Schlagwort-Archiv: April

Buitenzorg to Batavia to Tandjong Priok, 27 April 1893

I used the time left in Buitenzorg to see two objects: one a peaceful creation, the botanical garden, the other a military institution, the barracks.

The world famous botanical garden (’s lands plantentuin), that was created in 1818 under governor general Baron van der Capellen by a German, agricultural director professor Reinwardt, is dedicated to the cultivation of plants for scientific and educational purposes and of course only contains plants that grow in the tropical climate of Buitenzorg. To cultivate plants from cooler zones, they have built a number of botanical higher altitude stations on various levels of the Gede mountains at whose foot Buitenzorg lies as well as on the top of Pangrango. Under the direction of Buitenzorg’s botanical garden those plants are raised there that require an altitude of more than 985 m and up to 2700 m.

This garden contains about 60 ha and gives way in the north to the park of the governor general’s palace. At first sight the park distinguishes itself by its beautiful location. To the south rise the grandiose peaks of the „blue mountains“, that is the extinct volcanoes Salak and Pangrango. The saddle connecting those two peaks descends in undulating terrain to Buitenzorg. The palace garden itself is lightly terraced and borders in the east on Tji Liwung. It is ornamented with beautiful deciduous trees, palm tree alleys, bamboo bushes, green meadows and water pools.

In total there are about 9300 plant species cultivated here (300 families, 2500 genera). I had heard much talk about this garden and had been made aware of its splendor by many so that I entered it with expectations which however were not completely fulfilled. From a scientific point of view this garden with its specialized library and agricultural museum is without doubt of extraordinary high value. Every year scientists out of Europe come to Buitenzorg to do studies and research. The desire, however, to assemble a huge number of the most diverse plants of the tropical regions of all parts of the world and especially of the Malaysian zone in a very limited space necessitates that much is all too close together and much is not free to fully develop, while others do not find the conditions that the soil and climate in their natural habitat or in a fully acclimated place provides.

The layout of the garden is highly scientific so that the expert can orient himself immediately. In one part of the garden, one finds only palm trees of various species, in another part only oaks or conifers. Therefore each part has a certain monotony in forms. This arrangement, however, is very convenient for observation. The amateur prefers to look for the beautiful and the original in such institutions or picturesque groupings, luxurious or curious solitary trees, attractive or strange. He follows, in short, either the path of aesthetics or the avenue of curiosity. Thus the non-professional visitor will miss the distribution and mixture of plants with which a sensitive artful gardener knows to create spectacular groupings out of the flora. All in all the botanical garden of Buitenzorg is a practical compendium of botany according to the requirements of hard science that provides a regular view which could benefit from greater beauty in its space, all the more so as the frame of this fixed picture is created by nature in all its luxury and attraction.

Given the goal of this institution I hasten to add that the garden is maintained step by step with admirable industry and tireless care and contains beautiful rare specimen, single and in groups, of interesting plant families and species. Among others, these were especially remarkable: an alley out of huge Canarium trees (Canarium altissimum) in which each trunk is covered by a different species of orchid. In the various water pools in which the garden holds splendid specimens of Nymphaeaceae, such as the South American Victoria regia, Nymphaea lotus,  Nymphaea pubescens (in Javanese: Taratte ketjil), Nymphaea stellata (Taratte biru); specimens of Nelumbium speciosum (Taratte gede) etc.

The visit of the barracks gave me the desired opportunity to inform myself about the actual composition of the land and sea armed forces of Dutch East India.

The Dutch East-Indian army currently is 33.339 men strong with1360 officers, among them 26.536 men (697 officers) of infantry; 3120 men (83 officers) of artillery; 832 men (29 officers) cavalry; 646 men (12 officers) of engineers and 2205 men (539 officers) of other troops such as staff etc. This army is recruited entirely from Europe, especially the German Empire as well as the colonies. Among the soldiers are 13.847 Europeans, 19.437 natives, 55 Africans.

The commander of the East Indian army is Lieutenant General A. R. W. Gey van Pittius, who succeeded in this function Lieutenant General T. J. A. van Zyll de Jong on 4 April 1893.

The Indian fleet is divided into the navy which in turn is divided into the Indian navy and the auxiliary squadron and the governmental fleet. The navy counts 25 ships — among them 2 sailing ships — with 5273 net tons displacement, 14.913,5 indexed horse power, 87 guns and a nominal crew of 1340 Europeans and 643 natives. The navy also has 2 guard ships with 10 guns, with a crew of 557 Europeans and 313 natives. The auxiliary squadron contains 4 ships with 4040 net tons displacement, 11.932 indexed horse power, 58 guns and a nominal crew of 832 Europeans and 282 natives. The total number of crews thus is 2729 Europeans (281 officers), among them 519 men (50 officers) marine infantry, and 1238 natives. The governmental fleet consists of 17 sea steamboats, 5 river steamboats and 10 small sailing boats (Avisos). The steamboats have 111 guns and 1100 indexed horse power, as well as a crew of 132 Europeans and 636 natives. The Avisos are manned by 11 natives each and armed with 2 guns.

In command of the fleet is currently Vice admiral Jonkheer J. A. Roell. Commander-in-chief of the army and navy of Dutch East-India is the governor general.

Besides the regular army Dutch East India has a number of semi-military forces that are required in peacetime to uphold the public order and in wartime to assist the army. All these forces combined are 8228 men strong and divide themselves as follows: In the civil guard (Schutterijen) 3790 men (130 officers), which are organized in the larger cities under the command of the resident and are to contain the majority of the local Europeans and Indo-Europeans. Furthermore the police corps called Pradjoerits, which are constituted by 2073 natives in 56 detachments under the command of European NCOs and are stationed in smaller towns. Then there are auxiliary forces of Madura island, called Barisans, composed out of 1356 natives under 38 native officers and are divided into three detachments under a lieutenant colonel or major each. Each of these detachments has a captain of the army assigned for the supervision of the exercises. Among the irregular forces are the guard dragoons recruited among the Europeans and each 96 men strong (2 officers ) of the Soesoehoenan, Emperor of Surakarta and the Sultan of Djokjakarta, as well as the legion of the Emperor of Surakarta, 817 natives strong. The legion of Prince Pakoe Alam, the crown prince of Djokjakarta, was dissolved in August 1892.

The barracks at Buitenzorg, situated on the road to Tjiloewar, has enough space for an infantry battalion but without officers which are housed in the villa quarter behind the station. According to the new system the barracks is divided into pavilions in which are crew quarters and NCO quarters, the school, the kitchen, storerooms, fencing and exercise halls and mess rooms. At the entrance to the camp I was received by the battalion commander and led me through the different rooms. The companies were on the exercise square and only the charges of the day were in the barracks. First we visited the guard and arrest rooms. Then the commander led me into the crew quarters where the Europeans and the natives separated by company live. These are only different in the way that Europeans sleep on iron beds while the natives sleep on high wooden beds. In all these very large rooms there was a scrupulous cleanliness and order.

What I found strange was the large amount of iron used in the buildings under the tropical sky: All the rooms were covered by  corrugated iron and thick iron walls were installed between twenty beds each on which the people hung their possessions. In my view bamboo would serve the same purpose as iron which naturally will increase the heat in the interior of these buildings.

Also I think the uniform is not practical — the heavy blue cloth and the small cloth helmet which does not after all protect the head or especially the neck. The soldiers are very well equipped with shoes. Every man receives three new pairs annually. Nevertheless, the native companies almost always walk barefoot.

As a weapon they use Berdan rifles. Our Mannlicher ones, however, are currently tested; as  a sideweapon, a middle thing out of a bayonet and an angled blade is used. This knife is especially suitable to cut down the branches, lianas and especially bamboo in the jungle. The rear part of the knife carried by the NCOs has a saw.

Very large and beautiful are the rooms of the NCOs as well as the chancelleries. The NCOs also have a mess room and some kind of casino which is comparable to many European officers‘ mess rooms. In the mess room whose walls are decorated with numerous images and military emblems beautiful crockery and cutlery are used, while in the casino there are all kinds of games for recreation and a buffet for the refreshment of the visitors. A special  canteen manager offers beverages. The medical officers make sure that the consumption of „sterken drank“ (alcohol) remains within suitable limits for the climate of Java. The consumption of alcohol is not only bad in itself but it also especially hurts the process of acclimatisation that Europeans undergo during a longer stay on the island.

The men of the European companies have a similar recreation hall as the NCOs.

A very strange introduction is that all soldiers, Europeans and natives, are allowed to have women in the barracks who serve them as laundress, seamstress and food vendors. Also on campaign as in the time of the German Landsknechte in the 15th and 16th century the whole baggage train including the women follows the army. The women then are all assembled in real companies which are led by the women of the NCOs while one officer, like the „Weibel“ of the Landsknechte, is tasked with the supervision of the whole Amazon corps. In the morning, while the men are outside the barracks, all these women are assembled in a large room where they perform all their domestic duties and also provide the meals for their numerous offspring. Here the atmosphere is often very vivid and it must not be easy to contain the temperament of the large number of women of minor quality maintained by the government. I visited the above mentioned room in which there were around a hundred women and which was in a terrible state of disorder. The women of the natives have to sleep in the night on pallets on the naked ground. The children are partially cared for the government as most returning European soldiers simply leave their families behind after they have completed their service and these families would otherwise be left in misery.

During the visit to the kitchen I was surprised by the rich meals for the men in comparison to what is given to our soldiers. In the morning each man receives coffee, as well as eggs and butter and ham. At 11 o’clock soup, a very large portion of meat and a large ration of vegetable. At 4 o’clock again meat and rice.

Now I was led to the exercise hall, the school hall, the workshops and storerooms. The latter ones are in contrast to ours only very poorly equipped and contain only a very small amount of supplies as most deliveries are immediately issued out to the troops and the necessary resupply is undertaken from the main supply point in Batavia.

Even though the Dutch government and namely the war department had been busy during the last years to improve the military installations and take care in all aspects of the army, still much remains to be done as among others is shown by the failure in the war with Aceh on Sumatra. What circumstances in this war of almost endless duration have played a role against the Dutch and whether this can be taken as an indicator that the military genius of the Dutch people is not as developed as its talent for colonial management and its highly developed commercial skills is probably difficult to decide.

That the Dutch know to enhance their military occupation of East India by a reasonable colonial policy is beyond doubt. The government of the colonies makes an excellent impression. Everywhere there is wealth, and both the Europeans and the natives display satisfaction with the government to a much greater degree that is the case in other colonial empires.

Regarding the human aspect, the Dutch on Java seemed to me hospitable and homey people whom I will best remember by their open and heartfelt courtesy as well as the fact that they do not overrate their own facilities and qualities — a virtue one does not find everywhere.

At the station of Buitenzorg I said good-bye to the governor general and all other Dutch gentlemen to return to Batavia where I was invited by our consul Fock to a breakfast. Mrs. Fock, an impressive presence, gave the honors in a very kind way in the very neatly furnished house.

So many things in the dining room reminded us joyously and cozily of home. There stood the images of His Majesties the Emperor and the Empress. The table was draped with flowers and bands in our colors. Even the menus had photographies with views from the beloved mountain land of Austria and beautiful Vienna.

A special train took us to Tandjong Priok where I embarked again on board of „Elisabeth“. The merchant ships in the harbor presented their flag gala during my arrival at the harbor.

The gentlemen of my Dutch entourage visited the „Elisabeth“ in detail, its artillery  and other modern equipment was of special vivid interest to Colonel De Moulin. He had, amongst others, all the guns demonstrated in the utmost details.

Finally we said a very heartfelt good-bye to the gentlemen of my Dutch entourage. The anchors were hoisted and amidst the sound of the Dutch anthem we left beautiful Java in the direction of Australia.

Links

  • Location: Tandjong Priok, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 27.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Erbförster“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der Barbier von Sevilla“.

Tanggeng to Buitenzorg, 26 April 1893

At 1 o’clock in the  night the rain finally relented a bit. A short time after the joyful message arrived that it would be possible after all to cross the river as it had rained not as much up in the mountains and the water was falling fast. This message was naturally received with great pleasure. At half past 3 o’clock in the morning we were already ready to mount but as the natives did not seem to be early risers  it took some time until our night caravan started moving. As the horses needed first to be saddled, the drivers awoken and finally lanterns and torches were missing without which it would be impossible to move in the pitch-black night. Energetic sometimes not very courteous words helped to assemble the drowsy people in the place and some time after 4 o’clock in the morning we were riding one after another out of Tanggeng with a torch bearer spaced between every fourth or fifth rider. The expression of torch bearer is somewhat euphemistic as the torches were but burning kindling — naturally once again made out of bamboo!

The heavily swollen Tji Buni was crossed over a bridge; then it went up into the mountains where we often had to dismount as the horses had trouble moving over the smooth steep trails while they were burdened by riders. Thus we advanced reasonably and when we came to the ford at the next river whose crossing was said to be especially dangerous, it was already dawning so that we noticed with real joy how much the water level had fallen in the mean time. The crossing thus did not prove especially difficult. The horses still sunk down deep into the water but reached without troubles the other shore. As quickly as the mountain streams on Java rise into torrents, as quickly the water drains off,  so that the river soon took his usual course. The next and last ford was strangely a bit lower than the first time we crossed it.

After we had successfully crossed a number of rivers  namely Tji Buni, Tji Lumut and Tji Djampang, our mood improved greatly as the most beautiful part of the ride now lay in front of us, namely the route of Tji Djampang to the plantations in Sukanagara.

While climbing a ridge I discovered on a tall tree covered with all kinds of climbing plants multiple monkeys of which I bagged one specimen.This one had a rare, very beautiful long-haired grey coat similar to that of a silky pinscher, a black face and black extremities. After I had handed over the bagged monkey to a coolie and had ridden on some distance I heard again on a tall tree the voices of monkeys and saw a group of the large black Budengs that were sitting quietly in the branches. In spite of the height at which the animals were, I shot and bagged with four shots one of the monkeys, an especially large male that seemed to be the leader of the tribe. The monkey had just crushed down with a heavy fall from a branch, when the whole group started to move vividly. The monkeys jumped wildly around in the branches and rushed from tree to tree. Partly they used lianas that connected the different trees as bridges partly they jumped the wide distances to the next tree, holding on to its trunk only to rush on in an instant. Having lost their leader, the monkeys did not seem to know where to flee and jumped around without a plan so that I succeeded in bagging another six beautiful specimens.

In Sukanagara we were hospitably received again for a short time by Mr. Vlooten. Not yet 3 o’clock in the afternoon, we happily arrived at Tjibeber station. Our horses had performed admirably as we could not spare them in order to arrive on time and thus were required to continuously drive them on the long bad route.

That part of the baggage that had already reached its destination was quickly loaded onto the wagons. The rest of the baggage had not reached Tjibeber and was to be sent after us the next day. At the set hour our train whisked us away to Buitenzorg.

Midway in the route, Mr Kerkhoven, Baron van Heeckeren and Mr. Borrel left the train to return to their plantations. The three gentlemen had been very pleasant hunting companions during the whole expedition thanks to their natural and jovial character. I had learned to esteem them greatly and thus saying good-bye was very heartfelt.

In Buitenzorg whose main street was still populated by many pedestrians I entered the palace of the governor general where we dined talking about the expedition to the camp about Tjipandak.

Links

  • Location: Buitezorg (Bogor), Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 26.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Die Zauberin am Stein“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Rantzau“.

Sindangbarang to Tanggeng, 25 April 1893

In tolerable weather we started as usual from Sindangbarang. The routes to Tanggeng, much ruined by the continuing rain, still made it very difficult for our horses. Part of the route — the steep descent down the last ridge — we had to complete on foot as the horses managed to climb down only without load.

The arduous ride was more than compensated by the joys of seeing the splendid landscape again. At the border of the districts of Tjidamar and Djampang wetan we said affectionately good-bye to the chief of the former district; the territory of this dignitary did not offer us much in hunting terms at Tjipandak but he himself had been very courteous and had performed admirably namely in the organization of the hunt.

During our entrance on horses in Tanggeng the sky changed menacingly and soon opened up all sluices; the rain poured down more heavily than we had up to now seen. The flood fell upon the earth no longer in drops but in thick jets, in a moment everything was under water. Around our house a deep lake formed itself. The streams and rivers rose mightily in a short time.

When the storm began the coolies who had been sent ahead with the baggage had already marched beyond Tanggeng and we lamented that probably all our objects, all rifles and catridges would become completely wet. Furthermore Mr. Kerkhoven voiced concerns that the carriers would be unable to wade through the two rivers as the crossing had already proved difficult on our ride to the coast. In fact part of the coolies returned in the evening — the rain still had not diminished in intensity— with completely wet baggage to Tanggeng; the carriers explained that the first river to be crossed had risen so much that it was impossible to cross it. The other part of the coolies that had set out earlier had still managed to cross this river.

Now it was hard to know what to do; as under such circumstances we couldn’t cross the river on horses either. A longer stay in Tanggeng, however, would disrupt the whole planning of the journey, as the next day a special train would be waiting at Tjibeber station and a dinner with the governor general was planned as well as „Elisabeth“ was to be ready to depart under steam in the harbor of Tandjong Priok. But we could not inform anyone of them, neither the railway director, nor the governor nor the ship captain as we were cut off from Tjibeber and thus from Buitenzorg and Batavia. As the railway lines on Java close down for the night at the approach of darkness — there are no night trains here — the third hour in the afternoon would be the latest time of departure for the special train out of Tjibeber. In order to arrive at that time in Tjibeber we would have to ride 47 km on horseback from Tanggeng to the station just mentioned and be ready to depart from Tanggeng at 3 o’clock in the morning which currently seemed impossible.

Thus we sat on the veranda of our inn in a very depressed mood during the whole evening and constantly observed the weather with the same result every time as it was continuously raining heavily and the roaring of the river close by was increasing more and more.

Our mood became worse when Mr. Kerkhoven told uus that the baggage would not reach the train station in time even if we managed to reach Tjibeber on horses the next day. Finally we had seen enough of the weather and went to sleep.

Links

  • Location: Tanggeng, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 25.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Rosenkranz und Güldenstern“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der Prophet“.

Tjipandak to Sindangbarang, 24 April 1893

Already at 5 o’clock in the morning our rest was interrupted by the coolies who started early to move the baggage to the next way station at Sindangbarang. Later we left the beautiful hunting camp at Tjipandak that had grown on us and followed the train on horses on the same route that we had taken to the camp. At first we thought about hunting some peacocks during the ride but had to drop this project and rode without halt to Sindangbarang where we arrived toward noon.

Some of the horses had been injured during the arduous rides of the last few days and had to be led by the reins in the caravan.

As long as the route led along the sea cost, the temperature was still tolerable thanks to the strong breaking waves. The more we withdrew from the coast the more severe became the heat. The atmosphere was filled with muggy weather that was released in a heavy storm in the afternoon. Our activities in Sindangbarang were not particularly notable; as we slept the whole afternoon while the evening hours were spent preparing the mail.

Links

Tjipandak, 23. April 1893

As it had stopped raining — apparently honoring the fact that it was our final day in Tjipandak, I left the camp at the earliest time in the morning, despite the till ominous outlook at dawn, to hunt for peacocks on the way to the Banteng hunt. I did not see any peacocks though and just shot a Javanese jungle cock. It proved to be fatal that on this hunt I had to restrict myself to gestures with my Malay guide which was unsuccessful. Again and again, while he showed me his respect in the local manner by crouching and raising his hands in the air, he led me incessantly in circles and scared off all game with his gesturing.

Reunited with the gentlemen of my entourage we rode a new route that was in no way less difficult and had as many bad passages as those of the earlier hunting days. We were only spared having to wade through the river. The route went up and down the hills until it was finally declared that we had arrived at the hunting position where we noticed that it was the same one where Mr. Borrel had killed a Bateng three days before. This time, however, the drive would come from the opposite direction, probably to deceive us with this little stratagem. So I did have little hope to be successful right from the beginning.

As the sun was burning intensively, I had a screen built out of palm leaves behind which I sat down with my whole arsenal of guns and talked with Hodek. The hunt covering actually only a small area still lasted for a full three hours, which led me to the presumption that the drivers too had spent some time in the „shadow of a cool thinking space“. Towards noon, heavy rain fell and we were completely wet within minutes.

After a long wait the hunters and drivers finally snook up individually and tol about fresh tracks but could not offer more precise descriptions. The expedition thus was totally without result in terms of big game and especially Bantengs. The local hunters are used to hunt much later than the current season precisely as a successful catch is unlikely at present. Finally Mr. Kerkhoven told us that in this hunting ground many signs of game had been identified such as huts, tracks etc.

Despite the hunt’s failure — our actual goal — I will never regret this expedition; as I have gained an understanding in the culture of this still undeveloped region of Java, enjoyed myself seeing the splendors of the tropical jungle and spent a few agreeable days in our cozy hut camp at the shore of the beautiful Tji Pandak.

In the evening Hodek took some photographic images. Then we hunted until the approach of darkness and bagged a few specimens for the ornithological collection. Unfortunately, there were two cases of illness. Wurmbrand suffered from the effects of a heavy cold so that he could not participate in the hunt today, while again one of our crew was struck by heavy fever.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 23.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Traum, ein Leben“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Don Juan“.

Tjipandak, 22 April 1893

Rain, nothing but rain. Already during the whole night the heavy drops of rain hit the palm roofs of our huts and it trickled through now and then, so that the already wet possessions were completely soaked. Black clouds were hanging low in the sky as if the sky had opened up all sluices. As soon as the rain relented a little bit, a new downpour followed with an intensity unknown at home. In such conditions it was impossible to think about hunting, as the river was so swollen that it seemed impossible to cross it. The drivers and the hunters too could not have been motivated to move and enter into the thicket. Thus we had to be patient and spent the day with weather observations that however provided only very regrettable results.

As it happens in such cases we spent the time in eating in short intervals and complained extensively about the weather and the vexed rainy season. The water in the river rose so much and, by the way, the push back of the sea was noticeable in the waves of the river too, that we feared about our bathing hut and had to protect it.

As expected the harsher consequences of the bad weather did manifest themselves. One of our servants was struck by a heavy fever due to the constant wetness in which we are living and it its expected that we will see more sick cases.

Only after 5 o’clock in the evening the rain started to diminish a bit, so that we decided despite the great humidity to undertake a small hunting tour in the vicinity of the camp. I climbed a hill above the huts where palm groves extended between Alang grass areas. I bagged multiple doves, among them especially fruit doves. In the distance I also saw two monkeys and a beautiful but unfortunately very timid Javanese peacock sitting on a barren palm tree. The attempt to get closer failed as the thicket that separated me from it proved completely impenetrable. In fact sneaking up on game is nearly impossible here due to the noise involuntarily caused by any movement. I did not manage to bag a Javanese hornbill either of which multiple flew high up above the trees during the day.

From the hill I hunted down to the sea coast. There I met the other gentlemen and returned to camp only after it was completely dark.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 22.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse features a correspondent report in Calcutta about FF’s hunt in Nepal dated from 4 April 1893.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Bürgerlich und romantisch“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Die goldene Märchenwelt“.

Tjipandak, 21 April 1893

The outlook of catching Bantengs was not very good. Mr. Kerkhoven did not feel well in the morning and decided to stay in camp. Our chief hunter, the Mohammedan Haji, had received news that his daughter had died during the night from fever, an illness that had broken out only nine hours before. The poor man immediately departed to his far away home village to attend the funeral of his dead child.

Thus  we rode under the guidance of Baron van Heeckeren into the hunting ground where we had already hunted the day before and where we would hunt on the opposite ledge of our hunting stands of the day before. The drive again took up three hours. I had a very beautiful stand with good open space. In front of me lay a valley which looked very inviting, but unfortunately nothing emerged out of it. I believed however once hearing noise of breaking. The drivers too claimed to have seen a Banteng. As no shooter noticed anything, this bull must have been a mythical one.

The heat was not as sweltering hot as the day before but still  severe, so that upon my insistence another drive was improvised. The drivers ignited the grass from all sides and entered a certain distance into the jungle  but soon re-emerged out of the thickets. Due to the tiredness of the drivers and their lack of engagement this drive too ended without success.

After the usual bath while wading the river we were already at 4 o’clock in the camp where we failed to meet Mr. Kerkhoven as he had gone out for a peacock hunt, a good sign for his recovery.

It still seemed to early to stay at home and thus we picked up our pellet guns and hunted in the thickets close to our camp to complete the ornithological collection. Even though it was very difficult to advance in the jungle and the nearly impenetrable Alang grass so that we had to struggle at nearly every step, we nevertheless bagged in a relatively short time a quite respectable quantity of birds, among them some interesting species such as the multi-colored Javanese pink-necked green pigeon (Osmotreron vernans); then the green imperial pigeon (Carpophaga aenea); furthermore brown large cuckoo dove (Macropygia emiliana); lineated barlet (Cyanops lineata), red minivets; Java sparrows (Munia oryzivora) and multiple specimens of a glittering dark-green glossy black mynah (Calornis chalybea), as well as various species of swallows. In the evening Mr. Kerkhoven returned from his hunt with a beautiful Javanese peacock hen.

When we assembled in the camp, a heavy rain comae down, that even pierced the roofs of our huts. Still we passed the time in a  very cozy manner: Our hunters yodeled and Hodek presented famous poems of Stieler in Upper-Austrian dialect.

No wonder that I was taken by a quiet reminder of homesickness, that in the midst of this gorgeous tropical world my thoughts flew towards my home, that many memories of the beautiful days spent in Upper Austria were recalled — especially now were recalled when spring entered into the land at home and nature starts blooming anew after the winter’s rest, the ground starts ornamenting itself with young grass and the mountain cock high up in the mountains, sitting on an old weathered fir tree starts singing his amorous song until the hunter’s bullet throws him off, the shoot echoing like thunder breaking against the mountain face and the joyful shout is sent down to the valley veiled in mist.

In the tropics nature reveals to the astonished eye the luxurious splendor of its wonders, intoxicates the senses, when we feel surrounded by the jungle’s magic in the sweltering mugginess — in the mountains at home, nature is met veiled by its poetic charms, talks to the heart when we look up out of the dark coniferous woods to the firns bathed in a hint of pink, announcing dawn.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 21.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Kriemhilde“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der Troubadour“.

Tjipandak, 20 April 1893

The ground for the Banteng hunt today was considerably farther away than the one the day before. Only after a three hour march did we reach our destination. The ride during which we had, like the day before, to cross the river multiple times lead almost continuously through Alang grass without the need to overcome any especially difficult terrain obstacles. Only one time there was a very steep gorge to pass which seemed impassable for horses but which our local nags overcame in a truly admirable way, as they slided and glided, sitting on their rear legs, down into the gorge without accident and then climbing almost vertically up out of the deep again while we on foot were only getting across with difficulties over the stone plates and the smooth clay underground.

During our ride I saw on a hill in the distance the head of a deer rise out of the tall grass. The attempt to sneak up to the shy game was unsuccessful.

This time too the drive pushed towards forests down in the valley but the hunting positions were taken up along a ridge. Mr. Kerkhoven first positioned me at the lowest level and had the intention to put one of my gentlemen in the closest upward position. By a mistake of the native who Mr. Kerkhoven had sent back with the order of this arrangement it was Mr. Borrel and not one of my gentlemen who took up position next to me. I sat under a tree and had to suffer during the three hours of the drive much exposure to heat as the tree offered no shade, even more so as it deemed necessary in the interest of the hunt to keep very quiet. Thus I could only sit quietly and envy the legions of ants that were running up and down unimpressed by the heat. The open space around the position was very limited.

After the lifting shot I heard a strong breaking that could only be the result of large game but soon everything was quiet again. Some time afterwards my neighbor fired a shot then I saw and heard nothing more than the monotonous rattles of the drivers in the defensive line.

Finally at the end of the drive, Mr. Borrel approached me and apologized vividly that he had shot a Banteng bull, convinced that the piece would not come into the range of my rifle. How correct this was I could not assess. In any way, I was not much pleased that neither I nor one of my gentlemen had had hunter’s luck and looked with much shooter’s envy upon the capital bull that distinguished itself by its remarkable size and strength.

Much taller than our strongest cattle the Banteng stands on high legs. Its mighty head is ornamented with upward pointing crooked horns. The top skin is glittering black. The extremities below the knee are white as snow. When a Banteng moves through the thicket, one can hear from afar the breaking and crackle of the branches that are crushed by the animals. In the forests which we were passing through today we found everywhere large quantities of broken and dry bamboo sticks — apparent marks of the mighty Bantengs.

Mr. Kerkhoven who stood there somewhat annoyed that the bull had been killed not by me but Mr. Borrel had seen a Banteng cow in the distance. Wurmbrand too saw three animals that crossed at a great distance. Even though there was time to continue the hunt, the retreat was sounded because a heavy storm was brewing on the horizon and our hunting master feared that a heavy rain would make crossing the river impossible. But the storm cleared up and we only were touched by a few rain drops.

As hunters, drivers and dogs were already lost and thus the hunt was over for today, we wanted to use the remaining time after the return to the camp to fish in the river. It was not an especially beautiful way of fishing that we were practising. We namely used dynamite which all of our rational fishermen would have found abhorrent, but we wanted mostly to know whether there were any fishes in the river and if so of what species. Here too the natives had claimed that the river contained crocodiles. Thus dynamite was the quickest and safest means to answer these questions.

The river was closed off a few hundred paces downstream with a net. Then the Dutch gentlemen started adjusting the dynamite cartridges while my hunter as a former NCO of the engineer corps had to provide them with help and advice.  With the greatest calm they were handling dynamite and fuses in our dining hut After they had prepared everything without causing a rightfully feared explosion, the cartridges were hurled into the river after their fuses had been lighted. The explosion followed soon afterwards but for the present without the desired success as no fish appeared on the water surface.

We, I and some of the gentlemen, had in the mean time gained control of a vehicle composed out of two canoes bound together by bamboo and were expecting to find some fishes. As we took it upon ourselves to guide the vehicle with bamboo sticks, we played a miserable role as our double boat either was turning in a circle or with a loud crash hit the shore, so that we attracted the attention of the natives who had remained on land and generated general merriment. We did not catch any fishes but instead Clam fell head first into the water at a very deep spot while in the midst of busy rowing and touched the underside of a canoe with his head but was rescued out of the river by a united effort.

After this intermezzo we considered it advisable to desist from testing our nautical skills further but disembarked in order to observe the next effects of the exploder on land. As for quite some time no aquatic animal became visible in the river, we finally returned home.  Half an hour later, a native brought us a basket filled with dead fishes and told us that many hundreds of fishes were being washed down the river without a possibility to catch them as the people with the nets had already gone away. My knowledge in ichthyology were unfortunately insufficient to determine the specimens precisely that had become victims of the dynamite. One of the fishes with a remarkable red coloring of the scales could be possibly classified as a barbel.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 20.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „De Widerspänstige“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Carmen“.

Sindangbarang to Tjipandak, 19 April 1893

A consequence of the unwelcome Ramelan feast was that we, unfortunately, were absolutely unable to get our horses in the morning and neither horse keepers nor coolies nor village elders could be found. Everybody was still at rest after the joys of the day before and we were finally  starting to move towards 6 o’clock in Sindangbarang, despite being ready for departure since half past 4 o’clock. Sleepily the caravan moved towards the sea.

The ride in the soft sand of the dune was very attractive as the prescribed route led almost all alongside the coast and we had the wide blue sea with its mighty waves crashing into the shore to our right and the green coastal hills on the left. The morning before sunrise was agreeably cool and the fine water mist of the crashing waves was refreshing us and the horses. After two hours the tide increased more and more and the outliers of the waves were splashing under the feet of our horses. The crashing waves on the Southern coast of Java that approach in giant waves from the open sea only to foamingly break against the insurmountable wall is one of the noble sights of nature which the eye never tires to look at, which the memory will forever preserve. Enormous, boundless, holy is the power of the elements; how small and weak is man in comparison!

Thousands of crabs were running back and forth on the warm sand in which we found large pieces of pumice which the sea has disgorged and which are said to come from the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883.

Near a cadaver of a dead horse I observed a sea eagle with a fully white breast and head in the same color. Later I saw a second specimen sitting on a barren palm tree.

At one place rocks were barring the way to the beach so that we had to take a detour deep into the shore land- Even there we were faced with many obstacles, especially the rather wide Tji Udjong (Oedjong) that lay in such turns that we had to cross it three times in a very short distance. The first time on an improvised raft on which the horses were loaded too. the other two times wading across whereas we were submerged rather deeply in the water. An especially stubborn pony jumped from the raft into the river and swam happily to the other shore so that this intermezzo had no other disadvantage than the fact that the rider of that pony had to sit on a water-soaked saddle.

The wading of the river offered a pretty view due to the depth of the water: In front rode always our local guide, then followed I on my white mare which by the way behaved very sensibly in the water, then the other gentlemen and at the end the hunting baggage train on ponies which advanced partly swimming partly splashing and sometimes only keeping the head above the water.

We became in fact completely wet during each crossing but considered this an agreeable bath as the heat was intense. The sun mean very well, it sent its vertical hot rays down upon us. The temperature was today for once suitable for an equatorial zone!

Again at the beach we finally turned after a ride of 20 km to the north and stood after a short while in front of the camp in Tjipandak which we would occupy during the next few days. Something more habitable and cosy one could not find. With loud shouts of joy and appreciation we greeted Mr. Borrel, a  friend of Kerkhoven, who had rushed ahead a few days before to create this camp here. At the shore of the glittering blue Tji Pandak that rushes similar to a mountain river were huts between green trees, built airily completely out of bamboo while  palm leaves formed the walls and the roof. In the center of the camp stood some kind of platform on poles under a palm leaves roof which was to serve as our dining room. To the right was my accommodation, to the left those of my entourage. In the background were huts intended for Hodek and the servants. For the horses there were provided open barns. In front of the camp there was a small hut in the water to allow taking a bath or sunning oneself without the danger of catching a sunstroke.

This was all but just the right kind for a camp in the jungle. Mr. Borrel had fully taken into consideration the climatic and local relations and left out every unnecessary comfort; one could thus live completely out in the open but was protected against the sun and enjoyed the agreeable refreshing night thanks to the river nearby.

Thus we intend to live truly in an Arcadian way in our small valley cut off from the world. The hours not devoted to hunting we wanted to spend in conversation and rest in the dining hut, dive from time to time into the water of the mountain river whose clear cool water offers a delicious bath and would refresh us. No mail, no telegraph, no steaming locomotive would interrupt the pleasant calm. I greet you, virginal nature that surrounds us here in such a lovely manner! Today still, a hunt was planned. The result of my desires namely should be to bag a Banteng and bring its splendidly horned head back as a trophy.  Bantengs (Bos sondaicus) which live in herds are truly the largest wild cattle of the present era in the Indian islands, Siam and Burma. Mr. Borrel reported that all was ready and placed himself as a guide on a Sandelhout pony  at the front of the column. Close to the camp fresh tracks of Bantengs had been found and thus two drives were to be undertaken from there. The ride to the place was again very tiring for the horses as we had to pass over very steep ridges and the river had to be waded across three times. The first two crossings went rather well, at the last one we had to go so deep into the rapidly flowing water that the small ponies came across only with difficulties.

The ground we wanted to hunt in had a different character than the areas we had up to now crossed. The formation, however, was the same, but here the highlands cut by valleys and filled with gorges was not covered equally with woods anymore but had extended green areas  with Alang grass between patches of woods. Apparently large forest fires had raged here some time ago and laid bare the ground in numerous places.

This spot was the favorite place of the Bantengs that stay in the thickets of the woods during the day and venture out towards evening to those spots where the Alang grass offers saplings for grazing.  The only possible art of hunting Bantengs here is the drive, a chase through the impenetrable thickets is not possible. After the end of the rainy season, that is the beginning of May,  the natives ignite the dry Alang areas so that then the game can be easily discovered in forest clusters and confirmed. Drives can then be immediately undertaken. Unfortunately my presence on Java was still during the rainy season, which made hunting extremely difficult due to the tall and still green Alang grass. The discovery of game was nearly impossible and even game that emerged out of a thicket was only visible from a few paces away in the tall dense grass — The Alang grass was in many places so high that not even a horse could be seen in it, the points of the grass stalks could even rise higher than the head of a rider.

Hunting Bantengs is performed in the current era in the following matter: The drivers surround a clearing and defend it in creating great noise with bamboo rattles after the lifting shot, while individual hunters enter into the clearing and as soon as they have found a track, send out the dogs that will bark as soon as they discover the game. If this method is unsuccessful, all are ordered to advance into the clearing if this is possible but usually without much success due to the hunting methods used everywhere in the southern regions.

Disorder, carelessness and waste of time by the drivers was very noticeable today. In a systematic and correct drive it should not have been too difficult in my opinion to bag some Bantengs. But then this rare species would soon go extinct. Apparently it is only due to the deficiency of the hunting organization that this mighty wild cows had not yet been eradicated.

As our chief hunter served a Mohammedan preacher (Haji) who was considered the best authority on hunting matters here and forcefully took charge of the affair.

The first drive ended completely without a result. Originally it was intended to follow-up the first drive with a second drive but Mr. Kerkhoven believed to desist as the drive had made all game escape so that there was no hope to achieve better results in the second attempt. Thus we returned, crossing the river three times again, to our palm huts where a meal cooked by a Javanese cooking artist was awaiting us. After the conclusion of the meal we went to rest at an early hour of the night.

I was already sleeping when a loud noise woke me as close to my rest an animal voice was heard. I jumped up and soon noticed the animal whose sounds had awoken me so abruptly. It was a gecko, one of these large lizards whose loud screams might mislead a novice to  think that it was a large animal. The light of a few matches which I had quickly ignited chased away the intruder that did not appear again during the night.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 19.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Heiratsnest“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der fliegende Holländer“.

Tanggeng to Sindangbarang, 18 April 1893

Today, the first of the month Sawal after the end of the fasting month Ramelan (Ramasan) or Pasa, was the Javanese feast of Idul-Fitr. This day — Garebeg Puwasa day — is considered the start of the new year by the natives which became apparent to us during the ride when the small settlements we passed through were all filled with music and a festive air.

After a long refreshing sleep we departed to first climb a mountain along our route whose steepness was in no way less demanding than one of our own mountain trails. The sky had completely cleared up, the sun stood high and we enjoyed a wonderful view upon the countless mountain peaks and volcanoes during our way up and on the way down upon the mountain ranges and surrounding valleys. A large part of the Preang residency lay in front of our eyes and feet, a splendid piece of West Java.

The full enjoyment of these enchanting panoramic views suffered from the care demanded by the difficult terrain so that we had to attend to our horses, as the rain of the last few days had made the steps cut into the steepest parts of the mountain trail very smooth and slippery so that our horses had great difficulty in climbing. Finally, with great effort we reached the top which marked the divide between the districts Djampang wetan and Tjidamar. There we were greeted by the district chief of Tjidamar with many bows.

Our very tired horses required a short rest and then the route descended on relatively good trails only to go up again. The scenery surpassed in beauty even that seen the day before which had enchanted us so much. This was true tropical forest in which one picturesque view displaced the next one; each, however, was enchanting and unique. Here giant trees are lining the trail that was thickly covered with grass. There emerges rampantly growing brushwood in a clearing, Then we are enclosed for miles by a thick high forest which provided cover for game that was unreachable for the hunters. Whether it was a tree, a bush, a herb or moss, every plant was luxurious and beautiful, the diversity of the plants decorating the ground seemed inexhaustible. Thus the trunk of a dead tree provided the seeding space and root bed for twenty of the most different plant species. We all agreed that the vegetation of Java surpassed the splendid plant variety of Ceylon by far, to say nothing about the other floral kingdoms of India.

The poverty of the variety of birds was noticed by us as, apart from some Columbidae as well as some small nectarines, I only saw a single large hornbill.

Starting at a settlement where the horses were switched, the trail descended steeply towards the Southern coast of Java as well as towards Sindangbarangab which was situated close to the sea coast. Now we saw between the trees deep down below us the glittering wide blue sea and were able to distinguish clearly the white line of the strong breaking waves.

The descent happened mostly on foot with us leading the horses by the reins. Then we crossed the deep river Sadea, which went very quickly despite the small bamboo barges we used that could only carry one horse at a time.

After 7,5 km in plain terrain along the river shore we reached the small rest lodge of the district village of Sindangbarang,  which was surrounded by a settlement and lay in the shadow of mighty trees and was to serve us as our much desired accommodation after a long ride. Our horses too seemed to appreciate the rest. They had covered 28 km of very demanding terrain so that they had to be pushed at the end of the ride and were stumbling constantly.

Despite Sindangbarang’s location about 20 minutes from the sea coast, one could still hear the booming sea in the rest lodge. Towards evening I went to the beach with the gentlemen of my entourage in order to bag some ornithological catches. We enjoyed the view of the powerful breakwater that expands over the totally flat sand  just like at Ostend or Helgoland. But just the view of the salty water did not provide sufficient entertainment and thus Clam and I ran without a plan into the man-high waves and took a gorgeous refreshing bath. The other gentlemen soon followed our example and now we were standing in the most diverse costumes on the beach and let the foaming waves splash around us which was very agreeable after the heat of the day. Our clothes which we had not taken off were however considerably damaged so that we  returned to the rest lodge all happy and entertained but in very deficient clothing.

To honor the great Ramelan feast there was a common spectacle in the village so that I made an extended tour to learn more about the customs and manners on Java, but it did not offer much that was new or remarkable. Some native women were beating again in time with bamboo sticks upon a hollowed out tree trunk, singing or actually howling, while nearby large crowds were packed around a Wajang. This Wajang, which reminded me vividly of a Javanese version of a „Punch and Judy theater“,  was similar to a shadow play which we had seen in Garut.

Until late in the night one could hear the monotonous beats of the gong and melancholic music of the Gamelang which didn’t help to catch some sleep that was so necessary for all and led not to words of appreciation but rather to expressions of displeasure.

Links

  • Location: Sindangbarang, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 18.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Die Journalisten“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Robert der Teufel“.