Project Canterbury

Albert Maclaren
Pioneer Missionary in New Guinea

By Frances M. Synge

London: Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 1908

Chapter X. In New Guinea. The Last Five Months.

MACLAREN announced their safe arrival to the Primate in the following letter:--

"The Grace Lynn reached this port at 11.15 to-day (6th August) after a long passage from Cooktown, and I do not think she would have arrived here for the next two or three days had not the SS. Merrie Engkand come to our assistance and towed her in. We left Cooktown two days prior to the Hygeia, the Governor's sailing-ship, but the Hygeia reached this place thirty-six hours before us. I mention this in order that the Board of Missions may know what a very unsuitable boat the Grace Lynn is for the work and the waters for which she was chartered, her draught is only seven feet, and though splendidly suited for Southern seas she is unable to beat against tides and winds such as are prevalent in these parts. We do not expect to arrive at Chad's Bay for the next three or four days, but in order to facilitate matters it is probable that Mr. King and I will sail our own Tasmanian boat across. The Governor has been most helpful to us."

He also writes to the Bishop of Brisbane: "The shipping arrangements should have been done through marine officers. The clergy may be fishers of men, but they are not often good judges of ships suitable for tropical waters where currents and winds have to be carefully considered!... We have had a terrible passage over. The sea was very rough, and the L.M.S. Harrier was wrecked in the storm. Chalmers stayed a night on board with us after the wreck. Our cabin accommodation is wretched. Every time it rained I had to lie in a pool of water. We leave Samarai in our large whale boat for Chad's Bay, seventy miles away, and expect to be there to-morrow evening. We start at 6 AM. The chief is going with us. There is no danger unless it be on the sea and we get capsized. We shall camp on board the boat at night, and we expect the Grace Lynn on Tuesday the 11th. The natives will be friendly, but they are never to be trusted. Sir William MacGregor was here, but he left to-day. He has been most kind. He comes South in October. I hope you will see him. I wish that the General Synod would pass a vote of thanks to him, he is so helpful. He has promised to come up in December and take us up the coast to Mitre Rock, and I want him to spend Christmas with us."

The account of the trip to Chad's Bay is given in another letter:--

"Owing to another unavoidable delay at Sarnarai on the part of the Grace Lynn, Mr. King and I determined to start for Chad's Bayand Battle Bay in the splendid whale-boat Tasmania, the money to purchase which I obtained from the people of Hobart and Launceston, Tasmania. We made an early start on Saturday morning, 8th August, and reached Galilulu at 5 P.M. after a splendid trip, the distance from Samarai to Chad's Bay being a little under seventy miles. Our party consisted of the Rev. Copland King, the mate of the Grace Lynn, Sam our boy, Abrahama, the chief of Taupota, seven Taupota natives and myself, making twelve in all. Abrahama proved most useful, as he is able to speak a little English. On our arrival at Galilulu, Mr. King and I went to the top of the hill where it was intended to have erected the Mission house, and for which some thirty-five acres of land had been recently purchased from the natives by Mr. Rely, the Resident Magistrate at Samarai. On our return to the beach we found a number of natives who gave us some bananas, in return for which we gave them tobacco. They also made a fire and boiled our billy for us. Later on Abrahama and his men took their departure for Taupota, a large village about two and a half miles farther along the coast. Before leaving he promised to return early the following morning, but we waited till 10 A.M., and as neither he nor any of his men put in an appearance we rigged our boat and put out to sea for Bartle Bay, some twenty-five miles along the north-east coast.

"The coast between Chad's Bay and Bartle Bay is striking and beautiful. Steep hills from 2,000 to 3,000 feet high come down to within a short distance of the beach, while in some places they reach right to the water's edge. The land is not heavily timbered, but what timber there is, is very picturesque, and a good many waterfalls are to be seen half-way up the hills, running down between the over-hanging foliage of the trees.

"Our passage from Galilulu to Baunia was not so successful as that from Samarai to Galilulu. The wind was against us and we were more than once becalmed. As our party now consisted only of Mr. King, the mate, Sam and myself, we were unable to do much in the way of pulling. However, we reached Baunia about 6 A.M. and dropped anchor a short distance from the beach, as the rollers were too heavy to enable us to take the boat on to the beach in safety, besides which we were not certain how the natives might receive us, and we felt it would not do to lead them into temptation. Soon after our arrival I called out 'Kaihon' and 'Kausara,' words meaning that we were friendly, and then two or three natives swam out through the heavy sea to our boat, bringing coco-nuts and asking for tobacco, but they refused to come on board. We then arranged our boat for the night and had something to eat. The mate kindly undertook to keep watch all night. It was our first Sunday in New Guinea, and it was an unusual one. Don't blame us for putting out to sea on our Lord's Own Day. I felt that I was doing God's work in that way far more than if we had remained tossing about on the sea at Galilulu doing nothing. It was to us what walking or driving to church is to you, the only difference being that we had no church to go to when we arrived at Baunia, consequently we had service on board the boat.

"Early on Monday morning we had a cup of cocoa and a biscuit, and prepared to land, but as the rollers were still heavy I hailed a canoe which came alongside and into which I attempted to get, but alas, just as I thought I was safely on board, over it went, and I found myself some distance below the surface. I made for the canoe, and called out for a rope from our boat and was dragged on board again. The natives did not attempt to help me, but made straight for the shore, leaving me to save myself as best I could. We landed about twenty minutes later on, and were kindly received by forty natives who had congregated on the beach awaiting our arrival. I tried to find out the chief in order to make him a present of some tobacco, and thinking that I had found him I gave him some tobacco for himself and some to give to the others, but he did his best to stick to the lot, and it was with difficulty that he could be persuaded to give a portion of it to the rest.

"Mr. King and I shortly after started off with some twenty natives to inspect the ground strongly recommended by Sir William MacGregor as a site for our Mission house in preference to the one selected at Galilulu. It appeared to be about one and a half miles from our place of landing, and on our way we had to cross a small river, over which the natives carried us. We also passed through the village, Wedau, which contains some thirty or forty houses and a large number of natives. The village is a pretty one. The houses are chiefly built on the ground, but some of them are on piles about four feet high. The dead are buried in the village, and the tops of the graves are covered with stones. The inhabitants have two or three slightly raised spots in the centre of the village, where they meet and sit and talk, stones about eighteen inches high project from the ground all round, against which they lean their backs. They appear to have some good gardens, plenty of coco-nuts, and a fair number of pigs. I ought to have told you that we shipped a cart-horse at Cooktown, and that while we were at Samarai we had quite a succession of canoes laden with natives to see 'Horsa,' and great was their surprise when they beheld him. After a brief stay in the village we made our way up the hill already referred to. It took us about a quarter of an hour to get to it from the village, and when we reached the top we found a level spot of about two acres i o feet above the sea-level and in every way suitable for our head Mission station, though at first we shall experience some difficulty in going to and fro till the road is made, as the rise is very steep.

"The view from the site is grand. There are hills and sea and islands, as well as a pretty running rivulet just under the hill about 400 yards away. Fortunately I was able to persuade the Council in Sydney to purchase the blocks for the house in Australia, and experience has proved that my recommendation was a wise one, as neither at Galilulu nor here should we have been able to obtain them, for the site is perfectly clear of timber, and we should have had to go a long way before we could have found what we needed, viz., 120 piles eleven feet long.

"On our return to the village we found a large number of men awaiting our arrival. They were friendly, and boiled our billy for us. We stayed ashore till 10.30, and then, after having made some presents to the chief man of the village, we left again for Galilulu, where we had arranged that the Grace Lynn should meet us.

"As regards the choice of sites both Mr. King and I were of opinion that the one just inspected is much more suitable than Galilulu, consequently we deter mined to make Bartle Bay our future home. The place is healthy and on a good rise. There is plenty of water, fair anchorage, a large population round the bay within three miles of us, and it is more central, being about half-way between Cape Ducie and Cape Vogel, so that we hope to work the whole of the coast between these two capes from Bartle Bay. There is also a large area of land suitable for cultivation either for coco-nuts or other tropical products. Cultivation is a matter we must keep in view for the future support of the mission. Sir William MacGregor impressed that point upon me before I said good-bye to him at Samarai, and he only reiterated what I used to say frequently in Australia, that we should make manual labour part of our Christian teaching in the training of the natives.

"After leaving the village we were becalmed, and at 4.30 had to take to the oars and pull for the shore till 7.30. It was the hardest bit of work Mr. King and I had done for some time, for it was no easy work for four men to pull a boat as large as the Tasmania is. We made for a small bay at the head of Cape Frere, and, after making some soundings, found an anchorage in about seventeen fathoms, and there stayed for the night. Next day we called at a small village six miles from Galilulu. As it was getting dark one of the Taupota boys, who had been with us in the boat on the first day from Samarai to Chad's Bay, came and gave us a hearty welcome, and engaged seven others with himself to row us to Galilulu. You can imagine our feelings of gratitude, for if he had not come we should have had to do it ourselves. We gave them a good feed before leaving, and promised each of them four sticks of tobacco and some 'kai kai' (food). You would have laughed if you had seen the vain attempt they made to row with European oars. Fortunately, some of them were apt pupils, and it was not long before we were able to take a little well-earned rest. We reached Chad's Bay at about I 2.15 A.M., and the natives went ashore and boiled our billy, and we had some tea at i A.M. and turned in a little before 2 o'clock. Our bed was a hard one on the bottom of the boat, but our sleep was sound.

"Our native crew made a fire on the beach, and smoked and sang songs through the night and were up long before us in the morning. We had some cocoa at 5.30 and rowed farther round the bay, hoping to find the Grace Lynn, but she had not arrived. We were shortly afterwards hailed by the chief of Awaiama, and made our way to the shore opposite his village, and got the natives to pull our boat on to the beach to await the arrival of the Grace Lynn. Not long after our landing a large number of natives assembled, among them being many of my old friends, who gave us all a hearty welcome in genuine New Guinea fashion, and expected some tobacco in return. The native women set to work and cooked us native food and brought it to us. The chief's wife, or one of them, the mother of a young boy, eyed me with much concern because of the friendly terms existing between her son and myself. At last she came and made me promise not to take the boy away with me in the boat. I promised her not to do so, and she went away somewhat contented though she still kept a close watch on me. All the same it is my intention to make an effort, later on, to get her to lend us the boy, to be trained in our schools, as he is a very intelligent fellow and his quickness in picking up English words is marvellous. About three o'clock in the afternoon we sighted the Grace Lynn and pulled out to meet her. We took with us the chief of Awaiama and a native crew to show them the wonderful horse, or as they called it the 'enormous pig'. Great was their surprise at seeing him, and it was with difficulty that they could be made to go near him. I took them ashore close to Galilulu and said farewell, and had got about a quarter of a mile from the shore, when our boat was hailed by Abrahama, and I returned and pressed him to accompany us to Bartle Bay. After some persuasion and promises of reward in the shape of tobacco, Turkey red and beads, he consented to take a trip with us to Bartle Bay. The simple way in which these men travel is striking. They have no luggage, no clothes, and no anxiety as to the whereabouts of their personal effects. Abrahama with his three friends came on board, and as far as I could learn gave no messages to be sent to his wife as to the length of time he would be away, but I suppose she is accustomed to her husband's frequent journeys by land and sea, as he often takes a trip to visit his friends long distances away from Taupota, and never takes his wife with him.

"We arrived in Bartle Bay at four o'clock on 13th August, and as soon as the anchor was dropped I went ashore, accompanied by Mr. King and the three car penters, Abrahama acting as our interpreter and guide. Before reaching the shore he called out to the natives of the village not to be afraid, that we were mission aries and were coming to be their friends and wanted to dwell with them, but in spite of all he said some of them ran away into the bush, and only returned some time after we had landed. Abrahama introduced us to the chief, and I gave him some tobacco and fastened a sulu of Turkey red round his waist. We were conducted to the meeting-place on the beach, and soon some 120 men and boys and one woman came round us. Abrahama then made a long speech to them, in which we gathered that he told them what our object in coming was, and that we asked to build a large house and make gardens. Then he made them sing and say 'Dewa Dewa' (very good). After going in and out among them, I asked Abrahama to explain to the chief that we wished to purchase land from them on which to build our house, and that we should like him to go with us and inspect it. This he consented to do, and accompanied by about eighty natives, we made our way through the village, and up the hill, to the site we wished to buy from him. When we had pointed out to him what we wanted, he was asked, through Abrahama, what he would part with it for, and we arranged with him that, in return for ten tomahawks, ten big knives, ten small knives, twenty-five pipes, thirty pounds of tobacco, five shirts, a piece of Turkey red and some beads, he should give us the land. He seemed pleased with the bargain, and we were more than satisfied to have settled the matter so quickly, and on terms that suited all parties concerned. Before leaving the site, we made arrangements with the chief to build us a native house, not far from where the big house was to be. This he agreed to do in return for three tomahawks, and to have it finished in three days. When we reached the village he showed us his own house, and we asked him to build us one on the hill like it, and he promised to do so. Abrahama suggested to him that he should come off to the schooner with us, and after a good deal of discussion about the risks to be incurred, he came, and we showed him the 'big pig,' i.e., the horse, at which he wondered greatly. He kept a safe distance from him. We got him to sit down with us to tea, but he wouldn't take anything except a small piece of biscuit and a drink of tea. Half an hour later we heard a great shouting on the beach, the natives asking if their chief Gairaku was safe. He called out to them to send us a pig for a present, in return for which we had to give a tomahawk. Shortly after the chief returned to the village, laden with tobacco, pipes, matches and biscuits. Abrahama accompanied him and slept on shore. Later in the evening we heard a number of natives singing on the beach opposite our ship, led by Abrahama. It sounded sweet as the music floated over the water, and the Southern Cross resting right over the village seemed to us a happy omen on the first night of our anchorage in the bay, where we hope before long to raise the Standard of the Cross, and claim for its soldiers those whose voices we could hear as we gazed upon the cross formed of stars floating over them.

"Early in the morning of 13th August the carpenters made a start with the raft on which the cargo is to be floated from the ship to the shore, a distance of a quarter of a mile. The natives watched them at work with great interest, and were astonished at the number of their tools and the use made of them, especially of the auger. The horse was taken ashore later on in the day, and on his being landed many of the natives ran away into the bush, but they soon returned, and some of them brought him grass to eat, though they wouldn't venture near him. I cannot speak too highly of the manner in which Abrahama has helped us. He is rather a short man with a pleasant face, a merry disposition, but at the same time is dignified when addressing his fellow- countrymen. It was interesting to watch him as he stood and spoke to the natives on our first arrival. He took my umbrella and held it over his head, and made use of it when he said anything important. I like him very much, and I think that he will be of great use to us in the mission from Cape Ducie to Cape Vogel, as he knows the coast well and is well known by most of the natives. Yesterday morning, as he watched me shaving myself, he requested me to shave him, and for the first time in my life I acted in the capacity of shaving man, and gave satisfaction to Abrahama, as he testified when he saw himself in the glass after I had finished with him.

"19th August.--All the natives of this and the adjoining villages are busily engaged erecting a native house for us on the top of the hill. It is a large one, forty-five feet by twenty-three, and we shall live in it and use it for many purposes during the building of the Mission house. Their ideas of straight lines and measurements are primitive, and I am afraid that most of the posts of the house are crooked, and none of the measurements are correct. The house is built of wood, palm leaves and grass, and it will be very cool. It is an interesting sight to see 160 of the natives going up the hill in single file carrying the material for the native house on their backs, and during the building the amount of arguing which goes on is very great. They work very hard for a short time and then rest. Some of the posts for the Mission house are twelve feet long and very heavy, and it is with difficulty that we are getting them taken up the hill. I give five sticks of tobacco for every post taken to the top, and we have twenty up already, but it is slow work. We have had such a lot of rain, and everything has been soaking wet, our beds in the cabin included, as the Grace Lynn has no proper awning. We are roughing it in earnest now and shall have to do so till nearly Christmas. Our Sunday was strictly observed as a day of rest from manual labour. I told the chief on Saturday night not to do anything to the house as we all wanted to rest, and he did as he was requested. We had service in the morning on the beach close to the village. Most of our white men came ashore, and we had a large congregation of natives surrounding us. Abrahama was present and acted as my interpreter. It was an interesting service and very reverent. In the afternoon we rowed up to Warnira, a village about a mile and a half farther down the bay. Magaia the chief was at Wedau, our village, and in passing through it I gave him a piece of Turkey red and a necklet of beads. His village is clean and pretty, and there are well-built native houses in it.

"The chief arrived before us, and he and his wife received us warmly and gave us coco-nut milk to drink. He has two fine young sons, both of whom we should like to have at our Mission station. In the evening we had service on board, which Mr. King took. On our return from Wamira to Wedau we found a large gathering of natives being addressed by Abrahama. He was telling them what he knew about Christianity and why we had come. They sang nicely, and he said a short prayer, having learnt it, I presume, on his many visits to the Mission station of the L.M.S. at Suau. He speaks English fairly well, though he finds some of our words very difficult to pronounce, for instance, 'jam' he always calls 'dam'. He was for a time on a sugar plantation at Townsville, but he didn't like it, and was glad to return to his own country. At the same time his knowledge of English, learnt at Townsville, has proved most useful to us. Late on Saturday night a dozen native men arrived from Samarai, having been sent by Sir William MacGregor to assist us, in case the natives should not be friendly disposed towards us. With them was the chief of Awaiama and another from Mime Bay. I arranged with the chief of Wedau that he should lend them one of his houses (he has five) in return for some tobacco. Fortunately the natives had received us kindly, so that we did not need outside aid."

To the Primate on 23rd August he writes an account of the beginning of his work, and adds: "We are looking forward with pleasure to meeting the people from Victoria and hope they will be as pleased with Bartle Bay as we are. Thank God, we have escaped the fever thus far and we are taking every precaution against it. I hope you will kindly assure Mr. King's friends that he is in no danger here from natives. The only thing I am sorry for is, that he has to rough it so much. To me it is a matter of indifference, as I am strong, but to him I fear it is not so, but in less than a month it will be different."

He writes on the same date to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Tomlinson: "You will find Samarai or Dinner Island very hot, much more so than this. Here it is compara tively cool and very pleasant at night. You must be prepared to rough it for a short time, though I trust not for long. I pray God that you may be happy and useful here. You will find the natives kind and friendly. We must all try to keep well and strong, and then we shall be able to do all that God wishes us to do."

In another letter to Melbourne friends on the same day, he describes himself sitting under a tree on a bucket with another for a table, and with lots of natives round him on the ground, singing their native songs. "I am almost black with sunburn and I am glad of it," he writes. Our letters are to be entrusted to native boys, who will take them over 100 miles to Samarai to be sent on by the first boat to Cooktown. That is our nearest post-office."

A letter to England, dated 23rd August, describes the new site suggested by Sir William MacGregor: "We could see it from ten miles out at sea, a beautiful grass- covered plateau, 200 feet above the level of the sea and half a mile inland. Underneath it, and nearer the sea, is the pretty native village of Wedau, of which Gairaku is the chief. We had to pass through this village on our way to the hill which the natives call Dogura. The houses are not of the best and the village is untidily kept. There are lovely shade trees both in the village and on the beach, under which the natives pass the greater part of the day."

The following is an extract of a letter to Mrs. d'Arlot dated 3 August: "The weather has been against us. To-day and yesterday it has been raining continually, but we are fortunate in having had a native house erected which is waterproof. To-day, Sunday, we had a short service in the village, but it is difficult to understand the natives as the language is not easy to acquire. We are teaching them to sing tunes and some very simple words. Four scrap-books are a great delight to them. I gave them to the chiefs when they have helped me with my work. One of the chiefs is sleeping in my room. It is now 10 P.M. He is lying close to me and came of his own accord. His home is two miles from here. His name is Magaia. He wears a long matted pigtail of human hair about two feet down his back. The dolls, which the people of Melbourne gave us, have caused endless amusement, and many natives, both old and young, have come long distances to see them. We have been washing our clothes all day, but after all our boiling they look any thing but white, but we had no soda, blue, starch or scrubbing brushes! Cooking is most unpleasant, and our variety of food is small. Vegetables and fresh meat we have said good-bye to for some time."

Trying difficulties and delays arose over the building of the house, which was not finished nearly as soon as they hoped. The Grace Lynn returned to Samarai on ioth September, and Mr. King went down in her to make some arrangements about cargo to be shipped by her, and also to meet Mr. and Mrs. Tomlinson and Mr. Kennedy in the Myrtle.

In a somewhat disheartened letter under the same date we read: "Don't think I wish to complain, but after all I am only human, and I am fond of pleasant people and social life. Here, then, I shall be for three years, and then, if God spares me, a change, perhaps for good, as by that time the mission will need another head than mine to manage affairs. I hope that you remember me in your prayers, for I am sure that I need them. Pray that we may be kept free from fever and other troubles in New Guinea."

In another letter he says: "Last night we had three inches of rain under our beds, the water having soaked in all round".

Their first mail reached Dogura on 17th September, and was a source of delight to the lonely missionary, as was also the visit of H.M.S. Royalist. He wrote on the 18th: "It was such a treat to get news. We have just had a great pig feast, at which over 1,000 natives were present. Fifteen pigs were carried in procession and then killed. I went to the feast. The dancing was very strange. The big ship awes them a good deal, and it was with difficulty that I got them to keep their women and children in the village, as they wanted to send them off to the bush. The electric light and fireworks on the ship were a great surprise to them. I am most thankful for this visit, as it will impress the natives and have a restraining influence upon them for good."

On 9 November he writes as follows to Canon Godby: "We have tried to make our little native chapel worthy of His Sacred Presence. The Holy Table, with its hangings, cross, etc., helps us to realise that, humble as it is, it is our special meeting-place with our Heavenly Father.

"We have had King ill for the last four weeks, and quite unable to do anything. He is returning to Sydney for a change and on business for the Mission. Peter, our boatman, has also been very ill, but he is mending, and will be ready to-morrow to go over 100 miles in the open boat to meet the mail at Samarai. So you see that we are getting our share of trouble already. (Here follow details concerning short shipment of necessary parts of the house, etc., necessitating the cessation of the work and the return of the carpenters to Sydney.) It is a source of much irritation to me, and I am, I fear, very irritable at times. I need the graces of meekness and patience more than ever. The trouble over the house is interfering much with the mission work, and I have scarcely had a minute to spare, as I have been working as an artisan for the last two months, helping to get the timber up and stacked, and holes dug, and Peter and 11 have laid almost all the floor that is down. But next week I am going to begin in earnest. Last week I went to Samarai, the headquarters of the Government here, too miles across the sea, in our Tasmanian boat, and we had a terrible time of it. In addition to a big boil, I was terribly sick, and we had wet and squally weather the whole way. Once I began to prepare for the end as I thought it was coming when we were crossing Milne Bay, which is thirty miles wide, in the midst of a terrible squall. We got back at 2 A.M. on Sunday, in time to keep the feast of All Saints', and right glad I was to be on land again. Tomlinson will be a most useful man, and his wife, too, if only she can keep her health, will be of great service to the mission. The best thing we have done for the natives is to teach them to work. They always come to us in sickness, and in death send for me to comfort the mourners. Poor things, they are only grown-up children and need much patience. We are hoping that the Governor will be with us in a month, and then I shall go with him for a trip along the coast and visit my flock. I also hope to visit in our boat as far as Cape Vogel. I am told the natives are dangerous farther up, and our chief is still in a state of excitement because he heard that a powerful tribe is likely to come down and attack us and his village, and burn our house, and kill and eat us. I laughed at the idea, but he became still more serious, so that I am anxious to visit them and to make them presents in order to pacify them. Cannibalism still exists here though we haven't seen anything of it. Some months ago, a number of our natives went to Taupota, a large village near where we had intended to have built our house, and on returning, whilst passing Agonai, another village, they were set upon and three of them were killed and eaten, so that after all we are in a land of heathen darkness, though to the outward eye they all seem to live morally and peacefully together. They certainly are a social, kind-hearted, contented lot of folk and affectionate to their children, while the children are also devoted to their parents. Since I last wrote to you we have had two more native houses erected, in one of which King and Kennedy sleep. The kitchen is used as our study and sitting-room, while underneath it we have made a temporary dining-room and use a small place outside for cooking in. My bedroom is the small storeroom, while the Tomlinsons occupy the room built for them. I am glad to hear of the Office and Litany for the N.G.M. Society; that will help us more than anything else. May our Lord give you every blessing through His Holy Nativity at Christmas."

On 10th November, 1891, he writes to the Primate: "I am sorry to say that Mr. King has been very ill and has caused us no little anxiety. He went to Samarai in the Grace Lynn on 10th September and return three weeks later in good health, but a week later he was taken ill, and has been laid up ever since. It is on my strong recommendation that he is leaving for Sydney at once, and I trust you will prevail upon him to consult the best physician in the city. There is no doubt but that this is a trying climate and we all feel the effects of it. Mr. King was loath to leave as he is devoted to his work and happy here and the natives like him very much. I prevailed on him to leave on the ground of his presence being needed in view of business matters in Sydney, so that he comes prepared to represent the mission in regard to the difficulties that have arisen concerning the house. He ought not to return till his health is thoroughly restored and he is quite strong again. Kindly impress this upon him. Fever has not touched any one yet except myself, and that is only the remains of bygone days. Our land has been confirmed to us by the Government, i.e., about 160 acres. We purchased more on the visit of the magistrate; this will explain our need of more tobacco.

"Our household arrangements are in a terrible state and we are roughing it in real earnest. I have been acting as carpenter and labourer for the last six weeks, and to-morrow we are going to begin to dig the drains. We hope in the course of a few days to settle down to a definite study of the language. We are making friends with the natives for a long distance, and a constant succession of them come to visit us from distant parts. I am expecting the Governor here next month, when I hope to take a trip along the north-east coast with him. I deeply regret the amount of trouble that has arisen over the house and shipping, but I trust that it will all come right in time. We are longing for news from the outside world. It seems long to have to wait, but our work keeps the mind occupied. We have a very simple native chapel in which we hold services daily--Morning Prayer at 6.30; Evensong at 8; Holy Communion on Sundays and Saints' Days at 7.30.--and we all appreciate these times of refreshment. I can not write a longer letter this time, but as I have been writing since seven this morning, I know you will kindly excuse this brief account of my doings. Mr. King will tell you more."

"The early days at Dogura," says Mr. King, "were very trying. No one without perseverance as well as an excess of energy could have worked as Maclaren did. Urging natives to work, keeping them in good temper the while, learning their language, looking for the promised visitors from Samarai, superintending the landing of the goods from the schooner, taking one day at washing clothes and another day finding out more natives to come and work--it was trying. More over, Maclaren did not care to cook, I could not, and our Rotuman cook was too sick to do anything. Maclaren got feverish occasionally, and had to take it easy in his hammock. But we kept going somehow. We were even able to see the humorous side of things.

"Maclaren found time to make a fair start with the language, and wrote down a few hundred native words. Sometimes he would take a little recreation and stroll round, shooting pigeons. Occasionally on off-days he would go down to the village, visiting the natives and trying to talk with them. He made good use of a naturally playful humour in such intercourse. He would amuse them with imitations of the cries of ducks, frogs, and other sounds of nature, and would romp with them. But sometimes what looked like pure fun was really something more, an exercise of strength in the game would show that he was not to be tackled too easily if ever they thought of attempting anything more serious.

"When the natives were working for him he looked after them strictly and would allow no loitering. When he found them pilfering, or committing any other petty offence, he soon taught them to fear his anger. But generally he was good friends all round, and delighted in showing them looking-glasses, black dolls and pictures, and other odds and ends which excited their amazement. He realised that they were as children and were to be treated accordingly.

"On Sundays he would go down to the villages, and first in Wedau, and then at Wamira, would gather the people together; tell them the names of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and about the Father above the clouds who made us, and His Son, Jesus Christ. He com posed two hymns. They were simple enough, and we found them afterwards to be entirely incorrect, but they served to give some glimmering of his meaning to the natives. By degrees things got a little more ship-shape, and we had regular meals and more comfortable quarters. On 11th November I came away as I could not get back my strength. With me came the two carpenters, as they were unable to do more to the house for lack of some special material, and Sam the cook, who had never done any cooking. Before we started we went into the chapel and Maclaren conducted a short prayer-meeting. It was our farewell though we did not know it. I remember yet the prayers he said and the emotion he showed. Then he came with us to the beach and I saw him no more."

He who had written of himself as being so well and strong was in six short weeks to be called away from his earthly labours, while the colleague whom he was sending away with prayerful anxiety to recover his lost health was to be spared for many years to carry on the work which they had entered upon together.

As soon as the work at Dogura was well in hand, Maclaren began to look farther afield. It was no part of his scheme that the Mission should be confined to one spot. He determined first to visit the villages of Boianai and Radava, sixteen miles along the coast, the people of which kept sending down threatening messages that they would come down and kill the little band of missionaries, and the people of Wedau for receiving them. He started once in the whale-boat, but had to return for want of wind. Then on Thursday, 26th November, he started again for Goodenough Bay. An account of this expedition is given in the following letter to the Primate dated 14th December, 1891:--

"Since writing to you on 10th November matters in the building line have been at a standstill at Dogura, though we have finished the drainage, which was a big order for natives, It took seventy men five days to accomplish it, but it has been well done. We paid them in tobacco and matches, thirty-five pounds of tobacco and 350 boxes of matches. We have also had a good deal of clearing done by the women and have planted 250 coco-nuts, while we are at present building a large native chapel to serve the double purpose of school and church. We have sufficient ground cleared for another 250 coco-nuts twenty-five feet apart. This part of the work I am anxious about, in order to se cure a permanent income for the Mission eight or ten years hence, besides providing food for the natives. I have at present four native orphans living at Dogura, and I hope before long to have a good many more. These will form our first pupils. Some weeks ago the natives of Boianai, a large tribe about fourteen miles farther in the bay, threatened to come and kill us as well as the people of Wedau, and as the threat continued to be made, I determined to visit them. Neither the chief of Wedau nor of Wamira would go with us. Three men came with us, but the women on the beach did all they could to stop them. We could only get seven miles on the way, and had to return owing to contrary winds. On our return journey we met two large canoes from Wedau coming to see that all was right. They told us that the women were crying and saying that we should all be killed. Next morning we started at 5.30, after an early Communion. We were accompanied by the chiefs of Awaiama, Wedau and Wamira, as well as by two native canoes laden with men. We arrived at Boianai at 2 P.M., and I landed alone, and went straight into the village and made friends. I showed them that I had nothing with me and they were friendly. I then sent for the chiefs that had come with us, and I made them pull noses with the chiefs of Boianai and Radava. I gave to each of the chiefs a red shirt, a number of which the friends of the mission in Melbourne supply me with. They were pleased, and gave me some fruit and vegetables in return. Later on each of them gave me a pig, in return for which I gave them a tomahawk. These villages are close together, only a small stream dividing them. There must be a very large population within a few miles of Boianai as there are numerous villages along the coast and inland on the slopes of the hills. About two miles from Boianai, is a village called Dogura, so that for the future it will be better to call this place Victoria Dogura to distinguish it from its more important namesake.

"We left Boianai at five in the evening and reached home soon after twelve midnight.

"A few days later we had a visit from one of the chiefs of the places we had visited, bringing us fruit and vegetables.

"Their custom is to pinch one's nose and stomach as a symbol of friendship. I offered him, among other things, a small black doll, but he was afraid and refused to accept it.

"On Sunday, 29th November, just after midnight, I left in the boat for an extended trip round Goodenough Bay. Mr. Kennedy and the chiefs of Wedau and Wamira as well as a few natives accompanied me. We sailed across the bay to Kapi Kapi, a large village on Cape Vogel, where our boat anchored until Wednesday morning. I found my old friends had not forgotten me and they received rue kindly. They brought us coco-nuts. I visited all the villages, thirteen in number, and made friends with the chiefs, giving them presents and purchasing food from them. We pulled round to a village about four miles distant in Collingwood Bay and stayed there for the night. The inhabitants complained bitterly of the Maisini tribe in Collingwood Bay who had come down and killed some of them and stole their pigs. I told them that the Governor would come by-and-by and punish their enemies. During my stay at Cape Vogel I obtained 500 words of the language, which is distinct from that of Wedau. On our return we visited nearly every village in Goodenough Bay, and were kindly received in most places, though in more than six villages the inhabitants had never seen a white man. In two or three villages skulls were hanging from the trees with masses of human hair above them. These I got them to bury. Our chiefs tell me that they are all cannibals and always eat their victims in time of war. In two places I was in some danger, and in one place they went for their spears, but their deadly weapon is the sling and stone. With it they never miss. I always landed alone, as I did not wish to run the risk of more than one being attacked.

"Great care will have to be taken in approaching the villages at the head of the bay, and I fear that it will be some time before they learn to trust us in the way the people do among whom we are living. We also visited a large group of villages in and around Boianai and had a pig given to us. Altogether it was a very interesting voyage and I think it will do good. I cannot speak too highly of Peter the boatman and his care in taking the boat in and out among the coral reefs and rocks along the coast. To send him away at the end of six months would be the greatest mistake, and for the best interests of the Mission I cannot agree to the suggestion of the Hon. Secretary to dismiss him at the end of his agreement. Whether he is willing to remain longer is another matter. We arrived back at Dogura on Friday just before midnight, and we were glad to get a good night's rest on a softer bed than the planks of our boat.

"Early on Sunday morning news was brought that the people of Radava had killed the chief of Boianai, and after the early Communion I started in one of the native canoes for Boianai, being accompanied by the chiefs of Wedau and Wamira, and forty natives of the two villages in other canoes. We reached our destination at 4 p.m. and went at once to mourn at the grave of the chief. It was a sad sight, the whole village was in mourning. Many of them had cut their hair off, while more had painted their faces black. His poor widow and children were in a terrible state. He was killed early on Saturday morning, just as he was about to start for Dogura on a visit to us. The origin of the fight I cannot ascertain. The Radava people attacked with stones and slings, and many of the men have terrible wounds on their heads and bodies. I did all I could to comfort them, and gave them presents of beads. The next thing was to find out the name of the new chief. It is Gidabona. He is a fine-looking man, and promises to make a good chief. I asked all the people if he were the new chief, and when they replied that he was, I gave him a new red shirt and pulled noses, and drank some coco-nut milk. Soon after he brought me a pig as a present, in return for which I made him a present. They were anxious that I should remain the night, and when I consented their pleasure was great. I was quite alone, and it pleased them to see that I trusted them. I slept in a large native house set apart for the men of the village, and around me were over fifty natives, who know far better than white men how to snore! My bed was the shingle off the beach, and neither it nor the feeling that I was in the midst of a people of impulse made me sleep soundly. Some time after my arrival the people of Radava (the chief was away in his gardens ten miles off) sent me a pig, which I told the Wedau and Wamira natives to return as I could not accept it from them, lest they should think I accepted it as a peace- offering for the slain chief. I found out the name of the murderer and some of the leaders of the attack. I got a promise from the Boianai people that they would not themselves avenge the death of their chief, but wait for the arrival of the Governor, and this I am glad to say they promised; this will prevent further blood shed.

"Early next morning we made a start for home, but alas, when we had got about three miles on our journey I heard the squeaking of a pig on the canoe on which I was travelling (the present of Gidabona was on the other canoe). I asked where the pig came from, and they replied 'Radava'. I told them that I had refused to accept it. It appears that, instead of taking it back, they kept it, and intended to keep it a secret from me. I at once ordered them to make for the land and carry it back to Radava. They murmured at first, but I insisted and the thing was done. It would never have done to have accepted it, and I was anxious to show them how strongly I disapproved of the murder of the chief. Later on they returned and told me that the Radava people would kill me when next I visited their village. I laughed. On Saturday last Wagavara, chief of Radava, visited these parts, and I met him in one of the villages, Boaunia, fives miles from here. He told me that he strongly disapproved of the murder and had wept at the grave of the slain chief. He also promised to deliver up Tamarusa, the murderer, to the Governor on his arrival. Yesterday, Sunday, he paid me a visit and had some food with us, and we parted the best of friends. I am very sorry that the murder has happened, though it has ended less terribly than it might have done. It must needs be that sooner or later one man shall be severely punished in this bay for murder, as it will act as a check on others, though we have nothing to do with that. My duty ends in re porting the affair to the Governor.

"Later on I am hoping to get all the chiefs of the bay to meet me at Boianai and get them to promise to refrain from attacking each other. I would have the meeting at Dogura, but I think that they would more readily come to a place where I could meet them alone. I am known all through the mission as 'Amau Alaberta' (Father Albert). I hope that the title will not shock the ears of my brethren. It was suggested to me by the Protestant Standard (name of a paper in Sydney). Poor things, they need a father to guide them, for they are only like children, and need to be dealt with as such.

"Every Sunday we hold service at Wedau and Wamira, as well as at Dogura. I have made two simple hymns, and I tell them the story of the Father's Love, and they like to listen to the story of Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel. The serpent and the stealing and the murder is not strange to them. Many of them know the names of the four first persons and tell the story to others, but in an exaggerated form.

"Our work is rough and discouraging, so that a little encouragement from Sydney, in addition to the frequent admonitions against extravagance and impatience, will help us to go on trying to make God's Way known upon earth, His Saving Health among the poor people of this portion of New Guinea.

"On Wednesday and Thursday I visited from Bartle Bay to Cape Frere and had to sleep out, and since my return I have been laid up, but as I have already detained the boat a day I must make a move to-night to Samarai, calling at Taupota, Awaiama and other places on the way, as I am anxious to visit all the villages on the coast between here and Cape Ducie before Christmas."

This letter was discovered after his death, between the pages of his diary. The diary was in his bag, which was forwarded after his death to the Bishop of Brisbane. With the letter were four different vocabularies which he had been working at.

On the Wednesday and Thursday after his return from Boianai he went to visit the villages round Cape Frere, and slept out for the night. The following Sunday he was not well enough to take the morning service, but recovered sufficiently to go to the villages in the afternoon, and in the evening he preached a sermon, one of the Advent series on death and the uncertainty of life. On Monday evening, 14th December, he started in the whale-boat Tasmania for Samarai, having with him Mr. C. E. Kennedy and Peter the boatman. They encountered bad weather, and being in an open boat got very wet. Maclaren as usual was very sea-sick. Just before reaching Samarai on 16th December he had a shivering fit and thought that an attack of fever was coming on. He took some quinine and lay down. On arriving at the wharf, however, he went ashore and slept at the Government Residency on the hill. The next morning he complained of bad headache, and said that he had had no sleep. During the day he was attacked by violent sickness, which recurred continually during the next six days. On 23rd December he was better and able to get up and sit in the verandah, but the next day he was worse again, and was delirious at night and had to take sleeping draughts.

On Christmas Day he wrote to his mother: "I am very sorry that I have not been able to write to you before. I was away and ill, and could not catch the mail. This one goes to-morrow. This is Christmas Day. I suppose that you will be at church and make your Communion. I thought of you to-day. I feel a little better. Don't be anxious. He will look after me. I will write again soon."

While he was lying ill the Merrie England arrived at Samarai with the Governor on board, and Maclaren witnessed some judicial transactions and expressed to Judge Winter his interest in what he saw. The Governor gave him some medicine and asked him if he would go back to Dogura in the Merrie England; but he was afraid of sea-sickness, as he knew that the steam yacht always rolled very much. Mr. Kennedy then left him, to go back to Dogura for Christmas, and the Governor with his party went to Dobu, the Wesleyan Mission Station, then to Dogura and back to Samarai. The Governor had, however, stopped at Normanby Island, and the Merrie England was on her way to Cooktown with Sir Samuel Griffith, the Queensland Premier, Judge Winter and Mr. Hely, the Samarai magistrate, who were going on three months' leave. When they got back to Samarai the second time they came to the conclusion that Maclaren was so ill that he should be taken to see the doctor at Cooktown. He, on the contrary, was now very anxious to go "home" as soon as possible to Dogura. He grew worse, how ever, and was almost unconscious and delirious when they carried him on board the Merrie England about 11 A.M. on Saturday (26th December) and started for Cooktown. Although they thought him very ill, they did not anticipate his death. They suspected that there must be more than fever the matter with him, perhaps a weak heart, and thought that he seemed to give in to the fever, and made no effort to struggle against it. They did their best to keep up his strength with champagne during the day, but in the evening his temperature rose to 1o6. Later, as the result of a dose of antifebrin, he broke into a gentle perspiration and went off to sleep. He seemed to sleep well all night, and a little before six o'clock next morning (27th December, S. John's Day) Mr. Hely saw him sleeping on his side. The steward vent into his cabin a few minutes afterwards and asked him if he could do any thing for him. He replied, "No thank you, I want nothing". He was then sensible and seemed better. A quarter of an hour later he was found "fallen asleep" with a serene smile upon his face. The body was sewn up in a hammock, and on the arrival of the Merrie England at Cooktown on the following day--Holy Innocents' Day--was laid to rest in Cooktown Cemetery.

The expressions of regret, the letters of sympathy that poured in on the mourning Church, the memorial services throughout the length and breadth of Australia when the sad tidings of this pathetic death became known, testify to the widespread love and affection felt for him. It was best expressed by the friend who loved him so well, the late Bishop of Brisbane, at the memorial service held in old S. John's Cathedral on Wednesday, 30th December. The bishop said: "We have assembled not to listen to an address, but to join in sympathetic imagination with that small band who, two days ago, in our northern town over against that great island which has been the scene of his labours, stood around the grave and saw committed to its last resting- place all that is mortal of him whom we knew and loved so well, who has given his life in the service of his Lord and Master in the missionary field. We are met to thank God for having given us the example of a true and faithful servant. We are thankful to God for the sterling reality, the genuineness, the simplicity of character, the childlike faith which marked his whole bearing and inspired his whole work. We felt the reality and true manhood of his character, and all who came into contact with him were freshened, enlivened, and quickened in their own faith. Almost the closing sentence of his last letter was expressive of that single-hearted devotion which animated his whole life. In reference to his hopes of acquiring soon the language of those to whom he had gone to minister, 'Poor things,' he wrote, 'how one longs for the time to come when one will be able to tell them of our Lord and of His Love'. Does not this, I say, exactly express the whole secret of his life and work, his simple, strong, earnest attachment to his Saviour, and by consequence his intense sympathy with all human life?"

It was not till 6th January that the little band at Dogura knew that they had lost their chief. "The news stunned us all," is the entry in the diary of one of the party. The natives heard it with every sign of grief. The two chiefs of Wedau and Wamira, with all the men and women out of the villages, went up to the Mission, wailing and crying pitiably. The Taupota people, from some twenty miles away, did the same. The chief of Wamira, Magaia, in particular, was evidently deeply affected by the news. He went so far as to blacken his face, an expression of grief only used in New Guinea when a near relation dies.

The Governor of British New Guinea, Sir William MacGregor, wrote to the Bishop of Brisbane; "His value as a public servant I have recorded in my despatches. . . . To me the loss is a double one. I have lost in Mr. Maciaren a very highly esteemed friend, who was sincere and enthusiastic in the work he was undertaking, and sympathetic towards the endeavours of the Government. I have lost also a faithful and efficient colleague. I have seen with great pleasure the appreciative notice taken of Mr. Maclaren's death in Australia. But believe me, my dear Bishop, that what would be most in harmony with the feelings of Mr. Maclaren when alive would be that his memory were honoured by the speedy and vigorous prosecution of the work he spent his life in initiating in this country. That your Church will be of this opinion I do not for a moment doubt.

"Yours faithfully,


There were of course many ready enough to talk of "failure" and "a valuable life thrown away," but though the leader had fallen at his post, another was found to take his place, though God had buried His workman, another was found to carry on the work. Copland King, with unswerving loyalty, returned to hold aloft the Banner of Christ on the newly founded mission station, and with brave and patient endurance carried on the work till (though not until the first-fruits had been already gathered in) the Church in Australia awoke at last to her responsibility, and sent a bishop to the rescue of the native infant Church, struggling for life under overwhelming difficulties.

Montagu John Stone-Wigg was consecrated bishop on the Feast of the Conversion of S. Paul, 1898, and under him that native Church, with her bands of Papuan catechumens and Christians, her teachers and evangelists, and even her first candidates for a native ministry, has bravely battled on where the banner first was planted. It was for this that Albert Maclaren laid down his bright, heroic life, and yet a faithless world dares to talk of "thrown away."

Other European labourers have followed their pioneer "within the veil," and Papua has her first-fruits in Paradise, and so the Church lives and grows. Truly as of old "God buries His workmen but carries on His work".

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