Project Canterbury


From Samarai to




An account of a visit to the New Guinea Mission in 1916




(The Right Reverend J. O. Feetham, D.D.)








D. S. FORD, Printers, 729 George Street.





WHILE the shocks of war resound through the world, it is a relief to be removed for a few weeks to a land where "Peace hath her victories," which, if we truly understand the proportion of things, would be far more "renowned than war." When the nations of Europe flew at each other's throats, we were told that Christianity bad failed, and we replied that a civilization faintly tinged with Christian sentiment had failed, but that Christianity in the deep and wide sense had not yet been tried. It is, then, no little relief and joy to look for a while on a country where Christianity is being quite honestly and whole-heartedly tried, where the seed of the Gospel sown on virgin soil is abundantly bringing forth the fruit of peace.

The Government a Minister of God for Good.

The Missionary is not the only agent that has been at work, and he is not, and would not wish to be thought, the only hero of the situation. But without him the efforts of the Government officials to establish law and order--they themselves are the first to tell you--would be labour in vain. The first aim of the magistrate and the patrol officer is to secure the safety of human life from acts of violence, and, in relation to this, to work for human well-being by insisting on the rudiments of village sanitation, the clearing of tracks, and the planting of coconuts. The courage and devotion to duty of these Government men is beyond praise. Actually during the period of my visit to the country, one of them, Richard Dorrien Kirby, was killed by the Kikos of the village of Bagama, on the Kikori River, only twenty-four miles from Goaribari, where Chalmers met his death fifteen years ago.

If I touch on this incident first, it is to show how the efforts of the Government can only succeed when the Missionary is there to awake and educate the native conscience and to demonstrate the sacreduess of human life. I cannot make a better opening than by showing what is still liable to happen any day where the native mind and heart have not been enlightened by the Love of God, and have not learned that man is made in His image.

[6] A Danger Zone.

The Kikori, the Kapaina and the Purari Rivers enter the sea within sixty miles of one another at the northern apex of the Gulf of Papua. Their deltas are connected by innumerable waterways which intersect the vast swamps where the sago-palm flourishes. The native population of Kikos, Keiwais and other warrior tribes is a large one. The village called Ukiarewi, on the Purari River, alone has seven thousand people. The population of the district is not less than eighty thousand. To keep these people quiet there are two white men and fifteen native police. The Keiwais and their related tribes are among the fiercest in New Guinea. Fifteen years ago they attempted the annihilation of the Lieutenant-Governor and his party at a point on the Kikori since called "Attack Bend." Justice is necessarily slow, but fairly sure. If certain natives have offended and are wanted, it may take years to get them--the network of channels and the rivers navigable for four hundred miles or more form a convenient refuge for a people who can so swiftly skim the water in their canoes. On June 1st I met, in Port Moresby, Mr. Cardew, the Assistant Magistrate from the Kikori region. It was he who gave me particulars of the death of Richard Kirby, who was working under him at the time.

[7] As illustrating the difficulty of reaching the offenders, he told me that only last April he had brought into Port Moresby for trial fifty natives from one of the islands at the top of the Gulf, who were implicated in the holding of a cannibal feast three years before. They had received sentences from Judge Herbert, according to the probable degree of their guilt, varying up to two and half years' imprisonment. The outside observer might think that penalty inadequate, but having regard to native views of human life--pending the enlightenment that cannot come to them except through Christianity--it was probably quite severe enough.

A Cannibal Feast.

The circumstances that led to the death of Richard Kirby were these. The people of Bagama invited the men of a neighbouring village to a feast. It is believed, so far as the affair has yet been investigated, that this Invitation was ironical in the very last degree, and that the deliberate intention of the men of Bagama from the beginning was that their luckless guests should form the material of the feast. However that may be--and it is possible that the action of the hosts may have been prompted by some breach of native etiquette on the part of the visitors--on their arrival they were killed and cooked and eaten.

A Life Laid Down.

Kirby, being somewhere in the neighbourhood, started at once for Bagama with a few native police to look into the matter and demand the surrender of the persons responsible. He knew perfectly well, of course, that he was taking his life in his band, as no doubt he had done many times before. The natives feel a certain compunction about killing a white man for fear of what his spirit may do to them, and again and again the patrol officer or the missionary walks into the lion's den, asserts his influence, demands and obtains an account of misconduct and takes security for good behaviour. He knows his risk and quietly stakes his life for the welfare of the tribe, and he may win his stake many times. This time the Kikoris were in a thoroughly bad mood and thought they might as well be "hanged for a sheep as for a lamb." As Kirby and his party approached the village, arrows rained upon them from a belt of trees eighty yards away. Kirby was struck in four places. One wound was serious--an arrow-head penetrated the sternum (breastbone) and broke off. The one white man being thus placed hors de combat, his party retreated, assisting their wounded leader. On the next day they met Cardew, who was hastening to the assistance of his subordinate. He attempted to extract the arrow-head and failed owing to the barbs. With all possible speed Cardew took Kirby to Yule Island, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Mission, hoping to save his life with the help that would be obtained there. But after arrival, on the fourth day from the encounter with the Kikoris, Kirby died. He was due for furlough, and the man [7/8] who was going to relieve him (a member of the C.E.M.S.) went to Port Moresby with me in the Marsina at the end of April. "It seems a rotten way to go out," observed the Assistant Magistrate, as he concluded the story, "but somebody's got to look after these johnnies, and anyhow Kirby did his duty." It may be a long time before the men guilty of this crime are brought to book, but calmly and quietly the Government will go to work, and gravely and sadly punishment will be administered in due course.

The Missionary Church.

One of my earliest landings was near to Mukawa, the Mission station a little north of Cape Vogel, where we spent Sunday, May 7th. The spot where we put ashore bore till lately the suggestive title "Siragi-kapukapuna" (the place for the roasting of visitors). The village of Boga-boga, three miles further down the coast, was long notorious as the best market for the disposal of prisoners. The recognised exchange for a man was three pigs,--and Bogaboga took trouble with its pigs, so as to be always in a position to purchase a man. I visited Bogaboga, and was introduced to the ex-cannibal chieftain; he has not accepted Christianity, but the majority of his people have done so, and I was present at a Confirmation held there a fortnight later.

Early Days.

The Mukawa Mission Station is in charge of Rev. S. and Mrs. Tomlinson, who began at Dogura in 1891, with Albert Maclaren and Copland King, and they have with them Miss Oliver, who has been nearly seventeen years in the Mission. The pioneers of those early days stood every chance of learning the exact meaning of the pregnant nomenclature adopted by the native for those spots at which his country might be entered. I have read Mr. Tomlinson's diary for 1891 and 1892. The published records of the Mission are mild and reticent when compared with this plain and unpreteuding journal.

[9] Attacks of fever, almost incessant, were varied by cheering messages from the Boianaians or Radavans to the effect that they were coming to kill the "dimdims" (foreigners). Sixteen canoe loads of men from these villages landed on one occasion close to Wedau, and would certainly have carried out their threat had not the Wedauans mounted guard round their "dimdim" friends all night. That an enemy so formidable did ultimately withdraw, having done no harm, was due, humanly speaking, to the protection of the far less warlike Wedauans; but the Mission party have always felt that they were guarded by friends more than mortal.

I cannot now enlarge further on what I learned from the documents of those days. It is enough to say that one looks with a certain wonder and respect at the Tomlinsons and Mr. Copland King, and feels one ought to congratulate them on this--among many other far greater achievements--that they are actually still alive. About the time that the fever carried off Albert Maclaren, and for long after that there seemed every probability that they who remained would themselves "go out" in a manner more abrupt. Rev Copland King

The Fruit of the Sacrifice.

On Sunday morning, May 7, I was present at the Eucharist in the Church of S. James', Mukawa. There were 107 communicants, and nearly all the adults of the village were present. The Bishop celebrated, and Mr. Tomlinson gave an address. The Mukawan language is terrific, a little word like "holy" is "kao'aobaisiena," and that is nothing to some of them. The sermon was quite brief, but the service took at least an hour and a half. The rows and rows of men in loincloths filling half" the church, kneeling as still as statues, bolt upright upon the shingle floor, and the corresponding rows of women in their grass skirts on the north side offered a striking example of worship to the beholder. Our launch-boys and house-boys, Boianaian Christians from a hundred miles further south, filled a row near to me, and worshipped with much devotion; knowing every movement of the service [9/10] by heart, it did not inconvenience them that the Mukawan language bore no resemblance to their own.

The worship itself, in that dimly lit palm-leaf covered church, and the bright and friendly greetings all round in the sunshine without when the service was over, carried to the mind a sense of a people loving one another--and their visitors--from the heart fervently, and I remembered that only five-hundred yards away was "Siragikapukapuna"!



From the people who travel from Cairns to Port Moresby on the boats one gets a variety of opinions about New Guinea and its inhabitants, and the efforts of the missionaries.

The Trader's View.

There is the trader's view. He has generally a certain respect for the Missions so long as they keep strictly clear of trading; sometimes he has a real sympathy with their ideals. But in many instances he fears that the missionary does not recognize his real opportunities. Clearly it is his chief business to make the native a useful man, teach [10/11] him English, book-keeping, carpentering, building and engineering, "and then you see, with plenty of cheap and efficient labour we shall be able to develop the country." To which one feels obliged to reply, "but where exactly does the native himself come in in the process of this development?" One cannot explicitly suggest that the picture of the developed country in this trader's mind is dominated by a single "highlight"--that of his own rapidly increasing fortune, with the native occupying a shadowy background, dubiously illuminated by some scattered rays of the enlightenment that accompanies our white civilization. But if you plead for the natural and gradual development of the native life and character along its own lines towards the realization of its own innate possibilities, the trader becomes a little impatient and assures you that the native character is a poor thing not worth considering. " No, my dear sir, they are ungrateful, disappointing, and unreliable; you can do everything for your boys, look after their health, and give them any amount of tobacco and "bullamacow" (beef), and you don't get an ounce of gratitude--no makings of character, I assure you." That is nearly the end of the conversation, since it is difficult not to be a little invidious when hinting in reply that merely to give a child what he wants is a pretty certain way of spoiling him, and that no one can influence character in others who does not strictly discipline his own. I am representing the view of some traders. There are others, be it remembered, who see differently.

Development must be on Native Lines.

As to the general theory of the trader about the development of the country, no one can wish to hinder that if it is a true native development, and indeed we see it is progress under the influence of Christianity; but it would surely be a great injustice to these people to hurry them rapidly into full contact with a civilization more than a thousand years old, with all its dangers and complexities, before they have had time to become established, as a people, in the moral and spiritual truths that have been so lately imparted to them, and have already produced in many instances such notable results. Happily the people have as yet suffered very little through their contact with white men. Drink is kept from the native under stringent penalties; they have as yet no desire for it. Again, it is fully recognised that the country belongs to them, and none of their land may be bought from them unless they on their own side desire to part with it, and the Government is satisfied that they are not injuring themselves now, or in their future prospects, by the bargain.

As the native genius expands, and skill and knowledge increase, let them enter into fuller relations with the outside world, and they will hold their own, but for another generation or two they ought, for the most part, to live their own life in their villages, carrying on their native pursuits of agriculture, hunting and fishing, and the simpler arts. There is an originality and freshness in their grasp of Christian faith and in their manner of practising it, which makes one feel that [11/12] they ought to be allowed to work things out in their own way, and that their tribal life should have the chance to find Itself and shape its course under the new Christian conditions, without the pressure of Influences from outside so strong as to warp the instinctive bent of the people. Their progress towards self-expression and the ripening of their life potentialities would be gravely endangered by unrestricted intercourse with the white man's world. For one thing, they have at present a child-like belief in the unblemished Christian virtue of Australia; do not let us disillusionise them too soon, not before they are strong enough to stand the shock of the actual truth. Here in New-Guinea is a race with all the elements of noble character, very original and strongly socialistic, courteous, cheerful, industrious, they will show us their importance to humanity in due time.

Instances of Gratitude.

But to reply to the trader's accusation that they are ungrateful, I think I can furnish the strongest evidence the other way. On May 2, in company with the Bishop, I landed from the launch Whitkirk at Taupota. The Mission staff there consisted of the Rev. P. C. and Mrs. Shaw, and Miss Winterbottom. There are several villages near by; [12/13] Christianity is advancing steadily; there were 227 communicants on Easter Day. There was a boarding school for forty-seven girls, which was the delight of all who saw it. The native ordinances studied here under the guidance of Mr. Shaw. Of these, I particularly remember Robert Madouna. He has the pastoral character written on his face. I have seldom seen one so strong and generous and kindly. You feel as you look at him that he is eager to bear the responsibility for souls that awaits him. But I digress. As I remember these delightful places it is difficult to resist description in detail. The point is that Taupota, with its fast growing Christian community, needed a new church; the present one, though a very nice building with walls neatly covered with pandanus leaves and thatched roof, was far too small. These Missions do not overbuild themselves. All kinds of advanced activities are carried on in very primitive habitations, as we should think them. But the new church was to be exceedingly magnifical--the natives were determined upon that. Money was needed for materials other than those that the locality supplies. Twenty men of Taupota therefore have taken counsel, and making all their own arrangements, have gone away 200 miles eastwards by sea to the Woodlark Islands, to plant coconuts on a labour contract, which will last twelve months. They have assigned half the net profits of the contract to buying [13/14] material for the church. One of their party, Gabriel, a lay reader, was rejected by the doctor on account of a deformed leg. His Excellency Judge Murray was at Samarai when the boys came to sign on, and very quickly arranged that Gabriel should go as cook-boy for the party. Having the best brains of the lot he could ill be spared. Moreover he will conduct prayers daily for his companions.

Roughly, the terms of the contract are these: A blanket, four calicoes, a mosquito net, and food are found by the employers, and in addition to that a stick and a half of tobacco per week (2 1/4 d). The pay is then £6 for the year and upwards according to ability. The twenty men will have about £150 to their credit at the end of the year. Of this they are giving £75 to the Church Building Fund. It appears that the native has some gratitude to God and to those who bring him Christianity. And that is not the only instance of such generosity that I could quote. Other examples were given me of boys who had completed their contract, greatly disappointing the storekeepers at the town where they were paid off, spending next to nothing of their wealth, taking nearly all of it home to their village, intent on providing for church improvements first.

Kindness Repaid.

Here is an instance of a different kind. Mr. Gill, of Boianai, wanted a boy nine years old from an adjoining village for his mission school. The boy's father would not let him come, and made various excuses for delay. One day this man came into the mission station to say that there was a flying-fox in one of his coconut trees, and would the "bada" come and shoot it. Mr. Gill took his gun and shot the fox. The man was delighted, and had it for dinner. Next day he brought his little boy to the Mission, and handed him over to the Church, saying, "You shall have him," and, moreover, the man himself has since become a catechumen.

[15] Hospital Cases.

To his sporting abilities Mr. Gill adds extensive knowledge and experience of medicine and surgery. When we landed one day at Dogura, a boy called Ernest Togembo ran up to him and said, "I remember you at Mukawa. I had a blind eye, and you cured me. I think of you." In fact for those who understand them and help them in the various little difficulties of life, these people have the affectionate gratitude of children. And this simple and charming emotion on their part can be guided by those who know how, to the best ends imaginable.

For example, here is another case from the Boianai hospital. Michael John, now aged sixteen, finds his chief joy in life in working for his "bada." When on a journey, he looks after him, carries his baggage, packs and unpacks it, and can produce anything he needs from any bag at a moment's notice. In leisure hours, on the launch or elsewhere, he brings his book of Gospels and demands a reading lesson. His great ambition is to become a reader. Here is his earlier story. Five years ago he was dying of dysentery in a village some miles out. His elder brother had already died of the same complaint, and his parents had given him up. When Mr. Gill came to see the boy and to prescribe, they said, "It is no good, the spirits are killing him. The grave has taken his brother, and claims him, too." With reluctance, however, they allowed him to be taken to the mission station, and he was carried thither. After two days, though fearfully weak, he escaped into the bush. He was tracked and found, and brought back to hospital very nearly dead. With constant care and nursing he recovered. Now and then he reminds his benefactor of that time. "I was dying, the grave claimed my body, you brought me from the grave, my flesh belongs to you." It is a rather moving thing to see that dear boy sitting on the floor holding one hand of his instructor and pegging away at his reading. He is a bit slow at hearing, but nothing will satisfy him but to become an evangelist.

Partings and Greetings.

Partings and greetings in New Guinea are quite affecting scenes. I was at Mukawa on May 15th, when Mrs. Tomlinson and an advance party started at 10 p.m. in the Whitkirk for Dogura for the Conference. This lady very seldom leaves the station; her girls belonging to the school were quite overcome at the prospect of losing her for ten days. She put them to bed as usual at 8 o'clock, and the whole girls' dormitory cried itself to sleep. I listened to their sobs from outside. A few days later, with Mr. Tomlinson on board, we put in at the Baniana anchorage, and visited the Government police station on the island. We met several Mukawa people among the police and their wives, and they greeted Mr. Tomlinson with great affection. Janie, an old Mukawa school-girl, now wife of the native policeman in charge [15/16] of Baniana, would hardly Jet her "bada" go back to the boat. We were to sleep on board at anchor. About 8 o'clock, Janie and some of her friends came and sat on the end of the jetty, thirty yards from our boys, and serenaded Mr. Tomlinson with sustained and plaintive choruses of "Good night, 'bada.'" Mr. Tomlinson had to go to the bows and make graceful acknowledgments at intervals of every quarter hour or so. It went on long after I was asleep.

The native never forgets a kindness, and his gratitude is no unproductive emotion. If I take another example from Boianai, it is not because they are wanting elsewhere, only that my acquaintance with that village is the closest. These are the people, by the way, who with the Radavans so grimly threatened the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Tomlinson and a white carpenter at Dogura twenty-five years ago. On one of their ill-intentioned visits they were only bought off from sinister designs by the loyal Wedauans, at the pi ice of ten pigs, three for each "dimdim," and one extra because the "dimdim" is considered more choice "kaikai" (food) than the native.

An Offering of Work.

But things have changed since then. These people, once so fierce and truculent, like nothing better than to prepare pleasant surprises for their benefactors. There was some important building work in hand at Boianai, and some heavy timber bad been cut at Waraka, six [16/17] miles up the coast. The "bada" observed one evening to a village councillor, "I must go up in the whaleboat and get these posts tomorrow." (That would have meant a day's absence and pay for a crew of nine.) The councillor replied, "Bada, you need not go, the posts are here." The arrival of the posts was accounted for in this way. It was observed that they would soon be wanted, and that very day thirty of the people, starting at 5 a.m., without saying a word to their priest, had walked to Waraka and dragged the timber down to the sea and into the water. They had walked back in the water waist deep, using the sea as a canal, and pushing the timber in front of them. They chose of course a calm day, when the sea could be used, but the journey included many swims round coral reefs and promontories. For this labour, which had kept them from their gardens for more than half the day, the good people were more than rewarded by the delight of their "bada," whom they bad saved so much time and expense. An opportunity of doing a service to his Church and his teachers never escapes a New Guinea Christian. Life is now full of these surprises, so different in character from the sensations of twenty years ago.



In the last chapter I said something about the native capacity for gratitude--a fundamental virtue which ought to have prevented Eve from taking the apple, and a good many "falls" that have happened since. I hope I made good the native's case, as against the depreciating language of some traders.

Gratitude to benefactors, both in Heaven and on earth, is the basis of religion and the starting point of character. If it is proved that the native has that, everything else follows; but before I pass on I should like to defend his reliability which some traders disparage. It can perhaps be most forcibly and briefly illustrated from the conduct of the native crew of the Whitkirk.

Is the Papuan Reliable?

Hunt, Stephen and Louis are the boys "signed on" for the job. Hunt is a quiet, grave-looking boy. He has his share of life's troubles--his young wife has an incurable disease; he devotes his life to making her lot more tolerable, and maintains her generously out of his earnings as launch boy. He has a strong, intelligent countenance. To see him at the wheel gives one confidence that the Whitkirk won't hit anything as she glides in and out among the reefs. Stephen is younger, a very handsome lad, whose smile alone is enough to put you in good spirits, as you crawl from your bunk to the washing-place on a rough morning, when the launch is rolling twenty-five degrees. [17/18] Louis is about seventeen. He is solemn and business-like, always ready and alert. His sense of humour is deep down, but he laughs sometimes, and is radiant; it is a perfect treat to see him when a big kingfish is on the line that trails in the launch's wake. Mr. James Ionian, the white captain, who knows these waters better than any living man, and will go where no one else will venture, has the most perfect reliance upon his crew.

We left Ambasi at midnight on May 11th. It was blowing hard, and we were towing the Dandoro, whose propeller was damaged, with Mr. King on board of her. Mr. King said he spent a pleasant night, but I don't think there was a dry spot on his little boat, as-she danced and plunged on the end of the tow-rope. The Whitkirk's awnings kept the spray off those of us who were camped on deck. I lay on a stretcher with one arm hooked round the taffrail, and wondered whether I should maintain a sufficient grip if I went to sleep or whether the pitching would shoot me off. Capt. Jim got well out into Holnicote Bay, gave the boys their course, and turned in. Those three boys had charge till 6 a.m. It was a pretty wild night, and I found the muscular effort of hanging on to that taffrail incompatible with sleep. Others may have been more fortunate, but I doubt it. The Bishop considered that the boat was nice and steady; but then he is accustomed to that run across two hundred miles of open sea, from Samarai to the Woodlarks, when most of the way you ram your heels into the bulwarks or the scuppers and jam your backbone against the mast and hang on to any ropes that may be handy; and, of course, anything is luxury compared to the days--quite recent--when there was no launch, and the schooner Albert Maclaren would beat for a whole day trying to get round Cape Nelson, or would be becalmed for five or six days till you went ashore in the dinghey and proceeded to the nearest station on foot. The Whitkirk is a grand [18/19] boat, 18 tons, 30 h.p., 51 feet long, 9ft. beam, and she can do her ten knots; but she has only 4ft. draught, so that she may go over the reefs. In a heavy beam sea she thinks nothing of rolling forty degrees. Those boys were climbing about her like cats half the night, refastening a flapping awning here, securing a piece of deck furniture there, putting an extra lashing to the dinghey that was beginning to swing too much on its davits, or rigging an extra screen against a rainy squall. It wasn't their fault if we didn't get to sleep. And there they were in the first grey light of morning as cheerful and obliging as ever. They are accustomed to being relied upon, and they do not fail.

I must give one other example of their quality. After Conference at Dogura a party started north for Menapi and Mukawa at 10 p.m. The launch got back at 11 o'clock next morning to take another party south. She had had rough weather all the way, and the same continued until we got to Taupota at 3.30 p.m. None of the crew could have bad a spell since the night before, and, what's more, they had not bothered about "kai-kai" (food)--the launch was rolling too much to attempt cooking. These splendid boys, still quite happy and contented, got us all ashore at Taupota--Stephen's smile as cheering as ever--though it was getting distinctly late for breakfast after the sort of night they had had--and then went on to the anchorage to take an hour's rest and boil their "billies" before coming to pick us up again for another six hours' run through a strong sea to East Cape, where we were to anchor till daylight. The white man need not hesitate to trust his life to the care of a native crew, shine or storm, night or day. If this is not reliability, what is?

A Mission Station in Collingwood Bay.

But I must not dwell too long on these doings at sea if I am to show you the work of the Mission, which is the object of these articles. [19/20] Let us land at Wanigela--as we did indeed with difficulty on Saturday, May 13, after Captain Jim had steered in driving rain under leaden skies through Collingwood Bay, which bristles with reefs--by a passage known only to himself--and how he finds it when the landmarks are invisible and there is not light enough to make a difference in the colour of the water, whether-deep or shallow, nobody but himself knows.

Wanigela church is the finest in the Mission. Its Sanctuary, lately built by the Rev. J. E. J. Fisher and Mr. Joseph Taylor and their boys, is a triumph of native art, using nothing but native material. The whole Sanctuary is panelled with strips of sago palm; two such strips can be split from a palm branch. Their flat sides are turned to the wall, and the appearance is like that of fumed oak, the lights reflected on their rounded surfaces, which have a high natural polish, are most effective. Heavy polished beams thirty-three feet in length form the steps which lead up to the Altar; the floor between them is of coral, pounded small. The Altar is of native wood, with tappa cloth insertions in its panels. The central panel bears a picture of the Nativity, which Mr. Fisher has painted. Native mats are spread where they are required. The Bishop's throne on the north side of the Sanctuary accords in design with the Altar. The tappa cloth panel at the back bears the arms of the diocese, and that on the prie-dieu a presentation of the Good Shepherd. The seat is cut from a solid block of wood. Surmounting the four corners of the canopy are the insignia of a chief--three inverted conical frusta--carved in wood. Inscriptions in Ubir run round the frieze; one of them is "Jesu Ekesim" (Jesus, Thou only). But it is the colour scheme of the Sanctuary that gives it its peculiar beauty. The blending of yellows, browns, buffs, fawn and straw colour in the various materials is entirely successful and [20/21] harmonious, not a single tone is miscalculated. The church is 140 feet in length, the floor of the nave being of sand. The view of the Sanctuary from the west end is really very beautiful; the daylight admitted from embrasures north and south sufficiently emphasises the Altar and its surroundings, while the rest of the church, owing to the very deep eves of the roof, is relatively dim.

The Sunday Services.

On Sunday, May 14, there was a Eucharist with hymns at 7 a.m., the Bishop celebrating, and the Church was quite full. The epistle and gospel were read in Wedauan, the rest of the liturgy in Ubir. Besides Mr. Fisher, few persons in the Mission speak the latter language. The work of Mr. Money upon it was of the greatest value, but the Scriptures have not yet been extensively translated into it. The Bishop, though he prefers to preach in Wedauan, reads the liturgy in many languages, but I noticed he was up late on Saturday night, May 13, familiarizing himself with it in Ubir, which, next to Binandere, is the most difficult of the languages. At 9.30 a.m. there was a children's service, at which three hundred were present; many of them were young men who still attend the Catechism. It was conducted by Ambrose Baibuni, a native reader. He has a fine face and dignified presence, and speaks with an eloquent freedom and spontaneous force. His address on the words, "I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice," lasted twenty minutes, was listened to with close attention, and was, I am sure, excellent, though I only acquired a vague notion of his drift afterwards. I hope to return to Ambrose and his doctrine in another article. It is probable that he may prepare for the diaconate.

A River Baptism.

A very notable event of that Sunday was the baptism of 112 persons, which began at 11 a.m. We made our way to the Kumabun [21/22] Creek, which enters the sea a quarter of a mile from the mission house. The catechumens, the heathen, two priests and their attendants, and Miss Gertrude Robson crossed over by a bridge to the further side. The Bishop, the native Christians, about 250 of them, and the rest of us remained on the near side. Behind the catechumens there was a background of jungle--mangroves, pandanus, ferns, and a tangle of vines, with their long depending ropes and graceful catenaries, and more distant palms beyond. The two priests, Fisher and Gill, stood nearly waist deep in the stream with their attendants. When the service began the deepest hush fell upon the assembly. When the moment for the baptism arrived the catechumens were called by their native names by one of the readers assisting, and when called waded into the stream up to one of the two priests. A few at the beginning were baptized by affusion--water being poured on the forehead from a shell--but the majority by immersion. These latter knelt in the water and were plunged once beneath it while the formula was recited. After being signed with the cross they passed on and slowly made the passage of the stream--fifty yards wide at its mouth, and flowing fast from recent heavy rains, its broad bosom marked with swirls and eddies. It was not quite strong enough to carry them off their feet, though some preferred to walk out towards the bar, where its force slackened. The adults were breast deep, and the smaller candidates were in up to the shoulders, and all came over slowly through the sweeping volume of water to our landing. Four, five, and even six were sometimes strung out between our shore and the place where the baptisms were proceeding. There was something very impressive about this little procession, continuing, as it did, with its personnel always renewed for about an hour. What, one asked oneself, were the thoughts of these newly acknowledged "Sons of God" as they "came up out of the water?" Surely to them, too, "the heavens were opened," and they experienced a new and heartfelt joy, and a sense of their nearness and dearness to God exalting them.

From Death to Life.

We watched them passing over--those strong, lithe, virile figures, freed from the dark inheritance of a past out of which loom melancholy shapes of evil--entering now upon their new and blest condition, issuing, as it were, out of their native jungle with its wild and terrible memories, crossing the mystic flood, and presently standing among their Christian brethren. Nature seemed to be offering her choicest strength--the high spirit and the splendid physical energy of the children of this romantic laud, to be sanctified and devoted to the service of Christ.

What vast unknown fruitful powers were thus coming to enrich His Kingdom! Watching the freshness, the simple beauty, the mystic grandeur of that scene in which Jesus Christ was claiming these people, in their strength and singleness of heart, out of the dreary waste of the [22/23] thousands of years of violence and haunting fear that lies behind their race, one's thoughts passed inevitably to the lands where His Name has long been known, and to the civilisation that exists in them with its own dreadful heritage of corruption and cruelty and fraud, proving now so helpless to redeem itself. Might it not be that even as these children of New Guinea were passing so eagerly and gladly from the old life to the new, so by a. recovery of simple faith and pure devotion the life of the old world might be rejuvenated; the black entail of its miseries and wrongs cut off, the high impulses that still belong to it liberated, and its woes pass from it as a dark dream when one awaketh. For to see grace prevailing anywhere is to believe that it can prevail everywhere.



Among the various Mission Stations I had a fuller opportunity of studying. Boianai than any of the others. This station has been recently noticed in the press, having gained very high praise from the Lieut.-Governor, His Excellency Judge Murray. No one who goes to Boianai can fail to see that his enconiums are deserved. Since Boianai has been held up by a high administrative officer of the Crown in this way, as an example of what Missions can do, it will be worth while for me to attempt to describe it in some detail.

A Hearty Welcome.

The landings here as elsewhere are exceedingly cordial, one shakes hands with about 200 people on getting out of the boat. On my first landing at Boianai we were a day in advance of time, and the -ceremonies, though enthusiastic, were impromptu, but on the second I was accorded what corresponds to a civic welcome, if not something more distinguished still. The launch was going on further south, and might catch a mail; consequently I was using the last moments for writing letters, and the full splendour of the preparations burst upon me only when fifty yards from shore. I thought the spectacle there was arranged in honour of the Bishop of the diocese, and was almost overwhelmed when informed that it was a compliment to myself. The population of Boianai, Radava, and some adjoining hamlets were lined up along the beach in ranks two or three deep extending about seventy yards. In the middle of this line there was a huge trophy of fruits and coloured leaves, supported by a framework of poles some fifteen feet high. Bananas of many different varieties hung in great bunches from every part of the structure. Along the top there tan a legend traced on a tappa cloth background with bourganvillia leaves: [23/24] "Egualau, my Lord," the whole bordered with green wreaths. The first word is Wedauan, and signifies "Welcome," or "How do you do," or "Good morning," or any other greeting of the kind. The design was most effective: it was meant to have been still more elaborate, with a platform at the top, and men standing behind; but this addition was not carried out owing to a funeral in the village, which occupied some hours of the morning. This trophy was erected entirely without the knowledge of Mr. Gill, the Priest-in-Charge. I think the village councillors were responsible for it. They all sat for their photograph in front of the bananas, the people being massed on either side. I had to wade into the sea to get a proper view. I tried to express my gratitude for the distinction that had been conferred upon me, and the valuable gift of food--enough to last me for about four months. Presently, acting under instructions, I sold the whole lot to the Mission, and it realised 5/-, a large sum when it is remembered that the cost of living is 1/2 d. a day, and that if you have a thousand farthings in the bank--more of that anon--you are regarded as a millionaire.

[25] The Mission House.

We made our way to the mission house, which is a fine building of native material, all but the roof, which is of corrugated iron; some outbuildings apparently of this latter material are really formed of old kerosene tins corrugated by a local process. The walls of the house are of plaited pandanus leaf; the verandah floors of bamboo basket-work, very strong, though giving slightly to the tread. The floors of the rooms inside are of native timber. Mr. Gill apologised for the fact that there was one "dimdim" chair, everything else in the house he has made himself, with the help of the boys. Different chambers are described as the oak dining-room, the tapestried boudoir, and the Oriental library. In every particular--with their divans, book-cases, hangings, and Louis Quinze chairs and tables, all of local manufacture--they live up to these titles. My room was made gorgeous with hangings of tappa cloth and with vases of flowers and coloured leaves, all arranged by the boys. It is a charming house, and its menage under the care of six boys--who hold office for a mouth--is admirable. Vernon, Clement, Adalbert, and three others were in charge at the time. The fifty-four boys of the mission school fill in rotation the various offices connected with houses, laundry, cooking, boats, motor launch, workshops, etc., thirty-four on duty at a time.

A Native Paradise.

But we had better take a look at the village. Approaching from the sea one appears to be entering Paradise, and on a close acquaintance this expectation is not disappointed. Every yard of the place is laid out with the art of the town 'planner combined with that of the landscape gardener. Naturally, the ground is broken by deep [] gullies and hollows, through which the storm-water passes to the sea, and it presents the same problem that confronts the builders of Holborn Viaduct, and has been surmounted in a similar manner, but with more artistic effect. Bridges or embankments have been placed wherever they are needed. The embankment you cross on the way from the mission house to the schoolboys' house contains about 300 cubic yards of earth, and there is of course a culvert beneath. To make this road, a gang of twenty boys worked to meet a gang of twenty girls, each afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m., carrying the earth in baskets or in sugar bags; the competition was intense to see which end would grow the faster. It must have meant nearly 10.000 loads, carried on their 'backs, since they would not average more than half a cubic foot of earth at a time. There has also been a great deal of terracing round the mission house and elsewhere. This earth-shifting must have meant a lot of labour, but it was well worth it, for the convenience of the village traffic and the admirable artistic effect.

The proper ground plan once secured, the rest was relatively easy. Broad roads and paths of black shingle run everywhere, entering in the manner of tributaries the big space covered deep with the same material at the west end of the church. These shining black tracks are edged with boulders painted with lime white-wash made from burnt coral. You can see your way perfectly along them in the dark. Outside the whitened stones there are brilliant borders of zinias, and the spaces between the paths thus bordered are laid out in swards of grass and herbage. There are few straight lines, and the pretty native houses of palms and pandanus leaf follow at suitable intervals the flowing outlines of the paths. Palms, crotons, dracaenas, akalyphas, alatnandas, bourganvillias, and I know not what besides, in splendid profusion adorn the open spaces, embower the hollows and rise behind the houses.

The church, a fine native building, one hundred and twenty feet by thirty feet, is the centre of the village, topographically as well as spiritually; beyond it is a big recreation ground, with a giant stride and an aerial flight of sixty yards along a wire, the flyer hanging from a pulley; and here too the boys and girls play football together most charmingly on Saturday afternoons. Beyond the playground again there is a low scrub, and through it earthen paths, well trenched and embanked, branch away along avenues of ornamental trees towards the neighboring villages and gardens.

I must leave to the reader's imagination the whole department of public works with its lime kiln, sawpit, smithy, carpenter's shop, and other adjuncts that are postulated by the well-ordered and pleasant scene that meets the eye. In this article I cannot do more than indicate the order of the day and suggest something of the devotions of the people; though if the Editorial patience will hold out I hope to sketch more fully the life and organisation of this station and its hinterland in a subsequent chapter.

[27] A Day's Routine.

At 5.30 a.m. one becomes conscious of the movements of house boys, who are sweeping verandahs and making bread, and will presently be bringing round coffee. At 5.45 in the morning hymns begin to rise from several adjacent villages--some mornings you can-hear as many as five--where the people are worshipping before starting to work in their gardens some miles away. At 6 a.m. Leslie, the head teacher, assigns work to the boys and girls from Mr. Gill's instructions given overnight--grass-cutting, path cleaning, wood chopping and carrying, water-carrying and other duties. For Christians this lasts till 8.30 a.m., for others till 9 a.m. At 8.30 a.m. there is Mattins, at 9 a.m. a swim and breakfast. The dispensary is open at 9.30. At 9.50 goes the first school bell, and the 118 scholars (none of whom are ever absent unless sick) fall in in four lines. The second bell goes at 10 a.m., and school starts. The school staff consists of Luke (S.S.I.), Leslie, Kenneth, Charles (probationer), and one more taken in turn out of a group of three composed of Ananias, Moses and Carlyle. The remaining two of this group are teaching schools at Vurawara (two and a half miles) and Baiwapa (seven miles), the three working in rotation so that they may continue to spend some time at headquarters. From ir.30 to 11.50 the school has a recess, and the dispensary is open to juvenile outpatients, one boy and one girl acting as assistants to the Priest, who, among other things, is doctor and dentist and surgeon. School ends at 1 p.m., and from 1 to 2 p.m. is the hour for private prayer in the church. You find a dozen or more praying there at any time during that hour.

Work for All.

The Mission house lunch is at 1.15 p.m.; the people take a snack of bananas or of taro, but the midday meal is not by them considered important. At 2 p.m. the whistle blows, and every boy is on the verandah in sixty seconds, big boys and small boys sprint to this rendezvous from every quarter. Manual work for the afternoon is then assigned. There will be six carpenters working with the Priest. Other duties include those of road-menders, drain-cutters and clearers, stone-carriers for the culverts, grass-cutters on the cricket and football grounds, and other open spaces (the grass grows three feet a month). Others again break off coral under the water with iron bars, and carry it to the kiln along with logs for firewood. A dozen small boys go about painting with the limewash, using as brushes pieces of cane beaten out at the end. Besides this there is the painting of the boats and buildings, and launch boys, engine boys, and the boy in charge of soldering irons are all on the go. Positively, if one lived at Boianai one would have to overcome a naturally indolent disposition, and get a "move on" of some kind. At 4 p.m. a bell rings informing villagers that they can come and sell food, a very important business, which I must try and deal with separately; and at the same hour the boys are free to go and play or swim.

[28] The Evening Hours.

At 5.15 there is "taparoro" (service for unbaptized), followed by Evensong; at 6.15 boys' evening meal; at 6.45 station tea. From 7.15 -to 9 p.m. the boys' and girls' club meet on the Mission verandah, play games and look at pictures; it is an animated but not noisy assembly. In the villages evening prayers are said at 7 p.m., they are conducted by lay-readers and other young men, who pray extempore; the reader may also preach, he often does, in the rustic pulpit which stands in every village in a sort of open forum. Curfew rings at 9 p.m., and there is silence, though on Friday, in joyful anticipation of Saturday's -holiday, club and other diversions go on till 10. It will be inferred that the one white man who is priest, doctor, gardener, architect, builder, marine engineer, and several other things has an active time of it.


But to know these people you must see them in church. They use for worship the Wedauan language, to which their own is pretty closely related. To hear them pray is wonderful. The whole congregation says everything that is congregational, nobody misses a syllable; the sound is uttered so softly that it is like a murmur of the sea, a response is like the sympathetic echo on the strings of a harp. I was allowed to occupy in this church a place among those reserved for village councillors, looking east. To see the faces of the boys in their long rows looking north so full of simple dignity and beauty, and so absorbed in devotion was a revelation of the Unseen.



When we arrived at Boianai on May 5th, the Priest-in-Charge was still engaged in leisure moments in entering up, in various books, the baptisms which had taken place at his station on Palm Sunday, April 17th. There had been one hundred and thirty persons baptised on that day, many of them old men and women who had held back from entering the catechumenate for fifteen years. A token that some of them were yielding was given in this way. About two years ago a number of old men, who have their evening meal together in the village club-house, asked Mr. Gill to send them a native reader to say grace for them. These old men were still heathen, but they had so far accepted the new doctrines as to wish to acknowledge the Giver of daily bread--to give thanks for what they now felt to be the gift of God, Whose arrival had made their village life very different from what it used to be. A youthful reader was accordingly sent to say grace for them each evening. They treated him with great respect, looking upon him in some sense as a "bada" because he held the Bishop's license. This attitude of theirs was again remarkable because, according to tribal custom, no young man would be allowed even to speak in the presence of his seniors. After this preliminary acknowledgment of God it was not long before some of the old men became catechumens. Some while before their baptism, quite on their own initiative, they built themselves new houses to begin their new life in, and, when the houses were completed, the Priest was in every case requested to come and bless them, so that each new dwelling-place might be secure of Divine protection.


But to return to the entering up of the names of the hundred and thirty newly-baptised in the books. It would not have taken all that time to put them into the baptismal register, and I make use of this opportunity to indicate as far as I can the framework of records, personal histories and particulars that lie at the basis of the organisation of life on the station. The well-ordered outward aspect of things would not exist without this office work behind it, and no one can appreciate what Mission work means without at least a glance at the machinery. In addition to the register of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials and church services which all ordinary parish priests keep, there are also kept those records which are usually the care of civil servants and several others in which civil and religious interests interlace. They are such as these:--

1. The Birth Register contains parents' names, name of the village, etc., and space for ultimate baptism and names of sponsors.

[30] 2. The Death Register, for heathen and Christian, contains names of parents and kinsfolk, cause of death (diagnosis, If under medical care), date and place of burial, age, sex, notes, if Christian, as to standing, e.g., in Communion or otherwise, and how long before death the Sacrament was received.

3. The Christian Biographical Register, with cross indices, shows birth, baptism, confirmation, death, father's and mother's names in cross references; dates of admission as hearer and catechumen (juvenile history, whether mission boarder or village child); date 01 coming to school and of leaving; occupation as adults; dates and duration of labour contracts; date of marriage; wife (cross reference); children's names (cross reference); other events.

4. The Communicants' Attendance Book has three columns to a page, with names at the head. A column lasts about ten years. For the keeping of this book all names of those intending to communicate are noted the day before, either by the Priest after Evensong, or else by the readers, who bring names from outlying villages. Leslie then enters the dates in their proper places in a microscopic but beautifully legible hand.

5. The Station Diary records the doings of each day, work carried out, arrivals, departures, and any special events.

6. The Hearers' and Catechumens' Register gives names and the date of entry on these stages, also of baptism and confirmation.

7. The Medical Case Book, kept in two sections, for out-patients and in-patients, shows: diagnosis, treatment, temperature charts, diet, operation and issue.

8. The Launch Log Book gives descriptions of journeys, mileage, kerosene consumption, records of painting and repairs.

9. The Discipline Book is of a very private character, but obviously of immense importance in a community which is very nearly a theocracy, where a village council assists the Priest to regulate conduct from the purely Christian point of view, and where the most serious outward result if any wrong-doing is the incurring of the Church's displeasure. In this book is recorded the nature of offences, penalties, excommunications, or temporary suspensions, amendments and restorations.

Besides these of course there are the registers having to do with the Mission boarders and with school attendance, while the account books for the store, for the farthing bank, and for the church expenses are solid volumes. There is also the register for services held at the out-stations--some twelve of them--with a record of attendances.

The regular posting up of this library is no light matter, but the guidance of affairs depends very greatly upon it. If a question of any kind arises with regard to any individual, the missionary can at once tell precisely how other persons may be affected. The physical, moral and spiritual antecedents of any member of the community are at once ascertainable; thus it is that the smooth, harmonious working of village life rests upon a scientific system as well as a spiritual faith.

[31] I referred above to the village council. No attempt to present an idea of the Mission will be complete without some description of this body. A village may have one committee for every fifty Christians; the people choose half the representatives, and the Priest the other half. For the villages in the immediate neighbourhood of Boianai a council of seven sits once a month. They deliberate on all village affairs. They report births and deaths and any bad conduct. Before a baptism all candidates are considered by the council as to their character and reputation. The council also reports on all village work, the roads, the bridges and the building or rebuilding of houses. There is a building committee which chooses and measures sites, and suggests designs and passes houses when built. No "humpies" or "rabbit-hutches" are now allowed, and every body helps in building their neighbour's house. The standard for space, comfort and convenience steadily rises. At Vurawara a man had lately built himself a kitchen separate from his house; he was the first to do this, but his example will be followed. When a house is finished and passed, the builder reports, and the "bada" goes and blesses the house.

The councilors have lately built themselves a large council chamber for their deliberations. When they are not using it, it is open to the Christian public, and is used among other things for the reading of the Scriptures aloud. And here is another piece of work, carried out at the instance of the council, under the guiding influence of the Priest. It was felt that, owing to certain unfortunate customs which survive, it was undesirable for the school-girls to sleep at home after the age of eleven or twelve. A house has therefore been built to accommodate twenty-five of them, and there they sleep under the care of one out of a group of five Christian women, who take this responsibility in turn for a month at a time.

[32] A Boianai Sunday.

On some Saturdays there is a general preparation for Communion, and always on Saturday afternoon the Priest is in the church to hear confessions. The Sacrament of Penance is very extensively used by the people. There had been one hundred and twenty confessions on this station in Holy Week alone. Those who hear them say that it is a very humbling experience to witness the searching self-accusations and deep penitence of these people, and the sincerity of their grief for having offended God.

Often on a Saturday evening the Mission boys will come and ask the Priest if they may light the lamps in the church, and will then go and pray together, assisting one another to prepare for Communion. This is one among many instances that I could quote of the wonderful spontaneity of native Christianity. There can be no doubt that for many of them the Eucharist is the event of the week; they are accustomed to prepare for three days beforehand.

On Communion days no one speaks until after the Celebration is over, and the church flag remains hoisted for the day. On these days also the servers are allowed to wear the crucifixes which are given them when admitted to their office. These customs, simple but impressive, mark what the people genuinely feel as to the pre-eminence of these days. There are twenty-three servers. Their names are written on two cardboard discs, twelve on one and eleven on the other. These are fixed behind a card that has two oblong slits in it, allowing two names to appear at a time. Thus are shown the names of servers for any day. After any two boys have served together there will be one hundred and thirty-one other pairs going through the whole series of possible permutations by the contrivance of turning the discs, until that pair comes round again, when the cycle is complete. The servers never miss their turn, and they do all their work without being reminded. They tell from the kalendar what coloured vestments to put out; they know even from the number at preparation whether one or two chalices will be needed. When the Priest walks into church everything is ready. Boianai and Vurawara have their Eucharist on alternate Sundays. From the village where there is no service sixty or seventy people usually walk the two and a half miles to the other, making the journey in absolute silence. If the Priest is going to Vurawara, he usually travels by sea. Thirty boys drag the launch Kimsari (Seagull) into the water. The servers bring on board the bag which contains vessels and vestments. The Priest never needs to look and see if they have packed the right things; all he does is to step on board and turn the handle that starts the engine. Any boys who wish can go with him. And it is in accordance with the native view of the fitness of things that all this should be done in silence.

[34] Worship and Service.

It is right that one part of the Church should rejoice in the grace manifest in another part, and take example by their devotion, or indeed I should hesitate to attempt to describe how these people worship. For the 7 a.m. Eucharist the church fills slowly; some are there praying, as motionless as statues, for half an hour before the service begins. I can only say that the expression of joyful expectation on their faces is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The sonorous and musical Wedauan language seems to provide exactly the medium that is required for worship. The native ritual, like all the rest of their religion, is spontaneous, never stereotyped; it has great variety. It is a moving thing to see row after row of nobly-built athletic men and lads, formed after the most perfect mould of physical beauty, approaching the Altar. Some genuflect as they come up the aisle, others bow their heads; some prostrate themselves before Communion or after, or both--there is evidently no standard use, each does what his own devotion prompts him to. To watch a youth with limbs that would do credit to an Apollo, with a torso and shoulders that would send a sculptor into ecstasies--his colour a rich, shining, chocolate brown, his dress a simple loin-cloth, his expression one of rapt spiritual calm. To watch such an one as he prostrates himself after his Communion suggests many things: the consecration of the perfection of physical life to holy purposes, the oblation of soul and body as a living sacrifice for whatever Christ needs of him. Neither do I think does he fail to perform what his worship promises. The moment he comes out of church he will be setting out on some Christian errand. He will make perhaps one of a party going to Baiwapa, or Vidia, or Gourapu, Gau, Gadoa, or Manisia (six hours' scrambling up a mountain gorge, that last)--in company with one of the lay readers he will go to help in a service at one of these places. Not one of the outlying villages inside the six hours' radius is allowed to go without its service on Sunday, and the official reader runs no risk of a solitary mission. From the more distant places these parties may not get back till Monday morning, while in the case of places like Baiwapa or Musara the teachers resident in these villages, Felix and Romney, who have walked in seven or eight miles for their Communion overnight, generally take back with them a couple of lads to be their companions for the week or fortnight. The strength and sweetness of Christian companionship attained by these eager-hearted, lads is net, I think, anywhere in the world surpassed.

I should have mentioned that there are nine full-fledged readers at or about Boianai, and five more have been sent from here to help at other stations. When a reader marries, the girl always agrees to the condition that she must be ready to accompany him to any place where he may be sent. A class for teachers and readers is held on Saturday at 9 p.m., when the Priest tells them how to preach from the Sunday's Gospel. It is also a prayer meeting, and most of them put up some [34/35] words of their own. After the Communion on Sunday the readers and teachers go up to the sanctuary for a prayer and a blessing before starting out on their evangelistic labours.



[I have a letter from the Rev. S. R. M. Gill, of Boianai, dated January 9th, 1917, which adds something to the romance of Missions. Before quoting what he says, it is necessary to set down some antecedent facts. When Mr. Gill visited us in Townsville last August we succeeded in extracting from him, at a meeting in the Synod Hall, some particulars of an adventure of about six years ago in the hinterland of Boianai. It was roughly as follows:--

News came that there had been a cannibal feast at or near Bobo, a village, dimly known, some fifty or sixty miles inland. At whose door lay the blame for this proceeding it would not be easy to discover, but Mr. Gill decided that he would visit this village and talk to the people about their affairs. Taking with him eight boys and a supply of presents for the chief, after two and a half days' travelling, scrambling up ravines and watercourses and forcing a passage through the tall rank grasses, they were within about two hours of Bobo. Mr. Gill then sent forward members of his party with presents and the laconic message, "I am coming." Visits of this kind are carried out with dignity; the risk is not small, but the preliminaries should be as imposing as possible. Towards 3 p.m. the party returned from Bobo accompanied by distinguished members of the tribe bearing a welcome and presents from the chief, who was probably in two minds, whether to be hospitable or to arrange for another cannibal feast. One important present was a pig carried upside down by two boys with its legs-tied to a pole. The emissaries from Bobo proposed to kill the pig, but the missionary said, "No, let it go." The pig being let go, Mr. Gill shot it with his rifle, making a profound impression on the men of Bobo, who bad not seen firearms before. Presently the whole party went forward to the village, where the visitors were received with deference, which became more marked when the chief had been informed how the pig had met its end, slain by the "dim-dim" spear.

There followed a further exchange of courtesies and a handing round of cigarettes, then some brief moral exhortations adapted to the primitive conditions of the tribe, listened to with grave attention. One of the best huts in the village was then placed at the disposal of the visitors.

Mr. Gill had been rather attracted by one of the boys who had carried the pig, and had said to him, "Will you come with me to Boianai and go to school?" The boy had smiled, apparently not unwilling to go, but nothing more was said. It turned out that this boy was the son of a man who had lately been killed and eaten, and his name was Ukalawa. In the morning when Mr. Gill and his party were [35/36] making preparations for the return journey the chief remarked, "Ukalawa will go with you." The boy's mother nearby was cooking taro over the fire to give to her son for the journey, and crying as she worked, at the thought of losing him.

Ukalawa, being then about ten, became a boarder at the boys' school at Boianai, and two years later was baptised and confirmed, his name being Leslie MacDonald.

And here is the sequel from Mr. Gill's letter:--

"Do you remember Leslie MacDonald Ukalawa, the boy from Bobo? But of course you do. He proceeds from grace to grace. He is now an industrial missionary at the station, and comes out of school each morning after the religious instruction and does carpentering, soldering, painting, and anything that is required, and takes "giu" (religious instruction) classes also. I sent him away to his home for a few days after Christmas--that far distant heathen place away in the mountains. The simple tale of his doings as he related them to me after his return was enough to make one weep with joy and love for him. He gave them services, read and explained the Gospel (he says he read St. Malt. 22), went to several neighbouring villages and bad services, and on the day before he returned collected 331 for a final service. I asked him if there were any hymns, he said, "Yes, I sang them to my people and they listened."]



There is a special interest to a visitor about a station like Emo where missionary work is in its first stage. Mr. Elder, who was in charge, had as yet no Christians except those who had come from other stations, to assist in teaching. His chief assistant at this time was Paul Keko, a noble looking boy of nineteen, who bad volunteered for this service from Boianai. He had done most valuable work among the Emo boys. To the sorrow of all who knew him he died at Wanigela in June on his way back from the Diocesan Conference at Dogura.

The Christian Magnet.

There were not as yet any native Emo Christians, but the Mission station and its activities had produced a marked effect upon the general atmosphere. I suppose that before baptism people who have begun to adopt Christian ideas and ways of living, find themselves dependent completely upon the companionship and example of those from whom they are learning the first principles of conduct and faith, and that in the absence of such help they relapse very easily into their former habits and views of life. They are like bars of soft iron, which in the neighbourhood of a steel magnet acquire for the moment magnetic [36/37] properties and behave to all intents and purposes as magnets. They become powerless, however, from the moment that the steel bar in which the magnetism absolutely resides is withdrawn. Imitation and affection had certainly produced in the boys at Emo a strong resemblance to the Christian type, though I conclude that these new dispositions would quickly have disappeared if the influence of their Christian teachers had been withdrawn. It was a very pretty sight to watch a party of youths, varying in age probably from ten to fifteen, come trooping down to the lauding - place in the creek with Mr. Elder in their midst to welcome our arrival. Their attitude towards us was different from the confident friendliness of Christian boys as I had experienced it elsewhere. It was rather one of shy and watchful interest. Their knowledge of the white man is of recent origin, and they are uncertain how a new specimen of the race may regard them. Some of the younger ones would come and make a brief inspection, and then dart away to a distance, alarmed at their own temerity. It did not, however, take many minutes for us all to be on the most cordial terms. I noticed some astonishingly handsome figures among this youthful flock. One, whose name, I think, was Zara, added to unusual gifts of nature the most perfect taste in personal decoration. I observed him standing on a little hillock, slim, lithe and statuesque. He was, I believe, the son of a chief, certainly he carried his head like a prince, and he had the noble aspect that belongs to the anima [37/38] naturaliter Christiana. He wore flowers in his armlets and red hibiscus in his hair. He regarded me with an enquiring glance, conscious of his own dignity and natural sovereign rights over the hereditary jungle, waiting for some recognition or token of friendliness. I made the necessary demonstration of desire for his acquaintance, and he came and held my hand and carried my camera, which soon found plenty of willing subjects. I wished we could have exchanged ideas. Later in the day he and one of his companions found me washing a shirt on the back verandah of the mission-house. They seized upon it, almost with indignation, and carried it off, and later brought it back beautifully washed. The white man must not be allowed to do these things for himself.

Native Life and Labour.

As we passed through the village I was introduced to the reigning chief, an ex-cannibal of somewhat sinister aspect. He wore a garment, closely resembling a cardigan waistcoat, made from seeds--known as "Job's tears"--strung together. This signified that be was in mourning. He was sitting beneath a tree, and with marked condescension, when my respectful request had been communicated to him, came out into the sun that I might get his photo-graph. His attitude towards Christianity is one of tolerance, not unmixed perhaps with a suspicion, that the white man may tire of his rather unintelligible [38/39] labours spent upon the young hopefuls of the tribe, and that the original order of nature may return and his influence as chief over all and sundry be fully restored again.

In another part of the village I saw a man hollowing a thirty-foot log for the body of a canoe. He worked with a stone adze secured in its wooden handle by wrappings and bindings of fibre, so arranged that the stone could be turned about fifteen degrees either way in order to change the angle of impact of the edge upon the timber. His blows fell with unvarying accuracy. Again and again he would lilt sideways under the curving edge of the canoe, and send the billets flying. It was a marvellous exhibition of dexterity. It is said that the native prefers his stone adze to any of the steel products offered him by the white trader, mainly for the reason that the head of a steel adze does not turn.

Tropical Wealth.

The village gardens run along the banks of the creek for a few hundred yards to where the dense wall of forest terminates the view, but there were more distant gardens reached by paths that go [39/40] tunnel-like through the green gloom of riotous tropical growth, and there at the hour of the morning when we arrived (about 11 o'clock) many of the population were working. The path towards the mission buildings passed up a slope through tall rank grasses through which a six-foot track was cleared. It was bordered with zinias and newly-planted coconuts. Presently it rose sharply up a steep hill for about one hundred and fifty feet, and we arrived on a small plateau of cleared ground, commanding a fine view of the sea below and forest-covered slopes of the mountain behind. The range of buildings comprised the mission-house, of wood and corrugated iron, not yet complete, but affording some degree of comfort and coolness to the occupant. Below it were the school and church, of native architecture, and above it the boys' dormitory, teachers' houses and outbuildings. Most of the people from the village came with us, and an hour was occupied in taking photographs. They were not satisfied until everybody had been included in a group of some kind. The girls I thought less beautiful than the boys. They overdo it with decoration. They go in for necklaces in the most rococo taste, ropes of coloured shells festoon their breasts and shoulders, and nose ornaments in some instances make "guys" of them. Many of the women were plastered with mud to show that they were in mourning. It seems that etiquette demands these tokens of grief for others besides near relatives.

The Beginnings of a Mission Station.

I asked Mr. Elder to sketch for me in outline the events in the history of the Emo statiou up to that time. This is roughly what I learned:--

He had arrived in July, 1914, accompanied by two Christian boys, Adalbert and Boba, from Mr. King's station at Ambasi, and one other, John, a Christian from the Mamba River. The Ambasi boys stayed for a month helping to build a house, in which Mr. Elder first lived. It has now [40/41] become the boys' house. During this period there was "taparoro" (native prayers) each evening, and the children were taught to sing two hymns. Labour on the house building was paid for at the rate of one stick of tobacco per day.

The Ambasi boys went home after a month, but John remained for a year. During this year, while the mission priest was picking up the language--Binandere--John did the preaching and teaching for the most part, but Mr. Elder from quite early days taught five mission boys, and got hold of local words from them. These five had come with their parents' consent, to be mission boarders during the first month. Their first duty was to cut each others' hair all round, and when well scrubbed they were each supplied with a new "jonga" (loin cloth) and a blanket. They learned to say prayers together morning and evening, acquired habits of cleanliness and obedience, shared the duties of cook-boys, house-boys, and wash-boys, and took all possible care of their "bada" (master). Their devotion to him was very great. Only twice in the history of the Mission had any of them to be punished. Once some trade tobacco disappeared, and three mission boys admitted (under cross-examination) that they had taken it for a man in the village, urged by threats on his part. For this offence they got the cane. On another occasion a house-boy demanded a hurricane lamp to give to his mother. He was told there were only two and that he couldn't have one. He would not listen to this, and reiterated his request, "Give me that lamp," and when still refused grew more insistent, shouting and stamping and working himself into a state of frenzy. He had to be chastised to bring him to reason. For weeks after this event he could not find enough opportunities of proving his devotion and repairing his momentary loss of temper. The ardent, affectionate nature of these boys is evident to anyone who sees them; one thinks what splendid Christians they will make presently.

[42] Teaching and Travelling.

The building of the school occupied all spare time for some months. It was opened on February 1, 1915, and the education of the village children began. The more intelligent ones learn to read quite well in about a year. Through talking to the children in school ever)' day the missionary gains facility in the language, and the children get to understand the missionary's talk which, in spite of his best endeavours, is sure to be defective in accent.

In May, 1916, Mr. Elder was hoping very soon to form a catechumenate, and begin a two years' preparation for baptism. I think this move has had to be somewhat postponed on account of the death of Paul Keko. I gather that if you go to New Guinea and break new ground. It takes about four years before you have Christians, though it does not follow that every priest who offers has to face such a test of endurance. The new ground can sometimes be attempted from places where Christians are already fairly numerous, but the further north you go the longer becomes the interval between mission stations.

To vary the routine above indicated there are journeys by sea in whaleboats or canoes to visit villages and establish friendly relations, and journeys, often most adventurous, to villages inland, large and populous, where a white man has hardly ever been seen. I learned of one twenty miles away, with four thousand inhabitants. Through these visits new boys often come and apply to be made mission boarders, to become, as the missionary hopes, the apostles of these tribes later on.

Romance and Quinine.

Yes, the life is not wanting in adventure, the surroundings are romantic, the boys are charming, the work of developing and improving is endless, the hopes of the future are immeasurable, but to be honest I think we ought to throw in some backgrounds of weariness and [42/43] painfulness and the other experiences in the same list. Mails once a month, if you are lucky; the sight of a white face once a quarter or so; storms; non-arrival of boats; shortage of stores; cases of sickness, which need more than the common remedies; deaths which could have been avoided if any skilled help was not so far away, and the climate and the quinine, which do not become second nature quite, I'm afraid--all these demand endurance in the men who go to act as pioneers.

But if I'm not mistaken the hero spirit is stirring in our boys in these days. Their brothers are fighting and dying in Europe, and they want to be worthy of their race. The soft billet where the clever boy can make a thousand a year by the time he is thirty has lost its attraction for those who know that their future is purchased by the blood of thousands of the Empire's noblest sons. They are asking, I think, for the rough billets and the hard tasks and a life whose motive is sacrifice. I do not think it is too much to hope that New Guinea will claim our most promising boys for its Church and for its civil service.

It is the proudest and happiest fact in our Imperial history that England gave her best men to India, and that, speaking broadly, she has won the loyalty of the three hundred millions who fill that land. One result of the war upon the conscience of Australia will be to send her strongest and wisest sons to administer her territories in the Pacific, to assist the best development of the native races, and to add them to the Kingdom of Christ. There is plenty of hard work, danger and suffering to be encountered, but that, I believe, is what our boys, and girls too, are asking for.

[44] The Call of Papua

Who shall say what New Guinea may not become if we rise to our duty? It is a land of visions and dreams, of wild splendour, of mountains and entrancing beauty, of primeval forests. Horrors of bloodshed and human ferocity have haunted its jungle glades and loaded it with the curse of Cain. Black and ghoulish past traditions and their present grim survivals hold many of its people in bondage, but when the ugly spell is broken and its fear retreats, a fascinating child-like human playfulness fills the scene, and the actual daily Increasing miracles of grace cause men to bow their heads. Yes, there is New Guinea, with its amazing anthropological riddles, Its trackless philological labyrinths, its inexhaustible treasures botanical, reptilian, and entomological, its vivid fantastic yet graceful and alluring folk-lore, its inscrutable tangle of spiritualistic beliefs and animistic legends, and its now emerging glory of Christianity pure and undefiled; and what Influence with all this store of wonder has it exercised on the mind of Australia? It was in a dull material mood of political expediency--territorial expansion, Imperial prestige, and all the rest of it--that we assumed control of this astonishing possession. We are not totally ignorant and unconcerned about it. But so little, even now, does it impress our slow imagination that it becomes the duty of even the passing visitor to try and record some of the impressions of so golden, romantic, entrancing a fairy land, where the human race has hardly left its cradle, and is waiting to know whether its still potential though much imperilled Paradise is to be miserably denied and lost or gloriously affirmed and regained. God help the Church in Australia to make the right answer.

Project Canterbury