in Africa combined an earnest desire for de- 

233 



234 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

veloping the Possession with a strong sense of 
justice towards the native population. At the 
same time, it must be remembered that Germany 
spent money more lavishly in German New 
Guinea than was spent in Papua, and, therefore, 
according to the law of proportion, would attain 
greater results. Thus, for instance, in the last 
year before the war, the German Imperial Go- 
vernment subsidised her Possession to the extent 
of 85,000, as against 30,000 granted Papua by 
the Commonwealth. Another advantage not 
easily over-estimated was the greater freedom 
of action possessed by the German governor. 

The exports from the part of German New 
Guinea occupied by the Australians, in 1913 
amounted to 402,013, against 123,140 for 
Papua, while the export of copra from the two 
possessions compared as fifteen to one. 

To account for this difference we must, of 
course, look further afield than to subsidies we 
must seek the explanation in a difference of 
policy. The causes for German New Guinea leav- 
ing Papua behind are several Germany encour- 
aged tropical agriculture, Australia encouraged 
mining, Germany opened the door for Asiatics, 
thereby securing cheap skilled labour, plantation 
overseers, and small traders. And most im- 
portant of all, Germany fixed native labourers' 
salary at five shillings a month, while in Papua it 
was ten in German New Guinea the term of ser- 
vice was three years, in Papua generally one 
and in German New Guinea the planters, by pay- 
ing a small annual fee to the government, were 



WHY PAPUA LAGS BEHIND 235 

allowed to administer corporal punishment to their 
labourers. It is questionable if, in the end, it was 
a wise policy to let the Chinese in ; still, the imme- 
diate gain is obvious; and as for working the 
natives to the utmost, it naturally further facili- 
tated economical progress. 

In order to induce the natives to recruit, more 
than for revenue raising purposes, an annual head 
tax of from five to ten marks the latter being 
the usual rule was, as far as the government 
arm reached, imposed on each adult not in the 
employ of a European or of a person with the 
standing of a European. Where the tax was not 
forthcoming the natives had to put in two months 
at roadmaking. 

It would appear that the German policy towards 
the natives could be expressed in the three 
sentences: Pay them badly; tax them heavily; 
treat them severely, and that it was one of utter 
selfishness. We are, however, told that such was 
not the case, that the government had the welfare 
of the natives at heart, that the late German 
governor was more loved by the natives than by 
the planters and traders, and that they actually 
got him removed shortly before the war. 

Dr. Hahl's ideas were that as this primitive 
race much against their own wish and will had 
been dragged into the maelstrom of the world's 
economical life, it must either progress or perish. 
To a German the first steps towards progress art 
to work and to obey. 

It may be argued that the greatest incentive to 



236 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

work is to see the work amply rewarded. The 
question is, however, rendered complex, partly 
through the peculiar construction of the native 
mind, and partly through shell money still being 
the current coinage. The native does not spend 
his money in a way to promote health and com- 
fort, but in luxuries, such as silly ornaments, 
tobacco, apparel which, in his obscure village, he 
is better without, lanterns with which he runs 
about on the brightest moonlight nights, musical 
instruments lasting him as long as a toy lasts a 
child, or he digs his money down in the ground. 
The general opinion, and one in which the mis- 
sionaries share, is that higher pay simply means 
that the native would smoke more and work less. 

Also, with regard to the administering of cor- 
poral punishment, arguments have been advanced 
which people with experience of the native dis- 
position find it difficult to contradict. If the 
white man were not feared by the natives, it 
would be a bad day for him. Besides, compared 
with the atrocities committed against them be- 
fore the German annexation, and the cruelties in- 
flicted amongst themselves, there would seem little 
room for complaint. To be sure, it took very 
little for a government labourer or a police boy to 
be flogged, just as it, from a British point of view, 
seems strange that an employer, by paying a few 
marks a year, could obtain a licence to thrash 
his labourers. Still, it was a case of enforcing 
discipline, and not one of deliberate ill-treatment. 
No doubt the privilege was often abused, yet it 



WHY PAPUA LAGS BEHIND 237 

was apparently not with the cognisance of the 
government, which, though herself a hard task- 
master, evinced an honest desire to protect the 
natives against their tormentors. 

Also, the head tax is judged differently by those 
who have lived in the islands and those who have 
not. Ten marks a year certainly seems exces- 
sive; the number of coconut trees to each family 
is but small, and it takes up to 7000 coconuts to 
make a ton of copra. The Chinese trader pays 
them badly, the payment generally being made in 
trade goods principally in tobacco. Also, the 
salary they earn is insignificant. True enough, 
those who work for Europeans are exempt from 
paying tax, but then they cannot be working on 
the plantations their whole life, more particularly 
so as no provisions are made for them bringing 
their womenfolk there; besides, the plantations 
could at the best only absorb a certain percentage 
of the whole population. One sometimes wonders 
how they manage to satisfy the tax collector. 
Still, the process adopted for raising the money, 
as well as for collecting it, gives a satisfactory 
result, and the amount annually flowing into the 
government coffers from the head tax represents 
several thousand pounds. 

The procedure is quite a simple one. The 
Native Affairs Department, or, in case of an out- 
station, the District Officer, warns the chiefs in 
a certain district that a month hence the tax will 
be collected. It may be assumed that during that 
month a great deal of cursing and grumbling goes 



238 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

on it would be too much to expect of human 
nature if it didn't. Meantime, the natives get 
busy digging their European money out of the 
ground, or, where there is none to dig out, by 
gathering coconuts. In everyday life they try 
even the patience of a Chinaman by bringing along 
a couple of nuts at a time, receiving as payment 
quarter of a stick of trade-tobacco, or just enough 
for a decent smoke. But to raise ten marks 
means business. The bush is actually raked for 
coconuts, and somehow the day the tax collector 
arrives, escorted by a body of police boys, the 
money is generally there. When, during the dis- 
turbances caused through the change of govern- 
ment, the head tax was not collected for about 
fifteen months, there was a notable fallling off in 
the supply of copra. 

What are we to say in the face of such evi- 
dence? Can any other deductions be made than 
that the natives of these islands are unprogressive 
and lazy? Still, they must either progress or 
perish, there is no third alternative. 

The climate of the Western Pacific and the 
Kanaka appear to belong to one another, or, as it 
has been put: "God seems to have reserved the 
tropics for the blacks." Maybe they are there for 
an even higher purpose than growing coconuts. 
At any rate, neither the owners of these islands 
nor the world as a whole can afford to see them 
perish, so they must advance progress in spite 
of themselves. They must be broken in to re- 
cognise the white man's money as the only means 



WHY PAPUA LAGS BEHIND 239 

of exchange ; they must be trained in sanitary con- 
ditions and cleanliness; they must be compelled 
to supply the necessary labour to the plantations, 
or, as a remote alternative, become industrious 
small plantation holders themselves. 

Some years ago a deputation of German planters 
waited on the governor to urge on him the advisa- 
bility of introducing a kind of labour conscript 
system, giving as one of the reasons that the "kul- 
tur" laboriously and painfully evolved by the Ger- 
mans through a long line of generations, the 
natives received without any effort and for 
nothing. The measure did not appeal to Dr. Hahl, 
and, as for the natives, it would be excusable if 
they did not see the strength of the argument. 
Still, there can be no doubt, had the Germans re- 
mained in possession, the conscript system sooner 
or later would have been introduced, and if the 
tenure of service had been made a period of train- 
ing" as well as one of toil, little objection could 
have been raised against it. The trouble, how- 
ever, is that the average planter is neither a 
philanthropist nor a long visioned patriot, and 
the remoteness of many of the plantations makes 
effective government control difficult. 

In summing up the impressions gathered from 
conversations with people acquainted with island 
life, it would appear that what is needed is neither 
higher pay nor less work for the natives until 
they learn how better to make use of their earn- 
ings, but fair-minded and, at the same time, stern 
judges, and an ample staff of devoted medical ex- 



240 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

perts. It would be misplaced kindness towards 
the natives themselves, and an injustice to whites, 
who do the pioneering work, entirely to abolish 
corporal punishment. The Kanakas do not mind 
going to gaol, and cases of prisoners asking to 
remain in gaol after their sentence has expired 
are not uncommon. An old grey haired Capucine 
father, who had been sent by his society, in the 
Caroline Islands, to New Guinea to make a plan- 
tation, on one occasion, in despair, brought a 
number of his native labourers to the District 
Officer at Madang, bitterly complaining of their 
insolence and threatening demeanour. The Dis- 
trict Officer investigated the case, the ringleaders 
got from five to ten strokes, and the old philan- 
thropist and his labourers appear to have lived 
happily together since. The punishment should 
be made to suit the native temperament, or they 
should be left entirely alone. With regard to 
promoting health amongst the natives, the Ger- 
mans could have shown more vigour, though some 
improvement was made during the latter years. 
The whole of the amount raised through the 
native tax ought to have been utilised to their own 
good in providing for travelling doctors, and in 
constructing wells to do away with the ordinary 
contaminated water holes in improving the 
native way of building their huts in buying 
quinine, mosquito nets and soap, and in providing 
baby bonuses in the shape of cash or iron imple- 
ments in districts where race suicide is prevalent. 
If the head tax had proved insufficient to cover the 



WHY PAPUA LAGS BEHIND 241 

expenses, the planters, who derive the greatest 
benefit from a healthy and able native population, 
should have been made to pay, through an in- 
creased export duty on copra. The Swedish tra- 
veller, Count Morner, tells us, as previously stated, 
that on the little island of Matty the population 
has decreased from 1500 to 300, and also that the 
firm principally interested in the place Wahlen 
and Company derives an annual income from 
Matty of 6000, which, in the course of six or 
seven years, is estimated to increase to 30,000. 
Would it have been unjust if the German govern- 
ment had made that firm responsible for the 
Matty islanders, and, indeed, for the preserva- 
tion of the fast decreasing population on all the 
western islands from which it derives an annual 
income of thousands and thousands of pounds? 

It must be said in justice to the German ad- 
ministration that a beginning had been made to 
combat some of the maladies most disastrous to 
the aboriginal population. Intelligent natives 
were being trained up to diagnose and treat such 
fatal diseases as dysentery and malarial fever, 
the idea being to return them to their respective 
tribes as a kind of village doctor. Also, a small 
start had been made in the way of digging wells. 
The war, of course, put an end to these efforts, 
and the uncertain fate of the islands hardly war- 
ranted constructive work in any great measure 
being carried on, so little has been done since. 

German New Guinea, like many other places, 
was, as a matter of fact, for a long time in the 



242 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

melting pot. i'There was reason to think the Pos- 
session would eventually fall to the Common- 
wealth, and now that this is, practically speaking, 
an accomplished fact, it can be said, from a geo- 
graphical point of view, Australia merely has got 
into her own. The distance between Brisbane and 
Rabaul is covered in a week. The Torres Strait 
can be crossed in a day. The vegetation in New 
Guinea and the adjoining islands is very much 
like that of Northern Queensland, while species 
of the typical Australian forest tree, the eucalyp- 
tus, is everywhere common. By penetrating into 
the bush we meet such old acquaintances as the 
wallaby, the cassowary, and the ringtailed opos- 
sum, while, indeed, it has been pointed out that 
the now extinct Tasmanian blacks were a branch 
of the Melanesian race, and also that the abori- 
ginals of the continent and the Kanakas are closely 
related people. The above evidences are by 
scientists taken as proofs that these islands once 
formed part of the Australian continent. 

From a commercial point of view, Sydney is the 
recognised centre for the whole Western Pacific. 
Even in pre-war time the Germans sent much of 
their copra to Sydney for transhipment. Most 
of the imported foodstuff, save rice and tinned 
fish, consumed there was produced in Australia. 
The total imports to German New Guinea from 
Australia in 1912 represented a monetary value 
of 169,878, showing an increase of 50,312 over 
that of the previous year. 

In various other ways one is continually re- 



WHY PAPUA LAGS BEHIND 243 

minded of the nearness to Australia. For in- 
stance, most of the Britishers in these islands are 
"gum suckers" ; probably one half of the German 
planters and traders have previously resided in 
the Commonwealth ; every person one meets, irre- 
spective of nationality, has relatives in Australia, 
while Sydney and the Blue Mountains were the 
favourite health resorts for Britishers and Ger- 
mans alike. (^^ 

V^In conclusion, some little space may be given to- 
the question, "Will the islands in the Western 
Pacific ever be a white man's land ?" The answer 
will, I should say, depend on the meaning attached 
to the phrase. If it be taken to mean, "Can the 
white race, for climatic reasons, take the place of 
the black race till the soil and work the planta- 
tions," then I believe the consensus of opinion 
would be in the negative. If, however, it is to- 
mean, "Can they, under any circumstances, sur- 
vive and continue their race in these climes?" 
then the question may be answered by referring 
to past experiences. We know that people have 
lived for thirty years or more in these parts, and 
only been away for short periods at long intervals. 
We know that white children are born there, and 
that a good many survive. A German family on 
the north coast of New Britain can boast of eleven 
healthy children, while the very fact of the late 
German administration having opened a school for 
European children at Namanula speaks for itself 
According to the statistics there were in German 



244 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

New Guinea at the outbreak of the war 140 Euro- 
pean children under fifteen years of age. 

Whilst, thus, it is proved that not only do Euro- 
peans live there to a comparatively ripe age, but 
can continue their race as well, there is ample 
evidence of tlm climate not being congenial to the 
white man.v/An intelligent colonist with whom 
the matter was discussed, some time after the 
British had arrived, expressed himself as fol- 
lows: "German New Guinea is not meant for 
white people. The fever haunts them, and the 
climate is too enervating, sapping them of all 
energy. Take the young German official," he 
said, "who is sent out here. The first year he 
loses 25 per cent, of his energy, the second 
year he loses another 25 per cent., and at the 
third year he has only got 25 per cent, of energy 
left. After the expiration of that period he has 
become useless. It is necessary to send him on a 
holiday to Germany for six or nine months to 
recuperate. The Germans lack neither energy 
nor enthusiasm when they first arrive. I remem- 
ber on one occasion this initial energy resulted in 
80,000 marks being collected towards a monu- 
ment for Bismarck somewhere out here. The 
getting together of the funds had absorbed every 
atom of force, and though the money was there 
the monument was never erected. Another case 
in point: A business man in Rabaul imported 
machinery for making aerated waters and he 
would have done well but he could never arouse 
sufficient energy to erect the plant, and there it is, 



WHY PAPUA LAGS BEHIND 245 

still lying in his back yard. It is the same with 
the planters. They arrive there full of enthu- 
siasm, buy 200-300 hectares of land, start to clear 
and plant, but by the time they have fifty hectares, 
or a little more, planted, their energy is fairly 
well exhausted." While these pictures are some- 
what overdrawn, the contention that people lose 
their energy in these parts is correct. 

The German Imperial Government, in their pen- 
sion schemes, reckoned one year's service in the 
tropics equal to two year's service in Germany. I 
believe it is generally admitted that people in hot 
climates do not last so well as do people living in 
temperate zones. Malarial fever, in continually 
returning attacks, has also to be reckoned with 
as a factor in reducing the span of life. 

If the question were referred to an unbiassed 
jury, I imagine the verdict would be: "The 
Western Pacific is not favourable to Europeans. 
Still, they can live there and even continue their 
race, though probably it would require some gene- 
rations to fully acclimatise them. As, however, 
the white race in these islands, by force of their 
higher intelligence, necessarily must constitute the 
upper class, and as there is not here, more than 
anywhere else, room for a numerous upper class, 
this may quite well, and even advantageously to 
the Possession, be supplied as needs arise from 
the closely situated Australia, **s 

Some difficulties may be experienced in recon- 
ciling the Germans in these islands to Australian 
rule. During the war they gave little or no 



246 OUR NEW POSSESSION 

trouble, but international law affords warring 
nations no protection, a fact to which the Ger- 
man traders and planters were fully alive; be- 
sides German laws and labour conditions pre- 
vailed, and, finally, their belief, almost to the 
end, in an ultimate German victoiy, coupled with 
the fact that they were prospering, probably 
made them patient. Judging by feelings as they 
existed before and during the war, German and 
British planters mutually will remain on friendly 
terms. Common interests and common dangers 
bind them together in fact,, when one gets 
away from the narrow limits of Rabaul the black 
element is so overwhelming that the situation 
resolves itself into one of white versus black. 
The missionaries, too, will most likely plod on 
as usual exercising their charitable work 
criticising the traders and planters, and finding 
fault with rival creeds and societies, but other- 
wise at peace with the world. The big com- 
panies, with their shareholders and head offices 
in Germany, may, however, give trouble. 

Whatever Australia's policy in German New 
Guinea is going to be, it can safely be predicted 
it will embrace more human kindness to the 
natives than did the German, and therefore be 
less profitable to investors. That the kindness 
often will be misdirected, owing to the influence 
of churches and philanthropists in Australia igno- 
rant of the native mind and native conditions, 
and therefore actually do the natives more harm 
than good, will only aggravate matters. There 
will be plenty of willing hands amongst traders 



WHY PAPUA LAGS BEHIND 247 

and planters to keep Germany informed about 
matters in their late colonies, and feelings of re- 
sentment in Berlin will be intensified by a natural 
soreness at having lost them. Complaints will 
be made at the League of Nations council over 
assumed Australian misrule, and Australian in- 
vestors, reminiscent of the good old German days, 
will, in a number of cases, rub their hands and 
keep aloof from the controversy. 

In the interest of peace it would seem well if 
part of the war indemnity coming to Australia 
were used to buy out the big German trading 
and plantation companies. This most, and only, 
dangerous connecting link between Germany and 
late German New Guinea would thereby be 
severed. 



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