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Title: Pygmies and Papuans - The Stone Age To-day in Dutch New Guinea
Author: Wollaston, A. F. R. (Alexander Frederick Richmond)
Language: English
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[Illustration: A TAPIRO PYGMY.















The Committee who organised the late expedition to Dutch New Guinea,
paid me the high compliment of inviting me to write an account of our
doings in that country. The fact that it is, in a sense, the official
account of the expedition has precluded me—greatly to the advantage of
the reader—from offering my own views on the things that we saw and
on things in general. The country that we visited was quite unknown
to Europeans, and the native races with whom we came in contact were
living in so primitive a state that the second title of this book
is literally true. The pygmies are indeed one of the most primitive
peoples now in existence.

Should any find this account lacking in thrilling adventure, I will
quote the words of a famous navigator, who visited the coasts of New
Guinea more than two hundred years ago:—“It has been Objected against
me by some, that my Accounts and Descriptions of Things are dry and
jejune, not filled with variety of pleasant Matter, to divert and
gratify the Curious Reader. How far this is true, I must leave to the
World to judge. But if I have been exactly and strictly careful to
give only _True_ Relations and Descriptions of Things (as I am sure
I have;) and if my Descriptions be such as may be of use not only to
myself, but also to others in future Voyages; and likewise to such
readers at home as are desirous of a Plain and Just Account of the
true Nature and State of the Things described, than of a Polite and
Rhetorical Narrative: I hope all the Defects in my Stile will meet with
an easy and ready Pardon.”

To Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace, who has allowed me to inscribe this
volume to him as a small token of admiration for the first and greatest
of the Naturalists who visited New Guinea, my most sincere thanks are

To Mr. W. R. Ogilvie-Grant, Dr. A. C. Haddon, and Mr. Sidney Ray, who
have not only assisted me with advice but have contributed the three
most valuable articles at the end of this volume, I can only repeat my
thanks, which have been expressed elsewhere.

To my fellow-members of the expedition I would like to wish further
voyages in more propitious climates.


  _May, 1912_.



  PREFACE                                                    vii

  INTRODUCTION                                               xix


  _The British Ornithologists’ Union—Members of the
  Expedition—Voyage to Java—Choice of Rivers—Prosperity
  of Java—Half-castes—Obsequious Javanese—The
  Rijst-tafel—Customs of the Dutch—Buitenzorg
  Garden—Garoet_                                               1


  _Expedition leaves Java—The “Nias”—Escort—Macassar—Raja
  of Goa—Amboina—Corals and Fishes—Ambonese
  Christians—Dutch Clubs—Dobo_                                13


  _New Guinea—Its Position and Extent—Territorial
  Divisions—Mountain Ranges—Numerous Rivers—The Papuans—The
  Discovery of New Guinea—Early Voyagers—Spanish and
  Dutch—Jan Carstensz—First Discovery of the Snow
  Mountains—William Dampier in the “Roebuck”—Captain Cook
  in the “Endeavour”—Naturalists and later Explorers_         21


  _Sail from the Aru Islands—Sight New Guinea—Distant
  Mountains—Signal Fires—Natives in Canoes—A British
  Flag—Natives on Board—Their Behaviour—Arrival at
  Mimika River—Reception at Wakatimi—Dancing and
  Weeping—Landing Stores—View of the Country—Snow
  Mountains—Shark-fishing—Making the Camp—Death of W.
  Stalker_                                                    35


  _Arrival of our Ambonese—Coolie Considerations—Canoes
  of the Natives—Making Canoes—Preliminary Exploration of
  the Mimika—Variable Tides—Completing the Camp—A Plague
  of Flies—Also of Crickets—Making “Atap”—Trading with the
  Natives—Trade Goods_                                        50


  _Difficulties of Food—Coolies’ Rations—Choice
  of Provisions—Transporting Supplies up the
  Mimika—Description of the River—A Day’s Work—Monotonous
  Scenery—Crowned Pigeons—Birds of Paradise and
  Others—Snakes, Bees, and other Creatures—Rapids and Clear
  Water—The Seasons—Wind—Rain—Thunderstorms—Halley’s Comet_   65


  _Exploration of the Kapare River—Obota—Native
  Geography—River Obstructions—Hornbills and
  Tree Ducks—Gifts of Stones—Importance of Steam
  Launch—Cultivation of Tobacco—Sago Swamps—Manufacture of
  Sago—Cooking of Sago—The Dutch Use of Convict Labour_       82


  _Description of Wakatimi—The Papuan House—Coconut
  Palms—The Sugar Palm—Drunkenness of the Natives—Drunken
  Vagaries—Other Cultivation—The Native Language—No
  Interpreters—The Numerals—Difficulties of
  Understanding—Names of Places—Local Differences of
  Pronunciation_                                              95


  _The Papuans of
  Bonnets—Growth of Children—Preponderance of Men—Number
  of Wives—Childhood—Swimming and other Games—Imitativeness
  of Children—The Search for Food—Women as Workers—Fishing
  Nets—Other Methods of Fishing—An Extract from Dampier_     109


  _Food of the Papuans—Cassowaries—The Native Dog—Question
  of Cannibalism—Village Headman—The Social System of the
  Papuans—The Family—Treatment of Women—Religion—Weather
  Superstitions—Ceremony to avert a Flood—The Pig—A Village
  Festival—Wailing at Deaths—Methods of Disposal of the
  Dead—No Reverence for the Remains—Purchasing Skulls_       124


  _Papuans’ Love of Music—Their Concerts—A Dancing
  House—Carving—Papuans as Artists—Cat’s Cradle—Village
  Squabbles—The Part of the Women—Wooden and Stone
  Clubs—Shell Knives and Stone Axes—Bows and Arrows—Papuan
  Marksmen—Spears—A most Primitive People—Disease—Prospects
  of their Civilisation_                                     141


  _The Camp at Parimau—A Plague of Beetles—First Discovery
  of the Tapiro Pygmies—Papuans as Carriers—We visit the
  Clearing of the Tapiro—Remarkable Clothing of Tapiro—Our
  Relations with the Natives—System of Payment—Their
  Confidence in Us—Occasional Thefts—A Customary
  Peace-offering—Papuans as Naturalists_                     155


  _Visit of Mr. Lorentz—Arrival of Steam Launch—A
  Sailor Drowned—Our Second Batch of Coolies—Health of
  the Gurkhas—Dayaks the Best Coolies—Sickness—Arrival
  of Motor Boat—Camp under Water—Expedition moves to
  Parimau—Explorations beyond the Mimika—Leeches—Floods on
  the Tuaba River—Overflowing Rivers—The Wataikwa—Cutting a
  Track_                                                     169


  _The Camp at the Wataikwa River—Malay Coolies—“Amok”—A
  Double Murder—A View of the Snow Mountains—Felling
  Trees—Floods—Village washed Away—The Wettest Season—The
  Effects of Floods—Beri-beri—Arrival of C. Grant—Departure
  of W. Goodfellow_                                          184


  _Pygmies visit Parimau—Description of Tapiro
  Pygmies—Colour—Hair—Clothing—Ornaments—Netted Bags—Flint
  Knives—Bone Daggers—Sleeping Mats—Fire Stick—Method
  of making Fire—Cultivation of Tobacco—Manner of
  Smoking—Bows and Arrows—Village of the Pygmies—Terraced
  Ground—Houses on Piles—Village Headman—Our Efforts
  to see the Women—Language and Voices—Their
  Intelligence—Counting—Their Geographical Distribution_     196


  _Communication with Amboina and Merauke—Sail in the
  “Valk” to the Utakwa River—Removal of the Dutch
  Expedition—View of Mount Carstensz—Dugongs—Crowded
  Ship—Dayaks and Live Stock—Sea-Snakes—Excitable
  Convicts—The Island River—Its Great Size—Another Dutch
  Expedition—Their Achievements—Houses in the Trees—Large
  Village—Barn-like Houses—Naked People—Shooting Lime—Their
  Skill in Paddling—Through the Marianne Straits—An
  Extract from Carstensz—Merauke—Trade in Copra—Botanic
  Station—The Mission—The Ké Island Boat-builders—The
  Natives of Merauke described—Arrival of our Third Batch
  of Coolies—The Feast of St. Nicholas—Return to Mimika_     209


  _Difficulty of Cross-country Travel—Expedition moves
  towards the Mountains—Arrival at the Iwaka River—Changing
  Scenery—The Impassable Iwaka—A Plucky Gurkha—Building a
  Bridge—We start into the Mountains—Fording
  Rivers—Flowers—Lack of Water on Hillside—Curious
  Vegetation—Our highest Point—A wide View—Rare
  Birds—Coal—Uninhabitable Country—Dreary Jungle—Rarely any
  Beauty—Remarkable Trees—Occasional Compensations_          229


  _Departure from Parimau—Parting Gifts—Mock
  Lamentation—Rawling explores Kamura River—Start for the
  Wania—Lose the Propeller—A Perilous Anchorage—Unpleasant
  Night—Leave the Motor Boat—Village of Nimé—Arrival of
  “Zwaan” with Dayaks—Their Departure—Waiting for the
  Ship—Taking Leave of the People of Wakatimi—Sail from New
  Guinea—Ké Islands—Banda—Hospitality of the Netherlands
  Government—Lieutenant Cramer—Sumbawa—Bali—Return to
  Singapore and England—One or two Reflexions_               246


  _Notes on the Birds collected by the B.O.U Expedition to
  Dutch New Guinea. By W. R. Ogilvie-Grant_                  263


  _The Pygmy Question. By Dr. A. C. Haddon, F.R.S._          303


  _Notes on Languages in the East of Netherlands New
  Guinea. By Sidney H. Ray, M.A._                            322

  INDEX                                                      347


(_Except where it is otherwise stated, the illustrations are from
photographs by the Author._)

  A TAPIRO PYGMY                                        _Frontispiece_

                                                          FACING PAGE

  NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE MIMIKA RIVER                                4

  A CONVICT COOLY OF THE DUTCH ESCORT                              12

  A MALAY COOLY FROM BUTON                                         12

  DOBO, ARU ISLANDS                                                20

    and E. S. MARSHALL)                                            48

    E. S. MARSHALL)                                                48

  MAKING CANOES                                                    50

  CANOES, FINISHED AND UNFINISHED                                  54

  MAKING “ATAP” FOR ROOFING                                        60

  PAPUAN WOMAN CANOEING UP THE MIMIKA                              64

    and E. S. MARSHALL)                                            68

  HAULING CANOES UP THE MIMIKA                                     70

  TYPICAL PAPUANS OF MIMIKA                                        74

  UPPER WATERS OF THE KAPARE RIVER                                 82



  PAPUAN HOUSES ON THE MIMIKA                                      96

  PAPUAN OF THE MIMIKA                                            100

  PAPUAN OF THE MIMIKA                                            100

  A PAPUAN MOTHER AND CHILD                                       106

  CICATRIZATION (Photo by C. G. RAWLING and E. S. MARSHALL)       112


  WOMEN OF WAKATIMI                                               114

  PAPUAN WOMAN AND CHILD                                          120

  A PAPUAN OF MIMIKA                                              128

  A PAPUAN OF MIMIKA                                              134

  DISPOSAL OF THE DEAD: A COFFIN ON TRESTLES                      139

    E. S. MARSHALL)                                               148

  A TRIBUTARY STREAM OF THE KAPARE RIVER                          159

  TYPICAL JUNGLE, MIMIKA RIVER                                    178

  AT THE EDGE OF THE JUNGLE                                       182

  CAMP OF THE EXPEDITION AT PARIMAU                               184


  THE MIMIKA AT PARIMAU: LOW WATER                                190

  THE SAME IN FLOOD                                               190

  A TAPIRO PYGMY                                                  196

  MAKING FIRE (1)                                                 200

  MAKING FIRE (2)                                                 202

  WAMBERI MERBIRI                                                 204

  A HOUSE OF THE TAPIRO                                           206


  TYPES OF TAPIRO PYGMIES                                         212

  A PAPUAN WITH TWO TAPIRO                                        216

  NATIVES OF MERAUKE                                              226

  LOOKING UP THE MIMIKA FROM PARIMAU                              232



    RAWLING and E. S. MARSHALL)                                   238

  SUPPORTS OF A PANDANUS                                          242

  BUTTRESSED TREES                                                246

  SCREW PINES (PANDANUS)                                          250

  AT SUMBAWA PESAR                                                252

  NEAR BULELING                                                   256


  (_from Drawings by G. C. Shortridge_)

  CARVED WOODEN CLUBS AND STONE CLUBS                              36

  HEAD-DRESSES, WORN AT CEREMONIES                                 78

  STONE AXE, HEAD-RESTS AND DRUMS                                 142

  BLADES OF PADDLES, AND BAMBOO PENIS-CASES                       144

  BOW, ARROWS AND SPEARS                                          150

  ORNAMENTS OF PAPUANS                                            222


  A LANGUAGE MAP OF NETHERLANDS NEW GUINEA                       342



The wonderful fauna of New Guinea, especially the marvellous forms
of Bird- and Insect-life to be found there, have long attracted the
attention of naturalists in all parts of the world. The exploration
of this vast island during recent years has brought to light many
extraordinary and hitherto unknown forms, more particularly new Birds
of Paradise and Gardener Bower-Birds; but until recently the central
portion was still entirely unexplored, though no part of the globe
promised to yield such an abundance of zoological treasures to those
prepared to face the difficulties of penetrating to the great ranges of
the interior.

The B.O.U. Expedition, of which the present work is the official
record, originated in the following manner. For many years past I had
been trying to organise an exploration of the Snow Mountains, but
the reported hostility of the natives in the southern part of Dutch
New Guinea and the risks attending such an undertaking, rendered the
chances of success too small to justify the attempt.

It was in 1907 that Mr. Walter Goodfellow, well-known as an experienced
traveller and an accomplished naturalist, informed me that he
believed a properly equipped expedition might meet with success, and
I entered into an arrangement with him to lead a small zoological
expedition to explore the Snow Mountains. It so happened, however,
that by the time our arrangements had been completed in December,
1908, the members of the British Ornithologists’ Union, founded in
1858, were celebrating their Jubilee, and it seemed fitting that
they should mark so memorable an occasion by undertaking some great
zoological exploration. I therefore laid my scheme for exploring
the Snow Mountains before the meeting, and suggested that it should
be known as the Jubilee Expedition of the B.O.U., a proposal which
was received with enthusiasm. A Committee was formed, consisting of
Mr. F. du Cane Godman, F.R.S. (President of the B.O.U.), Dr. P. L.
Sclater, F.R.S. (Editor of the _Ibis_), Mr. E. G. B. Meade-Waldo, Mr.
W. R. Ogilvie-Grant (Secretary), and Mr. C. E. Fagan (Treasurer). At
the request of the Royal Geographical Society it was decided that
their interests should also be represented, and that a surveyor and
an assistant-surveyor, to be selected by the Committee, should be
added, the Society undertaking to contribute funds for that purpose.
The expedition thus became a much larger one than had been originally
contemplated and included:—

  Mr. Walter Goodfellow (Leader),

  Mr. Wilfred Stalker and Mr. Guy C. Shortridge (Collectors
  of Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, etc.),

  Mr. A. F. R. Wollaston (Medical Officer to the
  Expedition, Entomologist, and Botanist),

  Capt. C. G. Rawling, C.I.E. (Surveyor),

  Dr. Eric Marshall (Assistant-Surveyor and Surgeon).

To meet the cost of keeping such an expedition in the field for at
least a year it was necessary to raise a large sum of money, and this
I was eventually able to do, thanks chiefly to a liberal grant from
His Majesty’s Government, and to the generosity of a number of private
subscribers, many of whom were members of the B.O.U. The total sum
raised amounted to over £9000, and though it is impossible to give here
the names of all those who contributed, I would especially mention the

  S. G. Asher,
  E. J. Brook,
  J. Stewart Clark,
  Col. Stephenson Clarke,
  Sir Jeremiah Colman,
  H. J. Elwes,
  F. du Cane Godman,
  Sir Edward Grey,
  J. H. Gurney,
  Sir William Ingram,
  Lord Iveagh,
  Mrs. Charles Jenkinson,
  E. J. Johnstone,
  Campbell D. Mackellar,
  G. A. Macmillan,
  Mrs. H. A. Powell,
  H. C. Robinson,
  Lord Rothschild,
  Hon. L. Walter Rothschild,
  Hon. N. Charles Rothschild,
  Baron and Baroness James A. de Rothschild,
  P. L. Sclater,
  P. K. Stothert,
  Oldfield Thomas,
  E. G. B. Meade-Waldo,
  Rowland Ward,
  The Proprietors of _Country Life_,
  The Royal Society,
  The Royal Geographical Society,
  The Zoological Society of London.

The organization and equipment of this large expedition caused
considerable delay and it was not until September, 1909, that the
members sailed from England for the East. Meanwhile the necessary
steps were taken to obtain the consent of the Netherlands Government
to allow the proposed expedition to travel in Dutch New Guinea and
to carry out the scheme of exploration. Not only was this permission
granted, thanks to the kindly help of Sir Edward Grey and the British
Minister at the Hague, but the Government of Holland showed itself
animated with such readiness to assist the expedition that it supplied
not only an armed guard at its own expense, but placed a gunboat at
the disposal of the Committee to convey the party from Batavia to New

On behalf of the Committee I would again take this opportunity of
publicly expressing their most grateful thanks to the Netherlands
Government for these and many other substantial acts of kindness,
which were shown to the members of the expedition. The Peninsular and
Oriental Steam Navigation Company did all in their power to further
the interests of the expedition, and to them the Committee is very
specially indebted. To the proprietors of _Country Life_ the thanks
of the Committee are also due for the interest and sympathy they have
displayed towards the expedition and for the assistance they have given
in helping to raise funds to carry on the work in the field.

In various numbers of _Country Life_, issued between the 16th of April,
1910, and the 20th of May, 1911, a series of ten articles will be found
in which I contributed a general account of New Guinea, and mentioned
some of the more important discoveries made by the members of the
expedition during their attempts to penetrate to the Snow Mountains.

In Appendix A to the present volume will be found a general account of
the ornithological results. A detailed report will appear elsewhere, as
also, it is hoped, a complete account of the zoological work done by
the expedition.

As the reader will learn from Mr. Wollaston’s book, the great physical
difficulties of this unexplored part of New Guinea and other unforeseen
circumstances rendered the work of the B.O.U. Expedition quite
exceptionally arduous; and if the results of their exploration are
not all that had been hoped, it must be remembered that they did all
that was humanly possible to carry out the dangerous task with which
they had been entrusted. Their work has added vastly to our knowledge
of this part of New Guinea, and though little collecting was done
above 4000 feet, quite a number of new, and, in many cases, remarkably
interesting forms were obtained.

There can be no doubt that when the higher ranges between 5000 and
10,000 feet are explored, many other novelties will be discovered
and for this reason it has been thought advisable to postpone the
publication of the scientific results of the B.O.U. Expedition until
such time as the second expedition under Mr. Wollaston has returned in

The death of Mr. Wilfred Stalker at a very early period of the
expedition was a sad misfortune and his services could ill be spared;
his place was, however, very ably filled by Mr. Claude H. B. Grant, who
arrived in New Guinea some six months later.

As all those who have served on committees must know, most of the work
falls on one or two individuals, and I should like here to express
the thanks which we owe to our Treasurer, Mr. C. E. Fagan, for the
admirable way in which he has carried out his very difficult task.





  _The British Ornithologists’ Union—Members of the
  Expedition—Voyage to Java—Choice of Rivers—Prosperity
  of Java—Half-castes—Obsequious Javanese—The
  Rijst-tafel—Customs of the Dutch—Buitenzorg

In the autumn of 1858 a small party of naturalists, most of them
members of the University of Cambridge and their friends and all of
them interested in the study of ornithology, met in the rooms of the
late Professor Alfred Newton at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and
agreed to found a society with the principal object of producing a
quarterly Journal of general ornithology. The Journal was called “The
Ibis,” and the Society adopted the name of British Ornithologists’
Union, the number of members being originally limited to twenty.

In the autumn of 1908 the Society, which by that time counted four
hundred and seventy members, adopted the suggestion, made by Mr. W.
R. Ogilvie-Grant, of celebrating its jubilee by sending an expedition
to explore, chiefly from an ornithological point of view, the unknown
range of Snow Mountains in Dutch New Guinea. A Committee, whose
Chairman was Mr. F. D. Godman, F.R.S., President and one of the
surviving original members of the Society, was appointed to organise
the expedition, and subscriptions were obtained from members and their
friends. The remote destination of the expedition aroused a good deal
of public interest. The Royal Geographical Society expressed a desire
to share in the enterprise, and it soon became evident that it would
be a mistake to limit the object of the expedition to the pursuit
of birds only. Mr. Walter Goodfellow, a naturalist who had several
times travelled in New Guinea as well as in other parts of the world,
was appointed leader of the expedition. Mr. W. Stalker and Mr. G. C.
Shortridge, both of whom had had wide experience of collecting in the
East, were appointed naturalists. Capt. C. G. Rawling, C.I.E., 13th
Somersetshire Light Infantry, who had travelled widely in Tibet and
mapped a large area of unknown territory in that region, was appointed
surveyor, with Mr. E. S. Marshall, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., who had just
returned from the “Furthest South” with Sir E. H. Shackleton, as
assistant surveyor and surgeon; and the present writer, who had been
medical officer, botanist, and entomologist on the Ruwenzori Expedition
of 1906-7, undertook the same duties as before.

Prolonged correspondence between the Foreign Office and the Dutch
Government resulted, thanks largely to the personal interest of Sir
Edward Grey and Lord Acton, British Chargé d’Affaires at the Hague, in
permission being granted to the expedition to land in Dutch New Guinea
on or after January 1, 1910. The date of landing was postponed by the
Government until January in order that there might be no interference
with the expedition of Mr. H. A. Lorentz, who it was hoped would be
the first to reach the snow in New Guinea by way of the Noord River, a
project which he successfully accomplished in the month of November,

[Sidenote: VOYAGE TO JAVA]

On October 29th four of us sailed from Marseilles in the P. & O. S.S.
_Marmora_. Mr. Stalker and Mr. Shortridge, who had already proceeded
to the East, joined us later at Batavia and Amboina respectively. At
Singapore we found the ten Gurkhas, ex-military police, who had been
engaged for the expedition by the recruiting officer at Darjiling;
though some of these men were useless for the work they had to do, the
others did invaluable service as will be seen later. We left Singapore
on November 26th, and as we passed through the narrow Riou Straits we
saw the remains of the French mail steamer _La Seyne_, which had been
wrecked there with appalling loss of life a few days earlier. It was
believed that scores of persons were devoured by sharks within a few
minutes of the accident happening. Two days’ steaming in the Dutch
packet brought us to Batavia in Java, the city of the Government of the
Netherlands East Indies.

We had hoped that our ten Gurkhas would be sufficient escort for the
expedition and that we could do without the escort of native soldiers
offered to us by the Dutch Government, but the local authorities
decided that the escort was necessary and they appointed to command it
Lieutenant H. A. Cramer of the Infantry, a probationer on the Staff of
the Dutch East Indian Army. The Government also undertook to transport
the whole expedition, men, stores, and equipment, from Java to New
Guinea. The undertaking was a most generous one as the voyage from
Batavia by mail steamer to Dobo in the Aru Islands would have been
most costly, and from there we should have been obliged to charter a
special steamer to convey the expedition to the shores of New Guinea.

When we left England we had the intention of approaching the Snow
Mountains by way of the Utakwa River, which was the only river shown
by the maps obtainable at that time approaching the mountains. After
a consultation with the Military and Geographical Departments at
Batavia it was decided that, owing to the bad accounts which had been
received of the Utakwa River and the comparatively favourable reports
of the Mimika River, the latter should be chosen as the point of our
entry into the country. This decision, though we little suspected it
at the time, effectually put an end to our chance of reaching the Snow

During the month of December, while stores were being accumulated,
and the steamer was being prepared for our use, we had leisure to
visit, and in the case of some of us to revisit, some of the most
interesting places in Java. A large German ship filled with fourteen
hundred American tourists arrived at Batavia whilst we were there,
and the passengers “did” Java, apparently to their satisfaction, in
forty-eight hours. But a tourist with more time could find occupation
for as many days and still leave much to be seen. Germans and Americans
outnumber English visitors by nearly fifty to one, and it is to be
deplored that Englishmen do not go there in larger numbers, for they
would see in Java, not to mention the beauty of its scenery, perhaps
the most successful tropical dependency in the world, a vast monument
to the genius of Sir Stamford Raffles, who laid the foundation of its
prosperity less than one hundred years ago.



Some idea of the progress which has been made may be learnt from the
fact that, whereas at the beginning of the last century the population
numbered about four millions, there are to-day nearly ten times
that number. Wherever you go you see excellent roads, clean, and
well-ordered villages and a swarming peasant population, quiet and
industrious and apparently contented with their lot.

There are between thirty and forty volcanoes in the island, many of
them active, and the soil is extraordinarily rich and productive, three
crops in the rice districts being harvested in rather less than two
years. So fertile is the land that in many places the steepest slopes
of the hills have been brought under cultivation by an ingenious system
of terracing and irrigation in such a way that the higher valleys
present the appearance of great amphitheatres rising tier above tier
of brilliantly green young rice plants or of drooping yellow heads of
ripening grain. The tea plantations and the fields of sugar-cane in
Central Java not less than the rice-growing districts impress one with
the unceasing industry of the people and the inexhaustible wealth of
the island.

One of the features of life in the Dutch East Indies, which first
strikes the attention of an English visitor, is the difference in
the relation between Europeans and natives from those which usually
obtain in British possessions as shown by the enormous number of
half-castes. Whilst we were still at Batavia the feast of the Eve of
St. Nicholas, which takes the place of our Christmas, occurred. In the
evening the entire “white” population indulged in a sort of carnival;
the main streets and restaurants were crowded, bands played and
carriages laden with parents and their children drove slowly through
the throng. The spectacle, a sort of “trooping of the colours,” was a
most interesting one to the onlooker, for one saw often in the same
family children showing every degree of colour from the fairest Dutch
hair and complexion to the darkest Javanese. It is easy to understand
how this strong mixture of races has come about, when one learns that
Dutchmen who come out to the East Indies, whether as civilian or
military officials or as business men, almost invariably stay for ten
years without returning to Europe. They become in that time more firmly
attached to the country than is the case in colonies where people go
home at shorter intervals, and it is not uncommon to meet Dutchmen who
have not returned to Holland for thirty or forty years. It is not the
custom to send children back to Europe when they reach the school age;
there are excellent government schools in all the larger towns, and it
often happens that men and women grow up and marry who have never been
to Europe in their lives. Thus it can be seen how a large half-caste
population is likely to be formed. The half-castes do not, as in
British India, form a separate caste, but are regarded as Europeans,
and there are many instances of men having more or less of native blood
in their veins reaching the highest civilian and military rank.


One or two curious relics of former times, which the visitor to Java
notices, are worth recording because they show the survival of a spirit
that has almost completely disappeared from our own dominions. When a
European walks, or as is more usual, drives along the country roads,
the natives whom he meets remove their hats from their heads and their
loads from their shoulders and crouch humbly by the roadside. Again,
on the railways the ticket examiner approaches with a suppliant air
and begs to see your ticket, while he holds out his right hand for it
grasping his right wrist with his left hand. In former times when a man
held out his right hand to give or take something from you his left
hand was free to stab you with his _kris_. Nowadays only a very few
privileged natives in Java are allowed to carry the _kris_.

Another very noticeable feature of life in the Dutch East Indies, which
immediately attracts the attention of a stranger, is the astonishing
number of excessively corpulent Europeans. If you travel in the morning
in the steam tramcar which runs from the residential part of Batavia
to the business quarter of the town, you will see as many noticeably
stout men as you will see in the City of London in a year, or, as I
was credibly informed, as you will see in the city of Amsterdam in a
month. It is fairly certain that this unhealthy state of body of a
large number of Europeans may be attributed to the institution of the
Rijst-tafel, the midday meal of a large majority of the Dutchmen in the

This custom is so remarkable that it is worth while to give a
description of it. The foundation of the meal, as its name implies, is
rice. You sit at table with a soup plate in front of you, a smaller
flat plate beside it and a spoon, a knife and a fork. The first servant
brings a large bowl of rice from which you help yourself liberally. The
second brings a kind of vegetable stew which you pour over the heap of
rice. Then follows a remarkable procession; I have myself seen at an
hotel in Batavia fourteen different boys bringing as many different
dishes, and I have seen stalwart Teutons taking samples from every
dish. These boys bring fish of various sorts and of various cookeries,
bones of chickens cooked in different ways and eggs of various ages,
and last of all comes a boy bearing a large tray covered with many
different kinds of chutneys and sauces from which the connoisseur
chooses three or four. The more solid and bony portions find a space on
the small flat plate, the others are piled in the soup plate upon the
rice. As an experience once or twice the Rijst-tafel is interesting;
but as a daily custom it is an abomination. Even when, as in private
houses, the number of dishes is perhaps not more than three or four,
the main foundation of the meal is a solid pile of rice, which is
not at all a satisfactory diet for Europeans. The Rijst-tafel is not
a traditional native custom but a modern innovation, and there is a
tendency among the more active members of the community to replace it
by a more rational meal.


The houses of the Europeans are of the bungalow type with high-pitched
roofs of red tiles and surrounded by wide verandahs, which are actually
the living rooms of the house. The Dutch are good gardeners and are
particularly fond of trees, which they plant close about their houses
and so ensure a pleasant shade, though they harbour rather more
mosquitoes and other insects than is pleasant. In strange contrast
with the scrupulous cleanliness of the houses and the tidiness of the
streets, you will see in Batavia a state of things which it is hard to
reconcile with the usual commonsense of the Dutch. Through the middle
of the town runs a canalised river of red muddy water, partly sewer and
partly bathing place and so on of the natives, and in it are washed all
the clothes of the population, both native and European. Your clothes
return to you white enough, but you put them on with certain qualms
when you remember whence they came. The town has an excellent supply of
pure water, and it is astonishing that the authorities do not put an
end to this most insanitary practice.

Dutch people in the East Indies have modified their habits, especially
in the matter of clothing, to suit the requirements of the climate, and
while they have to some extent sacrificed elegance to comfort, their
costume is at all events more rational than that of many Englishmen
in the East, who cling too affectionately to the fashions of Europe
and often wear too much clothing. The men, who do the greater part of
the day’s work between seven in the morning and one o’clock, wear a
plain white suit of cotton or linen. The afternoon is spent in taking
a siesta and at about five o’clock they go to their clubs or other
amusements in the same sort of attire as in the morning. The ladies,
except in the larger towns where European dress is the custom, appear
in public during the greater part of the day in a curiously simple
costume. The upper part of the body is clothed in a short white cotton
jacket, below which the coloured native _sarong_ extends midway down
the leg. Low slippers are worn on bare feet, the hair hangs undressed
down the back and the costume is usually completed by an umbrella. It
must be admitted that the effect is not ornamental, but the costume is
doubtless cool and comfortable, and it prevents any risk there might be
of injury to the health from wearing an excessive amount of clothing.
They appear more conventionally dressed about five o’clock, when the
social business of the day begins. The ladies pay calls while the men
meet at the club and play cards until an uncomfortably late dinner at
about nine o’clock.


About an hour’s journey by railway from Batavia is the hill station of
Buitenzorg. Although it is hardly more than eight hundred feet above
the sea the climate is noticeably cooler (the mean annual temperature
is 75°), and one feels immediately more vigorous than down in the low
country. The palace of the Governor General, formerly the house of
Sir Stamford Raffles, stands at the edge of the Botanic Garden, which
alone, even if you saw nothing else, would justify a visit to Java.
Plants from all the Tropics grow there in the best possible conditions,
and you see them to advantage as you never can in their natural forest
surroundings, where the trunks of the trees are obscured by a tangle
of undergrowth. Every part of the garden is worth exploring, but one
of the most curious and interesting sections is the collection of
Screw-pines (_Pandanus_) and Cycads, which have a weirdly antediluvian
appearance. Another very beautiful sight is the ponds of Water-lilies
from different parts of the world. The native gardener in charge
of them informed me that the different species have different and
definite hours for the opening and closing of their flowers. I tested
his statement in two instances and found the flowers almost exactly
punctual. There was no cloud in the sky nor appearance of any change in
the weather, and the reason for this behaviour is not easy to explain.
At Sindanglaya in the mountains a few miles distant is an offshoot
from the Buitenzorg garden, where plants of a more temperate climate
flourish, and experiments are made on plants of economic value to the

A few hours’ journey east from Buitenzorg is Garoet (2,300 feet above
the sea), which lies in a beautiful fertile valley surrounded by
forest-covered mountains. The climate is an almost ideal one, the
nights are cool and the days are not too hot. A very remarkable feature
of the country about Garoet is the great flocks, or rather droves, of
ducks which you meet being driven along the roads from the villages to
their pastures in the rice fields. These ducks differ from the ordinary
domestic duck in their extraordinary erect attitude, from which they
have been well called Penguin ducks. Whether their upright posture
is due to their walking or not I do not know, but they are excellent
walkers and are sometimes driven long distances to their feeding
grounds. When a duck is tired and lags behind, the boy who herds them
picks it up by the neck, and you may sometimes see him walking along
with a bunch of two or three ducks in either hand.

Others of our party visited Djokjakarta and the Buddhist Temples of
Boro-Boder in Central Java and the mountain resort of Tosari in the
volcanic region of Eastern Java. Tosari is more than five thousand feet
above the sea, and is of great value to the Dutch as a sanatorium for
soldiers and civilians from all parts of the Archipelago. The rainfall
is comparatively scanty and the climate is like that of Southern Europe
at its best.




  _Expedition leaves Java—The “Nias”—Escort—Macassar—Raja
  of Goa—Amboina—Corals and Fishes—Ambonese
  Christians—Dutch Clubs—Dobo._

On December 21st we left Batavia, and on Christmas Day, 1909, we sailed
from Soerabaja in the Government steamer _Nias_, Capt. Hondius van
Herwerden. The _Nias_, a ship of about six hundred tons, formerly a
gun-boat in the Netherlands Indies Marine, is now stripped of her
two small guns and is used by the Government as a special service
vessel. Her last commission before embarking us has been to transport
Mr. Lorentz on his expedition to the Noord River in New Guinea three
months earlier. Now she was full to the brim of stores and gear of all
sorts and her decks were crowded with men. There were five of us and
ten Gurkhas. The Dutch escort consisted of Lieutenant H. A. Cramer
in command, two Dutch sergeants and one Dutch medical orderly, forty
native Javanese soldiers and sixty convicts, most of them Javanese. The
convicts were nearly all of them men with more or less long sentences
of imprisonment and some of them were murderers in chains, which were
knocked off them to their great relief the day after we left Soerabaja.
One of the best of the convicts, a native of Bali, was a murderer (see
illustration, page 12), who did admirable service to the expedition,
and was subsequently promoted to be _mandoer_.[1]

At Macassar we stopped a few hours only to add to our already
excessive deck cargo, and to hear a little of the gossip of Celebes.
I was interested to learn that the power of the Raja of Goa, whom
I had visited a few years before, had come to an end. That monarch
was an interesting survivor of the old native princes of the island.
His kingdom extended to within three miles of Macassar, and he was
apparently not answerable to any law or authority but his own. The
place became a refuge for criminals fleeing from justice, and it was a
disagreeable thorn in the side of the Dutch authorities, who were at
last compelled to send a small expedition to annex the country. The
Raja himself, it was said, came to a very unpleasant end in a ditch.

There had also been a small war on the east side of the island, which
resulted in the pacification of the large and prosperous district
of Boni. Now the Island of Celebes, which only a few years ago was
dominated by savage tribes and where it was unsafe for an European
to travel, has been almost completely brought within the Dutch
administration, and it seems likely that its enormous mineral and
agricultural wealth will soon make it one of the most prosperous
islands of the Archipelago.

[Sidenote: AMBOINA]

On December 30th we anchored in the harbour of Amboina, where we were
joined by the last member of the expedition, Mr. W. Stalker, who had
been for some months collecting birds in Ceram, and recently had been
engaged in Amboina in recruiting coolies for the expedition. It had
been expected that he would go to engage coolies in the Ké Islands,
a group of islands about three hundred miles to the south-east of
Amboina, where the natives are more sturdy and less sophisticated than
the people of Amboina; but circumstances had prevented him from going
there, and we had to put up with the very inferior Ambonese, a fact
which at the outset seriously handicapped the expedition. We stayed for
two days at Amboina, or, as the Dutch always call it, Ambon, buying
necessary stores and making arrangements with the Dutch authorities,
who agreed to send a steamer every two months, if the weather were
favourable, to bring men and further supplies to us in New Guinea.

Amboina is an exceedingly pretty place, and a very favourite station
of the Dutch on account of its climate, which is remarkably equable,
and its freedom from strong winds or excessive rain. There is a volcano
at the north end of the island which has slumbered since 1824, and the
place is very subject to earthquakes. A very serious one occurred as
recently as 1902, which destroyed hundreds of lives and houses, whose
walls may still be seen lying flat in the gardens, but as in other
volcanic places the inhabitants have conveniently short memories, and
the place has been re-built ready for another visitation.

Like most of the other Dutch settlements in the East, Amboina has been
laid out on a rectangular plan, but the uniformity of the arrangement
is saved from being monotonous by the tree-planting habits of the
Dutch. The roads and open spaces are shaded by Kanari trees, which
also produce a most delicious nut, and the gardens are hedged with
flowering Hibiscus and Oleander and gaudy-leafed Crotons. Roses, as
well as many other temperate plants, in addition to “hothouse” plants,
flourish in the gardens, and the verandahs of the houses themselves are
often decorated with orchids from Ceram and the Tenimber Islands. Birds
are not common in the town itself except in captivity, and you see,
especially in the gardens of the natives’ houses, parrots and lories,
and pigeons from the Moluccas and New Guinea, and you may even hear the
call of the Greater bird of paradise. Attracted by the many flowering
plants are swarms of butterflies, some of them of great beauty. One of
the most gorgeous of these is the large blue _Papilio ulysses_, which
floats from flower to flower like a piece of living blue sky.

[Sidenote: THE AMBONESE]

The harbour of Amboina is a wide deep channel, which nearly divides
the island into two, and in it are the wonderful sea-gardens, which
aroused the enthusiasm of Mr. Wallace.[2] They are not perhaps so
wonderful as the sea-gardens at Banda and elsewhere, but to those who
have never seen such things before the many coloured sea-weeds and
corals and shells and shoals of fantastic fishes seen through crystal
water are a source of unfailing interest. The sea is crowded with fish
of every size and form and colour. Nearly eight hundred species have
been described from Ambonese waters, and it is worth while to visit
the market in the early morning, when the night’s haul is brought in,
and before the very evanescent colours of the fish have faded. Nearly
every man in the place is a fisherman during some part of the day or
night, and nobody need starve who has the energy to throw a baited
hook into the sea. Most of the fish are caught either in nets very
similar to our seine-net or in more elaborate traps which are mostly
constructed by Chinamen.

The market is also worth visiting to see the variety of fruit and
spices that grow in the island. Amboina has a peculiar form of banana,
the _Pisang Ambon_, with white flesh, dark green skin, and a very
peculiar flavour. Besides this there are many other kinds of bananas,
mangoes, mangostines, guavas, sour-manilla, soursop, pineapples,
kanari nut, nutmeg, cloves, and a small but very delicious fruit, the

The native inhabitants of Amboina are a curious mixture of the
aboriginal native with Portuguese, Dutch, and Malay blood. There is
a strong predominance of the Portuguese type, which shows itself in
the faces of many of the people, who still use words of Portuguese
origin, and preserve many Portuguese names. A large number of them
are Christians, and they rejoice in such names as Josef, Esau, Jacob,
Petrus and Domingos.

New Year’s Eve was celebrated by a confusion of fireworks and
gun-firing, which lasted from sunset until the small hours of 1910,
and by an afternoon service in the Church attended by many hundreds
of people. The women, who are usually in Amboina dressed entirely
in black, wore for the occasion long white coats, black _sarongs_
and white stockings. The men went more variously clad in straw hats,
dinner jackets, low waistcoats, white or coloured starched shirts,
coloured ties, black trousers, and brown boots. We were interested to
find that the great bulk of the stuff from which clothes are made in
Amboina is imported from England, and we were assured by a merchant who
was interested in the trade that a man can dress himself in so-called
European fashion as cheaply in Amboina as he can in this country.

An agreeable feature of life at Amboina, as at other places in the
Netherlands Indies, is the hospitality of the Dutch people. A stranger
of at all respectable social position is expected to introduce himself
to the club, and the residents in the place feel genuinely hurt if he
fails to do so. The Societat, or “Soce,” as it is everywhere called, is
more of a café than a club according to English ideas, and it exists
for conviviality and gossiping rather than for newspaper reading and
card playing. It is not even a restaurant in the sense that many
English clubs are; the members meet there in the evening but they
invariably dine, as they lunch, at home. On the verandah in front of
the club is a round table, at which sit after dark large men in white
clothes smoking cigars and drinking various drinks. The foreigner
approaches with what courage he may and introduces himself by name
to the party severally. They make a place for him in the circle and
thereafter, with a courtesy which a group of Englishmen would find
difficulty in imitating, they continue the conversation in the language
of the foreigner. An Englishman is at first a little staggered by
the number of _pait_ (_i.e._ bitter, the name for gin and bitters)
and other drinks that his hosts consume, and which he is expected
to consume also, but, as I remember noticing in the case of their
neighbours the Belgians in the Congo, it appears to do them little if
any harm.


In the larger places there is a concert at the club once or twice a
week—at Bandoeng in Java I heard a remarkably good string quartette—and
in almost every place there is a ladies’ night at the club once a week,
when the children come to dance to the music of a piano or gramophone,
as the case may be. It is a pretty sight and one to make one ponder on
the possible harmony of nations—“Harmonie” is commonly a name for the
clubs in the Netherlands Indies—to see small Dutch children dancing
with little half-castes and, as I have more than once seen, with little
Celestials and Japanese.

We left Amboina on New Year’s Day in a deluge of rain, and all that day
we were in sight of the forest-covered heights of Ceram to the North.
On January 2nd we passed Banda at dawn, and at sunset we got a view
of the most South-west point of New Guinea, Cape Van de Bosch. On the
morning of January 3rd we dropped anchor in the harbour of Dobo in the
Aru Islands. For several miles before we arrived there we had noticed a
marked difference in the appearance of the sea. Since we left Batavia
we had been sailing over a deep sea of great oceanic depths, sometimes
of two or three thousand fathoms, which was always clear and blue or
black as deep seas are. Approaching the Aru Islands we came into the
shoal waters of the Arafura Sea, which is yellowish and opaque and
never exceeds one hundred fathoms in depth. We were, in fact, sailing
over that scarcely submerged land, which joins the Aru Islands and New
Guinea with the Continent of Australia.

Dobo has doubtless changed a good deal in appearance since Mr. Wallace
visited it in 1857, the majority of the houses are now built of
corrugated iron in place of the palm leaves of fifty years ago; but
it cannot have increased greatly in size, for it is built on a small
spit of coral sand beyond which are mangrove swamps where building is
impossible. The reason of its existence has also changed since the time
when it was the great market of all the neighbouring islands, for now
it exists solely as the centre of a pearl-fishing industry controlled
by an Australian Company, the Celebes Trading Company. Messrs. Clarke
& Ross Smith, the heads of this business, rendered us assistance in
very many ways, and the sincerest thanks of the expedition are due to
them. The primary object of pearl-fishing is of course the collection
of pearl-shell which is used for knife handles, buttons, and a hundred
other things. Shell of a good quality is worth more than £200 a ton.
The pearls, which are occasionally found, are merely accidentals
and profitable extras of the trade. Some idea of the extent of this
business may be learnt from the fact that more than one hundred boats
employing about five thousand men are occupied in the various fleets.

We left Dobo, the last place of civilisation that many of us were to
see for a year and more, on January 3rd; and here, as we are almost
within sight as it were of our destination, it may be opportune to
state briefly the geographical position of New Guinea, and to give a
short account of its exploration.

[Illustration: DOBO. ARU ISLANDS.]


  _New Guinea—Its Position and Extent—Territorial
  Divisions—Mountain Ranges—Numerous Rivers—The Papuans—The
  Discovery of New Guinea—Early Voyagers—Spanish and
  Dutch—Jan Carstensz—First Discovery of the Snow
  Mountains—William Dampier in the “Roebuck”—Captain Cook
  in the “Endeavour”—Naturalists and later Explorers._

The island of New Guinea or Papua lies to the East of all the great
islands of the Malay Archipelago and forms a barrier between them and
the Pacific Ocean. To the South of it lies the Continent of Australia
separated from it by the Arafura Sea and Torres Strait, which at its
narrowest point is less than a hundred miles wide. To the East is the
great group of the Solomon Islands, while on the North there are no
important masses of land between New Guinea and Japan. The island lies
wholly to the South of the Equator, its most Northern point, the Cape
of Good Hope in the Arfak Peninsula, being 19´ S. latitude.

The extreme length of the island from E. to W. is 1490 miles, and its
greatest breadth from N. to S. is rather more than 400 miles. New
Guinea is the largest of the islands of the globe, having an area of
308,000 square miles (Borneo has about 290,000 square miles), and it is
divided amongst three countries roughly as follows: Holland 150,000,
Great Britain 90,000, and Germany 70,000 square miles. The large
territory of the Dutch was acquired by them with the kingdom of the
Sultan of Ternate, who was accustomed to claim Western New Guinea as a
part of his dominions: it is bounded on the East by the 141st parallel
of East longitude and partly by the Fly River and thus it comprises
nearly a half of the island.

The Eastern half of the island is divided into a Northern, German,
and a Southern, British, part. The German territory is called Kaiser
Wilhelm Land, and the islands adjacent to it, which have received
German substitutes for their old names of New Britain, New Ireland,
etc., are known as the Bismarck Archipelago. British New Guinea, which
is now administered by the Federal Government of Australia, has been
officially renamed the Territory of Papua, and with it are included
the numerous islands at its Eastern extremity, the D’Entrecasteaux and
Louisiade Archipelagoes.

Only in the British territory has a serious attempt been made at
settling and administering the country; the headquarters of the
Government are at Port Moresby, and the country is divided into six
magisterial districts.

The German possessions are governed from Herbertshöhe in Neu Pommern
(New Britain), which is the centre of a small amount of island trade,
but the settlements on the New Guinea mainland are few and far between,
and it cannot be pretended that the country is German except in name.

The Dutch territory has been even less brought under control than the
German. For more than half a century there has been a mission station
at Dorei in the N.W. but until 1899 when the Dutch assumed the direct
control of the country, which was till that time nominally governed by
the Sultan of Tidor (Ternate), there was no sign of Dutch rule in New
Guinea. Now there are Government stations with small bodies of native
soldiers at Manokware, an island in Dorei Bay, and at Fak-fak on the
shore of MacCluer Gulf; more recently a third post has been established
at Merauke on the South coast near the boundary of British New Guinea,
with the object of subjugating the fierce Tugere tribe of that region.


The most important physical feature of New Guinea is the great system
of mountain ranges, which run from West to East and form the back-bone
of the island. The Arfak Peninsula in the N.W. is made entirely by
mountains which reach an altitude of more than 9000 feet. In the great
central mass of the island the mountains begin near the S.W. coast with
the Charles Louis Mountains, which vary in height from 4000 to 9000
feet. Following these to the East they are found to be continuous with
the Snowy Mountains (now called the Nassau Range, the objective of
this expedition) which culminate in the glacier-covered tops of Mount
Idenberg (15,379 feet), and Mount Carstensz (15,964 feet), and to the
East of these is the snow-capped Mount Wilhelmina (15,420 feet), and
Mount Juliana (about 14,764 feet).

Leaving Dutch New Guinea and proceeding further to the East we come to
the Victor Emmanuel and the Sir Arthur Gordon Ranges, which lie near
the boundary of German and British New Guinea. Still further East is
the Bismarck Range, often snow covered, and extending through the long
Eastern prolongation of the island are the great range of the Owen
Stanley Mountains, which reach their highest point in Mount Victoria
(13,150 feet), and the Stirling Range.

As might be expected in so mountainous a country there is a large
number of rivers and some of them are of great size. On the North
coast the Kaiserin Augusta River rises in Dutch territory and takes
an almost Easterly course through German New Guinea to the sea, while
the Amberno (or Mamberamo) rises probably from the slopes of the Snowy
Mountains and flows Northwards to Point d’Urville. On the South coast,
in British New Guinea besides the Purari, Kikor and Turama Rivers, the
most important is the Fly River, which has been explored by boat for a
distance of more than five hundred miles. In Southern Dutch New Guinea
there are almost countless rivers: chief among them are the Digoel,
which has been explored for more than four hundred miles; the Island
River, by which a Dutch expedition has recently reached the central
watershed of New Guinea; the Noord River by which Mr. H. Lorentz
approached Mount Wilhelmina; the Utakwa and the Utanata.


The natives of New Guinea are Papuans and the island is indeed the
centre of that race, which is found more or less mixed with other races
from the island of Flores as far as Fiji. Though the Papuans in New
Guinea itself have been in many places altered by immigrant races,
for instance by Malays in the extreme West, and by Polynesian and
Melanesian influences in the South and East, there yet remain large
regions, particularly in the Western half of the country, including
the district visited by this expedition, where the true Papuan stock
holds its own.

The name Papua, it should be said, comes from the Malay wood _papuwah_,
meaning “woolly” or “fuzzy,” and was first applied to the natives on
account of their mops of hair; later the name was applied to the island

Even among those Papuans who are pure-blooded—in so far as one may
use that expression in describing any human race—there are very
considerable varieties of appearance, but it is still possible to
describe a type to which all of them conform in the more important
particulars. The typical Papuan is rather tall and is usually
well-built. The legs of the low country people are somewhat meagre,
as is usually the case among people who spend much of their time in
canoes, whilst those of the hill tribes are well developed. The hands
and feet are large. The colour of the skin varies from a dark chocolate
colour to a rusty black, but it seems to be never of the shining ebony
blackness of the African negro. The lips are thick but not full, the
teeth are strong but not noticeably good, and the jaws are strong but
they can hardly be called prognathous. The forehead is receding, the
brows are strong and prominent, and the shape of the face is somewhat
oval. The hair is black and “frizzly” rather than “woolly,” it is crisp
and hard to the touch, and in some tribes it is grown to a considerable
length and dressed in a variety of ornamental fashions. Short hard hair
is also found frequently on the chest and on the limbs, but on the
face it is scanty and frequently altogether absent.

The most characteristic feature is the nose, which is long and fleshy
and somewhat “Semitic” in outline, but flattened and depressed at the
tip. But these characteristics of the nose would not alone suffice to
distinguish the Papuans from others were it not for the fact that the
_alae nasi_ are attached at a remarkably high level on the face, and so
an unusually large extent of the _septum_ of the nose is exposed. It is
owing to this curious formation of the nose that the Papuan is enabled
to perform his almost universal practice of piercing the _septum nasi_
and wearing there some ornament of bone or shell.

Apart from physical characteristics many observers have found mental
qualities in which the Papuans differ from, and are superior to,
neighbouring races; but these things are so difficult to define, and
they vary so much according to local circumstances, that it is not wise
to use them as conclusive evidence. It may, however, be said without
fear of contradiction that no person, who has had experience of Malays
and of Papuans, could believe for a moment that they are anything
but two very distinct races of men. The origin of the Papuans is not
definitely known, and the existence in different parts of the island
of small people, who are possibly of Negrito stock, suggests that the
Papuans were not the original inhabitants of New Guinea.


The history of the earliest discovery of New Guinea is not precisely
known, but it is safe to disregard the legends of navigators having
found the island before the Portuguese reached the Moluccas and founded
a trading centre at Ternate in 1512. The earliest authentic record
is of the Portuguese Don Jorge de Meneses, who was driven out of his
way on a voyage from Goa to Ternate in 1526, and took refuge in the
island of Waigiu. Two years later a Spaniard Alvaro de Saavedra taking
spices from the Moluccas to Mexico appears to have reached the Schouten
Islands in Geelvink Bay. From there he sailed North and discovered the
Carolines and the Mariana Islands, but unfavourable winds drove him
back to the Moluccas. In 1529 he set out again, and sailed along a long
expanse of coast, which was doubtless the North coast of New Guinea.

In 1546 Ynigo Ortiz de Retes sailed from Ternate to Mexico in his ship
_San Juan_. He touched at several places on the North coast where he
hoisted the Spanish flag, and called the island Nueva Guinea, because
the natives appeared to him to resemble the negroes of the Guinea coast
of Africa. The name, spelt Nova Guinea, appears printed for the first
time on Mercator’s map of 1569.

The last important Spanish Expedition was that of Luis Vaz de Torres,
who sailed with two ships from Peru, and in 1606 reached the south-east
corner of New Guinea. He sailed along the South coast from one to the
other end of the island, of which he took possession in the name of
the King of Spain. Torres’ voyage through the strait which now bears
his name was the first to show that New Guinea was an island, but the
account of the voyage was not published and the fact of his discovery
remained unknown until after 1800.

The seventeenth century was chiefly notable for the explorations of the
Dutch, whose East India Company proclaimed a monopoly of trade in the
Spice Islands to the exclusion of people of other nationalities. In
1605, Willem Jansz sailed from Banda to New Guinea in the _Duyfken_.
The Ké and Aru Islands were visited and the Cape York Peninsula of
Australia was reached, but the importance of that discovery was not
realised. On the mainland of New Guinea nine men of the ship’s company
were killed and eaten, and the expedition returned to Banda.

Jacques Le Maire and Willem Schouten made an important voyage in 1616
in the _Eendracht_. Sailing from Europe by way of Cape Horn they
crossed the Pacific and discovered New Ireland, where they had trouble
with the natives, who (it is interesting to note) gave them pigs in
exchange for glass beads. The Admiralty and Vulcan Islands were seen
and then, after reaching the coast of New Guinea, they discovered the
mouth of the Kaiserin Augusta River and the Schouten Islands.


The next important voyage, and in this chronicle the most important
of all, was that of Jan Carstensz (or Carstenszoon) who sailed from
Amboina in 1623 with the ships _Pera_ and _Arnhem_. After visiting
Ké and Aru they reached the S.W. coast of New Guinea, where they
met with trouble. “This same day (February 11) the skipper of the
yacht _Arnhem_, Dirck Meliszoon, without knowledge of myself or the
sub-cargo or steersman of the said yacht, unadvisedly went ashore
to the open beach in the pinnace, taking with him fifteen persons,
both officers and common sailors, and no more than four muskets, for
the purpose of fishing with a seine-net. There was great disorder in
landing, the men running off in different directions, until at last a
number of black savages came running forth from the wood, who first
seized and tore to pieces an assistant named Jan Willemsz Van den
Briel who happened to be unarmed, after which they slew with arrows,
callaways, and with the oars which they had snatched from the pinnace,
no less than nine of our men, who were unable to defend themselves, at
the same time wounding the remaining seven (among them the skipper,
who was the first to take to his heels); these last seven men at last
returned on board in very sorry plight with the pinnace and one oar,
the skipper loudly lamenting his great want of prudence, and entreating
pardon for the fault he had committed.”

The incautious skipper died of his wounds on the following day and so
he did not take a part in the most momentous discovery of the voyage.
“In the morning of the 16th (February) we took the sun’s altitude at
sunrise, which we found to be 5° 6´; the preceding evening ditto 20°
30´; the difference being divided by two comes to 7° 42´; increasing
North-easterly variation; the wind N. by E.; we were at about one
and a half mile’s distance from the low-lying land in 5 or 6 fathom,
clayey bottom; at a distance of about 10 miles by estimation into the
interior we saw a very high mountain range in many places white with
snow, which we thought a very singular sight, being so near the line
equinoctial. Towards the evening we held our course E. by S., along
half-submerged land in 5, 4, 3, and 2 fathom, at which last point we
dropped anchor; we lay there for about five hours, during which time we
found the water to have risen 4 or 5 feet; in the first watch, the wind
being N.E., we ran into deeper water and came to anchor in 10 fathom,
where we remained for the night.”

That is the brief account of the first discovery of the Snow Mountains
of New Guinea by Jan Carstensz, whose name is now perpetuated in the
highest summit of the range. Very few ships have sailed along that
coast in three hundred years, and there are very many days in the year
when not a sign of the mountains can be seen from the shore, so it is
not very astonishing to find ships’ captains sailing on those seas who
still disbelieve the story of the snow. On the same voyage Carstensz
crossed the straits and sailed a considerable way down the Cape York
Peninsula believing that the land was still New Guinea.

In 1636 Thomas Pool explored a large tract of the S.W. coast; Pool
himself was killed by natives, but the expedition discovered three
large rivers, the Kupera Pukwa, Inabuka (? Neweripa), and the Utakwa.
Tasman sailed along the North coast of New Guinea in 1642 after his
discovery of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania); and in 1644 he was sent to
find out whether there was a passage between New Guinea and the large
“South Land” (Australia). Apparently he cruised along the coast about
as far as Merauke, and also touched Australia, but the strait was not

Throughout the seventeenth century the Dutch East India Company
maintained their monopoly of the cloves and nutmegs of the Moluccas,
and great consternation was caused when the English tried to obtain
these spices direct by sending ships to the Papuan islands. The
Moluccas were protected by forts and their harbours safe, therefore
in order to prevent the English from obtaining the spices outside the
sphere of direct Dutch influence, all trees producing spices were


The most important of the English voyages was that of Capt. William
Dampier in the _Roebuck_. He sailed by Brazil and the Cape of Good
Hope to Western Australia and thence to Timor. On January 1, 1700, he
sighted the mountains of New Guinea; he landed on several islands near
the coast, captured Crowned pigeons and many kinds of fishes, which he
described in his book. Rounding the N.W. corner of the island he sailed
along the North coast and discovered that New Britain was separated
from New Guinea by a strait to which he gave his own name.

After the voyages of Philip Carteret, who proved that New Ireland is
an island, and of de Bougainville in 1766 the most important is that
of Captain James Cook in the _Endeavour_. He sailed from Plymouth
in August 1768, rounded Cape Horn, reached and charted New Zealand,
reached the East coast of New Holland (Australia) in April 1770, and
sailed along the coast to Cape York, which he named. Looking Westward
he decided that there was a channel leading from the Pacific to the
Indian Ocean, and after sailing through it he came to the coast of
New Guinea to the N.W. of Prince Frederick Henry Island, where he was
attacked by natives and thence he sailed to Batavia. Thus Captain Cook
by sailing through his Endeavour Strait, now called Torres Strait after
the original navigator, repeated the discovery of Torres after an
interval of more than a century and a half, and the general position
and outline of New Guinea became known to the world.

After the voyage of Cook many important additions were made to
the charts of New Guinea and its neighbouring islands, notably
by the voyages of La Perouse (1788), John MacCluer (1790-1793),
D’Entrecasteaux (1792-1793), Duperrey (1823-1824), D. H. Kolff (1826),
and Dumont d’Urville (1827-1828).

But during all this time New Guinea was practically no man’s land, and
except at Dorei and about the MacCluer Gulf explorations were limited
to views from the deck of a ship. Flags were hoisted now and then and
the land taken possession of in the name of various sovereigns and
companies, amongst others by the East India Company in 1793, but no
effective occupation was ever made. The Dutch regained their title
to the Western half of the island, but it was not until 1884 that
a British Protectorate was proclaimed over the S.E. portion of the
island, and over the remainder by Germany in the same year.


Although numerous naturalists, notably Dr. A. R. Wallace, Von
Rosenberg, and Bernstein, and missionaries had spent considerable
periods of time in the country, no very serious attempt was made to
penetrate into the interior until 1876, when the Italian naturalist,
d’Albertis, explored the Fly River for more than five hundred miles.
Since that time a very large number of expeditions have been undertaken
to various parts of the island, and it will only be possible to mention
a few of them here. In 1885 Captain Everill ascended the Strickland
tributary of the Fly River. In the same year Dr. H. O. Forbes explored
the Owen Stanley range, and in 1889 Sir William Macgregor reached the
highest point of that range.

In Dutch New Guinea very little exploration was done until the
beginning of the present century. Professor Wichmann made scientific
investigations in the neighbourhood of Humboldt Bay in 1903. Captains
Posthumus Meyes and De Rochemont in 1904 discovered East Bay and the
Noord River, which was explored by Mr. H. A. Lorentz in 1907.

During the period from 1909 to 1911, whilst our party was in New
Guinea, there were six other expeditions in different parts of the
Dutch territory. On the N. coast a Dutch-German boundary commission was
penetrating inland from Humboldt Bay, and a large party under Capt.
Fransse Herderschee was exploring the Amberno River. On the West and
South coasts an expedition was exploring inland from Fak-fak, another
was surveying the Digoel and Island rivers, and a third made an attempt
to reach the Snow Mountains by way of the Utakwa River. But the most
successful of all the expeditions was that of Mr. Lorentz, who sailed
up the Noord River and in November 1909 reached the snow on Mount
Wilhelmina, two hundred and eighty-six years after the mountains were
first seen by Jan Carstensz.


  _Sail from the Aru Islands—Sight New Guinea—Distant
  Mountains—Signal Fires—Natives in Canoes—A British
  Flag—Natives on Board—Their Behaviour—Arrival at
  Mimika River—Reception at Wakatimi—Dancing and
  Weeping—Landing Stores—View of the Country—Snow
  Mountains—Shark-Fishing—Making the Camp—Death of W.


When we left the northernmost end of the Aru Islands behind us the
wind rose and torrents of rain descended, and the Arafura Sea, which
is almost everywhere more or less shoal water, treated us to the first
foul weather we had experienced since leaving England. At dawn on the
4th January we found ourselves in sight of land, and about five miles
south of the New Guinea coast. A big bluff mountain (Mount Lakahia)
a southern spur of the Charles Louis range determined our position,
and the head of the _Nias_ was immediately turned to the East. As we
steamed along the coast the light grew stronger, and we saw in the
far North-east pale clouds, which presently resolved themselves into
ghostly-looking mountains one hundred miles away. Soon the rising
sunlight touched them and we could clearly see white patches above
the darker masses of rock and then we knew that these were the Snow
Mountains of New Guinea, which we had come so far to see. Beyond an
impression of their remoteness and their extraordinary steepness we
did not learn much of the formation of the mountains from that great
distance and they were quickly hidden from our view, as we afterwards
found happened daily, by the dense white mists that rose from the
intervening land.

Following the coast rather more closely we soon found that our approach
was causing some excitement on shore. White columns of the smoke of
signal fires curled up from the low points of the land and canoes
manned by black figures paddled furiously in our wake, while others,
warned doubtless by the signals, put off from the land ahead of us and
endeavoured to intercept us in our course.

In some of the larger canoes there were as many as twenty men, and very
fine indeed they looked standing up in the long narrow craft which
they urged swiftly forward with powerful rhythmic strokes of their
long-shafted paddles. At the beginning of each stroke the blade of the
paddle is at right angles to the boat. As it is pulled backward the
propelling surface of the paddle is a little rotated outward, a useful
precaution, for the stroke ends with a sudden jerk as the paddle is
lifted from the water and the consequent shower of spray is directed
away from the canoe.

[Illustration: 1. 2. 3. CARVED WOODEN CLUBS. 4-10. STONE CLUBS.]

The shore was low and featureless, and it was impossible to identify
the mouths of the rivers from the very inaccurate chart. It was not
safe for the _Nias_ to approach the land closely on account of the
shoal water, so Capt. Van Herwerden dropped anchor when he had been
steaming Eastwards for about eight hours, and sent the steam launch
towards an inlet, where we could see huts, to gather information. A bar
of sand prevented the launch from entering the inlet, so they hailed
a canoe which ventured within speaking distance, and by repeating
several times “Mimika,” the only word of their language that we knew at
that time, learnt that we had overshot our destination by a few miles.
That canoe, it should be noted, was remarkable on account of two of
its crew. One of them held aloft an ancient Union Jack; the other was
conspicuously different from the scores of men in the canoes about us,
who were all frankly in a bare undress, by wearing an old white cotton
jacket fastened by a brass button which was ornamented with the head
of Queen Victoria. How the flag and the coat and the button came to
that outlandish place will never be known, but it is certain that they
must have passed through very many hands before they came there, for
certainly no Englishman had ever been there before.

When the launch returned to the ship a crowd of natives, fifty or sixty
at the least, came clambering on board leaving only one or two men in
each canoe to paddle after the steamer as we slowly returned towards
the Mimika. Two men were recognised by Capt. Van Herwerden as having
belonged to a party of natives from this coast, who had been taken some
years earlier to Merauke, the Dutch settlement near the southernmost
point of New Guinea. At Merauke they had got into mischief and had
been put in prison from which nine of them escaped, and these two men,
probably the only survivors of the party, had contrived to find their
way along four hundred miles of coast, peopled by hostile tribes, back
to their own country.

The behaviour of our new fellow passengers was very remarkable and
different from what one expected, though it was obvious enough at the
first glance that these were people totally different from the Malayan
races both in appearance and demeanour; yet there was none of that
exuberance of spirits, child-like curiosity and exhibition of merriment
and delight in their novel surroundings described by Wallace[3] and
Guillemard[4] and which I had myself seen on the coast of German New
Guinea. A few of them shook hands, or rather held hands, with us and
talked loudly and volubly, while the rest stared dumbly at us and
then wandered aimlessly about the ship seeking a chance to steal any
loose piece of metal. They showed no fear nor did they betray any
excitement nor any very keen curiosity about the marvellous things that
they were seeing for the first time. They were quite unmoved by the
spectacle of the windlass lifting up the anchor, and a casual glance
down the skylight of the engine room was enough for most of them. They
appeared to take everything for granted without question, and a stolid
stare was their only recognition of the wonderful works of the white
man’s civilisation. In one respect it is true they were not quite so
apathetic and that was in their appetite for tobacco, which they begged
from everyone on board, brown and white alike. When they had obtained a
supply, they sat in groups about the deck and smoked as unconcernedly
as though a passage in a steamship were an affair of every-day
occurrence in their lives.


By the time that we eventually anchored off the mouth of the Mimika
River it was beginning to grow dark, and Capt. Van Herwerden ordered
the natives on board to leave the ship, not having noticed that the
canoes had already departed towards the shore. No doubt this was a
preconcerted scheme of the natives who wanted to stay on board, but by
dint of much shouting two canoes were persuaded to return and take away
some of our passengers. It was then quite dark and there was a white
mist over the sea, and the spectacle of the procession of black figures
passing down the gangway into an apparent abyss, for the canoes were
invisible in the gloom, was singularly weird. There was not room for
all in the canoes, so about a score of fortunate ones had to stop on
board, where they slept in picturesque attitudes about the deck. Five
young men chose a place where the iron cover of the steering chain made
a pillow a few inches high; they lay on their sides all facing the same
way, their arms folded across their chests and their bent knees fitting
into the bend of the knees of the man in front, and so close together
that the five of them occupied a space hardly more than five feet

Soon after daylight on the following day the steam launch left the
ship with a party to proceed up the Mimika and find a suitable place
for a base-camp. The river has a fine wide mouth about a mile across
guarded by a sand bar, through which runs a narrow channel navigable at
all stages of the tide except during rough weather. For some distance
the river is a noble stream two or three hundred yards wide winding
in fine sweeps between low mangrove-covered banks. About three miles
from the sea the river divides into an East and West branch. The East
branch, the Mimika proper, brings down not more than one-quarter of
the volume of water of the West branch, of which it may be said to be
a tributary. It is remarkable that the party who visited the Mimika in
1902 apparently overlooked the fact that the West branch is actually
the main river. Above the junction of the two branches the water of
the Mimika is of a brown chocolate colour which proclaims it, though
we did not know it at the time, to be a mere jungle stream rising from
comparatively low ground. The water of the West branch on the contrary
is pale in colour and at times of flood almost milky-white, being
charged with lime-stone from the high mountains where it rises.


Proceeding for two or three miles up the Mimika, which had become above
the junction a comparatively insignificant stream forty or fifty yards
across and very tortuous, the exploring party in the steam launch
arrived at the village of Wakatimi situated on the right bank of the
river. The village was crowded with natives, numbering perhaps one
thousand people, who gave the visitors a most remarkable reception. As
soon as the boat appeared in sight the natives crowded down to the bank
and shouted shrilly, men, women and children. When they came nearer
the people threw themselves into the shallow water and many of them
plastered themselves with mud, while the women performed their curious
dance, if dance it can be called. It is not a concerted performance,
but rather a _pas seul_ executed by each woman independently of the
others, and it is a peculiarly ungraceful exhibition. The body is bent
forward from the hips, the hands rest on the knees or on the hips, and
then with a shuffling movement of the feet the woman swings herself
from side to side or up and down, always presenting her back and the
narrow strip of barkcloth, which usually hangs down like a tail behind,
to the astonished gaze of the spectator. She sings all the while a
monotonous whining chant and occasionally looks back over her shoulder,
as if to see that the onlooker is properly appreciative of her charms.
Many of the people both men and women on this and other occasions of
great excitement were so overcome with emotion that they actually shed
tears of rapture.[5] For many days after this boats were constantly
coming up the river from the ship, and they were always welcomed in a
similar manner by the natives.

The river was explored for a few miles further up, but the only
suitable place for a camp was found to be on the left bank of the river
immediately opposite to Wakatimi. Lieut. Cramer and a party of his
soldiers established themselves there the same afternoon and the work
of clearing the ground and landing the stores was immediately begun.
The _Nias_ was anchored about two miles outside the river and the
launch went very slowly when it had two or three heavily laden boats
to tow against the strong current of the river, so the business of
landing the expedition was a very slow one, and as there was at first
but very little space for pitching tents on the camping ground some
of us remained for a few days on board. During those days that were
spent on the ship outside the Mimika we had opportunities in the early
morning of getting a general idea of the broad features of the country.

At the top of the white sandy beach was in most places a narrow belt of
_Casuarina_ trees, which are accustomed to grow on sandy or stony soil.
They resemble pines and their pale stems have a fresh green foliage,
which is a pleasing contrast to the dense monotonous green of the
majority of the trees in the country. Behind the _Casuarina_ belt dense
jungle, for the first few miles consisting entirely of Mangroves and
beyond that of various trees, extends with hardly any rise of altitude
to the foot of the mountains thirty miles away. This last observation
was one of supreme importance and it affected the whole prospect and
conduct of the expedition. Those of us who had been to New Guinea
before had been accustomed to seeing a steep shore rising very quickly
to the hills. This is the usual formation along practically the whole
of the North coast of the island, also along a considerable extent of
the South-east coast and again on the West coast in the neighbourhood
of MacCluer Gulf. It was known of course that the South coast on both
sides of the mouth of the Fly River and about Prince Frederick Henry
Island was low swampy country, but it was assumed that, considering the
fact that the highest peaks of the Snow Mountains were known to be not
more than seventy miles from the sea, the foothills would certainly
extend to within a short distance of the coast.


Before we had reached the country we had had the idea that in a few
days’ march we should find ourselves in the hills at perhaps three or
four thousand feet above the sea, but the view of the country which we
saw from the _Nias_ effectually put an end to any hopes of that kind.
It is probable that more searching enquiries made at Batavia would have
revealed the existence of this wide belt of low land, but it seldom
occurs to you to question the truth of such an assumption. However that
may be, a serious mistake was made and we paid for it dearly enough.
The mountains appeared to rise very steeply from the low ground, and
seen from a distance they appeared to be composed of parallel ridges
lying one behind the other, each one successively higher than the one
in front of it. It was only in certain lights, and more particularly
when the clouds began to form on them, that you could distinguish deep
and narrow valleys running into the mountains. The nearer ranges rose
steeply enough, but were not too steep to be covered with dense forest
easily discernible from a distance. The furthermost ridge on the other
hand rose in huge precipices of bare rock, which showed reddish yellow
in the morning sunlight with here and there downward stripes of black
colour, presumably water, and in other places streaks of pure white
rock. This precipice, of which more will be said later, grew smaller
towards the West until it ended at the deep valley, which divides the
Snow Mountains from the range of the Charles Louis Mountains.

In the opposite direction towards the East the range rises gradually,
until at a point about North-east from the Mimika three snow-capped
tops are seen. I use the word “top” advisedly, for these three points
are not peaks but are elevations on an otherwise fairly even mountain
outline. The vertical extent of the snow is not very great, a few
hundred feet at the most, the South face of the mountain being so steep
that snow cannot lie on it save on the horizontal terraces of the
strata, which could plainly be distinguished. Continuing the ridge East
from the three snow tops (Mount Idenburg) is a long plain of almost
level snow about three miles long. From the East end of the snow plain
a ridge of shattered rock, looking like Dolomite towers from that great
distance, forms a connection with Mount Carstensz, the highest point of
the range.

Seen from afar, Mount Carstensz appears to be of a different formation
from the rest of the range. Mr. Dumas of the Dutch Expedition to the
Utakwa River clearly identified masses of slate on the Southern face
from a distance of twenty miles, and this would quite account for its
different appearance. There are two principal tops, a Western black and
irregular rock with scattered patches of snow, and an Eastern top more
even in its outline and entirely covered with snow. Between the two a
glacier of moderate size flows down the South face of the mountain.
Still further East from Mount Carstensz could be seen yet other ridges,
apparently a continuation of the Carstensz ridge. Occasionally these
were covered with snow in the early morning, but no other points of
permanent snow could be seen from the Mimika, and indeed there is no
other until Mount Wilhelmina is reached more than one hundred miles
to the East. But studying the mountains with field glasses was an
occupation which could only be pursued for a short time, for the clouds
formed early on the ridges and by nine o’clock at the latest all the
higher mountains were hidden from view.

During the first two days that we lay off the Mimika we were visited by
numbers of natives in canoes, who came some to trade and some merely
to stare at the ship and the people on board. The articles that they
brought for sale consisted chiefly of fish, coconuts and bananas of
a very poor kind, though we afterwards came to regard these latter
as a delicious luxury. They also brought a few young pigs, young
cassowaries, and other birds and they received payment in beads, scraps
of cloth, empty bottles and tins and pieces of metal. It is worth while
to record, as showing the indolence of these people, that on the third
day no natives came to visit us. Those who had before come to look at
us had presumably satisfied their curiosity, while the others who had
come to barter were content with the treasures they had won, although
they might have added greatly to their wealth if they had had the
energy to catch a few fish or pick a few more coconuts.


Another occupation, which served to pass the time, was fishing for
the sharks with which that shallow sea abounds. They are blunt-nosed
animals with large dusky patches on the skin. It is very seldom that
you see them at the surface of the water, and they appear to feed
always at the bottom. The first that was caught was found to be full of
fragments of large crabs. Nobody on board was found willing to eat the
flesh, though it is probable that a few months afterwards they would
have been less fastidious, so the fish was thrown overboard, and an
hour or two later a second shark, a monster about twelve feet long, was
hauled, on board, and on being opened it was found to be full of large
undigested lumps of (presumably) the first.

On January 8th those of us who had remained on the _Nias_ left the ship
and proceeded to Wakatimi, where we found that Lieut. Cramer and his
men had already done an immense amount of work in clearing the ground
for the camp. It appeared that the place chosen had been cleared of
forest at some time, for there were no large trees growing on it, but
it was covered with a dense jungle of shrubs and small trees, a foot or
so in thickness and a tangle of creepers. Already in four days a strip
along the river bank about eighty yards long and thirty yards wide had
been cleared of bush, and as time went on the clearing was gradually
extended until there were twenty acres or more of open ground about the

During the first two or three days the natives, who had assembled
in large numbers at the village of Wakatimi, helped a good deal in
clearing the ground and landing the stores. When the steam launch
towing the laden boats arrived at the camp they fell upon the boats
in hordes and quickly carried everything up the steep mud bank, but
this amusement palled upon them very soon, and they stood about doing
nothing and hampered the men at their work of unpacking. Accordingly a
stout wooden fence was built about the landward side of the camp and
over this they were content to gaze from morning till night. They stood
packed together five or six deep, and the press of those at the back
trying to catch a glimpse of what was going on was so great that two
or three times the fence fell bodily inwards, and with it a struggling
mass of black humanity; but it was not many days before their curiosity
was satisfied, and though they did not afford us very much assistance
it was fortunate that they were not inclined to molest or interfere
with us in any way.

[Sidenote: OUR FIRST LOSS]

We had only been in our camp at Wakatimi for one day and it already
seemed as if the place was beginning to show some sign of order, when
a melancholy tragedy threw a gloom over the spirits of the whole
expedition. On the afternoon of January 9th Mr. Wilfred Stalker, who
had had plenty of experience of tropical and Australian jungles, went
out from the camp taking his collecting gun to shoot some birds. The
usual daily rain began at about four o’clock, but as we were all busy
with various occupations in our tents his absence was not noticed until
after six o’clock, when it was already pitch dark and the rain was
falling in torrents. Beyond the camp was dense jungle intersected by
creeks and pools of water, difficult enough to traverse by day but
absolutely impassable in darkness, so there was nothing to be done that
night but to hope anxiously that Stalker’s bushcraft had prompted him
to make a shelter of some kind, if disaster had not already overtaken
him. At dawn Lieut. Cramer sent out parties of soldiers in all
directions, and soon all of us, Europeans, Gurkhas, and native soldiers
were out searching and shouting and firing shots. With some difficulty
we explained to the natives what had happened, and we offered them
large rewards if they were successful in finding him, and many of them
joined with us; but though the ground was carefully quartered and the
search was continued all that day and a part of the next not a trace
of him was found anywhere, and it was evidently hopeless that he could
ever be found alive. On the second day, when the search had been
abandoned, the natives were convinced of his fate, and two of the more
important people came over from the village and wailed loudly outside
his empty tent.

On January 12th all doubts as to his end were set at rest when a canoe
manned by four Papuans, smeared with mud as their custom is in such
circumstances, brought back his body from a creek about half a mile
from the camp, where it had been found. Up to that moment there had
been present in our minds the horrid suspicion that he might perhaps
have fallen the victim to foul play. We thought that natives finding
him wandering alone might have been tempted by his possessions and have
murdered him, but it was evidently not so and we could only hope that
by drowning death had come swiftly to him.




We buried him under a tree about one hundred yards behind the camp, and
in the absence of the leader of the expedition, who had gone away with
Rawling and Cramer to reconnoitre the river above Wakatimi, I read the
short burial service. Besides Marshall and Shortridge and myself there
were a Dutch soldier, two convicts and about fifty Papuans, who stood
quietly in a wide circle about the grave. I think the ninetieth psalm
was never read to a more remarkable congregation. The grave was the
first of the graves of many who left their bones in New Guinea.

Wilfred Stalker was in his thirty-first year when he died. Previously
he had spent many years as a naturalist in Australia and several months
in New Guinea. Early in 1909 he returned to the East where he spent a
part of his time in engaging coolies for the New Guinea Expedition,
and he had time to make an interesting journey in the Island of Ceram,
where he made a remarkable zoological collection. He joined us at
Amboina on January 1st so that we had not time to know him well, but
his unflagging energy in the preparations at the base-camp, where
he landed with the first party, showed that he was a man whom the
expedition could ill afford to lose.


  _Arrival of our Ambonese—Coolie Considerations—Canoes
  of the Natives—Making Canoes—Preliminary Exploration of
  the Mimika—Variable Tides—Completing the Camp—A Plague
  of Flies—Also of Crickets—Making “Atap”—Trading with the
  Natives—Trade Goods._

After all the stores and equipment of the expedition had been landed
at Wakatimi, an operation which took six days and some ten or more
journeys of the steam launch towing many boats to accomplish, the
_Nias_ returned to Dobo, and brought back from there on the 14th
January our Ambonese coolies, who had arrived there by mail steamer
from Amboina. To those of us who had had experience of native carriers
in other countries, the appearance of the ninety-six Ambonese came as
something of a shock. When the boats crowded with them came within
sight of the camp the natives cried out that our women were coming, and
they might well be excused for their mistake. With their wide straw
hats and coloured coats and shirts and gay _sarongs_ they had not much
the appearance of men, and we wondered what sort of people they would
be to force a way through the trackless country. When they landed, our
first impression of their unsuitableness was rather strengthened than
otherwise. Every man (to give them a dignity which very few of them
deserved) had a large wooden or tin box as well as a huge bundle of
bedding and mats. Their average age appeared to be about sixteen years,
and though they were said to be the best men obtainable in Amboina, the
physique of most of them was wretched. It was evidently useless to keep
so many feeble creatures, so it was decided to keep fifty of the more
promising and send the rest back to Amboina by the _Nias_, which was
waiting at the mouth of the Mimika until the following day. The whole
gang was paraded and a more hopeless looking lot it would be hard to
imagine. With great difficulty we picked out fifty who, though they had
little appearance of strength, were not obviously crippled by disease,
and the forty-six others were sent away without having done a single
day’s work.



The question of coolies, as we were to find by bitter experience during
the ensuing months, is the point that determines the success or failure
of an expedition. Mr. Stalker had left England charged with the duty
of engaging coolies for this expedition. It was hoped that he would be
able to get a number of men in the Ké Islands, but failing to engage
them there he had seen in Amboina his only chance of recruiting a
sufficient number of men. No blame can be attached to him, for he had
had no experience of the kind before and his instructions were not very
detailed, but it was a mistake which seriously delayed the progress of
the expedition.

As well as the trouble involved in trying to make a silk purse of
efficient coolies out of the sow’s ear of the Amboina rabble we were
confronted by another difficulty of transport. It has been mentioned
above (page 43) that before we arrived in the country it was expected
that we should find rising ground close to the sea, and that in a few
days’ journey at the most we should reach an altitude of three thousand
feet or upwards, but the discovery that there was a tract of level
country hardly above sea level extending from the coast to the foot of
the mountains thirty miles inland entirely upset our calculations. Had
we known this before we should necessarily have brought a launch and
boats to tow our stores up the many miles of navigable river, and by so
doing we should have saved ourselves many weeks of valuable time and
an infinity of labour. It is worth while to record this fact, not for
the object of drawing attention to any deficiencies in the organisation
of the expedition, but to demonstrate the uselessness of entering an
unknown country without having made a preliminary reconnaissance.

An urgent message was despatched to the Navy Department in Java begging
them to supply us with a steam launch at the earliest opportunity, but
communications are slow in that part of the world, and it was not until
ten weeks afterwards that the launch arrived at the Mimika. Its career
was brief and inglorious. It made two or three journeys at snail’s pace
up the river before it finally broke down altogether and was sent back
to Java.

In June we purchased from the pearlfishers at Dobo a petrol
motor-boat, which made several successful trips up the river towing
large quantities of stores, and then it was badly damaged by coming
into violent contact with a sunken tree, and it was several months
before it could be repaired sufficiently to float. Thus it happened
that nearly all the river transport of the expedition was laboriously
carried out in canoes.


The canoes used by the natives on the Mimika and neighbouring rivers
are simple “dug-outs,” that is they are made from one tree trunk
without any joinery at all. They vary considerably in size but the
length of an average canoe is about thirty-five feet. The sides curve
inward towards the gunwale so that in section the canoe forms a large
segment of a circle. The breadth at the gunwale is about eighteen
inches and the breadth at the widest part from eighteen to twenty-four
inches. The gunwales are almost horizontal, though in some boats there
is a considerable “sheer” towards the end of the canoe. They end in a
square bow and at the stern they come together to a fine point. The
bottom of a canoe—there is no keel—slopes finely up from the middle
towards the ends so that when the canoe is afloat several feet of its
length at bow and stern are out of water.

The square bow of the canoe is carved in a more or less symmetrical
fashion and there is usually a narrow margin of ornamental carving at
intervals along the sides. A common feature of this carving, as also of
the other native ornaments, is an object which is intended to represent
the human eye. Occasionally they attach to the bow of the canoe, one
on either side and one in the middle, three long boards carved in a
sort of fretwork manner and painted red and white. These project about
four feet in front of the bow and give it somewhat the appearance of a
bird’s beak. The inside of the canoe is sometimes whitened with lime
or sago powder but is otherwise not ornamented. A few feet from the
stern, where the bottom begins to slope upwards, a low partition of
wood is left forming as it were a sort of bulkhead; the space behind
this is filled with sand on which a fire is kept burning.

Before we came to the country the whole business of canoe-making
from the first felling of the tree to the final hollowing out of
the inside was done with stone axes and the carving was done with
sharpened shells, a labour which it is difficult to realise, so it is
not surprising that the natives take very great care of their boats.
They never allow water to stand in them for long, and at the end of
a storm of rain the first thing they do is to go to the river and
bail the water out of their canoes, which they do by scooping it out
with the blade of a paddle. They also take good care of the outside
and frequently char them with fire to kill the worms, which otherwise
quickly destroy wood in brackish water.

The tree most commonly used for making canoes is _Octomeles moluccana_,
which has a smooth pale trunk devoid of branches for a long way above
the ground. When they can do so they choose a tree growing close to the
river bank, but this is not always possible and we found a place where
a tree for a canoe had been felled fully three hundred yards from the
water. The trunk is roughly shaped where it lies and is then hauled
with immense toil over logs laid on a rough track to the river; thence
it is towed to the village where the hollowing and shaping is done at
leisure. We saw a large number of canoes made at Parimau, and in
nearly every case the balance was perfect when they were first put into
the water.


The canoes are usually propelled by paddles with long thin shafts and
wide blades which are often beautifully carved, but in shallow places
or rapid water the natives generally employ a long pole in the use of
which they are very expert. It is easy enough to stand up and paddle or
pole in large canoes, but the smaller craft are very top-heavy, and the
natives perform wonderful feats of balancing in navigating them. Their
education begins early for we saw in one of the villages small canoes
three or four feet long, in which the children begin to learn the craft
of the waterman almost before they have learned to walk.


Though the people value their canoes very highly they were anxious
enough to part with them in exchange for our knives and pieces of
metal, of which they had none at all, and we very soon had a small
fleet of canoes. The first two were bought for a knife apiece, but the
price soon rose to an axe for a canoe, and in the course of several
months it had still further risen to two axes or even two axes and a

Within a few days of the arrival of our coolies we had purchased half
a dozen canoes and preparations were made to send an exploring party
up the river. At that time we were none of us skilful canoe-men and it
was considered safer to use the canoes as rafts by lashing two side by
side and securing a platform of bamboos across the top. This was a most
cumbrous arrangement which added enormously to the labour of paddling,
and after the first journey it was never repeated.

On the 18th January, Goodfellow, Rawling, and Shortridge with
twenty-four coolies, six Gurkhas, and a small party of Javanese
soldiers in the charge of a Dutch sergeant started up the river. They
took with them about a dozen natives, hoping that they would work
hard at paddling and would be useful in other ways, but they were a
perpetual nuisance calling out for their wives and wanting to stop to
eat or sleep; they finished by stealing one of the canoes and deserting
the night before they would have been sent back to their homes. With
them went another of our cherished illusions that we should be able to
get a great deal of assistance from the natives of the country. The
party proceeded up the river at an incredibly slow rate on account of
the clumsy rafts, and for four days saw no signs of inhabitants. On the
fifth day they found one isolated hut, and two days later after passing
a few scattered huts they arrived at the village of Parimau, above
which place the river appeared to be hardly navigable.

The welcome accorded to the party by the natives of Parimau was as
enthusiastic as that at Wakatimi described above, the people showing
their delight by smearing themselves with mud and shedding copious
tears. During the following days, when a camp was being made, hundreds
of natives flocked into the place to see the strange white men, who
were exhibited to the new-comers with a sort of proprietary air by the
natives of Parimau.


In the meantime a great deal of work was necessary to put in order
the base-camp at Wakatimi, and to render it secure against an attack,
should the natives ever alter their friendly attitude towards us. The
bush was completely cleared for some distance and a stout fence built
about the camp. Then it was found that at high tide, and especially at
spring tide, a large part of the camp was flooded and this necessitated
a great amount of levelling and trenching and banking, a task which
appealed to the fenland instinct of Cramer. The tide made itself felt
in the river for several miles above Wakatimi, where there was a rise
and fall of about ten feet, but the exact tidal movements were very
difficult to recognise. On some days two tides were distinctly seen,
while on many others there appeared to be only one. Their movements
were further complicated by the very variable amount of water brought
down by the river. Sometimes the river was almost stagnant, but at
other times it swept down bank-high with a strong current for days at a
time, and no flow of the tide could be noticed. The river Watuka, which
joins the Mimika a few miles below Wakatimi, had a much greater volume
of water than the latter river, and often when the tide was rising its
waters were easily recognisable by their white colour floating up past
the camp and holding back the waters of the Mimika in the same way that
the Blue Nile, when it is in flood, forms a pond of the White Nile.

It was unfortunate that no suitable place for the base-camp could be
found above the tidal water, because it increased the difficulty of
supplying the camp with drinking water, and at times when there was
not much fresh water coming down the river the ebb and flow of the tide
washed the refuse backwards and forwards in front of the camp. Water
was boiled and filtered every day in quantities large enough for every
man in the camp to have as much as he wished, but the value of this
precaution was to a large extent neutralised by the Malay habit of
washing out the mouth with the water in which the man bathes.

A wooden landing stage for canoes was built out over the muddy bank,
and a bathing place was cut off from the river by a wooden fence
to protect bathers from crocodiles and sharks, both of which were
occasionally seen, but as the natives bathed constantly without showing
any fear of either animal the precaution was perhaps needless.


At that time when the ground was being cleared we began to be plagued
by large blue-bottle flies, which swarmed about the camp and laid their
eggs everywhere. One of their favourite laying grounds was in our
bedding, which in a hot damp climate must always be hung out to air
when the sun shines. You would find two folds of your blanket stuck
together with horrible masses of eggs and if, as sometimes happened,
you did not scrape them all away you would wake up at night and find
yourself crawling with maggots. There are some people who are afraid of
spiders, but the most timorous of mortals must find the homely spider
preferable to the loathsome blow fly. The house where we mostly lived
at Wakatimi and where we had our meals was immediately filled with
blue-bottles the moment our food was brought in, so we encouraged the
larger sort of spider to live there and one old fellow who lived under
the corner of the table used to come out at meal times and take his
toll of flies, and in the course of time he became so tame that he
would take a living fly out of your fingers.

At the same time, and indeed during the whole of our stay in the
country, we were greatly annoyed by the depredations of very large
crickets. Not content with making a most distracting noise by night
these horrible creatures did endless damage to our eatable possessions.
They invaded the sacks in which we kept our scanty garments, socks,
vests and the like, and riddled them into holes, and they appeared to
have a special partiality for sponges and brushes, which they devoured
completely. Even more serious were their attacks on folded tents or
sacks of rice and flour, which had to be constantly taken out of the
store houses and repaired. When these things were taken out of the
house a large number of crickets were taken out too, and then was the
chance for the Kingfishers (_Halcyon sanctus_) which darted down and
snapped them up. A pair of these beautiful little birds haunted the
camp and became so tame that they would fly down from the roof of a
house and pick up a cricket within a foot or two of a man.


When the ground had been well cleared and levelled, we set about the
business of building barracks for the men and store houses for the
provisions and equipment. The Dutch contingent had brought with them
regulation army barrack frames, pieces of seasoned wood of definite
lengths which are fitted together by bolts and screws, and form the
skeleton of excellent houses. We had nothing of the kind, but the
jungle supplied plenty of wood and our houses, though less regular than
those of the Dutch, were very soon built. It is easy enough to put up
the framework of a house in a place where there is plenty of timber,
but the walls and the roof are a more difficult matter. Fortunately the
natives were adepts in the art of making “atap,” which they use for
roofing their own huts, and they were soon eagerly making it for us in
exchange for our trade goods.

[Illustration: MAKING “ATAP” FOR ROOFING.]

The best “atap” is made from the leaves of the Nipa palm (_Nipa
fruticans_) which grows abundantly in the swampy country. Almost
equally good “atap” can be made from the Sago palm, but the leaves of
the Coconut palm shrivel quickly and are of no use for the purpose. The
method of the manufacture of “atap” is briefly as follows: Leaflets of
the palm are stripped from the stem, which is then split into three or
four sticks of about an inch and a half in diameter and five or six
feet in length. The man begins by taking up a leaf and folding it in
the middle, thus breaking the mid-rib of the leaf. He then frees the
mid-rib from the surrounding leaf for a short distance and breaks off
a piece about three inches long for use presently. Then holding the
stick near the end he pushes the free end of the mid-rib, which is
separated from the leaf, into the soft substance of the stick and folds
the leaf once round the stick in such a way that its two free ends lie
one upon the other. He then clips together the free ends with the
short piece he had broken from the mid-rib. He then repeats the process
with another leaf, making each one slightly overlap the last, until the
stick is completely covered with folded leaves. It should be said that
each leaf is about three inches wide and four feet long so that the
free ends, when the leaf is folded, lie about two feet from the stick.
“Atap” is always made by the men, never by the women, and a quick
worker will make a complete piece in about ten minutes.

The method of roofing with “atap” is very simple. Pieces are fixed by
strands of rattan to the timbers of the roofing beginning from below
and overlapping each other like tiles. The stick end of the “atap” is
uppermost and the free ends point downwards. When there is no lack of
“atap” and the pieces can be laid on the roof very closely together it
forms a most efficient thatch, which keeps the house tolerably cool in
the hot weather and is impervious to the heaviest downfall of rain.

The demand for “atap” started our regular trade with the natives, it
brought us into friendly relations with them and they soon discovered
that they could put confidence in us. When they found that we really
paid them, as we promised, in beads and cloth, there was keen
competition in the “atap” trade and they brought us as much as we
wanted. For a few pieces only they received beads, while for ten pieces
and upwards we paid them in cloth and they adopted various tricks to
obtain cloth, when they knew that the amount they brought was only
worth beads. One of their dodges was to bring old pieces of “atap”
from their own houses to increase the size of the pile, and sometimes
a man would steal two or three pieces from the pile of another man
who had already been paid, but they were always found out and were
not in the least ashamed of themselves. It was important to keep the
price low, because we very well knew that when the people had obtained
as much cloth and as many beads as they wanted they would never do
any more work, and that did occur after a few months. They greatly
enjoyed a little foolery. For instance, when you were paying them in
cloth it was much more appreciated if you wound it artistically about
the recipient’s head than if you merely thrust it into his hands; and
in paying a man in beads it was thought a great joke if you let them
slowly trickle into his palm out of your closed fist. His smile would
grow with the pile of beads in his hand, and he always hoped to find
some more concealed between your fingers.

In addition to “atap” they also brought other things for trade,
sometimes fish from the sea which were generally uneatable, and
sometimes delicious prawns six or eight inches long from the river
estuary. There was a constant trade in coconuts which grew in some
numbers about Wakatimi, and occasionally we bought a bunch of bananas.
Living birds of many kinds, cassowaries, pigeons, kingfishers, lories
and parrots were often brought for sale, but the poor creatures were
generally taken straight from the nest, and the soldiers and coolies
who bought them quickly stuffed them to death with rice. Some of the
lories throve and became tame enough to fly about at liberty, and the
cassowaries became quite a pest in the camp.


So keen did the people become on trading that they would barter all
their worldly possessions for European goods. Stone clubs and axes,
bows and arrows, spears and drums, the skulls of their forebears,
indeed all their moveable goods were brought to us for exchange. It may
sound rather a mean transaction to buy from a Papuan a stone axe, which
has probably been in his family for generations, for a small knife or
coloured handkerchief, but he was always delighted with the exchange
and when both parties to it are satisfied a bargain may be considered a
just one.

Our trade goods consisted mostly of coloured beads, red cloth, knives
of various sizes, and axes. Of these the red cloth was by far the most
useful and the most sought after. The Dutch had cloth of various shades
and patterns, but the natives, with a true eye for colour, knew that
our red stuff suited their dark skins better than any shade of green
or blue. The axes were given in exchange for canoes, and knives were
mostly used to pay the men who carried for us in the interior. Fish
hooks were greatly appreciated by the natives of the coast villages,
but the Jews’ harps of which we had a large quantity, though they
are greatly in demand among the Papuans of British New Guinea and in
some of the Pacific Islands, were of no use to us for trade, and the
few we gave away were used either as ornaments round the neck or as
ear-rings. There was always a great demand for cast-off clothing, but
a Papuan wearing a pair of tattered trousers or a fragment of a shirt
was so unpleasant to look at and he generally became so demoralised
in character, that we made it a rule not to give them any of our
rags. Empty bottles were of course greatly sought after and the many
thousands of tins which we emptied during the course of the expedition
were wealth untold to a people, who up to that time had possessed no
sort of vessel.


(_Smoke is seen from the fire in the stern._)]


  _Difficulties of Food—Coolies’ Rations—Choice
  of Provisions—Transporting Supplies up the
  Mimika—Description of the River—A Day’s Work—Monotonous
  Scenery—Crowned Pigeons—Birds of Paradise and
  Others—Snakes, Bees and other Creatures—Rapids and Clear
  Water—The Seasons—Wind—Rain—Thunderstorms—Halley’s Comet._

One of the principal obstacles in the way of successful exploration
in Dutch New Guinea is the lack of food in the country itself. It is
true that in the low-lying swampy districts near the coast there are
plenty of Sago-palms, but the majority of Malays are not sago eaters
except under compulsion, and the preparation of sago to make it only
tolerably palatable is a tedious business. Moreover the first object of
an expedition to the mountains is to leave the swamps behind as soon
as possible. So it follows that every scrap of food, for the coolies
as well as for the Europeans, has to be brought into the country from
outside, and it will be evident that, when the means of transport
are distressingly slow, the provisions must diminish considerably in
quantity as they are carried towards the interior.

[Sidenote: SUPPLIES]

The mainstay of the food of Malay coolies and soldiers is rice, of
which the daily ration is one _katti_ (1-1/3 pounds); to this is
added about a quarter of a pound of dried meat or dried fish. Once or
twice a week the rice was replaced by _kachang ijau_, a small round
green bean, which is supposed to be of use in preventing the onset of
beri-beri, though it is very doubtful whether this is the case; the
beans are boiled and are eaten either with salt or with brown Javanese
sugar. A full ration for a coolie also includes tea, coffee, salt and
chillies. When it is remembered that the numbers of the expedition
were never less than one hundred and twenty and were often more than
one hundred and sixty, and since it was considered advisable always
to have a supply for several months in advance in the eventuality of
communication with Amboina becoming impossible, it can be imagined that
the amount of stores necessary for the whole party was no small thing.
The management of the stores of Cramer’s party alone, of which every
detail had to be accounted for to the Government, occupied the full
time of a Dutch sergeant and a native clerk.

Not only was a great deal of labour involved in dealing with such
an immense bulk of stores, but there was considerable difficulty
in preserving them from the ill effects of the climate. Our first
consignment of rice arrived in sacks, and the futility of that method
of packing was apparent, when a great quantity of it was spoilt by a
shower of rain between the steamer and the base-camp. The next lot
was packed in tins with lids; when these were turned upside down the
rice trickled out or water trickled in, and again a large quantity was
lost or spoilt. After that it was put into tins of which the tops were
soldered down, but even that was not quite successful, for it often
happened that a pin-hole was left unsoldered, through which moisture
would eventually find its way and the rice be spoilt.

Even more difficult than the rice to keep dry were the dried fish
and dried meat, which were sent to us packed in wooden boxes; the
stuff quickly became sodden from the moisture-laden atmosphere, and
although we kept coolies constantly employed in drying it in the sun,
an enormous amount of it became rotten and was thrown away. The only
effectual method of preserving the dried meat and fish is to seal it up
like the rice in soldered tins. The tin always used for this purpose
is the rectangular tin in which kerosene oil is imported to the East;
filled with rice it weighs about forty pounds.

In writing the history of this expedition I should not be honest if I
were to refrain from mentioning the fact that some of our own stores
were, to say the least, ill-chosen. It appeared that a large quantity
of stores had been bought from the Shackleton Expedition, which had
returned from the Antarctic a few months before we left England.
However suitable those provisions may have been for a Polar expedition,
they were not the sort of thing one would have chosen for a journey in
the Tropics. For instance, large tins of “bully-beef” are excellent in
a cold climate, but when you open them near the Equator you find that
they consist of pallid lumps of pink flesh swimming in a nasty gravy.
Pea-soup and pea-flour, of which we had nearly four hundred pounds’
weight, strike terror into the stoutest heart, when the temperature is
86° in the shade. Pickles are all very well in their way for those that
like them, but one hundred and sixty bottles was more than a generous
allowance. _Punch_, in commenting on a newspaper misprint which stated
that “the British Ornithologists Union Expedition to Papua was joined
at Singapore by ten pickled Gurkhas,” suggested that it was “no doubt
a misprint for gherkins.” We were glad that Mr. Punch was mistaken and
that we had not increased our store of pickles at Singapore.

The packing was almost as remarkable as the choice of the stores
themselves: they were secured in strong packing cases of large and
variable size fastened with bands of iron and an incredible number of
nails, suitable enough to withstand the banging of Polar storms, but
not well adapted to their present purpose. The boxes were all too big
for convenient transport, and as each one was filled with food of one
kind only every box had to be opened at once and a selection made from

[Sidenote: SUPPLIES]

Here it must be said that, in response to our comments on the stores
and the packing, the Committee sent out to us an excellent supply of
provisions from Messrs. Fortnum and Mason, properly packed in light
“Vanesta” cases. These reached us at the end of August and during the
rest of our stay in the country we fared well.


We took with us a small supply of whisky and brandy, which was often
acceptable, and I believe that in an excessively damp climate a small
quantity of alcohol may be beneficial. The Dutch took with them dry
Hollands gin, which is drunk with a small quantity of bitters before
dinner; it certainly has the effect of coaxing your appetite for tinned
foods, all of which, when you have lived on them for a few months, have
the same dull taste.

It may be thought that the above discourse on the subject of food
is unduly long, but I shall make no apology for it, because equally
with the question of transport the question of food is of paramount
importance. The recital of some of the mistakes that we made may
serve as a warning to others, who wish to visit a similar district.
In countries like Africa and many parts of Asia, where the people
cultivate the soil and where there are numbers of game animals, you may
always look forward to varying your fare with some fresh food, either
animal or vegetable; but when you go to New Guinea you must be prepared
to live wholly on dried and tinned foods, and that is only possible
when they are varied and of the best manufacture.


During the first months of our stay in New Guinea most of the energies
of the expedition were spent in transporting supplies from the
base-camp at Wakatimi to the camp at Parimau up the Mimika River. And
indeed it may be said that this was one of the principal occupations of
the expedition from beginning to end; for our coolies were very soon
worn out by sickness and the unaccustomed labour, so that they had to
be sent back to their homes, and by the time that a fresh batch of
coolies arrived in the country the store of provisions at Parimau was
exhausted and the process of taking up a fresh supply had to be begun

It was not until our third batch of coolies came at the end of
December, that we were able to accumulate enough stores at Parimau
to serve as a base for a moderately long expedition from that place.
Before that time it had never been possible to make a longer march than
three days from Parimau, and there had been long periods when from
lack of coolies everything had been at a standstill. Those times were
of course excessively trying both to the health and to the tempers of
the members of the expedition. It was irksome beyond words to see day
after day the mountains in the distance and to be unable to move a step
nearer to them.


The distance from Wakatimi to Parimau, though only twenty-two miles as
the crow flies, was about forty miles by water, and it took from five
to seven days, according to the state of the river, to accomplish the
journey in canoes. While the coolies were still comparatively fresh,
we sometimes sent off as many as six canoes at a time from Wakatimi to
Parimau, but with sickness and fatigue their numbers quickly diminished
and two or three canoes laden with stores, accompanied by one “escort”
canoe manned by Javanese soldiers and convicts, was the size of the
usual river “transport.” The larger canoes were paddled by five or six
and the smaller by four men; the average load carried by one canoe was
about eight hundred pounds’ weight, of which a considerable amount
was consumed on the journey. The men were given one day’s rest at
Parimau, they came down the river in two days and rested for two days
at Wakatimi before starting up the river again. One of us accompanied
them on nearly every journey with a view to preventing the men from
lingering too many days on the voyage and partly as a protection from
the natives, who paid great respect to us but were inclined to behave
rudely to the coolies, if they were not accompanied by an European.

Those days of canoeing up the Mimika River were some of the most
monotonous of my life and I shall never forget them. For the first
few miles above Wakatimi the river is about as wide as the Thames at
Windsor, the banks are covered with smallish trees with here and there
clumps of palm trees, from which fresh young coconuts may be gathered.
Occasionally the rising tide helps you on your way, and if you are
particularly fortunate you may even see at the end of a straight
reach of the river a glimpse of the distant mountains. But very soon
the river narrows to half its width, the huge trees of the regular
New Guinea jungle shut out all except a narrow strip of sky, and the
river twists and meanders towards all the points of the compass,
until you wonder whether it will not eventually bring you back to the
point whence you started. There was one bend of the river which was
particularly remarkable; it made an almost complete circle of about a
mile and a half in circumference, ending at a point exactly forty yards
distant from its commencement, so that by landing and walking across a
narrow neck you could wait for more than half an hour for the canoes to
overtake you.

The rate of travel varied with the efficiency of the coolies and
according to the strength of the current in the river, which was
sometimes very sluggish, and at other times came swirling down at three
or four miles an hour. We cleared camping places at various points
along the river, and, if the pace was good, the average stage was about
six hours, though it often took ten or even twelve hours when the river
was in flood. The pleasantest camping places were on mudbanks, where
the coolies could bathe and pitch their tents without trouble, but they
were very liable to be flooded by a sudden rise of the river during the
night, and we generally had our own tents pitched on a space cleared in
the jungle at the top of a steep bank.


It will be convenient to describe a day’s voyage up the Mimika by
taking an extract from my diary:—

  “May 13. The monotony of the river is beyond words, and
  one day is almost exactly like another. I get up at
  six o’clock and breakfast off cocoa and biscuits and
  butter, whilst the camp is coming down, _i.e._ tents,
  etc., being packed. Spend the next hour or rather more
  in hurrying on the coolies with their food, which they
  ought always to begin to cook half an hour earlier than
  they do. See everything put into the canoes and then
  start with the last. After that anything from five to
  twelve hours’ sitting on a damp tent with one’s feet in
  more or less (according to the weather) water swishing
  from side to side of the canoe. Sometimes I paddle, but
  not so much now as I did the first time I came up the
  river, not from laziness but because the irregular
  time is so horribly irritating. If the coolies would
  only paddle lazily but regularly all would be well, but
  they will not; they paddle all together furiously for
  perhaps twenty or thirty strokes and then vary between a
  haphazard rag-time and doing nothing at all.

  “Most of the time I watch the banks go by and wonder
  how long it will take us to get to the end of this
  reach, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the last
  and to the next. The jungle is as ugly as it can be,
  rank undergrowth, trailing rattans and scraggy rotting
  trees. In forty miles I do not think there are half a
  dozen big trees worth looking at. Very occasionally you
  see a flowering creeper, one with clusters of white
  flowers is here and there, and I have seen a few of the
  gorgeous flaming D’Albertis creeper (_Mucuna pruriens_).
  Butterflies are seldom seen and birds one hardly hears at
  all. The banks are steep slimy brown mud, littered with
  the trunks and limbs of rotten trees, which also stick up
  all over the river like horrid muddy bones.

  “Altogether it is as gloomy and depressing as it can
  be, there is no view, not even a glimpse to shew that
  we are getting near a mountain range. In the midst of
  all this it generally rains hard and you arrive in
  camp soaking wet. Then see everything taken out of the
  canoes, tents pitched, canoes securely moored, food
  given out to the coolies, and by that time it is well
  on into the afternoon. Wet wood is somehow coaxed into
  boiling a kettle and I get a cup of tea, very good. At
  six o’clock the meal of the day, rice or a tin, but one
  eats very little on these journeys. After dinner a book
  and tobacco and to bed about nine o’clock, or earlier
  if the mosquitoes are troublesome. It does not compare
  favourably with being ‘on safari’ in Africa, and I
  frequently wish myself back on one of those interminable
  roads which I have so often cursed.”

[Sidenote: BIRDS]

But it must not be supposed that there were not occasional pleasant
moments, which to some extent were compensation for the monotony of
those days. Sometimes you saw a Crowned Pigeon (_Goura sclateri_) by
the water’s edge, and by paddling quietly you could approach within
a few yards before it flew lazily across the river and alighted on a
low branch. The Crowned Pigeon is one of the handsomest of New Guinea
birds; it is as big as a large domestic fowl, of an uniform mauve grey
colour with a large white patch on the wings, and on its head is a
crest of delicate grey plumes, which it opens and shuts like a fan.
These birds feed mostly on fruits, but they also eat small molluscs
and crabs, which they pick up on the river bank. As they were almost
the only eatable birds in the country, we killed a good many of them,
but their numbers appeared to be in no way diminished when we left the
country; the flesh is white and excessively dry.


The little red King Bird of Paradise (_Cicinnurus regius_) is heard
calling everywhere, and from the upper waters of the river you
hear the harsh cry of the Greater Bird of Paradise (_Paradisea novae
guineae_), but both of these are birds of the dense forest and I do not
remember ever having seen one from the river.

Green and red Eclectus Parrots (_Eclectus pectoralis_) and white
Lemon-crested Cockatoos are fairly numerous and their harsh screams,
though sufficiently unpleasing are a welcome interruption of the
prevailing silence.

Lories were not often seen on the river journeys, but they were
extremely common near Wakatimi, where a certain clump of trees was used
by them as a regular roosting-place. For an hour or more before sunset
countless hundreds of Lories (_Eos fuscata_) flew in flocks from all
directions towards the roosting-trees, chattering loudly as they flew
and even louder after they had perched. Often a branch would give way
under the living weight and then the whole throng would rise in the air
again and circle round and round before they alighted once more and the
shouting and chattering continued until it was dark.

Crocodiles were very seldom seen, but Iguanas of two or three feet
in length were often seen sunning themselves on a log or a stump,
from which they would splash hurriedly into the water as the canoes
approached. Several times at night I heard a splash as loud as the
plunge of a man into water, but I could never discover what was the
animal that caused it; there may yet possibly be some large unknown
reptile in the river. Snakes were sometimes seen curled up in the
overhanging vegetation and very commonly they were found swimming in
the water; one day I counted eleven small harmless snakes swimming
within half a mile of the same place.

On many days during the months of May and June the river swarmed with
large bright yellow flies very similar to, but about twice the size
of, the Green Drake of the fly-fisher. They hatched out about mid-day
and took longer or shorter flights over the water, rising from it and
alighting again like miniature aeroplanes. Many of them fell a prey
to swallows and bee-eaters and other insect-eating birds, while the
rest were quickly drowned, and I have seen long stretches of the river
completely covered by the dead insects.

At some of the camps on the river and elsewhere we were a good
deal bothered by small bees, the Stingless Honey-bee (_Melipona
praeterita_). These annoying little creatures—they are about half the
size of the common house-fly—buzzed about you in swarms and strove most
persistently to settle on any exposed part of your body in pursuit of
the sweat, which is never absent from you in those places. No matter
how you beat about and killed them they were back again immediately and
once, while writing, I kept my hands quite still on the book and in a
few moments I counted forty-six on my two hands before their crawling
became unbearable. They have a disagreeably sticky feeling as they
crawl over you and your hands, when you have squashed a number of them,
become sticky too.


At night, when the rain was not drumming ceaselessly on the roof of
the tent, the silence was broken now and then by the grating call of a
Brush Turkey (_Talegallus fuscirostris_)[6]; or a flock of Pale Crows
(_Gymnocorax senex_), which are curiously nocturnal in their habits,
would fly over the camp cawing like muffled rooks. Lizards and frogs
uttered all sorts of strange cries and whistles, and the mournful
unbirdlike note of the Frogmouth (_Podargus papuensis_) was heard on
every side.

Sometimes, even when there was no wind stirring, you would hear at
night a noise like thunder as some great tree went crashing down. Most
of the trees in the jungle do not attain a very great girth, but they
grow up very rapidly to reach the light and in their upper branches
there is soon accumulated a dense mass of climbers and parasitic
plants, which in the course of time become too heavy for the tree and
cause it to collapse. The floor of the jungle is strewn with the limbs
and trunks of fallen trees and the smell of rotting wood is everywhere.

The last, usually the fifth, day of the journey up the river was always
pleasant, partly because one knew that there were only a few more hours
of the tedious voyage, and partly because the scenery was beginning
to change. Beautiful Tree-ferns appeared upon the banks and the soil,
firmer than in the swampy lands near the coast, supported trees of
finer growth. Scattered pebbles and then banks of clean sand and
shingle began to take the place of the hideous mud of the lower river,
and after spending, as frequently happened, many weeks at Wakatimi,
where the smallest pebble would have been an object of wonder, it was a
peculiar pleasure to feel the grit of stones under your feet again. At
the same time the cocoa-brown water became clear and sparkling and one
drank it for the very pleasure of drinking. Going further we came to
rapids, where the river ran over stones, or piled-up barriers of fallen
trees. Passages were cut through many of these obstacles, but every
succeeding flood brought down more trees and new barriers were formed.

When the river was low, the last four miles to Parimau were covered by
wading and hauling the canoes over or under the great logs. Every man
had to get out of the canoe and do his share of the work, and sometimes
we had to take the cargo out as well, when the canoe had to be dragged
over a particularly high obstacle. When the river was in flood, the
last day’s journey was the most arduous of all, and it sometimes took
twelve or fourteen hours’ hard labour to accomplish it. The water was
then too deep for poling, and the current was so swift that vigorous
paddling hardly did more than prevent the canoe from following the
stream, and it was only by dodging from one side of the river to the
other and by hauling on overhanging branches that progress was made.


Considering the want of skill of the coolies and the great number of
journeys that were made up and down the river, it was wonderful that
no accidents of any consequence occurred. It is true that a good
many canoes capsized—I think all of us had at least one involuntary
ducking—but a well-laden canoe is comparatively steady, and most of
the upsets happened to empty canoes going down the river and nothing
was lost but coolies’ scanty baggage, which was easily replaced. The
Javanese coolies of the escort, who were even less skilled watermen
than ours, suffered rather more accidents, but one boat-load of
provisions and two rifles were the total of their losses.


There were periods, lasting for several weeks, when the river was
almost continually in flood, and there were other, but always shorter,
periods when the river was low; but though we spent fifteen months in
New Guinea the time was not long enough to determine at all accurately
the limits of the seasons, for the first three months of 1911 differed
considerably from the corresponding months of the previous year.
Speaking generally, it may be said of the Mimika district that the
weather from mid-October to the middle of April is finer than the
weather from the middle of April to the middle of October. These two
periods correspond more or less with the monsoons, but it is notable
that whereas in British New Guinea the period of the Eastern monsoon,
May to November, is the drier, here the reverse is the case. The finest
weather appears to be in November and December, and the wettest weather
is in July, August and September. The terms “fine” and “wet” are used
only relatively, for it is almost always wet. In the first twelve
months of our stay rain fell on three hundred and thirty days. It was
very unfortunate that we did not provide ourselves with rain-gauges
for use at Wakatimi and Parimau, where interesting observations
might have been recorded for a year or more. A roughly constructed
rain-gauge, which was used for a short time, more than once recorded
a fall of over six inches of rain in one night, and that was in the
comparatively dry season of March.

A great deal of the rain fell in thunderstorms. From January 4th, 1910,
to January 4th, 1911, I heard thunder on two hundred and ninety-five
days, not including days on which I saw distant lightning but did not
hear the thunder.

Before we left England it was thought that the party ought to include
a geologist, but it was impossible to add to our numbers, which
were already sufficiently great. As it fell out, we hardly reached
geological country at all and a geologist would have spent an idle
time, but there would have been plenty of occupation for a well
equipped hydrologist.

The winds, whether from the East or from the West, were very variable
both in force and constancy. Sometimes there would blow a fierce wind
for two or three days followed by several days of calm. At other times
a steady wind would blow for two or three weeks and so great would be
the surf on the sea-shore that no ship could approach the mouth of the
river. The wind usually dropped before sunset and the nights were calm.

[Sidenote: HALLEY’S COMET]

It followed naturally from the heavy rainfall that the nights were
seldom clear, and at one time Marshall waited for three months before
he could take an observation from a star. But there were times even
in the wet weather, when the rain poured down during the day and at
night the heavens were clear. One of these times fortunately occurred
in May, when Halley’s Comet was approaching the Earth. On May 9th the
comet, looking like a muffled star, was seen in the East and its tail,
a broad beam of brilliant light, extended upwards through about thirty
degrees. Below the comet and a little to the South of it Venus shone
like a little moon, appearing far bigger than any planet I have ever
seen. The comet grew enormously and in the early morning of May 14th,
the last time that we saw it completely before it had passed the Earth,
the tail blazed across the heavens like an immense search-light beam to
the zenith and beyond. On May 26th it appeared again in the evening,
reduced in size to about forty-five degrees, and several nights we
watched it growing always smaller, until it vanished from our sight.
Superlative expressions will not describe Halley’s Comet as we saw
it in New Guinea; it was a wonderful appearance and one never to be
forgotten. Our coolies and the Javanese declared that it portended much
sickness and death. Though we tried to question them about it, we never
learnt how it impressed the minds of the natives.


  _Exploration of the Kapare River—Obota—Native
  Geography—River Obstructions—Hornbills and
  Tree Ducks—Gifts of Stones—Importance of Steam
  Launch—Cultivation of Tobacco—Sago Swamps—Manufacture of
  Sago—Cooking of Sago—The Dutch Use of Convict Labour._

Towards the end of January Capt. Rawling, who had gone up the Mimika
River with the first party to Parimau, made an excursion to the N.W. of
that place, and at a distance of about four miles he came to a river,
which we afterwards learnt to know as the Kapare, of much greater
volume than the Mimika, and therefore likely to spring from mountains
much higher than those that gave rise to the Mimika. Had we known at
the time that our real objective, the highest mountains of the range,
lay far to the N.E., we should have neglected the Kapare River, and
by so doing we should have spared ourselves many weeks of labour; but
at the same time we should have missed seeing a wide area of unknown
country, and we might possibly have failed to make the discovery of the
pygmy tribe, who inhabit the hilly country between the Kapare and the
upper waters of the Mimika River.


It appeared that the Kapare might offer a better route to the higher
mountains than the Mimika, so it was decided that we should explore
its lower waters and see whether it was possible to reach it from our
base-camp. Accordingly on February 14th Lieut. Cramer, Marshall and
I set out in three canoes, taking with us provisions sufficient for a
week’s journey. Two miles below Wakatimi we entered and began to ascend
the Watuka River, of which, as has been noted above (p. 40), the Mimika
is but a tributary. After proceeding a mile or two up the Watuka we
came to another junction of two rivers, and for the first time we began
to realise the extraordinary network of waterways, which traverse the
low-lying lands of that part of New Guinea. We learnt afterwards that
there are inland channels joining several of the rivers to the East of
the Mimika in such a way that it is possible to travel by water from
Wakatimi to villages far distant along the coast without going by sea,
and no doubt the same is true in a Westerly direction.

The junction we had then reached was formed by a wide river coming,
apparently, from due North and a much smaller branch, not more than ten
yards wide, but deep and swift, joining it from the West. It appeared
to be quite certain that the river we were in search of must be the
Northern branch, and we should have followed it at once had not a
number of natives appeared on the bank, and asked us to go and visit
their village, which, they explained, was a short distance up the
Western branch.

[Sidenote: VISIT TO OBOTA]

We soon reached Obota, as the village was called, a collection of
about one hundred huts on both banks of the narrow river, and there we
were accorded the usual welcome by a large crowd of people. As it was
still early in the day we were anxious to continue our journey, and we
proposed to go up the Northern branch, but the natives assured us that
that led to nowhere and broke up into branches in the jungle, while
the small stream which flowed through the village was the river flowing
directly from the mountains.

It should be explained that this information was conveyed to us partly
by long speeches of which we understood little or nothing, but chiefly
by means of maps drawn on the ground. Some of the men drew their rivers
crossing one another in a rather improbable manner, but many of them
drew charts very intelligently, and at different times we obtained
from the natives a good deal of geographical information which was
substantially correct. On this occasion their maps all agreed in
tracing the big river to branches in the jungle, and the small river
to the mountains, so we were rather reluctantly persuaded that they
were right, and we tried to induce some of them to go with us. Many
of them offered to go the next day, but not one would start then—it
was too late, it was going to rain, they had not eaten, and many other
excuses—so we got into our canoes and attempted to paddle up the stream
and found, what the natives doubtless knew, that we could not advance
at all. Several times we tried, but were always driven back by the
strong current, to the great delight of the natives who lined the banks
and laughed at our feeble efforts, so there was nothing for it but to
make a camp near the village and wait till the next day.


There was some difficulty about inducing the men to start in the
morning, for it was raining, and, like other naked peoples, the
Papuans dislike being wetted by rain, but we got off eventually with
two natives, one at the bow and one at the stern, in each canoe, in
addition to the crews of four Javanese soldiers and convicts. It was
soon evident that without the help of the natives we could not possibly
have ascended the river. For a mile or two above Obota the water ran
like a mill-race in a very narrow channel full of rocks and sunken
trees, and it was only by the most skilful poling and, when a chance
occurred, by hauling the canoes along a side channel that we were able
to proceed. When we returned a few days later, we skimmed in fifteen
minutes down the rapids which we had taken more than three hours to

Above the rapids the river widened to about forty yards and the
strength of the current was proportionately less, but in a few miles
we met with another difficulty. At a sharp bend of the river the whole
channel was blocked by an enormous barrier of huge trunks and limbs of
trees piled high upon each other and wedged below into a solid mass.
For larger boats this might have meant a delay of many days spent
in cutting a channel, but the dug-out canoe is narrow and, if not
flexible, it can be squeezed through the most unlikely openings, so
that we passed the barrier without the loss of many hours.

When we started from Obota we had been doubtful whether it was possible
that so small a river could possibly come from the mountains; but a
little way above the barrier of logs our doubts were set at rest, when
we found that our river was a mere off-shoot from another more than
twice its volume, which flowed down to the sea at a village called
Periepia. The main river, the Kapare, where we joined it, was more
than a hundred yards wide, and in the next two days’ journey it hardly
diminished at all in size. The character of the river differed markedly
from that of the Mimika; its bed was of sand, denoting its mountain
origin, in contrast to the brown mud of the Mimika and other jungle
rivers, and its course was a procession of magnificent bends, quite
unlike the paltry windings of the Mimika.

Paddling slowly up the river we disturbed companies of Hornbills
(_Rhytidoceros plicatus_) which were feeding at the tops of the trees.
These peculiarly hideous birds bark like dogs, and the loud “swishing”
of their wings, as they slowly take flight, has been likened (not
inaptly) to the starting puffs of a railway train. On this and on the
other rivers we were often pleasantly reminded of home by the note of
the Common Sandpiper (_Totanus hypoleucus_) which seemed to be quite as
much at home in New Guinea as in its northern haunts. The last of these
were seen in early April, and they began to reappear before the end of
July. Very interesting birds, of which we saw a great number on this
river, are the black and white Tree Ducks (_Tadorna radjah_). They have
the curious habit of perching very cleverly on the topmost branches of
the trees, and they make a pretty whistling by night.


There were no signs of human habitation along the banks, until on the
third day we came to a small village of a dozen huts, in the middle
of which was a tall house built of bamboos, used for ceremonials and
dancing. The few people inhabiting the place were of a very low
order of intelligence, if one may judge from the apathy with which
they received us and saw us go on our way.

As we proceeded further, on the fourth day the river became a good deal
smaller, having derived several tributaries from the low hills which
were by that time not far distant on the right bank, and as the current
became increasingly swifter it was evident that the Kapare did not
promise a better means of approach by water to the mountains than the


We were rather amused, when we came to the first bank of shingle, by
the natives who were with us bringing us gifts of stones, as though
they were something new and rare: probably they thought that as we
came, for all they knew, from the sea, we had never seen such things

On the fifth day we left the baggage behind and went on in one unladen
canoe, hoping to reach the point where Rawling had met the Kapare River
by walking overland from the Mimika, but we were stopped a few miles
short of that place by heavy rapids, which effectually prevented any
further investigation of the river.

The excursion up the Kapare was a further illustration, if one had been
needed, of the futility of undertaking an expedition in that country
without a steam launch or motor-boat. When it was found that the Mimika
was only an insignificant river, which the first excursion up it would
have shown, the Kapare River might have been explored from Periepia,
a matter which could have been done in two days instead of the seven
occupied by the journey in canoes, and after that other rivers to the
East might have been explored until one convenient for approaching the
mountains had been found.

After spending a night on a sand bank from which we were very nearly
washed away by a sudden flood, we paddled leisurely down the river
and came in one day again to Obota. Though the two places are so
close together and communication between them is very frequent, the
inhabitants of Obota are a much better lot of people than those of
Wakatimi. The Obota men, who came up the river with us, worked steadily
for several days, a thing we never could persuade the Wakatimi men to
do, and, a more striking sign of their superiority, the Obota people
cultivate the soil, whereas the Wakatimi people never do anything of
the kind.

[Sidenote: TOBACCO]

Many acres of ground on both sides of the river were cleared of bush
and planted with bananas and sweet potatoes; we never succeeded in
obtaining any of the latter, but bananas were brought for us to buy
and in the circumstances they seemed to us to be excellent. The most
extensive crop cultivated at Obota is tobacco; they plant out the
seedlings and shelter them with a low roof of bent sticks covered with
leaves, until the young plants are strong enough to bear the full force
of the sun and rain. Almost every native smokes, men and women, and
very often the children. A small handful of the dried leaves is taken
and very carefully rolled up in the form of a cigar, and then wrapped
round with a _sirih_ leaf, which has been previously warmed over the
fire; the ends are bitten square, and sometimes the leaf is tied round
the middle with a thread of fibre to prevent its unrolling. The
tobacco is strong in flavour, but not at all unpleasant to smoke. The
only other place, except among the pygmy people of the hills, where we
found cultivation was up the Keaukwa River, a few miles to the E. of
the Mimika River.

The distribution of tobacco in New Guinea is rather a puzzling
question. There are many places on the coast where its use was unknown
until quite recently, while at the same time the mountain people, for
example, in the Arfak Mountains and on the upper reaches of the Fly
and Kaiserin Augusta Rivers, have been accustomed to cultivate it and
to barter it with their neighbours in the lowlands. The Tapiro pygmy
people, who live in the mountains, cultivate tobacco and exchange
it with the Papuans of the upper Mimika who grow none themselves.
These facts have led some people to suppose that the tobacco plant is
indigenous in New Guinea.

The people of Obota were rich in worldly possessions, for as we
walked through the village we saw two Chinese brass gongs and a large
porcelain pot, which they told us came from “Tarete.” It may be that at
some time a Malay or Arab trader from Ternate came over to this part of
the coast, but it is impossible to know; perhaps the things had been
stolen and exchanged from one village to another, from the West end of
the island, which is often visited by Ternate traders.

[Sidenote: SAGO]

But the chief reason for the prosperity of Obota is the fact that it
lies at the edge of an extensive sago swamp, and sago is the mainstay
of the food of the Papuans. Sago is made from a palm (_Sagus rumphii_)
which always grows in wet places, generally in low ground near the
sea, and it will even grow where the water is brackish.[7] The palm is
thicker than a man’s body, and its height is about 25 or 30 feet. The
trunk is covered with large leaves bearing long hard spines. A mature
tree produces a large vertical spike of flowers and then dies. When
they wish to collect sago, the natives cut down a full-grown palm and
clear it of its leaves and leaf-sheaths. A wide strip of the bark is
then cut off from the side of the tree which lies uppermost and the
sago is exposed. The bark of the tree is really nothing more than a
shell about an inch in thickness, enclosing the pith or sago, which is
a brownish pulpy substance separated by fibrous strands. The pith is
separated from the bark by means of the sago-beater, which is a sort
of wooden hammer made in two pieces, a handle about a foot and a half
long, carrying a head about twelve inches long; the hitting face of the
head is about two inches in diameter, and it often bears a rather sharp
rim which is useful in clearing the pith from the bark.


When all the pith has been beaten out of the shell of the tree it is
carried away to the nearest water, where the sago is extracted. A
trough made of two wide basin-like leaf-bases of the sago palm is set
up on crossed sticks about three feet from the ground in such a way
that one basin is a little higher than the other. Lumps of the pith
are then kneaded in the upper part of the trough with water which
is constantly poured into it; the water carries away the sago into the
lower part of the trough, and nothing remains above but the coarse
fibrous stuff which is thrown away; the lower trough gradually becomes
filled with sago and the water flows away. The sago, a dirty white
substance with a rather sour smell, is made into cylindrical cakes of
about 30 lbs. weight, and neatly wrapped up in leaves of the palm to
be carried back to the village. Most of the work of collecting and
preparing the sago is done by the women.

According to Mr. Wallace, one fair-sized sago palm will supply one man
with food for a year, so it will be seen that the amount of labour
required to feed a community in a district where sago is plentiful is
not very overwhelming.

The usual method of cooking employed by the Papuans is to roll the
sago into lumps about the size of a cricket ball and roast them in the
embers of a fire. On one or two occasions I saw them prepare it in a
different way, which was to wrap up the sago in banana leaves and cook
it on hot stones; the result was probably more wholesome food than the
charred lumps that they usually eat.

Very often the natives of the Mimika eat the crude sago, that is to
say, the pith simply as it is cut out of the tree, without having
been washed or pounded. The stuff is roasted in the usual way and the
separation of the sago is done in the mouth of the eater, who spits out
the uneatable fibre.

As well as providing the Papuans with the bulk of their food, the sago
palm supplies them with excellent building poles in the mid-ribs of the
leaves, which are straight and very strong, and are sometimes fifteen
to twenty feet long, and the leaflets themselves are used for making
“atap” in the districts where the _Nipa_ palm is not found.

It was mentioned above that the crews of our canoes on the excursion up
the Kapare River were made up of Javanese soldiers and convicts. Our
first batch of Ambonese coolies had by that time failed us, so Lieut.
Cramer very kindly lent us some of his men for the occasion, and we had
an opportunity of testing their worth. Speaking generally, it is not
unfair to them to say that the Javanese are wholly unsuited to rough
work in a savage country; they are a peaceful race of peasants and
their proper place is in the rice fields. As soldiers they appear to
the civilian eye to be clodhoppers masquerading in (usually misfitting)
uniform. They have no military bearing and no alertness, and one ceases
to wonder that when the Netherlands East Indian native army is almost
exclusively composed of Javanese, the war-like people of Atjeh have
kept the field for so many years. It is a matter for surprise that
the Dutch do not enlist more of the warlike Bugis of Celebes, and
natives of the Moluccas, and even the Achinese prisoners themselves;
ten thousand of such men would surely be of more worth than the 30,000
Javanese who fill the ranks of their native army. Of course there are
exceptions; there are men among them who have performed splendidly
valorous deeds in time of war; but the majority are of a stuff of
which it would be impossible to make soldiers, they are soft and
unathletic and of a curiously feminine form of body, as a glance at a
group of bathing Javanese will show.


The Javanese convicts were the same sort of material, but their case
was not quite the same as that of the soldiers, for they had not
voluntarily entered a profession (if the condition of convict can
be called a profession) that involved service in foreign lands. The
justice of the Dutch practice of employing convicts as coolies in
military and exploring expeditions is very much open to question,
but it need not be discussed at length here. The transport for the
military operations in Atjeh is carried out almost entirely by convict
labour, and all the Dutch exploring parties in New Guinea have made
use of convict coolies, assisted in two instances by paid Dayaks.
It is intended officially that only long-sentence men shall go on
expeditions, so that by good behaviour they may earn some substantial
remission of their sentences, but that is not invariably the case,
for several young men left our expedition because their terms had
expired. It is also supposed that only men shall be sent on expeditions
who volunteer to go; but the supply of convict volunteers is not
inexhaustible, and there were men with us whose last wish would have
been to come to New Guinea.

But even if they were all volunteers and all long-service men, it is
doubtful whether it is justifiable to send any but free men to work in
a country so full of risks as New Guinea. The native of Java is a poor
creature, particularly susceptible to beri-beri and other diseases of
the tropics, and when I saw convicts die, as did unfortunately happen,
I came to the conclusion that the balance went heavily against the
system. It must, however, be recorded that the convicts are extremely
well treated. Except in the matter of pay—convicts on expeditions
receive about one guilder (1_s._ 8_d._) a month—they are treated
in all essentials exactly like the native soldiers; they have the
same rations of food and the same tent accommodation, and many of
them enjoy themselves a good deal more than if they were occupied in
sweeping the roads in a town in Java. Their hours of labour in camp
are comparatively short, and the loads they are given to carry on the
march are by no means excessive. Nothing could exceed the kindness of
Cramer’s treatment of the men under his command, and I have no doubt
that the same may be said of the treatment of convicts elsewhere.


  _Description of Wakatimi—The Papuan House—Coconut
  Palms—The Sugar Palm—Drunkenness of the Natives—Drunken
  Vagaries—Other Cultivation—The Native Language—No
  Interpreters—The Numerals—Difficulties of
  Understanding—Names of Places—Local Differences of

The native village of Wakatimi lay directly opposite to our base-camp
on the W. bank of the Mimika, which was there about 150 yards broad.
Beyond the margin of the river was a strip of grass intersected by
muddy creeks, where the natives moored their canoes, and beyond that
was Wakatimi. The village consisted of a single street about two
hundred yards long lined on one side by huts, which usually numbered
about sixty. But occasionally, as for instance when we first arrived,
and once or twice subsequently when large crowds of natives from other
villages visited the place, it happened that the street was a double
row of houses, and every available spot of dry ground was occupied.

Shifting house is a very simple affair, as most of the building
materials are carried about in the canoes, and the canoes come and
go in the most casual and unaccountable manner. Sometimes there were
perhaps a thousand people at Wakatimi, and then there would be days
when there was not a soul in the village. There were times when for
weeks together there were large villages at the mouth of the river, and
there were other times when the coast was utterly deserted and hardly
a trace of the villages remained. We were never able to learn what it
was that prompted these migrations of the natives, but it is probable
that the pursuit of food was the guiding motive. The wandering habits
of the people will certainly make it very difficult to administer the
country and civilise the people, if an attempt to do so is ever made.

[Sidenote: THEIR HOUSES]

The typical native house of the Mimika district is a simple rectangular
structure with a framework of light poles driven into the ground, the
cross-pieces and roof pole being tied to the uprights by strands of
rattan. In some houses the roof is a simple slope downwards from front
to back, but in most cases there is a central ridge pole from which
the roof slopes to the back and front, that at the back being longer
and going lower than that in front. The height of the ridge is about
eight feet; after we had been for some time in the country the people
improved their building in imitation of our houses and built their huts
ten, and even twelve feet high. The roof is made of “atap,” the thatch
described above (p. 60), and the walls are mats made from the leaves of
a Screw-pine (_Pandanus_). The area of an average hut is about 9 by 12
feet, the longer dimensions being from front to back.


The floor is covered with sand to a depth of several inches, which is
prevented from escaping into the street by a board placed on its edge
along the front of the hut. The sand is brought from the seashore and
must be of great value in preserving the health of the people: the huts
are frequently under water in the big floods and without the sand,
which quickly dries, it would be impossible for them to live there.
Unfortunately the sand aggravates the sores and ulcers from which too
many of them suffer, but that is perhaps a lesser evil than always
sleeping on sodden ground. Racks made of sticks, on which are stowed
bundles of arrows, spears, clubs, tobacco, sago and all the other
portable property of the family, extend from one wall to another, so
that it is almost impossible to stand upright inside a hut. The door is
an opening about two feet square in the front wall; as well as being
the means of entrance for the members of the household the door serves
as the principal means of escape for the smoke of the fire, which is
constantly kept burning inside.

It is only rarely that a house remains for long separated from others;
when a second house is built it is attached to the side of the first,
and the dividing wall is removed. In a large village the houses are
built in rows of varying length, according to the nature of the ground,
and there may be as many as fifty or sixty joined together. If you go
inside you find that it is a single long house without any dividing
walls, but each family keeps to its own particular section and use
its own private entrance. When the place is crowded with people, and
a number of fires are burning, the atmosphere inside the house may be
more readily imagined than described.

The feature that most distinguishes Wakatimi from all the other
villages that we saw is its fine grove of coconut palms. The village
street is bordered with them on the side opposite to the houses, and
there must be three or four hundred trees in all. They afford a very
pleasant shade to the village, and their graceful trunks curving this
way and that are really picturesque and conveniently relieve the
ugliness of the Papuan houses. It is rather dangerous to live so close
to coconut trees, and sometimes when the wind blew in gusts before the
rain we heard warning shouts and the heavy thud of a nut falling to the
ground; but accidents never seemed to happen. The nuts are, of course,
a source of great wealth to the Wakatimi people, who exchange them for
bananas and tobacco with the people of Obota, and while we were in the
country they brought us altogether thousands of nuts for which they
received riches undreamt of before. At one or two places near the sea,
and at several places on the Mimika River we found coconut palms, but
far up the river they did not occur, nor did we see any on the Kapare
River; and I believe all those we saw were planted by the natives, and
that none of them were self-sown.

The method of cultivation is extremely simple. A ripe nut is left out
on the roof of a hut and allowed to sprout; when the shoot is about a
foot or more in length, a small patch of ground is cleared, preferably
in a sandy place on the river bank or near the sea shore, a hole is dug
and the sprouting nut is planted. From time to time, if he remembers to
do so, the native will clear away the strangling vegetation from the
young plant, and in about five years, under favourable conditions, the
palm begins to bear fruit.


Growing commonly near Wakatimi is another species of palm, which,
though it has not the value of the coconut palm, is yet more prized
by the natives. This is the Sugar palm (_Arenga saccharifera_), and
from it is made a very potent and intoxicating liquor. When the palm is
in fruit—it bears a heavy bunch of dark green fruit—a cut is made in
the stem below the stalk of the fruit, and the juice trickles out and
is collected in the shell of a coconut. Apparently the juice ferments
very rapidly without the addition of any other substance, for it is
drunk almost as soon as it is collected and the native becomes horribly

During the first few weeks of our stay in the country the people were
on their good behaviour, or else they found sufficient amusement in
coming to see us and our works, but they soon tired of that and went
back to their normal habits. Many of them went to the drinking places
by day, and we often saw them lying or sitting at the foot of the
tree, while one of their party stood at the top of a bamboo ladder
collecting the palm wine. But the worst was a small gang of about a
dozen men, the laziest in the village, whose custom it was to start off
towards evening in canoes to their favourite drinking tree, where they
spent the night drinking and making night hideous with their songs and
shouts. In the morning they returned raving to the village and as often
as not they started quarrelling and fighting and knocking the houses to
pieces (a favourite occupation of the angry Papuan) before they settled
down to sleep off the effects of their potations.

As a rule, the men were the worst offenders, and the women drank but
seldom, but I well remember one day seeing a man and his wife both
hopelessly drunk come over to our camp. It was pouring with rain and
their canoe was several inches deep in water, but they danced up and
down in it and sang a drunken ditty; it was a ludicrous and at the same
time heart-rending exhibition. The man, when we first knew him, was
a fine fellow who one day climbed up a palm tree to get us coconuts,
a feat which no man out of condition can perform; a few months later
he was hardly ever seen sober, and in January he died. A smiling
round-faced youth called Ukuma, who was one of our particular friends
at first and was privileged to wander where he liked about the camp,
attached himself to the drinking party, and before we left the country
he looked an old man, and I had difficulty in recognising him.

[Illustration: A PAPUAN OF THE MIMIKA.]

[Illustration: A PAPUAN OF THE MIMIKA.]

Though the drunken vagaries of the natives were usually food for tears,
they sometimes provided us with amusement. One afternoon one of the
principal men of Wakatimi came down to the river bank quite intoxicated
and took a canoe, which he paddled out into mid-stream and there moored
it. From there he proceeded to shoot arrows vaguely and promiscuously
at the village, raving and shouting what sounded to be horrible curses.
Some of the arrows fell into the village and some sailed over the palm
trees, and now and again he turned round and shot harmlessly into our
camp, but nobody took the slightest notice of him except his wife, who
went down to the river bank and told him in plain language her opinion
of him. This caused him to turn his attention to her, but his aim
was wild and the arrows missed their mark, so he desisted and went
back to the shore, where the woman broke across her knee the remainder
of his bundle of arrows, while he cooled his fevered brow in the river.
Then, while she delivered a further lecture, he followed her back to
their hut looking like a whipped and ashamed dog. It can hardly be
doubted that palm wine shortens the lives of many of the Papuans, but
one must hesitate before condemning an absolutely untaught and savage
race for excessive indulgence in one of the pleasures that vary their
monotonous lives.

[Sidenote: FRUITS]

As well as coconuts the Mimika people have also bananas, papayas
(_Carica papaya_), water-melons and pumpkins, all of them of a very
inferior kind. It cannot be said that they cultivate these fruits;
they occasionally get a banana shoot and plant it in the ground by the
riverside, where it may or may not grow and produce fruit, but they
make no clearings and take very little trouble to ensure the life of
the plant. The papayas and the melons and pumpkins are sometimes seen
growing about the native dwellings; but they, too, seem to be there
more by accident than by any design on the part of the people. At Obota
we found a few pineapples, which were probably the descendants of some
that were brought to the Mimika by M. Dumas a few years earlier.


It has been stated in the previous chapters that the natives told us
this or that, and that we asked them for information about one thing or
another. From this the reader must not conclude that we acquired a very
complete knowledge of the native language, for that, unfortunately,
was not the case, and even at the end of the fifteen months that
we spent in their country we were not able to converse with them.
Lieutenant Cramer and I compiled a vocabulary of nearly three hundred
words,[8] and we talked a good deal with the people, but we never
reached the position of being able to exchange ideas on any single

In the Eastern and Northern parts of New Guinea it has always been
found possible to communicate with the natives through the medium of
some known language; even if there were many differences noticed in the
language of a new district, there were always some common words which
formed the foundation of a more complete understanding. The Western end
of New Guinea has been for centuries visited by traders speaking Malay
dialects, some of whom have settled in the country; or Papuans from
those parts have travelled to Malay-speaking islands and have returned
with a sufficient knowledge of the language to act as interpreters to
people visiting those districts.

But the long stretch of the South-west coast from the MacCluer Gulf
as far as the Fly River has been quite neglected by Malay-speaking
traders, partly on account of the poverty of the country and partly by
reason of the shallow sea and the frequent storms which make navigation
difficult and dangerous, so that the Malay language was of no use to us
as a means of talking with the natives. It is true that two men from
the Mimika district had been taken a few years previously to Fak-fak,
the Dutch Government post on the South side of the MacCluer Gulf, but
though they spent two years there and attempts were made to teach them
Malay, in 1910 the extent of their knowledge of the language was the
two words _Tida, tuan_ (No, master).

It is unfortunate that there is no common language along the S. coast,
nor even a language with words common to all the dialects in use. We
were visited on one occasion by the Dutch Assistant Resident from
Fak-fak; the native interpreter who came with him, and who knew all the
native dialects of the Fak-fak district, could not understand one word
of the Mimika language. On another occasion some natives from Mimika
were taken down by steamer to Merauke, the Government post in S.W. New
Guinea, not far from the boundary of British Papua, and there they
found the language of the natives quite unintelligible to them.

So we found ourselves confronted with the task of learning a language
with neither grammar, dictionary nor interpreter. This may not seem to
be an insuperable difficulty, nor is it perhaps where Europeans and
educated people are concerned, but with Papuans it is a very different
problem. The first thing to do—and very few of them would even grasp
the idea—is to make them understand that you wish to learn their
words. You may point at an object and look intelligent and expectant,
but they are slow to take your meaning, and they soon tire of giving
information. The facial expression, which amongst us conveys even to a
deaf man an interrogation, means nothing to them, nor has the sideways
shake of the head a negative meaning to Papuans.

In trying to learn a new language of this kind most people (I imagine)
would begin, as we did, with the numerals. But our researches in
this direction did not take us very far, for we made the interesting
discovery that they have words for one and two only; _ínakwa_ (one),
_jamaní_ (two). This is not to say that they cannot reckon beyond two,
for they can, by using the fingers and thumbs, and beginning always
with the thumb of the right hand, reckon with tolerable accuracy up
to ten. For numbers above ten they use the toes, never, so far as
we observed, two or three toes, but always all the toes together to
indicate a large but uncertain number. Sometimes they opened and closed
the fingers of both hands two or three times and uttered the word
_takirí_, which appeared to mean “many.” They did not, as some people
do, use the word which means “hand” to indicate five or a quantity of
about that number.

With patience we learnt a great number of substantives, the names of
animals, the parts of the body, the various possessions of the natives
and so forth, and with more difficulty we learnt some of the active
verbs. But when we came to abstract ideas, our researches ceased
abruptly for lack of the question words, who, how, where, when, etc.;
these we were never able to learn, and it is impossible to act them.

Thus we were never able to find out what they thought of various
things; we could point to the moon and be told its name, but we were
never able to say, “What is the moon?” We learnt the names of lightning
and thunder, but we never knew who they thought produced them. We
could not find out where their stone axes came from, nor how old they
were, nor who made them; and a hundred other questions, which we should
have liked to put, remained unanswered.


These limitations of our knowledge of the language were particularly
annoying when we tried to find out the simplest ties of relationship.
It may be thought very unintelligent of us that we never learnt the
word for father, in spite of many attempts to do so. If you pointed to
a child and asked a man, knowing him to be the father, what the child
was, he would slap himself on the chest and answer, “_Dorota kamare_”
(my penis); then if you pointed to himself he would tell you his own
name, but never any word that could possibly be construed as father. If
you tried the same thing with the mother she would point to the child
and say, “_Dorota auwë_” (my breast). The child on being questioned
pointed to the father and always said his name, the mother it would
call _Aína_ (woman), but perhaps this word also means mother.

There were two men at Parimau so much alike as to be unmistakably
brothers; we learnt their names and that they were _Inakwa kamare_ (one
penis), but we never found out the name of their relationship.

Seeing that some of the people have a very good idea of drawing on
the ground a map of the country, I tried one day a graphic method of
obtaining the relationships of a man whose name and whose wife’s name
and son’s name I knew. I put sticks on the ground to represent him and
his wife and son, and then in a tentative sort of way put in a stick to
represent his father, whose name he mentioned, but the game did not
interest him and my researches came to an end.

Even the apparently simple matter of enquiring the names of places
is not so easy as one would think. When the first party went up the
Mimika to Parimau they pointed to the huts and asked what the village
was called; the answer given was “Tupué,” meaning I believe, the name
of the family who lived in the huts pointed at. For several months we
called the place Tupué, and the name appeared in various disguises in
the English newspapers. When I was at Parimau in July, it occurred to
me to doubt the name of Tupué, which we never heard the natives use, so
I questioned a man elaborately. Pointing in the direction of Wakatimi,
I said in his language: “Many houses, Wakatimi,” and he nodded assent;
then pointing in the direction of another village that we had visited
I said: “Many houses, Imah,” to which he agreed; then I said. “Many
houses,” and pointed towards Parimau. This performance was repeated
three times before he understood my intention and supplied the word
“Parimau,” and then he shouted the whole story across the river to the
people in the village who received it with shouts of laughter, and
well they might. It was as if a foreigner, who had been living for six
months in a place which he was accustomed to call Smith, enquired again
one day what its name was and found that it was London.


(_On the right is seen a fishing net._)]


The language spoken by the people of Mimika is by no means unpleasant
to listen to, and with the customary sing-song intonation it would be
almost musical, if it were not for the harsh voices of the natives,
both men and women. There are many agreeably soft gutterals, and there
is no hissing sound in the language, as they are unable to pronounce
the letter “s.” Many of their words are really very pleasing, notably
some of their names, such as “Oonabë,” “Inamë,” “Tébo,” “Magena,”
“Awariao,” “Idoriaota,” “Poandio,” and “Mareru,” to mention only a few;
some of the names were so long that I never succeeded in writing them

The people who lived near the upper waters of the Mimika appeared
to speak the same dialect as those living near the coast, with one
noticeable difference. Those words containing a “k” in the language
of the people at the coast lose the “k” in the mouths of the up-river
natives, thus: _Ké_ (rain) in the Wakatimi language becomes _’é_ at
Parimau; _Kie_ (a leech) becomes _’ie_, _Pokanë_ (an axe) becomes

The only rule of grammar that we learnt was the simple method of
constructing the possessive case by adding the suffix _ta_. Thus from
_doro_ (I) you have _dorota_ (mine); from _oro_ (you), _orota_ (your),
and in the same way _Tebota_ (Tebo’s); _Mareruta_ (Mareru’s), and so on.

They were curious to know our names and liked to address us by them;
Goodfellow’s and Rawling’s names baffled them completely; Marshall’s
became “Martë”; they made a good attempt at mine in “Wollatona,” and
Cramer’s they pronounced perfectly.

So far as I know, they never finish a word with a consonant, and when
they adopted a Malay or Dutch word which ended in a consonant, they
always added a vowel; for instance, _tuana_ (master), _Kapítana_
(Captain), _maíora_ (Major).

Some of their newly-constructed words will puzzle future philologists
who go there; for instance, the Malay word _písau_ (a knife) they
called _pítau_, substituting “t” for the “s” which they cannot
pronounce; _petau_ was found easier to say than _pítau_, and eventually
it became changed to _pauti_, which was the finally accepted version.

Probably the best means of learning the local dialect would be to
encourage an intelligent child to visit your camp daily, where it would
learn Malay and in course of time might be able to act as interpreter;
but the process of education would be a slow one, and it would be
constantly interrupted by the wandering habits of the natives. The time
that we spent in the country was too short for any such attempt to be
made, and indeed it was not until we had been there for several months
that the children came fearlessly into our camp. But now that the
natives have full confidence in Europeans a patient scholar might make
a complete study of a quite unknown language.


  _The Papuans of
  Bonnets—Growth of Children—Preponderance of Men—Number of
  Wives—Childhood—Swimming and other Games—Imitativeness
  of Children—The Search for Food—Women as Workers—Fishing
  Nets—Other Methods of Fishing—An Extract from Dampier._

The Papuans of the Mimika district may be divided into two classes or
tribes: those who live in the villages on the lower waters of the river
and make periodical migrations to the sea; and those who live on the
upper waters of the river near the foot of the mountains and who never
go down to the coast. There is a wide interval of uninhabitable country
between the regions occupied by these two tribes, and communication
between them, if it takes place at all, is very rare; but they resemble
each other so closely, both in physical characters and in their manners
and customs, that a single description will suffice for both.[9] The
other native race of the district, the pygmy people who live in the
mountains, will be described in a later chapter.


The skin of the Mimika native is a very dark brown, almost rusty black,
but a dark colour without any of the gloss seen in the skin of the
African negro. Not infrequently we saw men of a lighter, nearly yellow,
colour, and in the Wakatimi district there were three pure albinos, a
man, a woman and a child. The man and woman were covered with blotches
of a pinkish pigment and were peculiarly disagreeable to look at, the
child, a sucking infant, and the offspring of black parents, was as
white as any European baby, and was called, out of compliment to us,

The hair is black and thick and frizzly; it never, or seldom grows
long, so you do not see the ornamental coiffures characteristic of the
natives of some other parts of the island; but they are skilful in
plaiting what there is of it and take some pride in the result. Three-
or four-pronged combs are worn in the hair more as a means of carrying
a useful article than as ornaments. The hair of young children is often
quite fair, but it becomes dark as they grow up; some of the adults
have the custom, common in other places, of dyeing the hair yellow with

The eye of the Papuan child is the eye of any bright dark-eyed child
here or elsewhere; the white of the eye is white and the iris dark
and clear. But very soon the white becomes bloodshot and yellow, and
the iris blurred. The expression in the eyes is a thing that haunts
one by its forlornness and hopelessness; it cannot be described, but
you may see it in the eyes of certain animals. They show a strong
disinclination to look you straight in the eyes, and when you rarely
make them do so you seem to be looking into an unlighted and empty

The teeth are strong, but not conspicuously white and perfect like
those of some other black races. A good many men file or chip the
upper incisors to a point, but this has not, so far as we know, any
particular significance.

The nose is almost bridgeless and is of a somewhat hooked and fleshy
type with wide nostrils. The _septum_ of the nose is pierced when the
boys are young, and the hole is kept open by a rolled-up leaf thrust
through it; in this way it is gradually dilated until the man is
able to wear a carved ornament of a piece of the bill of a hornbill
or a curved boar’s tusk, with which he decorates himself on festal
occasions. The nose-piercing is attended with a good deal of ceremony,
but we were never fortunate enough to see it; it is done when the child
is about five years old, and the operation is made (according to native
accounts) with a piece of sharpened bone heated in the fire. Small
ornaments are sometimes worn in holes in the _alae nasi_ which are
pierced in all the children, both boys and girls, when they are small

Many of the people pierce the lobes of the ear, but the custom is not
universal. The ornaments worn in the ear are strings of two or three
beads, or small rings of plaited fibres or rattan, or the claw of a
cassowary. We took with us a large number of Jew’s harps as trade
goods, but the natives did not care for them, and two (the only two, I
believe) that we did succeed in making the people accept, were worn
by them as ear-rings. Another man, a constant smoker, in default of a
better cigar case always carried a cigar in the lobe of his ear.

Tattooing, in the proper sense of the term, is unknown to the Mimika
Papuans, but a great number of them practise cicatrisation or scarring.
The usual places for these markings are the buttocks and the outer
side of the upper (usually the left) arm. On the buttocks the marks
are almost always the same, a cross, about two inches square, on the
left buttock, and a cross surrounded by a circle on the right. The
mark on the arm is about four inches long and sometimes represents a
snake and sometimes a scorpion or a crayfish, but the meaning of it,
and whether or not it had some totemistic significance we were unable
to learn. Some of the women affect a scar between the breasts, which
makes a very unsightly contraction, and we occasionally saw people with
irregular scars all over the upper part of the breast and back, but it
is probable that most of them were the signs rather of former quarrels
than due to a spirit of coquetry.

They are fond of painting their faces with a bright red earth, lumps of
which they sometimes find and prize very highly, and not infrequently
we saw men with their faces smeared black with a mixture of fat and
charcoal, or whitened with powdered sago, but the reason, if there were
any but vanity, for this adornment we did not discover.

[Illustration: CICATRIZATION.]


The average height of men measured at Wakatimi and Parimau is 5 feet 6
inches. No women were measured, but it would probably be found that
the average height of the women was about two inches less than that of
the men. Such a height is small compared with that of many races, but
the first impression you get of the Papuans is that they are tall, for
they hold themselves well, and all naked people look taller than those
who go clothed. Their legs are thin and rather meagre, due in a great
measure to the large proportion of their lives that is spent in canoes,
but they walk with a good swinging gait and cover the ground easily.

[Sidenote: DRESS]

It is a curious thing that a black man never looks naked; a white man
undressed looks a naked man, so too does a yellow man, but a Papuan—and
nobody could wear much less in the way of clothes than he does—always
seems to be sufficiently clad. The dress of the Papuan men, as has been
suggested above, is scanty in the extreme. They have, or had before
we visited them, no cloth except a very inferior bark cloth made from
the bark of a species of fig tree. Some of the men wear a narrow strip
of this bark cloth, which hangs down in front from a string round the
loins and keeps up an ineffectual pretence of decency.

The more usual covering is the bamboo penis-case, which is kept in
position by pulling the preputium through a hole in the lower end of
the case. There are three or four different patterns of penis-cases,
and they are always ornamented with carved designs. Another equally
common fashion of covering is the shell; this is an oval or roughly
squared segment of a large white sea shell, sometimes as much as six
inches in diameter. It is worn on a string which passes through two
holes bored in it, and is tied tightly round the loins. The convex
surface of the shell faces forwards, and the preputium is pulled
upwards and clipped under the lower margin of the shell. Both the
bamboo case and the shell are useful as a protection against the
leeches and thorns of the jungle.

Small boys go quite naked until they reach the time of puberty, when
for a short period they wear a sort of skirt made from the shredded
leaves of the _pandanus_. Though the men like very much to wear round
their heads strips of our coloured cloth, they do not normally use any
kind of head-gear except on ceremonial occasions, when the men who beat
the drums wear elaborate hats ornamented with the plumes of birds of
paradise. Many of the men wear arm-bands above the elbow and leg-bands
below the knee, made of tightly woven fibre or of fine strips of rattan.

The women are rather more clothed than the men, but it cannot be said
that they are at all overdressed. The usual garment consists of a
narrow belt of bark cloth or grass round the waist, from which there
hang a narrow strip of bark cloth in front, reaching about half way
down the thigh, and a wider strip, somewhat after the fashion of the
tail of an Englishman’s evening coat, extending as far as the knee
behind. In addition to this, many of the women wear a sort of short
waistcoat or sleeveless bodice made of plaited grass or fibre with
tags or tassels hanging down in a sort of fringe from its lower edge.
Newly-married women wear a sort of apron, or rather a long fringe of
shredded leaves, which hangs down from the waist.

[Illustration: WOMEN OF WAKATIMI.

(_On the left is a widow wearing the bonnet._)]

[Sidenote: WIDOWS’ WEEDS]

The best dressed, or in any case the most dressed, members of the
community are the widows, who wear, in addition to the other articles
of female attire, what can only be described as a poke bonnet. In some
cases the bonnet projects so far in front of the face as to obscure the
features, in some it is of a conical design, and in others it resembles
in shape nothing so much as the morion of a mediaeval man-at-arms.

Like the waistcoats worn by the women, the bonnets are made of
ingeniously plaited fibre, and both of these look well when they are
newly made, but they very quickly become hideous with damp and dirt,
and the wearer is a person to be shunned. The small girls, unlike the
boys, wear a narrow strip of bark cloth tucked between the legs almost
as soon as they can walk. It is perhaps worth mentioning that these
people have the art of sewing; they make eyed needles out of sharp fish
bones, and with strands of fibre they contrive to sew pieces of bark
cloth very neatly together.

There are no milk-producing domesticated animals in the country, so
the women suckle their infants for a very long time, and you may
occasionally see children of (apparently) three or four years old at
their mothers’ breasts; but whether young or old, it is very difficult
to estimate the age of these people. In the course of a year we saw
little children grow into active boys and we saw young men become
middle-aged. I should say—but this is pure speculation—that a man
is old at forty years and a woman at an even earlier age; it seems
probable, too, that the life of a woman is shorter than that of a man.

Partly on account of the migratory habits of the natives, and partly
owing to the fact that at no hour of the day until nightfall are all
the people in or about the houses, it was never found possible to take
a census of a village, but from our observations we arrived at the
conclusion that the number of men was decidedly greater than that of

The number of a man’s wives was a favourite subject for boasting and
they often assured us that they had two or even three wives, but we
only knew two men who certainly had two wives; on the other hand we
knew a considerable number of men who had no wives at all. It appears
that a man may take a wife from his own village or from a village in
the same district; thus a Wakatimi man may take a wife from Obota
or Periepia, and a Parimau man from Kamura. There were two women at
Parimau who were said to come from Wakatimi, but whether they had been
voluntarily exchanged or were the spoils of war we were not told.

It was unfortunate that we learnt nothing about the customs and
ceremonies connected with marriage. A wedding took place at Wakatimi
when we all happened to be absent, and the only definite description
that we were able to get of it was that the bride, who arrived from
another village by canoe, crawled on her hands and knees from the
water’s edge to the village, a distance of about a hundred yards, and
most of it through mud.

Beyond question, the happiest time in the lives of the Papuans is their
childhood, when they are free to play from morning to night and need
not take part in the ceaseless search for food, which occupies so much
of the time of their elders. As infants they are carried on the backs
of their mothers and very often of their fathers, secured by a wide
strap of bark cloth, the ends of which are tied across the carrier’s
chest. It is very seldom that you hear them cry and they appear to give
very little trouble; their mothers are very careful of the cleanliness
of the infants. Very early in life they begin to walk and almost as
soon they learn to swim. In fine weather they often spend the greater
part of the day in the river and it is a very pretty sight to see a
crowd of little Papuans playing together in the water. Sometimes they
are joined by the women, who seem to enjoy the fun quite as much as the
children. One of their favourite games is to pretend to be a school of
porpoises, whose rolling headers they imitate admirably. They very soon
become powerful swimmers, and I remember one day seeing a small boy,
who cannot have been more than eight years old, swim across a river in
tremendous flood, while the party of men who were with him had to seek
a place where they could safely swim across half a mile lower down.


There are a number of games too that they play on dry land: they
play the universal game of lying in wait for your enemy and suddenly
pouncing out on him; they have great battles in which they are armed
with miniature bows and arrows, and reed stems take the place of
spears, and shrill yells make up for the lack of bloodshed. There is
another game which I saw played three or four times in exactly the same
manner, and which, by reason of it somewhat resembling a children’s
game called “Nuts in May,” is perhaps worth describing. Eight little
boys, each one carrying a long flowering grass, stood in two parties
of four facing each other a few yards apart. At first they waved their
grasses and then danced towards each other, crossed and took the places
that had been opposite to them; this they repeated twice. Then they
ran round and round in a circle about five yards wide waving their
grasses and shouting until they stopped suddenly and sat down in a
bunch together. After a rest of about half a minute, they jumped up and
ran round again in the same circle, now shouting and grabbing as they
ran handsful of sand, which they threw over their heads into the air or
between their legs into the face of the one behind; then a sudden stop
and again they all sat down in a bunch. After this they jumped up, ran
all together for a few yards shouting loudly, hurled all their grasses
as high into the air as they could, and the game was ended.

Like the children of more civilised races, the young Papuans are fond
of imitating their elders. The boys like to be seen walking about
with men, to copy their swaggering walk, and to sit about smoking
idly and watch the women at work. The little girls sometimes contrive
to make grass garments like those worn by the women; they make small
dolls’ houses in which they themselves, or infants still smaller than
they, are the dolls, and they like to be seen baling out the canoes
or carrying sand for the houses. But in their case pretence is soon
changed to reality, and when they are quite young they are made to
accompany their mothers in the serious business of life, while the
boys are still leading a gay life with no responsibilities. Both boys
and girls very early become proficient in the management of canoes, and
a child of tender years will confidently steer a canoe through rough
water which would end in certain shipwreck for one of us.


The chief business in the lives of the Papuans is that of all animals,
human and others, namely, the search for food. But while the civilised
races have learnt to foresee wants of the future, and have established
a system of agriculture which provides food for everybody and leaves a
part of the population free to pursue other occupations, the Papuans
take no thought for the morrow, and the search for food becomes
literally a hand to mouth business, which occupies the attentions of
every member of the community.

They have no cultivation in the Mimika villages, and even at those
places such as Obota (see p. 88) where there is some cultivation,
the crops that they raise are not nearly sufficient for the whole
population, so it can easily be imagined that an improvident people
living in a country constantly liable to sudden floods, which swamp
the land for weeks at a time, is frequently faced with a prospect of
complete starvation. At first you are inclined to think that the whole
of the business of collecting food falls on the shoulders of the women,
while the men sit at home and do nothing. This is certainly true of a
great many days in the year, but certain tasks can only be performed by
the men, such as hunting for game in the jungle, and felling trees to
make the canoes, without which the people must inevitably starve.

Their working day begins fairly early, and by about eight o’clock the
village is almost deserted by the women, who have all gone off in
canoes to fish or collect sago. As a rule, two or three women go in
each canoe, taking with them a few children, a dog or two, several
fishing nets, rolls of matting, some spears and arrows, a little food,
a bamboo filled with fresh water, if they are going down to the river
mouth, and always a fire burning in the stern of the boat. The usual
destination of the women is the muddy creeks among the mangrove swamps
not far from the sea; there where the water is brackish and the tide
rises and falls several feet they find in the mud banks large mussels
(_Cyrena_ sp.), which contain a good deal of food, and the shells of
which are useful as knives and scrapers. Hopping all over the mud are
seen hundreds of curious little fish (_Periophthalmus_ sp.), whose eyes
seem to be starting out of their heads; these little creatures climb up
the steepest mud banks, and even up the stumps of trees.


[Sidenote: FISHING]

The commonest type of fishing net is made in an oval framework of
wood, or strips of rattan, about 5 feet long by 2 feet wide; the net
is a close mesh of native string stretched tightly across the frame,
except at the middle, where it sags a little. The usual method of using
this kind of net is to grasp it at both ends and by wading through the
shallow water to scoop up small fish much in the same way as shrimps
are caught. There is another more ingenious method of using it, which
sometimes results in large capture of little fish. When the tide
is high the bushes along the river bank and many of the drooping
branches of the trees are submerged; the natives approach quietly in
their canoes, cautiously push the net under the submerged vegetation,
and then with a sudden jerk lift it up out of the water, in this way
capturing numbers of small fish which had been sheltering or looking
for food among the leaves.

Another form of fishing net—though there is no netting in its
construction—is made of long, thin strips of bamboo tied parallel to
each other at intervals of about half an inch, forming a sort of screen
or trellis-work, which can be rolled up if necessary. Strong wooden
stakes are driven into the mud at the mouth of the creeks which join
the river in many places, and at high water the screens are fastened to
the stakes in such a way as to touch the bottom and close the entrance
of the creek; the water can run back when the tide falls, but not the
fish which are sometimes caught in considerable numbers.

The larger fish are all obtained by the men, who either catch them with
a hook and line, or spear them in the shallow water near the river
mouth, or along the sea shore. We saw very few hooks; one or two were
made of rough metal, the others were neatly fashioned from fish bones,
and all of them were plain without barbs. Now they have a large number
of steel fishhooks, which they greatly value.

The commonest types of fish-spear are made of thin bamboo or a light
wood about ten feet long, and they end in three or four sharp prongs
of bamboo or hardened wood. They also use a barbed spear of which
the head becomes detached from the shaft, when it becomes fixed in a
fish; a light line connecting the shaft with the head causes the shaft
to act as a drag on the movements of the fish, which can easily be
followed up and killed; this kind of spear is only used for the larger
fish, saw-fish and the like, but I never saw it in use. Considering the
enormous number of fish that there are—at the mouth of the river the
water is sometimes seen to be seething with large fish—it cannot be
said that the men are very clever with their spears.

They also shoot fish, using single- or three-pointed arrows; you may
see a man standing quietly in a pool of water like a heron waiting for
the fish to come up to him, or stalking a shoal of fish stealthily
from the bank; in either case he will probably shoot arrow after arrow
without effect, for they are absurdly indifferent marksmen with the bow.

The most primitive methods of all of catching fish I saw practised one
day coming down from Obota. A native paddling in the bow of my canoe
saw a large fish near the bank, towards which he steered the canoe.
When he judged that he was near enough to it, he hurled himself flat on
to the water with a resounding splash that drenched everything in the
boat, and a thud that would have stunned the fish at once had it not
darted off an instant earlier.

The sight of a fish, however small it is, always rouses a Papuan to
action. When we were travelling with natives, we sometimes came to
pools where small fish had been left by some receding flood. Instantly
their loads were thrown down and everyone darted into the water with
sticks and stones and shouts and as much enthusiasm as if the fish had
been salmon and a full meal for everyone.

There is another method of fishing which was observed by the navigator,
Captain Dampier, in use by the natives of this region. It is so
remarkable that, although we did not see it employed by the people of
the Mimika district, I shall make no excuse for repeating it here:—

“They strike Fish very ingeniously with Wooden Fiss-gigs and have a
very ingenious way of making the Fish rise: For they have a piece of
Wood curiously carv’d and painted much like a Dolphin (and perhaps
other Figures;) these they let down into the Water by a Line with a
small weight to sink it; when they think it low enough, they haul
the Line into their Boats very fast, and the Fish rise up after this
Figure; and they stand ready to strike them when they are near the
Surface of the Water.”[11]

There are times when the natives get more fish than they know what to
do with, and other times when no fish can be caught; but they have no
idea of laying up a store for the lean times. It is true that they char
some in the fire and keep them for a few days before the fish putrify,
but if they learnt to smoke some of their surplus supply, they need
never go hungry.


  _Food of the Papuans—Cassowaries—The Native Dog—Question
  of Cannibalism—Village Headman—The Social System of the
  Papuans—The Family—Treatment of Women—Religion—Weather
  Superstitions—Ceremony to avert a Flood—The Pig—A Village
  Festival—Wailing at Deaths—Methods of Disposal of the
  Dead—No Reverence for the Remains—Purchasing Skulls._


The search for food furnishes occasionally some very curious scenes.
One of the most remarkable occurs when the river in flood brings down a
tree-trunk in a suitable stage of decay. A canoe is sent out with men
to secure it and tow it to the bank. When it has been left stranded by
the falling water, the people, men, women and children come out and
swarm around it like bees about a honey-pot, and you wonder what they
can be doing. When you go close you find that some are splitting up
the log with their stone axes and others are cutting up the fragments
with sharpened shells in the same way that their ancestors—and perhaps
ours too—did centuries ago. The objects of their search are the large
white _larvæ_ of a beetle, about the size of a man’s thumb; I have seen
natives eat them just as they cut them out of the wood, but usually
they roast them in the fire and consider them a great delicacy.

Nothing that can by any means be considered eatable comes amiss to the
Papuans; there are two kinds of water tortoises which they like to eat,
and rats, lizards, frogs and snakes, and the eggs of crocodiles they
devour greedily. A number of different kinds of fruits, most of them
disagreeable to European tastes, are found growing in the jungle and
form a welcome addition to their fare. Birds they get occasionally, but
their skill with the bow and arrow is not remarkable.

Most of their meat is obtained by hunting with dogs the wild pig, the
wallaby and the cassowary. The pig (_Sus papuensis_), though it is not
really a native of New Guinea, was introduced into the island so long
ago that it has become as well established as the rabbit has become
in this country. In some places, particularly near the foot of the
mountains, pigs are fairly numerous, and the natives kill a good many;
they are very savage beasts, and I saw a native terribly gashed by a
large boar, which was shortly afterwards shot by one of our Gurkhas.

The Wallaby (_Dorcopsis lorentzii_) is a small kangaroo, about two
feet in height when it stands upright; it seems to be fairly evenly
distributed all over the district. When the natives bestir themselves
they seem to be able to catch the wallaby fairly easily; in four
consecutive days we saw the remains of thirteen brought into the
village of Parimau. The flesh is coarse and has a very strong musky

There are two kinds of Cassowary in the Mimika district, a small
species new to science (_Casuarius claudi_), which was discovered in
the mountains at an altitude of about 1500 feet, and a large species
(_Casuarius sclateri_), which was fairly abundant everywhere. We
frequently heard their curious booming cry at night and we often saw
their tracks in the mud of the jungle or on the river bank, but they
are very shy birds and are seldom seen.

Once I had the luck to see an old cassowary with two young birds
walking about in a stony river bed, a place which they particularly
affect, and it was a very pretty sight to see how the mother bird,
after she had caught sight of me, drove away the chicks to a place of
safety and all the time kept herself between them and me. The natives
hunt and kill and eat a good many cassowaries; the feathers are used
for ornamental head-dresses and belts and for decorating spears and
clubs, and the claws are often used as the points of arrows.


The Papuan Dog, without whose help the native would seldom, if ever,
be able to get any meat, is a sharp-nosed prick-eared creature about
the size of a Welsh terrier. The colour is yellow, brown or black, and
the tail, which is upstanding, is tipped with white. Usually the hair
is short and smooth, but we saw one dog, brought down to Parimau by a
party of pygmies, which had a thick furry coat like a chow dog, which
it also resembled in the carriage of its tail. The dogs in the village
of the pygmies which we visited, were smooth-coated like those of the
Papuans, so it is possible that that thick-coated animal came from some
remote district where the natives live at a higher altitude.

The Papuan dogs are very sociable creatures, and they like to accompany
the natives on their journeys. They are particularly fond of going in
canoes on the river, and two or three are seen in nearly every canoe
even when the people are only out fishing. Their food is generally
given to them by the women and it consists of raw meat, when there
is any, and lumps of sago. A remarkable peculiarity about them is
that they never bark, but they make up for this defect by their
extraordinary power of howling. Sometimes in broad daylight, if there
was no wind, but more often on still fine nights, a party of dogs
would sit together, usually on the river bank, and utter a chorus of
the most piteous and blood-curdling howls. No amount of stone-throwing
or beating with sticks, freely administered by their masters, had the
smallest effect on them; they would only move away a few yards and
begin again, apparently carried away by an ecstasy of sorrow.

The natives value their dogs highly, as they well may do, for they
provide the whole of their meat supply, and they use them to exchange
for articles of which they have great need. The people at Parimau have
a small piece of iron about the size of a chisel, used for carving
their canoes and paddles, for which the enormous price of three dogs
had been paid, so they informed us, to the people of the Wakatimi.
One day one of our “boys” shot a dog, which had been in the habit of
stealing food from our camp. When the natives knew that it was dead,
all the people of the village began to wail in the same manner as they
do when a person dies, and the owner of the dog smeared himself with
mud and mourned bitterly. No doubt the display was somewhat exaggerated
in the hope of getting a compensation from us, but at the back of it
there was genuine emotion.

Before leaving the subject of the food of the Papuans and their means
of obtaining it, a word must be said on the question of cannibalism.
It is popularly supposed that all the natives of New Guinea are
cannibals, and fears were expressed by many of our friends that some,
if not all, of us would end in a Papuan feast. But we saw no signs of
cannibalism, and we have no reason to suppose that it is practised by
the people of the Mimika district. Men whom we questioned about it
denied it and showed expressions of disgust at the suggestion; but that
is not a complete proof of their innocence, for I have known people
elsewhere, who were undoubtedly cannibals, deny it in the same manner.
The question of cannibalism is always difficult to decide without
direct evidence, and in the case of these Papuans the verdict must be
one of “Not proven.”


The account given in a preceding chapter of the difficulties we
experienced in learning the language of the Papuans will serve to
explain how it was that we learnt so little about the nature of their
social system. The people of Wakatimi were called _Wakatimi-wé_ (people
of Wakatimi), the people of Obota were _Obota-wé_, and the people
of other villages in like manner, but we never heard one word that
included them all, nor indeed do we know whether or not they consider
themselves all to belong to the same tribe.

In every village that we visited there were one or two or even more
men who called themselves _natoo_, a word signifying “chief.” But in
no case did the _natoo_ appear to have any authority over the other
people; their houses were no bigger than the rest, and (except in one
instance) they had no more personal property than the other members of
the community.

[Illustration: A PAPUAN OF MIMIKA.]

The exceptional case was a man of unusual intelligence who became our
intimate friend and gave us much information for which he was always
well rewarded, so that before we left the country his house was filled
with tins and bottles, and he was the possessor of axes and knives,
yards of cloth and countless beads. In all the ordinary affairs of life
the “chiefs” and their families have to work like everybody else, but
it is possible that in their wars, of which we saw nothing at all, they
may be persons of more consequence.

Generally speaking, one would say that the society of the Mimika
Papuans is a group of small families. It cannot by any means be
described as a socialistic community; with one exception there is no
sign of community of property, but it is rather a case of every man
for himself, or (more accurately) of every family for itself. A canoe
belongs to the family of the man who made it; the coconut trees, which
grow here and there along the lower Mimika, do not belong to the
community but to individuals, presumably the men or some of the men
who planted them. Sometimes the trees are protected by a fence, a very
flimsy structure of three or four sticks, placed across the track which
leads to the trees; in other cases a few palm leaves or some pierced
shells threaded on a string are tied round the tree itself; both of
these devices appear to be enough to ensure the security of the trees.
The exception mentioned is seen when game is brought in by the hunters;
the meat, as I observed on several occasions, is distributed to every
house in the village.

As I have described above (p. 97) the houses in a village are joined
together under a common roof, but each family enters by its own
doorway, and, except for the publicity resulting from the lack of
dividing walls or partitions, it finds itself in its own private house.
It is difficult to say exactly of what the “family-group” consists.
There are the man and his wife and the children, and sometimes an extra
man or two, and, rarely, an extra woman, who is, I believe, always a
second wife of the man of the house; but the position of the extra men
and their relationship to the rest of the family I cannot define. At
the village of Obota a detached house, rather larger than the rest,
was said to be occupied by young men only; we did not see any other
instance of this elsewhere.

Families are small, as might be expected from the severity of their
conditions of life and the long period of suckling by the mothers,
and we did not know definitely of any couple who had more than three
living children. Though the women do a large amount of the work of the
community they are not mere drudges; they do a great deal of talking,
and the men appear to pay considerable respect to their opinion. This
was frequently noticeable when we wanted to buy something, such as
canoes, from a native; he would say that he must first of all go and
consult his wife, and when he returned it often happened that, prompted
by his wife, he insisted on a higher payment than he had asked before.

On one occasion only did we see a woman ill-treated, and the
performance was a particularly brutal one. Two men and a woman walked
down from the village of Wakatimi to the river bank, dragging another
woman, who shrieked and struggled violently. After throwing her into
the mud they dragged her into the shallow water and tried to drown her
by holding her down under a fishing-net. We shouted at them, and were
just going with some soldiers in a canoe across the river to rescue the
woman, when they desisted and allowed the poor creature to crawl out on
to the bank, where she lay for some time exhausted. Some natives who
came over to us shortly afterwards laughed about it and treated the
whole affair as a joke.


With regard to the superstitions and beliefs of the Papuans, owing
to our unfortunate difficulties with the language we learnt nothing
whatever. Religion, in the accepted sense of that term, I am sure they
have not. It is true that they make curious carved effigies, but these
are not idols, and there is no evidence to show that they ever consult
or worship them; on the contrary, they treat them with contempt and
often point to them with laughter. These images are ingeniously and
skilfully carved out of wood, and they represent a human figure always
grotesque and sometimes grossly indecent. They vary in size from a few
inches to twelve or fourteen feet, and when they are not neglected they
are ornamented with red and white paint.

We had opportunities of observing the outward signs of what were
probably superstitions in connection with certain phenomena of the
weather. For instance, the first peal of thunder that was heard in
the day—it occurred almost every day—was greeted by the men with a
long-drawn tremulous shout. On the occasion of a particularly alarming
thunderstorm, when the lightning flashes were almost unceasing, the
men came out of doors and with long sticks beat the ground in front
of their huts; then they waved the sticks in the air, shouting loudly
meanwhile. Curiously enough the rare whistle of a certain bird, which
we never identified, was always greeted by the men of Parimau with a
shout precisely similar to that with which they greet the thunder.

The first sight of the new moon was signalised by a short sharp bark
rather than a shout. Several times on the day following the first sight
of the new moon I noticed a spear decorated with white feathers exposed
conspicuously in the village, but whether it had any connection with
the kalendar I cannot say.

When the first drops of rain of the day began to fall, the men were
sometimes seen to snap their fingers four times towards the four
quarters of the compass.

A curious ceremony was twice observed at a time of heavy rain, when the
Mimika was rising rapidly and threatening to sweep away the village
of Parimau. A party of men walked down to the edge of the river, and
one of them with a long spear threshed the water, while the others at
each stroke shouted, “_Mbu_” (water, flood). Then they went up to the
village, and in front of each door they dug a hole, into which they
poured a coconut-full of water; again they shouted “_Mbu_,” and then
filled up the hole with sand.

That they have some belief in the supernatural is certain. We learnt a
word _niniki_, which undoubtedly means ghosts; they described _niniki_
as things which you could not see but were here and there in the air
about you. When they were asked where a dead man had gone to, they
talked of _niniki_, and pointed vaguely to the horizon, saying the word
which means “far.”

[Sidenote: PIGS]

If there is one thing in heaven or earth to which it may be said that
the Papuans pay some sort of respect it is the pig. They hunt and kill
a good many wild pigs in the jungle and eat their flesh, but the lower
jaw of each animal is carefully cleaned and hung up on a sort of rack
in front of the houses; on one of these racks I counted no fewer than
thirty-two pigs’ jaws. The grass and leaves in which the animal is
wrapped and the ropes used for tying it up when it is carried home from
the jungle, are not thrown away but are hung up on a similar sort of
rack in a conspicuous place in the village.

In every village there may generally be seen two or three pigs running
about freely; they are probably not bred in the village, but are caught
in the jungle, when they are young. They very soon become quite tame
and accompany the people on their migrations from one place to another
until they are full grown, when they provide food for a festival. The
only elaborate popular ceremony that took place while we were in the
country happened early in May at Parimau, and the principal feature
of it was the slaughter of pigs. Unfortunately for me I was at the
base-camp at the time and did not see the festival, so I will make
extracts from Marshall’s graphic account.[12]


“Yesterday the natives gave us an excellent show. For some days
previously natives had been arriving from distant parts until the small
village of 40 huts contained 400 people, and it was evident from the
tomtomming and other signs that something of importance was about to
take place. On the night of the 3rd inst. they lit a big bonfire, and
all night long they were howling and yelling as if to drive away evil
spirits. Soon after daybreak they came over to fetch us, and, expecting
something unusual, I slipped a film into my cinematograph camera and
went over. They gave me every opportunity of obtaining a good picture,
keeping an open space for me in the best positions. First of all the
women, draped in leaves, slowly walked down the beach, driving two
full-grown boars in front of them, and then disappeared in the jungle.
About 150 men with faces painted and heads and spears decorated with
feathers, formed up in three sides of a square, one end of which was
occupied by a band of tomtoms. A slow advance on the village then
commenced, the men shouting in chorus and the women dancing on the
outskirts. The centre of the square was occupied by single individuals,
who, following each other in quick succession, gave a warlike display,
finally shooting arrows far over the trees.


“The next scene took place around a large sloping erection which we
soon found was an altar, on which the two boars were about to be
sacrificed. The women and boars who had disappeared into the forest
now marched from the jungle at the far end of the village. The
boars were seized, and a struggle with the animals ensued, but the two
huge brutes were bound up with rattan, chalk meanwhile being rubbed
into their eyes, apparently in order to blind them. The women set up
a tremendous wailing, and appeared on the scene plastered in wet mud
from head to foot. The two boars, on each of which a man sat astride,
were now hoisted up and carried to the altar, on which the animals were
tightly lashed. Then amid much shouting, tomtomming, and fanatical
displays, the boars were clubbed to death. As soon as life was extinct,
the women cut the carcases free, and, pulling them to the ground,
threw themselves on the dead bodies, wailing loudly, and plastering
themselves with wet mud in ecstasies of grief. This continued for some
ten minutes, when the men, many of whom were covered with mud and
uttered strange dirges, picked up the bodies, and the whole assembly
following suit marched into the river, where a much-needed washing
took place. Just previous to this a three-year-old child, painted red
and crying loudly, had been roughly seized and dragged towards the
dais, and for a moment we thought something more serious than a boar
sacrifice was about to take place. But we were much relieved to see
that it was only having its ears pierced. The whole performance lasted
about an hour and a half.

“The afternoon was given over to innocent play, the women and
girls—many of them quite pretty—chasing the men up to the river side
and into the water. This is one of the few ceremonies when the
women are allowed to beat the men, the latter not being permitted to
retaliate. The damsels finally became so bold that they stormed the

Of ceremonies connected with birth, if any take place, we saw nothing
at all. The only marriage ceremony that took place during our stay in
the country has been referred to on a preceding page.

Deaths were unfortunately more frequent, and if they were not
accompanied by any elaborate ceremonial they were, at all events,
widely advertised, sometimes indeed even before the event itself. A
wretched man became very ill at Parimau in August, and it was soon
evident that his days were numbered. Members of his family carried
him out of the house and laid him in the sunlight for a time, and
then took him back into the house again at least half a dozen times
a day. Now and again, when he dozed, they set up the dreadful wail
that is customary when a person dies, and he had to wake up and
assure them of his continued life. At night his hut was crowded with
sympathetic watchers, and with the smoke of the fire and much tobacco
the atmosphere must have been nearly insupportable. As our own house
was distant only about forty yards across the river we could plainly
hear his laboured breathing, and when it grew softer they wailed again
until the wonder was that he did not die. On the third day they dug a
grave for him, but still he lingered on, and it was not until the fifth
night, when a tremendous flood came down and swept away the village so
that all the people had to take refuge in their canoes, that he died.


When a death occurs the people in the hut at once begin to wail,
then the people in the neighbouring huts join in and soon the whole
village is wailing. It is a very peculiar and very striking chorus.
Each individual wails on one note, and as there are perhaps five
notes ranging from a very high pitch to a deep murmured bass being
sung at once, the effect is most mournful. The occasional beat of
a drum adds not a little to the general effect of lamentation. It
must be admitted, however, that the wailing is not always a musical
performance. Sometimes the mourning man behaves in the way that a child
does when it is described as “roaring”; he puckers up his face in the
most extraordinary contortions, “roars” at the top of his voice with
occasional heart-breaking sobs, while the tears course down his face,
and the complete picture is ludicrous in the extreme.

The disposal of the dead nearly always takes place just before dawn,
but the method of it is not always the same. The most common practice
is to bury the body in a shallow grave dug in the nearest convenient
spot, sometimes within a few yards of the huts. The body is wrapped in
mats and laid flat in the grave, which is then filled up, and its place
is perhaps marked by a stick, but in a day or two it is forgotten and
people trample on it without heed.

We observed one instance of a more elaborate kind of burial. The
corpse, wrapped in leaves and mats, was taken out into the jungle and
placed on a platform about four feet high, which had been put up for
the purpose. After placing the body on the platform the men who had
carried it walked down to the river, shouted once in unison, and then,
having received an answering shout from the men in the village, one of
them threw a small triangular piece of wood out into the stream. In
the meantime the family of the dead man disappeared into the jungle,
from which they soon emerged quite naked, plastered all over with mud
and decorated with wisps of climbing plants. The next two days were
spent in digging a grave and making a coffin shaped like a small canoe;
this however was found to be too small and was not used. On the third
day the body was placed in the grave, and an ornamental post placed in
the ground at each end, but contrary to our hopes (for the state of
that man was becoming very offensive) they did not fill in the grave.
They merely covered the body with leaves and turned it over every day.
At intervals the widow, quite naked, save for a plastering of mud,
crawled on hands and knees from her hut, which was less than five yards
distant, and visited the grave. In a few days a providential flood came
and filled up the grave and put an end to what had become for us an
almost intolerable nuisance.

Both at Wakatimi and at Parimau our camp commanded a good view of the
native village, and a death always provided us with the mild excitement
of wondering in what new way they would celebrate the event. On one
occasion when a woman died, the bereaved husband and another man walked
slowly down to the river and waded out into about three feet of water.
There the widower submitted to being washed all over by the other man
and finally to being held under water by him for half a minute or
more, after which they walked solemnly back to the village.


Early in the morning of the day after the death of the _natoo_ of
Wakatimi all the women and girls of the village, to the number of sixty
or seventy, came down to the river, all of them without a vestige of
clothing, and in the shallow water a foot or two deep they swam and
crawled and wriggled up the river for a hundred yards or more, wailing
loudly all the time. Sometimes they came out on to the bank and rolled
in the mud, and finally they all went out of the water and stood
wailing in front of the dead man’s house.

Another method of disposing of the dead, which is very frequently
adopted, is to place the body wrapped in mats in a rude coffin, which
is usually constructed from pieces of broken canoes. The coffin
containing the body is supported on a trestle of crossed sticks about
four feet from the ground (see illustration opposite), and there it
remains until decomposition is complete. As these coffins are often
placed within a yard or two of the houses, it can be imagined that a
Papuan village is not always a pleasant place to visit.

At the village of Nimé we saw two or three pathetic little bundles
containing the remains of infants exposed on racks within a few feet of
the houses, from which they doubtless came.


When decomposition is complete no account is taken of the bones,
excepting the skull, which is taken and preserved in the house.
Sometimes it is buried in the sand of the floor of the house, and
sometimes it is tied up in a sort of open basket-work of rattan and
hung up in the roof, where it becomes brown with smoke and polished
by frequent handling.

Though the people take the trouble to bring the skulls into their
houses, they show no real respect for them, and they are eager enough
to part with them if a chance occurs. Two of us went one day to Obota,
a village a few miles from Wakatimi, in the hopes of buying some
bananas. In one of the huts we saw a skull and offered to buy it, not
at all expecting that the owner would be willing to sell, but the offer
of (I think) a piece of cloth was gladly accepted and the skull was
ours. In a few minutes, when it became known that we had given good
cloth for a common skull, everybody was anxious to sell his family
remains, and outside every doorway were placed one or two or even three
grinning skulls. They do not treat the skulls very carefully, and a
good many were damaged, so we only bought about half a dozen that were

One day a man walked into our camp at Wakatimi carrying a skull under
his arm. He stood outside our house for some time, grinning and saying
nothing, then he gave us unmistakably to understand that it was the
skull of his wife, who, as we knew for a fact, had only died a short
time previously. The skull was indeed so fresh that we declined the


  _Papuans’ Love of Music—Their Concerts—A Dancing
  House—Carving—Papuans as Artists—Cat’s Cradle—Village
  Squabbles—The Part of the Women—Wooden and Stone
  Clubs—Shell Knives and Stone Axes—Bows and Arrows—Papuan
  Marksmen—Spears—A most Primitive People—Disease—Prospects
  of their Civilisation._

The most pleasing characteristic of the Papuans is their love of music.
When a number of them are gathered together and when they have eaten
well, or are for any other reason happy, they have a concert. Sometimes
the concerts take place in the afternoon and continue till nightfall,
but more often they begin after dark and go on almost through the
night. The orchestra is simple and consists of two or three men who
beat drums and sit before a small fire in the middle. Round them are
grouped the chorus all sitting on the ground. The drums are hollowed
cylinders of wood, which are often elaborately carved; one end is
open, the other is closed by a piece of lizard’s or snake’s skin (see
illustration p. 142). When this skin becomes slack, as it very quickly
does, the drummer holds it towards the fire until it regains its
pitch. It is not the custom to tune up both drums, when there are more
than one, to the same pitch, usually an interval of about half a tone
is left between them. The leader of the orchestra sometimes wears a
remarkable head-dress made of plaited fibre and ornamented with bunches
of plumes of the Bird of Paradise (see illustration p. 78). The effect
of these plumes waving backwards and forwards as the man moves his head
to mark the phrases of the song is exceedingly striking, and it must
be admitted that if there is anybody, who can becomingly wear those
gorgeous plumes, it is the naked black man.

The most usual kind of song begins with a slow tapping of the drums,
then these are beaten quicker and the singer (one of the drummers)
begins a sort of recitative song, to which the chorus contributes a
low humming accompaniment. Then the drums are beaten very loudly and
rapidly, all the men in chorus sing, or rather growl, a deep guttural
note, followed by a prolonged musical note at about the middle of the
register of a normal man’s voice, and the song ends with one or more
short sharp barks, “Wah! wah! wah!” with a loud drum accompaniment. The
song, or probably different verses of it, is repeated very many times.
The final shouts of the song, which for want of a better word I have
called “barks,” are uttered by all the men in unison and recall, as was
pointed out by Mr. Goodfellow, the harsh croaking call of the Greater
Bird of Paradise, which is heard almost daily in the jungle. It is
possible that the song is in some way connected with the bird and that
there is an intentional imitation of its note.

The scheme of all these songs is the same, viz., a recitative with
drums and a humming accompaniment, but some of them have really
rollicking choruses, and we used to listen to them at night with
extreme pleasure as they came, somewhat softened by distance, over the
water to our camp at Wakatimi. The voices of the men are often rich,
and they have a true musical ear. Their intervals are very similar to
ours and not at all like those of the Malays and many other Eastern
singers, who recognize perhaps five notes where we have only two.
Beside the drum the only instrument of music they have is a straight
trumpet made from a short piece of bamboo. This produces only a single
booming note and is not used at the concerts.

[Illustration: 1. STONE AXE.


5. 6. 7. DRUMS.]


As an amusement of the Papuans even more important than singing is
dancing, of which they often talked, but though we saw some of their
dancing halls (see illustration p. 48), we never had the good fortune
to witness a performance. At the coast village of Nimé, a few miles
to the East of the Mimika River, there was a very elaborate dancing
house, which must have cost an immense amount of labour to build. The
length of the house from front to back was about 100 feet, the width
about 25 feet, and it rested on poles which were about 8 feet high in
front, rising up to about 14 feet high at the back. The side walls and
the back were of “atap” as was also the roof, which sloped from a long
ridgepole running the whole length of the house. The ridgepole was
remarkable as being made from a single tree trunk (_Casuarina_) shaved
down very smoothly to a uniform thickness of about 10 inches; the ends
of it, which projected about 8 feet both at the front and back of the
house, were carved in very lifelike representations of the head of a
crocodile and were painted red. The weight of the beam must have been
immense and one wondered how it had been hoisted into position. Between
the ridge of the roof and the eaves there projected both in front and
at the back six other smaller poles grotesquely carved to represent
fish and reptiles and hideous human heads. The front of the house was
open, and when you had climbed up the supporting poles and had stepped
over a low fence you found yourself in a spacious hall with a floor
well made of sheets of bark, which sloped up gradually from front to
back. Along either side at regular intervals on the floor were sand
fireplaces and above these were wooden racks, from which it was evident
that something was hung to be cooked. Round the walls on all sides
was a strip of carved and painted wood, and exactly in the middle of
the hall, fixed to the floor and the roof were two posts about 3 feet
apart and tied between them, at about half the height of a man, was an
elaborately carved and painted board about twelve inches wide. In the
middle of this board was carved the eye, which is a familiar feature of
the ornamental carving on the canoes and drums, and it appeared that
this eye is the centre of the ceremonies which take place in the house.

So far as I could understand from the description of the natives who
accompanied me in my visit to the house, the people, both men and
women, who take part in the ceremony, dance slowly upwards from the
front of the house singing as they go, and when they reach the carved
board each one in turn touches the eye, while all the people shout
together. But what the object of the whole performance is and what the
people cook and eat, are questions to which I was unable to find an



I have had occasion above to mention the artistic carvings on the
canoes and drums. Their paddles too show a very good idea of design,
as will be seen from the illustration p. 144. Nothing amused them more
than to be provided with a pencil and pieces of paper and to attempt
to draw figures. Their efforts were not always very successful, and
some of the drawings which I have kept would be quite unrecognisable
for what they are, if I had not labelled them at the time. Like the
young of civilised races they always preferred to draw the figures of
men and women, and some of these are remarkable for having the mouth
near the top of the head above the level of the eyes. The method of
drawing is very simple; the pencil is held almost upright on the paper
and the outline of the figure, begun at an arm or leg or anywhere
indifferently, is drawn in one continuous stroke without removing the
pencil from the paper. The end is always rather exciting, like the feat
of drawing a pig when you are blindfolded, for the artist is never
quite certain of finishing at the point whence he started. Besides
human figures they liked drawing dogs, pigs, birds and fishes. Two
pictures of a dog and a bird both done by the same man are peculiarly
interesting, because they were both drawn upside down. I watched the
man making the drawings, and when they were finished I saw that the
legs of the creatures were uppermost; so I turned the papers the right
way round and handed them back to him, but he inverted them again and
admired them in that position. Curiously enough the same man drew human
figures in the correct attitude, head uppermost, so that the state of
his mental vision offers rather a puzzling problem.

[Illustration: _a._ Cockatoo. _a_{1} b_. Designs for scarification.
_b._ Hornbill. _c._ Pig. _d._ Dog. _e._ Bird. _f._ Man. _g._ Woman.]

Most of them had a keen appreciation of pictures and they were
surprisingly quick in identifying photographs of themselves; in this
respect they showed a good deal more intelligence than some of our
Gurkhas, who held a photograph sideways or upside down and gazed at it
blankly, as if they had not the faintest idea of what it portrayed.
The illustrated papers were a source of endless delight to them, and
the portraits of beautiful ladies, who they felt sure were our wives,
were greatly admired. Horses, sheep, cattle and all other animals were
declared to be dogs.

[Sidenote: CAT’S CRADLE]

Another amusement—it can hardly be called an art—of the Papuans is
the game of cat’s cradle, at which many of them are extraordinarily
proficient. It is not, as with us, a game played by two persons; with
them the part of the second person is performed by the player’s teeth,
and he contrives to produce some wonderfully intricate figures, none of
which, I regret to say, we had patience or skill enough to learn. The
most elaborate figure I saw was supposed to represent a bird, and when
the features of it had been pointed out some resemblance was certainly

But it must be admitted that their amusements are not always so
innocent as drawing pictures and playing cat’s cradle. I have referred
above to the gang of drunkards, who used to create such turmoil
at Wakatimi. The people of Parimau, who had no means of getting
intoxicated, were just as quarrelsome as the Wakatimi people, and
fights were of frequent, almost daily occurrence. Some one does
something, it matters not what, to offend some other person, and
in an instant the village is in an uproar. Spears fly through the
air—we never saw anybody touched by one—and stone clubs are brandished
furiously, the combatants all shout horrible threats at the tops of
their voices, while a few people look on stolidly or hardly take any
notice at all. There seems to be a certain etiquette about the use of
clubs, for the person about to be hit generally presents a soft part of
his person, the back or shoulders, to the clubber, and we never saw a
man intentionally hit another on the head, a blow which might easily be
fatal; but blood flowed in plenty from the flesh wounds.

The part of the women in these village squabbles is always to scream
loudly and generally to begin by banging the houses with sticks or
spears and to end with pulling them to pieces. In a fight at Wakatimi
we saw a party of infuriated women absolutely demolish three or four
houses. The fights end almost as suddenly as they begin and in a short
time the village settles down to its usual tranquillity. Neither the
sight nor the sound of these village quarrels is very agreeable, but
they have no regularly organised games and, at the worst, not a very
great amount of damage is done.

The clubs used in these village fights and doubtless also in their
tribal wars—but of those we know nothing—are of two kinds, wooden and
stone-headed. The wooden clubs are about four feet long and consist of
a plain shaft, of which the last foot or rather more is carved into
a saw-like cutting edge; some of these are made of a very heavy wood
and they are exceedingly formidable weapons. A more simple type of
wooden club is a plain wooden shaft rather thinner at the handle end
than at the other, round which is fixed a piece of shark’s skin or
the prickly skin from the back of the Sting Ray and often with it is
tied the saw of a small Saw fish; such a club appears to be capable of
inflicting a very nasty wound.


[Sidenote: STONE CLUBS]

There is a great variety of stone-headed clubs, but they are all alike
in being furnished with a wooden shaft, which is usually a plain piece
of wood, but occasionally carved near the club end. The stone head
is pierced in the middle by a round hole about an inch in diameter,
through which the shaft is passed and fixed firmly by wedges. Most of
the heads are made of a rather soft limestone, but where the people
obtain it we do not know, for there is no stone of any kind near the
coast. The simplest type is merely a round water-worn pebble with a
hole bored through it. More commonly they are worked and the labour of
producing them must have been considerable. Some are flat discs with
sharp cutting edges or blunt and roughly milled edges, and some are
cut into the form of five or six or more pointed stars; rarely they
are triangular. Others again are round or oval and are cut into more
or less deep teeth, or they have small bosses left projecting here and
there, but no two of them are exactly alike. The weight of the club
head is usually two or three pounds. The most savage-looking club we
saw was simply a rough lump of coral, not trimmed in any way. It was
pierced and mounted on a finely carved shaft of extremely heavy wood,
and the whole thing must have weighed fifteen or twenty pounds.

Not a little credit is due to the Papuans for their industry in
making these elaborate weapons, for it must be remembered that until
we visited the country they had no metal tools whatever, with the
exception of two or three scraps of soft iron, and all their work was
done with shell knives and stone axes. The knives are simply the shells
of a common freshwater bivalve (_Cyrena_ sp.); when these are rubbed
down on a stone, they take on an exceedingly sharp edge and are used
by the natives for carving the canoes and drums and sharpening their
spears and arrows.

The stone axes used in the Mimika district are all of the same type,
though they vary greatly in size from about four inches to large ones
of nearly twelve inches in length. The stone of which they are made is
always the same, a quartzite. The shaft is about two feet long and is
invariably made of the butt end of a bamboo. A hole is bored and burnt
in the lower end of the bamboo, that is to say in the solid part of
the wood below the first joint, and the pointed end of the stone is
jammed into the hole. The stone is always fixed axe-fashion, _i.e._
with its broad surface and cutting edge in the same plane with the long
axis of the handle, and not adze-fashion, as is the custom in some
other parts of New Guinea (see illustration p. 142). The axes quickly
become blunt with use and they are sharpened by being rubbed upon
another stone. At Wakatimi stones are very rare and one man appeared
to be the stone-smith of the village. I remember seeing him one day
sitting outside his hut sharpening an axe, with three or four others
lying beside him waiting to be done, while a few yards away a woman was
splitting a log of wood with a stone axe. It struck me as being one
of the most primitive scenes I had ever witnessed, really a glimpse of
the Stone Age.


  1. BOW.


The bows of the Mimika natives are about five feet long and are made
of a simple straight piece of a very hard wood (usually a species of
_pandanus_), tapering towards the ends, which are sometimes ornamented
with the claw of a cassowary or a tuft of feathers and shells or the
claw of a crab. The “string” is a piece of rattan and it requires
a strong arm to bend the bow. The arrows are of various types (see
illustration p. 150); they are all made of reed stems, and none are
ever feathered nor have they nocks. They vary only in their points,
which are sometimes merely the sharpened end of the reeds themselves
and sometimes a plain sharpened tip of hard wood or bamboo. Some are
tipped with the sharpened claw of a cassowary or with the spine that
lies along the back of the Sting Ray, and the arrows used for shooting
fish have often three points of sharp bamboo.

Most people have the idea that the savage man performs prodigies of
skill with his bow and arrows, but whenever I saw the Papuans shooting,
they made astonishingly bad practice. I remember seeing two Papuans
trying to kill an iguana in a tree not more than twenty feet above the
ground; they shot arrow after arrow at it, but the creature, which was
as long and almost as thick as a man’s arm, climbed slowly up from
branch to branch until it was lost to view.

The hunting spears are of two kinds, a plain straight shaft of heavy
wood, very sharp and hardened by fire at the tip; and a straight shaft
of a lighter wood, to the end of which is fixed part of a straight bone
(generally the _tibia_) of a pig, sharpened to a fine point. There is
another kind of spear made of a soft wood, finely pointed and with a
wide blade carved in a sort of open-work fashion (see illustration p.
150); the blade and the point are painted red with clay and the shaft
is generally decorated with feathers or plaited fibre. Spears of this
sort are of no use in hunting but are employed at dances and other
ceremonial functions.

Two more pieces of furniture, the head-rest and the sago bowl, complete
the list of articles made by the Papuans. The head-rests, which were
seen only in the villages of Obota and Nimé, are made of a strip of
elaborately carved wood four or five inches wide and between two and
three feet in length, and are supported at each end by a stout wooden
prop, which raises the head-rest about four inches above the ground.
The longer head-rests are supposed to support the heads of two sleeping

Fire is nearly always taken by the Papuans wherever they go; in almost
every canoe a fire is kept burning, and when they travel through the
jungle the men carry a smouldering stick. There must be occasions when
all these fires are extinguished, but how they produce them we were
unable to learn; the Papuans of Parimau could not make fire with the
friction stick and rattan used by their neighbours, the Tapiro Pygmies.

From the description of them which has been given in this and the two
preceding chapters it will be seen that the conditions of life of the
Papuans are as primitive as those of any people now living in the
world. There are very few other places, where you can find a people
who neither make nor possess any metal and who have no knowledge
of pottery. The only vessels that they have for holding water are
scraped-out coconuts and simple pieces of bamboo. Water boiling they
had never seen before we came among them. Their implements and weapons
are, as I have shown, of the most primitive kind, and their ornaments
are of the rudest possible description.

Cultivation of the soil is only practised by the people of one or two
villages, and even then it produces but a very small proportion of
their food, so it follows that most of their time and energies are
devoted to procuring the necessaries of life.


The struggle for existence is keen enough, the birth-rate is low and
the rate of infant mortality is, I believe, very high. Nor do diseases
spare them; syphilis is exceedingly prevalent, and was probably
introduced by Chinese and Malay traders to the West end of the island,
whence it has spread along the coast. Tuberculosis is happily absent,
but two natives of Wakatimi were suffering from what appeared to be
certainly leprosy. Skin diseases, notably _tinea imbricata_, are very
common; and almost every person appears to suffer occasionally from
fever of one sort or another.

But in spite of all these drawbacks the Papuans of the Mimika are not
such a very miserable people. They are strong, those of them that
survive the ordeals of infancy and sickness; they have food in plenty
to eat, if they choose to exert themselves sufficiently to obtain it;
they have their amusements, songs and dances; and the manner of their
lives is suited to the conditions of the country in which they live.
It is this last consideration which ought ultimately to determine their
fate: they live in a wretchedly poor country which is constantly liable
to devastating floods, and their habit of wandering from one place to
another, where food may be obtained, is the only way of life suitable
to the physical and climatic conditions of the country.

Any attempt to “civilise” them must inevitably destroy their primitive
independence, and if it succeeded in establishing the people in
settled communities it would reduce them at many seasons to absolute
starvation. We were visited once by the Director of the Sacred Heart
Mission at Toeal, which has done admirable work amongst the natives
of the Ké Islands and at one or two places in New Guinea itself. When
he had seen the people and the nature of the country and had been
told something of their habits, he decided that the Mimika was not,
at present at all events, a proper field for missionary enterprise.
Setting aside all other considerations, one dares to hope that such
an interesting people may for a long time be left undisturbed; they
do no harm to their neighbours and the effects on them of civilising
influences would be at the best uncertain.


  _The Camp at Parimau—A Plague of Beetles—First Discovery
  of the Tapiro Pygmies—Papuans as Carriers—We visit the
  Clearing of the Tapiro—Remarkable Clothing of Tapiro—Our
  Relations with the Natives—System of Payment—Their
  Confidence in Us—Occasional Thefts—A Customary
  Peace-offering—Papuans as Naturalists._

While it was the business of some of us during the early months of the
expedition to stop at the base-camp and despatch canoes laden with
stores up the river, others remained at Parimau to establish there a
second permanent camp and to find, if possible, a way of approaching
the higher mountains. It should be said that Parimau is some distance
from the mountains—the high point nearest to it. Mount Tapiro (7660
ft.) is some twelve miles to the North, but it was no longer possible
to travel in the direction of the mountains by way of the Mimika River,
which had dwindled to a very small size at Parimau, therefore it was
necessary to find a new route from there onward.

The first camp at Parimau was made on the shallow sandy side of the
river close to the native village; the Papuans generally place their
villages on gently sloping rather than on steep banks for convenience
in hauling up their canoes. The coolies, such as there were of them,
were occupied on the river, the natives for the first few months were
of little or no assistance in building, and the work was done almost
entirely by half a dozen of the Gurkhas. Their greatest achievement was
the construction of a log-house in the best Himalayan style, probably
by far the solidest building that was ever put up in Dutch New Guinea.
The floor was raised about three feet above the ground and it was well
that the workmanship was good, for it had not been finished many weeks
before a flood swept over the camp and everyone took refuge in the
house, the floor of which was just awash. Afterwards the camp was moved
to the high bank across the river and the subsequent floods swamped the
house and carried it away piecemeal, but two of the uprights survived
and were still standing a year later.

We were a good deal annoyed at Parimau by the _larvæ_ of a small
red and black beetle, which infested the wood of which the frames
of our huts were made. These _larvæ_, which look like small hairy
caterpillars, were continually dropping from the roof and when they
were killed, or even touched, they emitted the most disagreeable musky
smell. They sometimes dropped upon you during the night and the smell
of them would wake you from your sleep. The beetle itself too, if
crushed or irritated, has the same disgusting peculiarity.


It has been mentioned above (Chapter V.) that Captain Rawling in
exploring to the N.W. of Parimau came to the big river Kapare, which
we unsuccessfully tried to navigate in canoes from below to the point
where he had met it. While he was walking up the river bed one day, the
Papuans who were with him caught after an exciting chase two small
men, whose build and dress and appearance proclaimed them to belong
to another race than the Papuan. A day or two later two more were
captured, while they were crossing the river; they were kindly treated
and presents were given to them, but they showed no inclination to
conduct strangers to their home, a large clearing in the jungle on the
hill side, which could be plainly seen from the Kapare River. We learnt
from the Papuans that these little people were called Tapiro.[13]

At the beginning of March I accompanied one of the food-transports
up the Mimika and went with Rawling out to the Kapare, where he had
made a camp and was occupied with some of the Gurkhas in cutting a
track through the jungle. By that time we had no coolies available for
land transport; in six weeks our fifty coolies had diminished to ten,
who were all wanted for the canoes, so we were entirely dependent on
native assistance for land journeys. There was not much difficulty in
persuading people to carry loads for us from Parimau to the nearest
point of the Kapare River, for they were accustomed to go over there to
fish. But it was a different business on the second day, when we wanted
to push the camp a few miles further up the river so as to be in a
better position for reaching the clearing of the Tapiro. At first they
resolutely refused to start at all and retired to the shelters they had
made at a little distance from the camp. From there they had to be led
back by the hand one by one and then be severally introduced to their
loads, but even so a number of them ran away again, and it was hours
before we moved from the camp.

When once they were started they went steadily enough for about a
mile and then they all put down their loads and refused to go on,
but as they had stopped in the middle of the bed of the river it was
impossible to remain there, so with promises of cloth and beads we
urged them on a little further. The same performance was repeated a
dozen times at intervals, which became shorter and shorter until our
coaxing and cajoling availed no longer and there was nothing for it
but to stop and make a camp. It had taken us more than four hours to
cover less than three miles, most of which was easy going over sand
and stones in the bed of the river. We should have been awkwardly
situated if they had all gone away and left us to carry the loads, as
they did a few weeks later to Marshall, who was deserted by them and
forced to leave some of his baggage behind him. Needless to say, these
misfortunes would not have occurred if our Malay coolies had been
suited to their work. As it was, there were considerable periods when
we had either to make use of what help the natives consented to give
us, or else be content to do nothing at all.

When it suits them to do so, the Mimika Papuans can carry very heavy
loads and they manage to cover the ground at a very respectable pace.
They wrap up the load in the mat made of _pandanus_ leaves, which every
man always carries with him to serve both as a sleeping mat and as a
shelter from the rain. The mat is securely tied by ropes of rattan or
any of the other innumerable creepers of the jungle, and two strong
loops are made to pass over the shoulders so that the load may be
carried on the back, ruck-sack fashion. The women carry loads as well
as the men and sometimes also the children, when the whole family is
making a journey.

From our upper camp on the Kapare River Rawling and I made two attempts
to reach the forest clearing of the Tapiro, which could be easily seen
from the camp at a distance of about three miles in a straight line;
but though careful bearings of its direction were taken, it turned
out to be a most puzzling place to reach. Not more than a mile above
the camp the Kapare emerges from a deep and narrow gorge in the foot
hills—or rather the spurs of the mountains, they are too steep to call
foot hills—which descend very abruptly to the almost level country
below. Just after it emerges from the gorge, the river is joined by a
stream of the clearest water I have ever seen, which we afterwards came
to call the White Water (see illustration opposite).


In our first attempt to reach the clearing we wandered in the jungle
for ten hours and came nowhere near to it. But the day was not
altogether wasted, for we climbed up the hillside to about fifteen
hundred feet and by cutting down some trees we obtained a wonderful
view across the plain of the jungle to the distant sea. The air of the
jungle was heavy with the scent of the wild Vanilla, and all around us
were calling (but we could not see them) Greater Birds of Paradise;
sometimes we were within sound of as many as six at one time. On that
day too I first saw the Rifle Bird (_Ptilorhis intercedens_), one of
the most beautiful though the least gaudy of the birds of Paradise,
whose long-drawn whistle can never be mistaken or forgotten.


In our second attempt we profited by some of the mistakes made on the
former, but even so the irregularity of the ground and the complexity
of the watercourses nearly succeeded in baffling us. “Rawling and I
left camp early with two Gurkhas. A mile and a half up the left bank of
the river we struck off N.E. from the path we followed the other day.
Cut a new path through the jungle for about a mile until we came to a
faint native track, which we followed for another mile or so, chiefly
along fallen tree trunks overhung by a network of rattan and other
creepers, a fearful struggle to get through. Then for a mile or more up
the bed of a stony stream encumbered with the same obstructions, dead
trees and rattans, until we came to a deep gorge with a torrent about
three hundred feet below us and on the opposite side the steep slope of
another great spur of the mountain, on which the clearing presumably
lay. We slithered and scrambled down to the river, which was full of
water and only just fordable. Then up the other slope, not knowing at
all accurately the direction of the clearing. Very steep and the jungle
very dense with rattan and tree-ferns, so the leading Gurkha was kept
busily occupied in cutting with his _kukrí_ and progress was slow.


“About one o’clock, when we had been going for nearly six hours, the
clouds came down and it began to rain and we were ready to turn back.
Luckily the Gurkhas were convinced that the clearing was not far ahead
and when we found a pig-trap, a noose of rattan set in a faint track,
it seemed that they might perhaps be right. So we went on and in a
few minutes we came out of the forest into the clearing. About thirty
yards from us was a hut with three men standing outside it. We called
out to them and they waited until we came up. A minute or two later
two more men came out from the forest behind us, no doubt they had
been following us unseen. The hut was a most primitive structure of
sticks roofed with leaves, leaning up against the hillside. There was a
fire in the hut and beside it was sitting an old man covered with most
horrible sores. We went on up the hill for a couple of hundred yards
to a place (about 1900 feet above the sea) where we had a fine view.
Rawling put up the plane-table and got angles on to several points for
the map.

“During the hour or more that we stayed there, eight men came to see
us. Excepting one rather masterful little man, who had no fear of us,
they were too shy to approach us closely and remained about ten yards
distant, but even so it was plainly evident from their small stature
alone, that they were of a different race from the people of the low

“The most remarkable thing about them is the case that each man wears,
his only article of clothing; it is made of a long yellow gourd, about
two inches in diameter at the base and tapering to about half an inch
at the pointed end. It is worn with the pointed end upwards and is kept
in position by a string round the waist. As the length of the case—some
of them measure more than fifteen inches—is more than a quarter of
the height of the man himself, it gives him a most extraordinary
appearance. Every man carries a bow and arrows in his hand and a
plaited fibre bag of quite elaborate design slung on his back. Two men
wore necklaces of very rough scraps of shell and one had a strip of fur
round his head. Two others wore on their heads curious helmet-like hats
of grass ornamented with feathers.

“One man had a diminutive axe made of a piece of soft iron about three
inches long, set in a handle like those of the stone axes. They must
have some bigger axes, as they have cut down some very large trees and
the marks on the stumps look as if they had been made with fairly sharp
instruments. The clearing altogether is very considerable, probably
fifty acres or more. The ground is covered with the sweet-potato plant,
and in many places ‘taro’ has been carefully picked out. They have a
few coarse-looking bananas, some of which they offered to us.

“Their voices are rather high-pitched and one of them, who met us first
and called several of the others to come and see us, ended his calls
with a very curious shrill jodelling note. When we came away we offered
them cloth and beads to come with us and show us a better way, but
they were either too frightened or too lazy to do so. We got back to
camp after ten hours’ hard going, drenched with rain and covered with
leeches, but well-pleased with the success of the day.”[14]

That was the last that we saw for a long time of the Tapiro pygmies,
for it was evident that the Kapare River was useless as a means of
approach to the Snow Mountains and we had to turn our attention to
the country to the N.E. of the Mimika. Moreover, it was impossible to
keep the camp there supplied with provisions, as we were at that time
entirely dependent for transport on the goodwill of the Papuans.


Generally speaking we always remained on excellent terms with the
natives and very rarely had any trouble with them. Except that we
bought from them the “atap” for our houses, we got little or no help
from the people of Wakatimi, but the people of Parimau assisted us
in a number of ways. At first, as I have shewn, we had considerable
difficulty in persuading them to work for us as carriers; but when they
found that they really did receive the payment they were promised, they
were willing and sometimes even anxious to carry loads for us, though
we often had to wait a few days until it suited their convenience to
start. It was a pity that they were never willing to travel further
than about three days’ march from their village, but as there were long
periods when we were entirely dependent on them for land transport, we
counted ourselves lucky in their agreeing to work at all.

Chiefly owing to the help of the natives we were able to make and
keep supplied for several months another camp on the Wataikwa River,
three days’ march north-east from Parimau. When they went out there
first, they were accustomed to receive their pay, cloth and beads or
a small knife at the end of the journey; but later, when wages rose,
as they inevitably did with every successive journey, it seemed to be
absurd to waste perhaps half a load by carrying axes and knives to
be given in payment at the end of the march. So a plan was adopted of
giving them at the Wataikwa camp a paper authorising them to demand
payment on their return to Parimau, and it was a gratifying tribute to
the confidence that they had in us that they readily fell in with the
scheme. Before starting they were shewn the knife or axe or whatever it
was that they would receive for their labour, and at the end they raced
back with their scraps of paper to Parimau, covering in a few hours the
distance that had taken them three days on the outward journey. Some
of the less energetic people in the village, when they saw that their
friends received a knife or an axe by merely presenting a small piece
of paper to the man in charge of the camp at Parimau, thought that they
might easily earn the same reward, and they were rather astonished to
find that the small scraps of paper, which they handed in, produced
nothing at all or only a serious physical rebuff. But they were so
childlike in their misdemeanours that one could not be seriously angry
with them.


They shewed their confidence in our honesty in another very flattering
way. During the period of the most frequent floods at Parimau, when
they were liable to be washed away at any moment, the people took most
of their movable possessions out of their houses and hid them in safe
places in the jungle. But many of them merely brought their goods
across to our side of the river and deposited them without any attempt
at concealment within a few yards of our camp, apparently knowing that
there they would be perfectly secure from theft.

They are by nature unconscionable thieves and a chance of stealing is
to them merely a chance of acquiring property in the easiest way. On
one occasion, when a party of our coolies were returning alone from
Parimau to Wakatimi, they were waylaid at a narrow place in the river
by some Papuans, who relieved them of their baggage and disappeared
into the jungle; most of the stolen goods were subsequently returned,
when the natives were threatened with punishment. The same thing
happened another time when the coolies were accompanied by armed
Javanese soldiers, who apparently forgot the use of their rifles until
the thieves had got away. But they had a proper respect for a white man
and whenever one of us, armed or not, was with the canoes, the natives
never tried to molest us. They occasionally stole from the camps a
knife or an axe, but though they were constantly about our houses and
often inside them for hours at a time, we never lost anything of value.

A temptation, which often proved too strong for them, was our fleet of
canoes. At Wakatimi the canoes were moored in front of the camp at the
place where the natives, who came to visit us, were accustomed to land.
They came mostly in the late afternoon and stayed till sunset, and it
happened several times that when they went away they contrived to put
two or three men into one of our canoes and slip away with it unnoticed
in the dusk. But when on the following day we made a fuss, the canoe
was generally brought back with a long story of its having been found
floating down the river towards the sea.

An opportunity of looting, which was not to be resisted, occurred one
day when a party of discharged coolies were leaving the country. The
boat, in which they were being taken off to the ship, capsized as it
came alongside the steamer and thirty coolies and all their belongings
were upset into the sea. The captain of the ship was only anxious to
save his boat and the coolies hastened to escape from the sharks. In
the meantime a crowd of natives, who had come down in their canoes
to visit the ship, lost no time in picking up the floating boxes and
bundles of clothing, and before anybody was aware of their action they
were fast paddling away to their villages.

On such occasions and at other times when we had reason to be angry
with them, the people of Wakatimi observed a curious custom. There
was in the village a coloured china plate and a piece of bent silver
wire, which was sometimes used by the owner as an ear-ring. On the
morning following their misdemeanour two men came over from the village
bringing the ear-ring on the plate, which they gave to us, shook hands
and departed. Later in the day they returned and we gave them back
their gifts; this happened several times.

At one time there was a serious epidemic of drunkenness among the
people of Wakatimi and they shewed their ill-manners by shooting
arrows into the camp. This was of no consequence when only one person
misbehaved himself. But when one day a number of men waded half-way
across the river and began to send arrows into the camp, it had to
be stopped. The Dutch sergeant, who was alone in charge of the place
at the time, held up his rifle, a weapon the use of which they very
well understood, and signalled to them that unless they went away he
would fire. As they took no notice of his warning he fired, aiming at
the legs of the ringleader, but unfortunately he hit him in the groin.
Shortly afterwards, so little animosity did they show and so complete
was their confidence in us, they brought the wretched man over to our
camp, but nothing could be done for him and in a few hours he died.

They were very appreciative of medical treatment and at different times
we were able to do a good deal for them. One man actually went so far
as to pay a fee of half a dozen coconuts for the saving of his little
daughter’s ulcerated foot, which was rapidly going from bad to worse
under native treatment. They often cut themselves severely with our
axes and knives before they learnt their sharpness, and their wounds
healed astonishingly quickly with ordinary clean methods; the only
trouble was that they liked to take off the bandages and use them for
personal adornment.

As well as acting as carriers for us, the people at Parimau did a
considerable amount of work for us about the camp in cutting down
trees, an occupation which they always enjoyed, and in helping to build
some of the houses. They were even more useful to us as naturalists
and, thanks mainly to them, we made a very complete collection of the
reptiles of the district. They were particularly adept at catching
snakes and often five or six men in a day would stroll into the camp
carrying a deadly poisonous snake wrapped up in leaves. One day
Goodfellow was walking through the jungle with some natives and the
man in front of him stooped down and picked up a poisonous viper
without even pausing in his stride.

We always encouraged the natives to bring us snakes in the hope of
getting new species, and when we did not want those that they brought,
they were quite content to take them away and eat them. They seemed
to have a peculiar knack of catching poisonous things, for besides
snakes they often brought scorpions and centipedes in their parcels
of leaves. With the more delicate creatures such as lizards they were
less successful and among the hundreds that they brought us there were
very few which they had not damaged. They always assumed an air of
importance and somewhat of mystery, when they brought some animal for
sale, and you always knew that when you had bought, or refused, as the
case might be, the creature that was offered, the man would instantly
produce something else, but the puzzle was always to know whence he
produced it, for his scanty costume does not admit of pockets.


  _Visit of Mr. Lorentz—Arrival of Steam Launch—A
  Sailor Drowned—Our Second Batch of Coolies—Health of
  the Gurkhas—Dayaks the best Coolies—Sickness—Arrival
  of Motor Boat—Camp under Water—Expedition moves to
  Parimau—Explorations beyond the Mimika—Leeches—Floods on
  the Tuaba River—Overflowing Rivers—The Wataikwa—Cutting a

A pleasant interlude in the monotony of the early part of the
expedition occurred one day towards the end of March, when the natives
of Wakatimi signalled in the usual way the approach of a boat and
presently a steam launch appeared with Europeans on board. They turned
out to be the Dutch explorer, Mr. H. A. Lorentz, who was on his way
back from his second and successful expedition to Mount Wilhelmina by
way of the Noord River, with his companions Captain J. W. van Nouhuys
and Lieutenant Habbema, and the Captain of the Government steamer
_Java_, which had anchored off the mouth of the Mimika. Mr. Lorentz
looked like a man hardly returned from the dead, as indeed he well
might, for after climbing to the snows of Mount Wilhelmina he had
fallen down a cliff on his return, with a result of two broken ribs and
serious concussion of the brain, and he had endured untold sufferings
on his way back to the foot of the mountain. But he had achieved the
principal object of his expedition, and his spirits were in better
condition than his body. They stayed for the night with us and at
dinner, though I was in a minority of one to six, with characteristic
courtesy they all spoke English; the entertainment, assisted by
luxuries brought from the _Java_, lasted until the small hours, and it
was the pleasantest evening I spent in New Guinea.

The _Java_ brought for us the long-expected steam launch, and its
career began, as it ended, with disaster. Before dawn one of the men
of the boat wished to fetch something that he had left on the launch,
which was moored in the river about fifteen yards from the bank. The
sentry on duty did his best to prevent him, because it was a rule
of the camp that no man was allowed to bathe before sunrise, but he
insisted on swimming out to the launch. In a few yards he found that
the current was stronger than he had expected, he called for help, and
in a few moments a canoe set out in the gloom to look for him, but no
more was seen of him until his body was recovered by the natives at
the mouth of the Mimika a few days later. Shortly after the accident
happened our guests left us on their way back to Europe, and we watched
their departure with somewhat envious eyes.


The history of the middle period of the expedition, that is to say,
from April to December, is chiefly a history of floods and sickness and
disappointment. In the middle of April Goodfellow, who had gone away
early in March, returned with a fresh batch of forty-eight coolies,
whom he had recruited in Banda and Amboina. About a half of these men
were natives of the island of Buton, and the rest were Ambonese, and
though they were the best men that could be found at such short notice,
and were greatly superior to our first batch of coolies, they were
really not fit for the work they had to do, and the majority of them
soon became useless to us.

The steam launch towed the canoes for a short distance up the river
once or twice, but it very soon broke down and thenceforward until the
middle of June all the transport between Wakatimi and Parimau was done
by the coolies themselves. For them it was literally a killing work;
in the first few weeks two men died, one of pneumonia, the other of
dysentery, both causes resulting from the circumstances of their work,
while several others developed the first signs of beri-beri and had to
be sent away at the earliest opportunity.

About the same time one of the Gurkhas died; he was from the beginning
a very unhealthy man, who ought not to have been engaged for the
expedition. Of the other nine Gurkhas three were invalided home before
the end of the year and the remaining six stayed with us until we left
the country. Although they came from the highlands of Darjeeling—or
perhaps for that very reason—our Gurkhas, who were by no means a
carefully selected lot, withstood the trials and the climate of the
country better than any of the other “native” people in the expedition
and, if expense were no drawback, it is probable that an expedition to
New Guinea would have the best chance of success if coolies were taken
from Northern India.

That is, however, rather a counsel of perfection, and an expedition
to New Guinea must make use of natives of the Malay Archipelago. The
Ambonese and the Butonese have been tried and have been found wanting,
so also have the Ké Islanders and the Sundanese from the mountains
of central Java. Possibly the wild hillmen of Timor, if enough of
them could be engaged, would work well, but the only people who have
hitherto worked successfully as coolies in Dutch New Guinea are the
hill-Dayaks of Borneo. Mr. Lorentz, who took with him eighty Dayaks,
most of them from the Mendalen River, on his expedition to Mount
Wilhelmina, spoke with enthusiasm of the admirable behaviour of his
men, and if Indian or other Asiatic coolies are not available, it may
be said that an expedition to the mountainous districts of Dutch New
Guinea can only be properly conducted with Dayaks.

Our coolies were not the only people in the expedition who began to
feel the ill effects of the climate; the Javanese soldiers and convicts
quickly filled the hospital which had been put up at Wakatimi, and in
May and June there were many mornings when I saw more than forty sick
men. Most of them suffered from fever and a more or less severe form of
dysentery, and a good many cases of beri-beri occurred. Unfortunately
sickness was not confined to our native followers only; the Europeans
began also to suffer from the very adverse conditions in which they
found themselves. One or two of the Dutch non-commissioned officers
became seriously ill; Goodfellow, who returned with the second batch
of coolies from Banda about the middle of April, was never free from
fever for more than a few days from that time until he left the
country in October; and Shortridge became such a wreck from almost
continuous fever, which began about the beginning of March, that by
the end of May he had to be sent away for three months’ change of
air to Australia. Soon after his return in August he succumbed again
to the evil climate, and though he pluckily pretended that there was
nothing the matter with him, he went from bad to worse, and I am fully
persuaded that his almost forcible deportation at the end of November
saved his life.

At the end of May, Goodfellow and Rawling went over to Dobo, and
after about eight days returned with the motor boat, which had been
bought from the pearl-fishers. Like most things of which a great deal
is expected the motor boat turned out to be a disappointment, and it
eventually led us into serious difficulty, but for a short time it
did good service in towing boats up the river, and it considerably
shortened the voyage from Wakatimi to Parimau.


The day of the arrival of the motor boat was memorable for being the
occasion of the first of the really serious floods that beset us. Late
in the evening a party of our coolies on their way back from Parimau,
who were not due to arrive until the following day, reached the camp at
Wakatimi, most of which was by that time under water. The journey down
the river usually occupied two days, but they had found all the usual
camping places, some of which were high above the ordinary river bed,
under water, and they had been unable to find any safe resting-place.

The three following days were among the most unpleasant that I had
ever spent, though worse were to follow later. On the morning of the
first day the water fell a little and we spent laborious hours in
piling up our stores and movable gear on to the top of empty boxes, and
when those were all used on posts driven into the ground. All through
the afternoon the water rose, the coolies’ and soldiers’ houses were
quickly flooded, and our own house, which was on the highest part of
the camp, was nearly a foot under water. On the two succeeding days the
conditions were much more serious, and we had two feet of water in our
house. The river took a short cut over the neck of land formed by a
wide bend of the river on which the camp was placed and flowed straight
through the camp. Our beds were raised up on empty kerosene-tin boxes,
and when these were submerged there was a mild excitement in guessing
how far up the frame-work of the bed the water would rise. Fires were
put out and cooking was impossible, so the coolies and soldiers, who
depended on their boiled rice, had rather a hungry time. Our own
food consisted of biscuits and cold tinned stuff, which is not very
exhilarating when you have been in water all day long. An unprejudiced
observer looking in upon us from the outside in the evening might well
have wondered what kind of lunatics we were to come to New Guinea.
Goodfellow was lying in bed very sick with fever, while Rawling and I,
up to our knees in water, were making a poor pretence at having dinner.
The only humour that we managed to extract from the situation was in
the novel experience of being able, without moving from our seats,
to wash our plates between the first course of biscuits and sardines
and the second course of biscuits and marmalade; the Mimika river was
flowing under our chairs and we had only to lower our plates into it
to clean them.

On the fourth day the water fell, and the camp was not flooded again
for several weeks, but there was left everywhere a thick deposit of
mud, which kept the houses sodden for a long time afterwards. In spite
of all our precautions, a quantity of stores were irreparably spoilt
and, worse still, the flood left behind it an increased amount of
sickness, and indeed the wonder was that the prolonged soaking had not
ill effects on every one of us.

At the beginning of July Cramer and I arrived at Parimau, bringing with
us the last loads of provisions to complete the store, which we had
been working hard for three months with our second batch of coolies
to accumulate at that place. It was hoped that that store would be
sufficient to enable us to use Parimau as a second base camp for making
a prolonged expedition into the mountains without wasting any more time
on transports up the river; but in that we had reckoned without the
vagaries of the New Guinea climate and the consequent diminution of the
effective strength of our coolies, who were already too few for our


In the meantime Rawling and Marshall had been making excursions to
the North-east of Parimau, in the direction of the high mountains.
About five miles from Parimau they had come to the Tuaba River and
about the same distance further on they had come to the Kamura River,
a few miles above its junction with the Tuaba. Continuing in the same
direction they came to another river, bigger than either of the others,
the Wataikwa, which was so often impassable that it seemed likely to
prevent any further progress. But a short excursion up the valley of
the Wataikwa showed the impossibility of reaching the highest mountains
by that route, and a camp was accordingly established on the Wataikwa
with a view to crossing that river when an opportunity should occur.

These excursions were all made with the assistance of natives, without
whose assistance no advance beyond Parimau would have been possible,
so long as all the coolies were occupied in the work on the river.
Very little reliance could be placed on the natives, when they were
working as carriers alone without coolies, and most of us at one
time or another had the disagreeable experience of being deserted by
them and left unable to move either backwards or forwards. It was in
circumstances such as these that the Gurkhas, some of whom always
accompanied us in journeys through the jungle, shewed to the best

When the store of provisions at Parimau was completed, the next step
was to establish a further depôt of provisions at the Wataikwa camp.
Though the distance between the two places was less than fifteen miles
in a straight line, it was a three days’ march for a loaded coolie and
two camping places were made on the way, one on an island in the Tuaba
River, the other on the bank of the Kamura. The first day’s march from
Parimau began by crossing and recrossing the Mimika several times and
here and there wading up the river itself. About three miles up the
river we struck off Eastwards through the jungle along a hardly visible
native track used by the people going to the village of Ibo; this was
the only regular native track we used, and these few miles across from
the Mimika to the Tuaba were the only place where we had not to cut our
own path. The mud in that part of the jungle was quite exceptionally
bad, even for New Guinea; in the comparatively dry weather it was like
walking through porridge, and in the wet weather you were continually
struggling through liquid slime almost up to your knees.

[Sidenote: LEECHES]

We were very much annoyed there, though not more in that than in
other parts of the jungle, by the leeches which swarmed everywhere.
These hateful little creatures sit on the leaves or twigs stretched
out to their fullest length and expectant of the passer-by. It is
not necessary to believe, as some people do, that they jump or even
that they fall upon you as you pass beneath them; there are so many
that as you brush through the jungle you must inevitably touch many
outstretched heads and as soon as they are touched they attach
themselves immediately to you. They are extremely rapid in their
movements, and their touch is so delicate that you do not feel their
presence until they have nearly gorged themselves with blood. Your
legs, unless they are well protected with putties, are most liable to
their attacks, but you find leeches on all parts of your body, and
I have found them in my eyes and in my mouth and once just captured
one as it was preparing to enter one of my nostrils. They are able to
consume an astonishingly large quantity of blood, and when, as often
happens, they open a small vein, the bleeding continues after they
have dropped from their feeding place. It is not advisable to pull a
leech from your body; it often results in the creature leaving behind
a part of its clasper, which may give rise to a serious sore. Pigs do
not appear to be attacked by leeches, but the soft parts of the heads
of some of the cassowaries that were shot were found to be covered with
them. Cassowaries are few and far between, and there must be millions
of leeches that go through life without once tasting blood. Some of the
leeches are prettily marked with stripes of yellow and brown, but none
that we saw in the jungle were of large size; the longest were perhaps
two inches in length.

Besides leeches there was not much to distract or to amuse us in
passing through that stage of the march—certainly there were always
plenty of the Greater Birds of Paradise to be heard calling, but they
were very seldom to be seen—and we were chiefly anxious to struggle to
the end of it ourselves and to push the coolies along until we heard
the welcome sound of heavy water and light showed through the trees
ahead. The Tuaba, at the place where we were accustomed to cross it, is
a wide river flowing in about half a dozen channels, which extend over
half a mile or more of ground. All of these channels are considerable
torrents even in the most favourable conditions and it is by no means
easy to cross them, but in the very frequent times of flood they are
absolutely impassable. The camping place was made on an island across
the first channel, as the river bank proper was covered with very dense
jungle, and at low water the island was surrounded by a stretch of dry
sand and shingle, which afforded us a pleasant drying ground after
struggling through the sweltering jungle.



But it was not always a place of calm; it could be quite a dangerous
place, and I had a very unpleasant experience the first time I camped
there. I was on my way out to the Wataikwa river with a Gurkha, four
coolies and about twenty natives of Parimau laden with tins of rice.
The river was comparatively low when we pitched our camp, but it began
to rain in the afternoon, and the almost continuous thunder and the
black clouds in that direction showed us that it was raining heavily
in the mountains. By nightfall the rising flood had completely covered
the sandbank in front of the camp, and before midnight the river was
flowing right through the camp. The coolies were taking refuge like
birds in the trees, and the water had just covered my piece of ground,
which was an inch or two higher than any other spot. The Gurkha came
and helped me to secure the stores from the water, which was still
rising fast. We arranged all the rice tins upright, and on them we
placed my bed; on the bed we placed all the other stores and baggage,
and finally I took refuge there myself. The water rose above the top
of the rice tins and about half way up the framework of my bed and
then happily it began to fall rapidly, and in an hour or two the camp
was land again. Shoes of mine and odd garments of the coolies were
washed away, but we had been in no danger of being swept away, for the
current was not rapid enough over the comparatively shallow water of
the island; the only risk was from the large logs and trees which came
sweeping down on the flood. The Papuans, who were encamped on another
island a short distance below ours, had kept up all night a constant
and most melancholy wailing, which did not at all add to the humour of
the situation.

For three more days we stayed on that sandbank, while the rain poured
down and the river swept past us on both sides, unable either to
proceed or to retreat. I made two attempts to cross the river, but
found it impossible to struggle across the flood. In the meantime the
natives, who were well able to swim naked across the first channel,
threatened all the time to return to Parimau. A few of them did leave
me, but the rest by constant cajoling and by liberal gifts of rice, for
which they had acquired a great liking, I persuaded to stay with me
until after four days we were able to get away.


From the Tuaba to the Kamura river, a distance of about four miles,
a track had been cut by Marshall and the Gurkhas. It was a curious
piece of country, almost level and covered with not very dense jungle,
but remarkable for the number of streams flowing through it. Between
the two rivers we crossed eighteen streams of various sizes; some
were rivulets, and others swift and strong so that one was glad of a
supporting Papuan on either hand. The Kamura river is of less size
than the Tuaba, but it is still a large river and subject to heavy
and sudden floods. It flows in a bed of sand and shingle two or three
hundred yards from bank to bank, though, except at times of flood, it
only occupies a narrow channel. Mostly it runs swiftly over the stones,
but here and there are long stretches of still water like the pool of
a salmon river; unluckily there are no big fish in it, or New Guinea
would be a pleasanter place than it is.

It was an agreeable change to come out on to the bank of the Kamura,
for from there we had our first wide view of the mountains that we
hoped to reach. The foothills, if mountains eight or nine thousand
feet high may be so described, sloped down to within a few miles of
us to the North, and behind them and stretching far to East and West
rose range beyond range of steep and precipitous ridges, culminating
in the snowy top of Mount Carstensz, thirty miles to the North-east.
Our route took us for several miles along the course of the Kamura; it
was certainly not comfortable walking over the big and often slippery
stones and wading waist-deep across the river three or four times to
cut off big bends, but it was pleasant indeed to have a wide free space
about us after having been for so long hemmed in by trees, and anything
was preferable to the mud and leeches of the jungle.

A few miles up the Kamura we left the main river and turned off up the
bed of a smaller river, which joins it from the East. This is actually
a branch of the Wataikwa connecting the two rivers, and down it comes a
great volume of water when the Wataikwa is full, while at other times
it becomes almost dry. The rivers of this district of New Guinea are
somewhat peculiar in this respect; they are very numerous, and they
flow out from the mountains in a North to South direction, with not
many miles intervening between one river and the next. As soon as they
emerge from the mountains they find themselves on quite low ground and
with forty or more miles to run to the sea. There are no outlying hills
or depressions to guide them in any particular course, thus it happens
that they overflow in convenient directions, and connections are
established between one river and another. As well as in the case of
the Wataikwa this was observed on the Utakwa river, close to the foot
of the mountains, and I believe the same thing happens on the Kapare
river. Further on in their courses, when they approach the mangrove
swamps near the sea, the rivers again break up into an extraordinary
network of branches. Judging from the appearance of the country and
from the considerable changes, which we observed in the case of the
Wataikwa during a period of only a few months, it is probable that
these great rivers change their courses very often.


Whilst parties of coolies, rapidly diminishing in numbers, were
occupied at lengthening intervals in transporting stores from Parimau
to the camp on the Wataikwa river, Rawling and Marshall had found a
way of crossing that river. It is true that there were a great many
days when it was quite impossible to cross it, and there was always
a certain amount of risk of being swept away, not to mention the
discomfort of beginning your day’s work by getting wet up to your
chest; but it was absolutely necessary to continue cutting the track,
wet or dry. On the other side of the river, they had tried to continue
in the North-east direction and had come to broken lumpy ground covered
with the densest jungle that we met with in any part of the country.
The trees were not so very big, indeed most of them were quite small,
but they were of a peculiarly hard wood, which quickly blunted the
_kukris_ of the Gurkhas and they grew so close together that it was
quite impossible to push your way between them. Eventually a track was
cut to the Iwaka River, five miles to the east of the Wataikwa.

[Illustration: AT THE EDGE OF THE JUNGLE.]

Some idea of the difficulty of cutting this track may be learnt,
when it is said that Rawling and Marshall with three Gurkhas and five
natives were occupied for three weeks in cutting five thousand yards of
the way, and the whole distance of five miles was cut in five weeks.
Unfortunately it was labour in vain, the path when finished was too
difficult for men to traverse with loads. We cut another track, which
avoided the hilly ground and brought us to the Iwaka close to the point
reached by the first; by the new track, which was cut in a week, we
were able to reach the Iwaka in three hours’ walk from the Wataikwa.


  _The Camp at the Wataikwa River—Malay Coolies—“Amok”—A
  Double Murder—A View of the Snow Mountains—Felling
  Trees—Floods—Village washed Away—The Wettest Season—The
  Effects of Floods—Beri-beri—Arrival of C. Grant—Departure
  of W. Goodfellow._

If I were to write a true and complete account of the expedition,
I should fill many pages with repeated stories of rain and floods,
sickness among the coolies and our consequent inaction; but that would
be as wearisome to the reader as it was trying to our own patience.
During July and a part of August we sent out parties of coolies to the
Wataikwa camp, where a considerable depôt of food was formed, but about
the middle of the latter month the number of our coolies was reduced
to twenty, of whom not more than half were capable of any hard work,
and it became quite evident that any further progress in the direction
of the mountains was out of the question until we should get a fresh
supply of men.

As the number of coolies grew fewer we sent natives with them to
carry stores out to the Wataikwa, but the supply of willing natives
was very uncertain and it became a matter of some difficulty to
keep up a regular communication with that camp. Two Gurkhas and two
Javanese soldiers remained always at the Wataikwa and one or other of
us went out there and stopped to make natural history collections or
to superintend the cutting of the road on the other side of the
river for a few weeks at a time, while the others were at Parimau or
at Wakatimi. We managed to continue this arrangement until the end of
October, when it became no longer possible to keep an European supplied
out there; thenceforward until the beginning of January the camp at
the Wataikwa was occupied only by the guard of Gurkhas and Javanese,
who in the meantime consumed nearly all the stores that had been so
laboriously accumulated there.



We often said hard things to and of our Malay coolies, but the poor
wretches were not to blame for being such incompetent carriers. At
their proper occupations of carrying cargo to and from the ships at
Macassar, or working on the boats of the pearl-fishers, or doing odd
jobs in their native places, no doubt they excelled; but at struggling
through the New Guinea jungle with even the lightest of loads they were
hopeless failures and the wonder was that they survived as long as they
did. Taking them all round, the majority of them worked as well as they
could, and some of them even became quite attached to us.

To a large number of people the name of Malay immediately suggests
a savage person who runs _amok_, but you may live for years in a
Malay country and never see a single _amok_. Fortunately our Malays
never behaved in this dangerous fashion, though one day a man who
was suffering from fever went suddenly mad and inflicted a serious
knife-wound on the body of another coolie; the wounded man was
successfully treated by Marshall, who was happily but seldom required
in this way to exercise his vocation as surgeon. Malays are indeed
rather too handy with their knives and a more serious encounter took
place one day between two of Cramer’s convicts. These two men, a
_mandoer_ (head man) and another, quarrelled one morning about some
trifle connected with their food, and before anybody knew what was
amiss, knives were out and one was chasing the other through the camp.
By a clever backward thrust the pursued man dealt the pursuer a deep
wound under the heart, but he was unable to escape before the pursuer
had given him too a mortal wound. One died in a few minutes and the
other during the course of the day, fortunately perhaps for both of

But ordinarily our Malays were most quiet and peaceable fellows.
Certainly they were liars and thieves when it suited their convenience
to be so, but these two faults are almost universal in the East. They
were enthusiastic fishermen (a sure sign of grace) and spent many hours
of their leisure time in angling for small fish, which they very seldom
caught. Another of their virtues, though it sometimes became a little
wearisome, was their love of singing, in which they indulged on fine
evenings. The Ambonese used to sing, accompanied by a soloist on a sort
of penny whistle, some really pretty songs, possibly of Portuguese
origin, to which one could listen with real pleasure. But the singing
of the Javanese, usually in a high falsetto voice, was a burden hardly
to be borne.

In dealing with people like the Malays it is essential to keep them
constantly occupied in order to prevent them from brooding too much
over their untoward circumstances and becoming, as they easily do,
physically ill. Accordingly, during the times when for one reason or
another they were not carrying out loads to the Wataikwa camp, we set
them to clearing the jungle about the camp at Parimau, and in the
course of time some ten or twelve acres were cleared. Apart from the
object of drying and letting light into the camp, this clearing was
made with the purpose of obtaining from Parimau a view of the Snow
Mountains. This latter object was ultimately attained and proved of
great service to the surveyors, who were enabled to fix more definitely
the various points of the range seen from a place of which they had
already determined the position by astronomical observations. To the
non-surveyor too the view of the mountains was a boon, though rather
a tantalising one, and I used to spend many hours in the mornings,
before the mists had hidden them, in scanning the snows of Idenburg and
Carstensz and planning routes by which they might be reached.


Cutting down trees in the New Guinea jungle differs from cutting
down trees here in that the tree does not always fall, even when the
trunk is cut completely through. Amongst the tops of the trees grows
an extraordinary network of rattans and other creepers of sufficient
strength to support a tree, even if it is inclined to fall. We spent
some time one day in firing shots with a rifle at a single creeper,
thicker than a man’s arm, which was holding up a tree without any
other support; though I believe we sometimes pierced the creeper with
bullets, it held on and only gave way some hours later. As a rule we
did not take the trouble to cut the creepers, but if a tree did not
fall we cut down those about it until they all fell together in one
splendid crash. On sloping ground the best method of felling trees is
to cut their trunks only half way through and leave them, and then to
cut completely through a big tree above them in such a way that it will
fall down hill and complete the felling of those below it.

Some of the trees that we cut down in our clearing fell in the most
unexpected directions, but though there were some narrow escapes, there
were no accidents. The most unpleasant was a tree which fell midway
between two houses, one full of coolies and the other full of stores,
and shaved off the projecting roof of both; it might easily have killed
half-a-dozen sleeping men, but the only harm it did was to fill the
camp with a swarm of large and furiously biting ants, which had had a
nest in its topmost branches. The natives, who never tired of using our
steel axes, helped a good deal in felling the trees and in this way
some of them earned large quantities of coloured beads.

Another occupation for the coolies in their idle moments, and at the
same time a very necessary work, was the business of keeping the camp
in a state of repair. When the high river bank opposite the village of
Parimau was chosen for a camping ground, it was thought that floods at
all events could do no harm. The houses nearest to the river were built
five or six yards back from the edge of the bank, which was there about
fifteen feet above the usual level of the water, and it seemed quite
out of the question that the river could ever invade the camp. It was
necessary, in order to prevent it from becoming the dumping ground
of camp-refuse, to clear away the rank vegetation that grew on the bank
down to the water’s edge, and this was the beginning of what almost
ended in our downfall. After the tangle of creepers had been removed,
the first rains began to wash the bank away, and when the river rose
three or four feet, as it speedily did after a few hours’ downpour, it
undermined the lower part of the bank and large landslips took place
from above.



In the course of a few weeks several yards of land disappeared, and
the safety of our houses, which had come to be almost overhanging the
river, was seriously imperilled. To save them we erected a strong
palisade of long poles thrust deeply into the bottom of the bank and
secured them by rattan ropes, which passed through our house and were
attached to posts at the back. The interval between the palisade and
the bank was laboriously filled up with shingle from the river bed, and
this provided a never-ending occupation, because the stones were always
trickling through the palisade and required to be renewed. The natives
were of great assistance to us in this work, and on one occasion—it
was the only time that we ever persuaded them to come into our camp,
although we lived within a few yards of their village—the women and
children came and helped in the work and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

[Sidenote: FLOODS]

It was well that we took these precautions, for as the weather grew
steadily wetter and wetter (though that seemed hardly possible)
through July and August, so the river rose higher and higher and
each succeeding flood was greater than the last. The night of the
18-19th of August was one that I shall never forget: it had been
raining steadily for some days and the river was fairly full, but
about sunset on the 18th the rain really began to come down solidly,
as it does in the Tropics. About midnight a terrific thunderstorm
began, which continued with almost incessant thunder and lightning
until dawn, but long before this the river had risen many feet and was
already threatening the village. As soon as the waters began to rise
the natives appeared at the edge of the river with blazing torches,
while canoes were baled out and brought nearer to the shore. When the
flood, rising visibly by that time, reached the lowest house, a most
extraordinary Bedlam broke loose and it sounded as if all the people in
the village were being drowned. The men all shouted at once, the women
and children screamed and the dogs whined and howled. By the light
of the flashes of lightning we could see them scurrying hither and
thither, bundling all their belongings into the canoes and trying to
save the roofs and matting walls of their huts by throwing them among
the branches of the trees at the back of the village. In a very short
time all the houses were swamped and the people were in their canoes,
about twenty in all, moored to the branches of the trees along the edge
of the jungle, where they kept up an unceasing turmoil until daylight.



In the meantime our own position was not very secure. The river was
swirling down at ten or twelve miles an hour and bringing with it huge
tree-trunks, which carried away our fleet of canoes and threatened to
destroy our protecting palisade. If that had gone nothing could have
prevented our houses from falling into the river, but happily it
held well. The whole of the jungle on our side of the river was under
water and all sorts of creatures sought the shelter of our houses,
which occupied the highest position. When even these were flooded,
armies of ants and beetles and other insects climbed up our beds and
other furniture to escape from drowning, moths washed out of their
resting places fluttered aimlessly about, and a family of rats, which
inhabited my hut, ran about squeaking in terror.

Beyond the loss of our canoes, some of which were afterwards recovered,
no great damage was done, and the flood fell almost as quickly as it
had risen. Soon after daybreak the ground, on which the village had
been, began to appear above the falling water, and it was seen that not
one stick of the huts was standing. But the natives were anxious to
get out of their canoes, and by mid-day half the huts in the village
were re-built with the fragments that they had crammed into the canoes
or had put up into the trees. During the next two or three days they
brought back quantities of housing materials, which had been carried
for miles down the river, and very soon the village resumed its normal

On two subsequent occasions in the following month the village was
completely swept away by floods, and it was a matter of surprise to
us that they did not adopt the custom of their neighbours the Tapiro
pygmies and build their houses on piles. The third great flood swept
away the sandbank on which the village stood, and they were accordingly
compelled to build their houses on the top of a high bank further down
the river. Such a place as that necessitated cutting down a number of
big trees, but now that a great many of them have the steel axes, which
we gave them, it is to be hoped that they have learnt to place their
dwellings in safer positions, even though it costs them a little extra

The wet season, which we hoped had reached its maximum of wetness
in July, when sometimes for days together the rain hardly ceased,
continued in a series of greater or less floods through the months of
August and September. Often it was impossible to move a yard from the
camp, and without books life would have been almost insupportable. On
one of the wettest of those days I came across the following passage,
which seemed to describe the situation exactly:—

  “With five ... what we call qualities of bad,
  Worse, worst, and yet worse still, and still worse yet.”

It need hardly be said that this very disagreeable season produced ill
effects on all the members of the expedition. The Europeans became
depressed, and if we were not sick of life itself, we were certainly
sick of New Guinea, while in the case of the coolies and soldiers, who
were accustomed to sunnier climates, and who had no interest or goal
to look forward to in the country, the results were disastrous indeed.
Hardly a man escaped fever of greater or less severity and chills
brought on by the unceasing rain and the consequent impossibility
of securing a change of dry clothing. Several men suffered too from
dysentery of a very intractable type, which completely incapacitated
them from any further service.

[Sidenote: BERI-BERI]

But worse than either fever or dysentery was the beri-beri, which
made its appearance after we had been in the country for a few months.
This is not the place to give a scientific account of beri-beri; it
will suffice to say that it is a disease, of which the most important
feature is a degeneration of the nervous system. The results of this
are seen in the curious and characteristic walk, loss of sensation
in various parts of the body, interference with the circulation and
swelling of the body and particularly of the face and limbs, and in
very many cases sudden heart failure. It is almost conclusively proved
now that the cause of the disease is an error of diet, and it appears
to be certain that the fine milling and polishing of the rice, which
forms the staple food of the natives of so many countries in the East,
deprives the rice of a very necessary constituent as a food. Those
people, who grind their own rice and do not mill or polish it finely,
but leave a small portion of the husk still adhering to the grain, are
free from beri-beri. The disease varies in severity from time to time
and from place to place, but at its best it is a very deadly scourge
and it causes a very large number of deaths. Occasionally it occurs in
an epidemic form, but fortunately that did not happen to our expedition.

In the six months from the beginning of June to the end of November,
thirty-nine men shewed definite symptoms of beri-beri, and seven deaths
were directly attributable to this cause. Our coolies, who came from
the Eastern islands of the Archipelago, were much less susceptible to
the disease than were the convicts and soldiers, most of whom came from
Java and Sumatra; these latter contracted the disease in a much more
serious form and most of the fatal cases took place among them. It was
a curious circumstance that at Parimau, which was in most respects by
far the healthier place, many more cases of beri-beri occurred than at
Wakatimi, where it is doubtful if any cases originated.

[Sidenote: SICKNESS]

Still more remarkable was the case of the camp on the Wataikwa River,
which ought to have been the healthiest place we occupied anywhere in
the country. For several months a guard of two Javanese and two Gurkhas
was kept there to look after the store of food, and though they were
very frequently changed and replaced by others, several of the Javanese
developed beri-beri and two of them died. The Gurkhas, perhaps because
they led more active lives than the Javanese, remained free of the
disease until one of them, Havildar Mahesur, a most useful man, had
the misfortune to damage one of his eyes; it was necessary for him to
remain in the darkness of his tent for some days and within a fortnight
he developed all the signs of beri-beri so that he had to be sent away
from the country.

A welcome interruption in those dreary months was caused by the arrival
at Parimau on August 26 of canoes bringing Mr. C. H. B. Grant, who had
come out from England as naturalist to the expedition in the place of
W. Stalker. He brought with him two Dayak collectors[15] and a quantity
of various and excellent stores, and a large mail, the first we had
received since the end of May. Shortridge had arrived in the country by
the same ship on his return from Australia, but his change of air had
not completely cured him and he was compelled to leave the country at
the end of November. Goodfellow, whose fever continued almost without
interruption, became so weak that he also was obliged to leave the
country early in October. From that time we had only a dozen men and
no forward movement was possible until the arrival of our third batch
of coolies on the 22nd December. By the same boat that brought the new
coolies in December came instructions to Captain Rawling to take over
the command of the expedition.


  _Pygmies visit Parimau—Description of Tapiro
  Pygmies—Colour—Hair—Clothing—Ornaments—Netted Bags—Flint
  Knives—Bone Daggers—Sleeping Mats—Fire Stick—Method
  of making Fire—Cultivation of Tobacco—Manner of
  Smoking—Bows and Arrows—Village of the Pygmies—Terraced
  Ground—Houses on Piles—Village Headman—Our Efforts
  to see the Women—Language and Voices—Their
  Intelligence—Counting—Their Geographical Distribution._


The Pygmy people—or Tapiro as they are called by the Papuans—whom we
saw in March, visited us occasionally in small parties of three or four
at Parimau and later we went to one of their villages in the hills,
to which they were reluctantly persuaded to show us the way. When
they come down to Parimau they were warmly welcomed by the Papuans,
with whom they seemed to be on very friendly terms, and stayed in
their houses for two or three days. They appeared to be particularly
attractive to the women, one of whom we saw affectionately embrace a
Tapiro on his arrival; it was said that she kissed him, but if that was
so it was the only occasion on which that form of endearment was seen
practised by the Papuans. It was noticeable that when they arrived at
Parimau they had not their bows and arrows, which they always carry
elsewhere; probably they had left them hidden in the jungle before they
came to the village. Similarly, when we went up to visit the Tapiro,
the Papuans who were with us left their spears behind them at the
last camp before we reached their village.

[Illustration: A TAPIRO PYGMY.]

Their visits were always very welcome because they brought with them
from the hills quantities of tobacco to exchange with the natives of
Parimau, who grow none themselves. At first they were very shy of
crossing the river, but by the offer of gifts we persuaded them to come
into our camp, where we had better opportunities of observing them than
in the crowded village.

At one time or another we took measurements of 40 adult men, most of
them men in the prime of life, and their average height was found to
be 144·9 cm. (4 ft. 9 in.). It is possible that one or two rather tall
men of 150 cm. and upwards, whose appearance led us to suspect that
they were Tapiro-Papuan half-breeds, may have been included among those
measured, but the correction of that error will not appreciably reduce
the true average height. The height of the smallest man measured was
132·6 cm. By contrast with the Papuans they looked extremely small and,
what was rather a curious thing, though many of our Malay coolies were
no taller than they, the coolies looked merely under-sized and somewhat
stunted men, while the Tapiro looked emphatically _little_ men. They
are cleanly-built, active-looking little fellows, rather big in the
buttocks as mountain people are apt to be, and their well-made calves
are noticeable in contrast with the long, straight legs of the Papuans.
They walk with an easy swinging gait, the knees a little bent and the
body slightly leaning forwards.

The colour of their skin is paler than that of the Papuans—some of
them indeed are almost yellow—but they are so indescribably dirty that
it is not easy to know what is their true colour; they have also an
ugly habit of smearing their faces with a black oily mixture. Neither
tattooing nor cicatrization appears to be practised by them. The
_septum_ of the nose is always pierced and in it they occasionally wear
a curved boar’s tusk planed down to a thin slip, or a short piece of
straight bone; the _alae nasi_ are not pierced. The nose is straight
and very wide at the nostrils. The upper lip of many of the men is long
and curiously convex.

The hair is short and woolly and black; many of the men give a lighter
shade to the hair with lime or mud, and in two or three cases it seemed
to be of a brown colour without any artificial treatment. They appear
to begin to grow bald at a comparatively early age. The younger men
grow whiskers and the older have short bushy black beards. There is a
good deal of short downy black hair scattered about the body. Their
eyes are noticeably larger and rounder than those of the Papuans, and
there is in them something sleepy and dog-like which gives a pathetic
expression to their faces.[16]


When we first saw them one or two men wore curious helmet-like caps
of plaited fibres and another had a strip of fur round his head;
otherwise they are completely naked except for the remarkable gourd
case described above (p. 161). Strangely enough they are extremely
modest and unwilling to expose themselves; when with some difficulty we
had persuaded a man to part with his case, he would not remove it then
and there, but always disappeared into the jungle and returned after an
interval decently covered with leaves.

Their ornaments are few and simple; a number of men wear arm-bands and
leg-bands of plaited fibre similar to those worn by the Papuans, and
several of them wear necklaces of seeds, short pieces of bamboo, scraps
of broken shell, teeth of wallabies and (in one instance) the bones of
a small mammal. The lobes of both ears are pierced and a few men wear
in one ear an ornament made of a small piece of gourd to which are
attached seeds, scraps of fur, claws of birds and other ornamental odds
and ends. One young man, with more originality than the rest, thrust
through his front hair a piece of sharpened bone, which projected
downwards over his face and gave him a most distinguished appearance
(see Frontispiece).

The most elaborate and ornamental of their possessions are the bags,
which every man carries. Most of them carry two, a large bag like a
haversack slung across the shoulders and usually hanging down the back,
and a small bag only a few inches square slung round his neck and
hanging down on the chest. They are made of fine fibres of different
colours, cleverly netted[17] in ornamental patterns, and they show the
best attempt at decorative art that we saw in the country. In these
bags the Pygmy man keeps all his portable property. The small wallet
round the neck contains his bone and shell ornaments when they are not
in use, and his knives; these latter are sharp flakes of a flint-like
stone shaped exactly like the flint-knives and scrapers that are found
in this country; they are used for scraping down the wood of their bows
and for pointing and ornamenting their arrows as well as for other
cutting purposes, and it is profoundly interesting in these days of
steel to see people still using the implements of prehistoric man.
One or two men also carried in their wallets a short dagger made of a
pointed cassowary’s bone, and they explained to us by graphic gestures
how they were accustomed to shoot a cassowary with their arrows and
then after a long chase to stab it with the dagger.

The contents of the larger bag usually are the sleeping mat, the
fire-stick and rattan, and tobacco. The sleeping mat is a fabric of
_pandanus_ leaves, which can be used either as a mat to lie upon or as
a shelter from the rain; it measures usually about six by three feet
and is neatly folded to be carried in the bag. The manufacture of these
mats is always the work of the women and is a very ingenious process.
The long ribbon-like leaves of the _pandanus_ are split horizontally
into two strips; the shiny upper one alone is used and the lower is
thrown away. Strips of two leaves are placed with their split surfaces
together and their shiny surfaces outwards, and then numbers of these
pairs of split leaves are sown together, edge to edge, until the mat
is of the required size. Thus the mat is made entirely of the outer
surfaces of the leaves; it is very strong and is quite impervious to


[Sidenote: MAKING FIRE]

By far the most interesting of the possessions of these people is
the apparatus for making fire, which consists of three different parts,
the split stick, the rattan, and the tinder. The split stick is a short
stick of wood an inch or so in diameter, which is split at one end and
is held open by a small pebble placed between the split halves. The
rattan is a long piece of split rattan wound upon itself into a neatly
coiled ring (see illustration p. 202), and the tinder is usually a lump
of the fibrous sheath of a palm shoot and sometimes a piece of dried

The method of making fire is as follows: In the split of the stick,
between the stone which holds the split ends apart and the solid stick,
is placed a small fragment of tinder. The operator—if one may use so
modern a word in describing so ancient a practice—places the stick
upon the ground and secures the solid, _i.e._ the unsplit end with his
foot. Then, having unwound about a yard of the rattan, he holds the
coil in one hand and the free end in the other and looping the middle
of it underneath the stick at the point where the tinder is placed he
proceeds to saw it backwards and forwards with extreme rapidity. In a
short space of time, varying from ten to thirty seconds, the rattan
snaps and he picks up the stick with the tinder, which has probably
by this time begun to smoulder, and blows it into flame. At the point
where the rattan rubs on the stick a deep cut is made on the stick,
and at each successive use the stick is split a little further down
and the rattan is rubbed a little further back, so that a well-used
fire-stick is marked with a number of dark burnt rings. It was only
with the greatest difficulty and after many attempts that we succeeded
in producing fire in this manner, but the Tapiro do it with the utmost
ease and they scorned our boxes of matches, which we offered them in
exchange for their apparatus, and showed no signs of surprise at a
suddenly kindled match.[18]

The most frequent use of the fire-stick is in lighting the tobacco, of
which nearly every man carries a supply in his larger bag. These people
cultivate tobacco in sufficient quantities to be able to supply the
Papuans of the low country. The leaves are dried and neatly rolled up
into long bundles weighing three or four pounds; the flavour is strong
and rather bitter, but it is not unpleasant to smoke. The Tapiro smoke
tobacco chiefly as cigarettes, using for the wrapper a thin slip of dry
_pandanus_ leaf. When, as is often the case, the wrapper is very narrow
and the tobacco is inclined to escape, the man smokes his cigarette in
a peculiar manner; he holds the unlighted end in his fingers and with
his mouth draws out the smoke from between the edges of the wrapper
in the middle of the cigarette, this he continues to do until the
cigarette is about half consumed when he puts the end in his mouth in
the ordinary way.

The Tapiro also smoke tobacco in a pipe in a fashion of their own. The
pipe is a simple cylinder of bamboo about an inch in diameter and a
few inches in length. A small plug of tobacco is rolled up and pushed
down to about the middle of the pipe, and the smoker holding it upright
between his lips draws out the smoke from below. The Tapiro never
make large cigars like those of the Papuans of the Mimika, and the
Papuans never smoke pipes, nor did they take readily to those that we
gave them.



Besides the bone daggers mentioned above the only weapon of the Tapiro
are the bow and arrows, which they always carry. The bows are a very
little shorter than those of the Papuans, but otherwise they are very
similar, viz.: straight tapered strips of hard wood “strung” with
a slip of rattan. The arrows are shorter and lighter and of finer
workmanship than those of the Mimika Papuans, but like those they
have neither feathers nor nocks. The best, which they were not at all
anxious to sell to us, are ornamented with simple carvings and are
tipped with a very sharp point of black wood. An arrow which ended in
a curious blunt lump of wood was used, so we understood, for shooting

The Tapiro have no spears and neither they nor the Mimika Papuans know
the use of the sling. They set quantities of little nooses for small
animals, and we once found a rattan noose fixed to a root of a tree and
evidently set with the purpose of catching a pig.

Many of them carry in their bags a small Jew’s harp, made of a thin
piece of bamboo, from which they extract faint music that is pleasing
to their ears. Two men possessed instruments of a more original
design: these were made of pieces of polished bone fitting together in
such a way that when one was turned round over the other it produced
peculiarly discordant squeaks, which were highly appreciated by the

Wamberi Merbiri or Wamberimi, the village of the Tapiro which was
visited by different members of our party on three separate occasions,
is situated on the lower slopes of Mount Tapiro, the mountain nearest
to Parimau, at about 1800 feet above the sea. It is in fact within a
stone’s throw of that large clearing which Rawling and I had reached
with so much difficulty, but when approached by the track used by the
people themselves it is an easy walk of two or three hours from the
Kapare River.

The track climbs by a steep almost knife-edged ridge densely covered
with forest to the rounded shoulder of the hill where the village
lies. The first sign of the village is a flimsy fence of tall poles,
which bars the track and extends for a short distance on either side
of it. Passing through a narrow opening in the fence you come to a
cleared space occupied by three or four houses. A couple of hundred
yards beyond these and separated from them by a small gully, which is
bridged by an enormous fallen tree, is a second group of six houses,
constituting the village of Wamberi Merbiri.

The houses are scattered about over three or four acres of steeply
sloping ground, from which most of the trees have been cleared. Between
the houses the ground has been levelled in three places to form almost
level terraces, measuring about fifteen by five yards, completely
cleared of vegetation and covered with small stones. These terraces are
held up on the lower side by logs and stumps of trees, and the labour
of making them by people whose only tools are stone axes and pieces
of wood is difficult to imagine; they are used, so far as we could
understand, for dances and other ceremonies.



The houses are greatly superior to those of the Mimika Papuans, from
which they differ in every respect. They are built on piles, which
raise the floor of the house from four to ten feet above the ground
according to the steepness of the slope underneath. The walls are made
of long laths of split wood with big sheets of bark fastened on to
the outside. The roof is a fairly steep pitched angular structure of
split wood covered with over-lapping leaves of the Fan-palm. The floor
is made like the walls and covered with large sheets of bark; in the
middle of the floor is a square sunken box filled with sand or earth in
which a fire is kept burning, and over the fire hanging from the roof
is a simple rack, on which wood is placed to dry. The house consists
of one nearly square compartment, measuring about ten feet in each
direction. The way of entering is by a steep ladder made of two posts
tied closely together, which leads to a narrow platform or balcony
in front of the front wall of the house. There are no notches on the
posts, but the lashings of rattan, which tie them together, answer the
purpose of steps or rungs for the feet. As well as in the excellence
of their houses, the Tapiro show another point of superiority over the
neighbouring Papuans in their habit of using a common retiring place at
the edge of a small stream.

There was an old man in the village, bald and white-bearded, and
horribly disfigured by disease,[19] who appeared to be unquestionably
the headman of the place. He sat in one of the huts all day and shouted
shrilly to the other men who were constantly going in and out to speak
to him, and I think it was due to him that we were never allowed to see
the women. We were particularly anxious to see some of the women of
the tribe, and we offered them large rewards of knives and axes merely
for the sight of them. The other men were willing enough to produce
the women, and several times they were on the point of fetching them,
but were always prevented by the old man. Finally we had a personal
interview with him, and held out three bright axes, which made his one
eye glisten with greed, but he still remained obdurate.

Though we never saw the women I have no doubt that they saw us; at
night we saw their camp fires up on the hillside opposite the village,
and when we departed we heard their shrill voices quite close to us
before we had gone a quarter of a mile from the place. They had no
reason to distrust us when we assured them that our only wish was to
see their women, and I think the reason for their keeping them hidden
was the presence of the Papuans who accompanied us from Parimau. The
supply of Papuan women is very scanty, and it is likely enough that the
men would seize any chance of abducting a Tapiro woman, as indeed they
boasted of having done.

The language of these Tapiro pygmy people is certainly different
from that of the Papuans, but I regret to say that we were unable
to make even the smallest vocabulary of it. Their voices are rather
high-pitched and nasal, and many of their words contain curious throat
sounds, which I was not able to spell much less to imitate. In talking
they have a curious habit of protruding the lips, which recalls in a
striking manner a familiar grimace of the anthropoid apes.

[Illustration: HOUSE OF THE TAPIRO.]

They appeared to understand a good deal that the Papuans said to them,
but I doubt if the latter understood them when they were talking
amongst themselves. When we were trying to persuade the headman to
allow the women to be produced, it was a strange experience to be
using the Papuans, of whose language we knew only the rudiments, as
interpreters to an even less known people.

In consequence of our entire lack of knowledge of their language we
were not able to form a very reasonable estimate of their intelligence.
When they were seen in company with the Papuans, the latter, who
usually looked dull and expressionless, appeared by contrast to be full
of life and animation. The Tapiro, as a rule, looks blank and rather
sad, and when a smile does appear upon his face, it dawns slowly and

[Sidenote: COUNTING]

A rough test of an uncivilised man’s intelligence is the extent to
which he is able to count, but in the case of the Tapiro there is an
unfortunate difference of evidence in this respect. Capt. Rawling
(_Geograph. Journal_, Vol. xxxviii., page 246) affirms that they are
able to count up to ten. If this is so, it is a very interesting and
remarkable fact. On several occasions I tried to make these people
count, with a view to learning their numeral words, and I found that
like the Papuans they only had words for one and two, and that those
two words were the same as the Papuan words; but it appeared that,
unlike the Papuans, they had not the custom of using their fingers and
toes for the higher numbers.

On the credit side of their intelligence must be placed their admirably
constructed houses, their decorated arrows and ingeniously woven bags,
and their cultivation.

As well as the village and clearing of Wambiri Merbiri we saw other
small patches of cleared ground on the spurs of Mount Tapiro, and on
the slopes of Mount Tuaba we saw from a distance another large clearing
which we were never able to reach. Further to the East we saw no sign
of them and we were informed by the Papuans that there were no more
in that direction. That is probably true, for the mountains are so
excessively steep to the East of Mount Tuaba that there appears to be
no country suitable for them. It seems likely that we were fortunate
enough to meet these people at the Eastern limit of their range and
that more of them would be found living in the hills N.W. from the
Kapare River towards the Charles Louis Mountains, where the slopes are
less steep than in the Nassau Range. The thick-coated dog, which was
brought down to Parimau by the Tapiro (see p. 126), might suggest that
they have dealings with other natives living high up in the mountains,
but so far we have no definite knowledge of the existence of such a

This account of our observations, which were necessarily very
superficial, will suffice to show that there is a most promising field
for some future investigator, who has opportunity and time to spend
among these most interesting people.



  _Communication with Amboina and Merauke—Sail in the
  “Valk” to the Utakwa River—Removal of the Dutch
  Expedition—View of Mount Carstensz—Dugongs—Crowded
  Ship—Dayaks and Live Stock—Sea-Snakes—Excitable
  Convicts—The Island River—Its Great Size—Another Dutch
  Expedition—Their Achievements—Houses in the Trees—Large
  Village—Barn-like Houses—Naked People—Shooting Lime—Their
  Skill in Paddling—Through the Marianne Straits—An
  Extract from Carstensz—Merauke—Trade in Copra—Botanic
  Station—The Mission—The Ké Island Boat-builders—The
  Natives of Merauke described—Arrival of our Third Batch
  of Coolies—The Feast of St. Nicholas—Return to Mimika._

It has been mentioned in the preceding chapters that after the
expedition landed in New Guinea, a more or less regular communication
was kept up between the Mimika and Amboina. The South-west coast of
New Guinea as far East as the Utanata River is in the administrative
district of Amboina, and beyond that, as far as the boundary of British
New Guinea, the country is nominally under the control of the station
of Merauke. Thus the Mimika is actually within the Merauke district,
but it was for many reasons found more convenient for the Government
to communicate with the expedition directly from Amboina rather than
by way of Merauke; accordingly the soldiers forming our escort were
attached as an outpost to the garrison of Amboina and communications
were established with that place.

For several months a steamer came from Amboina to the Mimika, bringing
men and stores and letters and taking away invalids; usually it came
every six or eight weeks, and the longest interval that occurred was
twelve weeks, during which for one reason or another it was found
impossible to send a ship to the Mimika. In October an alteration was
made, and it was decided that the Merauke steamer, which was in regular
communication with the Dutch expeditions on the Utakwa and Island
rivers, should visit the Mimika also. It was in consequence of this
new arrangement on the part of the Government that I was enabled to
make the journey described below, and although these places do not fall
strictly within the sphere of our expedition, yet they are so little
known that I shall make no apology for giving a short description of
them here.

Towards the end of November, the Government steamer _Valk_ called at
the Mimika on its way to the Utakwa and Island rivers to take away
our sick men, who had accumulated in some numbers during the last two
months. Our work was practically at a standstill, and nothing more
could be done until our next batch of coolies arrived, so it was agreed
that I should go down to Merauke in company with Shortridge, who was
going home an invalid, and bring back our new coolies who were due to
arrive there by the next boat early in December.


A few hours’ steaming from the Mimika brought us to the mouth of the
Utakwa, where we lay outside the bar all night waiting for daylight to
find our way into the channel. When we had entered the river it was
evident that the Utakwa was something very different from the Mimika,
which is a mere ditch in comparison with it; it is indeed to the Mimika
as the Severn is to the Wye. It was tantalising to remember that this
was the river by which we had originally intended to enter the country,
and one could not help regretfully wondering what would have been the
result if we had followed out that plan; but it was at the best an
unprofitable speculation, and one had to rest content (or as content
as possible) with the course we had taken. In any case it was certain
that even if we had taken the Utakwa as our point of entering into the
country, we could not possibly have reached any considerable height in
the Snow Mountains with the means, i.e. the men, at our disposal.

Near its mouth and for some miles inland the Utakwa is about half a
mile wide and bounded by low banks of Mangrove and Nipa-palm. The
_Valk_ was a ship of about five hundred tons drawing twelve feet of
water. We steamed up the river for about seventeen miles and there
anchored, not from lack of water, but on account of the risk of turning
the ship round against a strong current in the somewhat narrowing
channel. From the anchorage a steam launch and boats were sent on to
the base camp of the Government expedition, which had been established
rather more than thirty miles further up the river.

We waited for three days while that expedition was being brought away,
and after the first day the _Valk_ went down to the mouth of the river
on account of the mosquitoes at the anchorage; they were a small black
species, and they came out of the swamps by day as well as by night in
swarms, and attacked everybody on board so furiously that life became
quite intolerable. Before we left the anchorage up the river we saw
a magnificent view of the snows of Mount Carstensz towering up over
the morning mists. From there the Snow Mountains, making as it were a
steep wall across the view to the North, appear far more imposing than
they do in the rather sidelong view from the Mimika; and the different
aspect of the precipices as seen from the Utakwa was most instructive.

Whilst we were waiting at the mouth of the river we were visited by
several parties of natives in canoes, who came, they informed us, from
a large village on the Kupera Pukwa, the next river to the west of the
Utakwa. They appeared to use the same, or almost the same, language as
the people of Mimika, and they were very anxious that we should go and
visit their village, but unfortunately we had no means of doing so.

An interesting sight at the mouth of the Utakwa were the Dugongs
(_Halicore australis_), which were seen feeding on the weeds in the
shallow water and occasionally rose up and stared at us in a curiously
human manner. They are about eight feet long and are perfectly
inoffensive creatures, but they have been “fished” for with nets and
almost exterminated in many places on account of their valuable oil.



The Dutch expedition came down to us in detachments during the three
days that we waited at the mouth of the river. There were Captain
Van der Bie, in command; Mr. J. M. Dumas, surveyor and naturalist;
three white sergeants, about fifty native soldiers and convicts,
and twenty Dayaks of Dutch Borneo, who came down the river in the
long canoes they had built themselves. There was also an Australian
collector, Mr. Meek and two assistants, who had been attached to the
Dutch expedition to make collections of birds and butterflies for a
private museum in England. With Mr. Meek were ten natives of Port
Moresby in British New Guinea, little brown, fuzzy-headed fellows full
of life and merriment; they were in every way so different from the
sombre and unemotional Papuans that it was difficult to realise that
they were both natives of the same island.

The Utakwa expedition had been in the country for seven months and
had traversed a considerable extent of country, but those months
coincided with the period of the worst weather—one cannot talk of wet
and dry seasons in that region—and like us they had suffered from the
shortcomings of their coolies; the Dayaks had reached them too late
to be of much service to the expedition. From their base camp at the
head of steam-launch navigation they had gone two days further up the
river in canoes, and then had gone a distance of seven marches towards
Mount Carstensz. The furthest point they reached was at an altitude of
about 3000 feet, and was less than twenty miles distant from the snow,
but the views of the country that they saw were not sufficient to show
whether that was the best route to the highest mountains. One of the
principal objects of the Government in despatching that expedition to
the Utakwa was to discover a convenient way of crossing New Guinea,
and when it was found that the Utakwa led apparently to the highest
mountain in the island, it was decided to withdraw the expedition, and
to concentrate all the exploring energies on the Island River, which
seemed to offer a better prospect of accomplishing that purpose.

When all these people had been taken on board the _Valk_, the decks
of the little ship were crowded to overflowing with gear and men and
wild animals. They had brought some young wild pigs, a number of
crowned and other kinds of pigeons, and several young cassowaries.
Mr. Dumas brought on board three eggs, from which were hatched pretty
little cassowary chicks during the next few days. We were particularly
struck by the appearance of the Dayaks, any one of whom looked more
than a match for three of our Malay coolies. Apart from their apparent
strength, they differed noticeably from the Malays, who like to spend
their days in sleeping between meals, in their unceasing industry; they
had brought on board quantities of bamboo, from which they at once
started making bird cages, and pieces of hard wood, out of which they
carved handles for their knives and other ornamental objects.

The ship was so heavily laden that it was impossible to take on
board all the boats that had been used by the Utakwa expedition, and
three or four were towed in a long string astern. Fortunately the
sea was exceptionally smooth, but even so one of these, an almost
new “long-boat,” broke adrift, and we lost a day in searching for it


Whilst we were cruising about looking for the lost boat, one of our
passengers, a fever-stricken soldier from the Mimika, caused some
excitement by stabbing with his knife another man and then jumping
hastily into the sea. The sudden plunge cooled his fever and the
appearance of a sea-snake swimming not far from him made him as anxious
to return to the ship as he had been to leave it.

During the voyage down the coast we saw a number of sea-snakes,
sometimes as far as thirty or forty miles from land, but there was no
opportunity of catching one; they appeared to be yellowish with dark
markings and were about three or four feet in length. I was told that
they sometimes travel in large numbers together and will climb up the
sides of ships at anchor, but I cannot vouch for the correctness of
this statement.

Another episode, which enlivened the voyage down to Merauke, was caused
by the strange behaviour of one of the convicts, who was being taken
away from the Mimika. This man had suffered from the common form of
delusion that everybody was against him, and after he had run away
from the camp at Wakatimi and had spent thirty-six hours in the jungle
without food I certified that he was of unsound mind and recommended
that he should be sent back to Java. He was found prowling about the
ship with an exceedingly sharp knife, with which (so he said) he
intended to murder me, so he was promptly secured in chains. We made
friends in a day or two and he was set at liberty again before we
reached Merauke, but I confess I was not sorry when we were no longer
together in the same ship.


On the second day after leaving the Utakwa we entered the Island River
by one of its many mouths, and after we had gone up it a few miles we
realised that in the matter of size it is to the Utakwa as that river
is to the Mimika. The banks are low and swampy and mostly covered
with mangroves for several miles from the coast. Further on the banks
are a few feet above the level of high water and we saw many trees
that looked like good timber trees and others of considerable beauty,
notably a wide-spreading acacia-like tree (_Albizia moluccana_), and
a very graceful palm (_Oncosperma filamentosum_) like a Betel-nut
palm growing in clumps by the waterside. We noticed also a number
of Bread-fruit trees (_Artocarpus_ sp.) bigger than any I have seen
elsewhere, but none of them appeared to bear fruit.

We steamed up the river for one hundred and twelve nautical miles to
the _Swallow_, the depôt ship and base camp of the Dutch exploring
expedition. The river at that point is about three hundred yards wide,
but the current is swift and there are many shallow sand banks, which
make further navigation impossible for a ship as large as the _Valk_.


The Dutch expedition had been established for several months in the
country and had made very considerable progress towards the North.
From the _Swallow_ they had proceeded up the river two days’ journey
by steam launch and six days beyond that by canoes as far as the river
was navigable, a distance of more than one hundred miles. Thence they
had gone North, and in nine marches they had reached a height of ten
thousand feet at a point which appeared to be on the watershed of the
main mountain range of the island. One of the principal objects of
the expedition was to cross New Guinea from South to North, and it was
hoped that from the furthest point they had reached they would soon
arrive at one of the upper tributaries of the Kaiserin Augusta, the
large river which enters the sea in German territory. They were at that
time busily occupied in transporting supplies up to their furthest
camp with a view to continuing the journey, but shortly afterwards the
expedition was crippled by sickness and the project was abandoned.
We spent two days alongside of the _Swallow_ transferring to her the
stores and many of the men that we had brought from the Utakwa and
taking away the sick and time-expired members of the Island River
expedition, amongst them being Lieut. Van der Wenn of the Netherlands
Navy, who was attached to the expedition as surveyor.

On our way down the Island River we saw many things which we had missed
on the way up, because we had entered the river and steamed up through
several hours of darkness. First we came to isolated houses by the
river bank of the same type as the Mimika houses, but larger and better
built; near them we saw a few natives, who appeared to be very shy and
retreated hastily into the jungle when the steamer approached.

Lower down, when we were within about thirty miles of the sea, we came
to a large village of fifty or sixty houses, some of which were raised
on piles near the edge of the river and the others were built in the
trees, where they presented a most astonishing appearance. They are
square and apparently well-made houses with ridgepole roof and walls of
“atap,” the entrance is by a hole in the floor which is reached by a
vertical ladder of bamboo from the ground. One house was at a height of
certainly not less than sixty feet above the ground in a very slender
tree, and the position of the inhabitants, when the wind blew, must
have been far from enviable. Unfortunately the sun was low and directly
behind the village so that I was unable to obtain photographs of the
tree-dwellings. The people there showed no fear of us, but stood on the
bank and shouted and waved their spears.

A few miles further down the river we came to another large village of
yet a different character. The houses there were all built on piles,
but while a few of them were of the usual small size, the majority were
quite unlike anything else we had seen in that part of New Guinea. They
were huge barn-like structures raised on piles ten or more feet above
the ground, and the length of some of them must have been from one
hundred and fifty to two hundred feet. It was quite evident that these
were communal dwellings, indicating a social system entirely different
from that of the surrounding districts, and it was very tantalising
to pass them within a few yards and not to be able to visit them. The
village extended for about a mile along the East bank and the natives
that we saw must have numbered at least a thousand. The men were all
entirely naked and the women were only dressed in the scantiest strip
of bark-cloth. In other respects they appeared, as far as one could
tell from such a rapid survey of them, to be very similar to the Mimika
Papuans in their features and their short hair and their absence of


Crowds of people lined the river bank and some of them, holding short
bamboos in their hands, jerked them in our direction and from the end
came out a white cloud of powdered lime, which looked like smoke. This
custom was noticed by Rawling when he first visited the village of
Nimé, and it was recorded by some of the early voyagers,[20] but the
meaning of it has not yet been explained. The suggestion that it is a
means of imitating the appearance of fire-arms is ingenious, but it can
hardly be seriously considered.

While most of the people stood on the bank to see us pass, a number
of men jumped into their canoes and came racing after us. The current
of the river was about two, and the speed of the _Valk_ was seven
knots, so they had to move quickly, but they easily overtook us and
followed us for some distance down the river. Their canoes are simple
“dug-outs,” but they differ from those of the Mimika in coming to a
fine point at both ends. The bow is roughly notched on the upper side,
which gives it somewhat the appearance of a bird’s beak. They seem also
to be considerably lighter than the Mimika craft, and so narrow that a
man could hardly sit down in them. The usual number of a crew is nine
or ten men, who all stand up and all paddle on the same side of the
canoe. The regular swing of their bodies and the perfect precision of
the paddling was a sight prettier than any “eight” I have ever seen.
They called to us and waved bundles of arrows, evidently anxious to
trade with us, but the captain of the _Valk_ was unable to stop, so we
threw overboard for them empty tins and bottles, and it was marvellous
to see how they raced up to these things, and with a sudden backward
stroke of their paddles brought the canoes to a standstill, while they
recovered the prize, and then raced on again.

From the mouth of the Island River, as we went out to sea, we saw
through a break in the clouds to the far North the snow on Mount
Wilhelmina, which was reached by Mr. H. A. Lorentz in November, 1909.
Steaming in a south-easterly direction we kept some way out from the
land, which is so low as to be invisible at a distance of a few miles.
When we were opposite the Digoel, the greatest (excepting the Fly) of
all the South New Guinea rivers, we found the sea strewn with logs and
trees, in some places so many together as to form floating islands, on
which crowds of gulls and terns were seen to settle at nightfall.

The tide favouring us, we chose the Marianne Strait between the
mainland and Prince Frederick Henry Island. Sometimes, when the
south-east monsoon has been blowing regularly for a few days, it is
quite impossible for a ship of only moderate power to steam through
it against the current. The Strait is a winding channel about ninety
miles long and has an average width of about two miles, and it is not
surprising that early voyagers, even as late as Kolff, in the Dutch
brig-of-war, _Dourga_, in 1826, mistook it for a river. The banks are
low and forest-covered, and we only saw two small clusters of houses.
From one of these some men put off in a canoe to intercept us and
followed us for some distance, calling “_Kaya-Kaya_” (friend).[21]
They were tall and powerful-looking men, entirely naked except for a
small shell attached to a string about the middle, and their great mats
of hair extending down to the shoulders and beyond showed most clearly
that we had come to yet another tribe quite distinct from the people of
the Island River.


Jan Carstensz, who visited this coast in 1623, gives a good description
of the land and the people:[22] “It is impossible to land here with
boats or pinnaces owing to the clayey and muddy bottom into which a man
will sink up to the waist, the depth of the water being no more than
three or four fathoms at three or four miles distant from the land. The
land is low-lying and half submerged, being quite under water at high
tide; it is covered with wild trees, those on the beach resembling the
fir-trees of our country, and seemingly bear no fruit. The natives are
coal black like the Kaffirs and they go about stark naked. They have
two holes in the midst of the nose, with fangs of hogs or sword-fishes
through them, protruding at least three fingers’ breadth on either
side, so that in appearance they are more like monsters than human
beings, they seem to be evil-natured and malignant. The lands which we
have up to now skirted and touched at not only are barren and inhabited
by savages, but also the sea in these parts yields no other fish than
sharks, sword-fishes, and the like unnatural monsters, while the birds
too are as wild and shy as the men.” Further to the East he found the
people “cunning and suspicious, and no stratagem on our part availed
to draw them near enough to us to enable us to catch one or two with
nooses which we had prepared for the purpose.” Suspicion of the unknown
is in the nature of savage people, and when we read that “in order to
frighten them the corporal fired a musket, which hit them both, so that
they died on the spot,” we no longer wonder that they appeared to Jan
Carstensz to be “evil-natured and malignant.” But times have changed
and the Dutch navigator of to-day is not less humane than any other.

[Sidenote: MERAUKE]

After coming out of the Marianne Straits we noticed a change in the
appearance of the land; the smoke of villages appeared at frequent
intervals and the shore was seen to be fringed by a continuous belt of
coco-palms in place of the mangrove to which we had become accustomed.
In a few hours from the Marianne Straits we came to the mouth of the
Merau River and after steaming up it for about four miles we dropped
anchor opposite the Dutch station of Merauke, where we left the ship
and went ashore.



The Dutch people have an inborn preference for low-lying land on which
to place their stations, but not the most enthusiastic fenman would
have voluntarily chosen Merauke as a place for a settlement. The reason
of its existence is a political one. Formerly the natives of the
district, the Tugeri, a very fierce and warlike people, used to have
the habit of making raids to the Eastward into British territory,
whence they brought slaves and the heads of their fallen enemies.
This became such a nuisance that the Australian Government addressed
protests to the Dutch about the lawless behaviour of their subjects,
and in 1902 the Dutch made the station of Merauke, and established
there a small garrison of about one hundred men. The place was chosen
partly because it was in the centre of the district of the Tugeri, and
partly because on that shallow coast the Merau River alone offered a
safe harbour for ships. It is a dreary enough place on the muddy bank
of the river and surrounded on the other sides by swamps, but the Dutch
have made the best of a bad job, and by laborious ditching and dyking
they have made the place fairly secure from floods; in spite of all
their draining, however, there are more mosquitoes there than in any
other inhabited place I have ever visited.

Like other Dutch settlements Merauke is laid out on a regular and
spacious plan, plenty of room being left between the houses of the
officials and the quarter occupied by the shops of the Chinese, of
which there are about a dozen. There are (or were in 1910) sixteen
Europeans[23] in the place, all of them in the employment of the
Government except two, the representatives of an European trading firm.
The principal trade of the place is in copra obtained from the hundreds
of thousands of coco-palms, which line the neighbouring sea-shore.
These palms are the property of the natives, who are too lazy to take
advantage of the wealth that lies (or rather hangs) at their doors,
and they do not encourage other people to come and make use of it.

There is a small force of native police under a Dutch officer, and a
few convicts are employed in keeping the station in order. It may not
be out of place to remark here that the nearest Dutch settlement is at
Fak-fak on the S.W. corner of the MacCluer Gulf, seven hundred miles in
a straight line from Merauke. Besides these two places the only other
Dutch garrison is at Manokwari (Dorei Bay) on the north coast, where
there has been a mission station for more than fifty years. Apart from
civilian and military officials, missionaries and two or three agents
of a commercial firm there are no settlers in the huge territory of
Dutch New Guinea.

A former Resident of Merauke, who had somewhat inflated ideas of the
future of the country, established an experimental botanic garden on
the only patch of dry ground near Merauke. Attached to the garden is
a large building containing rooms for three Europeans, laboratories,
a dark room and so on, which (it was hoped) would attract scientific
agriculturists and botanists from other countries to come and study
the local _flora_. But no sane person wishes to study the _flora_ of
New Guinea in the middle of a swamp, and already the scanty soil was
showing signs of exhaustion at the roots of the experimental bananas,
and the practically-minded Resident was considering the removal of
the house to Dobo or elsewhere as a dwelling for himself, when the
contemplated abandonment of Merauke as a “Residency” should take place.

Another interesting building at Merauke is the house of the Mission
of the Sacred Heart, an offshoot from the mission at Toeal. It must,
I am afraid, be admitted that Merauke is not a favourable field for
missionary enterprise, and the most notable achievements of the good
fathers there are the admirable house they have built, and the herd
of cattle which they contrive to keep. They teach a very small class
of the native children, but nearly all of them relapse again very
soon into savagery, and the adults, who have remained faithful to the
mission, are very few, and they are not the best specimens of their


Recently the ubiquitous Chinese have discovered that the sea in the
neighbourhood of Merauke is a most profitable fishing ground, and the
results of their labours are spread abroad to dry in the sun, so that
there are times when the air is almost too strong to be breathed.
The fishery has attracted some men from the Ké Islands, who are the
best boat builders in the Eastern Archipelago, and I spent many hours
watching them at their work. Their tools consist only of an axe, an
adze and an auger, and no nails or metal are used in the construction
of a boat. The planks are about three inches thick and are made each
from a single tree hewn to the required shape. Holes are bored at
intervals along the edge of the plank, and into these are fixed pegs of
wood which fit into corresponding holes in the edge of the succeeding
plank. When the shell of the boat is completed, the ribs, each made
from a single piece of bent wood, are fitted to the inside. The
fitting of the planks is so accurate that the boats require little or
no caulking, and they are ready to take the water as soon as they are


But by far the most interesting feature of Merauke are the natives of
the place, whose independent mien and conservative customs fill the
observer with admiration if not with approval. It is now nearly ten
years since the Dutch settled at Merauke, but in all that time, apart
from curbing somewhat their head-hunting propensities, they have made
very little impression on the natives, who still cling (if one may use
somewhat of an Irishism) to their scanty costume of nothing at all,
and refuse absolutely the beads and cloth and other “trade-goods” of
the invading white man. They stroll about the place in a most lordly
manner, and they like to visit the houses of the Europeans, where they
spend hours disdainfully watching other people at their work.

In appearance they differ from the Papuans of the Mimika in their
somewhat paler skin and in their features, which are markedly of the
(so-called) “Semitic” type with prominent eyes and long, curving,
fleshy nose. They are very fond of personal adornment and paint their
faces with white, red, and yellow colours; a fashionable but very
unsightly decoration is to paint the eyelids and eyelashes white.
Through the _septum_ of the nose is thrust a long piece of white bone
or shell, and in the _alae nasi_, which are also pierced, are often
worn the claws of a large eagle which project forwards, and give the
man a most ferocious aspect (see illustration opposite).

[Illustration: A NATIVE OF MERAUKE.

(_Wearing the claws of an eagle in the nose._)]

[Illustration: NATIVES OF MERAUKE.]

Some of the more dandyfied individuals are loaded with necklaces of
shells or teeth of dogs, sharks and crocodiles, and bands or belts of
the same things are crossed on the chest. Rings of boars’ tusks
and plaited fibres almost cover the upper arms, and in the ears are
worn bunches of large rings of tortoiseshell and bamboo. The hair is
long and is plaited with a mixture of mud and grass and feathers into
a solid bunch, which hangs down beyond the level of the shoulders. In
some of these head-dresses I saw plumes of the Greater, the Red and the
King birds of Paradise; it appears that when once they are made these
head-dresses may be added to, but they can never be undone, and they
are accordingly indescribably dirty. These people are characterised by
a pungent and most disagreeable odour, quite different from the sickly
sweet smell of the sago-eating Mimika people.

Another curious custom of the Merauke natives is their habit of wearing
round the waist a belt of pigskin, which cannot be removed, and is
so tight that it constricts the man to an (apparently) most painful
degree; the women of the tribe do not indulge in this practice.

Two days after our arrival the monthly mail-steamer came bringing
our forty-eight new coolies from Macassar, and on the following day
it sailed again, taking Shortridge on his way back to England. For a
week longer I received the most kind hospitality from the Resident,
Mr. E. Kalff, until we returned to the Mimika. During that week of
waiting our new coolies, who had heard terrible stories of the Mimika,
declared that they would never go there, and they attacked with knives
the guards who were placed to keep them in order. When I told them
that if they had no liking for the Mimika they were perfectly at
liberty to go and live near Merauke, the stories they heard of the
habits of the Tugeri put an immediate end to the strike, and they came
contentedly enough to the Mimika. They were more fortunate than some of
their predecessors, and all returned to their homes at the end of the

The Dutch have a pleasant sentiment with regard to the customs of
their native land, and at Merauke, the most remote outpost of Holland,
the feast of S. Nicholas was celebrated with due ceremony. All the
Europeans in the place, as well as the Javanese sergeants and clerks
and their children, assembled to meet the Saint, a huge Dutchman
disguised out of all recognition, and all of us, brown and white alike,
received at his hands a present or a mock flogging according to our

After spending ten very agreeable days at Merauke we sailed on December
18th and going by way of the Island River, where we landed fresh
men for that expedition, we arrived again at the Mimika on the 22nd


  _Difficulty of Cross-country Travel—Expedition moves
  towards the Mountains—Arrival at the Iwaka River—Changing
  Scenery—The Impassable Iwaka—A Plucky Gurkha—Building
  a Bridge—We start into the Mountains—Fording
  Rivers—Flowers—Lack of Water on Hillside—Curious
  Vegetation—Our highest Point—A wide View—Rare
  Birds—Coal—Uninhabitable Country—Dreary Jungle—Rarely any
  Beauty—Remarkable Trees—Occasional Compensations._

When our third and last batch of forty-eight coolies reached the
Mimika towards the end of December, it was at once evident from their
appearance that the majority of them would not last very long, and as
we had ourselves been already for a year in the country, it was agreed
that we should make a final effort to penetrate as far as possible
towards the mountains, and that when our means of transport came to an
end we should take our departure from New Guinea.

We had long realised the impossibility of reaching the Snow Mountains
from our present base. If we had possessed an efficient steam-launch or
motor boat, the Mimika was still too small a river and too frequently
unnavigable to be useful as a route for water transport. Another
consideration even more important than this was the fact that had the
Mimika been ten times the size it was, it would still have taken us in
a direction many miles to the West of the mountains we hoped to reach.
The result of these two circumstances was that we travelled by water
with great labour to a place (Parimau), which was still in low and
often flooded country, and from there we had to travel across country
for many miles before we came to the first rising ground.


It is difficult enough in New Guinea to make a way up a river valley,
but you always have the comforting reflection that the river itself
leads you back to your base, when stores are exhausted and it is time
to return. But when you attempt to make a cross-country journey, not
only is the trouble of cutting a track much greater than it is in a
river bed, but there is the difficult and often somewhat dangerous
business of crossing the rivers; added to this is the risk, which
increases with every river you cross, of being cut off for a longer
or shorter period from your base camp and supplies by a sudden flood
in those same rivers. For this reason, when coolies were sent back
from an advanced camp to the base, they had to be supplied with an
extra allowance of food in the event of their being stopped by floods
on the way; such a proceeding meant diminishing to some extent the
store of food they had carried out and a consequent waste of labour.
It is essential, therefore, in trying to make a long journey in such a
country, to discover beforehand the river valley which will take you
nearest to your goal and thus avoid the risks of a long cross-country

No time was lost in sending a fleet of canoes heavily laden with stores
up the river from Wakatimi, and early in January the whole expedition
was assembled at Parimau with supplies sufficient for three months.
On the 14th January Marshall and Grant with two Dayak collectors,
forty-six coolies, thirty-one Papuans, and about forty soldiers and
convicts, by far the largest number of men we had ever sent off at one
time, set out for the Wataikwa river. A few of them went on with the
Europeans to the Iwaka, where a track was cut for two marches up the
valley of that river, while the rest, after leaving their loads at the
Wataikwa depôt, returned to Parimau to fetch more loads of stores. From
the Wataikwa the coolies carried on the stores to the upper camp on
the Iwaka river, a three days’ march, and at the beginning of February
Cramer and I went up there with the last party. About a hundred and
fifty loads of one kind or another had been carried up from Parimau in
these various excursions, but unhappily the coolies ate up a good many
of the loads on the way, and still more unhappily many of the coolies
fell sick, so that if we had wished to send back to Parimau for yet
another transport of stores, it would probably have ended in our having
no coolies to carry them any further.

The nett result of all this carrying was that when we arrived with
the last loads at the Iwaka depôt we found that we had only twelve
days’ provisions for our party of three Europeans, two Dayaks and
the twenty-two coolies who survived from the forty-eight of a month
earlier. Cramer had food for about the same number of days for his
party of soldiers and convicts. Such a meagre supply of provisions as
that obviously made it out of the question for us to penetrate far
into the mountains; but you must in New Guinea, as elsewhere, cut your
coat according to your cloth.

The Iwaka at the place where we first came to it is a tremendous
torrent flowing in rather a narrow stony bed. A little way further down
it spreads out into a wider channel like that of the Wataikwa, but it
is much larger than that river and though we searched down stream for
three or four miles, we found no place where it was possible to cross.

As we went up the river we very soon found that the river banks became
steeper, and it was soon evident that we were at last among the hills.
There was a peculiar satisfaction in bending one’s legs to go up hill
after having been for so many months on almost level ground. The track
was not at all easy, for it appeared that in many places large slices
of the hillside had slipped down, bringing with them a chaos of dead
and living trees over which we had to pick a precarious way. In some
places we crept along the edge of the torrent, and in others we climbed
high up the hillside to avoid a precipice where the river ran through
a narrow gorge; but it was all a pleasant change from the monotonous
jungle of the plains. There was more variety in the vegetation too as
we went on; creepers arranged themselves prettily on the rocky river
bank, and Fan-palms, which we had not seen before, grew in groups in
the more level places. There was a tree growing in many places whose
lower branches were covered at that season with small pink flowers,
which lent a grateful splash of colour to the usually gloomy green
of the jungle. There was an invigorating air of mountains in the river
as it came thundering over the huge boulders in its bed, and now
and again we even got a glimpse through the trees of the mountains
themselves, apparently not so very far distant from us.



Two days’ scrambling up the valley brought us to the rest of the
party at the depôt camp, and there we learnt the very unwelcome news
of a discovery, which seemed likely to put an immediate end to our
explorations. The advanced party had climbed up a spur to the west
of the river and had seen that the Iwaka, instead of flowing (as we
imagined) from the North-east by an apparently wide valley, actually
flowed from the North through a deep, and in some places precipitous
gorge, which we could not possibly attempt to traverse with our feeble
coolies in the short time that remained to us.

If we were to advance at all, it was necessary for us to go in a
North-easterly direction, but there we seemed to be completely cut off
by the torrent of the Iwaka River. Attempts were made both upstream
and downstream to wade across, but nobody succeeded in doing it, and
no better luck attended those who tried to make a bridge by felling a
tree across the river, the bridge was at once swept away. As a last
expedient a large reward of money was offered to the first man who
should find a way across the river, and again they all set out full
of hope and armed with axes. The luck fell to two of the Gurkhas, who
cleverly felled a large tree straight across the river. Had it fallen a
few feet to one side or the other it would not have been long enough
to reach the other bank, and if it had bent a little more in the
middle, the water would have snatched it up like a straw and carried
it away in a moment. But it kept just clear above the water and made a
safe temporary bridge by which they could cross, and before nightfall
a single rope of rattan was securely tied across the narrowest part of
the river.


During the night the river rose and carried away the tree, and it
seemed that with only one strand of rattan across the river the
prospect of our reaching the other side was not very good. Nobody
seemed inclined to risk the passage, even with the promise of a large
reward, until one of the Gurkhas, Jangbir by name, said he would go.
“There was only one way to go over—hand over hand, with a rattan round
his waist held by us in case the bridge strand broke, a very likely
thing, for it was extremely flimsy. Again the rope to hold him had to
be very thin, or the weight would tear him from his hold. He got across
finely, being dragged out straight by the torrent, until nearly over,
when he could make no more headway. The rope tied to his waist was paid
out fast, but was caught by the current, and then it was touch and go.
Thus he hung for half a minute, dragged out in a horizontal position.
If both rattans gave, it meant certain death; if he let go, the great
strain would snap the rope round him with a like result. The rope was
pulled in as quickly as possible, and then the lucky thing occurred.
The strain was too great, and the rope we were pulling on snapped.
This freed him, and he pulled himself up further and gained the


When once a man was on the other side, it was simple to throw over
another rattan, and so to pull over many more which he tied to the
trees on his bank. On our side of the river was a large boulder with a
hole conveniently bored through it, into which stout posts were jammed
Y-fashion, and over them the rattans were strained and fastened to the
trees behind. When more men were able to cross the river, a similar
structure was erected on the other bank.

The plan of the bridge was very simple, two hand-rails made of a
number of twisted rattans, and a foot piece made of a long thin tree,
which was secured to the hand-rails by loops of rattan. The span
of the bridge was about one hundred feet, and there must have been
several hundred yards of rattan used in its construction. The credit
of the idea and of most of the work in making the bridge is due to the
Gurkhas, without whose help we should never have crossed the Iwaka.

But all this work had occupied valuable time, and when the bridge was
finished we found that we had provisions left for only eight days
longer. On February 8th Rawling, Marshall and I, with three Gurkhas and
nineteen coolies, and Cramer with a small party of convicts, crossed
the Iwaka and made a way Eastwards. After crossing a moderately steep
ridge we came down to a stream of marvellously clear water, which
brought us in a short time to another large river flowing out of the
mountains in a Southerly direction.

So many rivers are there in this region that this was in some places
separated by less than two miles from the Iwaka; it was eventually
found that this was a branch of the Wania, a large river which enters
the sea in a common mouth with the Kamura, of which the Iwaka is a
tributary. It was evident that this river came from the slopes of Mount
Godman (9,500 ft.) a huge mass immediately to the North of us, and it
was our intention to climb up on to the ridge of that mountain in the
hopes of obtaining a view of the country to the North of it, and of the
Snow Mountains.

Going up the valley we found ourselves in the midst of really beautiful
scenery. The mountains soon closed in about us, and the river, though
not running through an actual gorge, was walled by precipices of white
limestone rock, now on one side and now on the other. This necessitated
our frequently crossing the river, a task by no means easy even when
the water is low, as it happened to be at that time. The best way of
crossing those rapid rivers is not to fight your way upwards and across
the stream, but to go rather with the stream in a sloping direction
towards the other bank, and to go as quickly as may be. The bottom is
made of very slippery stones, and a false step means disaster, as we
all found at different times, but in that way you cross with far less
exertion than by breasting the stream.

In this valley, for the first time since we came to New Guinea, we
found several flowering plants; among the rocks by the river grew
clumps of a large pink Balsam, and on the moss at the foot of the tree
trunks was a beautiful scarlet _Begonia_ with a remarkably hairy leaf.

There was a curious green-flowered aroid with a large blotched leaf,
and growing everywhere over the cliffs and the tree trunks were Pitcher
plants (_Nepenthes_) of two species.

On the second day we camped on a sort of shelf on the hillside, two or
three hundred feet above the river, and as our progress up the valley
had been so slow, it was certain that we should not be able to reach
the summit ridge before we were obliged to turn back by lack of food.
So it was decided to go straight up the spur on which we then were
in the hope that from the top we might see a view of the surrounding
country. On the following day we climbed up about two thousand feet;
the hillside was exceedingly steep, and the men had to haul themselves
up by the roots of the trees above them.

[Sidenote: LACK OF WATER]

At our camp on the hillside—there was not a square yard of level
ground—we were troubled for the first time in New Guinea by a lack of
water. No rain had fallen for two days, and the ground was so steep
that all the water had run off, and it was a long time before the
Gurkhas found a trickle of water in a gully some distance away, whence
a supply was laboriously fetched to the camp.

On the fourth day we climbed up about two thousand feet further, but
with a great deal more difficulty. The trees became smaller as we went
up, but infinitely denser, and for a great part of the way we scrambled
up, not along the ground, but over a fantastic network of roots and
trunks of dead and living trees, all of them covered with mosses and
festooned with a wonderful variety of creepers. In some places we
were clambering over the topmost branches of the tangle of vegetation,
and in others we were burrowing into mossy caves and grottoes among
the roots. It was a weird and rather uncanny place and, except that it
lacked the beauty of colour that is found there, it recalled the forest
at ten thousand feet in Ruwenzori more than any other place I have seen.

At 5,000 feet we found ourselves on the ridge, a narrow knife-edged
spur of Mount Godman, and there we camped. It was a most unlikely
looking spot for a camp, but the ridge beyond was a great deal worse—it
took the Gurkhas many hours to cut the narrowest track along it for
half a mile—so we had to make the best of the place that we had
reached. A number of trees were cut down and the irregularities of
the ground were more or less filled up with the branches, and there
we pitched our tents and spread our beds. There was a small shrub
(a species of _Erica_, I think), which, when burnt, filled the air
with a delicious smell of incense, strangely out of keeping with our

Though we had been surrounded by dense clouds since we reached the
ridge, it obstinately refused to rain for the third day in succession,
a thing quite unprecedented in our experience of the country. Happily
the mosses, which clothed everything, were full of moisture and we had
only to squeeze them like sponges to get water in plenty; the coolies
of course complained of the dirty colour of their rice when it was
cooked in mossy water, but we found that it gave to ours an unfamiliar
and not unpleasant taste.



[Sidenote: A WIDE VIEW]

The greater part of the next day was spent in cutting a way along the
ridge to a point (5800 ft.) from which it was hoped that a view of the
country might be seen. Long before the track was cut the clouds were
down upon us, and no view could be seen, so we decided to stay for
another day, although we had only one day’s food remaining. But the
view that we saw on the following day was more than compensation for
our rather scanty fare.

Due North of us, and rising from the spur on which we stood, was the
great mass of Mount Godman, and to the West of that the even more
imposing peak of Wataikwa Mountain (9923 ft.). Between the two could be
seen a part of the tremendous cliffs of Mount Leonard Darwin (13,882),
the southern face of which appears to show an almost vertical precipice
of upwards of ten thousand feet. To the West ridge beyond ridge of
forest-covered heights stretched away to the ranges of the Charles
Louis Mountains in the far distance. To the East rose the beautiful
three-topped mountain called the Cock’s Comb (10,050 ft.), behind and
to the North of which heavy banks of clouds showed where the snows of
Mount Carstensz lay hidden. Five thousand feet below us the mountains
ended almost abruptly, and the southern half of the circuit of our view
was occupied by the hideous plain of dull green jungle to a hazy line
of the sea forty miles away. Here and there the sunlight caught the
waters of innumerable rivers, and we could distinctly see those that we
had crossed, the Tuaba, Kamura, Wataikwa, and the Iwaka. Further to the
East was a still bigger river, the Wania, which we could trace down
to its lagoon-like estuary, and beyond it was the Aiika, and a very
distant river, possibly the Newerip.

Nobody who has not spent a year and more in a dreary jungle country,
where you are seldom more than a yard or two from the nearest tree, and
where the limit of your view is the opposite bank of a stagnant river,
can realise the rest, to the mind and to the eye alike, that a wide
horizon gives. Although there were points of interest to be seen by the
cartographical eye, there was nothing, excepting the outlines of some
of the nearer mountains, of beauty in that view; there were no striking
features of the land and no gorgeous effects of colour, but one will
always treasure a recollection of the physical delight of seeing far
and wide to the horizon, and of the feeling of satisfaction in looking
down godlike on the world that we had so painfully traversed.

But views, like all other good things, have their ends, and ours was
all too soon interrupted by the daily thick blanket of white cloud,
which rolled up and enveloped us until nightfall. We groped our
way back to the camp where we found our coolies very miserable and
shivering with cold—poor wretches, they had never before endured, nor
even imagined, a temperature so low as 50° F. To us the coolness was
very pleasant, and it provoked a hunger to which we had long been
strangers; very small quantities of boiled rice, and _chupatties_ made
by the Gurkhas of mildewed and weevilly flour, only served to stimulate
our appetites for more.

[Sidenote: RARE BIRDS]

On the following day we retreated hastily downhill by the way we had
come, and by forced marches, perhaps a little accelerated by our lack
of food, in two days we arrived at the Iwaka camp. In the meantime
Grant had been camped with the two Dayak collectors on a hill about
three thousand feet high above the Iwaka, where they had made a very
fine collection of birds. Among them was a new dwarf species of
Cassowary (_Casuarius claudi_) and specimens of the rare Six-plumed
Bird of Paradise (_Parotia meeki_). Another bird very characteristic
of the Iwaka and neighbouring valleys is the Moustached Swift
(_Macropteryx mystacea_), which measures more than two feet across the
wings, and is remarkable for its long pointed tail and its tapering
white moustache. This bird seldom appears until late in the afternoon,
when it is seen sailing majestically with outstretched wings at a
height over the river.

Near the Iwaka on a hillside laid bare by a landslip we found two seams
of coal a few inches in thickness; it was poor stuff and only burnt
with difficulty when put into a fire. Mr. Lorentz found combustible
coal in the hills near Mount Wilhelmina, and it is probable that a
careful search would reveal the existence of better coal in this region
too. Near the same place, as well as in one or two other localities, we
found indications of petroleum, but all our searches for gold and other
precious metals resulted in nothing except occasional traces of copper.

During the following days, while we were stumbling back to Parimau
along the now familiar track, we wondered whether we should be the
last as well as being the first Europeans to penetrate into that
forsaken region. It has been mapped now, and our wanderings have shown
that it is not the way by which any sane person would go who wished
to explore the Snow Mountains. It is a region absolutely without
inhabitants, and the Papuans, who live on the upper waters of the
Mimika and Kamura rivers, shun it even as a hunting ground. There are
no precious metals or other products of the soil to be won, and not
until all the other forests in the world are cut down will its timber
be of value. So it may safely be supposed that it will long be left
untouched; the Birds of Paradise will call by day, the cassowaries will
boom by night, and the leeches will stretch themselves anxiously on
their leaves, but it will be a long time before another white man comes
to disturb them.


Many people have the idea that a tropical forest is full of gorgeous
flowers, about which brilliant butterflies are constantly flitting
and birds of splendid plumage flash from tree to tree. This idea is
no doubt due in a great measure to the habit of gathering together in
hothouses the flowering plants of all the Tropics, though they may
have come from Central America, from Africa and from Borneo or Java.
It is true that there are many splendid birds, but the vegetation is
so dense that you seldom, if ever, see them; the brilliant butterflies
are mostly out of sight near the topmost branches of the trees; and you
may travel for days together without seeing a single flowering plant.
Many of the trees are covered with orchids on all their branches, but
they very seldom flower, and the flowers of most of them are so
insignificant that they do not attract your attention.


Occasionally you may see high above your head the white flower of a
_Dendrobium_ or the long spike of the gigantic _Grammatophyllum_, but
I have only once (in a small island on the North coast of New Guinea)
seen such a mass of flowering orchids as to make a splash of colour in
the view. In the Tropics there is nothing comparable in colour with the
blue hyacinths, the fields of buttercups, or the gorse and hawthorns of
this country.

But if there is little that is beautiful in the jungle vegetation,
there is a great deal that is curious and interesting. The ubiquitous
Rattans, climbing Palms, are a constant source of wonder for their
snake-like meanderings through the jungle until they climb to the
top of some tree where they end in a bunch of leaves. We found three
species of Screw Pines (_Pandanus_), fantastic trees on stilts, and
branching like irregular candelabra. The wood of the _Pandanus_ is very
tough, and is used by the natives for making bows and spears; the long
ribbon-like leaves are used for mats and the walls of their huts, and
the fruits of some are eatable, but exceedingly hard. One species bears
a cluster of small red fruit about the size of a banana; and another
bears a huge melon-shaped fruit of a brilliant scarlet colour and
weighing as much as thirty pounds and upwards.

Equally remarkable are the trees which stand propped on a number of
aerial roots and seem, as Mr. Wallace noted,[25] to have started
growing in mid air; where several of these trees grow together, it is
difficult to say where one ends and another begins. Too rarely you
come across a magnificent forest tree (usually, I believe, a species
of _Dammara_) supported on huge buttresses, which begin twenty or more
feet above the ground and spread out for many yards from the foot of
the tree. We had occasion to cut down some of these trees, and found
the wood intensely hard; if there were seven or eight buttresses a
single one would still hold up the tree after all the rest had been
cut. When the tree had been felled, the stump looked like a great
starfish sprawling over the ground with a centre not more than a foot
across, while the trunk a few feet up had been a yard or more in

It has happened to me to walk through many hundreds of miles of forest
in different parts of the world, but I have never seen any so dreary as
that New Guinea jungle with its mud, its leeches, its almost unbroken
stillness, and its universal air of death. Happily the mind of man
is of a curiously selective habit, and it chooses to retain only the
more pleasant things; you forget the long wet weeks of rain and mud,
the hunger and the nasty food, and remember rather those glorious
moments when you came out of the twilit jungle into an open river bed
and saw the distant mountains, or those rare sunny afternoons when the
“implacable cicala” creaked in the treetops above your tent.


There are indeed a thousand things to interest one in the jungle,
however blank and monotonous it may seem to be. The trouble is that so
much of your attention in these places must be devoted to the trivial
duties of the day, the eternal question of food, the care of the sick,
the precautions against floods, and so on, that but little time is
left over for studying the hidden wonders of the world about you. The
geographers and the naturalists of the future will live in comfortable
ships on the coast, whence they will fly daily into the heart of New
Guinea where they will find things undreamt of now. But the time for
that is not yet, and in the meantime those who plod on foot do the best
they can.


  _Departure from Parimau—Parting Gifts—Mock
  Lamentation—Rawling explores Kamura River—Start for the
  Wania—Lose the Propeller—A Perilous Anchorage—Unpleasant
  Night—Leave the Motor Boat—Village of Nimé—Arrival of
  “Zwaan” with Dayaks—Their Departure—Waiting for the
  Ship—Taking Leave of the People of Wakatimi—Sail from New
  Guinea—Ké Islands—Banda—Hospitality of the Netherlands
  Government—Lieutenant Cramer—Sumbawa—Bali—Return to
  Singapore and England—One or Two Reflexions._

After our return to Parimau in February, Rawling and Grant went down to
Wakatimi, while Marshall and I spent a week in visiting the village of
the Tapiro in a last but vain attempt to see the pygmy women. The first
few days of March were occupied in packing up the accumulated odds and
ends of our year’s occupation and on the 9th of March we were ready to
depart. We had told the natives that we were going away and for days
before we went they pestered us with questions as to whether we were
coming back and what we would give them when we went, and they quickly
decided which of our houses they intended to occupy.

[Illustration: BUTTRESSED TREES.]


On the morning of our departure from Parimau we allowed no natives to
come into the camp until all the canoes were loaded up and ready for
a start. Then we called out to them to come over and about forty men
and boys splashed across the river and came swarming into the camp. We
had kept for them a number of axe-heads, knives and other pieces
of steel and iron, and when the people saw what they were going to be
given they became a crowd of madmen. I distributed the things, while
Marshall stood by with a big piece of wood and kept them from rushing
into the place and seizing everything at once. They shouted and raved
and screamed and grew almost pale with excitement, and the various
expressions of greed and cunning and anger and delight in their faces
were most interesting to watch.

After we had given them their presents we walked towards the canoes,
and then they began to set up their horrible wail. A few of them picked
up pieces of cloth and matting, through the middle of which they thrust
their heads and then began to howl with their hands over their eyes.
I took a last look round the houses to see that nothing of value had
been left behind and on going to the store-house I met a man, one of
our best friends, coming out of it with a tin of rice under his arm. He
immediately put down the tin, tore off from a climbing bean that grew
by the house a trail of leaves a yard or two long, and wound them about
his head and body. Then he burst into tears and the most heartrending
sobs, which changed in a moment, when he caught my eye, into a shout of

When we finally got into the canoes all the men came down to the
water’s edge and wailed, while some of them sat down in the water and
smeared themselves with mud. In the meantime we could see their women
going off into the jungle carrying tins full of their possessions to
hide there, and it is probable that after we left there was a good
deal of quarrelling and fighting over the spoil. The wailing is a
purely perfunctory politeness, but I think there were a few men who
were genuinely sorry to lose us. On the following day a strong ebb-tide
bore us quickly down to Wakatimi and our navigations of the upper
Mimika river were at an end.

In the meantime Rawling had made an interesting exploration of the
coast and of the river mouths to the East of the Mimika. The motor
boat, which had been badly damaged some months earlier, had been
repaired by two Dutch pioneer soldiers and was more or less sea-worthy.
In a four days’ trip he had entered the Atuka river, or rather the
Atuka mouth of the Kamura river, a few miles up which he came to Atuka,
a large village of about six hundred huts surrounded by coconut palms
and tobacco plantations. Proceeding up the river into the main Kamura
river he went on almost to the junction with the Wataikwa river, thus
filling in a large gap of unknown river. On his way back he chose the
left (East) branch and after passing the village of Kamura, where
the inhabitants showed an inclination to plunder the boat, he came
to the lake-like estuary of the Kamura and Wania rivers and entered
the sea by a deep channel. It is worth noting that the inhabitants of
Atuka and Kamura villages, many of whom visited us two or three times
at Wakatimi, are of a decidedly lower type (in appearance) than the
people of the Mimika district, though the distance that separates them
is only a few miles. They have a fiercer and more brutal aspect and
many of them, both men and women go completely naked, a habit which is
never practised by the people of Wakatimi. Scarcity of petrol and an
irregularly sparking plug brought that excursion to an untimely end,
before the lower waters of the Wania had been investigated.


From our hill-top (see p. 239) the Wania was evidently by far the
most considerable of all the rivers of the district, and apart from
our desire to see the people of the Wania, of whom the Mimika natives
always spoke with great respect, we felt bound to explore that river
as far as possible. Accordingly on March 14, Rawling, Marshall and I,
with a Dutch pioneer, two Gurkhas and three coolies, set off in the
motor boat towing the yawl, a ship’s boat about twenty feet long, laden
with tents and provisions for a week. In a few hours we arrived at the
mouth of the Wania river and found that owing to the low tide there
was no way of crossing the sand-bar that lay across the entrance. This
circumstance was the more remarkable, because only a few days earlier
Rawling had come through this bar by a very deep channel. The frequent
changes in the banks make the navigation of this coast and particularly
of the river mouths exceedingly difficult.

On this occasion the sea was already rather rough, so that we could not
anchor and wait until the tide rose, and as the wind was increasing in
force there was nothing for it but to turn back and try to take shelter
in one of the rivers between the Wania and the Mimika, if not in the
Mimika itself. All went well for a few miles and then, as happened
frequently, the leather band jumped off the driving wheel and the
engine was stopped. When it was replaced and the engine was started
again, there was no churning of water in the stern and we realized
with some consternation that we had lost our propeller. We were about
twelve miles from the mouth of the Mimika, in a shallow sea of less
than three fathoms, with a strong wind blowing towards the shore where
the waves began to break within a few hundred yards of us, and we were
ten men with a heavy motor boat and a heavily-laden yawl to get along
somehow. We put four men into the yawl to row and they tried to tow,
but the current was so strong against them that they made no headway at
all, so we had to anchor where we were and hoped for better things. We
pitched and rolled and bumped about most horribly and soon most of the
party were deadly sea-sick, perhaps luckily for them, because in that
condition one cares nothing for the prospect of shipwreck.

[Illustration: SCREW PINES (_Pandanus_).]


Our anchor rope was short and none too strong, and the rope between us
and the yawl was thoroughly rotten—it had snapped once earlier in the
day—and we expected that every sudden jerk of the lumpy sea would break
it again. Had that happened, there might have been a nasty accident, as
the men were too sick to row, even if they had known the art, and their
chances of swimming ashore through a sea swarming with sharks were
not very bright. Our own predicament in the helpless motor boat would
have been unpleasant too, if the yawl had gone adrift, but happily the
ropes held. Another drawback was that the motor boat leaked like a
sieve, so that a man was kept constantly at work baling her out, and we
did not know that the strain might not open her old timbers even more.
There was a glorious full moon which one would have enjoyed seeing
from the smooth deck of a steamer, but there we could only think how
uncomfortable it was lying (without having had dinner) on boxes and
tins and gear of all sorts huddled in the bottom of the boat.

The wind continued all through the night and the sea did not moderate,
so at daylight, after having been for sixteen hours at anchor, we
decided to leave the motor boat hoping that it would not be swamped
before we were able to come back and fetch it. We all got into the
yawl, which we pulled through quite a nasty sea for about three miles
to a sand-bank in the estuary of the Timura river, where we camped
until the rising tide enabled us to reach the mainland about midnight.
On the following day, the sea having become calmer, we rescued the
motor boat, which was by that time half full of water, and towed it
slowly to the Timura.

But it was a most arduous business and without the help of a party
of natives, who fortunately came along the coast in canoes and were
prevailed upon to assist us in paddling, we should never have been
able to bring back both of the boats. The arrival of the motor boat at
the Mimika on the fifth day, propelled by native paddles instead of by
its own power, was not a very dignified affair—it resembled rather the
formerly familiar sight of the motor-car in tow of a horse from the
plough—but it was a piece of good fortune that it and we returned at

We stopped for a night on the way at Nimé, a village at the mouth of
the Keaukwa River. This is a very large village—I counted four hundred
and thirty huts—but there were hardly a dozen people in the place, the
whole population having gone off on one of their periodical migrations
to a vegetable diet up the river. It was evident from the immense piles
of fishbones and empty shells about the houses that the inhabitants
must live largely by fishing, when they are there. The houses are
better made than those at Wakatimi, and they are arranged in terraces
and crescents along the water’s edge. It was there that we saw the
elaborate dancing-houses described above (p. 143).

Just as we paddled laboriously into the Mimika estuary we saw far
down on the horizon the smoke of a steamer, and in an hour or two a
white painted vessel, which turned out to be the Dutch Government
ship _Zwaan_, drew inshore and anchored outside the bar. We naturally
supposed that this was a ship that had come to take away the
expedition, as we had informed the Government some months earlier that
we hoped to be ready to leave the country by the end of March. But
that communication had taken a long time, as everything does in those
regions, in reaching its destination, and the _Zwaan_ had come, not
to take away the expedition, but to bring the means of prolonging the
expedition still further.

[Illustration: AT SUMBAWA PESAR.]


It appeared that in the previous December the Committee of the
Expedition at home, hearing of our scarcity of coolies some months
earlier, had decided that a further supply of coolies should be sent
to us without delay. Though cables work quickly enough between London
and Singapore, communications beyond that are matters of days and
weeks, and it was not until the 18th of March that the party of Dayak
coolies, who had been engaged in Sarawak by the kind permission of
H.H. the Raja, arrived at the Mimika. They were in the charge of Mr.
C. B. Kloss, Curator of the Government Museum at Kuala Lumpor, who had
brought with him six months’ provision for himself and the men. Almost
at the same time that the Committee in England had taken this step, we
in New Guinea had decided that three months more was as long as we were
prepared to stay in the country, and a request had been sent to the
Dutch Government to take us away at the end of that time.

When the _Zwaan_ arrived we were all ready to depart, and Cramer’s
party, numbering more than a hundred men, were chafing with impatience
to get away; it would have been impossible for the Government to keep
them there yet another six months. Even if there had been a possibility
of our staying on in the country, the number of Dayaks, thirty-eight,
was quite insufficient for a long journey into the interior and the
prospect of reaching the moderately high ground of Tapiro Mountain, the
best that could be hoped for, was not sufficient inducement to tempt
any one to paddle again up the Mimika river. Added to this was the
further consideration that in a week or two the more rainy season would
begin and that for five or six months very little progress would be
possible even with an unlimited supply of the best coolies.

So there was nothing for it but for Mr. Kloss and the Dayaks to go
back in the _Zwaan_, which sailed for Amboina on the following day,
taking also Marshall, as many sick and useless coolies and soldiers as
could be crammed on board, and an urgent request to the authorities
to remove us as soon as might be. The Dayak episode was altogether an
unfortunate one; had the men reached us six months earlier, we should
have made a very good use of them, few though they were; but coming as
they did when we were on the point of leaving the country they merely
illustrated the uselessness of attempting to conduct an expedition from
the other side of the world.

During the next three weeks we waited for the ship with what patience
we could. By that time we were all somewhat stale and disinclined for
any exertion, and those days of waiting at Wakatimi seemed interminably
long. The only pleasant moments were when on fine evenings we could
sit outside and watch the sun go down behind the palm trees across
the river and hope each time that that would be the last. There were
times when for two or three days a strong wind blew and we could hear
the surf thundering on the beach, and we knew that even if the ship
came it could not approach the shore. Then there were false alarms of
whistles having been heard, or of boats seen coming up the river, but
our suspense at last came to an end on April 5th, when a steam-launch
towing a string of empty boats came puffing up to the camp, where
they were received with immense enthusiasm. They came from the Dutch
gunboat _Mataram_, which had been despatched to take away the native
escort, and the next day came boats from the _Zwaan_, which had come to
transport us and our men and the remaining stores of the expedition to
Amboina. There followed two days of busy loading and coming and going
of boats, during which our impatience to be off was a little allayed
by the forethought of one of the officers of the _Mataram_, who stayed
ashore with us and had brought with him that rare luxury, bread, and
one or two other welcome delicacies.


Before sunset on April 7th the last boat was loaded and ready to go,
and we had an amusing leave-taking with the people of Wakatimi. It
was known that we were going to depart and for some days people from
other villages had been crowding into Wakatimi. A large number of men
were waiting outside the fence of the camp, but when we invited them
to come inside they became unaccountably shy and would not venture.
So I went outside and took one bolder fellow, a man whom we knew
well, and led him by the arm to a hut, where there were a quantity
of old mosquito nets; he seized one and bolted as fast as he could
run, apparently thinking that there was something suspicious in this
unwonted generosity. Then a few more came very warily after him and
then fifty or sixty men dashed into the house and out again as soon as
they had snatched up something, it mattered not what. Most of them were
armed with spears or bows and arrows, and as there were men fighting to
get into and out of the house at the same time it was wonderful that
nobody was damaged.

When the people in Wakatimi saw what was going on in the camp they
began to yell with excitement, and in a few seconds twenty or more
canoes packed with men came paddling madly across the river; they were
so excited that some of them upset the canoes, a thing they very seldom
do, and they had to swim to the shore. For ten minutes or so the camp
was a pandemonium. About two hundred raving lunatics were dashing madly
from one house to another and carrying off boxes, sacks, mosquito nets,
cases of empty bottles, bits of iron, tables, beds, mats and everything
they could possibly move. They howled and raved and fought like wild
beasts in a manner horrible to see.

Several women came over and danced and sang in a canoe just in front
of the camp, while the crowd of people who had not been able to find a
place in the canoes shrieked from the opposite bank. When they could
carry no more, they loaded their canoes to the brim with miscellaneous
cargoes and went back across the river to the village. There they
at once began to squabble over the spoils, and the last we heard of
Wakatimi, as darkness came down, were the shrill shrieks of quarrelsome
women and the angry shouts of men.


New Guinea treated us kindly in farewell, and we steamed down the river
in a glorious starlight, the kind of night which many people think is
usual in the tropics, but is in fact most lamentably rare. We left
Cramer on board the _Mataram_ and went on to the _Zwaan_, where we
soon were lulled to sleep by the pleasant music of the screw. Early the
next morning a dull cloud on the northern horizon was our last view of
New Guinea, and before night we had reached civilisation again in the
anchorage of Dobo.


Two days later we came to the Ké Islands and went ashore to visit the
Catholic Mission at Toeal. There is nothing of great interest to see
there except the magnificent “iron wood” timber, which is cut in the
forests of the larger island, and is used for boat-building; it is
obtained in larger pieces than teak, and it is said to be equally good.
The fathers occupy themselves with carpentry and boat-building and with
teaching a class of small children. The few people whom we saw appeared
to be of a mixed Malay-Papuan race and were dressed in unspeakably
dirty clothes.

From Toeal we went on to Banda, where we spent a day of pouring rain,
a great pity, for a walk through the nutmeg woods of Banda is one of
the pleasantest excursions in the islands, and a day later we dropped
anchor in the harbour of Amboina.

It will be fitting to remark here that on the outward journey from Java
to New Guinea and on our return from the Mimika to Amboina, the members
of the expedition were the guests of the Netherlands Government. The
thanks of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs have been conveyed
to the captains of the ships and to the other officials, who helped the
expedition in a hundred different ways.

At Amboina, where we waited a few days for the arrival of a steamer
to Singapore, we parted with Cramer, who was prevented by a sharp
attack of fever from coming with us. He was the one other man, beside
Rawling, Marshall and myself, who remained with the expedition from
the beginning to the end, and it is not paying him an empty compliment
to say that few other people would have managed more successfully than
he did to live with a party of foreigners in circumstances, which were
often exceedingly difficult.

We sailed from Amboina on April 17th in the mail steamer _Van
Riebeeck_, and amongst our fellow-passengers we found Captain Van der
Bie and Lieut. Van der Wenn (Netherlands Navy), both of whom were
returning to Java invalided from the expedition to the Island River in
New Guinea. The expedition had penetrated a long way into the interior
of the country, but all the Europeans fell ill and the expedition was
withdrawn a few months later.

After calling at Macassar we went South past the Postilion Islands to
the little known island of Sumbawa, where we went ashore for a few
hours at Sumbawa Pesar. It looked a pretty country with well-wooded
hills and level cultivated plains. We were much struck by the
appearance of the natives, who have a longer type of face and a much
fairer skin than any other of the Malay races I have seen. The men all
go armed with a _kris_, and they smoke cigars of an incredible length.

[Sidenote: ISLAND OF BALI]

From Sumbawa we steamed along the Northern shore of Lombok, from whose
Peak (12,000 feet), the clouds rolled off magnificently at sunset, and
early the next morning we came into the harbour of Buleling in the
island of Bali. There we took a native carriage (_sado_), and drove a
few miles out into the country to see a very interesting Hindu temple,
where there are some remarkable good stone carvings, which shew signs
of being carefully tended. The Hindu religion still survives, though
it cannot be said to flourish, both in this island and in Lombok. The
native villages that we saw have quite characteristic features of their
own; they are surrounded by a high mud wall with a brick coping and
are guarded by a swarm of fiercely barking dogs. Inside the wall, if
you are bold enough to enter, you find a neatly swept compound, round
the sides of which are well-made dwelling-houses, and in the middle
are granaries of rice; both the houses and the granaries are raised on
posts several feet above the ground and all are neatly thatched with
rice straw. In the corner of the compound is a place set apart for a
number of little stone shrines, some of them very elaborately carved,
in which votive offerings of flowers and fruit are placed.

The Balinese seem to be a sturdy and industrious people; they have
a free and independent appearance, very different from that of
their somewhat grovelling neighbours, the Javanese. The roads are
picturesquely lined with shady trees, and a very pleasant feature
of them is the number of little mouse-coloured ponies, which carry
panniers on a high-peaked saddle and are the coolies of Bali; most of
them have an elaborate leather harness and many carry a large number of
little bells, which make a pretty music along the roads. They appear to
be hungry little animals, and they have the rare and valuable faculty
of being able to eat out of a basket tied round their necks as they
walk along. The country, what little we saw of it, looks extremely
prosperous, and the beauty of the cultivated lands, interrupted here
and there by groves of trees and backed by mountains, is beyond dispute.

From Bali to Java is only a few hours’ steaming, and from Batavia
another ship brought us to Singapore, where we arrived on May 2nd. A
month later we landed in England and the English Expedition to Dutch
New Guinea, 1910-11, was a thing of the past.

[Sidenote: THE END]

It is not easy to put down in words what were our thoughts on our
homeward journey from the Mimika River to Plymouth Sound. Naturally
enough there were feelings of pleasant anticipation in returning to
the comforts of civilised life, and there were feelings of profound
thankfulness that we had left behind us neither our bones nor our
health, as too many others less fortunate had done. There was also
a sense of (I think pardonable) satisfaction at having accomplished
something; the surveyors had made an accurate map of a large tract of
quite unknown country; the naturalists had made valuable collections
of birds and animals, and some most interesting races of men had been
visited and studied.

But beneath these was another feeling of vague disappointment. We
had set out full of hope, if not of confidence, of reaching the Snow
Mountains, and the disappointment of not having set foot on them was
aggravated by the fact that we had been so long in sight of them. It
was exasperating beyond words to see the mountains month after month
only forty miles away and not to be able to move a foot in their
direction; to study them so that we came to know the changing patches
of lower snow and almost the very crevasses in the glaciers, and still
to be forced to be content with looking and longing for “the hills and
the snow upon the hills.”

To look for fifteen months at that great rock precipice, and those long
fields of snow untrodden yet by foot of man, to anticipate the delight
of attaining to the summits and to wonder what would be seen beyond
them on the other side, those were pleasures that kept one’s hopes
alive through long periods of dull inaction. The aching disappointment
of turning back and leaving the mountains as remote and as mysterious
as they were before words of mine cannot express; but happily there is
always comfort to be found in the reflexion that

  “Some falls are means the happier to arise.”




Our knowledge of the Birds of New Guinea is based mainly on Count
T. Salvadori’s monumental work _Ornitologia della Papuasia e delle
Molluche_, which appeared in three large volumes in 1880-82, and on
his _Aggiunte_ to the above work published in three parts in 1887-89.
Since that date our knowledge of the avi-fauna has vastly increased and
a very large number of splendid Birds-of-Paradise and other remarkable
new species have been discovered.

A list of the principal works subsequently published, placed in
chronological order, will be found at the end of this chapter,
the most important papers being no doubt those by the Hon. Walter
Rothschild and Dr. E. Hartert, which have appeared from time to time
in the Tring Museum periodical _Novitates Zoologicæ_. Mr. Rothschild
is to be congratulated on the success which has attended the efforts
of his various collectors in New Guinea and on the energy which he
has displayed in obtaining birds from unknown districts of the most
interesting island in the world.

To give in a single chapter a brief and partly scientific, partly
popular, summary of the ornithological work accomplished by our
Expedition in Dutch New Guinea is a more difficult task than might be
imagined, for there is not only an immense number of species to be
dealt with, but in most instances very little is known about their
habits. The jungles of South-western New Guinea are so dense that
white men can scarcely traverse them, and most of the collecting had
to be done by the trained natives from the Malay Peninsula, kindly
supplied by Mr. H. C. Robinson, and by the Gurkhas who accompanied the

By dealing with each family in turn, I shall endeavour to refer to all
the more important species in the collection in their proper scientific
order, briefly describing some of the more beautiful, so that those
without any special knowledge of birds may, if they care to do so, form
some idea of the marvellous types which have been brought home from the
interior of South-western New Guinea.

It is certain that the resources of that wonderful island are not
nearly exhausted: on the contrary, every fresh collecting expedition
sent to the interior produces remarkable novelties, and large chains
of high mountains are still unexplored. The members of our Expedition
were fortunate in procuring no less than 2,200 skins of birds in
New Guinea, representing about 235 species, of which ten proved to
be new to Science. A number of new birds were also obtained by the
late Mr. Wilfred Stalker in the mountains of Ceram, which he visited
before joining the main Expedition at Amboina. His premature death by
drowning, a few days after he landed in New Guinea, was an immense
loss to the Expedition, though his place was ably filled by Mr. Claude
Grant, who worked with his characteristic zeal and enthusiasm.

It will be noticed that the great bulk of the birds inhabiting New
Guinea belong to a comparatively small number of families, but that
each of these is represented by a large number of different species,
especially in such groups as the Pigeons, Parrots, Flycatchers, and

Amongst the Pigeons of which no fewer than twenty-seven different kinds
were obtained, it would seem as though, in some instances at least,
Nature had almost come to the end of her resources in devising new
and wonderful arrangements of colour and markings; for in some of the
smaller Fruit-Pigeons, such as _Ptilopus gestroi_ and _P. zonurus_ we
find two perfectly distinct species, occurring side by side, possessing
almost exactly the same remarkable scheme of colouration, and only
differing in certain minor points to be found in the markings of the
wing-coverts. Another very similar instance is to be seen in _Ptilopus
coronulatus_ and _P. nanus_ almost the same colours and pattern being
repeated in both.

The collection obtained by our expedition is a very valuable one,
and has added many new and interesting forms of bird-life to the
incomparable series in the Natural History Museum, to which the bulk
of the specimens have been presented by the subscribers. A large
proportion of the birds were obtained at low elevations from sea-level
to 2,000 feet, only a comparatively small number being procured at
from 3000-4000 feet. It is to be regretted that the immense physical
difficulties encountered and other causes prevented our collectors from
reaching a higher zone between 5000 and 10,000 feet, where no doubt
much of interest remains to be discovered by those who are fortunate
enough to get there.


                                                                   No. of
  Family.                                                         species.

  _Corvidæ_           Crows                                              2
  _Paradiseidæ_       Birds-of-Paradise, Bower-Birds and Manucodes      13
  _Eulabetidæ_        Tree-Starlings                                     4
  _Dicruridæ_         Drongos                                            2
  _Oriolidæ_          Orioles                                            1
  _Ploceidæ_          Weaver-Finches                                     1
  _Motacillidæ_       Wagtails                                           2
  _Meliphagidæ_       Honey-eaters                                      26
  _Nectariniidæ_      Sun-birds                                          2
  _Dicæidæ_           Flower-peckers                                     2
  _Zosteropidæ_       White-eyes                                         1
  _Laniidæ_           Shrikes                                            8
  _Prionopidæ_        Wood-Shrikes                                       4
  _Artamidæ_          Swallow-Shrikes                                    1
  _Timeliidæ_         Babblers                                           4
  _Campophagidæ_      Cuckoo-Shrikes                                    11
  _Muscicapidæ_       Flycatchers                                       30
  _Hirundinidæ_       Swallows                                           2
  _Pittidæ_           Pittas or Ant-Thrushes                             2
  _Cuculidæ_          Cuckoos                                           11
  _Cypselidæ_         Swifts                                             4
  _Caprimulgidæ_      Nightjars                                          2
  _Podargidæ_         Frog-mouths                                        3
  _Bucerotidæ_        Hornbills                                          1
  _Meropidæ_          Bee-eaters                                         1
  _Coraciidæ_         Rollers                                            2
  _Alcedinidæ_        Kingfishers                                       11
  _Psittacidæ_        Parrots                        }                  22
  _Loriidæ_           Lories or Brush-tongued Parrots}
  _Bubonidæ_          Horned and Wood-Owls                               1
  _Falconidæ_         Eagles and Hawks                                  7
  _Phalacrocoracidæ_  Cormorants                                         1
  _Anatidæ_           Ducks                                              2
  _Ibididæ_           Ibises                                             1
  _Ardeidæ_           Herons                                             4
  _Œdicnemidæ_        Stone-Plovers                                      1
  _Charadriidæ_       Plovers                                            8
  _Laridæ_            Gulls and Terns                                    2
  _Rallidæ_           Rails                                              1
  _Columbidæ_         Pigeons                                           26
  _Megapodiidæ_       Megapodes or Mound-builders                        3
  _Casuariidæ_        Cassowaries                                        3
                                                                 Total 235

From the above table it will be seen that out of 235 species procured,
150 are included in eight of the Families; _viz._ Birds-of-Paradise
13; Honey-eaters 26; Cuckoo-Shrikes 11; Flycatchers 30; Cuckoos, 11;
Kingfishers 11; Parrots, 22; Pigeons, 26.


Though the true Crows are never brightly coloured birds, many are
extremely handsome, but this epithet cannot be applied to the
Bare-faced Crow (_Gymnocorax senex_) which is common on the Mimika
River and distributed over New Guinea generally.

The adult is brownish-black with a slight purplish or bluish gloss
on the wings, but is generally in worn and shabby plumage. Even when
freshly moulted it is rather a disreputable looking bird, its naked
pink face, pale watery blue eyes, slate-coloured bill and livid feet
adding to its dissipated appearance. Young birds in their first year’s
plumage are even plainer than their parents, being dull drab-brown
inclining to brownish-white on the head and neck, and appear to be clad
in sackcloth and ashes. They have a weak uncrow-like call pitched in a
high key and their flight is feeble and seldom sustained.

In addition to this Crow of unprepossessing appearance, there is
a handsome Raven (_Corvus orru_), much like our familiar bird but
smaller, which was met with in pairs on the coast.


Closely allied to the well-known Greater Bird-of-Paradise (_Paradisea
apoda_) from the Aru Islands is the New Guinea form _P. novæ-guineæ_,
the males being distinguished by their smaller size and by having the
long ornamental side-plumes of a much richer orange-yellow. Though
the call of this bird was frequently heard on the upper parts of the
Mimika, it was rarely seen; but on the Wataikwa quite a number were
procured in all stages of plumage. The species was, however, nowhere
plentiful and confined to the foot-hills.

The Pygmies often brought plumes of the Lesser Bird-of-Paradise (_P.
minor_) to Parimau and traded them with the natives, but the species
was not found on the Mimika, the Charles Louis mountains probably
forming its southern boundary.

My account of the display of that species, as witnessed in the
Zoological Gardens, Regent’s Park, will be found in the _Ibis_, 1905,
p. 429, accompanied by various drawings and a coloured plate by Mr. G.
E. Lodge. The display resembles that of the Greater Bird-of-Paradise
(_P. apoda_) and the Red Bird-of-Paradise (_P. raggiana_) and no doubt
also that of _P. novæ-guineæ_. It is a wonderful and beautiful sight to
see these birds erect their splendid side-plumes in an arch over the
back, which is concealed in a shivering cascade of colour, orange and
white, or red according to the species.

Numbers of the beautiful little King Bird-of-Paradise (_Cicinnurus
regius_) were brought home in all stages of plumage from the young to
the fully adult male, with its scarlet head, shading into glittering
carmine on the back and wings and into purplish-carmine on the throat,
which is bordered below by a rich dark green band. The sides of the
chest are ornamented with fan-like arrangements of grey feathers
tipped with glittering golden green; the breast and the rest of the
under-parts are of the purest white: the outer tail-feathers are
earthy-brown edged with orange-red, while the middle pair, which cross
one another, have the bare shafts enormously lengthened, and terminate
in a tightly curled disc, golden green above and reddish-brown beneath.

These beautiful ornaments are seen to the greatest advantage when
the King is displaying, the green-tipped fan-like feathers on the
sides and the white feathers of the breast being spread out to form a
circular shield in front of the bird, while the green metallic discs
of the long middle tail-feathers are erected and waved overhead. An
interesting description of the display of this species is given by Sir
William Ingram in the _Ibis_, 1907, p. 225, with a coloured plate and
figures drawn by Mr. G. E. Lodge from a living specimen.

Mr. Walter Goodfellow made an interesting observation on the habits of
this species. While watching some Pigeons on the opposite bank of the
river through his glasses he saw a small bird rise from the top of a
tree and soar into the air like a Sky-Lark. After it had risen about 30
feet, it suddenly seemed to collapse and dropped back into the tree as
though it had been shot. It proved to be a King Bird-of-Paradise and
probably this soaring habit is a part of the display not indulged in by
captive birds confined in comparatively small cages.

A Rifle-Bird (_Ptilorhis magnifica_) was fairly common both on the
coast and near the mountains and its call consisting of two long-drawn
notes, one ascending, the other descending, might be heard at all
hours of the day. Its plumage is mostly velvety black on the head and
upper-parts, but the crown, middle of the throat and chest, as well as
the middle pair of tail-feathers, are metallic blue and a bronze-green
band separates the chest from the deep purplish-maroon under-parts. The
outer flight feathers are curiously pointed and strongly falcate and
some of the side-feathers terminate in long, narrow decomposed plumes.
The long curved bill and the legs are black, while the inside of the
mouth is pale apple-green as is the case in several other species of

Though a well-known species, we must not omit to mention the splendid
Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise (_Seleucides niger_). The plumage of the
male is like dark brown plush shot with bronze-green on the back and
deep violet on the wings, while the long dark breast-feathers are
edged with rich metallic emerald-green. The long ornamental side-plumes
and the rest of the under-parts are beautiful bright cinnamon-yellow
when freshly moulted, but this colour is so volatile that it soon fades
to nearly white in skins which have been kept for a few years. The
shafts of six of the long side-plumes on either side extend far beyond
the vane of the feather and look like twelve recurved wires, hence
the bird’s popular name. The eye is crimson, the bill black, the gape
bright apple-green, and the legs and toes yellowish flesh-colour.

The Expedition procured three examples of a new form of _Parotia_ or
Six-plumed Paradise-Bird on the Iwaka River, but unfortunately did not
succeed in shooting a fully adult male. Simultaneously A. S. Meek, who
was collecting for Mr. Rothschild, procured specimens of the same bird
on the Oetakwa River a few miles to the east, but he likewise did not
secure the fully adult male. The species has been named _Parotia carolæ
meeki_ by Mr. Rothschild.

The plumage of this bird is like brownish-black plush and equally soft
to the touch. The head is ornamented very wonderfully; on either side
behind the eye there are three long racket-like plumes on long bare
shafts, (a character common to all the members of this remarkable
genus of Paradise-Birds): the middle of the crown is of a beautiful
“old” gold colour in a setting of silvery white and golden brown: on
the occiput there is a marvellous patch of stiff metal-like feathers,
golden-green bordered with deep violet; the sides of the head before
and behind the eye are golden-brown, the chin and upper part of the
throat deep brown, and the lower part whitish, spotted with rufous.
A lovely metallic breast-plate of bronze-green and violet feathers
with dark middles covers the chest and the long flank-feathers are
white. The two outer flight feathers are curiously attenuated near the
extremity and terminate in a sharp point, the shaft bearing only a very
narrow web. No doubt all these ornaments are displayed in a similar
manner to those of _P. lawesi_ from British New Guinea, males of which
have been living for some years in the Zoological Gardens, Regent’s

Another very handsome species is the Golden-winged _Diphyllodes
chrysoptera_. The male has the bill and a bare space behind the eye
bluish-white, the inside of the mouth apple-green and the feet Prussian
blue. The head is clad in short velvety reddish-brown feathers with
two metallic green spots between the eyes; the nape bears a frill of
lengthened brown-tipped plumes; the mantle is light golden-yellow like
spun glass and forms a lengthened tippet; the inner secondary quills
and shoulder-feathers are orange-yellow, and the back carmine and dull
orange shading into sooty black on the upper tail-coverts. The throat
is deep velvety brown, the neck and breast rich dark green bordered
below with metallic bluish-green, and with a row of metallic green
bars like steps down the middle of the neck and chest; the rest of the
under-parts are black. The short outer tail-feathers are sooty brown,
while the middle pair which cross one another are very long and narrow
and of a metallic bluish-green. The female is very soberly clad, dull
brown above and narrowly barred with brown and buff below.

The Bower-Birds have received their name from their peculiar habit of
constructing bowers or runs where the males meet to play or pay their
court to the females. The bowers are built long before the birds begin
to build their nests which are placed in trees.

One of the most noteworthy species procured by the Expedition was the
gorgeously coloured Bower-Bird, _Xanthomelus ardens_. The male has the
eye yellow and the head, sides of the neck and mantle orange-scarlet,
the feathers of the latter being very long and loose and forming
a dense cape; the rest of the plumage is orange-yellow above and
golden-yellow below: the ends of the quills and the tail-feathers,
being black.

The female has the iris brown and is more sombrely clad, the head and
upper-parts, including the wings and tail, being earthy-brown, while
the under-parts, under wing-coverts and wing-lining, are yellow, like
those of the male, but less bright.

This beautiful species was originally described from an imperfect
native-made skin obtained by the Italian naturalist, D’Albertis, on
the Fly River. Subsequently, Dr. H. A. Lorentz shot two adult males on
the Noord River, which were described and figured by Dr. Van Oort. Our
expedition was fortunate enough to secure not only adult males, but
also the immature male and adult female, these latter being hitherto

The display of the male bird must be a very beautiful sight, his
scarlet cape being no doubt erected, and forming a great hood over the

Among the Bower-Birds, one of the most interesting was a remarkable
female example of a species of _Chlamydodera_ procured on the Kamura
River. Unlike any of the allied forms, it has the under-surface washed
with yellow, and appears to be the female of _C. lauterbachi_, of which
the brilliantly coloured male was described by Dr. Reichenow from an
example procured in German New Guinea.

The male has the crown and sides of the face golden-orange, the
upper-parts olive-brown, edged with yellowish, and the under-parts
bright yellow. It is a very striking bird and much the most brightly
coloured member of the genus.

Though the two specimens were obtained in localities so far apart,
there seems to be no reason why they should not be male and female of
the same species. The female obtained by the Expedition possesses many
characteristics in common with the male type of _C. lauterbachi_ and
the differences in plumage are just what one would expect to find in
the female of that species.

The beautiful Cat-bird (_Ælurœdus stonei_) was fairly plentiful, and
is remarkable on account of its peculiar colouring. The cap is brown,
the back grass-green, and the neck and under-parts buff, spotted with
black, or green on the longer flank-feathers. The eye is hazel and the
bill and legs slate-blue. The sexes are alike in plumage. It derives
its popular name from its peculiar hissing alarm note, not unlike the
sound made by an angry cat.

Of the Manucodes, four different kinds were met with. They are all
crow-like birds with brilliant metallic black plumage glossed with
purple, green or blue, and form a link between the Paradise-Birds and
the true Crows. The Purple-and-Violet Manucode (_Phonygama jamesi_) is
distinguished by possessing tufts of long, narrow metallic green plumes
behind the eye, and by having the neck-feathers similarly lengthened;
while the other three belonging to the genus _Manucodia_ have the head
and neck covered with short curly feathers. These curly-headed species
are much alike in general appearance, but _M. orientalis_ has the short
curly feathers on the chest and breast glittering golden-green, while
in _M. jobiensis_ and _M. altera_ the same parts are dark steel-blue.
_Inter se_ the two latter kinds differ considerably, both structurally
and in colour. _M. jobiensis_ is smaller and has the feathers of
the throat rounded and crinkled, and the upper-parts glossed with
a strong shade of violet; while _M. altera_ is larger and has the
throat-feathers short but rather pointed, and the general colour above
purplish-blue or steel-blue.

In most of the Manucodes the trachea is very long and convoluted, that
of the Purple-and-Violet species possessing no fewer than twelve coils
which lie between the skin and the pectoral muscles. In spite of this
marvellous instrument its cries are not nearly so loud as those of the
Birds-of-Paradise of the genus _Paradisea_.

Mr. Claude Grant discovered a nest of _M. altera_ with two eggs at
Parimau, an interesting find, as no properly authenticated eggs of that
species had hitherto been obtained.


Among the smaller Glossy Starlings we must specially mention a new
species, _Calornis mystacea_, discovered by the Expedition. It has the
plumage purplish-bronze and is especially remarkable in having long
semi-erect plumes on the forehead as well as long neck-hackles. Three
specimens were obtained flying in company with large flocks of _C.
metallica_, a rather widely distributed species, which ranges to North
Australia, the Moluccas and the Solomon Islands.

The Grackles or Talking Starlings are represented by two lovely
species, the first being the well-known Dumont’s Grackle (_Mino
dumonti_) a dark glossy greenish-black bird with a yellow belly and
white under tail-coverts. It has a brown eye surrounded by a large
naked orange patch partially covered with short stiff filaments. The
second species Robertson’s Golden Grackle (_Melanopyrrhus robertsoni_)
is an equally handsome, but much rarer bird, and the fine series of
adults obtained by the Expedition proves that it is a species quite
distinct from _M. orientalis_, the form found in British New Guinea
which has a large black patch on the occiput.

Robertson’s Grackle has the cheeks and upper part of the throat, as
well as the back, wings and breast, black glossed with green; the rest
of the head, neck and chest, as well as the lower back, rump, upper
tail-coverts and belly, are orange-yellow. In the adult there is no
trace of a black patch on the occiput, but the quite young bird has the
entire crown black and specimens which have not assumed the fully adult
plumage and still retain some black feathers on the occiput might be
mistaken for _M. orientalis_. That they have been is proved by the fact
that Count Salvadori and many others have regarded _M. robertsoni_,
Sharpe, as a synonym of _M. orientalis_, Schlegel, but they are really
quite distinct.

A few very high trees left standing near the huts at Wakatimi were
the resort, morning and evening, of these Starlings and various other
species of birds. For a long time during the hot mid-day hours Mr.
Goodfellow had observed that some bird, possessing a remarkably sweet
Thrush-like song, rested there, and, after many days of watching, he
found it to be Robertson’s Golden Grackle. He says that the notes of
this Starling would not pass unnoticed, even in countries where the
birds, as a rule, have sweeter voices than those inhabiting New Guinea.


The Drongos, small Crow-like Flycatchers with pugnacious habits, are
represented in the collection by two species—_Chibia carbonaria_ and
_Chælorhynchus papuensis_.


The Orioles are represented by one species only, _Mimeta striata_,
belonging to the dull coloured brown-backed group with heavily
streaked under-parts and the sexes alike in plumage. It was commonest
in the mangrove swamps near the coast.


This widely distributed group of Weaver-Finches is not very numerous in
New Guinea and the only representative met with was a small species,
_Munia tristissima_, which was common in the clearing round the camp at


The Grey Wagtail (_Motacilla melanope_) and the Blue-headed Wagtail
(_M. flava_) were both met with on the Mimika and other rivers. It
is interesting to note that both species are included in the British
List, the former being a regular breeding-species in our islands. The
birds wintering in far-off New Guinea, no doubt formed part of the
eastern colonies of these species which nest in Siberia and visit the
Indo-Malayan Islands in winter.


The Honey-eaters are very numerously represented in South-western New
Guinea and no fewer than twenty-seven species were met with by our

The family is divided in two sections, the first including the
comparatively brightly coloured genus _Myzomela_ the members of which
resemble true Sun-birds (_Nectariniidæ_) in general appearance.
Seven species were met with; the most brilliantly coloured being _M.
cruentata_ which has the plumage of the body scarlet and the wings
washed with the same colour, another species _M. obscura_ has the
entire plumage smoky-grey, and four forms are intermediate between
these two types of colouration, being partly scarlet and partly grey.
The seventh is a very small and very rare species (_Œdistoma
pygmæum_), which was described by Count Salvadori from the Arfak

The other section contains a number of larger species, mostly with
dull greenish or brownish plumage and nearly all with a yellow tuft or
patch on the ear-coverts. Though rather uninteresting-looking birds
several are really of great scientific value, being new to the National
Collection, and one, _Ptilotis mimikæ_ proved to be new to Science.
The largest form is the curious Friar-bird (_Philemon novæ-guineæ_)
with the bare sides of the face and neck black and a swollen knob on
the base of the bill. It was generally met with in pairs and inhabited
the tops of the tallest forest trees whence its peculiar cry might
constantly be heard.


The Sun-birds are represented by two species _Cinnyris aspasiæ_ and _C.
frenata_. The male of the former is deep black with a dark metallic
green cap, shoulders and lower back, and purple throat, while the
female is olive above, and dull yellow below, with a grey head and
throat. The latter species is dull yellow above, brilliant yellow
below, with a purple throat in the male, which is absent in the female.

Mr. Goodfellow tells us that among the riot of parasitic plants which
covered the trees a few Sun-birds and Honey-eaters might always be
seen. The nests of the former, suspended from fallen and partially
submerged dead trees, were continuously swinging from side to side,
the strong current in the river keeping the trees in perpetual motion.
These nests might easily be mistaken for a handful of drift left there
by the river.


_Dicæum diversum_ and _Melanocharis chloroptera_, a dull-looking
greenish-grey species described by Count Salvadori, were the only
Flower-peckers met with. They are small Tit-like birds allied to the
Sun-birds, but with a short bill serrated along the edges of the
mandibles. Both species were very common everywhere except on the coast
and were extremely tame.


_Zosterops chrysolæma_, a beautiful little species with the upper-parts
golden-olive, the throat and under tail-coverts yellow, and the breast
and belly pure white, was the only species met with of this most
numerous and widely distributed group. The popular name White-eye is
derived from the ring of tiny white plumes which encircles the eye in
all. They resemble Titmice both in their mode of life and notes. The
only pair observed were met with on the Iwaka River, and the species is
probably more numerous in the higher parts of the mountains.


The large Shrike-like birds with powerful hooked bills known as the
Piping-Crows are represented by two members of the genus _Cracticus_;
_C. cassicus_, a black and white species, and _C. quoyi_, with
uniform black plumage. Both are much like their well-known Australian
representatives, but smaller. _C. cassicus_ was much the commoner bird
and was generally observed feeding on berries and fruits in high trees,
its actions being very Crow-like.

The Pachycephaline group of birds allied to the true Shrikes is
represented by half-a-dozen species, two of which proved to be
undescribed: a grey form with a white throat _Pachycephala approximans_
and a black species with a white breast and belly, _P. dorsalis_.
Brilliantly coloured orange-yellow and black, or orangeyellow and
grey species were represented by _Pachycephala aurea_ and _Pachychare


This group is represented by _Rhectes cristatus_ and _R. ferrugineus_
in which both sexes are rufous and by _R. nigripectus_ with the
sexes different, the male being partly black and partly chestnut.
_Pinarolestes megarhynchus_, an allied species with the sexes alike,
is brown above and dull rufous below. Some of these Wood-Shrikes lay
peculiar looking eggs of a long oval shape and large for the size of
the bird. The ground-colour is purplish- or pinkish-grey with scattered
spots or small blotches of dark purplish-brown or maroon-brown, often
blurred at the edges and running into the ground-colour. These eggs
have on several occasions been palmed off on travellers in British New
Guinea as eggs of the Red Bird-of-Paradise, which they do not in any
way resemble.


These birds which closely resemble Swallows in their mode of life are
represented by one species only, _Artamus leucopygialis_, a grey bird
with the breast and rump white. It was common along the coast, and was
generally seen either perched on some dead tree or skimming swiftly
over the sands.


We now come to the Timeline group of birds: of these we may mention two
striking-looking species of _Eupetes_. One, _E. nigricrissus_, with the
plumage slate-blue and the throat white, edged with black, was met with
on the Mimika; the other, _E. pulcher_, was only seen further east on
the Wataikwa River. It is very similar to the above, but has the crown
and back rich-chestnut, instead of slate. Both species are ground-birds
and usually found in pairs; they are rather difficult to procure as,
when disturbed, they instantly conceal themselves among the trunks of
the trees and vegetation. The Scimitar Babblers were represented by the
reddish-brown _Pomatorhinus isidori_.


The Cuckoo-Shrikes are well represented in the collection, no fewer
than eleven species having been obtained. They belong to four genera
and vary much in colour: the large _Graucalus cæruleogrisea_ has
the entire plumage bluish-grey, except the axillaries and under
wing-coverts which are pale cinnamon and the male has a black patch in
front of eye. Another genus _Edoliisoma_ is represented by _E. melas_
of which the male is entirely black, and the female chestnut and brown.
A very attractive and brilliantly coloured species is _Campochæra
sloetii_, forming a marked contrast to other members of the group. The
greater part of its plumage is orange-yellow, the forehead white, the
middle of the crown yellow and the wings black and white; the male has
the cheeks, throat and chest black glossed with dull green, while in
the female these parts are dull grey. Several examples of this very
rare Cuckoo-Shrike were procured on the Mimika River. It is no doubt
most nearly allied to the Minivets (_Pericrocotus_) which inhabit the
Indo-Chinese countries and islands, the predominant colour of most of
the males being scarlet and of the females yellow.


Flycatchers are very numerously represented and among them two
new forms were discovered, a Fantailed Flycatcher (_Rhipidura
streptophora_) and a broad-billed species _Myiagra mimikæ_. Among the
more notable forms we may mention _Monarcha aruensis_, a brilliant
yellow and black species; _Todopsis bonapartei_, the male being vivid
ultramarine-blue, purple and black, while the female differs in
having the back and sides dark chestnut and the breast mostly white;
lastly _Peltops blainvillei_, a black bird with the rump, vent and
tail-coverts scarlet, a large white patch on each side of the head and
another on the middle of the mantle; the sexes are alike in plumage.

The Fan-tailed Flycatchers were commonly seen on the Mimika River
in May and June when numbers were busy hawking the canary-coloured
May-flies which swarmed at that time.

The Black-and-white Flycatcher (_Malurus alboscapulatus_) frequented
the tall grasses near the camp on the Wataikwa River. It was a
delightful little bird, very tame and might constantly be seen crossing
the open spaces with an undulating flight.


Two species of Swallows were met with _Hirundo javanica_ and _H.


Of the Ant-Thrushes or Pittas two species were met with, both
brilliantly plumaged birds. _Pitta mackloti_ which was far the commoner
of the two, has a dark crown, reddish-chestnut nape, and greenish-blue
upper-parts; the throat is black, the chest shining greyish-blue and
the breast and belly scarlet, divided from the chest by a wide black

The other species, _Pitta novæ-guineæ_, which was much less frequently
met with, has the head and neck black and the rest of the plumage
dark green washed with bluish on the breast, which is black down the
middle. The shoulders are shining silvery-blue and the vent and under
tail-coverts scarlet.

These long-legged Thrush-like birds are entirely terrestrial in their
habits and frequent the depths of the forests. They can hop with great
agility and escape on the slightest alarm, but are easily taken in


Among the Cuckoos, the largest is a species of “Crow-pheasant” or
“Lark-heeled” Cuckoo, _Centropus menebiki_, a bird of black plumage
glossed with dark green, with a large whitish-horn bill and heavy
slate-coloured legs and toes.

An allied, but smaller and rarer species, _C. bernsteini_, was met
with near the mouth of the Mimika. It is very similar in plumage to
the above, but is easily distinguished by its smaller size, black
bill and long, nearly straight hind-claw. Both are almost entirely
ground-birds of skulking habits. Several other species of Cuckoo were
met with, and among these _Cuculus micropterus_, the eastern form of
the Common Cuckoo, closely resembling our familiar bird. The rarest
species obtained was _Microdynamis parva_, a remarkable little Cuckoo
about the size of a Thrush, first described by Count Salvadori in 1875.
The origin of the type specimen is uncertain, but it is believed to
have been obtained by Beccari in the Moluccas. Subsequently, Dr. H. O.
Forbes procured female examples in the Astrolabe Mountains. Mr. Claude
Grant obtained an adult male and female which form a valuable addition
to the National Collection. The general plumage is brown, but in the
male the top of the head and the malar stripe are black, glossed with
steel-blue and the cheeks and throat are cinnamon. In both sexes the
bill is short, thick and curved. The male has the eye bright red, while
in the female it is hazel.


The Swifts, though of especial interest, are not very numerously
represented in the collection. The commonest species was that known as
the Esculent Swiftlet (_Collocalia fuciphaga_) which produces the best
kind of edible nest.

A very interesting discovery was the existence in New Guinea of the
large fork-tailed species _Collocalia whiteheadi_ originally described
by myself from the highlands of Luzon, Philippine Islands.

A remarkable Spine-tailed Swift (_Chætura novæ-guineæ_) is new to the
National Collection. It was fairly common on the Mimika River and
originally described by Count Salvadori from specimens procured by
D’Albertis on the Fly River.

A pair of the magnificent Moustached Swift (_Macropteryx mystacea_)
with a wing expanse of more than two feet were also procured. The
plumage of this bird is mostly grey, but the crown, wings, and long
deeply-forked tail are black glossed with purplish-blue. The eye-brows
and moustache-stripes as well as the scapulars are white, the two
former being composed of lengthened, narrow, pointed plumes. The male
has a small chestnut spot behind the ear-coverts which is absent in the
female. The nesting-habits of this species are very curious, it makes a
very small exposed half-saucer-shaped nest of bark and feathers gummed
by saliva to a branch or stump barely large enough to contain the
single white egg, and ridiculously small in comparison with the size of
the bird. When incubating, the greater part of the bird’s body must
rest on the branch to which the nest is attached.


The common Nightjar of the country found along the shingly banks of
the rivers was _Caprimulgus macrurus_, a widely distributed species.
After the ground had been cleared for the base camp at Wakatimi it was
visited every evening by a number of Nightjars, which no doubt found
such a large open space an admirable hunting-ground and the members
of the Expedition derived great pleasure from watching their graceful
evolutions. Another very rare Nightjar was _Lyncornis papuensis_,
not previously included in the National Collection. Frog-mouths were
represented by the larger species _Podargus papuensis_ and the smaller,
_P. ocellatus_. At some of the stopping places on the river night was
made hideous by their mournful cries repeated to distraction on every
side, and ending up with a sharp snap.

A single example of the rare Wallace’s Owlet-Nightjar (_Ægotheles
wallacei_) was collected by Mr. G. C. Shortridge on the Wataikwa River.
It has a peculiar uniform blackish upper plumage, without any trace of
a distinct nuchal collar. No doubt, like its Australian ally, it roosts
in holes in trees during the daytime and captures its prey on the wing
at night, like the true Nightjars, though the flight is said to be less


The only representative of the _Bucerotidæ_ is the Wreathed Hornbill
(_Rhytidoceros plicatus_) a large bird with a casque formed of
overlapping plates on the base of the upper mandible. The male is
black with the head and neck chestnut and the tail white, while the
female differs in having the head and neck black. It was plentiful
everywhere and its flesh was reported to be good eating. It frequented
the fruit-bearing trees in company with various species of Pigeons and
Mr. Claude Grant on one or two occasions observed pairs at what he
took to be their nesting-holes high up in the bare trunks of very tall
trees. Their heavy noisy flight and raucous call, continually repeated,
renders these birds difficult to overlook.


A species of Bee-eater, _Merops ornata_, was common about the base
camp. It ranges to Australia, the Moluccas and westwards to the Lesser
Sunda group. Mr. Goodfellow says it swarmed in some places after the
month of April; though previous to that date none had been met with.


Two species of Rollers inhabit the Mimika district _Eurystomus
crassirostris_, a greenish-blue species with brilliant ultramarine
throat, quills and tail-feathers and vermilion bill and feet; and
a smaller species _E. australis_ with brownish-green upper-parts,
verditer-blue breast and bluish-green bases to the tail-feathers.

Both Bee-eaters and Rollers were common in flocks along the banks of
the Mimika during April and May when preying on the canary-coloured
May-fly, which swarmed on the waters at that season.


Kingfishers were well represented in the Mimika district and Mr.
Goodfellow says that the Sacred Kingfisher (_Halcyon sanctus_) was
undoubtedly the most conspicuous bird about the base camp, where
its harsh cry could be heard all through the hot hours of the day.
The huts and storehouses were infested by myriads of black crickets,
which take the place of the cockroaches found in other countries
and commit fearful havoc among stores and personal possessions. The
constant packing up of goods to send up river drove thousands of these
insects to seek shelter in other parts of the camp, and, at such times,
Kingfishers became very tame and darted in and out among the buildings,
taking advantage of the feast thus afforded. Mr. Claude Grant shot a
single specimen of the lovely Kingfisher _H. nigrocyanea_, the only one
obtained. It has the crown, wings, upper tail-coverts, tail, and breast
dark ultramarine blue, the rump cobalt-blue, the throat and a band
across the breast pure white, and the remainder of the plumage black.
Another species met with at the base camp was _H. macleayi_ with purple
head, wings and tail, verditer-blue back, white lores, collar and
under-parts, and cinnamon flanks. Only one example of this fine bird
was procured. Others were the dark purplish-blue and chestnut _Alcyone
lessoni_, about the size of our Common Kingfisher and the much smaller
_A. pusilla_ similarly coloured above, but with the under-parts pure

_Ceyx solitaria_, a closely allied species, with purple spangled
upper-parts and cinnamon-yellow under-parts was also found on the
Mimika and Mr. Goodfellow was surprised to find this diminutive
species which he had believed to be exclusively a fish-eater, greedily
devouring a canary-coloured May-fly which swarmed on the waters of the
Mimika during April and May.

On the river a few specimens of the large “Jackass” Kingfisher
(_Dacelo intermedia_) were obtained, but the species was by no
means common. The most conspicuous bird was Gaudichaud’s Kingfisher
(_Sauromarptis gaudichaudi_) and its loud grating call might be heard
in all directions. The adult is a very handsome bird, the black
of the upper-parts being relieved by the electric-blue tips to the
wing-coverts and feathers of the lower back and rump, the wings and
tail are washed with dull purplish-blue, the throat is white and
extends in a buff collar round the neck, the under wing-coverts are
buff and the breast and rest of the under-parts deep chestnut. The
natives brought numbers of the half-fledged young of this species
to the base camp during May and June and many were purchased by
the Javanese soldiers and convicts; but as they fed them on boiled
rice only, their lives were brief. The great Shoe-billed Kingfisher
(_Clytoceyx_) was not met with by the members of our Expedition, but
Dr. Van Oort has described a new form which he calls _Clytoceyx rex
imperator_, from a specimen procured by Dr. Lorentz on the Noord River.
Another large species, _Melidora macrorhinus_, with a curious brown
spotted plumage above was not uncommon; it usually frequented the lower
branches and undergrowth within a few feet of the ground and when
disturbed merely mounted to a more conspicuous perch.

The lovely Racquet-tailed species of the genus _Tanysiptera_ were not
procured, though Dr. H. A. Lorentz met with a specimen on the Noord


Another very numerously represented group is the Parrots of which
twenty-two different species were procured, varying in size from the
Great Black Cockatoo (_Microglossus aterrimus_), which is about the
size of a Raven and has an enormously powerful bill, to the tiny
Pygmy Parrot (_Nasiterna keiensis_) which is about the size of a
Golden-crested Wren. This latter species has recently been described
by Mr. Walter Rothschild as new, under the name of _Nasiterna
viridipectus_ from specimens obtained by A. S. Meek in the Oetakwa
district, but they do not seem to differ from the birds found on the
Kei and Aru Islands and also in the neighbourhood of the Fly River. The
plumage is green, paler below, the crown dull orange, the shoulders
spotted with black, the middle-tail feathers blue and the outer pairs
black with yellow and green tips. A few solitary Black Cockatoos might
be seen on the lower River, sitting on the tops of the highest trees;
their loud whistle always attracted attention and even on their high
perches their red faces and erect crests were conspicuous. The Common
Cockatoo of the country was _Cacatua triton_, a moderate sized species
with a yellow crest which was met with in small numbers throughout the
mangrove belt, but it was a shy bird and when approached always flew
away, screaming. Lories of different kinds were numerous and included
some of the most brilliantly coloured species, _Lorius erythrothorax_
combining in its plumage black, crimson, scarlet, purple, blue, green
and bright yellow. The adult has the under wing-coverts uniform scarlet
in marked contrast to the bright yellow inner webs of the primary
quills, but in younger birds the smaller under wing-coverts are mottled
with scarlet, blue, black, green and yellow and the long outer series
are yellow with greyish-black ends, making a dark band at the base of
the quills. In this stage the bird has been described by Dr. A. B.
Meyer as _Lorius salvadorii_.

A less brilliantly coloured and more common species in the
neighbourhood of the Mimika was _Eos fuscatus_ which has the general
colour above sooty-black shaded on the middle of the crown, neck, etc.
with reddish-orange and the under-parts widely banded with scarlet.
A lovely species with a longer tail was _Trichoglossus cyanogrammus_
which is green with a blue face and greenish-yellow collar, and has the
scarlet chest-feathers edged with purple, while the belly and flanks
are yellow barred with green.

The tiniest Lory is _Loriculus meeki_, a minute species, about the
size of a Blue Titmouse, with brilliant green plumage, orange-yellow
forehead, and the rump and upper tail-coverts as well as a spot on the
throat scarlet. The female differs in having the forehead and cheeks

The genus _Geoffroyus_ is represented by two species: the commoner _G.
aruensis_ with the plumage green, the male having the crown and nape
violet-blue and the rest of the head and neck scarlet, while in the
female these parts are brown; also the much rarer _G. simplex_ which is
entirely green with a dull lilac blue ring round the neck. This latter
is a very rare bird in collections, but was seen on the higher parts
of the mountains above the Iwaka River in flocks of upwards of twenty

Other small and brilliantly coloured species of Lories are
_Charmosynopsis pulchella_ and _C. multistriata_, the latter a
remarkable new species with green plumage, and the whole of the
under-parts streaked with bright yellow. It was recently described
by Mr. Rothschild from a male, shot by A. S. Meek on the Oetakwa
River; a second specimen, a female, was obtained on the Mimika by
Mr. Goodfellow. We must also mention _Chalcopsittacus scintillans_,
_Hypocharmosyna placens_, _Charmosyna josephinæ_, the rare
_Glossopsittacus goldiei_, and three species of _Cyclopsittacus_, viz.
_C. melanogenys_, which is green with a white throat, black cheeks,
deep orange breast, and ultramarine wings; _C. diophthalmus_; and _C.
godmani_, a new and handsome species with the general colour green,
the head and nape orange-scarlet, the upper mantle orange-yellow, the
cheeks covered with long, pointed, yellowish feathers, and the chest

Behind the camp at Wakatimi lay a swamp which Mr. Goodfellow tells
us was every night the roosting-place of thousands of Lories, chiefly
_Eos fuscatus_, and there were also smaller flocks of _Trichoglossus
cyanogrammus_. Long before sunset and until it was quite dusk flocks
of many hundred birds coming from all directions flew over with a
deafening noise. Often some weak branch would give way under their
weight, causing a panic just as the noise was beginning to subside,
and clouds of these birds would again circle around, seeking a fresh
roosting place and keeping up a continual din.

One of the most peculiar Parrots, and bearing a marked external
resemblance to the Kea of New Zealand, is the Vulturine Parrot
(_Dasyptilus pesqueti_) which has the black skin of the face almost
entirely bare, the plumage black and scarlet on the wings, rump and
belly, the breast feathers having pale sandy margins. Its hoarse,
grating call, quite unlike that of any other species, could be heard
a long way off, and was continually uttered when on the wing. Mr.
Goodfellow says it usually moves about in parties of four or five
individuals, and that occasionally as many as seven may be seen
together. When not feeding they always select the tallest trees to
rest in, preferring dead ones which tower about the general level of
the jungle, and in which they remain for hours at a time in rain or
sunshine. They do not climb after the usual manner of Parrots, but jump
from branch to branch with a jerky movement, like the Lories, and with
a rapid flicking movement of the wings. They feed entirely on soft
fruits, chiefly wild figs. Apparently the species feeds on the plains
and retires to the mountains to roost, for every evening flocks or
pairs were observed passing high over the camp at Parimau, and making
their way towards the Saddle-peak range.

A handsome new Parroquet of the genus _Aprosmictus_ was discovered, and
has been named _A. wilhelminæ_, in honour of the Queen of Holland. The
male has the head, neck and under-parts scarlet, the wings green, with
a pale yellow green band across the coverts, the mantle and back mostly
deep purplish-blue, and the tail black tinged with purplish.

Finally, the Eclectus Parrot (_Eclectus pectoralis_) was common. The
remarkable difference in the colouration of the sexes might lead some
to believe that they belonged to quite different species, the male
being mostly green with scarlet sides and under wing-coverts, while
the female is maroon with the head, neck and breast scarlet, and the
mantle, belly, sides and under wing-coverts blue.


The only Owl of which examples were obtained was a small species of
Brown Hawk-Owl (_Ninox theomaca_), with the upper-parts, back, wings
and tail uniform dark brown, and the under-parts deep chestnut. It was
a strictly nocturnal species, and confined to the jungle along the
base of the mountains, where its weird double call “yon-yon” might
constantly be heard after dark.

A form of the Barn-Owl (_Strix novæ-hollandiæ_), which occurs in the
district, was not obtained by the Expedition.


New Guinea possesses a very remarkable Harpy-Eagle (_Harpyopsis
novæ-guineæ_) allied to the Harpy Eagles of America and to the Great
Monkey-eating Eagle (_Pithecophaga jefferyi_) which inhabits the
forests of the Philippine Islands. The New Guinea bird is like a
large Goshawk, having a long tail and comparatively short and rounded
wings; the feet are armed with very powerful claws, but in strength
and power it is far inferior to its great Philippine ally or to the
still more powerful species inhabiting Central America. Mr. Claude
Grant says that this species was seldom met with; it has a rather
loud cry and a beautiful soaring flight, often in ascending circles.
Besides this large Eagle, two species of Goshawk _Astur etorques_
and _A. poliocephalus_ were met with, likewise a small chestnut and
white Brahminy Kite (_Haliastur girrenera_). A small Sparrow-Hawk was
obtained near the mouth of the Mimika River, but being in immature
plumage its identification is at present uncertain. Reinwardt’s
Cuckoo-Falcon (_Baza reinwardti_) with a crested head and banded
breast, was rather a rare bird and appears to feed largely on insects.


The small black-backed white-breasted species _Phalacrocorax
melanoleucus_ is the only representative of this group. Several
specimens were shot on the upper waters of the Mimika, at Parimau and
at the base camp at Wakatimi.


The handsome white-necked Sheld-duck (_Tadorna radjah_) differs from
the Australian form in being much darker on the back, the plumage being
practically black with indistinct mottlings of dull rufous on the
mantle. This dark form, found also in the Moluccas, was common about
the mouth of the Mimika River. The more rufous-backed Australian form
has been named _T. rufitergum_ by Dr. Hartert.

The only other species of duck brought home was an immature male
Garganey (_Querquedula discors_) shot on the Kapare River.


The Eastern form of the Sacred Ibis (_Ibis stictipennis_) was met with
at the mouth of the Mimika. It is easily distinguished from its western
ally by having the innermost secondaries mottled with black and white.


Several different species of Herons were procured including the Night
Heron (_Nycticorax caledonica_); the Yellow-necked Heron (_Dupetor
flavicollis_); the White Heron (_Herodias timoriensis_); and a
Tiger-Bittern (_Tigrisoma heliosylus_). The last named is a very fine
bird with the general colour above black boldly barred with rufous and
buff; the under-parts buff barred on the neck and chest with black. The
feathers on the neck and chest are very long and broad and no doubt
form a most imposing ruff when the bird is displaying.


A number of small wading birds were also procured near the mouth of
the river, and two species of Terns, but as all belong to well-known,
widely distributed species, there is no special interest attaching to
them. I may however mention that the great Australian Curlew (_Numenius
cyanopus_), and the large Australian Thicknee (_Esacus magnirostris_)
were among the species found at the mouth of the Mimika.


The only Rail met with was an example of _Rallina tricolor_ which has
the head, neck and chest bright chestnut, and the rest of the plumage
dark brown with white bars on the wing-feathers. It is also met with in
some of the Papuan Islands and in North-eastern Australia.


Pigeons were very numerously represented, no fewer than twenty-six
different species being obtained by the Expedition. Some of the smaller
forms are among the most beautifully coloured birds met with in New
Guinea. The Crowned Pigeons (Goura) are represented by _G. sclateri_
which was fairly common near the base camp and met with in all places
visited by the Expedition. In spite of the numbers shot for food during
the whole time the Expedition remained in the country, the supply did
not appear to diminish. This fine Pigeon and a few others afforded the
only fresh meat to be had. On the canoe-journeys up the river Sclater’s
Goura was frequently met with in the early mornings in parties of
two or three searching for aquatic life along the muddy banks. When
disturbed they did not immediately take flight, but with raised wings
pirouetted around for a few seconds and then flew to the nearest high
tree. Mr. Goodfellow found the remains of small crabs in their stomachs
and a large percentage of the birds shot were infested by a small red
parasite, the same, or similar to that which is known in other parts of
New Guinea as “Scrub-itch.”

Another very handsome bird is the Ground-Pigeon (_Otidiphaps nobilis_)
with the head bluish-black, the nape dull metallic green, the mantle
and wings purplish-chestnut and the rest of the plumage deep purple,
all being more or less metallic. Its long legs and the upward carriage
of its long tail give it much the appearance of a Bantam hen. It was
fairly common, but being extremely shy was rarely met with.

Among the larger Fruit-Pigeons we must specially mention _Carpophaga
pinon_ which has the general appearance of a large Wood-Pigeon. It was
met with in large flocks and proved an excellent bird for the table.
Another very striking species, of rather lesser proportions and very
much rarer, was Muller’s Fruit-Pigeon (_Carpophaga mulleri_) easily
distinguished by its white throat, the bold black ring round its neck
and its shining chestnut mantle. Among the handsomest was _Carpophaga
rufiventris_, a bird with the breast cinnamon and the wings and back
metallic green, copper and purple. Lastly a very striking form was the
large creamy-white Pigeon (_Myristicivora spilorrhoa_) with the flight
feathers, tips of the tail-feathers and under tail-coverts blackish. It
appears to be entirely confined to the mangrove swamps and was observed
breeding in May along the creeks near the mouth of the river, no less
than seven nests being found in one tree.

As already stated among the smaller Fruit-Pigeons many are very
beautifully marked and brilliantly coloured, but always with the most
harmonious shades. It would seem as though Nature had almost exhausted
her scheme of colouration in dealing with some of these birds; for
we find two totally different species, _Ptilopus zonurus_ and _P.
gestroi_, occurring together in which the markings and colours of the
plumage are almost identical; on the under-surface the two species
are practically alike, both have the chin and throat pale lavender,
extending in a ring round the neck, the throat orange, the chest
washed with vinous and the remainder of the under-parts green; on the
upper-surface, the top of the head and nape are greenish-yellow and
the rest of the upper-parts green, but in _P. zonurus_ the median
wing-coverts are green with a subterminal spot of bright pink, while
in _P. gestroi_ the least wing-coverts are crimson and the next
series grey fringed with greenish-yellow. Another parallel case of
close resemblance is found between the small _Ptilopus nanus_ and the
larger _P. coronulatus_. Though really extremely distinct species
the under-parts are very similarly coloured both being green with a
bright magenta patch on the middle of the breast and the belly and
under-tail coverts mostly bright yellow: viewed from the upper surface
the two birds are, however, very different, _P. coronulatus_ having the
crown lilac-pink, edged posteriorly with bands of crimson and yellow,
while _P. nanus_ has the head green, but the ends of the scapulars and
secondaries are deep shining bluish-green, tipped with bright yellow.
Even more brilliantly coloured species than the above are _Ptilopus
pulchellus_, _P. superbus_, _P. aurantiifrons_ and _P. bellus_.

Near the camp at Wataikwa large flocks of D’Albertis’ Pigeon
(_Gymnophaps albertisii_) were observed coming in every evening from
their feeding-grounds on the high mountains to roost on the plains
below. Mr. Goodfellow tells us that their flight is extremely rapid and
that their strange aerial evolutions remind one of the common “Tumbler”

The Long-tailed Cuckoo-Doves were represented by the very large
_Reinwardtœnas griseotincta_ and the smaller chestnut-plumaged
_Macropygia griseinucha_; the former being a large and abnormally
long-tailed bird with the head, mantle and under-parts grey, and the
back and tail chestnut.


The Game-birds are represented by three species of Mound-builders,
two being Brush-Turkeys and the other a true Megapode (_Megapodius
freycineti_). The fact that two closely allied species of Brush-Turkeys
are found in the same district is of considerable interest. The common
species of the country _Talegallus fuscirostris_ has a very wide
coastal range, being also found in S.E. New Guinea and extending along
the north coast to the middle of Geelvinck Bay. The other species
_T. cuvieri_ is of western origin being hitherto known from the
Arfak Peninsula, and the islands of Salwatti, Mysol and Gilolo. Its
occurrence on the Iwaka river was quite unexpected and no doubt the
range of the two species overlap in the neighbourhood of the Mimika in
the south and in the vicinity of Rubi on Geelvinck Bay in the north. In
both the plumage is black, but _T. cuvieri_ is a larger bird than _T.
fuscirostris_ and is easily recognised by having the tibia feathered
right down to the tibio-tarsal joint and the bill orange-red instead of

All these species are of the greatest interest on account of their
remarkable nesting habits, and their nesting mounds of decaying
vegetable matter were conspicuous objects in the jungle. The eggs,
which are very large for the size of the birds, are buried among the
débris which the birds rake together into a large heap, the young being
hatched, as in an incubator, by the warmth of the decaying leaves. The
parent bird, after burying its eggs, takes no further notice of them,
but the young on leaving the shell are fully feathered and able to fly
and take care of themselves.


The discovery made by Mr. Walter Goodfellow that two distinct forms
of two-wattled Cassowary occur side by side on the Mimika River has
greatly modified Mr. Rothschild’s views on the classification of the
genus, and he now finds that the ten forms possessing two wattles, when
placed side by side fall naturally into two groups, one consisting
of the Common Cassowary (_Casuarius casuarius_), divisible into six
sub-species or races, and the other of _C. bicarunculatus_ which may
be divided into four sub-species. The large forms found on the Mimika
are _C. sclateri_, representing the first group, and _C. intensus_
representing the second. Both these birds have a large elevated casque
or helmet and differ chiefly in the pattern and colouration of the bare

These Cassowaries were seen at various times searching for food
in the pools and shallow waters of the river-beds, and during the
cross-country marches would sometimes dash across the trail, affording
but a momentary glimpse.

The natives have distinct names for the male and female birds and
judging from the quantities of feathers in their possession must often
succeed in capturing them. Eggs and newly-hatched chicks were brought
in during January and February. On one occasion at Parimau some eggs
must have been kept by the natives for a few days before they hatched,
for young were brought to the camp which had evidently just emerged
from the shells.

A very interesting discovery was made by Mr. Claude Grant on the
foot-hills, where he met with a new dwarf species of Cassowary, _C.
claudii_. It is allied to _C. papuanus_, but has the hind part of the
crown and occiput black instead of white. Like that bird it has a low
triangular casque and belongs to a different section of the genus from
the two larger species already mentioned.

_C. claudii_ has very brilliantly coloured soft parts. The occiput and
sides of the head are entirely black; between the gape and the ear is
a patch of deep plum-colour; the upper half of the back of the neck is
electric-blue, shading into violet-blue on the sides and fore-part of
the neck including the throat; the lower half of the back of the neck
is orange-chrome, this colour extending down the upper margin of a bare
magenta-coloured area situated on each side of the feathered part of
the neck. This fine bird is now mounted and on exhibition in the Bird
Gallery at the Natural History Museum.


  1875-88.    _Gould._ Birds of New Guinea and the adjacent Papuan Islands.
                  (Completed by R. B. Sharpe) (1875-88).
  1880-82     _Salvadori._ Ornitologia della Papuasia e delle Molluche. Vols. I-III.
  & 1889-91.      (1880-82). Aggiunte, pts. I.-III. (1889-91).
  1883.       _Ramsay._ Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. VIII. pp. 15-29 (1883).
  1884.       _Sharpe._ Journ. Linn. Soc. Zool. XVII. pp. 405-408 (1884).
              _Meyer._ Zeit. Ges. Orn 1. pp. 269-296, pls. XIV.-XVIII. (1884).
  1885.       _Finsch and Meyer._ Zeit. ges. Orn. II. pp. 369-391, pls. XV.-XXII.
              _Guillemard._ P.Z.S. 1885, pp. 615-665, pl. XXXIX.
  1886.       _Meyer._ Monat. Schutze Vogelw. 1886, pp. 85-88, pl.
              _Meyer._ P.Z.S. 1886, pp. 297-298.
              _Finsch and Meyer._ Zeit. ges. Orn. III. pp. 1-29, pls. I.-VI. (1886).
              _Meyer._ Zeit. ges. Orn. III. pp. 30-38 (1886).
              _Salvadori._ Ibis 1886, pp. 151-155.
  1887.       _Ramsay._ Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. (2) II. pp. 239-240 (1887).
              _Bartlett._ P.Z.S. 1887, p. 392.
              _Oustalet._ Le Nat. I. pp. 180-182 (1887).
  1888.       _Meyer._ Reisen in Kaiser Wilhelms-Land und Englisch New-Guinea
                  in dem Jahren 1884 u. 1885 an Bord des Deutschen Damfers
                  “Samoa.” Leipsig, 1888.
              _Cabanis._ J.f.O. 1888, p. 119.
  1889.       _Cabanis._ J.f.O. 1889, p. 62, pls. 1 & 2.
              _Meyer._ J.f.O. 1889, pp. 321-326.
              _De Vis._ Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland VI. pp. 245-248 (1889).
  1890.       _De Vis._ British New Guinea. Report of the Administration for the
                  period 4th Sept. 1888 to 30th June, 1889.
                    App. G. Report on Birds from British New Guinea, pp. 105-116
                    (Reprinted, Ibis 1891, pp. 25-41).
              _Goodwin._ Ibis 1890, pp. 150-156.
              _Meyer._ Ibis 1890, p. 412, pl. XII.
              _Salvad._ Ann. Mus. Civ. Genov. (2) IX. pp. 554-592 (1890).
  1891.       _Oustalet._ Le Nat. V. pp. 260-261 (1891).
              _Sclater._ Ibis 1891, p. 414, pl. X.
              _Meyer._ Abh. Zool. Mus. Dresden 1891, No. 4, pp. 1-17.
  1891-98.    _Sharpe._ Monogr. _Paradiseidæ_ and _Ptilonorhynchidæ_ (1891-98).
  1892.       _De Vis._ Ann. Queensland Mus. II. pp. 4-11 (1892).
              _De Vis._ Annual Report Brit. New Guinea, 1890-91. App. CC.
                  pp. 93-97. pl. (1892).
              _Salvad._ Ann. Mus. Civ. Genov. (2) X. pp. 797-834 (1892).
              _Meyer._ J.f.O. 1892, pp. 254-266.
              _Crowley._ Bull. B.O.C. 1. p. XVI. (1892).
  1893.       _Meyer._ Abh. Zool. Mus. Dres. 1892-93, No. 3. pp. 1-33, pls. 1 & 2.
              _Oustalet._ Nouv. Archiv. Mus. Paris, (3) IV. pp. 218-220, pl. XV.;
                  V. pp. 295-299, pl. VI.
              _Sclater._ Ibis 1893, pp. 243-246, pl. VII. text fig.
              _Finsch._ Ibis 1893, pp. 463-464.
              _Meyer._ Ibis 1893, pp. 481-483, pl. XIII.
  1894.       _De Vis._ Annual Report, Brit. New Guinea, 1894, pp. 99-105.
              _Salvad._ Ann. Mus. Civ. Genov. (2) XIV. pp. 150-152 (1894).
              _Meyer._ Bull. B.O.C. IV. pp. VI., VII., XI., XII. (1894).
  1894.       _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. IV. p. XI. (1894).
              _Sharpe._ Bull. B.O.C. IV. pp. XII.-XV. (1894).
              _Reichenow._ Orn. Monatsb. II. p. 22 (1894).
              _Meyer._ Abh. Zool. Mus. Dres. 1894-95. No. 2. pp. 1-4. pl. (1894).
              _Büttikofer._ Notes Leyden Mus. XVI. pp. 161-165 (1894).
              _Mead._ Amer. Natural. XXVIII. pp. 915-920. pls. XXIX.-XXXI.
  1895.       _Meyer._ Bull. B.O.C. IV. p. XVII. (1895).
              _Meyer._ Abh. Zool. Mus. Dres. 1894-95, no. 5. pp. 1-11. pls. 1 & 2.
                  No. 10. pp. 1-2, pl. I. figs. 1-4 (1895).
              _Rothschild._ Nov. Zool. II. pp. 22, 59, 480, pls. III. & V. (1895).
              _Hartert._ Nov. Zool. II. p. 67 (1895).
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. IV. pp. XXI., XXVI., XLII. (1895).
              _Ogilvie-Grant._ Bull. B.O.C. V. p. XV. (1895).
              _Mead._ Amer. Natural. XXIX. pp. 1-9, 409-417, 627-636, 1056-1065,
                  pl. VII. (1895).
              _Sanyal._ P.Z.S. 1895, pp. 541-542.
              _Oustalet._ Bull. Mus. Paris. 1895, pp. 47-50.
              _Sclater._ Ibis 1895, pp. 343, 344, pl. VIII.
  1896.       _Rothschild and Hartert._ Nov. Zool. III., pp. 8, 252, 530, 534, pl. I.
              _Rothschild._ Nov. Zool. III., pp. 10-19 (1896).
              _Salvadori._ Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. (2) XVI., pp. 55-120 (1896).
              _Salvadori._ Bull. B.O.C. V. p. XXII. (1896).
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. VI. pp. XV.-XVI. (1896).
              _Oustalet._ Nouv. Archiv. Mus. Paris (3) VIII. pp. 263-267, pls. XIV.
                  & XV. (1896).
  1897.       _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. VI. pp. XV., XVI., XXIV., XXV., XL.,
                  XLV., LIV. (1897).
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. VII. pp. XXI.-XXII. (1897).
              _Reichenow._ Orn. Monatsb. V. pp. 24-26, 161, 178, 179 (1897).
              _Kleinschmidt._ Orn. Monatsb. V. p. 46 (1897).
              _Kleinschmidt._ J.f.O. 1897, pp. 174-178, text-fig.
              _Reichenow._ J.f.O. 1897, pp. 201-224, pls. V. & VI.
              _Rothschild._ Nov. Zool. IV. p. 169, pl. II. fig. 2 (1897).
              _Hartert._ Nov. Zool. IV. p. 396 (1897).
              _De Vis._ Ibis 1897, pp. 250-252, 371-392, pl. VII.
              _Madarasz._ Termes, Füzetek XX. pp. 17-54, pls. 1 & 2 (1897).
              _Mead._ Amer. Natural. XXXI. pp. 204-210 (1897).
  1898.       _Hartert._ Bull. B.O.C. VIII. pp. VIII. & IX. (1898).
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. VIII. p. XIV. (1898).
              _Rothschild._ Das Tierreich _Paradiseidæ_, 52 pp. Berlin, 1898.
              _De Vis._ Annual Report, New Guinea, App. AA. Report on birds for
                  1896-97, pp. 81-90 (1898).
              _Finsch._ Notes Leyden Mus. XX. pp. 129-136 (1898).
              _Rothschild._ Nov. Zool. V. pp. 84-87, 418, 509, 513, pl. XVIII. (1898).
              _Reichenow._ J.f.O. 1898, pp. 124-128, pl. 1.
              _Caley-Webster._ Through New Guinea and the Cannibal Countries.
                  Appendices on birds by Messrs. Rothschild and Hartert (1898).
  1899.       _Salvadori._ Ann. Mus. Civ. Genov. (2) XIX. pp. 578-582 (1899).
              _Rothschild._ Nov. Zool. VI. pp. 75 & 218, pls. II. & III. (1899).
              _Hartert._ Nov. Zool. VI. p. 219, pl. IV. (1899).
              _Madarasz._ Termes, Füzetek. XXII. pp. 375-428, pls. XV.-XVII.
  1900.       _Finsch._ Notes Leyden Mus. XXII. pp. 49-69 & 70 (1900).
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. X. pp. C. CI. (1900).
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. XI. pp. 25, 26, 30 (1900).
              _Madarasz._ Orn. Monatsb. VIII. pp. 1-4 (1900).
              _Renshaw._ Nature Notes XI. pp. 164-167 (1900).
              _Currie._ P.U.S. Nat. Mus. XXII. pp. 497-499, pl. XVII. (1900).
  1900.       _Le Souëf._ Ibis 1900, pp. 612, 617, text-fig. 1.
  1901.       _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. XII. p. 34 (1901).
              _Reichenow._ Orn. Monatsb. IX. pp. 185-186 (1901).
              _Madarasz._ Termes Füzetek, XXIV. p. 73 (1901).
              _Hartert._ Nov. Zool. VIII. pp. 1, 93 (1901).
              _Rothschild and Hartert._ Nov. Zool. VIII. pp. 53, 102, pls. II.-IV.
  1902.       _Weiske._ Ein Beitrag zur Naturgeschichte der Laubenvogel. Monat.
                  Schutze Vogelw. XXVII. pp. 41-45 (1902).
              _Sclater._ Bull. B.O.C. XIII. p. 23 (1902).
  1903.       _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. XIII. p. 32 (1903).
              _Finsch._ Orn. Monatsb. XI. p. 167 (1903).
              _Renshaw._ Avicult. Mag. (2) II. pp. 26-27, fig. (1903).
              _Rothschild and Hartert._ Nov. Zool. X. pp. 65-89, pl. I. 196-231,
                  435-480, pls. XIII. & XIV. (1903).
              _Hartert._ Nov. Zool. X. pp. 232-254 (1903).
  1904.       _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. XIV. pp. 38-40 (1904).
              _Ogilvie-Grant._ Bull. B.O.C. XIV. p. 40 (1904).
  1905.       _Ogilvie-Grant._ Ibis 1905, pp. 429-440, pl. VIII. text-figs. 22-26.
              _Pycraft._ Ibis 1905, pp. 440-453.
              _Sharpe._ Bull. B.O.C. XV. p. 91 (1905).
              _Salvadori._ Ibis 1905, pp. 401-429, 535-542.
  1905-10.    _Salvadori._ In Wytsman, Genera Avium. Psittaci, pts. 5, 11, & 12
  1906.       _Salvadori._ Ibis, 1906, pp. 124-131, 326-333; 451-465, 642-659.
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. XIX. pp. 7-8, 27 (1906).
              _Foerster and Rothschild._ Two new birds of Paradise Zool. Mus. Tring.
                  3 pp. Tring. 1st October, 1906.
              _Van Oort._ Notes Leyden Mus. XXVIII. p. 129-130 (1906).
              _Ogilvie-Grant._ Bull. B.O.C. XIX. p. 39 (1906).
              _North._ Vict. Nat. XXII. pp. 147, 156-8, pl. (1906).
  1907.       _Salvadori._ Ibis 1907, pp. 122-151; 311-322.
              _Ingram, (Sir W.)._ Ibis 1907, pp. 225-229, pl. V. text-figs. 8 & 9.
              _Simpson._ Ibis 1907, pp. 380-387, text-figs.
              _Rothschild and Hartert._ Nov. Zool. XIV. pp. 433, 447 (1907).
              _Rothschild._ Nov. Zool. XIV. p. 504, pls. V.-VII. (1907).
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. XXI. p. 25 (1907).
              _Hartert._ Bull. B.O.C. XXI. p. 26 (1907).
              _North._ Vict. Nat. XXIV. p. 136 (1907).
              _Ingram_, (C.). Avicult. Mag. (2) V. p. 364, pl. (1907).
              _Le Souëf._ Emu. VI. p. 119-120 (1907).
  1908.       _Van Oort._ Notes Leyden Mus. XXIX. pp. 170-180, 2 pls. pp. 204-206
                  1 pl. (1908).
              _Van Oort._ Notes Leyden Mus. XXX. pp. 127-128 (1908).
              _Rothschild._ Nov. Zool. XV. p. 392 (1908).
              _Sharpe._ Bull. B.O.C. XXI. p. 67 (1908).
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. XXIII. p. 7 (1908).
              _Goodfellow._ Bull. B.O.C. XXIII. pp. 35-39 (1908).
  1909.       _Beaufort._ Nova Guinea V. Zoologie Livr. 3, pp. 389-420 (1909).
              _Van Oort._ Nova Guinea IX., Zoologie Livr. 1. Birds from South-western
                  and Southern New Guinea, pp. 51-107, pl. III. (1909).
              _Van Oort._ Notes Leyden Mus. XXX. pp. 225-244 (1909).
              _Horsbrugh_, (C. B.). Ibis, 1909, pp. 197-213.
              _Sassi._ J.f.O. 1909, pp. 365-383.
              _Nehrkorn._ Orn. Monatsb. XVII. p. 44 (1909).
              _Astley._ Avicult. Mag. (2) VII. pp. 156-158 (1909).
  1910.       _Van Oort._ Notes Leyden Mus. XXXII. pp. 78-82, 211-216 (1910).
              _Madarasz._ Ann. Hist. Nat. Mus. Nat. Hung. Budapest VIII., pp. 172-174,
                  pl. II. (1910).
              _Goodfellow._ Avicult. Mag. (3) 1, pp. 277-286 (1910).
  1910.       _Ogilvie-Grant._ Bull. B.O.C. XXVII. p. 10 (1910).
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. XXVII. pp. 13, 35, 36, 45 (1910).
              _Hartert._ Nov. Zool. XVII. p. 484, pl. X. (eggs) (1910).
  1911.       _Rothschild._ Ibis 1911, pp. 350-367, pls. V. & VI.
              _Rothschild and Hartert._ Nov. Zool. XVIII. pp. 159-167 (1911).
              _Ogilvie-Grant._ Bull. B.O.C. XXVII. pp. 66, 68, 83, 84 (1911).
  1912.       _Rothschild._ Ibis 1912, pp. 109-112, pl. II.
              _Ogilvie-Grant._ Ibis 1912, pp. 112-118, pl. III.
              _Hartert._ Nov. Zool. XVIII. p. 604. pls. VII. & VIII. (1912).
              _Rothschild._ Bull. B.O.C. XXIX. pp. 50-52 (1912).




Pygmies, as their name implies, are very short men, and the first
question to decide is whether this short stature is normal or merely a
dwarfing due to unfavourable environment. Although stature cannot be
taken as a trustworthy criterion of race, since it is very variable
within certain limits among most races, there are certain peoples who
may be described as normally tall, medium, or short. The average human
stature appears to be about 1·675 m. (5 ft. 6 ins.). Those peoples who
are 1·725 (5 ft. 8 ins.) or more in height are said to be tall, those
below 1·625 m. (5 ft. 4 ins.) are short, while those who fall below
1·5 m. (4 ft. 11 ins.) are now usually termed pygmies. One has only to
turn to the investigations of the Dordogne district by Collignon and
others to see how profoundly _la misère_ can affect the stature of a
population living under adverse conditions, for example in the canton
of Saint Mathieu there are 8·8 per cent. with a stature below 1·5 m.
But when one finds within one area, as in the East Indian region,
distinct peoples of medium, short and pygmy stature, living under
conditions which appear to be very similar, one is inclined to suspect
a racial difference between them, and the suspicion becomes confirmed
if we find other characters associated with pygmy stature.

Pygmy peoples are widely distributed in Central Africa, but these
Negrillos, as they are often termed, do not concern us now.

Asiatic pygmies have long been known, but it is only comparatively
recently that they have been studied seriously, and even now there
remains much to be discovered about them. There are two main stocks on
the eastern border of the Indian Ocean, who have a very short stature
and are respectively characterised by curly or wavy hair and by hair
that grows in close small spirals—the so-called woolly hair.

(i.) The Sakai or Senoi of the southern portion of the Malay Peninsula
are typical examples of the former stock, their average stature is
slightly above the pygmy limit, but they need not detain us longer
as they belong to a different race of mankind from the woolly-haired
stock. It may be mentioned however that cymotrichous (curly-haired),
dolichocephalic (narrow-headed), dark-skinned peoples of very short
stature, racially akin to the Sakai, have been found in East Sumatra
and in Celebes (Toala) more or less mixed with alien blood; and quite
recently Moszkowski, as will be mentioned later, has suggested that
the islands of Geelvink Bay, Netherlands New Guinea, were originally
inhabited by the same stock. All these peoples together with the Vedda
and some jungle tribes of the Deccan are now regarded as remnants of a
once widely distributed race to which the term Pre-Dravidian has been
applied; it is also believed by many students that the chief element in
the Australians is of similar origin.

(ii.) For a long time it has been known that there are three groups
of ulotrichous (woolly-haired), brachycephalic (broad-headed),
dark-skinned, pygmy peoples inhabiting respectively the Andaman
Islands, the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines; to this race the
name Negrito is universally applied. We can now include in it a fourth
element from New Guinea. The physical characters of these several
groups may be summarised as follows:

1. The ANDAMANESE, who are sometimes erroneously called Mincopies,
inhabit the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. Their head _hair_
is extremely frizzly (woolly), fine in texture, lustreless and seldom
more than two or three inches long, or five inches when untwisted, its
colour varies between black, greyish black, and sooty, the last perhaps
predominating. Hair only occasionally grows on the face and then but
scantily. There is little or no hair over the surface of the body. The
_skin_ has several shades of colour between bronze or dark copper,
sooty, and black, the predominating colour being a dull leaden hue
like that of a black-leaded stove. The average _stature_ of 48 males
is 1·492 m. (4 ft. 10-3/4 ins.), the extremes being 1·365 m. (4 ft.
5-3/4 ins.) and 1·632 m. (5 ft. 4-1/4 ins.). The _head_ is moderately
brachycephalic, the average _cranial index_ (_i.e._ the ratio of the
breadth to the length, the length being taken as 100) in male skulls
is 81, thus the _cephalic index_ of the living would be about 83. The
_features_ may be described as: face broad at the cheek-bones; eyes
prominent; nose much sunken at the root, straight and small; lips full
but not everted; chin small; the jaws do not project.

2. The SEMANG live in the central region of the Malay Peninsula, some
of them are known under the names of Udai, Pangan, Hami and Semán. The
_hair_ of the head is short, universally woolly, and black. Skeat says
it is of a brownish black, not a bluish black like that of the Malays,
and Martin alludes to a reddish shimmer when light falls on it, but
says there is not a brownish shimmer as in the Sakai. Hair is rare and
scanty on face and body. Skeat describes the _skin_ colour as dark
chocolate brown approximating in some Kedah Negritos to glossy black,
and Martin says the skin of the chest is dark brown with reddish
tinges, while that of the face is mainly dark brown, the remainder
being medium brown, with reddish or pure brown tinges. The data for
the _stature_ are not very satisfactory, the best are a series of 17
males by Annandale and Robinson, the average being 1·528 m. (5 ft.
0-1/4 in.), with extreme, of 1·372 m. (4 ft. 6 ins.) and 1·604 (5 ft.
3 ins.). The average _cephalic index_ is about 78 or 79, the extremes
ranging from about 74 to about 84. The Semang are thus mesaticephalic
on the average. According to Skeat the _face_ is round; the forehead
rounded, narrow and projecting, or as it were “swollen”; the nose short
and flattened, the nostrils much distended, the breadth remarkably
great, five adult males having an average nasal index of 101·2, the 20
measured by Annandale and Robinson varied from 81·3 to 108·8 with an
average of 97·1, but four men measured by Martin had an average index
of 83·5. The cheek-bones are broad; jaws often protrude slightly; lips
not as a rule thick, Martin remarks that very characteristic of both
the Semang and the Sakai is the great thickening of the integumental
part of the upper lip, the whole mouth region projecting from the lower
edge of the nose; this convexity occurs in 70 per cent., and is well
shown in his photographs.

3. The AETA live in the mountainous districts of the larger islands and
in some of the smaller islands of the Philippines. It is convenient to
retain this name for the variously named groups of Philippine Negritos,
many of whom show admixture with other peoples. The _hair_ of the head
is universally woolly except when mixture may be suspected or is known;
Reed says it is uniformly of a dirty black colour, sometimes sunburnt
on the top to reddish brown; Worcester describes it as usually black
but it may be reddish brown, and Meyer as a dark seal-brown to black.
Reed says that the beard is very scanty but all adult males have some
and that there is very little body hair, but Worcester states that the
men often have abundant beards and a thick growth of hair on the arms,
chest and legs. The _skin_ is described as being of a dark chocolate
brown, rather than black, with a yellowish tinge on the exposed parts
(Reed), sooty black (Sawyer), or dark, sooty brown (Worcester). The
average _stature_ of 48 men is 1·463 m. (4 ft. 9-1/2 ins.), ranging
from 1·282 m. (4 ft. 2-1/2 ins.) to 1·6 m. (5 ft. 3 ins.), but some
of these were not pure breeds (Reed); other observations also show
a considerable range in height. The _cephalic index_ of 16 males
averages 82·2, ranging from 78·8 to 92·3, ten range between 80 and 85
(Reed). _Features_: typically the nose is broad, flat, bridgeless, with
prominent arched alæ and nostrils invariably visible from the front.
Of 76 persons measured by Reed 4 males and 3 females had nasal indices
below 89, 10 and 3 of 90-99, 20 and 13 of 100-109, 7 and 7 of 110-119,
6 and 3 above 120; the median of the males is 102, the extremes being
83·3 and 125, the median of the females is 105, their extremes being
79·5 and 140·7; in other words they are extremely platyrhine. The
eyes are round. The lips are moderately thick, but not protruding. A
somewhat pronounced convexity is sometimes seen between the upper lip
and the nose in the photographs of Meyer’s and Folkmar’s Albums. Meyer
says the projecting jaw gives an ape-like appearance to the face, but
Reed says the Aeta have practically no prognathism, a statement which
is borne out by his and Folkmar’s photographs.

4. The discovery of pygmies in Netherlands New Guinea by the Expedition
has drawn public attention to a problem of perennial interest to
ethnologists. Nearly twenty-five years ago Sir William Flower stated,
“that it (the Negrito race) has contributed considerably to form the
population of New Guinea is unquestionable. In many parts of that
great island, small round-headed tribes live more or less distinct
from the larger and longer-headed people who make up the bulk of
the population.” (Lecture at the Royal Institution, April 13, 1888,
reprinted in _Essays on Museums_, 1898, p. 302.) No further information
is given, nor are his authorities mentioned. Perhaps he was alluding to
the following statement by de Quatrefages, “L’extension des Négritos en
Mélanésie est bien plus considérable. Ici leurs tribus sont mêlées et
juxtaposées à celles des Papouas probablement dans toute la Nouvelle
Guinée” (_Rev. d’Ethn._, 1882, p. 185); subsequently he wrote, “La
confusion regrettable (namely the confusion of the brachycephalic
Negrito-Papuans with the dolichocephalic Papuans, of which Earl,
Wallace, Meyer and others have been guilty) est cause que l’on n’a
pas recherché les traits differentiels qui peuvent distinguer les
Negritos-Papous des vrais Papouas au point de vue de l’état social,
des mœurs, des croyances, des industries.” (_Les Pygmées_, 1887, p.
97, English Translation, 1895, p. 62.) Dr. A. B. Meyer, from whose
essay these quotations have been taken, adds, “No, the confusion has
not been in this case in the heads of the travellers; a Negritic race,
side by side with the Papuan race, nobody has been able to discover,
just because it does not exist, and it does not exist because the
Papuan race, in spite of its variability, is on the one hand a uniform
race, and on the other as good as identical with the Negritos.” (_The
Distribution of the Negritos_, 1899, p. 85.) When reviewing this essay
in _Nature_ (Sept. 7, 1899, p. 433), I stated that I was inclined to
adopt the view that the various types exhibited by the natives of
New Guinea “point to a crossing of different elements,” and do not
“simply reveal the variability of the race,” as Dr. Meyer provisionally
believed. While agreeing with Dr. Meyer that the “different conditions
of existence” (p. 80) in New Guinea probably have reacted on the
physical characters of the natives (about which, however, we have
extremely little precise information), we have now sufficient evidence
to prove that the indigenous or true Papuan population has been
modified in places by intrusions from elsewhere, and of late years
data have been accumulating which point to the existence of a pygmy
population. Shortly before his death, Dr. Meyer drew my attention to
a more recent statement of his views, in which he says, “Although I
formerly stated (_Negritos_, p. 87) that the question whether the
Papuans, _i.e._ the inhabitants of New Guinea, are a uniform race
with a wide range of variation or a mixed race is not yet ripe for
pronouncement, I am now more inclined, after Mr. Ray’s discovery of
the Papuan linguistic family, to look upon them as a mixed race of
‘Negritos’ and Malays in the wider sense. I am eagerly looking forward
to the exploration of the interior of that great island, for may it not
be possible there to discover the Negrito element in that old and more
constant form in which it persists in the Philippines, Andamans, and
in Malakka.” (_Globus_, XCIV., 1908, p. 192.) This later view appears
to me to be less tenable than his earlier one, as it is difficult to
see how a mixture of pygmy, woolly-haired brachycephals with short,
straight-haired brachycephals (Malays) could give rise to the taller,
woolly-haired dolichocephalic Papuans.

The racial history of New Guinea has proved to be unexpectedly
complicated. We are now justified in recognising at least two
indigenous elements, the Negrito and Papuan; the effect of the island
populations to the east has not yet been determined, but in the
south-west two immigrations at least from Melanesia have taken place,
which, with Seligmann, we may term Papuo-Melanesian. (_Journ. R. Anth.
Inst._, XXXIX. 1909, pp. 246, 315; and _The Melanesians of Brit. New
Guinea_, 1910.) It is, however, almost certain that future researches
will reveal that the problem is not so simple as that just indicated.

Writing in 1902, Dr. Weule states (_Globus_, LXXXII. p. 247) that he
has no further doubts as to the existence of pygmies in New Guinea,
though it is not yet clear whether they live in definite groups or
as scattered remnants among the taller peoples. He points out that
information as to the pygmies was of necessity scanty, as expeditions
had always followed the course of rivers where encounter with them
might least be expected, since they are for the most part mountain
people. Through the activity of Sir William MacGregor and others,
British New Guinea is “the least unknown” part of the whole island;
there is therefore more likelihood of pygmy peoples being discovered in
German or Netherlands New Guinea, the latter being entirely a _terra
incognita_ from the geographical standpoint. Dr. Weule’s article
contains various references to previous literature on the pygmy
question, and three photographs of pygmies from the middle Ramu are
reproduced, which show three men well under 142 cm. (4 ft. 8-3/4 ins.)
in height.

The later history of the discovery of a pygmy substratum in the
population of parts of New Guinea is as follows:—

Dr. M. Krieger had visited the Sattelberg and the neighbourhood of
Simbang where he heard reports of dwarfs from natives, but no European
had seen them (_Neu Guinea_, 1899, p. 143); subsequently Dr. R. Pöch
stayed from December 1904 to February 1905 in the Kai area, which
lies inland from Finschhafen in German New Guinea. In the _Mitt. aus
den deutschen Schutzgebieten_, 1907, he writes (p. 225): “During the
first part of the time I remained chiefly on the Sattelberg itself,
and observed and measured the various Kai frequenting the Mission
Station. In them I became acquainted with a mountain tribe entirely
different from the coast peoples previously visited. In fifty men I
found the average height to be 152·5 cm. (5 ft.); the skulls are, as
a rule, mesocephalic to brachycephalic. Towards the coast (Jabim)
dolichocephaly becomes more usual and the type also changes. Very
small people are not infrequently met with among the Kai.” Among 300
adult males he found twelve ranging from 133 to 145·6 cm. (4 ft. 4-1/2
ins. to 4 ft. 9-1/4 ins.). “For the present,” he adds, “it cannot be
determined whether this is merely a variation in stature or whether we
have here survivals of an older smaller race not yet entirely merged
in the Kai” (_cf._ also _Sitzungsber. der Anth. Gesellschaft in Wien_,
1905, pp. 40 ff.). In the _Zeitschr. f. Ethnol._ XXXIX., 1907, p.
384, he states that on the north coast of British New Guinea and in
Normanby Island he often came across very small people. Dr. O. Reche,
in describing a journey up the Kaiserin-Augusta river, says that, “the
population consists of three clearly distinguishable types or races,
two of which have long, very narrow skulls, and one a short broad
skull. Inland from the river bank there seems to be in addition to
these a pygmy-like people of small growth; at all events, I found in
some of the villages situated on the upper river, among other skulls,
some which were remarkably small and of a special type, and which must
have been taken from enemies living further inland.” (_Globus_, XCVII.
1910, p. 286.)

Neuhauss studied the Sattelberg natives and is very certain that
a pygmy element occurs there. He notes the stockiness of certain
individuals, who have a long powerful trunk and short limbs, whereas
the Papuans are lean and slender; the shortest man measured by him was
1·355 m. (4 ft. 5-1/2 ins.). Again, the _cephalic index_ of 260 Papuans
averages 76·8, while that of thirty-two short individuals averages
78·8, and on the Sattelberg 79·7, some even ranging from 83-84·6. He
also noticed that the ears were short, wide and without lobe; the
hands and feet were unusually small. Von Luschan draws attention to the
convexity of the whole upper lip area as in African pygmies. Neuhauss
insists that the pygmies are almost merged into the rest of the
population, and that their low stature is not due to poor conditions.
(_Zs. f. Ethnol._ XLIII., 1911, p. 280.)

Dr. M. Moszkowski found that in Geelvink Bay the hair is not always
ulotrichous (woolly), as is usual with Papuans, especially on Biak and
Padeido Islands the hair often recalls the cymotrichous (curly) hair
of Veddas. Other points of resemblance with wild tribes of Further
Asia are:—A very dainty graceful bone-structure, small hands and
feet, relatively short limbs compared to the trunk, low stature, few
being above 156 cm. and most below 150 cm. (4 ft. 11 ins.), and now
and then the characteristic convex upper lip of the wild tribes (_Zs.
f. Ethnol._ XLIII. 1911, pp. 317, 318). On these grounds Moszkowski
inclines to think that the islands of Geelvink Bay were originally
peopled by pre-Malayan wild tribes allied to the Vedda, Sakai, Toala,
etc., and thus the present population is the result of crossing between
these and immigrant Melanesians; true Malays came later. Moszkowski
has not yet published any head measurements of these interesting
people, and the evidence is insufficient to decide whether this is a
Pre-Dravidian or a Negrito element in the population of these islands,
the curly character of the hair may be due as elsewhere in New Guinea
to racial mixture; the photograph of a “Vedda-type” from Padeido island
is by no means convincing (_l.c._ p. 318).

Finally Guppy, Ribbe and Rascher report the occurrence of very
short people in the interior of the larger islands of the Bismarck
Archipelago and of the Solomon Islands; recently Thurnwald refers to
very small people in the mountainous interior of Bougainville who speak
a non-Melanesian language, one man from Mari mountain had a stature
of 1·39 m. (4 ft. 6-1/2 ins.). In the mountains the mixed population
consists of types recalling the Solomon Islanders and “representatives
of a small short-legged, broad-faced, short-skulled, very hairy,
wide-nosed people.” (_Zs. f. Ethnol._ XLII. 1910, p. 109.)

Discussing the pygmies of Melanesia von Luschan referred in 1910 (_Zs.
f. Ethnol._ XLII., p. 939) to bones brought a century ago from the
Admiralty Islands which must have belonged to individuals 1·32-1·35 m.
(4 ft. 4 ins.-4 ft. 5 ins.) in stature; it is unlikely that the type
persists, though Moseley mentions an unusually short man, a little
over 5 ft. (_Journ. Anth. Inst._ 1877, p. 384). In the collection
made by the German Marine Expedition there are a number of extremely
small skulls from New Ireland, which von Luschan is convinced belong
to pygmies. Finsch brought from New Britain over thirty years ago the
smallest known skull of a normal adult person; it came from the S.W.
coast of Gazelle Peninsula. Like four other extremely small feminine
skulls from New Britain this one is dolichocephalic (ceph. index 73).
Von Luschan is of opinion that the small people of Melanesia represent
an older stratum of population than their tall neighbours.

While other travellers have come across what is now accepted as a pygmy
element in the population, the members of this Expedition have for
the first time proved the existence of a pygmy people, known as the
_TAPIRO_, who may be regarded as predominantly Negritos. The _hair_
is short, woolly and black, but seemed brown in two or three cases,
there is a good deal of hair on the face and of short downy hair
scattered about the body. The _skin_ is of a lighter colour than that
of the neighbouring Papuans, some individuals being almost yellow. The
_stature_ averages 1·449 m. (4 ft. 9 ins.), ranging from 1·326 m. (4
ft. 4-1/4 ins.) to 1·529 m. (5 ft. 0-1/4in.). The _cephalic index_
averages 79·5, varying from 66·9 to 85·1. _Features_: The nose is
straight and though described as “very wide at the nostrils,” the mean
of the indices is only 83, the extremes being 65·5 to 94. The eyes are
noticeably larger and rounder than those of Papuans. “The upper lip of
many of the men is long and curiously convex.”

At the same time that the Expedition discovered pygmies in Netherlands
New Guinea, Mr. R. W. Williamson was investigating the Mafulu, a
mountain people on the upper waters of the Angabunga river in the
Mekeo District. He has shown (_The Mafulu Mountain People of British
New Guinea_, 1912) that in all probability these and some neighbouring
tribes are a mixture of Negritos, Papuans and Papuo-Melanesians. Their
invariably woolly _hair_ is generally dark brown, often quite dark,
approaching to black and sometimes perhaps quite black, but frequently
it is lighter and often not what we in Europe should call dark; a
beard and moustache are quite unusual. The _skin_ is dark sooty-brown.
The average stature is 1·551 m. (5 ft. 1 in.) ranging from 1·47 m. (4
ft. 10 ins.) to 1·63 m. (5 ft. 4 ins.). They are fairly strong and
muscular, but rather slender and slight in development. The average
_cephalic index_ is 80 and ranges from 74·7 to 86·8. _Features_: The
average nasal index is 84·3, the extremes being 71·4 and 100. The eyes
are dark brown and very bright. The lips are fine and delicate.

It is worth noting that Pöch had in 1906 measured two Fergusson Island
men with statures 1·403 and 1·425 m. (4 ft. 7-1/4 ins., 4 ft. 8 ins.),
who told him that “all the people in that tribe were as small or
smaller.” (_Zs. f. Ethnol._ XLII. 1910, p. 941.)

On reading through the brief synopses which I have given it is
apparent that, with the possible exception of the Andamanese, each
of the Negrito peoples shows considerable diversity in its physical
characters and this is more evident when more detailed accounts and
photographs are studied. There appears to be sufficient evidence
to show that a very ancient ulotrichous, low brachycephalic, pygmy
population once extended over the Malay Peninsula and a great part
(at least) of Melanesia and New Guinea, but the existing groups do
not appear to be homogeneous judging from the diversity in stature,
head index and nasal index. Stature, as has already been stated, is
always recognised as subject to considerable variation, but the bulk
of the measurements of these peoples fall below 1·5 m., and therefore
indicate a predominant very short population. The head indices mainly
show low brachycephaly; the occasional very low indices may be due
either to a Pre-Dravidian mixture or in New Guinea, at all events, to
a Papuan strain. The former existence of a Pre-Dravidian stock in New
Guinea is highly probable, nor must it be overlooked that there may
have been a hitherto undescribed pygmy or very short dolichocephalic
ulotrichous stock in New Guinea and Melanesia. The nasal index of these
Negrito peoples is very suggestive of racial complexity. Judging from
photographs, in the absence of measurements, the Andamanese have by no
means a broad nose, and a mesorhine index is found in all the other
groups, some of the Tapiro and Mafulu are even leptorhine. A constantly
recurring feature is the convex upper lip, but that also occurs among
the Sakai. The problem now is to determine what foreign elements have
modified these pygmies, and whether the Negrito stock itself will not
have to be subdivided into at least two groups.

The Negritos have certain cultural characters more or less in common,
some of which differentiate them from their neighbours. There is very
little artificial deformation of the person. The Tapiro and Mafulu
alone do not tattoo or scarify the skin; Skeat says that the Semang
“do not appear as a race to tattoo or scarify,” and the Aeta scarify
only occasionally. The nasal septum is not pierced for a nose-stick
by the Andamanese and Aeta nor among the purer Semang tribes, but the
Tapiro and Mafulu do so. The Semang women possess numerous bamboo combs
which are engraved with curious designs of a magical import, similar
combs are possessed by nearly every Aeta man and woman. The Andamanese
have no combs.

With regard to clothing, the male Andamanese are nude, the females wear
a small apron of leaves or a single leaf, but one tribe, the Jarawa, go
nude. The male Semang frequently wear a loin-cloth, or simply leaves
retained by a string girdle, sometimes the women wear this too or a
fringed girdle made of the long black strings of a fungus, but more
usually a waist-cloth. The Aeta men wear a loin-cloth and the women
a waist-cloth. The Mafulu men and women wear a perineal band of bark
cloth, while the Tapiro men wear a unique gourd penis-sheath. A gourd
or calabash is also worn by men on the north coast of New Guinea, but
not further west than Cape Bonpland, in this case the hole is in the
side and not at the end as among the Tapiro.

The Negritos are collectors and hunters, and never cultivate the soil
unless they have been modified by contact with more advanced peoples.

The Andamanese make three kinds of simple huts on the ground and large
communal huts are sometimes built. The Semang construct “bee-hive”
and long communal huts and weather screens similar to those of the
Andamanese. They also erect tree shelters, but direct evidence is very
scanty that pure Semang inhabit huts with a flooring raised on piles;
they sleep on bamboo platforms. The Aeta usually make very simple huts
sometimes with a raised bamboo sleeping platform inside. The pile
dwellings of the Tapiro have evidently been copied from those of other
tribes in the interior. The Mafulu build a different kind of pile
dwelling which has a peculiar hood-like porch.

All the Negritos have the bow and arrow. The Great Andamanese bow is
peculiar while that of the Little Andamanese appears to resemble that
of the Semang. The Great Andamanese and the Tapiro have very long bows.
Harpoon arrows with iron points are used by the Andamanese and Aeta,
the arrows of the Andamanese, Semang and Aeta are nocked, but only
those of the two latter are feathered. No nocked or feathered arrows
occur in New Guinea. Only the Semang and Aeta are known to poison their
arrows, and they may have borrowed the idea from the poisoned darts of
the blow-pipe. Some Semang have adopted the blow-pipe.

The Andamanese appear to be one of the very few people who possess fire
but do not know how to make it afresh. The Semang usually make fire
by “rubbing together short blocks of wood, bamboo or cane. A common
method consists in passing a rattan line round the portion of a dried
branch, and holding the branch down by the feet whilst the line is
rapidly worked to and fro with the hands.” Flint and steel are also
used. (The Sakai employ similar methods.) (_Skeat and Blagden_, I, pp.
111-114, 119.) Among the Aeta flint and steel have almost replaced
the old method of making fire by one piece of split bamboo being
sawed rapidly across another piece. Semper collected from Negritos of
N.E. Luzon, a split stick, bark fibre and a strip of rattan used in
fire-making, these are described and figured by A. B. Meyer (_Publ. der
K. Ethn. Mus. zu. Dresden_, IX, _Negritos_, p. 5, pl. 11, fig. 7 a-c).
It is interesting to find that the Tapiro employ the same method and
apparatus (p. 200). Thus there occurs among Negritos in the Philippines
and New Guinea the method of making fire by partly splitting a dry
stick, keeping the ends open by inserting a piece of wood or a stone
in the cleft, stuffing some tinder into the narrow part of the slit and
then drawing rapidly a strip of rattan to and fro across this spot till
a spark ignites the tinder. Pöch found it among the Poum, dwelling in
the mountains inland from the Kai (_Geog. Jnl._ XXX, 1907, p. 612, and
_Mitt. Anth. Ges. in Wien_, XXXVII. 1907, p. 59, fig. 2, 3). Precisely
the same method was described by the Rev. Dr. W. G. Lawes who found
it among the Koiari of Tabure on Mt. Warirata (_Proc. R. Geog. Soc._
V, 1883, p. 357). Finsch collected the apparatus from the same people
(_Ann. des K.K. naturhist. Hofmus. in Wien_, III, 1888, p. 323; Leo
Frobenius, _The Childhood of Man_, 1909, fig. 313, but Frobenius is
mistaken in representing the rattan as going twice round the stick).
Dr. H. O. Forbes had found it at Ubumkara on the Naoro, also in the
Central Division (_P.R.G.S._ XII. 1890, p. 562). Mr. C. A. W. Monckton
noticed it in 1906 among the Kambisa tribe, in the valley of the
Chirima, Mt. Albert Edward (_Ann. Rep. Brit. New Guinea_, 1907). Pöch
suggests that N. von Miklucho-Maclay was wrong in thinking that the
strip was rubbed in the split of a stick (_l.c._ p. 61); this is the
earliest Papuan record (1872).

From the above account it is possible that the split stick and rattan
strip method of fire-making may be a criterion of Negrito culture, but
it should be noted that the stick is not reported as split among the
Semang, and that the unsplit stick is found among the Sakai and the
Kayans and Kenyahs of Sarawak who are not Negritos. Also the split
stick is found at several spots in the mountainous interior of the
south-east peninsula of New Guinea where Negrito influence has not yet
been recorded, but Mr. Williamson’s observations are very suggestive
in this respect. Pöch (_l.c._ p. 62) points out that this method
is nearest akin to “fire-sawing with bamboo, both in principle and
distribution,” of which he gives details. A somewhat similar method
is that described by W. E. Roth. A split hearth-stick is held by the
feet, but fire is made by sawing with another piece of wood, a device
which appears to be widely spread in Queensland and occurs also on the
Lachlan River, N.S.W. (_N. Queensland Ethnogr. Bull._ 7, 1904, sect. 9,
pl. II. figs. 17, 18).

So far as is known the social structure of the Negritos is very simple.
Among the Andamanese there is no division of the community into two
moieties, no clan system nor totemism, neither has a classificatory
system of kinship been recorded; the social unit appears to be the
family, and the power of the head-man is very limited. Our knowledge
concerning the Semang and Aeta is extremely imperfect but they probably
resemble the Andamanese in these points. The Andamanese and Semang are
strictly monogamous, polygyny is allowed among the Aeta, but monogamy
prevails. The only restriction at all on marriage appears to be the
prohibition of marriage between near kindred, and divorce is very
rare. All bury their dead, but it is considered by the Andamanese more
complimentary to place the dead on a platform which is generally built
in a large tree, and the more honourable practice of the Semang is to
expose the dead in trees. The Mafulu bury ordinary people, but the
corpses of chiefs are placed in an open box either on a platform or
in the fork of a kind of fig tree. Nothing is known about the social
life of the Tapiro, and Williamson says, “The very simple ideas of
the Mafulu, as compared with the Papuans and Melanesians, in matters
of social organization, implements, arts and crafts, religion and
other things may well, I think, be associated with a primitive Negrito
origin” (_l.c._ p. 306).


This is not the place to attempt to give a record of the very
voluminous bibliography of the Negritos, and most of the works here
recorded are those from which the foregoing facts have been collected.
Books referred to in the text are, with one or two exceptions, not here

_The General Question._

Danielli, G., “Studi di Antropogeografia generale.” _Memorie
  Geografiche_, N. 18. Vol. VI. 1912.

Flower, W. H. _The Pygmy Races of Men._ Royal Inst. Lecture, 1888,
  reprinted in _Essays on Museums_, 1898.

Lapicque, L. “La Race Negrito.” _Ann. de Géographie_, 1896, p. 407.

Meyer, A. B. _The Distribution of the Negritos_, 1899; translation with
  additions from _Publikationen d. K. Ethn. Mus. zu Dresden_, IX. 1893.

Quatrefages, A. de. _The Pygmies_, 1895. (English Translation).

Schmidt, W. _Die Stellung der Pygmäenvölker in der
  Entwicklungsgeschichte des Menschen_, 1910.

  Pater W. Schmidt has gone into the whole pygmy question
  with great thoroughness. He extends his comparison to
  the African pygmies (Negrillos), between whom and the
  Asiatic pygmies he attempts to prove a connection through
  Southern India. Emphasis is laid on the “infantile”
  physical characters of both African and Asiatic pygmies
  and the extremely primitive features of their culture. He
  is inclined to regard the Pre-Dravidian Vedda, Senoi and
  Toala as of mixed pygmy origin, finding support for this
  theory in the proximity of the Senoi to the Semang in the
  Malay Peninsula. The eastward extension of the pygmies
  into Melanesia and New Guinea is not dealt with.

Tyson, E. _A Philological Essay concerning the Pygmies of the
Ancients_, 1699. Edited by B. C. A. Windle, 1894.

_The Andamanese._

Dobson, G. E., “On the Andamans and Andamanese.” _Journ. Anth. Inst._
  IV. 1875, p. 457.

Flower, W. H., “On the Osteology and Affinities of the Natives of the
  Andaman Islands,” _J.A.I._, IX. 1879, p. 108, _cf._ also X., p. 124,
  XIV., p. 115, XVIII., p. 73.

Lane Fox, A., “Observations on Mr. Man’s Collection of Andamanese and
  Nicobarese Objects,” _J.A.I._, VII. 1877, p. 434.

Man, E. H., “On the Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Andaman Islands,”
  _J.A.I._, XII. 1882-3, pp. 69, 117, 327, _cf._ also VII. p. 105, XI. p.

Portman, M. V., “Notes on the Andamanese,” _J.A.I._, XXV. 1896, p. 361.

_The Semang._

Skeat, W. W., and Blagden, C. O., _Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula_,

Martin, R., _Die Inlandstämme der Malayischen Halbinsel_, 1905.

Annandale, N., and Robinson, H. C., _Fasciculi Malayensis_,
  Anthropology, Part I, 1903, p. 105.

_The Aeta._

Folkmar, D., _Album of Philippine Types_, Manila, 1904.

Koeze, G. A., “Crania Ethnica Philippinica,” _Publicatiën uit ’s rijks
  ethnographisch Museum_, Serie II. No. 3, Haarlem, 1901-1904.

Meyer, A. B., _Album of Filipino Types_, 1885, Vol. II., 1891, and Vol.
  III., 1904, with photographs taken by Dr. A. Schadenberg.

Meyer, A. B., “Die Philippinen, II., Negritos,” _Publikationen des K.
  Ethnogr. Mus. zu Dresden_, IX. 1893 (and _cf._ _J.A.I._, XXV. p. 172).

Reed, W. A., “Negritos of Zambales,” _Department of the Interior,
  Ethnological Survey Publications_, II. Manila, 1904.

Sawyer, F. H., _The Inhabitants of the Philippines_, 1900.

Worcester, Dean C., “The Non-Christian Tribes of Northern Luzon,” _The
  Philippine Journal of Science_, I. 1906, p. 791.

Measurements of 22 Tapiro Pygmies (Males).

  A.  No. of man.
  B.  Height of stature.
  C.  Girth of chest.
  D.  Vertexto tragus.
  E.  Head length.
  F.  Head breadth.
  G.  Face breadth.
  H.  Bigonial breadth.
  I.  Face length.
  J.  Nose length.
  K.  Nose breadth.
  L.  Interocular breadth.

  Indices. a. {Head index.
           b. {Face Index.
           c. {Nasal Index.

       |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     Indices
   A.  |  B. |  C. |  D. |  E. |  F. |  G. |  H. |  I. |  J. |  K. |  L. |  a. |  b. |  c.
   17  |152·7| 80·5| 13·0| 18·2| 14·1| 13·6| 12·7| 10·7| 5·1 | 3·9 | 3·4 | 77·5| 78·7| 76·5
   18  |148·0| 77·5| 12·7| 17·7| 13·8| 13·4| 12·7| 10·0| 4·7 | 4·1 | 2·8 | 78·0| 74·6| 87·2
   19  |142·5| 71·0| 11·2| 18·1| 13·9| 13·1| 11·1| 11.5| 5·5 | 3·6 | 3·4 | 76·8| 87·8| 65·5
   20  |142·1| 71·5| 11·0| 17·2| 11·5| 13·0| 12·0| 10·3| 4·8 | 4·1 | 3·1 | 66·9| 79·5| 85·4
   21  |147·9| 78·0| 12·6| 17·4| 13·7| 12·5|  9·3| 11·7| 6·0 | 4·5 | 3.2 | 78·7| 93·6| 75·0
   22  |140·2| 74·0| 11·2| 17·7| 14·2| 13·0| 10·7| 10·6| 5·2 | 4·2 | 3·4 | 80·2| 81·5| 80·8
   23  |145·4| 74·5| 12·9| 17·8| 14·3| 13·6| 12·5| 10·6| 4·5 | 3·9 | 3·3 | 80·3| 77·9| 86·7
   24  |152·9| 78·5| 12·1| 17·7| 14·3| 12·7| 11·1| 11·6| 5·2 | 4·4 | 3·2 | 80·8| 91·3| 84·6
   25  |138·9| 74·5| 12·6| 16·7| 14·1| 11·8|  9·6| 10·4| 5·0 | 4·4 | 2·8 | 84·4| 88·1| 88·0
   26  |149·0| 72·7| 12·6| 17·4| 13·6| 12·3| 11·8| 10·7| 4·8 | 3·9 | 3·2 | 78·2| 87·0| 81·3
   27  |148·2| 81·4| 11·3| 18·5| 13·9| 12·8| 11·0| 11·3| 5·2 | 4·4 | 3·2 | 75·1| 88·3| 84·6
   28  |132·6| 72·8| 12·8| 17·5| 14·7| 12·8|  9·8| 11·2| 5·1 | 4·1 | 3·0 | 84·0| 87·5| 80·4
   29  |150·7| 79·5| 13·6| 17·4| 14·8| 13·6| 12·3| 11·1| 5·5 | 4·4 | 3·4 | 85·1| 81·6| 80·0
   30  |148·8| 74·0| 13·0| 18·1| 14·1| 12·6| 11·0| 10·6| 4·9 | 4·4 | 3·3 | 77·9| 84·1| 89·8
   31  |150·1| 79·0| 13·5| 17·8| 14·8| 13·1| 11·0| 12·2| 5·5 | 4·4 | 3·1 | 83·2| 93·1| 80·0
   32  |139·8| 76·5| 12·5| 17·4| 14·7| 13·4| 10·8| 10·4| 5·5 | 4·1 | 3·1 | 84·5| 77·6| 74·6
   33  |134·3| 71·8| 12·2| 16·2| 13·4| 13·2| 11·7| 10·6| 4·8 | 4·1 | 3·1 | 82·7| 80·3| 85·4
   34  |150·6| 78·0| 12·8| 18·2| 14·6| 13·8| 11·4| 11·6| 5·9 | 5·0 | 3·6 | 80·2| 84·1| 84·8
   35  |144·2| 79·0| 12·0| 17·8| 13·7| 13·5| 12·8| 11·2| 4·8 | 4·1 | 3·1 | 77·0| 83·0| 85·4
   36  |144·8| 77·7| 11·1| 18·1| 13·9| 13·0| 12·2| 11·0| 5·1 | 4·8 | 3·3 | 76·8| 84·6| 94·1
   37  |140·5| 71·3| 12·2| 18·4| 14·6| 13·0|  9·7| 12·5| 5·5 | 3·9 | 3·3 | 80·7| 96·2| 70·9
   38  |142·8| 79·0| 11·5| 18·1| 14·2| 13·4| 11·9| 12·1| 6·1 | 4·3 | 3·0 | 78·5| 90·3| 70·5





In considering the languages of Netherlands New Guinea it is convenient
to divide the territory into six geographical divisions. These are:—

  1. The North-western Coast and Islands (Waigiu, Salawati,
       and Misol).

  2. The Western shore of Geelvink Bay and the islands
       adjacent (Mefor, Biak, and Jobi).

  3. The Peninsula of Kumava (Orange Nassau) with the
       islands between Ceram and the Ké group.

  4. The Southern and Eastern Shores of Geelvink Bay.

  5. The North Coast from Kurudu Islands to Humboldt Bay.

  6. The South-eastern Coast from Kamrau Inlet to the
       Bensbach River on the boundary between Netherlands and
       British territory.

The present notice only refers to languages in the three last of these

At the Western end of the South shore of Geelvink Bay is the district
of Wandammen, of which the language is fairly well known. For this
we have a vocabulary with grammatical examples (9),[26] and also for
Windessi, which is the same language, a mission text-book. Eastward
from Wandammen the numerals only are recorded (7), but at the Southern
point of the Bay, in the district around Jamur Lake we have the
collections made by Van der Sande during the Wichmann Expedition of
1903 (8). He gives a vocabulary of Angadi, an island in the Jamur Lake,
some words of the Nagramadu dialect on the North-west, and the numerals
of Goreda on the South of the lake. The languages of the Western Shore
of Geelvink Bay are represented only by numerals (7) but there is more
information of the language of Pauwi at the mouth of the Wamberam
or Amberno or Mamberamo River, where F. van Braam Morris collected
a vocabulary published by Robidé van der Aa in 1885 (6). This was
considered faulty by de Clercq.[27]

Westward along the Northern coast very little linguistic material is
available, and the few words recorded show great differences. The
places of which the speech is known are, on the mainland: Takar, Tarfia
and Tana Merah, and on the islands: Liki (in the Kumamba Group), Moar
(called also Wakde), Masimasi and Jamna (4, 5).

For the region about Humboldt Bay we have short vocabularies of Jotafa
by various collectors, and a fuller one by G. L. Bink (2), also Sentani
lists by P. E. Moolenburg (3) and van der Sande (8). Moolenburg also
gives a list from Seka, West of the Bay.

For the Southern shore of Netherlands New Guinea, we have nothing but
vocabularies, none of very large extent, the most extensive being that
of Merauke in the extreme West (15) which has also been ably discussed
by Dr. N. Adriani.[28]

Commencing at Kamrau Inlet, the languages of the shore and islands
are illustrated by the Kowiai vocabularies of Miklucho-Maclay (13),
the papers of G. W. Earl[29] and the lists of S. Muller (10), the
last two being derived from the collections made during the voyage of
the _Triton_ under Lieut. Modera in 1828. The following languages are

  Lobo at Triton Bay (including Namatote, Aiduma, Mawara, and Kaju-Mera).
  Wuaussirau, inland on the Kamaka-Wallar Lake.
  Mairassis, inland from Lobo.
  Lakahia, on Telok Lakahia.
  Kiruru, on Telok Kiruru.
  Utanata, on the Utanata River.

Westward of the Utanata a vocabulary of the language spoken on
the Mimika River people was obtained by Mr. Wollaston in 1910-11.
A list of the same language is given also in the account of the
South-west New Guinea Expedition of the Royal Netherlands Geographical
Association.[30] The latter work contains a few words of the language
used at the mouth of the Kupĕra Pukwa River.

The language of Mĕraukĕ has been recorded by J. Seijne Kok (15), and by
J. C. Montague and E. F. Bik,[C] that of Toro by S. Bik.[31]


Of the three languages in the northern part of Eastern Netherlands New
Guinea that of the Jotafa of Humboldt Bay has been ably discussed by
Dr. Kern,[32] who decides that in phonology, construction, numeration
and word store it presents many points of agreement with the Mefoor or
Nufor of the North-west. But it undoubtedly also contains many words
which are of non-Indonesian origin. The Sentani and Pawi languages
seem to have very few or no words similar to the Indonesian, and may
probably be found to be Papuan languages. But nothing is known of the
grammar. The language of Wandammen presents agreements with the Mefoor
(or Nufōr) in vocabulary and also in some points of grammar. It will
probably be found to fall into the same class as the Nufōr and Jotafa.
The languages of the north coast and islands also show a mixture of
Indonesian with other words. So little is known of the structure of the
languages in the Kumava Peninsula that their place cannot be determined
with certainty. The numerals and much of the vocabulary appear to be
Indonesian,[33] but there are Papuan forms in the Grammar.

The Lobo languages of the Kowiai district on the south coast appear
to be Indonesian, but those inland and south of Geelvink Bay have a
distinct connection with those on the south coast west of the Kowiai
district, and with those at the Utanata River and beyond the Mimika,
at least as far as the Kupera Pukwa River. Beyond this point nothing
is recorded until Princess Marianne Strait is reached, and here of two
words known, one is Mĕraukĕ.[34] The latter language extends to the
Boundary. All west of the Lobo appear to be Papuan.

Using the scanty means available, the languages of the Eastern part of
Netherlands New Guinea may be thus provisionally classified:—


 _Papuan._        Seka          West of Lake Sentani.
                  Sentani       Lake Sentani.
                  Moki (?)      Hinterland of Tana Mera Bay.
                   ...          Tana Mera.
                  Tarfia (?)    Coast West of Tana Mera Bay.
                  Takar         Mainland East of Mamberamo R.
                  Wamberan      ? Mamberamo R.
                  Pauwi         Villages on Lower Mamberamo R.
                  Angadi        Island in Jamur Lake.
                  Goreda        South of Lake Jamur.
                  Nagramadu     North-West of L. Jamur.
                  Manikion      North of McCleur Inlet (Telok Berau).
 _Indonesian_[35] Jotafa        Humboldt Bay.
                  Jamna         Island opposite Takar.
                  Masimasi      Island West of Jamna.
                  Moar          Islands West of Masimasi.
                  Kumamba       Islands and Coast West of Moar and Takar.
                  Waropin       East shore of Geelvink Bay.
                  Mohr          Island opposite Waropin.
                  Tandia        Coast South of Waropin.
                  Jaur          South-West shore of Geelvink Bay.
                  Dasener       West of Jaur.
                  Wandammen     North of Dasener.


  _Papuan._       Mairassis      Inland from Lobo.
                  Wuaussirau     On Kamaka Wallar Lake.
                  Lakahia        On Telok Lakahia.
                  Kiruru         On Telok Kiruru.
                  Utanata        Inland from Utanata River.
                  Mimika         Inland from Mimika River.
                  Kupera Pukwa   Kupera Pukwa River.
                  Mĕraukĕ        Coast between the Kumbĕ River and the
                                   British Boundary.
                  Toro           Bensbach R.
  _Indonesian._   Onin           North of Kumava Peninsula.
                  Kapauer        North-West of Kumava Peninsula.
                  Karufa         South of Kumava Peninsula.
                  Lobo           Kowiai Coast and Islands of Namatote,
                                   Mawara, Aiduma, and Kaju-mera.


This group consists of the Angadi, Nagramadu, Goreda, Utanata, Lakahia,
Mimika and Kupera Pukwa dialects, and perhaps also Kiruru.

1. _Sound changes._[36]

A comparison of vocabularies shows a certain amount of sound change
between the dialects. Thus Angadi _m_ becomes _b_ in Utanata and Mimika
and _vice versa_.[37]

  Ex. Angadi _muti_, Mimika and Utanata _buïti_, bamboo.
      Angadi _mopere_, Nagramadu _mobere(bu)_, Mimika _bopere_, navel.
      Angadi _mirimoi_, Utanata _birimbu_, Mimika _birim_, nose.
      Angadi _mau_, Utanata _mouw_, Mimika _bauwe_, foot.
      Angadi _tohoma-pare_, Mimika _to-mari_, arm.

The Angadi _m_ is represented sometimes by _mb_ in Mimika, but is
retained in Lakahia and Kiruru. Utanata examples are not found.

  Ex. Angadi _mi_, Lakahia _mu_, Kiruru _mi_, Mimika _mbi_, _mbu_, water.
      Angadi _metaho_, Mimika _mbatau_, spit.
      Angadi _imiri_, Mimika _imbiri_, shin.
      Mimika _amuri_ is Kupera Pukwa _ambori_.

Angadi in some words loses _k_ or _g_ which appears in Mimika and

  Ex. Angadi _irĕa_, Mimika _irĕka_, Utanata _eriki_, fish.
      Angadi _kauwa_, Mimika _kaukwa_, woman.
      Angadi _maare_, Mimika _makarĕ_, armlet.
      Angadi _măe_, Mimika _mbage_, Utanata _make_, cry, weep.
      Angadi _hehe_, Lakahia _eika_, finger-nail.
      Angadi _(nata)pairi_, Mimika _pigeri_, skin.

A few words show an interchange of _r_ and _n_ between Mimika and

  Mimika _marĕ_, Lakahia _mana_, finger. (Utanata _to-mare_, Angadi
  _mahare_, hand.) Mimika _iribu_, Utanata and Angadi _iripu_, Lakahia
  _ini-fa_, knee. Mimika _amuri_, Utanata _amure_, Angadi _amore_,
  Lakahia _amuno_, bow, Kupera Pukwa _ambori_.

2. _Vocabulary._

The great likeness of the dialects may be illustrated by the following

              _Angadi._              _Utanata._    _Mimika._

  Arm.        _to_ (in compounds)    _tō_          _to_         Lakahia _esu-rua_ (?)
  Arrow.      _ka-tiaro_ (in bundle) _tiăre_       _tiari_
  Boat.       _ku_                   _ku_          _ku_
  Chin.       _kepare_               ..            _kepare_
  Coconut.    _utiri_                _uteri_       _uteri_      Kupera Pukwa _otiri_.
  Dog.        _uwiri_                _wuri_        _wiri_       Lakahia _iwora_, Nagramadu
                                                                  _iwŏra_, Kupera Pukwa
  Ear.        _ihani_                _iänī_        _ene_
  Eye.        _măme_                 _mame_        _mame_
  Fire.       _utămai_               _uta_         _uta_        Lakahia _ŭsia_, Kiruru _uta_,
                                                                  Nagramadu _uha_.
  Give.       _kema_                 ..            _kema_
  Hair.       _rup-ere_              _uirī_        _viri_       Kupera Pukwa, _uïri_
  Hand.       _mahare_               _tu-mare_     _marĕ_       Lakahia, _mana_ (finger).
  Head.       _rupau_                _upauw_       _kapa-uĕ_    Lakahia _uwua_.
  House.      _kăme_                 _kamī_        _kamĕ_
  Iron.       _jau_ (pot)            (_puruti_)    _tau_
  Laugh.      _oko_                  _oku_         _oko_
  Lip.        _iri_                  _iri_ (mouth) _iri_        Kiruru _uru_ (mouth).
  Moon.       _pură_                 _uran_        _pura_       Lakahia _bura_.
  Mountain    ..                     (_pamogo_)    _pukare_     Lakahia _bugura_, Wuaussirau
  Neck.       _amoiï_                _ema_         _ima_        Lakahia _umia_, Nagramadu
  Paddle.     _pá_                   _pō_          _poh_        Lakahia _boa_.
  Pig.        _ŏhŏ_                  _ū_           _u_          Lakahia _u(fa)_, Nagramadu
                                                                  _ŏhă_, Kupera Pukwa _uwĕ_.
  Rain.       _keke_                 _komak_       _ke_         Lakahia _ge(fa)_, Kiruru _kē_.
  Sago.       _amata_                (_kinani_)    _amota_      Lakahia _ama_, Nagramadu
                                                                  _ĕma_, Kupera Pukwa _amĕta_.
  Sleep.      _ete_                  _ete_         _ete_        Kupera Pukwa _ete_.
  Sugarcane.  ..                     _mone_        _mŏni_       Lakahia _moni(fa)_.
  Sun.        _jăū_                  _youw_        _yau_        Lakahia _aya_.
  Tongue.     _mere_                 _mare_        _malī_       Lakahia _mara_.
  Tooth.      _titi_                 _titi_        _titi_       Nagramadu _si_.
  Wind.       _kimiri_               _lowri_       _kimire_     Kiruru _kemuru_.

3. _Pronouns._ These are given only in Mimika for the singular number,
and in Utanata for the first person singular, but the words for “I,”
Mimika _doro_ and Utanata _area_ are unlike. In Mimika the possessive
is shown by the suffix _-ta_, which is used also with other words.
_Dorota_, mine, _oro-ta_, yours, _amare-ta_ his, _wehwaída-ta_ of
another man. _Wehwaída_ is compounded apparently of _uwe_ (_rí_) man
and _awaída_ other. In Mairassis “I” is _omona_.

4. _Numerals._ No numerals are given by Müller or Earl for Utanata.
“People of Utanata had very little knowledge of counting. When wishing
to make known any number, they made use of the word _awerí_ and
counted on their fingers and toes.”[38] In Angadi, Nagramadu, Goreda,
Lakahia and Mimika, the numbers appear as follows:

        Angadi.               Nagramadu.     Goreda.             Lakahia.       Mimika.
   1.  _janăūwă_              _nadi_         _unakwa_            _onarawa_      _inakwa_
   2.  _jaminatia_            _ăbåmă_        _jămanini_          _aboma_        _yamani_
   3.  _jaminati-janăūwa_     _ăbåmă-nadi_   ..                 (_torua_)      _yamani-inakwa_
   4.  _awaitămă-jaminatia_   _abama-båmŏ_   ..                  _(fāt)_        _ama-yamani_
   5.  _măhăre-ajăherauri_    _măma-riba_     _maheri-herori_   (_rim_)         ..
   6.  _măhăre-janăūwa_       _mariba-nadi_   ..                 _rim-onarawa_  ..
  10.  _măhăre-jăminatia_     _măma răbåmă_   _tăoru_            ..             ..

These show a numeration only as far as two. “Three” and “four” are
made by additions, 2 + 1 = 3 and 2 + 2 = 4, except in Angadi where
_awaitămă-jaminatia_ means “another two” with which cf. the Mimika
_awaida_, other. _Măhăre_, _maheri_, _mari_ in the words for “five”
also mean “hand,” abbreviated to _mă_ in _măma_ of Nagramadu. The
Goreda _tăoru_ given for “ten,” is the Angadi _tăöru_, much, Mimika
_takiri_, many. In Lakahia the words for “three,” “four,” “five,” “six”
have the Ceram numerals which are also used in Lobo and Namatote. The
Mairassis and Wuaussirau numerals agree with one another, but differ
entirely from those of the Angadi-Mimika group.

               One        Two       Three    Four     Five     Six           Ten
  Mairassis   _tangauw_  _amoōi_   _karia_  _āi_     _iworo_  _iwora-mōi_   _werowa-mōi_
  Wuaussirau  _anau_     _amōi_    _karia_  _aiwera_ _iworo_  _iwor-tanau_  _iwor-toki-tani_

The low numeration in all these languages may be regarded as an
indication of their Papuan character.

5. _Construction._

A few grammatical forms which appear to be indicated in the
vocabularies may be noted here.

_a._ The possessive with pronouns and pronominal words is indicated
by a suffix _-ta_. Mimika, _doro-ta_, of me, mine; _oro-ta_, thine;
_amare-ta_, his; _wehwaída-ta_, of another man. In Angadi several
compound words end in _nata_, which thus appears to be a noun, _na_
(thing?), with the possessive suffix; and it seems possible to explain
such words as _ută-nata_, firewood; _kara nata_, head of javelin—_i.e._
fire-thing-of, javelin-thing-of. Cf. also _nata pairi_ given by v. d.
Sande for “skin,” with Mimika _pīgīri_, skin, which suggests that _nata
pairi_ means skin of something.

_b._ The adjective follows the noun. Utanata _warari napetike_, water
big, river.

_c._ A noun in the genitive relation precedes its substantive. Mimika
_bau mame_, leg’s eye, ankle; _iwau makarĕ_, belly’s band. Angadi
_mahare hehe_, finger nail; _māū hehe_, toe nail; _mirimoi ipa_, nose
hole, nostril; _ihani ipa_, hole in ear lobe; _ămore eme_, bow’s
rattan, bowstring.

_d._ The subject precedes the verb. Angadi _jăū hinau-mara_, sun rises
(?), morning; _jăū emapojemia_, sun sets (?), evening.

_e._ The object also precedes the verb. Angadi _ihani aimeri_, ear
pierce; _mirimoi aimeri_, nose pierce.

These five points indicate a Papuan structure of the languages.

6. _Comparison with Merauke and the Languages of British New Guinea
West of the Fly River._

The Papuan languages usually show so few agreements in vocabulary that
the likeness of words, unless frequent, cannot be held to establish
relationship. In the comparative vocabulary, words and numerals are
added from the languages on British Territory.[39] These show a few
likenesses, which may, however, be accidental.

  Arm. Mimika _to_, Dungerwab _tond_, Dabu _tang_, Miriam _tag_, Kiwai _tu_
  Arrow. Mimika _tiari_, Kiwai _tere_.
  Arrow barb. Mimika _imari_, Kiwai _were_.
  Basket. Mimika _temone_, Kunini _diba_, Jibu _dimba_,
    Mimika _eta_, Kiwai _sito_, Mowata _hito_.
  Bird. Mimika _pateru_, Bugi _pa_ (?), Dabu _papa_ (?).
  Earth. Mimika _tiri_, Bangu _tiritari_.
  Eat. Mimika _namuka_, Bangu _jamukwa_.
  Elbow. Mimika _to-mame_, Mowata _tu-pape_.
  Fire. Mimika _uta_, Miriam _ur_.
  Forehead. Mimika _metar(re)_, Bangu _mithago_, Miriam _mat_.
  Head. Mimika _kapane_, Bangu _kambu_.
  Iron. Mimika _tau_, Dungerwab _tod_.
  Nose. Mimika _birim_, Dabu _murung_, Saibai, Miriam _pit_.
  Pig. Mimika _ap_, Meranke _sapi_.
  Rat. Mimika _kemako_, Bugi _makata_, Saibai _makas_, Miriam _mokeis_.
  Shore. Mimika _tiri_, Dungerwab _tredre_.
  Sleep. Mimika _ete_, Bangu _ete-betha_, Dungerwab _eda-bel_, Miriam _ut-eid_.
  Tree. Mimika _uti_, Kiwai _ota_.


In a discussion of the languages of the south-eastern shores of
Netherlands New Guinea, the extent of Malay influence in that region
must be taken into account. Mr. William Churchill has lately put
forward a theory that the Polynesian people entered the Pacific not
only by coasting along the northern shores of New Guinea to the Solomon
Group, but also by a passage through Torres Straits, and thence along
the south-eastern coast of British New Guinea to the New Hebrides.[40]
On tracing the languages westward from Polynesia, it is an indisputable
fact that many words which are identical with Polynesian are found
in use along the shores of British New Guinea, though they are not
used in a Polynesian syntax, or in the simplified forms usual in the
Eastern tongues. It is also a fact that many of these same words are
current also in the western islands of Indonesia. For example, _hua_,
fruit; _ina_, mother; _lala_, blood; _lau_, leaf; _au_, I; _ruma_,
house; _inu_, drink; _utu_, louse; _tohu_, sugar cane, and many other
words are identical in the south-east of British New Guinea and in
Ceram. But in British New Guinea the languages which show likeness to
Polynesian end abruptly at Cape Possession, and are not found west
of that point.[41] Hence it becomes important to inquire how far the
similar tongues of Amboyna and Ceram have influenced the New Guinea
languages to the east of them. That there is such an influence is plain
from the vocabularies of the languages. Indonesian words, such as the
Onin (10) _kayu_, wood; _tanigan_, ear; _nifan_, tooth; _fenu_, turtle;
_mani_, bird; _afi_, fire, are of common occurrence in the islands of
the Arafura Sea, and on the coast of the mainland. But these words
are more common in the west, and gradually disappear towards Torres
Straits, and are not found beyond. In Rosenberg’s Karufa list (12) we
find such characteristically Indonesian words as _ulu_, hair; _mata_,
eye; _uhru_, mouth; _taruya_, ear; _nima_, hand; _ora_, sun; _uran_,
moon; _niyu_, coconut. Words of this kind are found also in Lobo (10)
and Namatote (13), as, for example, _wuran_, moon; _labi_, fire;
_nima_, hand; _nena_, mother; _rara_, blood; _metan_, black; _tobu_,
sugar cane; _wosa_, paddle; _matoran_, sit; _mariri_, stand. Some of
these words seem to have passed into Utanata (10) and Lakahia (13), and
apparently, though not so freely, into Wuaussirau (13), Mairassis (10),
and Mimika (14). The Kiruru vocabulary of Maclay does not appear to
show any words of this kind. The following are examples of Indonesian
or Ceram words in the Utanata-Mimika group of languages.

  Utanata _uran_, Lakahia _bura_, Mairassis _furan_, Mimika
  _pura_, Ceram _wulana_, moon. The Angadi has also _pura_.

  Lakahia _bugura_, Wuaussirau _wara_, Mimika _pukare_,
  Ceram _uhara_, mountain. Utanata has _pamogo_.

  Utanata _pō_, Lakahia _boa_, Mimika _poh_, Ceram _wosa_,

  Utanata _kai_, Ceram _kai_, wood. For this the Mimika is

A word of much interest in this region is _turika_ or _turi_. This is
given by Muller in his Ceram list as _turika_, knife, in Lobo _turi_,
Onin _tuni_. Maclay gives the Ceram (Keffing) as _turito_, Namatote and
Wuaussirau _turi_, also for “knife.” The word does not appear in Angadi
or in the list of Ekris (19). Though not apparently used in Merauke
_turik_ has travelled eastward as far as Torres Straits and the Fly
River, and even to the borders of the Papuan Gulf. Thus Bangu _turik_,
Dabu _turikata_, Sisiami (Bamu R.) _turuko_, and Tirio _turuko_ mean
“knife” (_i.e._ iron knife). In Bugi, Saibai, Mowata and Kiwai,
_turika_ and in Murray Island _tulik_ mean “iron.”[42]

Dr. N. Adriani has pointed out some words adopted from Malay in Merauke
and also some apparent agreements between that language and Indonesian
languages generally,[43] but there is no evidence of any language from
Ceram having passed through the Torres Straits. Agreements between the
Merauke and Papuan languages to the east are also pointed out by Dr.
Adriani[44] but these are no evidence of the passage of a Polynesian
fleet, as they are not Polynesian words, and the languages using them
have no Polynesian syntax. Mr. Churchill’s theory of the Polynesian
entry into the Pacific by way of Torres Straits cannot therefore be


The following vocabulary is arranged strictly in Geographical order.
The North Eastern Languages follow from East to West, from Seka to
Manikion, and the South Eastern from Onin to the Boundary and thence
along the South Coast of British Territory to the Western or Right Bank
of the Fly River.

The following authorities have been quoted:—[45]

  1. _Seka._ P. E. Moolenburg. Tijd. v. Indische Taal
        xlvii. 1904.

  2. _Jotafa_ [and _Sentani_ in ( )]. G. L. Bink in ibid.
        xlv. 1902.

  3. _Sentani._ P. E. Moolenburg. Bijdragen. t.d. Taal. Ned
        Indië (7) v. 1906.

  4. _Tanah Merah_, _Tarfia_, _Takar_, _Jamna_, _Masimasi_,
       _Moar_ (i.e. _Wakde_) and _Kumamba_. G. G. Batten.
        Glimpses of the Eastern Archipelago, 1894.

  5. _Arimoa._ A. B. Meyer. Über die Mafoor’sche, 1874.

  6. _Pauwi._ P. J. B. C. Robidé v. d. Aa. “Reisen van
        Braam Morris.” Bijd. t.d. Taal. Ned. Indië. (4) x. 1885.

  7. _Wamberan_, _Waropin_, _Mohr_, _Tandia_, _Dasener_,
       _Jaur_. Fabritius. Tijd. v. Indische Taal. iv. 1885.

  8. _Angadi_, _Goreda_, _Nagramadu_, _Manikion_. G. A. J.
        v. d. Sande in “Nova Guinea.” Vol. III. 1907.

  9. _Wandammen._ G. L. Bink. Tijd. v. Indische Taal.
        xxxiv. 1891.

  10. _Onin_, _Lobo_, _Mairassis_, _Utanata_. S. Muller.
         Reisen, 1857.

  11. _Kapaur._ C. J. F. le Cocq d’Armandville. Tijd. v.
         Indische Taal. xlvi. 1903.

  12. _Karufa._ H. v. Rosenberg. Der Malayische Archipel.

  13. _Namatote_, _Wuaussirau_, _Lakahia_, _Kiruru_. N. v.
         Miklucho Maclay. Tijd. v. Indische Taal. xxiii. 1876.

  14. _Mimika._ MS. Dr. A. F. R. Wollaston.

  15. _Merauke._ J. Seijne Kok. Verband. v. h. Batav.
         Genootsch. v. Kunsten lvi. 1906.

  16. _Bangu_, _Bugi_, _Dabu_, _Mowata_, _Kunini_,
        _Jibu_, _Tagota_. Reports of Cambridge Anthropological
         Expedition. Vol. III. 1907.

  17. _Parb_, _Saibai_, _Kiwai_, and _Tirio_. MSS. S. H.

  18. _Nufor._ J. L. v. Hasselt. Hollandsch. Noefoorsch
         Woordenboek, 1876.

  19. _Ceram._ A. v. Ekris. Woordenlijst v. Ambonsche
         Eilanden. Mededeel. v. h. Ned. Zendings Genoots, viii.

  20. _Tuburuasa_, _Karas_. (_Islands between Ceram and
         Onin._) P. J. B. C. Robidé v. d. Aa. Reisen naar Ned.
         Nieuw-Guinea, 1879.


             |   Man.       |      Woman.     |  Head.   |     Eye.      |    Ear.
             |   Man.       |      Vrouw.     |  Hoofd.  |     Oog.      |    Oor.
  Seka       | ...          | ...             | subi     | rutja         | re
  Jotafa     | tante        | moi             | rabunadu | windu         | tĕni
  Sentani    | doh          | mī              | farem,   | yŏrå, (yeroh  | anggei,
             |              |                 |  (panem  |               | (angei
  Arimoa     | kabun        | ...             | dabro    | masamana      | seroro
             | (_white_)    |                 |          |               |
  Pauwi      | maomba       | nedba           | ...      | kikia         | knĭperemba
  Angadi     | were         | kauwă           | rupau    | măme          | ihani
  Nagramadu  | ...          | ...             | yabimă   | ...           | ehăra
  Wandammen  | mua          | babien          | rupai    | rĕne          | tatelajau
  Onin       |marara        | matapais        | onimpatin| matapatin     | tanigan
  Kapaur     | neméhār      | tombŏhār        | kenda    | kendep        | per
  Karufa     | mutangki     | maisoida        | umuh     | mata          | taringa
  Namatote   | murwana      | merwine         | umu      | matatungu     | zingangu
  Lobo       | marowana     | mawina          | monongo, | matalongo     | tringango
             |              |                 |   umun   |               |
  Mairassis  | fatakowa     | ewei            | nanguwu  | nambutu       | newirana
  Wuaussirau | taturobu     | ewei            | kotera   | obiatu        | obiru
  Lakahia    | odacira      | yama            | uwua     | managa        | yawana
  Kiruru     | ...          | ...             |  ...     | ...           | yawatsha
  Utanata    | marowana     | kuranī          | upauw    | mameh         | ianī
  Mimika     | uweri        | kaukwa,         | kapane   | mame          | ene
             |              |  aina           |          |               |
  Merauke    | amnangga     | bubtī, savĕ,    | pa       | kīndĕ         | kambīt
             |              | īsus(?) iwogĕ   |          |               |
  Bangu      | ...          | ...             | kambu    | ti            | taroba, tarup
  Parb       | ar           | temarb          | mor      | taramb        | tongal
  Bugi       | la           | mala            | beneqet  | kalye         | laandra
  Dabu       | rabu         | mure            | bunkut   | ikapa         | ran, ika
  Saibai     | garakazi     | ipökazi         | kuikö    | dan, purka    | kaura
  Mowata     | auana        | orobo           | epuru    | damari        | hepate, gare
  Kunini     | binam, ima   | magebi, ule     | mope     | ireu          | tablame
  Jibu       | vientete,rega| konga           | mopu     | yere          | yekrom
  Kiwai      | dubu         | orobo           | epuru    | damari        | sepate, gare
  Tirio      | amiami       | kinasu          | yapuru   | pariti        | pamata
  Tagota     | ...          | moream          | kana     | pari          | tuap
  Nufōr      | snun         | bien            | rewuri   | mgasi         | knasi
  Ceram      | malona,      | mahina,         | uru, ulu | mata, maa     | tarina, talina
             |  mandai,     | bina, leuto,    |          |               |
             |  makwai,     |   pepina        |          |               |
             |  manawal     |                 |          |               |
  Tuburuasa  | maruana      | mapata          | unīn     | matanpuon     | taningan
  Karas      | kianam       | paas            | nakalun  | kangiri       | kulokeim

             |    Nose.     |     Tongue.     |   Tooth.   |      Hand.    |    Sun.
             |    Neus.     |      Tong.      |   Tand.    |      Hand.    |    Zon.
  Seka       | hā           | ...             | ...        | na (nabērā,   | ...
             |              |                 |            |  _arm_)       |
  Jotafa     | su           | meriki          | ñoh        | tibimi        | tap
  Sentani    | yoi          | fēuw            | je, (tje   | megeragera,   | su
             |              |                 |            | (posadi       |
  Arimoa     | sirino       | mataro          | umata      | ...           | ...
  Pauwi      | kimparia     | kimsiba         | kabrua     |kibawia (_arm_)| tebia
  Angadi     | mirimoi      | mere            | titi       | mahare        | yăū
  Nagramadu  | ...          | yămănărai       | si         | ...           | ...
  Wandammen  | swŏnê        | taperê          | derĕnesi   | waraba        | wor
  Onin       | wirin        | eri             | nifan      | nemien        | rera
  Kapaur     | kănomba,     | gengabu         | mĕhien-tāb | tān           | kĕmina
             |   kănunga    |                 |            |               |
  Karufa     | sikai        | ...             | ...        | nimang-uta    | ohra
  Namatote   | iyaongu      | yaeiyongu       | zwiutiongu | siŭsiongu     | oro-matawuti
  Lobo       | sikaiongo    | kariongo        | ruwotongo  | nimango-uta   | orah
  Mairassis  | nambi        | nenegun         | sika       | okorwita      | onguru
  Wuaussirau | ombi         | onsabi          | oras       | uadu          | unguru
  Lakahia    | onoma        | mara            | ifa        | esurua        | aya
  Kiruru     | unuga        | ...             | uru        | ...           | yauburawa
  Utanata    | birimbu      | mare            | titi       | mareh         | dyauw
  Mimika     | bīrim        | malī            | titi       | marĕ          | yau
  Merauke    | anggīp       | unum            | manggat    | sangga        | katŏnī
  Bangu      | ...          | thamina         | ter        | tambia        | epotha
  Parb       | mebele       | penji           | tol        | tond          | abiard
  Bugi       | wede         | dangamai        | lenge      | trang-qab     | yabada
  Dabu       | murung       | dogmar          | ngui, ngoia| tang-kor      | yabada
  Saibai     | piti         | nöi             | dang       | get           | goiga
  Mowata     | wodi         | watotorope      | ibuanara   | tu-pata       |
             |              |                 |            |  (_palm_)     | iwio
  Kunini     | keke         | weta            | giriu      | imwe          | bimu
  Jibu       | soku         | vrate           | orkak      | yema          | loma
  Kiwai      | wodi         | wototorope      | iawa       | tu-pata       |
             |              |                 |            |  (_palm_)     | sai
  Tirio      | norose       | ima             | sū         | tikiri        | uainea
  Tagota     | miu          | uo              | kam        | ...           | dari
  Nufōr      | snŏri        | kaprēndi        | nasi       | rwasi         | ori
  Ceram      | hiru, inu,   | mei, mē, mā     | niki, niri,| rima, lima,   | rematai,
             |   ninu, ili  |                 | nityi, nio |  barau        |  leamatai,
             |              |                 |            |               |  leamanyo,
             |              |                 |            |               |  deamatae
  Tuburuasa  | nirīng       | kwēri           | ...        | tangan        | nera
  Karas      | bustang      | belein          | ...        | taan          | ïōn

             |     Moon.     |      Star.       |    Rain.    |    Stone.   |   Fire.
             |     Maan.     |      Ster.       |    Regen.   |    Steen.   |   Vuur.
  Seka       | ...           | ...              | ...         | ...         | ...
  Jotafa     | sembi         | endor            | tāb         | āt          | aijări
  Sentani    | ara, (aroh    | ...              | (ya         | tuga, (duwa | ī
  Arimoa     | ...           | ...              | ...         | fati        | ...
  Pauwi      | ...           | ...              | ...         | ...         | ...
  Angadi     | pură          | ...              | kehe        | ...         | ută-mai
  Nagramadu  | ...           | ...              | emoya       | ...         | uhă
  Wandammen  | sembai        | siberere         | rama        | rebuki      | adia, adyat
  Onin       | punono        | apatin-no-farere | unano       | pāti        | api
  Kapaur     | koba, keba,   | mbāb             | kĕri        | wār         | tōm
             |   kabah       |                  |             |             |
  Karufa     | uran          | ŏma              | kama        | langerah    | lawi
  Namatote   | wuran         | omoma            | omo         | ...         | labi
  Lobo       | furan         | komakoma         | komah       | ...         | lawi
  Mairassis  | furan         | waniwani         | yamo        | ...         | iworo
  Wuaussirau | angane        | onburi           | yamu        | ...         | iworo
  Lakahia    | bura          | mawena           | gefa        | ...         | ŭsia
  Kiruru     | ...           | imaru            | kē          | ...         | uta
  Utanata    | uran          | ...              | koma        | ...         | uta
  Mimika     | pura          | mako             | ke          | omanī       | uta
  Merauke    | mandau        | ovom, uvum       | heĕ         | katarĕ      | takavĕ
  Bangu      | ...           | ...              | narunjar    | tan         | meni
  Parb       | tugiu         | ...              | nou         | ...         | pend
  Bugi       | kak           | qatai            | yugula      | dader       | iu
  Dabu       | qar, qak      | piro             | igurai      | dadar       | yu, dumbrel
  Saibai     | mulpal, kizai | titui            | ari         | kula        | mui
  Mowata     | ganume        | zogubo           | wiari       | nora-api    | era
  Kunini     | mabie         | wale             | ngupe       | magezuli    | muie
  Jibu       | mobi          | guje             | piro        | nora        | para
  Kiwai      | sagana        | gugi             | mauburo,    | kuraere     | era
             |               |                  |   wisai     |             |
  Tirio      | korame        | apapa            | iōuko       | kuma        | suze
  Tagota     | mano          | durupa           | ...         | tamaga      | jau
  Nufōr      | paik          | ătaruwa,         | mĕkem,      | kĕru        | fōr
             |               |   samfari        |   miun      |             |
  Ceram      | huran, ulano, | marit, kolomali, | uran, ulan, | hatu, batu  | hau, au
             |   buran       |   kamali, umalio | kial        |             |
  Tuburuasa  | puna          | finma            | unang       | pati        | lawi
  Karas      | pak           | masseer          | kekal       | jaar        | dien

             |   Water.   |  Pig.     |  Fish.   |  Coconut.    |  House.
             |   Water.   |  Varken.  |  Visch.  |  Kokos-noot. |  Huis.
  Seka       | ...        | ...       | ...      | ...          | pā
  Jotafa     | nanu       | por       | igeh     | nīno         | duma
  Sentani    | bu         | (yoku     | ka       | koh          | ime
  Arimoa     | dano       | ...       | ...      | niwi         | ...
  Pauwi      | memba      | ...       | ...      | ...          | hŭsia
  Angadi     | mi         | ŏhŏ       | ireă     | utiri        | kãme
  Nagramadu  | ...        | ŏhă       | ...      | măgrabe      | ya
  Wandammen  | kambu      | pisai     | diya     | ankadi       | anio
  Onin       | weari      | papio     | sairi    | ruroh        | rumaso
  Kapaur     | kĕra       | ndur,     | heir     | no’ur        | wuri
             |            |  kalapaji,|          |              |
             |            |  măma     |          |              |
  Karufa     | ualar      | ...       | dohndi   | niyu         | tsaring
  Namatote   | wălar      | boi       | dondi    | niu (?)      | sarin
  Lobo       | walar      | bōi       | donde    | niu          | sarin
  Mairassis  | wata       | bemba     | kuratu   | owah         | watara
  Wuaussirau | kai        | wembe     | kuratu   | obo          | wata
  Lakahia    | mura       | ufa       | nema     | wuina        | yafa
  Kiruru     | mi         | ...       | ...      | ...          | ...
  Utanata    | warari     | uh        | erika    | uteri        | kami
  Mimika     | mbi, mbu   | u, api    | irĕka    | utēri        | kamĕ
             |            |           |          |              |
  Merauke    | daka       | basikĕ    | pararĕ,  | misĕ,        | sava, aha
             |            |           |  parara  |  onggat,     |
             |            |           |          |  wīmap       |
  Bangu      | tauqar     | rougu     | thaua    | nangar       | boot, munka
  Parb       | nou        | kimb      | angur    | argh, kwogh, | mongo
             |            |           |          |  keu         |
  Bugi       | ngi        | simbel    | galba    | nge          | māē
  Dabu       | ine        | mule,     | pudi     | ngoi, guvi   | ma
             |            |  chimela, |          |              |
             |            |  sasa     |          |              |
  Saibai     | nguki      | burum     | wapi     | urab         | mud
  Mowata     | obo        | boromo    | arimina  | oi           | moto
  Kunini     | nīe        | blome     | ibu      | ia           | mete
  Jibu       | nia        | woroma    | waji     | u            | meta
  Kiwai      | obo        | boromo    | irisina  | oi           | moto
  Tirio      | opa        | sepera    | kopoma   | sapu-mutira  | turie
  Tagota     | mauka      | minao     | ...      | ...          | ...
  Nufōr      | wār        | beyen     | iyen     | srabon       | rum
  Ceram      | waer, wael,| hahu, apal| ian, iano| niwer, niwel,| ruma, luma
             |  kwael     |           |          |  nimel,      |
             |            |           |          |  nikwel,     |
             |            |           |          |  noolo       |
  Tuburuasa  | wêre       | ...       | se       | ...          | kapalla
  Karas      | pere       | ...       | soor     | ...          | kawe


             |    One. Een.     |   Two. Twee.   |    Three. Drie.  | Four. Vier.
  Seka       | ahi (ari?)       | hitjun         | hetun            | nabu
  Jotafa     | the              | ros            | for              | au
  Sentani    | imbai            | be             | name             | gŭri
  Tana Merah | ogosarai         | saibona        | ondoafi          | soronto
  Tarfia     | tukse            | arho           | tor              | fauk
  Takar      | afateni          | nawa           | nawa-jengki      | nawa-nawa
  Jamna      | tes              | ru             | tau              | fau
  Masimasi   | kīs              | ru             | tou              | fo
  Moar       | hibeti           | ru             | tou              | fau
  Kumamba    | tès              | lu             | taur             | fau
  Pauwi      | pa-sari          | pa-ri          | pa-rosi          | pa-rasi
  Wamberan   | tenama           | bisa           | ...              | ...
  Waropin    | wo-sio           | wo-ruo         | wo-ro            | wo-ako
  Mohr       | tata             | ruru           | oro              | ao
  Angadi     | janăūwă          | jăminatia      | jaminati-janăūwă | awaitămă-jaminatia
  Goreda     | unakwa           | jămanini       | ...              | ...
  Nagramadu  | nadi             | ăbåmă          | ăbåmă-nadi       | ăbåmŏ-båmŏ
  Tandia     | nei              | rusi           | turusi           | attesi
  Dasener    | joser            | suru           | toru             | ati
  Jaur       | rebe             | redu           | reü              | rea
  Wandammen  | siri             | mondu          | tŏru             | atê
  Manikion   | hom              | hŏai           | homoi            | hŏku
  Onin       | sa               | nuwa           | teni             | fāt
  Kapauer    | hĕre-wo          | hĕre-rīk       | hĕre-terī        | hère-ngara
  Karufa     | simoksi          | rueiti         | tohru            | bahdi
  Namatote   | samosi           | rueiti         | toru             | fāt
  Lobo       | samosi           | rueti          | tuwru            | fāt
  Mairassis  | tangauw          | amōi           | karia            | āi
  Wuaussirau | anau             | amoi           | karia            | aiwera
  Lakahia    | onarawa          | aboma          | torua            | fāt
  Mimika     | inakwa           | yamani         | yamani-īnakwa    | ama-yamani
  Merauke    | zakod            | iena           | iena-zakod       | iena-iena
  Bangu      | nambu, nambi     | yethombi,      | yetho            | asar
             |                  |   kethembi     |                  |
  Parb       | ambiur           | tumbi          | lambi            | tutubiar
  Bugi       | tarangesa        | metakina       | gingi-metakina   | topea
  Dabu       | tupi-dibi        | kumi-rivi      | kumi-reriga      | kumi-rivi-kumi-rivi
  Saibai     | wara, urapon     | uka, ukasar    | uka-modobigal    | uka-uka
  Mowata     | nau              | netoa          | ...              | ...
  Kunini     | iepa             | neneni         | nesae            | neneni-neneni
  Jibu       | yepa             | kuraiepa       | kuraiepa         | kuraiepa
             |                  |   (_finger_)   |                  |
  Kiwai      | nau              | netewa         | netewa-nau       | netewa-netewa
  Tirio      | oroka            | miseka         | misorako         | miseka-miseka
  Tagota     | uradaga          | mitiga         | nan              | mitiga-mitiga
  Nufōr      | sai, ŏsēr        | dui, suru      | kior             | fiak
  Ceram      | isa, sā          | rua, lua, dua, | teru, telu, tolu,| haa, hata, ata,
             |                  |   roti         |   toru           |   fāt

             |      Five. Vijf.    |      Six. Zes.     |      Ten. Tien.     | Twenty. Twintig.
  Seka       | naplan              | naplahi            | amplahari           | amplanaplan
  Jotafa     | mimiām              | măndŏsīm           | ronduminarōs        | manisayām
  Sentani    | mehembai            | mehinimbai         | mehinmehembai       | megohri
  Tana Merah | ogosarai            | demean             | ...                 | ...
  Tarfia     | rim                 | mana-tuksi         | mafarufaru          | ...
  Takar      | nawa-nawa-jengki    | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Jamna      | jim, rim            | ...                | sinafui             | ...
  Masimasi   | rim                 | ...                | sanafu              | ...
  Moar       | rim                 | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Kumamba    | lim                 | ...                | sanafun             | ...
  Pauwi      | pa-rinisi           | ponensi            | putaonsi            | ...
  Wamberan   | ...                 | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Waropin    | rimo                | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Mohr       | rimo                | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Angadi     | măhărè-ajăhe-rauri  | măhărè-jană-ūwă    | măhăre-jămi-natia   | ...
  Goreda     | mahère-hèrori       | ...                | tăóru               | ...
  Nagramadu  | măma-riba           | mariba-nadi        | măma-răbåmă         | ...
  Tandia     | marasi              | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Dasener    | rimbi               | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Jaur       | breiare             | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Wandammen  | rīm                 | rīmi-siri          | sura                | snun-tupesi
  Manikion   | sirkem              | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Onin       | nima                | nem                | pusua               | puti-nuwa
  Kapauer    | hĕre-tembu          | here-tembu-here-wo | pra’a               | to mdijowo
  Karufa     | rimi                | rom-simoksi        | putja               | siúmput-rueiti
  Namatote   | rim                 | rim-samoti         | futsa               | ombutueti
  Lobo       | rimi                | rim-samosi         | wutsya              | sekumat-rueti
  Mairassis  | iworo               | iwora-mōi (? 7)    | werowa-moi          | yauw-nat-makia
  Wuaussirau | iworo               | iwor-tanau         | iwor-toki-tani      | toki-amoi
  Lakahia    | rim                 | rim-onarawa        | ...                 | ...
  Mimika     | ...                 | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Merauke    | iena-iena-zakod     | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Bangu      | tambothoi           | nimbo              | ...                 | ...
  Parb       | tumbi-tumbi-yambia  | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Bugi       | manda               | gaben              | dala                | ...
  Dabu       | tumu                | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Saibai     | ...                 | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Mowata     | ...                 |  ...               | ...                 | ...
  Kunini     | imegube             | matemate (_wrist_) | dare (_breast_)     | ...
  Jibu       | kuraiepa            | ribenda (_wrist_)  | mua (_breast_)      | ...
  Kiwai      | ...                 | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Tirio      | miseka-miseka-oroka | ...                | ...                 | ...
  Tagota     | uradaga (?)         | moti-taba-nan      | moti-tatan          | ...
  Nufōr      | rīm                 | onem               | samfur              | samfur-di-suru
  Ceram      | rima, lima, dima    | nē, nena, nō, onam | husane, husā,       | huturua
             |                     |                    |  utsya              |

[Illustration: LANGUAGE MAP

of the Eastern Part of Netherlands New Guinea

Sidney H. Ray]


  Above                     Opo

  Acid                     {Imakemàn

  Animal                    Irĕka (also

  Ankle                     Bau-mámĕ

  Ant                       Wámé

  Arm                      {To-marī

  Arm-band                  Maka-rĕ

  Arrive                    Mainaumà

  Arrow                     Tīari
    (barb of)               Imari

  Atap                      Wurī

  Axilla                    Emmabu

  Back (of man)             Ata

  Bamboo                    Búiti

  Banana                    Kau
    (plantation of)         Kauti

  Band (of rattan worn
    round middle)           Iwau-mákarĕ

  Bandicoot                 Púruga

  Bark (of tree)            Pīkī

  Basket                   {Temme

  Beads                     Kamburi

  Bean                      Kawetī

                           {Kepa bíri
  Beard                    {Burídi

  Bed (mat)                 Kápiri

  Bee                       Imoho

  Beetle                    Buruta

  Belch                     Mbau

  Belly                     Iwau

  Big                      {Atwa

  Bird                     {Páteru
    (of Paradise           {Yamuku

  Bitter                   {Tite

  Black                     Ikako

  Blood                     Maréte

  Blunt                     Yamenà

  Boat                      Ku

  Bodice (of woven fibre)   Paitĕ

  Body                      Nata

  Bottle                    Kárepa

  Bow                       Amúri

  Bow-string                Kima

  Breast (of woman)         Auwĕ
         (of man)           Pītī

  Breathe                   Túa

  Broken                    Táka

  Butterfly                 Wīrī

  Buttock                   Atabú

  Calf (of leg)             Ewambugu

  Canoe                     Ku

  Cap (worn by widows)      Ubauta

  Carve (to)                Maramu

  Cassowary                 Tu

  Centipede                 Arowī

  Coconut                   Utēri

  Cheek                     Awár(re)

  Child                     Aidru

  Chin                      Kepáre

  Cicada                    Wéako

  Cloth                     Pīkī

  Club                      Moánne

  Clouds                    Apu

  Cockatoo                  Pukī

  Cold                      Yu

  Comb                      Ta

  Copulate                  Ipĕ

  Cough                     Otah

  Crab                     {Epor(re)

  Crayfish                  Bĭ

  Crocodile                 Tīmaku

  Cry (weep)                Mbágĕ

  Cut (to)                  Embe

  Cuscus (Phalanger)        Apui

  Dance                     Dirin-dirin

  Deep                      Emúku

  Dog                       Wīrī

  Drink                     Tomagu

  Drum                      Emmĕ

  Ear                       Éne

  Ear-ring                  Tīrawōnĕ

  Earth (sand)              Tīrī

  Eat                       Namúka

  Eel                       Mbatarúbia

  Egg                       Tareté

  Elbow                     To-mámé

  Exchange                  Akóra

  Eye                       Mámé

  Eyebrow                   Mambīrī

  Far                       Awakopíre

  Fat                       Atwa

  Feather                   Idī

  Finger                    Márĕ

  Finger-nail               Marē

  Fire                      Utá
    (stick)                 Utamau

  Fish                      Irĕka

  Flower (orchid)           Idarōnĕ

  Fly (insect)              Oboö

  Flying-fox                Iéa

  Foot                      Bauwe

  Forehead                  Métár(re)

  Ghost                     Níniki

  Give                      Kéma

  Grass                     Umetir(re)

  Grasshopper               Atŏkŏ

  Green                     Otopu

  Hair                      Vīrī

  Hand                      Marĕ

  He                        Amárepa

  Head                      Kapa-uĕ

  Heavy                     Ikīti

  Heel                      Mbautep(e)

  His                       Amareta

  Hiccough                  Urri

  Hornbill                  Kumai

  Hornet                    Imŏkŏ

  House                     Kámĕ

  I                         Doro

  Ill                       Namúti

  Image (carved)            Betoro

  Iron                      Tau

  Knee                      Irību

  Lance                     Uruna

  Laugh                     Oko

  Leaf                      E

  Leg                       Atīrī

  Lightning                 Marapiti

  Lips                      Irī

  Little                    Mimiti

  Lizard                    Inamo

  Lizard (frilled)          Wago

  Loins                     Yaïmi

  Man                       Uweri

  Many                      Tákiri

  Mat (of pandanus)         Au

  Melon                     Anĕtĕ

  Mine                      Dorota

  Moon                      Pura

  Mosquito                  Itjī

  Mountain                  Púkare

  Mouth                     Ba

  Moustache                 Mbu-tīrĭ

  Navel                     Boporĕ

  Neck                      Ima

  New                       Aigu

  Nod                       Kiparu

  Nose                      Bīrim
    (secretion of)          Bīndī

  Old man of village        Natu

  One                       Inakwa

  Orchid                    Idarōnĕ

  Other                     Awaida

  Other man                 Wehwaida

  Other man’s               Wehwaidata

  Paddle                    Poh

  Palate                    Tībanne

  Papaya                    Tĕnà

  Parrot                    Akīma

  Pearl                     Omab(e)

  Penis                     Kamàrē
    (case)                  Kamare-po(ko)

  Pig                      {U

  Pigeon                    Parúa

  Pillow (wooden)           Yamate

  Pine-apple                Makadĕtĕ

  Prawn                     Mbi

  Pumpkin                   Nabru

  Python                    Pīmī

  Rain                      Ke

  Rainbow                   Parakĕta

  Rapids                    Kamáwa

  Rat                       Kemako

  Rattan                    Kima

  Red                       Epĕró

  Ribs                      Párĕrŏ

  Rice                      Wátē

  Ripe                      Pu

  River                     Iuata

  Road (track)              Mako

  Rope                      Temmà

  Sacrum                    Wagamau(e)

  Sago                      Amŏta
    (beater)                Wapúri

  Sago-bowl                Pámagu

  Sap                       Namī

  Scorpion                  Purumbaä

  Sea                       Takarī

  Shallow                   Taparī

  Sharp                     Yánakŏ

  Shell                     Parau

  Shell-fish                Uwo

  Shin                      Imbīrī

  Shore                     Tīrī

  Shoulder                  Ta-rī

  Shoulder-blade            To-bābŭ

  Skin                      Pīgerī

  Skull                     Upau

  Sleep                     Eté

  Snail                     Tapoko

  Snake                     Apako

  Sneeze                    Yaiē

  Spear                     Uruna
    (wooden)                Potaku

  Spit                      Mbatau

  Star                      Mako

  Steal                     Otemu

  Stick (of club)           Wu

  Sting-ray                 Kaū

  Stone                     Omanī

  Suck                      Au

  Sugar-cane                Mŏnī

  Sun                       Yau

  Sweat                     Papitī

  Sweet potato              Pamu

  Swim                      Tīmago

  Tear (a)                  Bágumbú

  Thigh                     I

  Throat                    Kīmárĭ

  Thumb    }               Ipau
  Great Toe}

  Thunder                   Uraki

  Tired                     Toh

  Tobacco                   Kapakī

  To-day                    Wauwà

  Toes                      Bauwē

  To-morrow                 Kaúmuta

  Tongue                    Malī

  Tooth                     Tītī

  Tree                      Uti

  Turtle                    Mbiambu

  Two                       Yamani

  Upset                     Pīro

  Viper                     Mágu

  Vomit                     Mbau

  Water                     Mbi
    (make)                  Gīgī

  Wet                       Nata

  Whistle                   Wiramogo

  White                     Naputiàre

  Wind                      Kīmīr(e)

  Woman                     Kaukwa

  Wound                     Natŭ

  Wrist                     Marapŭmĕ

  Yawn                      Mbápoh

  Yellow                    Taier(re)

  You                       Oro

  Your                      Orota



  Acton, Lord, 2

  Albinos, 110

  Alcohol, 68

  Amberno River, 24

  Amboina, 14, 257;
    communication with, 209;
    inhabitants of, 17;
    market at, 17

  Ambonese coolies, 50

  Ambonese, dress of, 17;
    names of, 17

  _Amok_, 185

  Arafura Sea, 19, 35

  Arfak Mountains, 23

  Arrows, 151

  Aru Islands, 19

  _Atap_, method of making, 60

  Atuka River, 248

  Atjeh, 92


  Balfour, H., 202

  Bali, 259

  Bamboo, throwing lime from, 219

  Banana, 17, 88

  Banda, 16, 19, 257

  Batavia, 3;
    washing in, 9

  Bees, stingless honey-, 76

  Beetles, as food, 124;
    larva of, 156

  Beri-beri, 66, 193

  Bird of Paradise, 74, 142, 159, 178, 227, 261

  Birds, collection of, 241

  Boat-builders, 225

  Boni, 14

  Bonnets of widows, 115

  Borneo, 21

  Boro-Boder, 11

  Botanic station at Merauke, 224

  Bougainville, de, 31

  Bows, 151

  Bridge, building a, 235

  British New Guinea, 22

  British Ornithologists’ Union, 1

  Brush Turkey, 76

  Buddhist Temples, 11

  Buitenzorg garden, 10

  Buleling, 258

  Butonese, 170

  Butterflies, 16


  Camp, health of, 58;
    repairing, 188

  Cannibalism, 127

  Canoes, 219;
    building of, 53;
    description of, 53;
    method of paddling, 36;
    the price of, 55

  Carstensz, Mt., 23, 44, 181, 212

  Carstensz, Jan, 28, 221

  Cape York, 28, 32

  Carteret, Philip, 31

  Cassowaries, 200, 214

  Cassowary, 125, 241

  Casuarina trees, 42

  Cat’s cradle, 147

  Celebes, 14

  Celebes Trading Company, 20

  Ceram, 14

  Ceremonies, 131

  Charles Louis Mountains, 23, 35, 44

  Chief, 128

  Children, games of, 117

  Chinese, 17, 223, 225

  Christians at Amboina, 17

  Cicatrisation, 112

  Clothing of Dutch, 9;
    of natives, 113

  Clouds on mountains, 45

  Clubs, Dutch, 18;
    stoneheaded, 149;
    wooden, 148

  Coal, 241

  Coast, description of, 42;
    navigation of, 249

  Coconuts, 98, 223

  Comet, Halley’s, 81

  Convicts, 13, 93;
    madness of, 215

  Cook, Captain, 31, 219

  Coolies, 15, 170, 227;
    Ambonese, 50;
    failure of, 231;
    feebleness of, 51;
    sickness of, 184

  Corals, 16

  Counting, 104

  Cramer, H. A., 3, 13, 41, 46, 57, 92, 102, 231, 258

  Crickets, a plague of, 59

  Crocodiles, 75

  Crowned pigeon, 74

  Crows, pale, 77

  Cultivation, 88;
    in Java, 5


  Daggers of bone, 203

  d’Albertis, 33

  Dampier, Captain, 31, 123

  Dancing, 143;
    houses, 143

  Darwin, Mt. Leonard, 239

  Dayaks, 172, 194;
    arrival of, 253;
    industry of, 214

  Dead, disposal of, 137-140

  Death, 136

  Digoel River, 24

  Disease, 205

  Djokjakarta, 11

  Dobo, 19, 257

  Dog, Papuan, 126

  Dorei, 22

  Drawing, 145

  Drowning of sailor, 170

  Drums, 141

  Ducks, penguin, 11;
    perching in trees, 86

  Dugongs, 212

  Dumas, J. M., 212

  Dumas, Mr., 44

  Dutch, Government, 3, 257;
    food of, 7;
    house of, 8;
    habits of, 9;
    tree-planting by, 15;
    hospitality of, 18;
    rule in New Guinea, 23;
    explorations of, 28;
    East India Company, 31;
    Expeditions, 213, 216


  Earthquake at Amboina, 15

  Effigies, carved, 131

  _Endeavour_, voyage of, 31

  Escort, 3, 13

  Expedition, members of, 2;
    leave Java, 13


  Fak-fak, 224

  Families, 129

  Festival, 134

  Fiji, 24

  Fire, 152

  Fire-making, 200

  Fish, many coloured, 16

  Fishing-net, 120

  Flies, a plague of, 58;
    on water, 76

  Flint knives, 200

  Flood, 132, 156, 173, 178, 189

  Flores, 24

  Flowers, 206, 242

  Fly River, 33, 42

  Food of natives, 119, 124

  Forbes, H. O., 33

  Forest, 242-245

  Fortnum and Mason, 68

  Frogmouth, 77


  Garden at Amboina, 16

  Garoet, 11

  Geographical Society, Royal, 2

  German New Guinea, 22

  Ghosts, 133

  Goa, Raja of, 14

  Godman, F. D., 1

  Godman, Mt., 239

  Goodfellow, W., 2, 142, 167, 170, 172, 195

  Grant, C. H. B., 194, 231, 241

  Grant, W. R. Ogilvie, 1

  Grey, Sir E., 2

  Guillemard, 38

  Gurkhas, 3, 156, 160, 171, 179, 194, 233


  Habbema, Lieut., 169

  Half-castes, 6, 223

  Halley’s Comet, 81

  Head-rests, 152

  Herwerden, Captain, 13

  Hindu Temple, 259

  Hornbills, 86

  Houses of the natives, 96;
    in trees, 217;
    communal, 218

  Humboldt Bay, 33


  _Ibis_, 1

  Iguanas, 75

  Intoxication of natives, 99

  Incense, smell of, 238

  Island River, Dutch Expedition, 60;
    description of, 216

  Iwaka River, 231


  Java, prosperity of, 5;
    half-castes in, 6

  Javanese soldiers, 62

  Jew’s harp, 203

  Jungle, clearing the, 46


  Kaiserin Augusta River, 24, 28

  Kalff, Mr. E., 227

  Kamura River, 175, 248

  Kapare River, 82

  Ké Islands, 15, 51, 257;
    natives of, 225

  Kingfishers, 59

  Kloss, C. B., 253

  Kolff, 220

  Kris, abolition of, 7


  Language, difficulty of, 103

  La Perouse, 32

  _La Seyne_, wreck of, 3

  Leeches, 177

  Le Maire, Jacques, 28

  Lombok, 258

  Lorentz, H. A., 2, 13, 33, 34, 169, 172, 241

  Lories, 75


  Macassar, 14

  MacCluer Gulf, 42

  MacCluer, John, 32

  Macgregor, Sir W., 33

  Malays, 185;
    food of, 65;
    music of, 143

  Mangrove, 42

  Marianne Strait, 220

  Marriage, 116

  Marshall, E. S., 2, 80, 82, 133, 175, 185, 231

  Medical treatment, 167

  Meek, Mr., 213

  Megapode, 77

  Meneses, Don Torge de, 27

  Merauke, 31, 37, 222;
    communication with, 209;
    natives of, 226

  Mimika, first voyage on, 39;
    description of, 40, 71;
    water of, 40;
    tides on the, 57;
    obstacles in, 78

  Mission at Dorei, 22

  Missions, 154

  Mosquitoes, 211, 223

  Motor-boat, 52, 173, 248

  Murderer, 13, 186

  Music, 141


  Natives, trading with, 61;
    communicating with, 84, 102;
    dislike of rain, 84;
    migrations of, 95;
    drink of, 99;
    language of, 102, Appendix C;
    description of, 109;
    height of, 112;
    clothing of, 113;
    age of, 115;
    food of, 119, 120;
    social system of, 128;
    property of, 129;
    music of, 141;
    dancing of, 143;
    as artists, 145;
    mock sorrow of, 247;
    quarrels of, 148;
    as marksmen, 151;
    health of, 153;
    as carriers, 158;
    our relations with, 163;
    as thieves, 165

  Naturalists, explorations by, 32

  New Guinea, position of, 21;
    size of, 21;
    mountains of, 23;
    natives of, 24;
    discovery of, 26;
    name of, 27;
    recent explorations of, 33;
    first sight of, 35;
    shore of, 36;
    lack of food, 65;
    rivers of, 24, 83, 181;
    departure from, 257

  Newton, Professor Alfred, 1

  _Nias_, 13, 35

  Nimé, dancing house at, 252

  Noord River, 2, 13, 33, 34

  Nouhuys, J. W. van, 169

  Numerals, 104


  Obota, 83

  Ogilvie-Grant, W. R., 1


  Palm, coconut, 98

  Pandanus, 10, 243

  Papua, 22;
    meaning of, 25

  Papuans, description of, 25, 109;
    behavior of, 37;
    dress of, 37, 113;
    apathy of, 38, 45;
    asleep, 39;
    dancing, 41, 143;
    as traders, 45;
    communicating with, 84;
    dislike of rain, 84;
    food of, 91;
    migrations of, 95;
    drink of, 99;
    language of, 102, Appendix C;
    height of, 112;
    age of, 115;
    social system of, 128;
    property of, 129;
    music of, 141;
    as artists, 145;
    quarrels of, 148;
    as marksmen, 151;
    health of, 153

  Paradise, bird of, 74, 142

  Parimau, arrival at, 56, 155;
    departure from, 247

  Payment of natives, 163

  Peace-offering, 166

  Pearls, 20

  Pearl-shell, 20

  Penguin ducks, 11

  Periepia, 85

  Petroleum, 241

  Pickles, 68

  Pig, 125, 133-136

  Pigeons, crowned, 31, 74

  Pineapples, 101

  Plants, 231

  Plants at Buitenzorg, 10

  Ponies, 259

  Pool, Thomas, 30

  Port Moresby, natives of, 213

  Portuguese, remains of, 17;
    navigators, 27

  Precipice, 239

  Prince Frederick Henry Island, 220

  Propeller, loss of, 250

  Provisions, storing of, 66;
    packing of, 68;
    depôt of, 176

  Pygmies, discovery of, 157;
    visit to, 159;
    dress of, 161;
    description of, 161, 197;
    voices of, 162;
    visit Parimau, 196;
    measurements of, 197, Appendix B;
    ornaments of, 199;
    possessions of, 199;
    methods of smoking, 202;
    village of, 203;
    houses of, 205;
    women of, 206;
    intelligence of, 207;
    distribution of, 208


  Races, mixture of, 6;
    harmony of, 19

  Raffles, Sir Stamford, 5, 10

  Rain, 79

  Rattan, 243

  Rawling, C. G., 2, 82, 156, 174-5, 195, 219, 248

  Relationship, 105

  Reptiles, 168

  Retes, Ynigo Ortiz de, 27

  Rice, 65;
    cultivation in Java, 5

  Rifle bird, 159

  Rijst-tafel, 7

  Rivers, branching, 83;
    crossing, 236;
    in New Guinea, 24

  Robinson, H. C., 194

  _Roebuck_, voyage of, 31

  Ruwenzori, 2, 238


  Sago, 65, 89-92

  St. Nicholas, feast of, 6, 228

  Sandpiper, 86

  Sarawak, H. H. the Raja of, 253

  Sarong, 10

  Schouten Islands, 27

  Schouten, Willem, 28

  Screw-pines, 10, 243

  Sea, depth of, 19

  Sea-snakes, 215

  Seasons, 79;
    wet, 192

  Shackleton Expedition, 67

  Sharks, fishing for, 46

  Shortridge, G. C., 2, 172, 194, 210

  Sickness, 171-192

  Sindanglaya, 11

  Skulls, preservation of, 139

  Smith, Stamford, 90

  Snakes, 167

  Snow Mountains, 1, 23, 33;
    discovery of, 29;
    first sight of, 35;
    distant view of, 43;
    attempt to reach, 229

  Social system, 128

  Soldiers, native, 92

  Songs, 142

  Spanish navigators, 27

  Spears, 151

  Spices, Dutch monopoly of, 31

  Spiders, tameness of, 58

  Stalker, W., 2, 14, 51;
    death of, 47;
    funeral of, 49

  Steam-launch, 52, 170

  Stone Age, 151

  Stone implements, 150

  Stones, gifts of, 87

  Sugar-palm, 99

  Sumbawa, 258

  Superstitions, 131

  Swift, Moustached, 241

  Swimming, 117


  Tapiro (_see_ Pygmies)

  Tasman, 30

  Tattooing, 112

  Tears, a welcome of, 41

  Temples at Boro-Boder, 11

  Ternate, Sultan of, 22;
    traders of, 89

  Thunderstorms, 79, 132

  Tides of the river, 57

  Timura River, 251

  Tobacco, 38, 202;
    cultivation of, 88

  Torres, Luis Vaz de, 27

  Torres Strait, 32

  Tosari, 12

  Track, used by natives, 176;
    cutting a, 183

  Trade goods, 63

  Transport, difficulty of, 52

  Travelling, difficult, 230

  Trees, 216, 243;
    falling at night, 77;
    cutting down, 187;
    houses in, 217

  Tuaba River, 175

  Tugeri, 23

  Tugeri tribe, 222


  Utakwa, Dutch expedition to, 210

  Utakwa River, 4, 33, 210


  Van der Bie, 212

  Vanilla, 159

  Vegetation, 237

  View, a rare, 240

  Volcano, 15

  Volcanoes in Java, 5, 12


  Wailing at death, 137

  Wakatimi, arrival at, 40;
    camp at, 46;
    description of, 95;
    departure from, 255

  Wallaby, 125

  Wallace, A. R., 16, 20, 33, 38, 91, 244

  Wamberi Merbiri, 203

  Wania, excursion to, 249

  Wania River, 236, 239, 249

  Wataikwa, 231

  Wataikwa River, 175

  Water, lack of, 237;
    squeezed from moss, 238

  Water-lilies, 10

  Weather, 79

  Wilhelmina, Mt., 23, 45, 169, 220

  Wives, number of, 116

  Women, 148;
    clothing of, 114;
    treatment of, 130;
    dress of Dutch, 9;
    Pygmies, 206



[Illustration: PART OF


drawn by

Captain. C. G. Rawling, C.I.E. and M^r. E. Marshall, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.

to illustrate the explorations of




_This map is based on a plane table survey, adjusted to points fixed
by theodolite angles, and astronomical observations for latitude and
azimuth. Heights of peaks are from theodolite vertical angles._]


[1] _i.e._ leader of a gang.

[2] _Malay Archipelago_, Chapter XX.

[3] _Malay Archipelago_, Chapter XXIX.

[4] F. H. H. Guillemard, _The Cruise of the “Marchesa,”_ Chapter XXI.

[5] A note in the _Geographical Journal_, Vol. xxxviii. p. 211, points
out the interesting fact that this custom of shedding tears in welcome
was observed by some of the early travellers in many places on the
American Continent, both North and South. It has also been noticed
among the Andamanese and other Negroid inhabitants of South-Eastern
Asia and Australasia.

[6] Like the Megapodes the Brush Turkeys are most interesting birds,
which have the habit of making large mounds of rubbish in which they
place their eggs, where they are hatched by the heat of fermentation.
This species is about the size of a domestic hen, and its large brown
egg is very good eating.

[7] The very interesting discovery was made by Mr. Staniforth Smith of
sago growing at an altitude of 3500 feet in the region of Kikor River,
British New Guinea.—_Geog. Journal_, vol. xxxix. p. 329.

[8] See Appendix C.

[9] The number of individuals examined was not very great and the
difference in their measurements are so insignificant, that they may be
considered all to belong to one race.

[10] _Tuan_ = master, v. p. 103. The natives always addressed us as
“Tuana,” and many babies, of whom their parents were particularly
proud, were called “Tuana.”

[11] _A Continuation of a Voyage to New Holland, etc., in the year
1699_, by Captain William Dampier.

[12] _Standard_, 4, 8, 1910.

[13] The accent is placed on the first syllable—Tápĭro.

[14] Extract from diary, 12th March 1910. A.F.R.W.

[15] The services of these two men were secured to the expedition
through the generosity of Mr. H. C. Robinson, Director of the Museums
of the Federated Malay States.

[16] For their cranial measurements see _Appendix_.

[17] The stitch used is a “figure of eight.” An exactly similar pattern
is used by the natives near Humboldt Bay, North Dutch New Guinea, in
making caps. See Van der Sande, _Nova Guinea_, Vol. III. Illustration,
p. 37.

[18] I am informed by Mr. H. Balfour, of the Pitt Rivers Museum,
Oxford, that a similar method of making fire is employed by people in
Assam, the Chittagong Hills, at certain places in the Malay Peninsula,
in Borneo, at numerous places in different parts of New Guinea, and at
one place in West Africa.

[19] I saw three men who showed unmistakable signs of syphilis.

[20] “Capt. Cook, H.M.S. _Endeavour_, 1770.” “Kolff’s Voyages in Dutch
Brig of War _Dourga_, 1825-6.”

[21] This is the usual friendly greeting of the people in the Merauke
district. The word is now used by the Dutch as a slang name for the
natives of any part of New Guinea.

[22] Voyage of the ships _Pera_ and _Arnhem_, under command of Jan
Carstenszoon or Carstensz, 1623.

[23] Here, as elsewhere in the Dutch colonies, half-castes in official
positions are reckoned as Europeans.

[24] Capt. C. G. Rawling. _Country Life._ 20 May, 1911.

[25] _Malay Archipelago._ Chapter V.

[26] The numerals in brackets refer to the list of authorities prefixed
to the comparative vocabulary.

[27] _Cf._ Translation by G. G. Batten in “Glimpses of the Eastern
Archipelago,” 1894.

[28] Dr. N. Adriani. Eenige opmerkingen over de Mĕraukĕ-Taal naar
aanleiding der Woordenlijst van Contr. J. Seijne Kok, in “De Zuidwest
Nieuw-Guinea-expeditie van het Kon. Ned. Aardrijkskundig Genootschap,

[29] G. W. Earl, Native Races of the Indian Archipelago, Papuans, 1853,
Appendix, and Jour. Roy. Geographical Society, 1837, p. 393-395.

[30] De Zuidwest Nieuw-Guinea-expeditie van het Kon. Ned.
Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, 1904-5. Leiden, 1908.

[31] _Cf._ Internat. Archiv. für Ethnographie, 16, 1905, and Reports of
Cambridge Anthropological Expedition, III., p. 387.

[32] H. Kern. Over de taal der Jotafa’s aan de Humboldtbaai, Bijdragen
tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde van Ned. Indië, 6 Volg. deel VII.

[33] _Cf._ G. von der Gabelentz und A. B. Muller, Melanesischen
Sprachen, 1882, p. 536-541. Also C. J. F. le Cocq d’Armandville in
Tijds. v. Taal, etc., 46, 1903.

[34] P. J. B. C. Robidé van der Aa in Bijdragen tot de Taal etc., 1883,
p. 197. The word is _mes_, coconut, the Mĕraukĕ _mise_.

[35] The term “Indonesian” is used here only to imply that the
languages so designated appear to contain some words and constructions
which are found commonly in the languages of the Indian Archipelago.
The data are too few for definite classification. The term “Papuan” may
be taken to mean “non-Indonesian” or “Non-Malayo-Polynesian” with a
similar limitation.

[36] In the Examples following, the vowels should be sounded as in
Italian, and the consonants as in English. The Dutch _oe_ and _ie_ are
written _u_ and _ī_.

[37] This interchange is very common in the languages of the Papuan
Gulf. _Cf._ Reports of Cambridge Anthropological Expedition, III., pp.
325, 334.

[38] G. W. Earl in Jour. Royal Geographical Society, 1837, p. 394.

[39] Those quoted are: _Dungerwab_ (or _Parb_) on Wai Kasa R., _Bangu_,
Morehead River; _Bugi_, Mai Kasa River, _Dabu_, Paho R., _Mowata_,
mouth of Binaturi R., _Saibai Is._ in Western Torres Straits, _Miriam_,
Murray Is. Torres Straits, _Kunini_ and _Jibu_ West shore of Fly Delta,
_Kiwai Is._ in Fly Delta.

[40] William Churchill, “The Polynesian Wanderings.” Washington. 1911.
Pp. v., 147.

[41] Reports of Cambridge Anthropological Expedition, III, p. 290.

[42] The writer was however told by Murray Island natives that “tulik”
was the name of the old shell axe.

[43] Eenige opmerkingen over de Mĕraukĕ-taal, in “De Zuidwest
Nieuw-Guinea-expeditie van het Kon. Ned. Aardrijkskundig Genootschap,
1904-5,” p. 661-2.

[44] Op. cit., p. 664-665.

[45] The number prefixed is that by which these authorities have been
referred to in the preceding pages.

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