Hunting camp at Laroki to Port Moresby, 18 June 1893

Early in the morning we set off from the shore of the Laroki and started the ride to Port Moresby in beautiful clear weather. Our people, the taxidermist who was still occupied with yesterday’s catch and the female corps of baggage carriers would follow in an hour. During the cool morning the ride home was quicker and much more agreeable than the march to the hunting camp. After only 3 hours we had reached the heights above Moresby which offered a wonderful panorama on the harbor, the native settlements, the barrier reef and the blue ocean. The picture was all the more impressive as we suddenly saw this enticing panorama after a monotonous ride of multiple hours through the plain.

In Port Moresby we made our preparations for the upcoming excursion to the Vei Maori river. First „Elisabeth“ would take me to the mouth of the river in the Redscar Bay 46 sea miles out of Port Moresby. The hunting party would then follow with smaller vehicles the Vei Maori river upstream. In the meantime, „Elisabeth“  would anchor in a nautically safe place in front of Yule Island to the Northwest and come and get me on 20 June in the Redscar Bay. In Yule Harbour „Elisabeth“  would also greet in my name the Catholic mission there in which one Dutch and many Belgian missionaries as well as some pious sisters of the congregation of the divine heart perform their beneficial works. I had met, during our stay on Thursday island, one of the missionaries from Yule Harbour and had most friendly been invited by the pater during my voyage on New Guinea. As I could not come personally, I wanted at least that „Elisabeth“ paid the missionaries a visit.

As the coast of New Guinea has many cliffs, reefs and shallow waters in the South and South-west just like everywhere else and the naval maps of this territory still are very imprecise and soundings have not been made in sufficient numbers, the rest of the day was completely spent in meetings with the governor and his officials and the gentlemen of the staff about the planned route.  The sailor who would serve as pilot was an already old man who is employed by a merchant house as captain of a schooner. For 28 years he has been navigating the coasts of New Guinea but was a bit ill. Due to the medicines administered by our chief medical officer the patient was recovering sufficiently to undertake the journey.

The supplies were restocked by buying tins and other provisions. Finally everything was ready for „Elisabeth“ to set out the next morning.

The rearguard of the expedition to the Laroki river returned on board totally exhausted from the march only around 5 o’clock in the afternoon. The people had to cover the distance again during the hottest hours of the day. Some members of the caravan had picked up a fever during the hunting expedition. On board too, this mean illness had claimed  victims as a part of the crew and almost all of our servants were laying sick in bed.

Mallinarich had used the time of our absence to assemble a very nice collection of butterflies and another one of corals. In the latter one there were also again a few new forms very different from those that had been fished out before. Thanks to the activities of Mallinarich specimens of the most original species wandered out of the harbor of Moresby that was full of fishes into alcohol containers.

The loading of coal had been completed long ago and the coaling ship had already departed in the direction of Sydney the day before. Our ship’s condition did not create any problems for the commander to receive a few members of the tiny group of Europeans in Moresby  on board where our music band played happy melodies.

Links

  • Location: Port Moresby, New Guinea
  • ANNO – on 18.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Feodora“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.

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