Sydney, 27 May 1893

All Sydney today was talking only about the ball of the „Austrians“. In the streets, photographies of „Elisabeth“ were sold; the newspapers devoted multiple columns to reporting about our party and our cabin was overflowing with flowers which ladies had sent on board. Some ladies were said to have planned to send a delegation on board — led by a particularly beautiful spokeswoman — in order to effect a delay of departure for „Elisabeth“. Unfortunately this flattering request could not be granted due to the strictness of the travel itinerary from which we had already departed by extending the stay in Sydney harbor. I believe that nobody on board the ship would not have heartily welcomed to extend the stay in gorgeous New South Wales and namely in happy Sydney. Everywhere there was hope said as a joke that machine damage would force a prolonged stay which was not possible according to the official program. Various ladies were under suspicion — if the gossip were right — to have tempted our engineer to cause such machine damage.

I used the last day of our stay in Sydney for visits and shopping. I also went again to the museum to look more closely at the in fact interesting collection of ethnographic objects of the native territories of Australia and the South Sea. Apart from numerous weapons made only out of wood and cut stones as in those territories iron is partly unknown I also found as original as horrible dance and war masks. Many of these had been made out of human scalps and in many territories it was common to use parts of the slain enemies to produce various objects such as jewelry, hollow ware, weapons etc.  Martial decorations, products of a very primitive local industry and a whole collection of canoes with carved and painted oars offer a good image of the cultural level of their creators. I also browsed through the bird collection to determine more precisely various species of which I had bagged individual representatives during the hunting expedition in the country.

I managed to buy a large part of the ethnographic objects of a private collector whose objects exclusively were made by the original inhabitants of Australia called „Aborigines“ who are at the lowest cultural level and are in the way of dying out. In 1891 there were in total 8280 „Aborigines“ in New South Wales — 4559 men, 3721 women — who stood under the protection of a special association called „Aborigines Protection Society“, that was tasked to civilize as far as possible the former masters of the land and to atone for many of the atrocities inflicted upon them.

During the dinner we took again in the excellent Australian Hotel a funny scene happened which was typical of the naivety and also confidingness and, I might say, cosiness here and thus merits to be remembered. While I sat at a table with Clam and Sanchez, two well dressed gentlemen approached, introduced themselves as owners of a Sydney company and asked pointing at me whether I were the prince. When this was answered in the affirmative, they requested to shake my hand and when Clam indicated that this was not proper, they requested that I at least take a drink to their health — an impertinence that I however still complied with due their entertaining originality after which the satisfied gentlemen calmly went away.

The evening we spent in a circus that had arrived in Sydney two days before. It offered, filled to the last densely packed seat, performances that one had to appreciate even though one could naturally not expect anything new in this much practiced art. A special mention deserves an Aboriginal boy captured in the interior of the land who had accepted his new fate and showed feats of astonishing skill. The condition and quality of the horses however left much to be desired. During a break the director came to me to invite me to visit the stables where he proudly presented me two horses with special consideration as these animals the director valued so much had been ridden by Sarah Bernhardt. It seemed that the circus master qualified this as a special sign of the horses‘ talents for their current occupation. That actress was doubtless more familiar with tragedies than with horseflesh. Her former chargers were quite nasty and rich in flaws.

In his tent the director presented me — what turned out to be no less comical — one after another all his male and female artists whose colorful but quite used costumes ornamented with all kinds of glitter were a strange enough contrast to the artistic self-esteem expressed in the faces and stature of this masters and mistresses of their trades. Among the ladies the snake girl was especially notable for her pretty face. A fast steeple chase ridden through the whole circus which included a few good jumps concluded the show.

Links

  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • ANNO – on  27.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Faust“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet “Die goldene Märchenwelt”.

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