Schlagwort-Archiv: May

At Sea to Numea, 29 to 31 May 1893

On the high sea, direction New Caledonia. The wind blew continuously from North or North-east, piling up long mighty waves of the Pacific Ocean that hurled our brave „Elisabeth“ up and down like a toy. Especially uncomfortable were the heavy blows of the high sea against the protruding bays of the fore barbettes and on the gun batteries. These impact sent shock waves through the whole ship so that everything not fixed in place had to be tied down.  The living sea sometimes extended itself up to the forward tower and the iron deck was often completely under water.

All that breathed in the rosy light was more or less sea sick, even I who had up to now always shown resistance was affected. Even the menagerie whose numbers had been much increased in Sydney was suffering greatly under the effects of the bad weather. The two monkeys, namely especially Fips, became totally melancholic. The billy goat pressed its body sadly against one of the guns. The wild boar, the wildcat and the squirrel from Singapore refused to eat.

The least concerned seemed to be the mood of the birds if the endless spectacle they caused in the lower deck which robbed our poor commissary officer of sleep of  of sleep is not interpreted as an energetic protest against the persistent storms. The cockatoos, parrots and laughing jackasses were the lead voices in the choir in this savage concert.

During the whole trip the Pacific Ocean felt no compunction to honor its name and show us mercy. The moods were depressed by a dark melancholy which was only lifted by talking about the beautiful stay in Sydney and lamenting about being forced to leave the splendid calm harbor only to drive out into the stormy waves of the great ocean.

Numerous albatrosses, those huge storm birds, were flying  now and then close to the ship as if they wanted to jeer us by their show of beings that enjoyed it when the heavy winds were sweeping the sea. I let them be and did not shoot at them as the heavy sea would in any case not have allowed to send out a boat to bag the catch.


  • Location: at sea to New Caledonia
  • ANNO – on  29.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Richter von Balamea“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Mozart’s opera “Don Juan”.

At Sea to New Caledonia, 28 May 1893

The sky was overcast with low hanging clouds out of which was drizzling gentle rain — „just the right weather to say good-bye“. Our mood was just as sad. We all were in a depressed mood — what is called at home a „moral hangover“ — faced with the necessity of leaving Sydney that has been such a kind host and its inhabitants who had been so nice and have received us so cordially. After the muggy heat of the tropical regions we had found here a climate that resembled the one at home. We were favored with splendid weather in all aspects as well as during the hunting expeditions into the interior of the country. Admired for its size and delightful because of its lovely surroundings, Sydney has made an indelible impression on us. All Australians, first amongst them the inhabitants of Sydney, whom we have come into contact knew how to capture our heart by their gentle affectionate way so that we have declared them as our special favorites — no wonder we had such difficulties leaving this Benjamin of continents!

It is an eternal pity that Australia has been felt in old Europe only by its increasing influence in many economic activities as a already notable competitor while its intimate advantages are so little-known and appreciated what however hardly can be different given the brutal distance. Thus I might compare Australia to a human who is not easy to approach and only shows its rough side who however reveals to those who are able of coming closer its felicitous amiable character.

Even though we had hoisted the anchors early — at 7 o’clock in the morning — the windows of all houses and villas were densely packed with our friends waving handkerchiefs and sending good-bye greetings. While passing the flagship „Orlando“ its band played our anthem while the music band of „Elisabeth“ replied with „God save the Queen“; the Spanish sailing corvette „Nautilus“ signaled „Happy voyage“.

We had hardly left Port Jackson and lost sight of Sydney, when a hard North wind blew against us and made the sea choppy, so that „Elisabeth“ soon started pitching heavily. At first we drove alongside the coast but then took a North-eastern course and soon the last part of the Australian continent disappeared into the ocean.


  • Location: at sea near Australia
  • ANNO – on  28.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Heiratsnest“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Verdi’s opera “Aida”.

Sydney, 27 May 1893

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sydney, 26 May 1893

At 2 o’clock in the morning we steamed out of Moss Vale and towards Sydney. Despite the severe cold and the bad bed I slept splendidly. We had made good use of the day before being on foot without interruption from 6 o’clock in the morning to midnight.

I found everybody on board very busy with decorating our ship most brightly for the ball in the afternoon, the officers and the men competing in the effort. Tents had been set up on deck, electric lighting effects prepared, flowers, plants, flags and carpets lay ready to be used for decorative purposes. As much as the noise caused by these preparations permitted, I tried to sleep a little bit longer, and then drove towards 10 o’clock on land where the kind minister of education was waiting for me to watch a demonstration of a machine shearing a sheep. Even though it was not the season for such a procedure, one of the big wool companies had set up one of their machines to show me the procedure — a sign of the friendly reception we enjoyed everywhere in New South Wales.

The sheep shearing machine was similarly constructed as our horse shearing machines and are powered by steam and work exceedingly fast without harming the animal in the slightest. Something that happens very often during a manual shearing. Furthermore the resulting wool is very smooth and it shears off everything to the last atom. A man is capable to shear 120 to 150 animals per day. The highest performance that a very skillful and worker is capable of achieving is shearing 200 sheep. I tried personally to shear a ram and thus was able to personally witness how simple it was to handle the machine and how splendidly it worked. My example found many imitators among my gentlemen and other spectators so that the elegantly dressed group of gentlemen engaged in shearing sheep provided quite a comical sight. In the large magazines of many floors we passed through are stored many thousands stapled wool bales awaiting to be shipped out, representing an enormous capital value.

From here the minister accompanied me to a large meadow in a public garden where the natives were to demonstrate throwing boomerangs and spears. A black man from Western Australia, a truly hideous sight, demonstrated this art of his people in throwing the boomerangs made out of iron and wood and shaped like a scythe in different manners so that they always returned to him. Soon these projectiles rose straight up into the air, rotating constantly, soon they formed a circle or an ellipse and fell down at the feet of the thrower. Then they flew for an extended distance swooshing a meter above the ground only to suddenly rise high up etc.

Finally the Australian discus thrower threw two boomerangs at the same time in opposite directions, so that their paths crossed before they returned to him. A correctly thrown boomerang kills a human due to its enormous flying speed. The long distance spear throwing was as interesting. Even at a distance of 200 paces the thrower was very accurate in his throws.

An object of great pride for Sydney is its art gallery whose collection has only started a few years ago, and I gladly followed the desire of the city to pay it a visit. As neither effort nor cost have been spared for the acquisition of art works, the gallery already contains a great number of sometimes very remarkable pictures.

The signatures of Franz Ferdinand and his gentlemen Wurmbrand, Pronay, Clam-Martinic in the visitor's book of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Courtesy of the museum.

The signatures of Franz Ferdinand and his gentlemen Wurmbrand, Pronay, Clam-Martinic in the visitor’s book of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Courtesy of the museum.

I found here many works I already knew from the exhibitions in the Viennese Künstlerhaus. Especially an impressive battle painting by Detaille caught my eye, a cavalry attack of French hussars in the year 1809 [actually 1807] which has recently come into possession of the city.

Edouard Detaille (France 05 Oct 1848 – 23 Dec 1912): Vive L'Empereur - Charge of the 4th Hussars at the battle of Friedland, 14 June 1807, 1891.

Edouard Detaille (France 05 Oct 1848 – 23 Dec 1912): Vive L’Empereur – Charge of the 4th Hussars at the battle of Friedland, 14 June 1807, 1891. Art Gallery of New South Wales

Then a much admired picture of the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Solomon, in which the figurative part is well done, namely the queen whose dress the artist has seemingly interpreted quite freely. Otherwise the picture makes, for my taste, a too colorful, given the richness of the colors an almost screaming impression.

Edward John Poynter (England 20 Mar 1836 – 26 Jul 1919): The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, 1890

Edward John Poynter (England 20 Mar 1836 – 26 Jul 1919): The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, 1890, Art Gallery of New South Wales

The most modern aberration, open-air painting is represented by audacious master works, while among the pastels there are only few of them but those of a very good standard. It is worth mentioning especially a study, the head of a young girl. In the comprehensive and quite solid water colors department, landscapes are given prominence.

The visit to the gallery demonstrated to me that in Sydney there is much interest and understanding for art so that the city will soon own a very comprehensive collection of high artistic value if it continues to follow its current path.

Breakfast was eaten in the formidable Australian Hotel whose director, a Saxon, asked us after the lunch to go up to the tower of the hotel to enjoy a truly splendid view of Sydney and its suburbs. From a bird’s perspective Sydney impressed me by its large extended area. The city lay in front of us like in a large scale painting surrounded by a ring of hills, gardens and bays, coming alive by the stream of humans and vehicles. Unfortunately we could not enjoy this view for long as it was time to return on board where the last preparations for the ball had to be made.

After 2 o’clock the ship was in full gala. Everything was ready and we could calmly await the arrival of our guests  as the artists on board had exceeded even our audacious expectations and the ship indeed looked most splendidly. The middle deck had been transformed into a richly decorated ball room by the erection of a tent in which were placed flags, palm trees and other plants. The interior was ornamented with blue-white linen, while the outside ship parts on deck were covered with black and yellow canvas. This produced a very friendly and cheerful impression. For the music band a high stand had been erected above the stairs and the bridge from which both our, the English and the Australian coat of arms were displayed while the companion deck was surrounded by small tables as it was intended as a buffet for the dancers. All kinds of objects had been transformed into elegant seating furniture. Even the large carpet covered containers in which the corals collected on Thursday Island were stored in water had to serve as canapés.

In a lovely way the iron deck had been turned into a saloon. Heavy carpets lay on the floor and a dense wall of palm trees and flowers closed off the room towards the exterior. in each corner were spots that invited tired dancers to rest there while in the middle of the saloon a happy spring fountain splashed water out of a tuff basin. Strange in the midst of this room dedicated to a happy conviviality stood out the large 24 cm gun — an earnest contrast to the cheerful event that was soon to happen here.

In the battery was a buffet for the older gentlemen and the non-dancing members of society. The prepared large buffet in the officer carré however was only to be opened after the cotillion to provide ample refreshment to the hungry and thirsty on small tables. My saloon was serving as a wardrobe. The cabin of the captain as the ladies‘ wardrobe. Here only we had the assistance of a woman, a marchande de modes who was in charge of arranging the dresses and assist the ladies. Everything else, even the binding of the flowers and the most delicate decorative embellishments had been prepared by the rough sailors‘ hands. Our cook Bussatto was in charge of all buffets and displayed all his art — this time in good mood which was not always the case with him — most brightly exploring all his culinary fantasies. A legion of bowls of cold dishes that he had given the most varied perfectly executed were standing on the tables: rigged ships whose full sails were imminent for departure, palaces, basins with fishes, crowns, all kinds of imaginative land and sea monsters stood in a colorful row, so that the buffets almost resembled a toy store. Our Mahmood was at the head of a group of sailors acting as cupbearers and waiters. In his gold laced gala uniform he was an object of interest for all guests and he appreciated the curiosity especially of the ladies with a dismissive grin.

With uncommon punctuality the arrival of the guests started at 3 o’clock partly in our barges and boats that we had sent out to land, partly in their own vehicles. To send out the invitations we had asked an English admiral who knew Sydney’s society more closely than we and only limited the number of invited guests to 300. Soon, however, there were 500 guests on board as many of the invited had taken relatives along.

We however were not displeased as the ship had the capacity to easily host all those who had come on board and had considerably augmented the ring of beautiful dancers. Apart from the most honorable dignitaries of the city almost only ladies and gentlemen eager to dance had come and I have to admit that I had never before seen so many beautiful girls and ladies assembled on a ball. The ladies of Sydney combined the beauty of the motherland’s country with the Southern graceful moves and the perfect elegance in appearance.

While the music band played some numbers, the ship was closely inspected by the guests. Then the dance started to the sound of the „Blue Danube„. For the dance besides our officers and cadets were also invited all the officers and cadets of all the ships of the Sydney squadron and the Spanish corvette which had arrived two days before in Sydney. As the foreign sailors were nearly inseparable from the buffets and the smoking rooms during the whole ball, only our own gentlemen gave the honor of dancing without being able to fully satisfy the dancing desire of the numerous ladies who had arrived from Sydney despite the eager support by the local gentlemen. The dancing was enthusiastic. Even our captain and Wurmbrand joined in. Thanks to the attractive ladies, some of which were able to speak German or French so that I was able to engage in lively conversation with them, it was a pleasure to dance.

We encountered a courtesy among the gentlemen and ladies of Sydney which did not fail to make its effect. The open unaffected character is combined with a natural kindness — qualities which ease the exchange all the more as despite the honoring the ruling social norms a more open concept of conventional forms was practiced than it is common at home. Thus ladies addressed the word to gentlemen who had not been introduced to them beforehand without inhibition — which could happen all too frequently due to the number of arriving people — and greeted both in meeting and leaving everybody with a handshake.

Shortly before our arrival a banking crisis that had been looming for a long time had hit Sydney caused by overtrading and other reasons which deeply shocked the markets in all areas and was not only reported in the European newspapers but was also felt by the London stock exchange by wide fluctuations. All tiers of the population were negatively affected and had had to bear important losses. Even during our stay, the economic calamity was still going on. Even though our guests seemed not to be affected in their good mood and  cheerfulness, so that one could even hear some witty remarks about the crisis but no laments or complaints.

The cotillion arranged by Ramberg — a new choreographic spectacle for Sydney — pleased our guests immensely. The oldest figures of home such as the tunnel, the eight, columns etc, attracted the most vivid applause and with the final rounds with bouquets and the black and yellow bands the excited mood reached its high point.

Accounting for the cool weather at the moment and having no gifts of meteorological divination to know that the evening would be so mild we had announced the ball to take place in the afternoon and set the time of the event from „3 to 7 o’clock“. In Sydney they seem to respect punctuality both in the time the guests arrive as well as when it is time to leave in order not to create a hint of appearing immodest in staying too long.  Towards 7 o’clock began a general movement of departure. Our insistent pleas and words were in vain. The girls and young ladies were on our side; Mothers, fathers and husbands showed no mercy. Only a tiny group of faithful stayed behind with us, enjoying the dance for a long time and only leave „Elisabeth“ at an advanced hour after happy hours spent cosily on the iron deck.

We can rest well on the honestly and eagerly won laurels and be proud about the unanimous praise of the guests that no warship that entered Sydney had given such a party that was as beautiful and as successful as that on board of our „Elisabeth“.


  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • ANNO – on  26.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Torquato Tasso“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “Freund Fritz”.

Badgery Station, 25 May 1893

As the early morning hours promise as much success as the evening ones for the platypus hunt as the animals leave their lair also in the morning emerging out of the water to eat, I asked our hunting master to let me have another go at trying my luck in hunting platypus. At 6 o’clock sharp I was ready. Unfortunately, I took nearly one valuable hour until our horses had been caught in the meadow. Even though we covered the considerable distance to a suitable spot riding hard we only arrived at the river at an advanced hour. At least the situation was eased by the dense fog over the river area.

During this ride I learned about a method unknown to me of curing devious horses. The brave fox I was foundering but still had to gallop in order to transport me in time to the hunting ground.Rittes. When the malady understandably did not get better Mr. Badgery had me switch horses with him, so that the slim fox had to carry Mr. Badgery with all his weight which must have been twice that of mine at full gallop over rough and smooth. Incredible but still true — after half an hour the animal was cured!

The location where we were to hunt for platypus was similar to the one the day before in a steeply descending gorge shaded by trees, in the valley bed a stream was flowing calmly. Mr. Badgery remained behind with the horses while I and the hunter descended to the shore of the stream. Hardly arrived I already saw a platypus emerge and swim away in the water. A happy shot killed the animal on the spot but now it was hard to know what to do as the animal was floating downriver in the deep water and nobody was eager to swim in the ice-cold water of the river in the cool morning. Finally my practical Australian had a good idea to solve the problem by throwing rocks in the water behind the platypus. The waves thus triggered pushed the platypus towards the shore. This procedure took quite some time but finally resulted in us bagging the animal which was found to be an old male. A few hundred meters downriver I saw another platypus but I only could see the animal dive and was unable to fire a shot.

Now the hunter explained that there was another good spot about 2 km further away but we had to hurry to reach it in time. We quickly jumped into the saddle and rode along the valley ridge on a rather bad stony path which would have been only suitable for goats but which the horses followed with strange skill. We climbed down the slope to the river and soon I could see a platypus emerge and swim in circles according to the visible black back on the opposite shore, still out of range. The hunter also announced with signs that he had spotted a second animal further downriver. I decided to wait behind the tree cover until one of the animals was close to this shore which would have happened soon if not fate in the form of Mr. Badgery had intervened. He could no longer contain his curiosity and had advanced with the horse to the ledge where he could survey the water and unfortunately also discovered the two platypus. In the best intention he called without interruption to point out the presence of the two animals. The hunter who was with me could not abstain to shout back despite my pleading gestures not to respond so that a loud long distance conversation developed which naturally made the timid animals quickly disappear from sight. Even though they are at a lower level of development, they hear and view extremely good so that the most distant suspicion of a danger perceived by their senses made them dive and return to their lair from which they would only emerge again in the evening.

In a not very rosy mood I climbed up the slope and sacrificed a blameless rock wallaby that crossed my path to my bad mood and could criticize Mr. Badgery’s ardor — due to my limited knowledge of the English language — only by repeating in an accusing voice „not well, not well“. Mr. Badgery replied to my words in the beginning only with a stoic smile. Then he tried to give me a longer explanation. As he was repeatedly saying the word „breakfast“ and pointed in the direction of the farm, I had to conclude that his curiosity was based on a very prosaic motive, namely a huge hunger, and that he wanted to now allay it why a continuation of the hunt was no longer possible. I made a timid attempt to repeatedly and pleadingly say „platypus“  accompanied by gestures. „Piatypus“ being the English word for „Schnabeltier“ and pointing down to the river. My hunting master remained adamant, mounted his horse, waved at me to follow him and rode towards his breakfast. On the way back I had quite some hunter’s luck and bagged two bears and a  buzzard.

After Mr. Badgery had revitalised himself with a hearty breakfast we ventured out for a rock wallaby hunt as the sun had in the mean time conquered the fog. In the same location where we had achieved favorable results the day before. Already during the first drive an astonishing number of wallabies fled but this time were evading my position and escaped on the side where Wurmbrand and Clam stood, so that one bagged 18, the other 19 pieces. As the day before a few pieces had escaped on my left, the hunting master tried to stop that this time by positioning some people to defend the critical spot. But they had failed to understand their mission and defended not up from my position but in front of my position so that the game almost always retreated before I was able to shoot. Thus my result was only six rock wallabies. A second drive ended without any result while an improvised drive at a valley crossing delivered ten wallabies for me within only a few minutes even though the drive had begun before I had taken up my position.

Now we said good-bye to the beautiful rock valley where we have spent many a good hour yesterday and today and rushed past the farm to a distant hill where we tried to do a last hunt prior to our departure. Unfortunately the attempt failed as the game escaped on the flanks so that only Wurmbrand and Prónay bagged a  wallaby each while I made do with a hare.

This was the end of a eminently successful and interesting hunting expedition in New South Wales. We had to rush back to Sydney where social engagements awaited as an afternoon party was to be hosted by me and the gentlemen of the staff on board of „Elisabeth“ to which invitations had been sent out even before my departure to Arthur’s Leigh Badgery station.

In order to prevent any loss of time due to the wagons getting stuck, they had already crossed Wollondilly River earlier and we thus found the vehicles already in good order on the other shore when we crossed it on horseback. Here we said good-bye to the kind farmers and the hunting companions and started our return journey to Moss Vale. Our mounting the wagon was greeted with three „Hurrahs“. After a drive of four and a half hours we arrived in Moss Vale.

As the train would only depart at 2 o’clock in the morning to Sydney, we arranged quickly an improvised night hunt. We found a hunter who owned three well trained dogs that could track possums and quolls (Dasyurus viverrinus), chase them up the tree and then bark.

At the spot outside the village where the hunter was already waiting for us with the dogs, they started their chase on the command of „Go on“ only to bark loudly only a few minutes later. I rushed there and saw the dogs barking and jumping at an eucalyptus tree. The moon was favorable so that my first shot already gained me a quoll that I had discovered on a branch after some search. It is also part of the predator marsupials and resembles in build our marten. Its body is slight and elongated. The neck rather long, the head is elongated and the point of the muzzle is of a fleshy red color. The tail is long and uniformly bushy. The toes at the rear legs are armed with strong pointed claws. The fur is on the back a livid brown speckled with white spots, the belly is white. A bit smaller than a possum, Dasyurus viverrinus has a body length of 40 cm and its tail length is about 30 cm. In its way of life this marsupial resembles completely that of a possum. It spends the day in holes and ventures out during the night to feed checking in also in the chicken coops and there murdering everything without mercy.

Urged on by their owner the dogs rushed on and soon afterwards barking was heard again. But this time there was a novelty, namely a possum of a still unknown possum called ring tailed possum. Hunting with the three dogs was a great joy as they found new tracks quickly and pursued it until they had found and stopped the game. Only then did they start barking and waited for the hunters to arrive and kill the piece. The brave pack also retrieved a quoll who probably had not run up the tree quickly enough. The hunter’s son, about ten years old, distinguished himself by his excellent eyes. He was always the first to spot the game among the branches and pointed it out to me triumphantly. When a shot was fired, the boy quickly ran forward to protect the kill from the dogs. Until midnight we had bagged six quolls and six possums — certainly a rare result achieved under original circumstances at night in moonshine.

When we approached the home of the hunter during our march across the woods, the dogs suddenly disappeared and all whistling and calls were in vain. Their owner assumed that they had returned home to rest as they were tired from the long hunt. We followed their example and returned to Moss Vale.


  • Location: Moss Vale, Australia
  • ANNO – on  25.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Faust“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing “Der Freischütz”.

Badgery Station, 24 May 1893

Today rock wallabies were to be hunted. In a dense fog and severe cold we stopped at the shore of the meandering river where the day before the wagon had been stuck, as I wanted to go and have a look with one of the hunters at a remote spot where it was said platypus happen to be seen. Sneaking through a small pine forest we arrived at the edge of the river but could not see any game except for a duck. Thus we were soon back on horseback and crossed the river and ascended the heights on the opposite side until we reached a deeply cut rocky valley with steep faces in whose bed a spumous river formed a path through the stone. The valley or better the gorge presented a picturesque view thanks to the rocks in the water and the trees and bushes that were growing between them.

This gorge was a favorite spot of the rock wallabies and would serve as the location of today’s hunt. At first, Mr. Badgery had assigned me to a not very well chosen position and the drivers started their drive too early so that, when I finally managed to climb into a better position, rock wallabies already were fleeing towards me at great speed. As their name indicates, they live on rocky ground where they are hiding during the day below projecting rocks or in rock holes while they emerge to feed in the surrounding areas during the night. They do not dare to go out from their hiding place, as they can not flee were well on the ground. The speed they jump around on the rocks, their element, is as surprising as the size of the jumps they execute. While the movements of the kangaroos may be very funny, those of the wallabies are even more so. I have killed some of them in the midst of them jumping. The rock wallabies are rather small but have the most beautiful fur among all kangaroos as it is of a rich brown, and on the belly yellow. Older animals have glittering silver gray streaks in the fur.

The first pieces I bagged jumped like chamois alongside the river from rock to rock. After the first shots the timid animals quickly had discovered the direction out of which peril threatened as I was standing in an open clearing. Therefore I chose another spot and stood deeper down in the gorge behind a rock, so that I could thus kill one piece after the other. This hunt was very lively. Along the line of shooters the shots rang out without interruption like at a good hare hunt and the echo reverberated from the walls of the valley. The drivers also assisted with their whips as they could advance here only on foot. Soon we had bagged 51 rock wallabies of which 26 I accounted for personally.

A second drive took place further downriver in the same gorge after we had waded across the water on horseback and taken up position on the other shore. My position was the furthest one in the gorge. In front of me lay a wild mixed pile of dead trees and to my left a deep water pool reflected huge giant trees. The silence was only broken by the noises of the river. The lovely scenery of the location fascinated me so much that I had almost forgotten to hunt, being lost in thought. There was not only much to see for any friend of nature but also much to do for a hunter. The game appeared at the same time at my position out of two clearings. Even though the drive ended much more quickly than the first one, the result was very satisfying — 33 rock wallabies of which I personally bagged 10.

A quick ride brought us back to the farm where we enjoyed a quick noon break due to the hunting success which we used to sort the numerous furs.

It merits to be noted that the horses of this farm also excelled by their endurance and their skill in moving in very difficult terrain. This can be best exemplified by the brown horse that carried  Mr. Badgery’s respectable weight of 160 kg the whole time and galloped at quick speed without falling back once behind the other horses.

In the afternoon we hunted in the same area as the day before and saw much game even though we had hunted intensively there the day before. I shot five wallabies and my gentlemen 17 as well as a kangaroo.

As it had been my most burning desire to bag one of the rare platypus whose killing had been achieved only by a few European hunters I rode with a burning ambition even though there was only a small chance of success after  4 o’clock with my guide to the river to take up my position. On the way I shot an Australian bear who sat high up on eucalyptus tree. The river that otherwise splashes over the rocks is rather calm for some distance where the platypus should be found, so that one could believe one was at a standing water The heights enclosing the river valley dropped in stony faces down to the shore. Trees at the edge reached out widely into the water. Silence marked this place.

We carefully sneaked up but could for the longest time not see any game until my companion tapped on my shoulder and pointed to a spot below the overhanging shore where I could only distinguish a small black moving line at the surface of the muddy water. I fired and to my greatest joy I saw a dying platypus turn over. With a pole we fished the rare prey out, a fully grown large male of  Ornithorhynchus paradoxus.

This animal is indeed very strange. For a few years one has known that the platypus in fact is laying eggs — this was once been deemed a fairy tale — which are then kept in a nest to be hatched. The platypus reminds in its build as well its behavior in the water most closely of an otter or a beaver, attains an average length of 50 cm and possesses webbing between the very sharp clawed toes on its short feet. On the front legs it even reaches above the toes. At the rear legs the male has also a very large moveable claw about whose precise function nothing is known. Earlier is was assumed that it was poisonous and used as a weapon.

Strange is the duck bill which is soft at the edge. The animal uses it to catch insects living in the water. The tail is smooth similar to that of the beaver and mostly not very hairy. The fur is especially beautiful as it consists of dense beards of a dark brown color with a silver white shading. On the neck, the breast and the belly the fur feels like silk. The eyes are very tiny. The ears barely visible. The platypus lives mostly in calm spots of running water and constructs a lair at the shore that is often up to 10 m long and ends in a chamber. It usually has two entrances, one above the water surface the other below it. In the morning and the evening the animal goes fishing in the surrounding calm water, diving from time to time and reappearing in short intervals on the surface as it can not stay for long under water without catching air. Extremely timid and cautious the platypus returns to its lair at the slightest suspicious noise or hides under bushes and water plants. Usually one can see bubbles rise to the water surface before the animal emerges first with its bill and head then with its back.

My companion urged to visit a spot a bit upriver where he hoped to find other platypus. Here I indeed saw soon, covered by a tree, that rings formed in the water and then a bill, the head and the back of a platypus emerge but the distance was rather great and the animal was not facing me. When it was calmly swimming further away like an otter I tried on the advice of my companion to fire a low probability shot. The grain hit in the right direction of the platypus but it dove below the surface and, appearing again for a fleeting moment, then disappeared for forever. I did not have more luck with a second platypus that I had discovered from the same position also at a considerable distance. As it was already getting dark and thus it was unlikely to catch another prey, I risked a shot that hit well as the hunter assured me but the animal must have sunken or swam into its nest as we did not see it again.

Having reached the farm Mr. Badgery very lively congratulated me  for having bagged the platypus and assured me that bagging a platypus was a great rarity and only one in a hundred hunter is able to boast about such a prey.

At the dinner which took place in very animated mood of all participants I offered a toast to the Queen’s health whose birthday today was celebrated everywhere in the country. Mr. Badgery then gave a long speech in my honor which was kindly replied by me.

The evening was splendid, the moon was up in the sky in full splendor — thus the program could be completed with a hunt for possums. I hunted in the opposite direction as the one the day before. In three hours we circled around the farm in a great arc and returned with good results of ten possums and then after this so successful day in any dimension fall quickly into a refreshing sleep.


  • Location: Badgery Station, Australia
  • ANNO – on 24.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Aus der Gesellschaft“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Walküre“.

Badgery Station, 23 May 1893

As the farm called Arthur’s Leigh Badgery Station that was to serve as our quarter during the hunting expedition is 34 km away from Moss Vale, the journey of the whole party was undertaken in wagons. Unfortunately we no longer had access to Mr. Mack’s excellent horses. To the contrary we had to make do with some nags tired of life so that the journey which could have been completed in one and a half hours took more than four of them.

The weather was favorable, the temperature low. We passed through the small town of Moss Vale which has a population of 1240 inhabitants. Its villas extend far out into the land and it contains a country retreat put at our disposition by the governor of Sydney who usually stays there during the hot months. Following the road that leads across this hilly terrain  we passed through a number of smaller villages built in the already familiar „Australian“ style of corrugated iron and wood and passed by isolated farms. In between scrawny mighty eucalyptus trunk alternate with overgrown pasture land.  Under the trees colorful parrots were flying around. I bagged multiple specimens of  crimson rosellae (Platycercus elegans), a splendid sight with their crimson feathers with sky blue wings and tail. After about 13 km we entered into a forest, the bush that still had, despite being much cleared by the farmer’s axe, tall beautiful trees, mostly eucalyptus again mixed with pinewood.

In one spot of the forest Mr. Badgery pointed out one tree whose branches extended wide over the road. I looked up and saw a larger animal hang from a branch in the cowering manner of a sloth.

Without being certain about the species this animal might be part of, I shot at it with strong grain. The shot had little effect despite much fur fell out of  the dense gray skin which showed that I had apparently hit it quite well. The animal continued to cling with its arms even harder to the branch and seemed only have perished due to the third shot, without making any noticeable move. We just wanted to climb the tree when the animal suddenly crashed down onto the road and I recognized the so called Australian bear (Phascolarctus cinereus). It is part of the group of marsupials and resembles a small bear in its exterior. The grown animal barely reaches a height of one meter in length, the body is compactly built and covered in a very dense and smooth fur that is gray on the back an white on the belly but the interior sides of the extremities is white. The head is round like a bullet. The tails is flattened. The ears have bushels and extend upright. The five toes of the front leg are divided into two groups, the rear legs are marked by a fusion of the second and third toe. The thumb is most important for climbing, the rear legs do not have nails. The animal I had killed had a child that had fallen out of the pouch during the fall.

A peculiarity of the Australian bear is its indolence and apathy. Its only skill is climbing which it executes astonishingly slowly. We tried some time afterwards to make a koala hanging on a tree flee or at least climb faster by shouting and making noises. Only it did not take notice for a long time, finally coolly turned its head and looked at us, climber a few centimeters higher and again remained quiet hanging from the branch out of which I finally shot it down.

The Australian bear seldom descends down to the ground but lives almost exclusively on trees. It tends to stay on the same trunk until it has eaten all the leaves, its only food source. Having eaten everything, it moves to another it likes and stays there until the quest for new food forces it so seek a new location. Its phlegmatic way of life makes it game that is easy to track. It is usually not hunted much as its fur has little value — fortunately, as otherwise this strange animal would have been soon extinct. The koala’s distribution is said to be limited to a fairly small area and extends only to a few regions in New South Wales, especially the forests in the South-west of Sydney.

During the remaining drive through the bush which took quite some time due to the quality of the horses and the many obstacles in the terrain, we eagerly watched out for Australian bears that are however not easy to spot as they are difficult to identify on the branches and trunks as their coloring almost completely matches those of the fur. Still I managed to bag seven pieces whereas I was each time surprised about the passivity of these animals in regard to the shots. One hits the lazy fellow naturally with the first shot but often ir required a number of shots until the dead bear still holding on with its arms and claws  tumbled down from the tree.

In a deeply cut valley we crossed the Wollondilly River with its very stony bed in a ford. The first two wagons crossed the obstacle successfully but the third one on which were Hodek, our hunters and part of the baggage bogged down in the middle of the water as the wheels got stuck between the rocks and the horses were unable to draw the vehicle out. Due to a jolt a small bag fell into the water and happily drifted off in the river until it could finally be recovered quite a distance from the crossing. To lessen the weight of the wagon, the occupants had finally to decide to dismount and wade through the water — a tragicomic view as they understandably were not happy about this and dove only with hesitation into the cold water. Still only with the assistance of gathered helpers was it possible to move the wagon and get it out of the river and up the steep ledge of the shore.

Finally we arrived at the farm of Badgery Station, a small low-rise single storey building surrounded by barns and primitive estate buildings in the middle of cleared land. Here we were received by Mr. Badgery’s brother who usually lives in Moss Vale but would serve as our hunting guide during the next days. Our arrival was delayed only towards 1 o’clock due to the low performance of the horses, the bear hunting undertaken during the journey and the time-consuming crossing of the river, so that a breakfast could not be avoided. Still, our host announced a hunt for kangaroos and wallabies during the remainder of the day.

After riding horses had been caught from the meadow, a cavalcade of 25 riders moved out to the forest nearby. Here the mounted drivers split off while we assumed our positions alongside a dry stream.  In front of us was a hilly terrain covered mostly with blue rubber trees where the first hunt was to take place.  Hardly arrived in our position we already spotted wallabies appear everywhere between the bushes. The whole line of shooters opened fire but not always with the desired effect as some of the shooters were very lacking in marksmanship. I was not in a good position, though I saw quite many animals I could only rarely shoot as the game was fearful of a deep gorge and preferred to escape between my fellow shooters. The mounted drivers performed their duty well and did not blindly ride around as those use during the hunts of Mr. Mack. They rode at a walk and drove the game with shouts and cracking whips towards the position. The result of the drive was 15 pieces.

The wallabies bagged here — the name used by the English to designate all smaller kangaroo species — differ from the large kangaroo that we had hitherto hunted by a more vivid color of the fur which is more brownish. The bagged pieces were stripped in place after the hunt and the hides hung onto the saddles. In the evening they were handed over to the taxidermist. The removal of the hides is done with astonishing skill and speed revealing a practised hand in this procedure.

The next hunt took place at the foot of a hill up the ledge without me getting a chance to fire. The other shooters could show off five wallabies. In numerous hares that I saw I greeted the representatives of our European Lepus timidus that had been introduced a while ago and seems to like its new homeland very well.

Even though the sun was already setting, another drive was undertaken. It resulted in 15 wallabies and two kangaroos. As much as I could observe the wallabies are more timid and more prudent than the kangaroos as they already start to flee when the driver becomes even a little visible and they always crouch after only a few jumps to watch out all around. If they notice any movement of the shooter they immediately turn or jump madly out of shooting distance. . Sometimes the wallabies hide on the ground if the are driven into a corner by the drivers and only jump at the last moment. Some of the bagged females carried young ones in various development stages in their pouches.

After the conclusion of this very successful hunt we returned to the farm to dine quickly as a night opossum hunting expedition had been promised in the case the moon was visible. What is called „opossum“ here is a common brushtail possum (Phalangista vulpina), while the true opossums (Didelphys) are living in America and consist of various species of marsupials. In fact Luna was lighting in full clarity towards 8 o’clock so that we could march out led by two Australians experienced in hunting opossums. First we hunted at the edge of a forest. The unusual night hunt in moonshine was interesting and exciting.

On the order of the hunting experts we formed an open line and advanced quite loudly to get the opossums feeding on the ground to stand up. We had barely advanced a few hundred paces when one of the hunting masters indicated with a whistle that he had discovered an opossum. He pointed a strong branch out to me on which the game should be hiding itself but I failed to see it for quite some time. Only when I moved my back to the moonlight shining on the branch I could distinguish the contours of an opossum which pressed itself motionless against he branch like a marten. After the shot, the dead animal dropped from the tree.

The body of the common brushtail possum is about half a meter long with a very dense woolen fur. The tail is bushy like that of a fox. The head which has two black running strings resembles with its pointed muzzle that of a marten. The eyes are large and beautiful. The ears stand out erect. The animal makes a very delicate impression in build and figure. During the day it is not visible as it hides in caves and tree holes and only emerges at the start of the night. It is mostly a herbivore and grazes at the edge of the forest. It is thus found mostly near sheep pastures with large trees. The common brushtail possum is not lazy like the koala but rather quite agile. Only after it has fled onto a tree it clings motionless to a branch. This animal is often hunted for its excellent and valuable fur as well as it is guilty of raiding the chicken coop. It must be counted among the rarer animals.

It is strange how quickly the eye gets accustomed to see animals in the dim moon light that appear only as small dark blurs on the tall eucalyptus trees. We hunted in the gorgeous cool moon night for about another two hours and then returned home after I had bagged six possums and one Australian bear.


  • Location: Badgery Station, Australia
  • ANNO – on  23.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Marquis von Villemer“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Cavalleria Rusticana” and the ballet „Rouge et Noir“.

Sydney — Auburn — Moss Vale, 22 May 1893

After I had attended mass on board — it was Whit Monday, I visited a large factory in Auburn, situated West of Sydney in the direction of Parramatta. The factory produces meat tins. It is managed by a group of sheep breeders  and supplies the English and the Belgian army with tins. New South Wales is the classic territory of the meat canning industry. Its importance today in meat production from the numerous herds of Australasia has been started 50 years ago by a Mr. Sizar Elliott from Charlotteplace. In 1892 New South Wales was already exporting meat valued at 3,408.144 fl. in Austrian currency.

Built in open meadows the factory lies close to the large cattle and sheep market on which every week many thousands of cows and sheep from all parts of the country are sold. Large enclosed spaces near the factory are intended to keep the cattle and sheep prior to being butchered.

The tour started in that department responsible for the packaging of the containers and cases are produced out of tin. All these processes such as cutting, turning and soldering are done by machines at enormous speed.

The most important part of the factory is butchering sheep located in a hall that contains compartments for groups of ten sheep each. The butcher kills each sheep by slashing the throat of each animal and at the same time breaking the spine by bending the animal’s head over his knee. Then the butchered piece is taken by two assistants who remove the skin, cut off head and feet and put the gutted body on a rolling band which feeds it into a line. The work proceeds at such a speed thanks to the workers‘ practice in their bloody trade that the whole procedure from the butchering of a sheep to its loading takes only about two minutes, which explains why a good worker can „handle“ about 160 sheep on a daily basis.

The removed skins glide through an opening to a room below where they are packaged to be sold untanned. Heads, feet and entrails are used for producing tallow.

With astonishing skill the workers on the line execute their work in first splitting the body into two parts then removing the parts free of fat and bones, namely loin and ham if they are spotless and move them into cooking cauldrons while the other parts go into pans to produce tallow. It runs out of the pans by special tubes through cooling machines and then directly into barrels. The remainders of the tallow production, namely the bones are used to produce fertilizer.

The pieces of meat intended for preservation are boiled for a short time in cauldrons, then cut into small pieces by machines and pressed into tins that are soldered close after a worker has properly adjusted the mass of meat in the tin. It is then cooked in a water bath in an iron tub. To increase the speed of the process chemical substances are added to the water.

After the completion of this procedure the goods are ready for the market. The whole procedure takes only a few hours from the moment the butchering of the sheep begins to the moment when it disappears into a tin.

In a similar manner beef and sheep tongues are preserved, only the cows are not killed in the manner practised in our country by hitting it on the head. They are shot here. For this purpose cattle are driven into chambers on whose walls are small slits. A butcher approaches to one of the slits, aims for the head’s spot between the horns and shoots one cow after the other with a small caliber rifle, almost a Flaubert.

The factory processes 4000 sheep and 26 cows daily with a relatively low number of workers who are well paid as the weekly earnings are on average around 26,4 fl. in Austrian currency. I tasted various tins and found especially those intended for the military quite tasty. I liked best the beef preserved for the Belgian army.

Back in Sydney we ate breakfast at the amiable and very obliging consul general’s who lived in a very lovely house in one of the suburbs and possesses a large number of interesting objects that he had acquired on his earlier missions in Asia.

As my collection efforts had not abated, I drove in the afternoon to various dealers who had been recommended to me to acquire bird bodies, ethnographic objects as well as platypus hides and there discovered a speciality of Sydney, emu eggs on which were engraved inventive depictions of kangaroos, lyrebirds emus, brushtail possums etc.

A five hour railway drive brought us to Moss Vale, on the Southern Line, 138 km south of Sydney, the starting point for another three days‘ hunting expedition. Mr. Badgery, a farmer, on whose extensive property the hunt would take place this time was our guide. In the station of Moss Vale a rich evening meal was waiting for us. Having conquered it, I retired to the salon wagon that had been decoupled while my entourage booked rooms in a nearby hotel.


Sydney, 21 May 1893

After a quite cool night spent in the wagon, we returned to Sydney after 7 o’clock on Whit Sunday. The otherwise beautiful and vibrant city, however, looked quite dead as due to the strict Sunday laws all shops were closed and nobody was in the streets, some sleepy street cleaners excepted.

On board I answered the mail and said good-bye to Schleinitz who would return to Vienna with Leopold.

Catholic St. Mary’s Cathedral where I wanted to attend High Mass was packed with devouts. Built in the Gothic style and complete except for the roof and the towers, the Lord’s house whose artistically designed glass windows are remarkable is in the mean time covered with a provisional wooden roof. Mass was celebrated by the auxiliary bishop with many assistants as the most prominent church dignitary of Australia, Cardinal and Archbishop Patrick Francis Morran was currently in Rome. The celebration took quite some time: namely from 11 o’clock sharp in the morning to half past 1 o’clock in the afternoon. I had not yet attended such a long sermon and certainly not one in a language I did not understand like today’s in English.

After the conclusion of the service, a great crowd assembled in front of the church. The throng around me was so thick that I hardly managed to reach the wagon. A number of persons, among them many Irish, touched my clothes as this was said to bring luck. Very pleased about this innate power that I had not divined before, I had to remain in place in the wagon while the crowd shouted one „Hurrah“ after the other, as the horse of the cab was totally perplex due to the great shouting and would not move until it was led by the reins. At that moment a wooden dais with a considerable number of humans on it collapsed with a big noise beside my wagon. Fortunately nobody was hurt. Only a particularly cheeky boy was thrown head first into an empty barrel standing nearby which created a moment of hilarity. The scene would have been worthy of Wilhelm Busch’s pen!

Hardly back on board, I received a visit of all the ministers of the colony of New South Wales during which consul general Pelldram acted as interpreter. With good conscience I could tell the gentlemen about my enchantment with the beautiful country and the lovely city which seemed to be received with great satisfaction. At least the mood during the reception was very animated, especially when the consul general made a mistake and continued to answer in English instead of in German the laughter seemed to go on forever. The prime minister Sir G. R. Dibbs, a stately tall man and father of six blooming daughters made a very sympathetic impression on me not only by his imposing physique but also by his character. The gentlemen had arrived in a small steam yacht and invited me to a drive to the most beautiful spots of the harbor — an offer I could hardly refuse, all the more so as the little I had already seen I have found to be extraordinarily pleasant.

If one drives alongside the individual bays, to a certain extent to get closer to the intimate details of the scenery, one’s wondering eyes see the development of panoramas that are so enchantingly lovely. Everywhere a colorful mix and variety of water and land, ships, gardens and lovely villas. Azure blue waves crash into the mainland’s shore and the islands. The shore and the islands are covered with rich vegetation and surrounded with glittering rocks. Deep bays intrude into the land while extended land tongues jut out into the dark sea plowed by numerous ships and boats. Above all this stands the serene clear sky and the clean fresh air.

The yacht set course first around Dawes Point past the Darling harbor that cuts deeply into the Southern coast where the large merchant ships are moored. Following the turns of the bays North-West of Darling Harbour to Waterview Bay and the bay to the North of Morts Dock we reached Cockatoo island where we visited the large dry dock that had recently been built at the expense of many millions and offered easily enough space for two ships of the size of our „Elisabeth“. This island presented a lovely view of the extended city, the green hills with their countless villas that peeked out between large trees. In various places in the bays lay decommissioned war and merchant ships that are contemplatively awaiting their end of the days and provisionally serve as depots and magazines. From Cockatoo Island we drove into the Parramatta River, the Western branch of Port Jackson.

At the end of this bay that extends 29 km into the land into which the unimportant small Parramatta river flows lies the city of the same name at a blooming shore. The two villages Hunters Hill and Gladesville are famous for the beauty of their landscape as well as their splendid orangeries and fruit gardens situated in the bay. Exiting the Parramatta River we turned north and reached Woodford Bay, passing by the land tongue of Greenwich. Woodford Bay forms as far as the scenery is concerned the most beautiful part of the surroundings of Sydney and made me believe to be at the shore of our own country’s lakes.  With sparkling champaign a number of toasts were given that for us always ended in praise for the charms of Sydney. The extension of the beautiful excursion was constrained by the announced visit of the auxiliary bishop who was to come on board for an audience with me at 5 o’clock.

The heads of all administrative departments had been invited to an evening gala dinner hosted by the lieutenant governor in Government House. I need to mention one act of gracious hospitality by the lieutenant governor who announced the toast to His Majesty the Emperor in German despite being only partially conversational in German — for the first time in a long row of dinners I attended up to now in British colonies.


Mullengudgery, 20 May 1893

During the night we drove from Narromine to Mullengudgery where we would hunt on the lands of various farmers  who planned to join us in this undertaking. The most prominent among them were Mr. Alison and Mr. Campbell.

First on the agenda was a wagon hunt on Australian bustards to which I was looking forward with interest as I had not yet known about that kind of game and had not found a natural history description of it. At dawn Mr. Campbell picked me up in a small wagon on which I and Clam took our seats and then we went off in the already familiar Australian manner at a very fast pace cross country to a very large meadow that served as a pasture for sheep and featured tufts of grass and some individual clumps of trees.

Soon Mr. Campbell showed me a big bird that stood with its high neck in the heath and which I recognized as a bustard when we tried to drive closer. The Australian bustard seems to have the same qualities as its European brother, especially the same timidity as it too did not remain standing. A shot at great distance was unsuccessful. We now drove continuously around in the heath and saw many more bustards. But these always flew away many hundreds of meters distant from our wagon so that I only managed to come within shooting distance to a flock and bag a beautiful specimen which however was totally ruined by the  500er bullet. The coat of the Australian bustard is different from that of the European one as the male has a large black badge on the breast while the back feathers are pearled. It also lacks the barb of our bustards.

Our morning hunt was very exciting because I saw many other specimens of various other bird species I had not known before beyond the many bustards. Among them the Australian crane that is parading around seeking food while crying constantly. One of them I shot with a bullet without however being able to catch it. On a dry tree sat a whole flock of ibis and at another location I saw for the first time a pair of the beautiful pink cockatoo with its red crest that they challengingly raise at any moment. During the return drive I bagged a beautiful falcon (Hieracidea berigora).

Having returned to the station I found the other gentlemen there with whom I was now to undertake a water game hunt and in the afternoon one for emus.

With the usual country-specific delay we set out, followed by a number of riders. This time our wagon was even more enormous than the one in Narromine. This one was a hunting wagon of huge dimensions and pyramidal height. But this vehicle driven again by the also present Mr. Mack proved itself splendidly. Taking short-cuts, he guided the monster through the pinewood forest of at least 3 m tall so that the wagon’s impact broke the trees and drove over them at speed which would hardly have been possible with a lighter vehicle. Extraordinarily skilled were also the four horses that drew the wagon. They jumped and turned progressing through the thicket.

Just after the departure we saw a large number of bustards that stood around in the open terrain in small groups or flew past us. Also rabbits rushed around everywhere or sat in front of trees in numbers of six or eight. These animals form one of the worst plagues of Australia. Once imported, they multiplied in a frightening way and can not be eradicated now. The number of the rabbits might be illustrated by the message of Mr. Campbell that he had caught in one night more than 8000 rabbits in traps without noticing a difference afterward. Some farming neighbors had to move away from Mullengudgery as they could not contain these animals. The number of rabbits had increased in 1883 so dramatically — during a single year 102.300 km2, an area larger than the combined size of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Lower Austria, was destroyed by the „rabbit plague“ — that the government had allowed important subsidies for the capture of rabbits from 1883 to1890 to contain the expansion of the rabbits.

The sums the government spent for the eradication of the rabbits are estimated to be more than 12,000.000 fl. in Austrian currency. The only reliable measure is the enclosure of the threatened areas with wire netting of which the government has built in total 1688 km while the length of wire netting built by the individual herd owners of the country is said to amount to 21.500 km.

When we came to a small fairly dense forest, suddenly some emus starting fleeing and were immediately pursued by the riders until they had driven them into a corner created out of wire netting. Unfortunately the birds managed to get over the netting after multiple tries and disappear forever before we arrived with the rifles.

The proximity of a large swamp made itself noticeable by the presence of countless cranes that were standing in the low cane brake and filled the air with their hoarse cries. The hunting leaders intended to position us at various points where there were open water areas and ducks tended to land and then send the horses in to scare up the game. Wurmbrand and Clam remained at the beginning of the swamp while I drove on for about another 7 km, driving past some open pools where I shot some pieces of game, among them a rare harrier. A rather deep stream was overcome with the wagon at a gallop and I then was in my position at a small pool that extended between two veins of the swamp. Here I selected a more favorable spot under a strong willow bush and surveyed the surrounding area with great attention.

By and by some flocks of ducks approached but usually at a height I could not shoot at them. I could hear shots in the far distance, now and then a crack of the whips. But the game seemed to have taken another direction and avoid my position. The hunting leaders had apparently made wrong assumptions and spaced the shooters too far from each other so that the game could spread out and fly away into all parts of the world after the first shots. In relation to the total number of shooters many approaches had been left uncovered which the game used to escape, leaving us behind. I waited for two hours and had to be satisfied with four ducks during this time until my endurance paid of towards the end of the hunt. I bagged two birds that were a beautiful addition to my collection. An ibis that I shot out of a flock flying over my head as well as an Australian crane. That one had approached my position to about 200 paces when I missed it twice with my bullets. As it could not know where the shots were coming from it remained sitting so that I could bag it with the third bullet. The gentlemen of my entourage did also not return home without a catch and brought two beautiful bustards with them which they had met near the swamp in sandy terrain.

Already during the hunt I had spotted various emus at a great distance and now urged the farmers to use the afternoon to bag one of these rare animals as this had been one of the main reasons of this trip. They complied eagerly with this request and positioned me alongside a fence in a plain covered with crippled trees and bushes while the riders rode of taking a wide turn in order to drive the emus present towards me. In front of me stood some low mustard bushes, the favorite food of grazing sheep. Behind these bushes I tried to take the best possible cover. I must have waited for only about 20 minutes when I heard the loud shouts of the galloping riders and a dust cloud was advancing towards me. Now I saw a very strange image of at least 40 emus running furiously with their necks held high at full speed. In front of all of them ran an almost black large male  leading the whole unorganized herd behind. The animals rushed alongside the fence which they could not overcome, breaking out into the open area from time to time which was skilfully prevented by the riders. Only 40 steps away from me, the first animals noticed me and now the whole herd dispersed. I sent two grain shots at the closest emu and heard the grains impact against the dense coat of the bird and could determine that it had been heavily wounded but could not prevent it from taking off. Having learned from this, I took the rifle and shot an old male that had started turning to flee. Other shots I could not fire at the departing animals due to the presence of the riders. The herd fled now at a frantic speed towards the plain where my gentlemen had unfortunately been incorrectly lined up that is in a secondary line. Only Clam managed fire some shots at the emus at a great distance. If the gentlemen had been placed correctly sideways from me, the resulting catch would have been considerably bigger.

The piece wounded by me with grain was soon discovered by two riders. The bagged pieces were of a rare beauty and large specimens whose collection was even more welcome as it is said that this mighty bird species is on the way of becoming extinct.

The riders tried to drive the bustards back again, in fact from the other side so that we only had to turn around in our positions. After some time some pieces advanced toward us. But the emus with their fine senses had exactly noticed the dangerous position and escaped at a great distance from our position without a chance of reversing their direction again.

Mr. Campbell proposed to hunt cockatoos and bustards as the continuation of hunting emus was futile and there was still some time left.  He sent out two riders to find the spot of the cockatoo flocks. They returned after a few minutes with the report that they had found a flock. As fast as our wagon permitted we drove in the reported direction and after about 2 km we saw a flock of gorgeous pink cockatoos (Cacatua roseicapilla) flying above the tree tops and land in an open area. Immediately I and Wurmbrand jumped off the wagon and sneaked up to see the 300 to 400 redheads with raised crests visible above the grass. A bit later we could see the delicate animals themselves, seeking food, parading around with a grave air. When we had approached to 60 paces, the flock lifted off as if by command and with two shots I bagged three pieces that shrieking fluttered around on  the ground.

Following a strange drive cockatoos never separate themselves from dead or wounded comrades of their flock but fly around it in the air and dive down to it again, even if one shoots multiple times at them. Thus the colorful cockatoo flocks flew up into the air like a pink cloud only to dive quick as an arrow. Another ten pieces were bagged until the flock finally ascended to great height and disappeared beyond the eucalyptus tree tops.

Soon afterward I shot during another drive still three lovely small parrots and with a bullet a bustard and finally reached in complete darkness the station where Hodek was hard at work in preparing and treating the various catches.

After I said good-bye to the friendly farmers, the railway took us to Narromine where we then said a heartfelt good-bye to the kind Mr. Mack who had arranged and greatly contributed to our hunting successes.

I had left the wagon in Narromine for a moment when a decently but poorly clad young man approached me out of the crowd, took and pressed my hand and said to me: „When Your Imperial Majesty returns to Vienna, I ask you to greet the old „Steffl“ (St. Stephan’s Cathedral) and tell it that he was a faithful Austrian who will not forget his old homeland!“ Having said this, he disappeared. I immediately sent one of the gentlemen after the unknown man who after a long search found him and offered him some support in my name. The compatriot refused all kind of assistance, mentioning that he may be poor and out of work but he had only wanted to see a member of the Imperial family. Then he disappeared again in the crowd. The whistle of the locomotive was sounded and we moved on. This surprising scene in the Australian bush moved me deeply. This simple man with his love for his homeland truly aroused my patriotic heart. What sacrifices, what kind of sorrows the poor man has to bear in the hard struggle for existence and still he carries the memory of his homeland with him and keeps alive his love to his old Imperial family! Whatever might have sent him to Australia, the true Austrian spirit in this burdened man lives on too — many thousand miles away from his dear homeland — and expressed itself in words that made a profound impression on me, his warm blooded compatriot.


  • Location: Narromine, Australia
  • ANNO – on  20.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Maria Stuart“ and the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “Margarethe (Faust)“.