Schlagwort-Archiv: June

Kajeli to Amboina, 30 June 1893

For today’s drive our steam boat had departed already at 4 o’clock in the morning and at first anchored next to the land tongue of Lissaletta at 6 o’clock. For a moment a blue sky looked down upon us but soon the firmament was overshadowed and a tropical rain poured down. In comparison with this the famous Salzburg rods of rain („Schnürlregen“) is but a drizzle.

On the spot where we landed, close to some fishermen’s huts, the „outstanding“ guides of the hunt of the day before and a group of drivers with dogs were waiting for us.  We climbed up on a hill where the usual large discussion took place. After its conclusion the drivers first moved out and then the shooters in different directions.

To my great astonishment, the number of shooters had greatly increased as some undefined individuals armed with adventurous guns joined us who were said to act as defenders in the hunt when I asked about their purpose. Despite the fact that we had keenly expressed with words, gestures, pleas and orders not to release the dogs and to keep quiet on the way to the hunt, we heard their ongoing shouts and cries in the forest and soon the dogs too started to bark and drove a deer calf close to us but I did unfortunately miss it.

The terrain had a very different character than that of yesterday’s hunt. I might say it looked Australian as in the tall grass there rose individual trees, now and then there were steep ledges that suddenly dropped down to the sea. Then there were again denser wood areas with a liana-like undergrowth.

A one-hour march took us to our positions whose line formed a semi-circle where we had hardly taken up positions when the shouts of the drivers were heard who were tasked to drive game towards us. I took up position on the outermost spot on the right wing. Below me was the defense with the numerous „wild“ shooters. For a long time nothing was visible while above my position many shots were fired. Finally I saw in short intervals some wild boars move at a large distance through the tall grass below my position, but one could see those animals only for moments. I tried my luck with a few shots and also hit one strong two-year-old animal that was found dead during the next drive. A single piece killed by me turned out to have been already wounded by another shooter.

After the end of the tedious drive it became clear that nearly all shots had been fired by native shooters who in fact had a good field of fire but truly without any results, having fired much grain at game, among it also a good deer. The defense below my position had also joined in the hunt but only managed, gesticulating wildly, to drive in a live deer calf which the dogs had stopped in front of the shooters.

The Dutch seemed, if I may conclude from my experiences on Java and now here, not very apt in hunting and the organization of a hunt. At least there was a complete mess during the three drives that were undertaken. We may have been positioned but mostly in the wrong places or only after the drivers had already moved past. Nobody was directing the whole, each native wanted only to shoot himself and the drivers walked instead of through the thicket, shouting loudly, one after the other alongside the shore. To this confusion the flood-like rain may have also contributed.

I regreted the failure due to the mentioned ills all the more as in the overgrown ledges there seemed to be plenty of game according to the tracks. Not a single babirussa was caught.

As we could see that the drivers had grown weary about the hunt and there was no order, we turned our attention to the world of the numerous birds present and bagged a sizeable number of large grey and yellow pigeons as well as multiple parrots. I was so happy to catch three predators in a short time by accident, namely a mighty white-breasted sea eagle (Haliaetus leucogaster) with a white body, striped tail and pigeon-grey wings that had landed on a high branch. Then an osprey (Pandion leucocephalus), very similar to the European one, and a falcon (Falco moluccensis), which resembled our kestrel but was more intensively colored. The latter two had been flying over me during the drives.

The rain continued to grow stronger. Finally the soaked cartridges could no longer be inserted into the rifle barrels and thus the retreat call was sounded and we returned on board to drive back directly to Amboina.

We had hardly left the bay of Kajeli when we were received by the high sea waves in the Strait of Manipa that threw our small steam boat around so violently that one after another left the company on deck and disappeared into the cabin only to emerge when wer arrived back in Amboina with an important delay. Totally battered and shaken we returned on board of „Elisabeth“. Staying there, however, was not particularly agreeable as coal was still being loaded on board and everything was wet from the pouring rain.


  • Location: Amboina
  • ANNO – on 30.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Fesseln“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.

Kajeli, 29 June 1893

An eight-hour night drive brought us to the East coast of the island of Buru where we anchored in the bay of Kajeli next to the town of the same name.

To our surprise there was no rain today but beautiful sunshine in whose radiance the bay of Kajeli presented a very charming picture. In the distance we could see a mighty mountain whose peak was almost completely enveloped in clouds and which the natives call a „holy mountain“ as its top has never been touched by a European foot. The Eastern promonitory of Kajeli were two cone-shaped mountains called „mother and daughter“ while the mountain descends to the coast at a soft slope.

Kajeli itself lies in a swampy plain criss-crossed by small streams and is covered with mangrove trees. The plain extends to the land tongue of Lissaletta that limits our view on the right.

The post master and the commander of the fort Defentie appeared on board to arrange the program for the next two days with the resident according to which Kajeli would be first visited and then birds would be hunted. This met my special applause as Buru, like all Maluku islands, was known for its richness and diversity of its bird world. For the second day a hunt for deer, wild boars (Sus celebensis) and hairy babirusa (Babirussa alfurus) was planned. The strange babirussa is found outside its mainland of Celebes only on Soela, Mangoeli and Buru and is a very strange and rare animal with two pairs of tusks grown together above the snout. Understandably I desired to kill such an animal.

After the end of the discussion we drove on land and had to be carried in decorated chairs by coolies over the water to a triumphal arch as the boats could not land due to the muddy shore. The dignitaries of Kajeli received us festively.

The post master, the highest ranking government official on Buru, is not only in charge of the district of Kajeli but also a large part of the island that is divided in areas ruled by rajas. As post masters usually are appointed native just like in Dobo and also the commander of the small, semi-decayed fort and the mayor of Kajeli were pure-blood Malays.

Among the crowd I especially noticed two Alfures who had come from Ceram with trading goods. They looked stronger and better built than their Malayan relatives. Characteristic was their ferocity with which they provocatively glanced around. In contrast to the Amboinese, they were only wearing a loincloth made out of palm bast on which the Alfures use to mark the number of heads they have captured by colored rings. It is well known that the Alfures even today go on manhunts in Ceram armed with very sharp kris and spears made out of ironwood. Thanks to the courtesy of Baron van Hoevell I came into possession of many characteristic Alfurian ornaments and weapons.

As I thought that the morning hours were especially suitable for hunting birds I shifted the visit of the town Kajeli to a later time and asked the post master and the controller of Amboina who were in charge of the expedition on Buru to point out the best hunting grounds to me. After prolonged discussion which included the consultation of the best hunting expert of Kajeli — by the way, a suspicious looking individual wearing a worn black coat and a black hat  — it was recommended to us to drive to a land tongue as there would be parrots of five different species.

The time required for the drive to that land tongue was estimated at two hours. But instead of choosing the steamers, surely the fastest and most practical means of transports, the organizers of the excursion had opted to use sailing praus. Due to the complete lack of wind the sails could not be used so that the praus had to be moved by oars. Further delay was caused by the quickly increasing heat which soon tired the oarsmen.

Despite all this we finally reached our destination after a protracted drive and thought that now the hunt would soon start — but here too there were all kinds of discussions necessary. Finally the hunting expert took charge and advanced about 400 paces along the coast until we reached a point where at a shallow spot there were large tree trunks in the sea. Here there were some seagulls, sandpipers and plovers but at such large a distance that it was impossible to take a shot at them. Only Clam who had waded closer managed to bring back a harmless tern as the only catch.

Soon the people explained to us that the hunt was over now and that we could return to Kajeli, as there were no parrots here and also it made no sense to wait for pelicans which the hunting expert had believed to find here. Entering into the mangrove forest would be impossible too due to the swamp. Rather angry that we had thus lost a morning we had to spend the next two hours being rowed back to Kajeli in the midday heat but we landed outside of it as we decided to go hunting on our own in the woods surrounding the settlement.

Here everything looked dead and quiet at first. In the muggy heat no bird wanted to move and only gorgeous butterflies of all sizes and colors were fluttering around. The forest was not contiguous and closed but alternating with open areas of coarse grass called „kusu-kusu“. In the wooden areas in this terrain stood palm trees namely the fibrous sago palm (Pigafetta filaris), ficus  and eucalyptus trees in whose shadow I waited for some time until bird voices were to be heard again. Even though I hunted until the evening, our catch was not very rich: I bagged only two parrots of different species, one in green, the other in red (Tanygnathus megalorhynchus and Eos rubra), as well as a specimen of a gorgeous white, actually light-yellow fruit pigeon (Myristicivora melanura), finally a mysterious flier (Macropteryx [Dendrochelidon] mystacea) with long white hairs under the bills and some smaller birds. My gentlemen only caught two pigeons and a large grey fruit pigeon with metallic green wings (Carpophaga perspieillata) and a small green and yellow colored Pompadour green pigeon (Osmotreron aromatica) with a grey head.

In the hunting terrain I could examine a strange example of the manner in which the natives here build paths. I had asked my guide to bring us back to Kajeli by the shortest route as the sun was already low on the horizon. This proved to be a well traveled straight „linea recta“ path but which crossed a small river twenty-four times which we had to wade across every time for want of bridges. But this did not trouble me much as my stay in the tropical region had acquainted me with wading streams, rivers and swamps on a daily basis, in rain or not, and becoming soaked.

The short time left before the approach of darkness I used to visit Kajeli and the house of the post master. The settlement offered little that was notable with the exception of the semi-decayed fort whose low walls, it is said, are built upon the foundations dating from the Portuguese rule. The post master gave me in his house the skulls of two fully grown babirussas as a present and brought out three living cuscus that looked comically with their large goggle eyes. I immediately had them sent on board. Cuscus (Phalanger) are strange marsupials from the Austro-Malayan region and are divided into five species.

The evening was spent on board where again a case of sickness had to be noted as Hodek had become a victim of the fever.


  • Location: Amboina
  • ANNO – on 29.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Dorf und Stadt“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.

Amboina, 28 June 1893

Officially, that is according to the Dutch government, the island whose capital we were now going to pay a visit is called Amboina as is the capital, but the natives and the resident Europeans as well as the German geographers of the New School always call the island Ambon or Amboin. This word is said to be derived from the language of the Alfures, the aboriginal inhabitants of the Maluku islands to which Amboina in fact belongs and has the same meaning as the word for „fog“ and only was pronounced differently by the Portuguese in the above manner. The name is explained by the aspect that the island is covered for a good part of the year in dense fog and in fact this was just the exact view offered when we arrived there: Grey impenetrable fog covered the island when we entered the bay of Amboina at 7 o’clock in the morning in the pouring rain.

The island of 998 km2 has around 30.000 inhabitants of which 11.566 were Christians. It is part of the Dutch residency of the same name that includes the whole Southern group of the Maluku islands, the Banda islands and other islands. Amboina, Southwest of Ceram, East of Boeroe, consists of two peninsulas, a larger long-winded, besteht  Northwestern one and a smaller Southeastern one. The first one is named Hitoe, the latter Leitimor. Both peninsulas are only connected by a sand strip no wider than 1.5 km with sea bays on both sides. The Western one called Amboina Bay enters in a Northeastern direction towards the mentioned isthmus and provides shelter on its Eastern shore for the excellent harbor on which the capital Amboina is located. The second bay turned toward the South-west called Bagoeala Bay is much smaller and cuts less deeply into the land.

Despite the heavy rain, the impression that the land on both sides of the long-winded bay made on us was a very good one and automatically reminded us about the hills and mountains of the Danube near Grein and near the eddy. Similar to there, here too green mountains with deeply cut valleys an gorges appear, and each hill constitutes something whole on its own, the slopes are interrupted by bare spots which here are not covered in emerald green meadows at home but covered with alang-alang. Instead we had imagined Amboina, both the harbor and the town as the most important trading place and base of the Dutch rule in the East of the Malaysian archipelago, to be quite different than what we saw at the entrance into the harbor. In the harbor lay with the exception of the small government steamer „Arrant“ that was performing police services in the islands of the Amboina group, not a single ship. The town itself presented itself on first sight as a small and unimportant trading place so that the hopes of those gentlemen sank who expected to spend a few comfortable days and an enjoyable life here after the bad times spent on the Solomon islands, New Guinea and on Aru.

The saying „The early bird catches the bird“ did not to be known among the Amboinese. When the harbor captain and the pilot did not make an appearance but were satisfied to send a small Malay on board of „Elisabeth“ who however did not feel comfortable in his position as assistant pilot. A peculiarity of the harbor is its great depth so that soundings the edge of the shore still read as 20 to 30 fathoms. For the time being no anchor was dropped but the ship was provisionally moored to a weak buoy and we were waiting for somebody to show up to inform us about anchorage, loading coal etc. By and by a number of tiny canoes were swarming around us, crewed by Amboinese an Chinese who curiously stared at the ship and, as practical merchants, held up a large number of certificates in various languages.

In reply to the territorial salute of „Elisabeth“, the guns of the fort thundered across the sea — siege guns of ancient vintage and giant size whose handling required much effort by the crew and much time so that he pieces were only able to greet us out of their iron mouths with ceremonial breaks in between.

Finally the harbor captain and an official of the resident made their appearance. The former to show us our anchorage at the coaling station and the latter to announce the visit of the resident, Baron van Hoevell, who shortly afterwards came on board.

We mostly discussed the program for the next days and I much appreciated the proposal to undertake an excursion on the island of Buru. During  the conversation we learned that Baron van Hoevell had been serving for 25 years in Dutch East India, the last two years as resident of Amboina and that he would return home after two more years to take up a professorship at a university. That a man who has served in an executive function in the colonial administration and in an important position desires to occupy a professorship and spend his retirement years to further science is without doubt a rare case. This intention of the resident I found strange at first but seemed to me to become understandable the more I spoke with him as Baron van Hoevell is an incredibly well read man with a wealth of experience who has an impeccable reputation as an ethnologist and is an expert in this field for many matters about the Malaysian islands. He has journeyed across them repeatedly and researched some of their parts, especially the Maluku and Aru islands closely and described them in remarkable monographs. To have met this dignified researcher and to have been told much strange facts and personal observations increased my interest.

During the visit of the resident, the wind had turned so that the ship was driven with the stern against the land and it was feared that the ground might be touched by the rudder. „Elisabeth“ therefore moved under steam in front of the town and was moored on a wooden mole of the coal depot to the South-west of the town in order to load coal. This maneuver proved difficult, especially as the cables of one anchor that was to be dropped in the stern had intermingled themselves among the propeller and could only be untangled by a diver. The ship also had only half a meter of water below its bottom due to the low tide and the ship’s important draft. The apparatus to load coal looked rather primitive. As other equipment was lacking the coal had to be loaded in baskets over a wooden bridge into the battery and then on deck. As the seven day journey to Sarawak required 500 tons of coal, it was feared that the loading of the coal would take many days to complete.

Accepting an invitation of the resident, I landed in the afternoon when the rain had a bit relented at Fort Victoria where  Baron van Hoevell was awaiting me with the military commander and some officials. This fort is an ancient building whose walls have suffered partly from earthquakes, especially that of 1705, partly from the decay resulting from the passing time. Its origin lays at the beginning of the Dutch East India company. Its coat of arms is still visible on all walls of the fort. As garrison serves a part of a garrison infantry battalion and part of a company of foot artillery of the Dutch colonial army. The uniform and arms are the same as that of the troops we had seen on Java.

We found ourselves agreeably disappointed when a visit of the town showed us that Amboina extended far larger than the view of the harbor might lead one to expect. From there we could only see the business district. The other parts of the town is divided by straight broad roads lined with trees and hedges. The roads cross at right angles and thus form square or rectangular blocks enclosed by gardens and under luxurious trees out of which rise villas and houses while in the background of this garden town there are hills.

The native Amboinese are often called so in ethnographic works and included among the East Malays and according to researchers are a mix of at least three races, namely Malay, Portuguese and Papuans or Ceramese with occasional inclusions of Chinese and Dutch. The Alfures who are said to be the original inhabitants of the Maluku islands were for a long time thought to be a special race similar to the Papuans but recently it was realized that part of the Alfures is accounted by the mix among Malays and Papuans and that a large part of Alfures are actually pure Malays. Whatever the truth may be, the Amboinese reminded me with their small delicate stature, their yellow skin and the slanted eyes vividly of Javanese.

The Amboinese are mostly Christian, in part they worship Islam. The Christians are called Oran Sirani (Nazarenes). The native Christian population which has strong Portuguese elements can be easily externally distinguished  as both men and women wear black clothes. This is probably in memory of their ancestors who wore the festive black in which the Portuguese would have arrived at the turn of the 17th century and made a huge impression. The Portuguese influence lasted from the discovery of Maluku (1512) to the start of the 17th century during which they occupied Amboina and has also influenced the language of the Amboinese as even today a good number of Portuguese words are used for things of everyday life.

Besides these parts of the population we saw a strong Chinese colony on Amboina that here too managed to turn all trade into their monopoly as well as a large number of Arabs which can be immediately recognized by their turban, their long clothes and their dignified walk. Finally there is naturally a Dutch colony.

The total number of inhabitants of the town is 8063 souls among them 788 Europeans and 4529 native „citizens“.

As far as buildings are concerned, the houses of the Europeans need to be mentioned which are similar to the Dutch houses on Java. They are also single storey, airy, have verandas and surrounded by gardens and painted white.  Right to the last corner, they are extremely clean. The huts of the natives resemble those of the Javanese Kampongs where bamboo, palm fibers and fletching serve as building material — all without using a single iron nail — and even the roof frame is kept together and fixed with strong fiber ropes.

The government building in Batoe Gadjah has been set out with large wasted spaces and in fact in a style which I would call „Dutch-Javanese“. It has a single floor with numerous open verandas and is surrounded by a well kept park with many streams and a deer herd that made it very agreeably vivid.

At the entrance they had built a triumphal arch in my honor where the received me in an original manner. Next to it stood the Chinese dignitaries of the town with large colorful banners with golden characters. Up to the door of the residence a strange corps stood at attention: an Amboinese dancing group in fantastic costumes that performed bizarre war and joy dances accompanied with pipes and drums as soon as we approached. These dances were so beautiful and wild that our horses immediately shied and absolutely could not be made to advance between the vividly moving noisy rows of the dancers.

Each artist was wearing pants with red flower motives, a white pleated shirt ornamented on the breast a sash with pearls and gold decorations and as a headdress an enormous paper helmet that formed point in the front on which rose a giant bush of feathers from birds of paradise, pigeons and roosters. Around the chin and the ears was bound a white cloth which gave the impression as if all the dancers suffered from toothache. In their hands they carried very narrow conical shields.

Thus equipped, the very earnest looking and thus all the more comical group jumped and whirled around like mad so that we could not refrain from smiling despite all efforts. While the Amboinans and Chinese were still parading past me,  Baron van Hoevell presented me to his wife and her sisters and then accompanied me immediately afterwards into the very interesting ethnographic museum. The content of which, all consisting of objects the resident had acquired during his stay in the Malayan archipelago, showed his expertise in the choice of objects and their arrangement. Here I found curiosities which even the museum in Batavia did not have. Especially richly represented were the Maluku islands in the van Hoevell collection and among it especially again Ceram; weapons, jewelry, fetishes, domestic tools — everything was represented here in rare and in part very valuable exemplars. What was namely remarkable to me were the numerous highly detailed models of Malayan praus, junks, boats and canoes that were exact copies of the original in the tiniest detail.

In large containers was a rich collection of the shells of the Maluku Strait and the Sea of Banda. To my great joy, Baron van Hoevell presented me the whole collection as a gift with the intent that he would be pleased if it could be exhibited in my country. The collection can justly be called a treasure, has been precisely cataloged and runs to more than 1000 numbers. The resident added to this present also a large number of specimens of birds of paradise from New Guinea and the Aru islands among them specimens from species of which I had only known their name.

Until the start of the dinner in the government building and while the ladies were refreshing themselves for it, I tried a stroll through Amboina but soon had to stop and flee as hundreds of boys crying and shouting were accompanying me and constantly singing in Dutch the well known song „Long may he live“ to the amusement of the onlookers. Soon the adults joined the procession and I considered it better, as the enthusiasm of the youth continued to increase, to go back to the park.

Before the dinner a few singers produced themselves presenting the anthem and then a number of concert pieces in a very successful manner whereas a music band of native artists did not likewise meet my approval as their presentation were too similar to those of the gypsies whose melodies I do not manage to find tasteful.

The dinner ended only at a late hour after which we and the resident embarked on the government steamer „Arrant“ to drive during the night to the island of  Buru where we intended to stay for the next two days. The small steamer „Arrant“ that had only been constructed a short time ago in Amsterdam did not look promising from the outside as its tiny tonnage did not stand in relation to the ship’s height. The interior design, however, was very practical, spacious and as always with the Dutch very clean. As the steamer is assigned to police duty in the islands it is on the move all year long and only stays a few days in the harbor of Amboina.

The rain that had started in the mean time ended even before we left the harbor and the glittering moon watched friendly through the clouds when Amboina disappeared out of our sight.


  • Location: Amboina
  • ANNO – on 28.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Ein Volksfeind“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.
  • On 28th June 1914, Franz Ferdinand and his wife were murdered during a visit to Sarajevo. Their death would trigger the First World War.

At Sea to Amboina, 27 June 1893

In a calm sea, we passed still during the night the Kei islands, part of the Maluku islands, to the Northwest of Wammar and part of the group of the South Easter islands. In the morning we saw the Watoe Bella islands, especially Tivor that apparently has the same characteristic scenery as the Aru islands.

The Banda Sea we were now crossing made itself felt by its great heat. Towards noon a South-east monsoon arrived. The weather may have been rainy but at least we were spared stronger winds during the day. But dark clouds loomed over all the islands that we passed out of which lightning flashed constantly.

The evening view upon the Banda islands was very pretty. They are of volcanic origin and covered with a very dense vegetation and especially famous for their intensive cultivation of nutmeg. This industry is said to cover at the moment nearly all the area open to cultivation.  From those lovely islands sweet aromatic smells were drifting towards us despite the distance of multiple miles. Moon after moon flowers and fruits blossom in sweet unity — how much will it flower and be fragrant there when the tropical spring reaches the chalices!

Mightily rises the island volcano Goenoeng Api out of the sea with its pointed 670 m high cone. This fire mountain is, even if not currently, still active and a few years ago a heavy eruption has caused terrible damage on the nearby inhabited Banda islands of Xeira and Banda Lontar which claimed many human lives.


  • Location: Banda islands
  • ANNO – on 27.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Unterstaatssekretär“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.

Dobo, 26 June 1893

The fat post master had proposed to undertake today an excursion to the island of Wassir, North of Wammar, as there would be, according to him, large numbers of big game and wild boars so that we should certainly achieve good results.

The post master’s message about the hunting opportunities on Wassir was confirmed by the captain of the English pearl fishing schooner. He had just come on board of „Elisabeth“ during the post master’s report to buy salt junk as the schooner had not possessed any tins for weeks as the Dutch were not willing to sell him any under any condition. This „war of tins“ had its origin in the ongoing jealousy between the Dutch and the British about the rights to fish for pearls in the waters of New Guinea and especially its Western coast.

But,  aside from all the testimonials about the Wassir’s richness in game, the weather had to play along too — this key regulator of all human activity. The outlook for our expedition was not promising: Black clouds covered the sky and it poured down incessantly as if heaven had opened up all its sluices, when we pushed off from the ship at 6 o’clock. The rain became heavier and heavier so that we could from time to time barely perceive the islands of Wokam and Udjir which we passed at a distance of a few kilometers in a Northern direction.

My companions on this „grey journey“ were the post master who was wearing a dandy-like dress today, my gentlemen and from the staff Gratzl as well as Bourguignon.

Thanks to the speed of the barge our drive took only two hours and this time, landing was easy as the deep access channel reached up to the shore. Here there lay five praus whose passengers, inhabitants of the island of Wassir, would serve as our guides and drivers. The majority of them had Malay looks, the rest however were real Aruans who look similar to the Papuans but can still be distinguished from them: Their facial features were less pleasingly formed and have, if I am permitted to say, a more wild impression than the Papuans. The hair of the Papuans stands in bushels while the Aruans were their hair long and not brushed upwards into a crown. It hangs limply down in the manner of a mane or knotted into a bunch. As far as ornaments are concerned, there is little to be seen on these savages. Instead they carried beautiful weapons namely spears with iron points that had been originally traded and kris-like knives whose shafts are ornamented with tin or silver. Clothing is naturally limited to a loincloth.

I did not feel keen to involve myself into the ethnological problems of such a tiny group that still differed amongst itself and even scientists had found no consensus about the race of the Aruans. The main reason for this is the fact that the Aruans look to us as a mixed people which had received in earlier times even Portuguese blood but that did not have a positive effect on the race.

Despite the constant rain we decided to undertake a hunt as the game had been so colorfully described to us. Wassir showed a very different character than Wokam as everywhere there also were coraline lime between the rich humous layer but the swamps and swampy lower areas were completely missing. The vegetation was similar to that on Wokam but not as luxurious and dense. I hunted under the guidance of a Malay and followed by our fat post master who had to trot furiously today, three hours cross-country all over the island without ever seeing a single piece of game. Instead there was once a small dog that ran with us and barked next to me but as it turned out without reason for which he was ungently pushed with a spear by an angry Malay. I found some tracks and later the tooth of a boar — but that was all.

When we, tired from the long walk, met the other shooters at noon on the coast, they reported that with the exception of Clam who had seen three pieces of game flee nobody had seen anything that could be hunted. Bourguignon was not present and only arrived one and a half hours later as his guide had missed the direction and had led him for a long time in circles in the native manner we knew all too well.

In the mean time we had found cover from the constant pouring rain under an overhanging rock and on an open fire which we had ignited to prepare breakfast we dried our clothes as well as we could — an effort that had to be futile as our clothes were within minutes completely wet minutes after we departed to undertake another drive the natives had advised us to do.

The natives expected much from the newly beginning drive as they explained that they would drive across one half of the island and thus drive the game towards our positions. What we could not shoot from the positions, would be caught by the sea and captured by the crews of the praus. I could only laugh about the idea that the game would run into the sea while there was enough space left to flee into the other half of the island but the natives assured me repeatedly that often they had caught game in this manner successfully . Thus I let the matter run its course.

After a long consultation and never-ending shouting we were positioned in the forest and the drive started which was naturally set up so well that the drivers who constantly made a hellish noise finally re-appeared on two convenient clearings in a long line one after another.

I had again seen nothing this time, except for two brushturkeys,  but next to me three shots were fired with which Clam had killed a very timid six antler points deer. Thus there was at least some gain and as a benefit game meat to improve the cooking on board. The deer was a specimen of the species we had met on Java (Rusa hippelaphus). Apart from this, there did not have been other game in the drive and also no animal had taken to the sea as I had predicted.

During the return drive the sky luckily cleared up a bit. After the rain had completely stopped, we loaded quite nice a collection of bird bodies and other objects that the post master had given me as a present on board of „Elisabeth“ and then immediately steamed away towards Amboina.

In Dobo the fever epidemic reached its high point up to now — the report listed 153 sick people!


  • Location: Dobo, Aru Islands
  • ANNO – on 26.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Die Grille“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.

Dobo, 25 June 1893

During the night we passed around the Southern part of the Aru islands and then set course for the island of Wammar. In the morning heavy rain clouded the view. The rain was so heavy that the travel speed had to lowered. Finally the storm relented and some of the very flat islands of the Aru group came into view, first Trangan, then Maikoor and Kobroor, then Wokam as well as the small island of Wammar, on whose North-western coast lies the trading station of Dobo, our next destination.

The Aru or Western Papua archipelago which is part of the Dutch residency of Amboina comprises 22 larger and 73 smaller partly uninhabited and even unknown islands that group themselves around the main island of Aru, which the natives themselves call Tanah Besar. It consists of a row of small islands separated by narrow estuaries. The largest islands from North to South are Wokam, Kobroor, Maikoor and Trangan. The total area of the group is listed as 8613 km2; the islands are divided into front and rear wall islands depending on whether they are oriented towards the West or the East. During the era of the Dutch East India company, Voorwal was the name given to the islands facing the trade routes and Achterwal to the islands turned to the other side.

The total number of inhabitants of the Aru islands is estimated at around 25.000; the largest part of which are heathen, in part with a strongly developed fetish cult. The race of the Aruans is predominantly  a mix of Papuan and Malayan elements even if foreign elements are mixed in.

The ground of the islands mostly consists of coral forms. Now and then it is rocky, covered with layers of sand or swampy but mostly, especially close to the shore, composed of corals, the islands have a wave-like form only now and then interrupted by small hills. Jungle and humous parts alternate. Palm trees are plentiful everywhere besides coconut trees, sago and nipa palm trees there are representatives here from very rare species. Splendidly developed here are the tree ferns, numerous the canaries and on many river edges strange casuarines surround the hilly woods. Agriculture is not highly developed as planting is done only what is useful for a vegetarian cuisine besides the fruits of the forest: maize, pisang, batatas, yams roots and where the ground allows, sugar cane.  The outstanding industry is fishing and hunting which supplies the most important trade good to the Aruans. The former offers fish, trepang, pearls and mother of pearl, tortoise shell, the latter produce edible salangane’s nests, a species of common swifts, salanganes, casuarines, birds of paradise, parrots and numerous birds of other species, spotted cuscus (Cuscus maculatus), bandicoots (Perameles doreyana), wild boars, wallabies etc.

The entrance channel to the harbor of Dobo offers only a narrow passage for large ships and the depth of the shipping channel changes here so quickly that alternating soundings show 6 fathoms on starboard and 22 fathoms on port.

A small steam boat in the harbor we at first believed to be the government vehicle which the resident of Amboina was to send here according to the schedule but learned that it was a merchant ship and on the way to a round trip to the different harbors of the residency of Amboina. Apart from this merchant steam boat there were only two pearl fishing boats, one of which flying the English flag, in the harbor of Dobo as far as larger vehicles are concerned but it was full of praus which serve in these waters as coastal transportation.

The village of Dobo — multiple rows of densely packed buildings — lies on a narrow sand covered headland on whose Southern end already at the shore of the actual island where a luxurious high forest.

The buildings, huts constructed large in the manner of barns with steep roofs are used in the front for apartments while the rear rooms are used for storage and magazines.

Trade is strong during the months of January to August as during this time vehicles of all kind, from large praus to small boats from Macassar, from Ceram, Goram, the Banda islands etc. tend to come here. Then a vivid trade develops with the natives.

The character of Dobo is that of a trading place is expressed also by the type of about 500 heads of population — a mix of Papuan, Malayan, Javanese and even Chinese elements — and among the permanent inhabitants there does not seem to be a single Aruans with pure blood. As the true Aruans, the natives of this archipelago live hidden in the interior just as on the other islands of this group such as on Wammar, mostly, in small villages which they leave only to trade in Dobo.

The natives have totally surrendered to the appeal of alcoholic beverages, namely arrak with its 50 percent alcohol and more and thus especially popular. Without thought they exchange all their goods, often the result of hard labor of weeks, with traders for a few small barrels of this poison drink. In all latitudes guns have contributed less to the persistent subjugation of the native peoples than firewater!

As Dobo for itself does not offer anything special and only is settled by traders of the lowest category and with a notorious reputation — the genie of trade is a very unclean fellow — thus I abstained from taking consideration of this shops  and wanted to use the short time that was to be spent in these waters for expeditions to other parts of the island world of Aru.

Multiple gentlemen, however, as well as the ship cooks hunting fresh food had let themselves be transported to Dobo where they were shocked by the fantastic prices. They for instance asked 60 fl., for a pig and  1 fl. for 5 eggs! The gentlemen also did not make any ethnographic catches as the objects offered by the traders were mostly of European origin and overall extremely pricey.

Possibly the exorbitant prices had been asked only in our honor. As officially Dobo, as a part of the residency of Amboina and its position as a trading place had took notice of our arrival by hosting the flags everywhere and all huts even the many praus moored at the shore had been ornamented with the colors of the Dutch tricolore.

In a small dinghy arrived the postal master of Dobo, a dignitary whose position was comparable in the Dutch residencies of the Malayan archipelago to our district supervisors (Bezirkshauptmänner).

The chiefs of the individual tribes living in this archipelago are acknowledged by the government but are subordinated to their officials. Said postal master,  a comic fat Malay and the only one in the village who could speak a few words in a European language, namely English. He reported that the resident of Amboina had finally departed the day before after he had awaited the arrival of „Elisabeth“ from the 12th to the 25th June.

I vividly regretted that the resident had wasted so much time waiting for our arrival but he seemed to have been a victim of some miscommunication. Even if it was very difficult to predict the precise day of arrival of such a long sea voyage in advance, the circumstance that the resident had been expecting us already 14 days ago can only be explained by an error.

The faulty English used by the brave postal manager made it more difficult and time-consuming to develop a program for my time on the island, so that only after a full hour everything was arranged. He immediately afterwards went to the village to make the necessary preparations for our expedition. Toward noon he was back on board, this time wearing a coy hunter costume and armed with two overlong rifles of medieval vintage. He was to be my guide for the excursion to Wokam island.

The steam barge took us quickly to the West coast of the island where the flat coral rich shore proved difficult for us to disembark, even more so as a heavy rain was falling that forced us for some moments to seek shelter in the hut of a mixed-race Malay on the shore. Then everybody went as usual in different directions in the company of a guide.

The jungle that engulfed me after only a few steps reminded me vividly of the forests in the Solomon islands and New Guinea in its splendor and luxuriousness of its vegetation but with the difference that the ground was extremely swampy and in many places there were broad marshy streams criss-crossing the forest whose black deep moor filled the air around with miasma.  The color of the stagnant water was a dark black-blue. At every step that we made in the swamp we uprooted decomposing organic matter that produced an abominable smell.

In the beginning I tried to walk across the swamp on fallen trunks that were laying criss-cross but this method was later not practical so that I had to, if I wanted to advance, for good or bad to wade through the swamp and I only managed to drag my foot forward with great effort out of the viscous mass where I had placed it. Furthermore the terrain full of trees was overgrown with all kind of copious vegetation and about every half hour a new heavy rainfall poured down.

Immediately after each rainfall the sun peeked through the clouds and as soon as it became visible the voices of the birds were immediately heard too that had gone quiet during the rain. Among these sounds, those of the white cockatoo (Cacatua triton) and the black ara cockatoo, as well as the cries of the pigeons, some parrots, a brushturkey as well as kingfishers and  mainas of various species were especially notable. The enormous height of the trees made my efforts difficult to discover the birds just like in New Guinea.

I concentrated my efforts mostly on catching one the black cockatoos that are notable by their beautiful feathers dusted with white, light-red cheeks and a splendid tuft rising vertically. But the effort was in vain even though I waded through the swamp for hours. Though I saw a few specimens of this species I managed to shot and wound one but failed to bag it. Instead I killed two brushturkeys sitting in a tree (Talegallus fuscirostris), multiple kingfishers of a new species (Sauromarptis gaudichaudi) and three large pigeons.

On a dry ficus tree I found an uninhabited but apparently recently built airy of a large predator. Clam later assured me to have seen an osprey close to this airy that was hunting fish at the coast.

The information Wallace presents in his work „The Malayan Archipelago“ about the variety, splendor and richness of the butterflies of the Aru islands I found confirmed as despite the frequent rainstorms everywhere during my journey through the jungle the most splendid butterflies notable for their size and diversity of species were fluttering around. Thus I saw a butterfly flying from branch to branch like a bird, probably Ornithoptera aruana,  whose wingspan is incidentally 20 cm!

Another peculiarity of the Aru islands is the presence of marine animals especially shells and snails at a great distance from the shore. Part of the snails must have been carried into the interior by hermit crabs, the other beings and forms might have been pushed there by flooding. As the interior of the islands lies in many places deeply below sea level which also explains the swampy character of the forest.

Under the black humus layer only shells and corals of very recent formation can be found. Thanks to the protective layer many forms are completely intact and unweathered

My guide, a mixed-race Malay, proved to be a lazy rascal who had only one motto: Let’s go back! The brave one was also not very keen on wading in the swampy terrain so that I had to use all possible means to make him go on. This islander seemed to be an example for the belief that mixed-race people have no good qualities and think that the mixing of individuals of two or more different races only will result in the inheritance of all the bad physical and psychic characters of those races that are combined in that respective mixed-race person.

At sunset I met the other gentlemen again on the beach  some of which had been luckier than me — proven by their catches of a black cockatoo, numerous parrots and a beautiful light brown heron.

As the low tide had arrived in the mean time, we had to wade for a rather long way through mood and water to reach the barge.


  • Location: Dobo, Aru Islands
  • ANNO – on 25.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das verlorene Paradies“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.

At Sea to the Aru islands, 23 and 24 June 1893

On the 23rd appeared long stripes of a yellow mass appeared on the sea whose density increased more and more and finally covered everything around over a wide area. As the character of the mass could not be determined during the drive on board, samples of this substance were fished out and then examined with magnifying glass and finally with the microscope. It was determined that the mass which many had assumed to be spawn was actually  pollen.

Land we did again not see during these days as the South-western coast of New Guinea which should have been in our field of vision is too flat to be perceived at such a great distance. As messengers from the land, however, appeared five lovely swallows, probably diverted by the storm. They were visibly tired and circled around the ship then flew on board and landed on the yards and ropes to rest. These delicate animals escorted us to the Aru islands and soon became so tame that they even flew into the officer’s mess and landed on the dinner table or on the electrical lamp of the chandelier.

The fever epidemic was still not abating during the 23rd and 24th. To the contrary, numerically it was still on the increase: On both days there were more hitherto healthy people affected by the fever while the number of re-convalescents grew but slowly.


  • Location: South of New Guinea
  • ANNO – on  23.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Meister von Palmyra“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.

At Sea to the Aru islands, 22 June 1893

In the morning of 22th June, the journey was continued. After many changes in the direction of the course that were necessary. the Adolphus islands North of the Australian mainland came into view and soon thereafter the islands of Thursday Island and Banks island on starboard with the high Mount Augustus.

As the quinine supplies of the ship pharmacy were getting low due to the numerous fever cases and the provisions had to be replenished and „Elisabeth“ had been unable to send news about its well-being and woes home since the departure from Sydney, the commander decided to pay a call to Thursday Island. Thus we passed through the Prince of Wales-Canal between Hammond Island and the North West Reef known to us from our first passage of the Strait of Torres, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon we anchored close to Thursday Island in front of the pilot station of Goode Island in the Normanby Sound, and sent out the steam barge to Thursday Island to buy quinine and supplies and to telegraph home.

The was no longer as beautiful as the day before as fog and rainstorms clouded the horizon.

I saw again, while we were anchoring at the same spot where I had observed a sea eagle during our first stay next to the pilot station, one of those birds circle around the ship. He swooped down on the kitchen garbage, came close to us about four or five times and finally at dusk flew away to Goode Island to rest for the night.

After an absence of three hours the barge returned — unfortunately without a mail package that the commander had announced — and the voyage was continued at 8 o’clock in the evening. We steamed out of Normanby Sound, past the lighthouse ship at Proudfoot Shoal on starboard, out of the island area of the Strait of Torres and reached the Arafura Sea which showed itself again as very calm but made us experience its muggy heat immediately after our entrance in its region. No fresh wind, the smoke rose straight as an arrow into the air, the tiring muggy heat stuck to the ship and in the cabins the temperature was between 28° and 30° Reaumur (35-37.5° Celsius) .


  • Location: Thursday Island
  • ANNO – on  22.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „College Crampton“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.
The Wiener Salonblatt issue 26, p. 6 notes Franz Ferdinand's good health and arrival at Thursday Island

The Wiener Salonblatt issue 26, p. 6 notes Franz Ferdinand’s good health and arrival at Thursday Island

At Sea to the Aru islands, 21 June 1893

During the night from the 20th to the 21st June we crossed the Sea of Papua and at noon on 21st the small reef of Bramble Cay came into view. This reef between the Great Northeast Canal and the Bligh Canal is the Northern entrance to the dreaded Strait of Torres which we had already passed on our journey from Java to Sydney. Now we steered again between the numerous islands made partly out of volcanoes and granite masses partly out of coral matter, through reefs and banks which fill the connecting water ways between the South Sea and the Indian Ocean. All these islands and smallest of islands, reefs and banks usually are of two types only: either they are only white coral reefs or dunes that appear in the sea as clear strips or they are islands with vegetation. On some of the larger islands appeared now and then native huts situated in the shadow of palm trees.

During the journey through the Strait of Torres we saw only a small steamer that we assumed to be on its way toward Numea and some sailing schooners which the mother of pearl fishermen tend to use in these waters to perform their as dangerous as profitable business so that the sea seemed quite empty even dead and „Elisabeth“ went its way alone.

As many of the flat islands and reefs in these parts of the Strait of Torres only offered very narrow passages and could not be detected in darkness as the sailor has no point of orientation, we were forced to anchor leeward of Rennel Island at 9 o’clock in the evening.

During the day we enjoyed splendid weather. The sea was glittering in a flashy light green.

Health conditions on board were unfortunately not good: Wurmbrand was struck down sick from the consequences of the last exhausting excursion. The after effects of the stay on the Solomon islands and also New Guinea showed themselves of numerous fever cases. At the beginning the daily increase of fever patients was 5 to 6, later 12 to 15 men, and now 5 staff officers, my servant, my orderlies, my secretary as well as nearly 80 men were affected by the disease. Especially the stokers and machine room crews seemed to be struck hard. The battery where they took the fever patients  looks like a big hospital!

A further inconvenience was the want of provisions: We could not restock fresh victuals either in Ugi or in Port Moresby. The supplies of fish, poultry etc. that „Elisabeth“ still possessed had gone bad and had to thrown overboard. Not a single egg was left and the meat of the few small oxen we still had and now butchered became rotten within only a few hours. But even if this had not been the case, we as beef-eaters would not have enjoyed it much as the animals had for the past few days been exclusively fed as „concentrated feed“ palm leaves and straw that had been used to wrap wine bottles.

Our ice supplies were already exhausted before coming to Numea and obviously could not be restocked at any of the stations.

In short, everybody on board — sick or healthy — had to suffer or spare something from the climate’s influence and thus had to overcome many challenges that can not be avoided on long sea voyages.


  • Location: near Rennel island, New Guinea
  • ANNO – on 21.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Geigenmacher von Cremona/König Oedipus“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.

Hunting camp at Vei Maori to Varivari island, 20 June 1893

We moved out already at dawn and at first all together up to a native village about 3 km distant where the guides for the individual gentlemen were to be picked up. The temperature was agreeable as strong dew had fallen during the night and  in all branches one could hear the cries of the cockatoos and parrots. Arriving towards 7 o’clock in the village, the Papuans at first expressed their astonishment about our early arrival but were soon ready to guide us. Strangely the Papuans are no friends of the early morning hours even if one wakes them and urges them to start working before 8 o’clock.

As the better hunting grounds were on the other shore according to the guides we had to cross the stormy river that was quite deep here. There was no boat available so that we were forced to walk in the manner of the natives on a submerged tree trunk that lay perpendicular to the river. This was not really an easy task as the trunk was very smooth as it was worn down by the steady exposure to running water. But fortunately the crossing succeeded without accident. By the way, we had to prove our talents as an equilibrist that day a few times more, as all streams here many of which of considerable depth can only be crossed on smooth tree trunks.

On the opposite shore we split again in parties and took different directions with the intention to meet again back at the camp by 11 o’clock in the morning. Bedford walked with me but the governor, apparently not truly convinced about his familiarity with the local terrain, sent two local natives along.

Bedford and the Papuans wanted to shoot a new kind of bird of paradise with twelve feathers. Five times we came close to such a bird and also heard its call. But each time when we were sneaking up, one of the gentlemen fired a shot close by which made the very timid and prudent birds flee. The local guides made the grave mistake to guide us all too close together so that one shooter interfered with the next. In return I found another tree full of Raggiana birds of paradise and shot two young males and one female.

Numerous hornbils were flying in the sky and at any moment I could hear heavy wings fluttering but it was impossible to shoot one. My next results were another parrot and a splendid common paradise kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea) with its two long white tail feathers that are shaped like a lyre.

The guides had as usual not estimated the time correctly and explained to me after 11 o’clock was already past that we would have to walk for quite some distance to reach the camp. The governor, profiting from the experience of the adventure the day before, had signal shots fired but I arrived at the camp without any further difficulties with a small delay and by and by the other members returned too, each with interesting game. Wurmbrand had two of the rare black cockatoo (Microglossus aterrimus) and a pigeon of a new species, Clam a bee martin and a splendid glittering so called rifle bird (Ptilorhis magnifica), Prónay with two Raggiana birds of paradise and Bourguignon also with one bee martin and a female.

After I had said good-bye to the governor and the other gentlemen from Moresby who wanted to stay in the camp until the afternoon, we marched to the barrier  and embarked into the barge and boats there again.  We steered downstream with the intention to reach Redscar Bay as fast as possible as I still wanted to hunt on Varivari island where in the evening thousands of white pigeons with black wing tips, a speciality of New Guinea, depart from the mainland.

But unfortunately we had not taken the tides into account which were highly noticeable upstream causing a difference in the water level of 1,5 m; when we arrived at the ominous tree trunks, we were forced to anchor and patiently wait for the water to rise. In the mean time we prepared a frugal midday meal in our boats.

Towards 3 o’clock the water had finally risen so high that our barge could get over the trunks having gather sufficient speed and now was in open navigable water. We drove at full speed but unfortunately one machine valve broke when we left the river so that our speed was considerably diminished. Additionally there were rather tall waves and the circumstance of having to still cover six miles of open sea to arrive at Varivar island.

When we arrived at „Elisabeth“  moored close to Varivari island, it was almost 7 o’clock and already dark. That’s why we definitively passed on the pigeon hunt.

On board of „Elisabeth“, that had anchored the day before 40 sea miles Northwest of the mouth of the Vanapa in the Hall Sound, East of Yule Island, and spent the night there, I found an extraordinarily varied and interesting ethnographic collection that the kind patres of the mission on Yule Harbour had sent me. The commander as well as the officers were enchanted by the very obliging welcome they received there and reported that the patres were delighted to host European guests with which they could spend a few hours.

After the barge and the boats had been lifted and all our trophies from the river expedition loaded on board, we hoisted the anchor at 8 o’clock in the evening and set course for Thursday Island leaving New Guinea behind through the gulf of Papua and the strait of Torres.

The impression New Guinea made upon us was very favorable and we owe the island many stimulating experiences. Even though it was only a fleeting glimpse we nevertheless gained some insight into the life and activities of the natives and have seen their positive side. Me as a friend of nature, collector and hunter, the coastal strip and what I have seen of the interior had offered me various things: The view of strange terrain and exotic vegetation as well as dense jungle and two shore landscapes as well as ethnographic and zoological catches and not in the least exciting hunts of the representatives of Guinea’s bird world. All of this without greater dangers than thorns, ants, mosquitoes and those small pinpricks that will not completely spare any of us earthlings in any location.


  • Location: near Vari Vari island, New Guinea
  • ANNO – on 20.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Richter von Belamea“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.