At Sea to Sydney, 11 May 1893

Lizard Island can also tell about a raid of natives on whites. Eight years ago, an English fisherman with wife and child and a number of servants had settled on the totally uninhabited island. When the man was out fishing, natives raided the settlement, having probably rowed over from the mainland. The woman and the servants defended it bravely for some time. Finally  the poor woman fled with her child and a servant in one of the large tin water containers that are used to collect rain water, set off from the land and thus swam out into the sea. After a long drift the miserable party landed at Coquet island where they all perished from hunger. Since this sad episode Lizard island is again uninhabited.

After 5 o’clock the anchors were hoisted and the islands of Direction and Wooded passed, as well as Two and Three Islands and the Capes Flattery and Bedford. The coast which was clearly visible as we were driving close to it changed its character from what we had observed during the days before. Higher mountains appeared that were partly densely covered with woods and partly on their slopes were only covered with grass or had bare spots. Sometimes, there were, as during the day before, white sand fields that resembled snow fields Many of the mountains probably are of volcanic origin. The rise steeply out of the sea like the 1090 m high Pieter Botte at Cape Tribulation that looks from a far like a conical termite mound.

While up to now there had been no signs of human settlements visible on the coast, today we sighted a small settlement namely Cook Town with its light house visible from afar.

A few miles south of Cook Town appeared two light beacons with signal stations on two rocks opposite one another on Archer Point and Rocky Island. Like guardians they protect the difficult passage at night here. A short distance further to the south lies a historic reef called Endeavour reef. Here Cook suffered major damage in the year 1770 on his first voyage around the world (1768 to 1771), which — originally started by the Royal Geographica! Society to observe the transit of Venus in the south sea — prepared the occupation of East Australia by the British crown. He had to stay for quite some time in the bay where now lies Cook Town to repair the leak on his brave three-mast ship „Endeavour“, a vehicle of 350 tons displacement and a crew of 85 men.

Repeatedly we saw high pillars of smoke rise into the sky that were caused by forest fires which the natives start to catch game, especially kangaroos fleeing from the fire.

An hour after sunset the course was changed at Cape Grafton and having passed by the islands of Fitzroy and Frankland, towards midnight the lights of Johnstone River came into view.

Links

  • Location: near Frankland Island
  • ANNO – on  11.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Die kluge Käthe“ and the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “Tannhäuser”.

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