Journal of a Voyage to the Western Pacific in the Melanesian Mission Yacht Southern Cross
25 August-10 November 1906
A diary kept by John Watt Beattie (1859-1930), a photographer of Hobart, Tasmania, to record his trip in the 'Southern Cross' from Norfolk Island to the Solomon Islands, via the New Hebrides and Santa Cruz islands, to take photographs of the islands and mission centres, at the invitation of Dr. Wilson, Bishop of Melanesia.
The original manuscript has been deposited in the Royal Society of Tasmania's Library by the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery (ref: RS.29/3). It is roughly written in pencil in a quarto notebook. This transcript was made by Linda Rodda and Lesley Elliot (University of Tasmania Archives) for the Royal Society of Tasmania. Beattie's spelling has been retained, although his regular use of 'to' for 'too' has usually been corrected, but the punctuation has occasionally been modified for clarity, including his use of the apostrophe in 'do'nt' for 'don't', and long entries split into paragraphs.
Neither the transcript nor the original diary may be reproduced or published without permission from the Royal Society of Tasmania, G.P.O. Box 1166M, Hobart, Tasmania 7001 Australia.
 JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE TO THE WESTERN PACIFIC IN THE MELANESIAN MISSION YACHT SOUTHERN CROSS
August 25th. - Sailed for Sydney in the U.S.S. Coy's S.S. Oonah leaving the Hobart wharf at 10.45 a.m. Very few passengers - Mr. A.G. Webster went up to Sydney in her and proved a very enjoyable companion. Had a load of gear with me, all the photographic instruments, and special boxes to hold the plates, which I had sent from London direct to Auckland in the 'Paparoa', and intend repacking in the special boxes there. Got a lot of photographs of the coast from the Derwent Light round past Tasman Isld. and the Pillar. Weather fine but rough with head wind and sea, Oonah pitched a lot, and when we got into the straits behaved worse. I was ill, but got up after we got under the lee of the Australian Coast. We got into Sydney at 8/30 Monday morning after a run of 45 1/2 hours.
Augt. 27th. - Monday Tuesday and Wednesday mornings were very busy times. The Monowai sailed on Wednesday at 2/30 for Auckland, and I had my work cut out to get everything fixed up before I left.
Wednesday 29th proved wet, and when we got outside we met a strong head wind and sea, which continued for 2 days. I was completely knocked out, and kept my bed. I got up on Friday morning, 31st. inst having eaten nothing since Wednesday morning. Friday afternoon I did a little writing, and on Saturday I kept to work all day. We passed a barquentine late - about 5 o'clock. I got a shot at her but fear the light was too weak. (Pendle-Hill)
Sunday - Sept 2nd - Weather fined up today, and it kept right until afternoon when it dulled up. In the morning about 7 o'clock we were off the Three Kings - too far off to get photographs - about 7 miles or more. I was busy shaving &c at about 8 when the whistle blew and I looked out at the Port, and saw land, like a long low promontory with a lighthouse. I didn't worry much to know what it was until I asked the Captain after breakfast when he told me it was Cape Maria Van Diemen. I was very wroth that I had missed photographing it, as I could easily have done so. We passed North Cape and I got two photographs of it, only it isn't out of the common cut of coast scenery. From N Cape the Coast runs away S.E. (?) forming apparently a great bay, called I think the Bay of Islands. We came up to the Eastern extremity of this great bay in the afternoon about 4 - Cape Brett I think it is called. It was worth photographing, but the weather was too hazy and dull and I couldn't do anything with it. This coast is very rough, and much after the [1/2] character of the Port Davey Coast about the Matsuykers. The passengers are mustering strong at meals now, all with one or two exceptions, being at dinner tonight - the last meal on board, as we will be in Auckland early on Monday morning, and expect to be off the ship before breakfast. All my things are ready for tomorrow.
Monday September 3rd
I was roused up at 1.30 am by the rattle of the anchor cable, and found all still and knew we were in Auckland harbour at last. I was sorry we had missed seeing the scenery right through, but hope to see it either when we are on our way back to Tasmania again, or going or coming in the Southern Cross. In the morning I was up at 6 o'clock and having straightened up went on deck to have a look round. It was cold, squally, and hazy, and one did not get a favourable impression of Auckland. One thing that struck me was the very hilly nature of the place. Fine buildings were seen everywhere, especially in the vicinity of the wharves, and there seemed plenty of accommodation for vessels, with signs of great additions and improvements under progress. This morning, by the way, the steward roused me up at 6 with the intimation that the doctor was coming off at 7.30, and all the passengers would require to pass before him for inspection. He came off, and while the purser, with the ship's list was seated at one end of the smoke room, with the Chief Steward giving him the names of each passenger as they came in, we passed through the room, passed the doctor who quizzed us from the door at the other end, and who merely said "Good morning Sir" and that ended the affair as far as the individual was concerned -- They seem very strict in regard to inspection of new arrivals in New Zealand. My brother Will was on the wharf looking out for me as the 'Monowai' slowly drew up.
Beautiful day, so fresh. Sighted Maré (Loyalty group) at 1 o'clock pm, and by 5 o'clock had passed its Eastern side, the ship being about 5 miles distant from land. It is a low lying island, flat and uninteresting, the cliffs dipping abruptly into the sea like the Australian coast north and south of Sydney Heads. After passing its eastern coast it is seen running westerly. In the evening of the 15 a French recruiting vessel full of heathen recruits for the surrounding plantation came in and they had a big 'Sing Song' all the evening up to past 10. It. was weird to her the chanting accompanied by what appeared to be the beating of a tin pannicin to keep time. - The services [2/3] on Sunday were really refreshing, and the native singing, as usual, grand.
The weather is getting rather hot. I left off my Tasmanian clothes 2 days after leaving Norfolk and on Sunday I appeared in white for the first time. I was complimented by the Capt. on my appearance. He said I had got quite the correct set, as I stood with my hands behind me!
16th September 1906 Vila - Port Sandwich
We dropt anchor in Vila at 4 pm 15th. Vila is the principle settlement of Sandwich Island. The appearance of the island from the sea is more imposing than Maré. For a good part of its length, as seen from the ship, a backbone of rugged ranges some 2000 odd feet run. They are densely clothed in bright green foliage right to their summits, and from the foothills of this range the island slopes gracefully to the sea.
Vila as seen from the ship is a scattered collection of about 20 or 30 houses, situated at the head of the bay, a large almost landlocked bay, with somewhat a narrow channel through its entrance from the west. The entrance from the west is exposed to the ocean. The bay ramifies forming pretty coves with rather steep headlands, all wooded. The settlement is on the eastern bank of the bay, with the French Residence, and R.C. Church above, the British residence being on a commanding islet on the north close to the shore, while on a lower island forming the western extremity of the pretty bay is the Presbyterian Mission, with its plain Church and Sunday School. The R.C.s have a handsome church building ['church, large with a steeple' deleted] situated on a fine position on the hill behind the settlement, and to the south of the Residency. I believe the missionaries are but poorly paid, receiving £20 per year, on which they have to support themselves. They have very few native converts and at their other stations throughout the group they have none at all. They belong to the Jesuit order, are very intelligent men, very nice and agreeable, but have to live on yams principally, just like the natives, they are too poor to afford better living.
French flag predominates. French man o'war 'Vacluse' in Port. Swimming. Sunday services. Heat that night.
Went ashore at 7.30 this morning and paid my respects to the British Resident Capt. Raison. I went with Dr. Welchman. The Capt. was absent in Fiji, and the [3/4] secretary Mr. Sego - a young Englishman - received us. The Skipper calls him a 'poisonous beast', and I really think he is right. He waved the Melanesian boys, who accompanied us, majestically off the path leading round the house. Poor boy, he is only about 23! The house stands on a small island formerly belonging to the Presbyterian Mission. The Mission gave half to the British Government, retaining the other half. They probably will erect an hospital there someday. Dr. Mackenzie said as much. I asked Mr. Sago (its easier and more attractive than Sego - Sego has a Solomon Island flavour about it not [deleted] really too good - I'm thinking of old Sogo) if I could prowl round during the afternoon photographing. I thought it better to ask as I didn't like the thought of being treated like the Melanesian boys, probably I would resent it. I was graciously given permission. I didn't go however but may on the return trip, as the weather may be finer, and from there you get fine glimpses of the bay and settlement. Sago told me that the French interests largely predominated in this and the other principle islands of the group. He thought that the French settler was preferable to the British. The French he said came and settled permanently, while the British only stayed so long as they had made their pile, and then cleared out. He also told me that the R.C.s had a large following in Vila, and throughout the group, and were making a lot of converts. Roman Catholicism he preferred to Presbyterianism. You see he said you have a "boss" in the R.C. Church, whereas in the Presbyterian you have no head to refer to, only God. Who can I believe, Donaldson or Sego?
After breakfast we all went ashore. I posted my letters, and then did some photographic work. The place is very primitive and unformed. The French have streets marked out, rough tracks with boards nailed to the cocoanut trees with the names printed on them - Rue de Paris, Rue Higginson, Rue Boulanger etc. etc. We called at the French company's store and bought some things. It was funny to see Dr. Welchman trotting along with a bottle of wine under his arm. I put mine in my photo case! There are 3 or 4 stores here, Burn Philp & Co., Kerr Bros, and the French - all large places of business, selling cheaply to[o]. The French sell cheapest and I like their store better than the others. They seem exceedingly obliging. I bought a pair of rope soled shoes, very good for wading, at 1/3d - I will get more as I go home. After lunch Mr. Nind, Sister Kate and Miss Wilson and self went over to see the Mackenzies at Fila Island. It was a most charming walk from the beach to the house. The track led through a native village, [4/5] nice clean houses and all so quiet and contented. Dr. M. is very white and middle aged. Mrs. M. young and active - both exceedingly nice, and so glad to see us. Had tea and I strolled out with my camera and got fine photos of a banyan tree, and part of the village. Such a lot of chattering little black kiddies! Dr. M.'s youngest boy "Billie" acted as guide. An interesting boy of 10, much attached to the native people, and can talk the language as well as any of them. It was so amusing to hear him.
The ship sailed at 4 pm. for Raga. Weather dull and rainy. Very thick ahead.
The ship took in coal here from the S.S. Tambo, Burn Philp's boat. Our skipper has borrowed a gramaphone from Donaldson, the Coy's supercargo, with a lot of records to amuse the natives. Dr. Welchman considers it is a horrible infliction.
Dr. Mackenzie was saying that the native population had decreased very much. Twenty years ago when he used to travel through the island he saw deserted native villages - deserted many years previously, as tall trees were growing through the huts. He considers the decrease had taken place before the advent of the white man.
At night in the cabin it is getting almost unbearable. I have put all the clothes off, and simply lie in my pyjamas. I would put them off too, if I could, but the cabin door is wide open, and it wouldn't look decent. I keep the port open to, and there is a ventilator also, yet in spite of that it is hot, I couldn't sleep all last night, tossed about and just sweltered. I suppose I'll get used to it in time but oh how I longed to be back in Tasmania again. On deck it is nice and cool. We have awnings all over the ship from stem to stern. - I used my cabin tonight for a darkroom for the first time. I don't know how often I had to wipe myself with my towel before I got finished at 11. After that I went up on deck and had a yarn with the skipper who was on duty all night. He was among too many islands to feel comfortable. It was beautifully cool, and how I longed to sleep there.
When I got up in the morning we were approaching Raga. [Footnote: Now Pentecost] It appeared to be an abrupt bewildering series of high ridgy hills. As you near it point upon point, craggy, and woody and green so the summits show out in wonderful confusion. We brought up at Steep Cliff Bay at 7.30, and a boats crew of our [5/6] boys, with Dr. Welchman and myself and camera went ashore to ascertain if Mr. Drummond, who was the missionary in charge at Raga, was there. I hardly expected to get anything in the way of a photograph, as Drummond didn't show signs of appearance and the Dr. said he wouldn't land if he wasn't there. Lots of native people began to gather on the shore and waited our arrival, and when our boat touched the little shingly beach, they told us that Mr. Drummond had gone North to Lamalana where the two lady missionaries were, Miss Hardacre and Miss [left blank]. There seemed to be lots of lovely photographic material here, but the Dr. wouldn't land, but received some letters from the somewhat shy native teacher, which we took along with us. The hillsides are very densely foliaged, in appearance as tho' the place abounded in weeping willows, but in reality the appearance is given by the creepers which grow over the trees and hang down in green streamers. Little patches of banana trees on the steep hillsides indicated the only cultivation visible while here and there the distinctive cocoanut palm reared its scrubby head above the sea of green.
On the run down to Lamalana, very little in the way of sandy beaches can be seen, the dark spreading foliage of the beautiful trees all along coming down to the waters edge. Under these the native people congregate, and sit and enjoy the cool breezes protected from the schorching overhead sun. Right to Lamalana the same character persists, showing more particularly there, small areas as tho' they had at one time been under cultivation and had been allowed to grow up wild again. Little smokes were seen here and there, showing life. Away to the west Opa [Footnote: Opa - Aoba] could be seen, dim in the hazy morning sun, while Maewo lay, high and picturesque, still dimmed by distance and haze, to the N.W. the higher portions hidden by cloud.
Mr. Drummond came off at 10 in his whaleboat with a crowd of natives, and Miss Wilson, Sister Kate and self went ashore. I had to wade for about 100 yds. as the tide was out, but it was delightfully cool and refreshing! After introduction to the two lady missionaries I got to work with the camera. The Mission house is rather a nice wooden building surrounded by a low coral wall, and within this compound close to the house is the chapel, a native built place, very primitive but suited to the place and people. The house is quite close to the sea, which can be seen through the dense leafy bower of trees fringing the shore. The native people - women and children - were very shy and frightened, and the moment I would put down my camera where a pretty group would be seated [6/7] forming an interesting foreground, off they would go, women chattering, and children screaming. It was so disheartening. When I had been a little longer about, I adopted a little dodge which helped me to gain their confidence, and stood me in good stead at other places. I stood up the instrument showing the boats coming in from the ship with stores, standing out clear against the sea and sky, and then I beckoned them to come and look. First one, then another, then a few more, and soon there was such a crowd I could hardly keep them back. And the chatter and the expressions of wonder and delight - I only wish I could reproduce them. It amused me much to watch the different faces - grave old gentlemen, with faces that would do credit to a church meeting, would come and gaze, and after clicks and grunts, and other unpronouncable [sic] exhibitions of interest they would at last be carried away altogether by their feelings and would end up by rapturously chucking one of their pals standing behind under the chin. Laugh I don't think I ever laughed so much. And the dear children too, it was a delight to watch them. Beautiful little faces, and their little antics, and their splashings and pretty gambols in the cool sea water pools, all formed a lovely picture of island life - idyllic in the extreme.
The women can talk too, and the babies can scream too, and the children can be just as naughty as our home sinners. I watched a mother trying to appease a squalling little imp - he was so rude, perhaps spoilt. He was lying flat on the ground screaming for all he was worth and beating the ground with his little fists in such a temper. The mother would offer him odds and ends to pacify him, and he would push them away so passionately and mother would smile and look so pretty in her persuasions- I wouldn't have missed seeing it. I gave her, however, before I left, an indication of what I would do under the circumstances, had my child dared to behave as hers was doing. The exhibition was eminently practical, certainly very polite, but after all no doubt it was thrown away on the lady.
I took a walk along the native track through the beautiful bush, and got one or two pictures of native houses. One old gentleman whose residence I photographed went up a tree and procured me a couple of cocoanuts, split off the husk, knocked a hole in the top, and I had the coolest drink one could wish for. A good sized nut gives a really satisfying drink, but I never refuse two at a time. One seems always to be thirsty here. I first tasted the mummy apple here. Miss Hardacre had some on the table, and of course I couldn't refuse sampling native products, so I ate one. In shape they are not unlike a very large Napoleon pear only they are not so symmetrical, and when ripe are yellow coloured. They can be cut in slices and eaten with a spoon, the centre being [7/8] filled with edible seeds, and the seeds apricot colour, and very much like the flavour of an apricot. They are very delicious, and highly nutritious [small drawing of fruit in margin] and from all over the islands - in fact they are looked upon as weeds. I got some type photos of men and women of Raga here - and last of all took a picture of mission house and church with a big group of the people about. Then back to the ship by 3 o'clock - up anchor and away to Opa. We reached anchorage at Opa about 5 or 6 o'clock and Mr. Godden and his wife were soon on board. Mrs. Godden has made smart man-o-war clothing for the boats crew, and when approaching one really couldn't feel sure that it wasn't a man-o-war boat and crew. The effect was, however, soon dispelled when the crew came on board. Some of the crew hadn't brought their trousers with them, and the effect was rather comical to see a smart man-o -war dressed spick and span as far as the jacket, - below "bare poles". They didn't seem to mind it however. Mr. and Mrs. Godden stayed to dinner, and afterwards the skipper gave us a gramaphone concert on deck which commenced after evensong, and lasted till past 9. It passed the time away if it did nothing else. By the way the gramaphone in question was borrowed from Burns Philp and Coy. at Vila, and the Capt. had it in his cabin on the saloon deck trying the records. One of the Melanesian boys, "Billy", was passing and heard this thing going. He was standing by the ladder leading down to the main deck, by a ventilator. He looked down the ventilator first, then down on the lower deck, then up the mast head, then at the man at the wheel, and then he gave it up and went away mystified! It was the most comical sight one could see!
At 6 o'clock "boats crew" was heard, and off I went with my photo, gear for the shore. Opa is a very mountainous island, nothing apparently but great rolling mountains - green as usual, to the summit. The mission house is very nicely situated on a high position overlooking the Bay. The place is called Lolowai. The western extremity of the bay has a remarkable appearance, the high cliff running out into the ocean terminating most abruptly and dipping sheer into the water. Its bushy, green top, and bare yellow white limestone sides give it rather an imposing appearance. The other side of the bay is steep but not so picturesque. One would think, looking at this little bay, surrounded as it is by high hills, that at one time it must have been blown out and so formed by some volcanic eruption, (action) There was nothing of much importance to photograph here - I got a pretty little woman and her child. I rather enthused over this model. She had a beautiful head, and, nice shape. I excused the dirty little baby resting on her hip, with its nose - ugh, but all the poetry of the situation got knocked right out of me when the pretty little [8/9] face began to expectorate apparently with the accuracy of an American citizen, and certainly with full emphasis of a colonial wharf lumper. They have a good many bananas here, and cocoanuts too and quite a 'heap' of mummy apples. I notice the rats have a liking for the latter fruit for you could see the ripe fruit on the trees holed by these rodents, and all the interior eaten out, and they seem to be able to distinguish the ripe from unripe, for it was invariably the ripe fruit that was eaten.
Left Opa at 12 - arrived Maewo 1.30 (14 miles) big Fall - roar at night - Went up to village with Capt. and Mr. Nind. Fine track - steep parts - Skipper tired -cocoa-nut refreshment at Lotoia - went across to river for bathe. Skipper overcome and sat down on rock with legs in water.
Had today all day at Maewo on acct. baptisms and teachers pay distribution -Teacher neglected deliver letter from Mr. Palmer when ship arrived - too late to arrange matters for afternoon. Morning worked below in trade room tying up parcels of goods for different teachers, at Maewo. Describe proceedings -Went up to Lotoia with Dr. Welchman, Sister Kate and Miss Wilson. The baptism, simple, solemn - Poor kiddies howled for all they were worth. There were 3. 3rd one saw what was coming and broke down dreadfully when the kindly Dr. took her in his arms. When handed back to her mother, she sat sobbing, and looking at the doctor with such an injured air that I could hardly keep a straight face - I got several good social shots about the village, and when we got down to the beach had shots of the distributing process - Maewo seems a large island, and has, as seen from the ship a high mountain to the E.S.E. at least 3000 feet high.
Left Maewo at 2.30 a.m. for Merelava 40 miles distant to the North. We arrived at about 6 and as there is no anchorage the ship had to lay off, and naturally the Skipper wanted to get away as soon as possible. Merelava rises sheer out of the sea, seems only a small island, but should be 3500 feet high. There is a large lake of brackish water on the top I believe, in the old crater, and the people have to depend on rain water - there are no springs. The mountain was covered with mist, and I could not get a view of it. The landing place is alongside a long pile of rocks, and on it were a great number of native people. There is a native priest here Rev. Wm. Vaget, and he was soon up to his eyes in the Teachers Pay business. There were a large number of yams taken to the ship [9/9b] from Merelava, and good oranges were available - I got a basket. I got several good snaps of the people here. Ship off to Merig at 8.30.
Merig is 15 miles from Merelava and is a tiny island, very narrow and [drawing of triangle] shaped. Should think its length about 1/2 mile by 1/4 broad. It is inhabited by natives from Merelava, 39 only. Vegetables and cocoanuts grown. There seemed to be a great number of cocoanuts trees growing here. It has a very dangerous landing and the boat had some difficulty in getting ashore. There was very little however to land so it was quickly over and the ship made for Santa Maria 15 miles to the [left blank] ward. Santa Maria as you approach it from the weather side is rugged and mountainous. Its area should be about [left blank] miles and in the centre can be seen a very fine waterfall tumbling into a great gorge. It is a beautiful sight even from the long distance we had to view it and I should estimate it to be at least 800 feet high. This water comes from a large lake in the high central portion of the island. It is the cone of the extinct crater and measures about 4 x 3 miles. The water is good but rather hard. The island is known as Goua on its weather side and Lakona on the Lee side. The weather side is always the south-east, that being the prevailing trade wind. The island was a Spanish discovery and was named by them Santa Maria. The population of all these islands is fast decreasing. Santa Maria now numbers about 700 - earlier 7000 would have been a moderate estimate. The causes for this decrease may be summed up in Queensland recruiting and epidemics - influenza and measles carrying off great numbers. The poor people are so foolish - when the fever comes on they go and sit in the sea to cool themselves. Mr. J.C. Palmer has charge here, as well as other islands, and he came aboard, with a 'green' boat crew which came in for a good deal of sarcastic remark from the skipper, as they approached the ship. I went ashore and made a hurried run along the brush track to the village of Tarasag. A fine church 60 by 30 is nearly completed. Nothing of special interest. Got a few photos of general interest.
Ship next made for Vanua Lava 22 miles to the westward. Arrived there just about 5 o'clock. Vanua Lava is a more extensive island, is very much after the style of Tasmanian scenery, plus the extraordinary wealth of foliage. We anchored in Vureas Bay, under a high mountain to the east, the Mission Station Sanlan [double dots over 'n's] (pronounced sanglang) being situated on the rise to the N? Under the Eastern Mountain is a little village with a church - St. Peters - very pretty scenery there, and away to the S.W. are two high mountains which closes up the scenery, and gives it a very fine aspect. Mr. Adams has charge of the Mission here and he was soon on board. Later in the evening Mrs. Adams came and stayed on board a she wanted to go on the morrows voyage round Santa Maria [9b/10] at Goua and then doing Lakona, afterwards back to Vureas for the night and all day Sunday. It blows here and rains too, both hard and frequent, so the skipper says. It is of course a poisonous place! The hills certainly were cloud capped, and it blew very considerably, but it didn't rain, at least nothing to speak of. It was quite refreshing after the intense heat of the other places. I decided to sleep on deck tonight so took two deck chairs and laid them out, laid my blanket on them and took a sheet to cover myself. I enjoyed a fairly good night, but got a bit of a stuffy throat through it. I don't mind that if I can get rest - Rest here is not really refreshing in the sense we know it in Tasmania - everything has that soft warmth, a little of which is good enough, but oh how tiresome it becomes when it always persists, and I long for the freshness of my dear island home in the far south!
22 Sept. We left Vureas at 4 o'clock for Goua - Santa Maria looks best from Vanua Lava, or from its lee side. It runs out gracefully at each end and has a high cone like mountain in the centre.
Mr Palmer ran ashore to Tarasag and got a few things to take on to Mota where he intended to remain until the return south of the 'Southern Cross' when he comes on with us to Norfolk Island.
Next place was Black Beach. Black sandy beach - White Trader (old ship used to water here) - only short stay. Goats - not over clean, & smelsome [sic]. Lakona 3 miles further is much after the same style, the village is some distance away - groups taken - Cocksparrow Point - back to Vureas Bay in evening.
Sunday 23rd Sept.
Spent the day here very quietly. Service in the morning by Mr Nind, in the evening by Dr. Welchman. Had a very terse and practical discourse by the Dr., and the singing was very hearty and good. In the morning went ashore with the Captain and party and visited the Mission. It is a very comfortable house, situated amid most beautiful surroundings. There is a magnificent banyan tree here and the artistic arrangement of the grounds around bespeak the thought of the artistic mind. The party went to church in the pretty little native structure within the Mission grounds but the Captain and I sat on the verandah and looked at 'Punch' and the grounds and place generally until the service ended, when we had a cup of tea and got off to the ship again for lunch. In the afternoon I walked along the beach to St. Peters, a rather fine stone church, and large. The natives were very kind and gave me cocoanuts to quench my raging thirst - it was so very hot walking. I went back in the ships boat which brought Sister Kate and Miss Wilson to see the place.
 Monday 24th Sept.
Programme today was Mota and Mota Lava and Ara. The weather was beautifully fine and clear. Up to date we have had very hazy weather, but level and fine. Vanua Lava looked charming as we steamed round it, opening out into fine high ranges, broken and rugged only all the roughness smoothed out by the dense green clothing which clung to all just as the moss hugs the stone. There is still volcanic activity here, for on one of the high hillsides clouds of steam could be seen rising from some sulphur springs which obtain high up on the range. Kota was reached at 9/45 o'clock - There is no anchorage here, and the larding was on a rocky ledge - Mr Palmer went ashore and will be picked up on the return trip. Got several shots here. The ship had to lay off and on as there is no anchorage. The island is small, and looks like a big ledge with a cone in the centre.
Mota Lava and Ara - pronounced Motlav and Ra - is 8 miles to the west. Ra is a reef island and a shallow lagoon separates the two, the people of Motlav crossing the lagoon by wading to meet our people. The entrance to the Ra village is exceedingly pretty and I got some nice photographs, both of the place and the people. We got away about 12 and made back to Vanua Lava for anchorage for the night and to land Rev. Mr Adams who had come with us for the Motlav and Ra distribution, also Metrig and Peck [Footnote: Now Pek] both of which were on the east side of Vanua Lava and were visited enroute. I did not go ashore at either as there was nothing of consequence to .be got and the Captain was anxious to get to an anchorage before dark. We got to Vureas Bay at 6/30. Sister Kate and Miss Wilson had been left as company to Mrs Adams while Mr Adams was absent and they returned in the dark, having enjoyed a charming day.
Tuesday 25th Sept.
Programme - Rowa and Ureparapara. We sailed from Vureas Bay at 6 o'clock, going round the north west extremity of the island. We pass Ureparapara on the way to Rowa and the sight of the shattered island, one hugh [sic] crater, is wierd [sic] in the extreme. The island is formed of the hugh walls of the crater, corrugated and striated and with jagged edges, all softened so beautifully by the eternal green, the western wall being blown clean out forming a nice bay called Dives Bay about 1/2 mile long, the entrance being hardly a quarter mile across from head to head. Rowa is a reef island, and has a sister to the north east-ward called Sanna which was not visited. These reef islands are surrounded by big coral reefs which make landing a bit of a bother, on account of the long pull ashore, and usually a long wade, according to the state of the tide. I got carried ashore here as I was loth to wet my feet. A walk along [11/12] the glaring sand is very trying - heat and glare together being particularly oppressive. The scrub here is very scant compared to the other islands. There is no glory of heavy brilliant foliage like the other islands, but the cocoanut tree thrives, and in the heat its fruit is enjoyable. There is an exceedingly fine church at Rowa, large and with unique furnishings - heavy cement seating very curious and I should think very cool - made from coral burnt into lime. The church was under repair on our visit, but I expect to be able to get photographs of its interior on our return home. There was nothing much photographic to do.
Off at 11 for Ureparapara, which was reached in an hour. All around here, being a clear day the surrounding islands could be plainly seen, and looked very beautiful - Vanualava particularly. It is the prettiest island I have seen yet. The interior of the Ureparapara crater was rather disappointing, and it is such a close suffy [sic] place, one feels glad to get out of it again into the fresh air. I went ashore for an hour and got one or two photographs. The village being situated on the side of the hill to the West. Our next station was Leha 8 miles from Dives Bay. The usual kind of thing in scenery - dense - green everywhere. There is a rough landing and a good long wade ashore, a long bush track and at last the village with a nice church at the end. People were very kind but I didn't do much in photography. We anchored off Leha for the night.
Wednesday 26th Sept. Torres Islands, (45 miles from Leha, today and we hope to finish them. We got under weigh at 2.o'clock for Loh. I slept on deck, and enjoyed a refreshing night, anyway as far as can be got here. The Captain very kindly ordered a hammock to he made for me, so that now I can always keep on deck, so long as it doesn't rain. They say when it rains it comes through the awnings like a seive [sic] - At six we were in the Torres Group - low built type islands - There are four of them, Toga, Loh, Tegua and Hui. Our destination was Loh, and by 7 o'clock we were ashore and before 8 I got 7 photographs. We went of to the ship for breakfast.- There is a missionary here, Mr Durrad, a young man who took ill when on board with the prevailing trouble 'malaria'. He may have to go round with the ship. I got some specimens here, baskets, arrows and kava bowls for my girls. I got really good type photos here - the people being very easy to handle, and some of the subjects exceptionally good. The skipper came ashore, and shook hands with the people. I don't know what they would have thought if they could have understood the remarks he addressed to them individually as he shook their hands, 'How are you, you poisonous looking beast - 'Well, old pink eyed rabbit how do you do' and so on - He's simply awful. I bought some oranges [12/13] and bananas here. The oranges are not up to much, but the bananas are lovely - big and thick. Tobacco is the principle trade money - 26 sticks of vile stuff to the pound, which costs in bond 11d - A stick of tobacco will buy a small basket or a bunch of oranges. I paid 2 for a basketful of bananas, and I felt a bit uncomfortable as I handed them to the woman with a baby slung over her back. I wondered whether 1 had 'taken her down' over the transaction. By the way the skipper was watching me from the verandah of the Mission House getting individual photos of men and women. I was busy posing a rather nice looking girl against a sago palm when he said in an Irish whisper 'I'm just going to tell Mrs Beattie of you - nice goings on! Too many of these fine looking models about I can see! I must put a stop to it!' Another minute he would be chucking a baby under the chin, slung over the back of the mother, to whom he would blandly smile and say 'Oh you poisonous looking old witch!' and the poor thing would smile in return, thinking it a great compliment. I am the particular object of interest to these people. They watch me in wonder and awe, and the hum of exclamation when I set up or open out my instruments is loud and long and most amusing. There was a bit of the village a. few hundred yards from the Mission House which I wanted to get, and after I had finished around the Mission I seized my bag, shouldered my camera and bustled off as hard as I could. You ought to have heard the yells arid shouts of the whole village. It was really ludicrous, and I hardly knew how to take it - complimentary or otherwise. However I ascertained after that it was quite complimentary. One must bustle round to get any work done on these shore trips - The party stays as short a time as they possibly can, and the Captain will say 'Now I want to sail at such and such an hour' and if you are not back in time roar after roar comes from the ship's horn and you get 'jawed' when you come back.
We called after leaving Loh at Hayteal Bay, Tegua. There is a trader here, a Mr Forrest, but no mission station. It is rather a pretty bay with a nice fringe of cocoanut trees along the shore at its head. The weather looked threatening and I did not venture ashore. About 4 o'clock the rain came, and it fell without interruption till 6 - and off and on during the night. I hope it will clear the air as it is vary stuffy. We remain at anchor here till midnight, when we get off to Vani kolo [Vanikoro, Sol.] an island about 110 miles to the north. I turned in below at 11 as it was cool - noticed a mosquito biting my hand while sitting on deck tonight, wondered whether it was the dreaded malaria variety - anopheles. I believe from what I can gather of the symptoms, I have had malaria myself, contracted during the time I wert up to the Arthur Plains with George Cato.
 Thursday Sept. 27th At 6 this morning Vanicolo looked beautiful in the clear horizon - the rain had cleared off, and all around was bright and clear. It is a large island, and judging from appearances should be 20 miles in length. It is mountainous, and from the shore has not the dense covering of other tropical islands visited. Here it was that the French explorer La Perouse was shipwrecked and all that remained of his unfortunate crew, himself included, were killed and eaten by the Vanicolo savages. The place is still almost heathen, in fact it is heathen. The Mission has one school on the south side - the side on which La Perouse's ship was wrecked, and another on the north, but I understand there has been no baptisms as yet, and there is only one native teacher. We had a boy to put ashore at the east end of the island. He had been 12 months at Norfolk Island and we were to give him a holiday, until the return of the ship when we would call for him again to complete his term at Norfolk Island. We had to make for the western extremity of the north coast of the island near where the boys people were. There was as usual the big reef barring a near approach, and we had to pull about a mile or two to get to the shore, through a small passage in the coral reef. As we got within 3/4 of a mile of the shore we noticed a couple of canoes coning out from the shore to meet us. This was interesting as it was my first introduction to really savage man. Down they came, and when they ran alongside us I was hardly prepared for the wild uncanny look of the folk. They jabbered and yelled with excitement as they saw the returned boy, then they turned their canoe and came on with us, paddling with all their might to keep up with our whale boat. The other shore canoe, also joined in the return with joyful exhibition, and when approaching the shore on which were crowds of yelling savages, one of the young bucks jumped out of his canoe into the water and splashed into our boat, seizing the stern and trying to get aboard. Dr Welchman was at the steer oar, and I shall never forget the face of that savage as he clung to the boat, his eyes staring out of his head, shaking with excitement, and laughing and shrieking like mad, his horrible mouth, open to its fullest extent, with its black teeth showing so frightfully red and gory, from the disgusting practice they have of eating betel nut and lime. The doctor shoved him into the water again, and he climbed back into his canoe, and then we soon touched the rocky shore, and the crowd was upon us. What amazed me first was the reception of this boy. His father stood off near the bow of the boat, and took not the slightest notice of his son, others crowded round took his hand and pressed their ugly noses (dirty too) against it, smelling it hard all the time, the boy smiling on all around. His trunk was put ashore, and I could hardly help feeling sorry for him, dumped down as he was amidst a crowd of savages, after the comfortable life he had been experiencing in Norfolk Island. He looked so superior to his relations and friends and certainly [14/15] showed the marked difference between civilisation and savagery. There was such a hubbub, bartering for tobacco, ornaments, mats etc. I prevailed upon some to sit for their photographs but it was a job to make them understand. About half an hour ashore and we were off back to the ship, leaving amidst the yells of the shore people - I forgot to mention that up to the end of the Torres Group the general stimulant used is kava, further north it is all betel nut chewing.
We steamed back along the coast to near the other end of the island where a native teacher as supposed to be. He came out in one of the native canoes, and transacted what business was required without necessitating us going ashore. We now got away bound for Graciosa Bay, Santa Cruz, where the Bishop was waiting for us. It is 110 miles distant, W.N.W. of Vanicolo, and we hoped to be there in the morning. The weather had been looking very unsettled, rain squalls driving over Vanicolo and with every appearance of becoming general, and by night it had set in quite wet, and everything was just miserable. The deck awnings are four years old and want renewing, so it was drop drop all over the place, you could hardly find a dry space to stand on. Below it was too close to stay, and I had another bad night in prospect.
Friday Sept. 28th I was roused up this morning by the horn blowing hard. We were in Graciosa Bay, and when I looked out it was the most miserable looking morning you could well imagine, the rain beating down pitilessly. The Captain had had a hard job to feel his way along, it was so misty and the coast outlines were blotted out. This is the great danger of island navigation. The charts are so meagre, and mostly inaccurate, that no great reliance can be placed on them, and consequently a man has to 'go on his own' to a very great extent. How much more difficult it must be when fog or rain obscures all the land marks which must be his only guide. Captain Sinker has two splendid officers with him, who reduce somewhat the worry, but still there must and does remain that responsibility that no staff can remove from the chief. Anyhow here we were safe in the fine harbour where the old Spaniards 400 years ago attempted to found a colony but failed, and were 'wiped out' by the warlike savages that swarmed around them. The descendants of those very savages were now becoming evident, coming out to the ship in their canoes, and in a few hours time the ship was surrounded by a fleet of these canoes manned by a horde of yelling Cruzians, wanting to trade, with rings in their noses hugh [sic] bunches of rings in their ears, their arms and wrists covered with bangles of shell, and their whole appearance looking uncanny. There was no sign of the bishop, and we were beginning to think [15/16] he was not there, when we noticed a whale boat putting off, and when it arrived we were told his lordship was packing up and he would be off soon. Dr. Welchman went ashore to see him, and meanwhile the ship we swarming with the naked Cruzians, and the noise was perfectly terriffic. [sic] We shut up the cabin doors as they are adroit thieves, and as there was no photography possible owing to the wet, I went in for trading with the natives. I bought baskets, ear ornaments, lime bottles, bows and arrows, bangles, club etc for Kronyé. All those savages carry their bows and arrows with them, and all the arrows are poisonous and dangerous. Poor chaps, it was amusing to see them shivering in the rain, their teeth were actually chattering, and it was so warm to me. They wear breast plates made of white shell with tortoiseshell ornaments attached, and they prize them very much. I got one however, and I may get another, but I had to pay a good price for it - a piece of turkey twill (1/2 yard) and a butcher knife (7d). A stick of tobacco buys a shell bangle, an arrow, an earring, and a couple of sticks will buy a mat, basket and so on. I got some nice mats, also a native loom with which they make these mats. It is said to be a relic of the Spaniards who taught the natives the art of weaving. By the time I get through I don't know how I will carry all the trade. By the way I also bought a model canoe for a stick of tobacco. It was very funny to see the poor fowls they carry with them, standing on the canoe platforms, on the out-riggers, drenched with the rain and looking the pictures of misery. As I the rain eased off a bit the skipper threw sticks of tobacco into the water, and to see the way those swimmers jumped out of their canoes, and dived after the sinking tobacco, bringing it up in one hand, shrieking at the top of their voices, and scrambling back to their canoes again, was a thing never to be forgotten. It was a perfect babble. I suppose there must have been nearly a hundred canoes round the ship. Fancy if those people took it into their heads to attack the ship. They are all well armed and are deadly shots. There wouldn't be the ghost of a show for us. - About 9.30 the bishop's boat was seen leaving the shore, and as it approached we could see his lordship in trousers and shirt and battered soft hat, standing with the steer oar in his hand, guiding his fine whale boat called the 'Patteson' towards the ship, with a smart crew of Melanesians. As he approached he was shouting out greetings to those watching him from the saloon deck - 'so glad to see you', 1 'so pleased you're on board Mr Beattie' and so on. He is such a manly man, so kind and pleasant, and no frill about him at all. The rain now stopped and after a bit we got into the bishop's boat and went ashore to his house. Mr Nind is going to remain here until the return of the Southern Cross, when he comes on with us to Norfolk Island to avoid the unhealthy season. He has a big district to care for, and a wild lot to deal with. He is a very fine [16/17] gentlemanly fellow and I felt so sorry for him as he rowed away from us in his whale boat. We gave him cheers and the skipper let out 3 blasts from the horn which reverberated round Graciosa Bay, and made the natives look out of their houses, I have no doubt. He goes up to his house without any kerosene, and as the bishop says, as soon as darkness sets in out swarm the deadly mosquito. He forgot to bring kerosene with him from Norfolk Island. Quite a fleet of canoes followed us to the shore and carried the stores for Mr Nind up to the roomy native house on the bank over looking the bay - a lovely situation.
I got groups of men and boys, and a picture of 4 old chiefs squatting on mats before the house. No women are about. They are kept in the background poor things, and are ghastly specimens, ground down by their lords who strut about with their bows and arrows, watching them at their work, and escorting them about as a guard.
The ship steamed down to the head of the bay opposite a station belonging to Lever Bros, of Sydney - the makers of Sunlight Soap - Their two managers came on board in their dinghy to see the Bishop. They had heavy Colt's revolvers sticking in their belts, and certainly were rather a contrast to the bishop who never carries firearms. The Bishop was telling us that he heard that these men were beseiged in their house a week ago by an army of natives who threatened to shoot them. They had done something wrong - women I think - there's always a woman at the bottom of these rows! Down goes the bishop in his boat, and finds that affairs were as he had heard. The planters had armed all their servants with Winchester repeaters, arid were prepared to sell their lives dearly. After a lot of parley the bishop succeeded in 'buying off' the row. He says a price is always fixed upon a row, and if you pay it you can avert trouble and danger. He saved the planters' lives.
He took me right to the head of the bay during the afternoon where the Spanish
settlement is supposed to have been. Villages are scattered all round the bay, and they are curiously divided by stone walls. These are used for defensive purposes. These people often fight among themselves - village against village. The week before we arrived there was a row, and the Bishop hurried with lint, bandages and carbolic acid to bind up the wounded. There were none hurt, however. We landed at a nice beach among a lot of houses, stone walls running down to low water level marking the province of the village. People came out and received us, and in the background I could see the women with cloths covering their heads and faces. 1 had hardly set up my instruments when down came the rain, and we adjourned into the Gamal or Club House, and sat on mats and talked to the Chiefs. The Bishop made them presents of tobacco and they in return made presents of mats etc. They seem a very good natured people, [17/18] very moral and correct in their mode of life, and ready to punish any departure from that correct course. As the rain seemed set in, we packed up and got back to the ship getting a bit damp. I was very much disappointed at the weather interfering with my work as this is one of the most interesting parts of the trip. We will call here again, however, on our way home, and may make up for the loss. .
Timotu, another interesting island lying in the Bay was not visited. The ship sailed at 2 o'clock for the Reef Islands, 32 miles distant.
Saturday September 29
Six o'clock saw us off Matema one of the Reef Islands, a bad place for the ship to lay, as there is no anchorage and very strong currents persist which may carry you on to trouble before you are aware of it. Here we enter the Polenesian [sic] zone the people being lighter in colour, and pleasanter looking than the Melanesian races. The island was of course flat and surrounded by a very big reef, and had a perfect wreath of foliage, quite surprising. Here the wall formation formed quite a network everywhere, each house being shut in by one. They have Ghost Houses here, where inside are curiously carved staffs to the number of 8 or 9 stuck firmly into the ground, coloured principally by turmeric and fringed with fibre. The people bring sacrifices to these sticks - offerings of food and rice etc. Each stick represents a particular spirit, and their spirit is very pleased to hear of these offerings and sends help to the islanders both carnate and incarnate. They have very indistinct notions of their religion and it cannot be relied upon, one man giving one version, the next one another.
I got a good few pictures, dear little kiddies dancing about. I saw one little chap, about Muriel's size when I took her photo with the Mafeking flag, with a bunch of ear ornaments in each ear, so big that really I wondered how the child could carry them, and he seemed supremely happy. I gathered a little crowd of these kiddies together and put them on a form and photographed them, then I got some of men and women. They have some very big canoes here, which they sail, and go long distances in. They have a little house on deck into which as many as 7 people get. 1 got photos of them lying on the beach.
We left a boy and a girl at Matema and the boy took things very badly, poor chap. It is such a 'come down' to leave comfortable quarters, and enjoyable companions for the primitive huts and society of a little reef island. When the boat was being got ready to leave the shore the poor chap was standing disconsolately in the water sobbing fit to break his heart. He stood right in front of all the rest, and I could see him still standing until [18/19] I lost him in the distance. These reef islanders are a very lazy lot, and often are on the verge of starvation. They will not grow vegetables, and trust to exchanges in the way of food. Certainty there is little good ground available, still, as the Bishop says they will not make a move towards averting famine.* [Footnote: *This paragraph added in 2 pages later.]
Back to the ship for breakfast, and then off to the next island, Pileni. We had hardly got ashore there before it began to rain and after waiting for a little and finding there was no change we packed up and faced it. I can tell you we were soon wet, and before we were half way to the ship I was wet to the skin. We met the islanders coming back from the ship in their canoes. As the rain was very cold to them they would warm themselves by plunging into the sea for a while, the sea being quite warm, and then they would get into their canoes again, until they reached the reef, which is shallow, when they would jump out and walk to the shore towing their canoes after them. I changed my wet things when I got aboard, and then attended to my damp instruments.
Our next call was to be Nukapu, where Bishop Patteson was murdered. We pass through a passage between two large islands called Forrest Passage - rather narrow. As we steamed through a couple of canoes put out to meet us, and we threw them a handful of tobacco sticks. The canoes were empty in a second and in a few more the men appeared above the surface waving the tobacco in their hands and screaming and laughing like mad. What splendid swimmers these islanders are, they are quite at home in the water.
Nukapu is a small island very fresh looking, and green, surrounded of course by a very big reef. There are two small islands near it, Nupani and Nalago [Naloko] and away in the distance, standing up in solitary grandeur is Tinicolo, an active volcanoe, cloud capped and grim looking. It was not in eruption when we passed, and I was rather disappointed as I wanted to see a volcanoe in action. It is 2500 or thereabouts in height. I thought it more than 3000 ft. It rises shere [sic] out of the sea, like Merelava or Ureparapara, and no doubt they were at one time just like Tinicolo.
As we approached Nukapu a few canoes put out to meet us and the Bishop decided, as it was getting late, to put the returning boy ashore in one of them and thus save time. In one of the canoes was his father, and when that scantily clad gentleman scrambled on deck with a bagful of trade for disposal, and his neatly dressed, and nice, happy looking son stood before him, he took not the slightest notice of him, one would never imagine that there was the slightest relationship existing between them. I noticed the young shaver [19/20] tried to take the 'old man' down over some transaction with his sons chums who were using the boy as a medium of interchange, They got the articles they wanted at their own price, and the son laughed when the old man looked puzzled as he put the tobacco payment into his bag. They can be taken in sometimes, although not often, and I recollect an old chap wrangling with one of our people over the price of a nice bag. He wanted 4 sticks for it and his customer wouldn't give him more than 3. Hugho, a Melanesian deacon who was on the look out for such an article, took in the situation at a glance, took the bag out of his hand and put 2 sticks of tobacco in its place and marched away. The old man opened his eyes in bewilderment, looked after Hugho, then at me, shook his head and laughed heartily. 1 slapped him on the bare back and said 'sold again old cocoanut' and in reply he gave one of the peculiar clicks with his tongue. A bag of provisions was placed on one of the canoes, for the purpose of giving a feast ashore in honor of the return of the boy.
From Nukapu our next calling place is San Cristoval 225 miles to the west. We expect to get there on Sunday night.
Sunday Sept. 30th. The last day of September. I am wondering how long this trip is going to last. The Bishop says we will be in Norfolk Island on the 13th November. I hope we will. Mr Broadhouse the 2nd officer says we will be in Auckland on Nov. 24th. I wonder who will be correct! All night we have been tumbling about dreadfully - the ship rocking all the time - and all day has been the same. I couldn't sleep at all, and it was so wearisome lying in my stuffy cabin, I got up at 6 o'clock. They call this part the 'Sea of Growls', I call it the 'sea of rolls'. It is always the same they say, and I don't look forward to passing through it again on my way home. It was very uncomfortable at service - holding on for dear life to the seats and stantions. I like the services tho'. In the evening the Bishop preached, and spoke of the value of attachment to Christ, allegiance to him, both to the white and dark races. He was simple and forceful, and gave instances coming under his notice of the evils of island life, and the great necessity for bring the people under the influence of Christ. At Santa Cruz a man was peacefully smoking his pipe in the Gamal (village club house) when he was seized from behind. He struggled and nearly got free from his assailant when the doors of the Gamal were closed and the man was stabbed and clubbed to death. It appears about a year ago a canoe as lost at sea and its loss was attributed to this man, and this was the opportunity for avenging the loss -Two villages had a fight, one side killed 12 people, the other 16. The village who killed 12 would not be satisfied until the other handed over 4children [20/21] to make the number equal - those poor things they shot at and killed. At Nukapu the Bishop asked the people how it was their population was decreasing. The reply was by wars and disease. Give us teachers they said, and they will stop the wars. The singing is very good and cheering, but one should hear the native service, and their singing. It seems to fascinate me.
Land was sighted about 1 o'clock, it was Santa Anna and Santa Catalina to the south of San Cristoval. About 5 o'clock San Cristoval got close enough for one to be able to form some idea of what it was like. It was showery on the land. This is a very big island, and very hilly and mountainous, heavily timbered as usual, and densely populated. The races are difficult to deal with on account of the misdeeds of the early traders and island marauders. San Cristoval is about 80 miles long by 25 wide. Away to the north east 15 miles distant lie three low flat islands, uninhabited, called The Three Sisters. Ugi another island, low lying, rising a little in the centre, is about 6 miles north east of the San Christoval coast. As we ran along the coast the cloud effects were very fine and the sunset behind the hills was very grand. We anchored at Pamua Bay at 10 past 7 and Mr Drew who has charge of the Mission work here came aboard in his fine whale boat. Evensong was then proceeded with.
I tried my hammock tonight. The evening was cooler than I have felt it since we entered the tropics - we are in about 12 South latitude now. I fell out of the blessed hammock in trying to get into it. The 2nd officer advised me to take a blanket with me or I would be cold. I didn't follow his advice, but took a sheet instead. I woke up sometime in the night and was sorry I hadn't got the blanket, so I went below and turned in instead.
Monday October 1st 1906 I went ashore at 1/2 past 6 with all my gear, and got some photographs of the Mission Station here and views - one meets a new build of canoe here, which tells us we are now in the Solomon Islands. The canoes have no outriggers like those in the south and are exceedingly cranky things to handle. They have high prows at each end and some are very elaborately worked, with carvings, painted decorations and inlaid pearl shell ornaments. The great sailors of the Pacific are the Santa Cruzians and Reef Islanders - Solomon Islanders take 2nd place to them. I had a lovely piece of water melon here, and got some ripe bananas from the trees for the first time. I knocked them down with my tripod stand. We put a lot of provisions ashore for Mr Drew, and after about an hour and a halfs stay got back to the ship for breakfast, starting for further along the coast to Fagani [left blank] miles from Pamua. The country along the coast is [21/22] hilly rather, with nice little valleys, and reminds one somewhat of D'Entrecasteaux channel scenery, with a little more vegetation. There were patches of burnt scrub on the hillsides showing, brush fires having evidently been burning. At Fagani we had to land a young girl and her brother, Ben Tarauru. Ben was a really fine chap, so cheery, big and strong, and sang the heartiest of all at church services. I gave him a knife as I shook hands with him. Poor chip, he felt leaving the ship and his companions. There is a fine native Christian Church here, with fine paintings and decorations outside on the front. I got outside and inside pictures of it. The people here are strange in some of their Customs. They shave their head leaving 3 tufts, one on the brow and the other two on the crown and behind. The little kiddies looked ridiculous done in this style. The heathen 'bucks' are quite 'toffs' in their way. One I noticed with a shell head dress across his brow and great china bangles on his aims. These china ornaments are importations from Brumagem. I got photographs of him and others. The Bishop is a great help in working up pictures - where before I had to forage for myself, now I have his help and advice which makes my work so much more interesting and more effective too. And he is so very nice, one cannot help liking him.
Some * [Footnote: * space left for figure] miles further along the coast we called at another Mission Station called Heuru. There is a very fine church here, and a good old chief who has been most friendly to the mission. He looked anything but noble apart from his face, which was most kindly in expression, for he wore an old military helmet, one evidently given him by the captain of a visiting man-o-war, an old waistcoat, and a shirt, his bare pins having no clothing. The Bishop wanted me to take a photograph of him, but I insisted on him removing the superfluous clothing, and the old man did so somewhat reluctantly. I did quite a lot of group work, although the weather was rather wet and gloomy, and got a very grand, war canoe, groups of boys and girls and old men etc etc. I saw a group of women and children chattering in front of a house, and while waiting till the Bishop came along I took a fancy to one of the ladies lime boxes, and offered her a stick of tobacco for it which she readily accepted, whereupon a dozen other ladies eagerly offered me theirs. I chose another nicely carved one, and then refused as well as I could, the others. Then one charming creature came forward and opened her box at the same time offering me an areka leaf to dip into the lime, to eat with a betel nut. I smiled, I am afraid rather broadly, and holding up my hands said 'tagai tagai' which is Mota for no no! They all screamed with laughter. I am beginning, by the way, to pick up a smattering of mota, just enough to make a fool of myself. I [22/23] bought here set of 'widow's weeds, consisting altogether of a fairly big string of funny grey beads; and I got a native shaver or razor, which consists of a pair of shells in a little nut shell case. They nip out the hair with them -rather painful! I also got a dancing club. We got back to the ship about 4 o'clock. The weather was blowing hard from the North West and looked threatning [sic], and it was decided to abandon the trip to Bellona, [Footnote: Now Belona] a distant island seldom visited by anyone, until we come south on our return. We ran instead to Malaita 35 miles North of San Cristoval, and anchored in Roas Bay at 8.30 p.m., glad to get out of the pitching. We are generally very much on the roll, but she took it into her head to pitch going across to Roas and she pitched quite as ably as she rolled. I slept in my hammock tonight and enjoyed a good night until I woke up at 5 bells. I started up, thinking it was half past 5, gathered up my blanket sheet and pillow and went below. It struck me things were a bit quiet for 5/30 so I looked at my watch and found it was only half past two, so I thankfully turned into my bunk, the cabin being fairly cool, and put in the rest of the time there. I have to be up early - not later than 5/30, as they start work at 6 sharp. The boat goes ashore very regularly at 6, and I go with it and pick up anything about.
Tuesday, October 2nd. 1906 Went ashore with the bishop this morning to a village near Boas Bay, called Roapu. The track through the beautiful cool bush is very delightful, but oh how I wish my feet were in good order so that I could wade in the cool sea water from the boat ashore, instead of having to be carried on the backs of the black boys. The people of Roapu were just getting breakfast, for the place was full of smoke from the fires of the houses, the smoke steaming through their roofs, the fires burning in the middle of the house generally. This is a fairly new village, and there is nothing much different from others. There is a church under construction here, the walls of stone are up, but the roof has yet to be put on and I believe it will be of galvanized iron
We got back to the ship in time for breakfast, and got under steam for Saa, a village 4 miles south of Roas Bay. The Malaita coast is not very high and the shore is fringed very largely with cocoanut palms. The landing at Saa is held to be the roughest on the Mission route, but we found it calmer than it ever has been experienced. There is a very pretty track from beach to village, and a very fine grove of Arica Palms is passed through near the village. Saa is a fairly big place, and has the beginnings of a large church. I got several characteristic photographs of the place and people, and got back to the ship, which headed for Port Adam, 12 miles North.
There are two ways of getting to Port Adam. Just opposite the village of [23/24] Ramarama lies a long island, which runs its length (about 2 1/2 miles) close to the coast. Its eastern end lies within 1/4 mile of Ramarama, forming the eastern passage to the place, while the western end gives rather a wider entrance, and is by far the safer of the two, no difficult reefs to encounter - the eastern entrance being full of tortuous and dangerous reefs There is a pull of about 2 1/2 miles from where the ship anchors to the village, but it is pleasant running amidst the mangrove swamps, just like a river, and with the added interest of being able at any tine to meet with a crocodile. The village enjoys the freshness of the sea breeze, being built close to the sea shore, with only a grove of waving cocoanut palms to ward off the scorching sun. It needs plenty of sea breeze, for the houses are just packed together. I never saw space so economically used, when there seemed to be no earthly reason why such parsimony should be used. There were plenty of people, and there were, what to me was better, plenty of cocoanuts. It was warm, and I drank, and drank, and drank! I think I prefer drinking cocoanut juice out of a tumbler instead of out of the nut. A big tumbler will just comfortably hold n medium cocoanut full, and there seems to be a kind of greater satisfaction in seeing how you are progressing while drinking. You seem to finish far too quickly from the cocoanut! This I know to be heresy, and it is explainable on jut the same principle or theory, that beer is always better when drank out of a pewter pot than from a glass.
Port Adam is a smoky place, this should drive out the mosquitos, although, it oughtn't to make the place cooler, still they may find the sea breezes cold, using the fire to tone down the temperature. I took several photos, one of a bevy of village belles, with fine and plenteous ear ornaments. The bishop put a man in with this lot, and I thought that cruel, as it might lead to the idea that all the crowd belonged to him. I really believe, judging from the expression on the poor fellow's face, that dread of the same misconception lurked in his breast too. Well, his troubles! We came back to the ship, snapshotting en route, got under steam and went back for the night to Roas Bay. It was just about four o'clock and the skipper suggested a bathe in a deep creek in the corner of the bay, so the Bishop and a few got ashore putting me down on a pretty part of the bay with my camera to get a few photos while they were absent. There was a small village on the hill behind, so I went up and had a look and got a couple of photos, then returned to the bay and was picked up there. I put in part of the night in the hammock, but can't get a decent sleep, haven't had one since I left Norfolk Island.
Wednesday, October 3rd. We sailed at 3 o'clock this morning for Ulawa, an island lying [left blank] miles [left blank] of Roas Bay calling at a village called Madoa, where Rev. Clement Marau the foremost clergyman of the Mission resides - he is a Melanesian. At 6 o'clock were at anchor opposite the [24/25] landing, and got ashore before 7 o'clock with lots of stores for the place, Clement's wife and children were passengers from Norfolk Island, Martin, his eldest son, a fine looking fellow, plays the organ beautifully, and has led the singing at all the services on board. We are loosing [sic] a lot of our singers now, as they drop out when we arrive at the various villages which are their homes. The landing was very rocky, and it looked dangerous to look behind and see the curling white breakers coming on as though they would overwhelm you. The Bishop invariably takes the steer oar, and is an expert boatman. Madoa is a large village, very clean, with a very fine church, stone walls with galvanised iron roof. I got one or two characteristic photographs and then back to the ship again.
We called at two stations along the coast landing boys and girls but only just landing and leaving, then by 1.45 we were at Subolo, and landed on a very pretty little beach. Subolo seems to be a bit of an agricultural district as one or two patches of clearing can be seen on the hillsides with little areas of smokes denoting bush fires or further clearing. The disadvantages to agriculture here are pitiful, the steep hillsides should break the heart of any ardent agriculturist I suppose, consequently the clearings are small, less than 1/4 acre or not more than 1/2! The village isn't clean, consequently smells! Pigs, lean dogs! Ugh! They have a nice clean church tho' and the people are well disposed. They have their village wags just the same as we have. I took a photo of one Hector Rarana, a lean looking, tall man, with long ears hung with tortoiseshell rings He can make his ears meet under his chin - a kind of strap to keep his head on! He was a comic and no mistake. He would put his arm round your waist, leer at you and then make the most grotesque faces imaginable, and laugh so heartily. You couldn't help liking the man. He came back with us to Madoa, and while on the saloon deck he met the skipper. The Captain eyed him all over, then held out his hand with a sort of "well I suppose I must" look and shook hands with him - whispering in an audible way "when did you use soap last old stick". Hector laughed and the skipper snapped out as he went up the bridge ladder "Don't spit on me you dirty old wretch". Hector went forward laughing and muttering. The Bishop sang out to the skipper "Would you like to know what he was saying about you? 'That fellow up there spoke to me, but I didn't want to hear all he said.'"
We got good groups of the people at Subolo, and the whole village bid us farewell at the landing, the Bishop throwing sticks of tobacco among the crowd, causing such a good humoured scrambling:, and such an uproar. Up anchor and away back to the landing at Madoa where we picked up Clement Marau and his family, and by sundown we were on our way back again to Malaita [left blank] miles distant this time to the North end of the island to a station called Nore Fou.
 Thursday October 4th I had a good night in my hammock, for a wonder The air was just "balmy" and lay in it with ray pyjamas only. By 6 o'clock we were opposite Nore Fou, and at 6.20 Mr Hopkins the missionary was aboard. They had bad news to tell us. Two of their people had been shot by the bush men, and the place was practically in a state of war. We are evidently in a very wild place here, and evidence of the insecurity can be seen from the ship, by the artificial islands dotted along the coast, built for security against attack, and all well guarded The Bishop, Mr Hopkins and party went to one of these islands after breakfast. It was the strangest place I ever saw, or ever could have imagined. It seemed like a dirty, smellsome Scotch fishing village, squeezed into a ridiculous compass. The area of the whole island is less than an acre, perhaps 3/4, and you have houses all over, with narrow streets and over 200 inhabitants. There is a men's quarter and another seperate [sic] for the women. We went through both, and oh, the uproar in the women's part. The narrow streets, the hordes of children, the pigs and dogs, and the women - shouting just like a Bedlam. The camera fascinates them and I am the most important man of the show. It rather flatters me for the time! The ladies and gentlemen here don't seem to be particular as to dress for on both I noticed that often the ordinary figleaf was missing - well they want all the air they can get, poor folks. They are fisherfolk one can see and smell. The outside pallisades of the island are hung with fishing nets, and the houses smell fishy. They are very picturesque islands as seen from the water, and have generally a few trees and cocoanut palms waving over them.
After leaving the island we landed at Nore Fou, Mr Hopkin's station. The house and a little village are situated on a rising ground above the shore, and one can at once realize that things are not secure here or, as the skipper would put it "only middling", for the whole place is surrounded by a hugh [sic] pallisade of strong logs, stuck into the ground with a doorway just wide enough to allow one to squeeze through, and standing by it was a determined looking old man carrying a rifle, and wearing a cartridge pouch. It seemed strange in a Christian village to see warlike preparations such as this, yet only a week ago two of their people were shot down and every precaution has to be taken. I felt rather funny when on going outside the pallisade with my camera to find the man with the rifle following me, and I half expected to hear a shot from the hills whizz past my ear or through my helmet, but it didn't, so I got a group of people to stand by the pallisade and I took a photograph of it and then went inside and took a few views of the place. It isn't what you would call a cheerful shop to live in under such unfortunate conditions, still the surroundings are pretty and the view looking seaward across the reef is very fine iIndeed. It is rather difficult to land, and I got carried ashore on the back of one of the men, and so saved wetting my unfortunate feet.
 We went down the bay [left blank] miles afterwards to Atta Cove, where we picked up a boy and returned to Nore Fou for the evening sailing for Gela [Footnote: Later Nggela] tonight. At Atta Cove there are four of these funny artificial islands on the reef, looking very pretty, and on the western arm of the bay lying high and dry and apparently intact, is a Queensland labour vessel, a schooner, which was driven ashore and abandoned. Her name is the Ivenhoe [sic].
We got back to Nore Fou by 3 o'clock and spent the rest of the afternoon doing absolutely nothing. It seemed rather strange to me, as I have been kept busy right through except on Sundays, so I got to work and brought my diary right up to date. We had a lot of the Nore Fou people on board. They were very busy trading in the morning, and I bought a big bunch of bananas, about 30 for 3 sticks of tobacco - value 2 1/4 d - and six beautiful pineapples - 1 stick each. I was just ravenous for fruit and pitched into my pineapple and finished one before breakfast. I laid in a fair stock of oranges at Torres, but they gave out a week ago, and I have been feeding on an occasional mummy apple, and banana, as they came on the saloon table at breakfast, lunch, or dinner time, and then I could never get enough. We had a gramaphone entertainment on the saloon deck this afternoon for the entertainment of our Nore Fou visitors, and there was a crowd on board, and you should just have seen the expression of wonder on those faces, and when a laughing piece came on, that simply brought down the house, they roared and rolled about, and the women and small girls in their canoes by the ship's side, nearly upset themselves laughing. I took a photo of group while the show was on. One thing I missed tho' which would have been worth getting. I had put my camera away, and the crowd had dispersed, all but a few, when a young man ventured forward and looked down the horn of the gramaphone, drew his head out quick, with a rather frightened look, waited a while and then put his ear down near the revolving disk and listened, and gave one of his peculiar vocal expressions of wonder which one cannot explain by writing. It was good, and the skipper, always equal to the occasion "clicked" vigourously [sic] in the native fashion - meaning "What do you think of that"! I got the old chief afterwards to stand by the instrument and took a snap of him - he looked funny in an old souwester he seemed to value, and made a rather good study of a South Sea Pilot.
Friday October 5th. I had thought we would have sailed for Gela [Footnote #1: later Nggela (Gela)] during the night but it was 8 o'clock this morning before we got the anchor up and under steam. Steaming along the Malaita coast affords no difference in character of scenery worth mentioning. Some miles from Nore Fou we pass a small island called Vasakana. It was on this island that the island steamer Malaita went on the reef. Her stern was high and dry on the reef and at her bow she had the anchor down in 40 fathoms of water. The Southern Cross rescued her from her perilous position, and got 50 tons of coal for doing so. I wonder what another steamer [27/28] would have got for the same work? A little more than 50 tons of coal I should think.
After leaving the Malaita coast, which can be seen running for a long distance to the [left blank] maintaining its rough mountainous character Gela is right ahead to the North and as we came up to it, I was struck with its difference in appearance to any of the other islands we have seen. The foliage is less heavy, and the country more open, big patches of clear country being dotted all over. It looks just like our Tasmanian country, and is rough and rugged looking, but no mountains of high altitude seen to exist. Gela, or Florida, seems to be broken up into a series of islands close together
The Sandfly Passage through which we passed (called after H.M.S. Sandfly, the ship which was used in its survey) is very beautiful - about 6 miles in length and varying in width from 1 to 4, the broken character of its shores afford very pleasing varieties of scenery in crag and bay. At its northern entrance is a native village named Ravoo. After passing through the Passage the course is altered to South East and a distance of 12 miles brings us to Bougana, an island off the coast of Honggo, belonging to the Mission, on which [a] nice mission house is built, the residence of the missionary in charge of the adjoining district - Rev. Mr Stewart. On the run from the Passage, the country to the South is hilly and rough looking, and some 3 miles to the west of Gavutu is Tulaghi [Footnote #1: now Tulagi] an island, the residence of the British Government Resident for the Solomons. The house is built on the top of the island, a good part of which is cleared and recently planted with cocoanuts. [Footnote #2: which the natives say will come to nothing, being too high up (deleted)] Gavutu is a small island some 2 miles off the mainland. It is the property of Lever Bros, of Sunlight Soap fame, who have there a big store and depôt, and it is the rendevous for all the shipping of the Solomon Group. It was originally the property of a trader named Neilson, who planted the whole with cocoanuts. Another man some years afterwards by an accident, heard there was a buyer anxious to acquire the island, Neilson at the time being in Auckland, so he, hastening there, bought it from Neilson for £3000, afterwards selling and making a big profit on the transaction. Lever Bros. are now holding large tracts of land all over the islands, and are making large plantations of cocoanuts. They buy cocoanuts from the natives at 4 cocoanuts for 1 stick of tobacco, but I should think it was more satisfactory to have one's own property to draw upon than being dependent on other people.
We anchored off Bougana all night, Mr Stewart coming on board, also Mr Howard, missionary at Savo, a volcanic island 30 miles to the North. There were also two lady missionaries at Honggo, who came on board - Misses Kitchen and Minett.
Saturday October 6th. I went ashore at 7 o'clock with Misses Kitchen, Minett, Wilson and Sister Kate to Honggo. It is a pretty considerable village on the [28/29] coast amidst a long fringe of cocoanut trees. It has a nice church, and comfortable Mission House. I got some photographs, and went back to the ship at about 12 o'clock. A good picture is got here of the island of Mandoliana, the place where Lieut. Bower and party were surprised and massacred by a party of headhunters from the mainland. They hold, periodically, at Honggo Parliaments, for the discussion of questions affecting the welfare of the people generally. These end up with a good "blow out" or feast. I believe one will take place on our return, and I will be able to witness it.
We had a good two miles pull to the ship, and there wasn't a breath of wind. The boys too, were going dead slow making things worse. I was wishing we had the Captain or the Bishop on board to liven them up - Sua, Sua, Marame, Marame! I have no authority, but it's wonderful what a little spurring will do. I never felt anything so trying as that 2 mile pull. The sun simply burned through you. I felt bad all day after, and believe I would have been knocked over if I had been much longer exposed to it.
The ship shifted her anchorage to near Gavutu, where are expected mails, and could send our mails away. There is a considerable native village called Halavo on the beach to the South East of Gavutu. Near it we lay, as there was a confirmation ceremony to be performed by the Bishop on Sunday, The Bishop and I went ashore here in the afternoon, and I got some photographs There is rather an interesting native fishing apparatus here, an extensive series of bamboo screens or frames for holding nets, but no one seemed to be able to describe their manner of use. Nothing of special interest is to be found here. The oldest native priest in the Mission is resident here - Alfred Lombu - a little man wearing spectacles, full of years, leaning on his bamboo staff We got back to the ship at about 4 o'clock, and then went ashore to Gavutu to do some business. I didn't do much.
Sunday October 7th. There was great Stirr [sic] at Halavo where the confirmation was to take place. Yesterday I noticed big canoe loads of people coming along the coast for the purpose of attending. What struck me as comical was the lot of umbrellas in use among the passengers. It looked strange to see those emblems of modern civilization used by a hardly civilized people in their ancient sea boats. It was a hot morning and I grudged going ashore to be sandwiched with a crowd in a small native church. However I went, as I wanted to see the native ceremony, and I was glad afterwards that I did go.
We all went ashore at 9.30, and the service commenced at about 10.30. The candidates were marshalled first and seated, and then the bell sounded for the congregation and they all rolled in, and soon the church was full. The seating is arranged to run along the church, not across, like most of our churches have it. The church was, of course, built entirely of bamboo, screen work, with [29/30] thatched roof and smelt so orientally sweet even with the crowd of black skins added. Alfred Lombu was master of ceremonies and right well did he perform his duties. We, the Captain, Mr Drew and self, occupied seats of honour on the platform of the sanctuary and the whole ceremony was well seen. The usual service was engaged in first, I presume - it was all In Gela which I did not understand, then there was the confirmation by His Lordship, and the long lines of candidates filing up and kneeling in twos before Bishop Wilson was a sight never to be forgotten. There were eighty in all, and no one seemed to be under 25 years. The old men and women attracted me most. So pathetic to see those faces marked to deeply with years and character, and with a peacefulness and gentleness so obviously spread over all made the scene most affecting. What a life story many of those old heads could tell! The ladies were done up in their Sunday best, and some of them looked very smart, in their own situation. One old lady I noticed had a calico jacket, with the brand of the particular make printed in large blue letters on her back. Certainly fit didn't add to the tone of her toilette, but I thought it was a fine ad. for the maker of the calico. The Bishop delivered an address in Mota afterwards, and Alfred interpreted it to the congregation in Gela. He did it well too, one could see, by the impressive way he would emphasize and gesticulate. We didn't find it so hot after all, only a little bit at first.
We got back to the ship for lunch and spent a quiet day. In the evening some of the Gavutu people from Levers' came aboard and chatted till 10 o'clock. The service in the evening was conducted by Dr Welchman.
Monday October 8th We were timed to leave for Savo and Guadalcanar at 9 in the morning The Bishop had a note from Mr Woodford last night that he would come aboard early in the morning on a visit. He had been away among the islands and was not at his residence Tulagi when we got into Gavutu else we should have gone there to report and pay our respects. Mr Woodford is the British Government Resident for the Solomon Group. His whale boat was sighted about 8 o'clock and soon came up, the blue ensign with a white circle and [left blank] printed in it flying at the stern. He had a fine crew of Gela men, picked I suppose, and most artistically dressed. They had red band turbans on their heads, dark blue malos with broad yellow belts and big bright buckles, their arms decorated with white armlets and their ears with big shell rings It was as fine a sight as one could wish to see, and the boat was as just as well equipped and as clean The visit terminated about 930 and we got up the anchor and steamed towards Bouana where we landed Mr Stewart who will be picked up again on the return trip, then off to Savo.
Savo is 28 miles from Gavutu, and lies off the North end of Guadalcanar, distant about 15 miles. It is cone like in shape, and heavily verdured. It is a small island (rather dangerous volcanically), Mr Howard who is the missionary there telling me he has walked round the whole island in a day. [30/31] The crater on the top is large, and was in eruption about 40 years ago There is a boiling mud spring on [sic] in active operation, but no signs of activity is [sic] shown in the crater, although the natives are very suspicious, and make periodical visits of inspection to it. There is a trader living on the island, and we landed at his station Pago Pago and walked to the Mission a few hundred yards further along the coast. It is a small place. There is an old sacrificial altar here with its canoe which I got. These are rare I believe. I got groups of the people. We left Mr Howard here, and will pick him up on our return. He goes on to Auckland.
Approaching Guadalcanar it looked grand, its northern bunch of rough, rugged
mountains standing up grandly. It is the most picturesque of all the Solomon group, and also the most likely to be of great future importance. It lies in the direct route to Japan and the East from Australia, and possesses great stretches of level, or moderately so, country which must mean much in the way of cultivation. Some of it is strangely Tasmanian in character, and I could see replicas of my dear old island at every turn. The highest altitudes here are said to be 8000 ft. but I should calculate a much less height probably 3000, Mt Laminas being the highest range, a long level topped mass, flecked with cloud, as most of the tropical eminences generally are, and looking so much more artistic and picturesque. How I wish our beautiful mountains could be so circumstanced. With them there is [sic] seldom cloud rifts, always cloud caps - a photographer or artist generally notices this.
It was rather late before we got to Maravovo, so I could not get photographs. By the time I got ashore it was five o'clock. I had a look round, and returned to the ship well pleased with the prospects for tomorrow. Mr Bollen is the missionary here, and he came on board as soon as the ship came to an anchorage.
Tuesday October 9th At 6 a.m. "Boats Crew" and amidst a pile of stores for Mr Bollen we were rowed ashore. The landing is easy, no wading. The Mission House is a funny little patched, rattle-trap looking house, yet very comfortable and I suppose suitable. Guadalcanar has been a difficult place to "catch on" to, and it was years before good results began to manifest there. Originally the people lived 2 hours walk from the beach on the hill behind, but since the Mission has become established thoroughly they moved down to the beach, and have built a very pretty village fringing the shore. Indeed it is the prettiest place I have seen and I got some very artistic photographs. The houses are quite little pictures, they are so artistic in design. There is a fine church surrounded by cocoanut palms and along the beach a very fine avenue of the same trees has been made. Indeed the whole place betokens the hand of the artist - who I do not know. There was an earth-shock during the night. I did not feel it, but I heard the rumble. That will, I fear, be the danger, in these latitudes - - [31/32] earthquakes and volcanoes. I got a picture of the palm avenue, with two rather pretty girls with baskets on their beads
The ship sailed at 8 o'clock for Bugotu, [Footnote #1: now Santa Isabel] Dr Welchman's place. We reached the Bugotu coast about [left blank] o'clock the distance being about 50 miles. At Sepi the Dr took the boat and went ashore, while we kept on to Mara-na-tabu, Dr Welchman's island home The reason we did not call at Sepi was on account of the death of a leading man's wife, the whole place being in mourning. She took ill and wished to see her father. He is a prominent Mission teacher, Hugo Gororaka and was at the time living at Maravovo, Guadalcanar, a canoe was sent for him. They started at dusk one evening and got to Maravovo next morning at 6 o'clock. They rested there during the day, and started for Sepi that night, arriving there next morning at about 6 o'clock. Not so bad for a Solomon Island canoe and crew! They steer by the stars, and in daylight you can see the land.
Mara-na-tabu is a small island of about 3/4 mile long lying quite close to and on the West side of the main land. It is the property of Dr Welchman, who has been connected with the Mission since 18--, [Footnote: sic but actually 1888] and is a man of might and influence therein. I can testify to his status among the natives, for it needed no careful discernment to see that they knew he was their friend, and a valued one too. And I know also that he was heart and soul their friend, no one could help feeling that, to hear him talk to them, and preach to them and note his manner towards them. What a power for good a medical missionary is. It is good enough, and great enough to be able to heal poor souls, but how much more value it is if you can heal their poor bodies besides. Some of them want healing badly too, poor things. The sores are simply frightful, they often turn one almost sick to see them.
The northern extremity of the island is "knobby and bushy" but the South flattens out, and it is here that the little establishment is built - the Doctor's house, a big church, for teachers, school houses and a scattering of people's houses. The doctor has a nice little schooner anchored off the settlement. She is called "The Ruth" and was I understand presented to him by friends. [Footnote#3: she is a great help in visiting this large district] Ysabel [Footnote#2: Now Santa Isabel] is about 100 miles long by [left blank] across at the broadest part, and is one mass of rugged hills and mountains, the highest of which is 4000 ft. The doctor returned from Sepi late that night in his boat
Wednesday October 10th. We sailed at 6 a.m. for the eastern coast of Bugotu or Isabel, calling at two places, Regi, some [left blank] miles from Mara-na-tabu, and Buala [left blank] miles distant, where we were to lie for the night. Close by Regi is a rather extensive bay, called Hanali Harbour, with rather a bold rocky promontory forming its western head, called Tanabuli, the eastern side running away in low hills with cocoanut fringed shores, on which was the hamlet of Regi. In the harbour the old Southern Cross nearly came to grief, touching a reef, and remaining fast for a few hours till the high tide, with the aid of mechanical [32/33] means, moved her into deep water again, and also removed a load from the burdened heart of her skipper There is a good pull ashore and a wade which I did not do, preferring the undignified method of being carried ashore. There is a rather a fine mangrove swamp here - the haunt of the crocodile - which I photographed, an evil looking, and evil smelling place, a maze of roots, a mass of muck, and a hot-bed for fever. I didn't see any saurians, although I am told they are difficult to distinguish from the prevailing logs lying in the mud. For all I know, I may have stood on a few of them while engaged in my work, in which case, it may account for the general insecurity and rottenness of foot support which I found in the swamp. The weather was very squally all day and made photography almost impossible, at any rate most disagreeable, and vexatious. A few native house photos and then back to the ship, much to the relief of the skipper who grumbled at being kept two hours. There is no anchorage here.
We reached Buala at about 2 o'clock, and after lunch went ashore. It is a nice collection of houses under a high range of hills. There is a very fine church, and here it is that Hugo Hebala resides and works. There is a big island lying close to the land to the eastward called Fera. It is also the property of Dr Welchman, being about 3 miles long and 1/2 broad. The skipper and party went ashore there shooting ducks, but were not very successful. There were a good many visitors from the shore to the ship, and we lay here all night.
Thursday October 11th Off at 6 for Vella Lavella in the New Georgia Group, some 200 odd miles North West, taking a day and nights slow steaming. The weather was rather "off colour", and the ship knocked about a lot. On the N. end of St. George island which lies off the West coast of Bugotu, is an interesting series of barren patches of land on the high hillsides. These, according to the belief of the Opobee people are the "gardens of the ghosts". They supply the spiritual food for their departed, spiritual bananas, cocoanuts, betel and its associates, yams etc. etc. No one dares to visit these "gardens of the gods", which to the eye appear refreshing stretches of cultivation, and suggest the industrious zeal of a hard working people, but are in realty naturally barren, a strange feature amidst the dense ocean of green all around. There was a good deal of heavy lightning during the evening.
Friday October 12th There was very heavy rain during the night, washing me out of my hammock about 1 o'clock. Below however it was fairly cool and I didn't mind much. At daylight we were running along the Vella Lavella coast which looked very depressing draped as it was with wisp like clouds, and shrouded in rain showers. By 8 o'clock we were approaching our anchorage at Paraso Bay, going dead slow, the Captain being afraid of the "poisonous" reefs all around, which were, as is pretty general, rather vaguely charted, or not charted at all. He had been here once before only.
 We arrived safely and lay off a great sea of cocoanut trees surrounded by high wooded hills, and smelling highly of sulphur. There are sulphur springs here, some boiling, and it is they which give the sulphurous aroma to the atmosphere. I don't dislike it, but it has rather a strange effect on things [in] general. The silver turns black, and the white paint of the rails and woodwork which may be damp, goes black also. It can be scrubbed off I am told with soap and water. There is a resident missionary here, under Dr Welchman - Mr Andrews - and he was soon on board after the whistle sounded our arrival. His house is situated on the end of the West spur of the bay, about 160 feet above sea level, and enjoys a fine view all round. It poured during the rest of the morning, but cleared up, although dull, and we had big crowds of natives on board. I did a good business photographing types till 3 o'clock, when the Bishop and I went ashore and visited Mr Andrews' place, where I got more photographs of scenery and women. This is really a heathen place and it affords a good opportunity for getting photographs of the people. They do not wear nose ornaments generally, but I noticed a few with small reeds through their nose. They have rather large ear ornaments, circular reeds and solid pieces of bamboo which stretches [sic] out the lobe of the ear very much. One little boy had a bamboo ring in his ear which was at least 3 1/2 inches in circumference. They smear their heads with lime, and put white lime lines on their faces - - these lines do not seem to be of any special design but applied according to the special whim or idea of the person. They are a quiet inoffensive people, and I saw no weapons among them. I am told they do not use bows and arrows, but spears, rifles and tomahawks.
Saturday, October 13th We got off this morning for a place, some 18 miles along the coast of Vella Lavella called Maravari. There is [sic] one or two houses near the shore, by a small creek called a river. We had to pick up a boy or something here, and we took a few of the natives back to Paraso Bay with us for a trip, just to impress them favourably. I took one or two photographs.
What has struck me about these islands, but which arrested my attention more particularly here at Maravaril, is the type of dog obtaining. They are really shameful - dogs of a "base and worthless kind" as old Macquarie would have called them. I never saw anything like them. At Maravari particularly, although generally throughout al the islands, they are starved, emaciated and hungry looking, listless, spiritless and broken. They seem to be the pariahs of these islands. At Maravari they were really skin and bone, living skeletons, one poor thing I saw wondered how it was able to keep alive, you could almost see daylight through it. You kick them and they go away in a resigned humble kind of way without evincing any desire to retaliate, and their poor bodies sound like a native drum when they are kicked - they are so empty. They are thieves and our Bishop relates with a kind of grim satisfaction, even at this distant date, how he brought his stick down [34/35] hard on the back of one of these creatures who was appropriating his lard on night. He never came back again so I suppose he was taught that it was wrong to steal. In my inmost heart I grudged the poor thing not having the lard.
We got back to Paraso Bay by 12 o'clock and I did a little more photography with the natives. Here they are black as the very ace of spades. It's amusing to see them. In the afternoon a boat load of us went round to a bay called Tedau (pronounced Tndou) where there are 3 or 4 islet shrines round its shores. The one at Tedau is the best. It is built on an artificial island formed of walls of coral measuring roughly 24 x 21 feet square and about 6 feet high, 40 or fifty feet from the shore. The shrine itself rests on a base formed of brick and cut coral (where the bricks came from I don't know) with rounded ends, about, I should think (but I did not measure it) 12 ft. x 3 ft., and about 18 inches high. The shrine consists of a narrow, coffin like box of wood (the lid or roof projecting at both ends, but more so at the North West end). The whole is ornamental in design, with paintings on each side of birds with landscape surroundings, and it has a door at the North West end (the box lies South East and North West) with carved openings of an Arabic kind through which could be roughly seen skulls covered with a kind of laced money - shell rings of about 1 inch in diameter. The box was supported by a pair of legs at each end, and the whole was painted in a kind of ebony, the pictures being in black and white. The whole had an appearance of neglect and disuse, although from the bottom of the box under the door, at each side swung a bunch of leaves, withered, but showing that the shrine had not altogether been forgotten. A gamal was built on the shore close to this shrine, and the natives sat and watched us closely as we inspected it. They offered no objection to our visiting it, but stated that we must not interfere with, or touch it. A rather unfortunate occurrence happened while I was engaged in photographing this interesting object. I was endeavouring to get a near view of the box, and the island being very small, I had to get as close to the sea wall as I could, to allow of securing as much as possible of the subject. While busily focusing, to my alarm I found myself, apparatus and all, being slowly but surely conveyed into the sea below. The wall was giving way under thirteen stone 2 pounds, and it was only by a natural agility that I placed myself out of danger, the wall subsiding half way to the water edge. The skipper, who was anxious to have a close inspection of the shrine, then came on the island, and whether from a natural disposition to do mischief, or a laudable desire to aid the Mission in stamping out all evidences of heathenism, I don't know, completed the destruction of the wall by pushing it into the sea. We departed, hurriedly, rather, to another shrine of lesser merit, on the Western shore of the bay. It is close to the shore, near a canoe house, is on a smaller island than the Tedau one, and consists of a narrow palm leaf, hut like structure really all roof with a door facing East. The height of the little hut being, I should think, 4 or 5 feet high. It seemed to occupy the whole of the space of the little island. This shrine is at a place called Tudüo [35/36] (pronounced Teunduo). Back to the ship, and after service a gramaphone evening to the great amusement of the natives who had remained on board.
Sunday October 14th Quiet day on board. There were crowds of natives standing, sitting, and lying about smoking and chattering. Our people were bathing and some of the natives gave diving exhibitions from the mast. They jumped into the water from a height of, I should reckon, 40 feet. They go in feet first, drawing up the legs until near the water, when they suddenly straighten them out, and go in very cleanly. Service in the morning by Dr Welchman, in the evening by Mr Durrard. The Bishop and Doctor held a service on shore after lunch and had a good congregation of native people. It was thundering a good deal during the afternoon and the whole day was excessively close and muggy. About 4 p.m. the rain set in and it, as usual, poured, and made everything miserable, and everybody too, I think. I felt very homesick today. Would have given anything to have been at home in the bosom of my family. I was chatting to Mr Andrews about the island. He reckons it to be about 30 miles long, from 6 to 8 miles in breadth, all mountainous. The Methodist Church of Victoria have started a Mission here, their headquarters being at Rubiana. There seems to be come infringement of rights in this case, of which I do not know sufficient to express an opinion. Speaking broadly, I think there is plenty room for all.
Monday, October 15th Left Paraso Bay at 6 a.m. for Choiseul (pronounced Seuazell) some 80 miles to the North. The whole of the hands are busy washing down the paint. It is really awful to see it, dirty and blackened by the sulphur of Vella Lavella. Inside the cabin too, it is just as bad. I am rather anxious as to the effect the atmosphere will have on my plates. I hope they will come through the ordeal successfully.
Choiseul is the last place in the far north we touch at. It lies within 7 degrees of the equator. Some 30 miles West is the German island of Bougainville, hilly and mountainous just like the rest, the strait between the two being called Bougainville Strait. This is the direct route to Japan. Choiseul is a big island about 80 miles long. It is rather low lying particularly towards the shores which consist, as far as I could make out, of mangrove swamps. We were bound for the Western end, bringing up near a river called the Pachu (Parts__ ) [Note: the last two letters of "Partsoo" have short-"o" diacritical marks, are underlined and have "short" written above them.] River. There is very little to be seen, and hardly anything to be photographed.
We arrived about 3.30, and Mr Durrard and I went in the boat up the river. I got typical mangrove swamp photos and river views. There is rather a pretty series of cascades some little distance up the river, and beyond them is a small village, but we had no time to visit it. The Wesleyan Church has occupied this island for missionary work, have opened a station at the eastern end of the island, and seem to be doing more at the western portion which has a much larger population. They [36/37] have several Fiji teachers on a small island which they have acquired - fine, intelligent, big fellows. The Bishop and Doctor went to the island to look after one of their teachers who was ill, and they brought the Fijians to the ship for a visit. I was sorry I was away, and did not see them, but everyone sang their praises, and wished their Melanesian material was as good. It is not. They went back to their station Just before service, and as the boat was leaving the ship, started singing "Toiling on, Toiling on" so beautifully. The effect was splendid, in every sense, although the singing was just a little high. We leave at 6 o'clock tomorrow morning for Mara-na-tabu - Bugoto. [sic]
Tuesday October 16th We weighed anchor at 6 a.m. and proceeded on our voyage to Bugotu. Rain seemed to be hanging round the land on all sides and the cloud effects were simply "wonderfully grand". One could spend plate after plate on this class of subject in the tropics, and always get different results. The Choiseul coast right through is rather uninteresting, although at the eastern end the character assumes more of a rugged "clean cut" mountainous type, and looked very picturesque with its cloud effects conjoined. It was a quiet day throughout and I occupied it by letter writing.
Wednesday October 17th Were running along the Ysabel coast when I got on deck at 6. Everything misty. Arrived at Mara-na-tabu at about 12 - went ashore with Dr Welchman and got some photographs. Back to ship at 2 as there was to be a church dedication ceremony at Peribandi [corrected in ink to Piribadi] Bay at a little village there, called M[indoru]. Peribandi Bay is very pretty, backed up at its head by high sharp hills, in fact it lies surrounded by hills. There [are] only a very few houses at Mindoru and at the back is a nasty swamp. I didn't care much for the place. The church is a fine one, and was dedicated to St Luke. There was marching round, and the usual services, and while they were in progress I was 'mopping up' all the views about. Back to the ship, and from there to Marana-na-tabu for stray photographic crumbs. Got some, and went back to dinner with the ladies who had been on the settlement all the afternoon,
Thursday October 18th Ship to sail at 10 a.m. for Maravovo, Guadalcanar. I was away at 6.30 for Dr Welshman's with the Bishop and ladies. There was an ordination service - Hugo Hembala ordained deacon. The service commenced at 7 a.m. and lasted two hours.
I went up the steep hill opposite the settlement, on the mainland, and got some good general views all round. It's a bit of a tussle to get up, and the last bit is a "cough drop". I was amused at our two black guides. One had an axe, which I had borrowed, and the other had a big long knife. The one with [37/38] the knife 'lead', and slashed out all the small stuff - bamboo mostly, and creeping 'muck'. I kept the axe in reserve for the top - stray spars etc. blocking the view. I was laughing to myself as my 'leader' was handling his knife, and wondering what Dick Geeves would think if I started the same racket with him in say some of his Arthur Country trips. I reckon he would develop peritonitus [sic] or something else laughing. We got to the top. I was carrying my camera in one hand, and the other was fully occupied in hauling myself up by trees, wiping my sweating face, and carrying my helmet. How the perspiration does roll off me in this country! An handkerchief is wringing wet in no time! I had a few small spars to clear away at the top, and I set my 'young nibs' with the axe to do it. One tree was enough - he took ten minutes to chip at it before it came down. I took the axe from him and had the other four flying in less than 6 minutes. These fellows are simply awful - I'm afraid I would commence ill-using them if I had much to do with them! Usual luck, should have been on the hill half an hour sooner. The sun got clouded up. However secured fine general views of an interesting area. One Thousand Ships Bay was where the Spaniards first visited the Solomons. It took us half an hour to climb the hill, and 10 minutes to go down - I preferred going down!
Over to Marana-na-tabu and picked up a few types of the people, then photographed Hugho [sic] Hembala in his new robes, and back to the ship, which sailed at 10.30. We reached Maravovo at about 4 o'clock and I went ashore, but did little as all the people went to church just as I was about to start business, so I shut up, and gathered some 'limes' for private drinks on board. They are very refreshing. Went back to ship after service. Skipper was ashore too, and was grumbling dreadfully for being such a fool to come. Very close during the evening - and lots of lightning.
Friday October 19 Left Maravovo at 6 a.m. for Wanderers Bay on the South West coast of Guadalcanar [left blank] miles from Maravovo. The coast all the way is very dangerous full of uncharted reefs and shoals, the country maintaining a rugged mountainous character right down to Wanderers Bay. It seems marvellous to me how these tropical mountains seem always to attract the clouds. We had not gone very far on our journey when we ran into rain, and all the time we were at the Bay and some distance back, we had rain very heavily. Mr Bolland says it is the general thing in this part of the country - very like our West coast in that respect. Wanderers Bay is small, and is surrounded by high hills, with mountains in the distant background. On the Eastern extremity there is a high promontory, the Western having lower ranges, foothills of the higher mountain ranges behind to the North West. The water was much discoloured by muddy water from a river which empties into it, and there was a lot of small debris - sticks etc. floating about. Those tropical rivers and rains must tear up and denude the country of soil very much. Indeed if much cultivation was done, and clearing general, I don't see how the soil could be kept intact. In a very short period all the soil would be [38/39] washed away.
We left Mr Bolland and his boat at the Bay, and farewelled him in the usual way - three whistles. Navigation in these waters is hazardous at any tine, but when fog or rain sets in it is particularly so. I had an opportunity during this little trip of noting these difficulties - intensified as they were by the extremely dangerous nature of the coast which it full of reefs and shoals, mostly uncharted. During sunny, breeze weather, these reefs and shoals are generally traceable through the colour of the water covering them, and a carefull [sic] observant navigator can generally note and steer clear of the obstruction, although even these indications are not always to be found when they should be expected. Dull weather makes matters more difficult, colour indication being absent, but when rain, or fog, prevail one can readily understand the position of the commander when even his coastal indications are blotted out and "not available". A man must have a little experience before he can take the responsibility of a ship on his shoulders, in the navigation of the waters of the Solomons and adjacent seas. The Admiralty have done much to make navigation in these seas safe, but so much has been left undone, that experience is the only reliable chart a frequenter of these seas has to rely upon, and how dearly that has to be bought oftentimes. We reached Maravovo again safely about 3 o'clock p.m. and remained there for the night.
Saturday October 20th Left at 5.30 a.m. for Savo and Gavutu. Picked up Mr Howard, and a batch of black passengers to be landed at Hoügo, for the coming. Parliament to be held on Tuesday, I believe. Lay off Mr Stewart's island Bunana. Went ashore and got some photographs. Day fearfully hot and oppressive - no wind in the evening. Very heavy chain lightning with distant thunder during the evening and all night. No rain. Bishop went for lunch to the Buffets at Port Purvis taking the ladies with him. I was sorry afterwards I did not go, as Bunana was disappointing.
During our ships stay near land we have almost invariably, pretty little visitors from the shore in the shape of black butterflies - good sized fellowes - which flutter about having a good look round at everything before they go home again. They are pretty creatures, and it is a pleasant strange sight to see them dodging round the ship - always singly - I never saw two together - and invariably black colour. I have not seen a gaily coloured butterfly yet around the islands, only the black species.
Sunday - October 21st Morning nice and fresh - cool breeze blowing much needed after the bad night we had. The Bishop and Mr Stewart stayed stayed [sic] at the Mission House at Hongo last night to be in readiness for the ordination service in the morning commencing at 7 a.m. The ceremony is in connection with the ordination [39/40] of John Pengone as native deacon. I would have liked to have attended, but the boat had to leave the ship at 6 a.m. and I had such a bad night I felt a bit "off colour" so stayed on board and did some writing.
Monday October 22nd At 6.30 a.m. Bishop, Mr Stewart, Mr Durrard, Mr Drew and self went off to Honggo. There was a big tide against us. It runs fearfully strong between Bungana and the mainland - so we landed on the East side of Baranago Harbor. There is a delightful track running round by the waterside to Honggo - about a mile in length - they walked round, and the boys carried their things. I took a couple of the boats crew with me and climbed up on the hills above to get some panoramic views of the country. The hills are cleared a good deal on the top so that it is easy to look round without any obstruction. It was a tussle to reach the clearing. The scrub was fairly easy to negotiate, but after leaving it there was a hundred yards or so of tall thick dry grass to push through, and that was very trying, especially when carrying an instrument. The hill was very steep, they generally are in these parts, no half measures about them - sheer up, or nothing. It made me sweat, but when I got to the top it was ample repayment for any exertion. All the Gavutu country lay panorama like at your feet. The island of Bungana to the westward with the Guadalcanar mountains, always so beautiful, towering up to the left. While Savo showed up finely right over the island, then the lowlying hilly Florida country North Eastward with Tulagi, Gavutu and round to the estuary of the Utuha Passage spread out in a long chain, broken in the immediate foreground very beautifully, by Baranago Harbour, a nicely broken sheet of water surrounded by high and pretty ridgy hills. To the East runs the Hongan coast - cocoanut lined, patchy with cultivation; the islands of Hagima, Mendiolana, and the most distant Nugu showing up finely off the coast, while to the West and South West the long 100 miles of mountainous Guadalcanar coast fills up the line of vision and completes a wonderful picture which nothing but actual sight can adequately describe, and which it would be difficult to ever erase from the memory.
We dipped down into the village of Honggo, through little gardens and along winding tracks, and on arrival found it full of bustle and excitement. Strings of women, picturesque in their pretty grass skirts, were streaming in - in single file as all natives walk - along the pretty tracks, carrying their loaded baskets on their heads, and one could see lying in front of the various houses loads of what appeared produce - which it was - done up in mats, strings of cocoanuts etc. etc. Men were bustling about too for a wonder; of course the majority were not - and the air seemed full of something out of the ordinary everyday importance. The cause of it all was easily found - today was to be held the Annual Church Parliament, with a Parliamentary dinner afterwards - which was a most important item. The whole of Florida would be represented, the Government Resident, the Bishop, [40/41] the leading clergy, and all the chiefs would speak and confer together and discuss things generally, after which the Ki Ki!
The church conferences are an institution here, their object being, as I have partly indicated, the discussion of affairs concerning the social, moral and religious wellfare [sic] of the islands as a whole, then the feed that is equally as important, and in my opinion far more so. A long thatched sun shade had been erected under which all, or as many as it would hold would be congregated, the surplus could see and hear as well outside. This erection had on the one side the big church, and on the other the big sea, the murmur of its waves breaking on the reef adding a pleasant music to the proceedings. The Governor arrived in full uniform - white duck, fine helmet with enamelled coat of arms, and dress sword - very imposing. Our party were all discussing breakfast, alfresco style, in one of the village huts. None of us had coats on - it was too hot, so we made the best of the situation and Mr Woodford has far too much common sense to do anything other than a gentleman would do under the circumstances - took no notice of it, but fell to work and chatted pleasantly all round. I had my work cut out, and when the proceedings came into full swing I got several good pictures of the affair, with types of the peoples - as many as I could get. It was a very interesting day indeed. The Bishop introduced me to the Resident who appeared very anxious to know all about my work. We got back to the ship about 4.20 p.m. very tired.
Tuesday October 23rd Away at 6 a.m. round the South East coast of Florida. First station of call was Longapolo Gaeta about [left blank] miles from Bungana. En route we pass close to the island of Mandoliana, the scene of the massacre of Lieut. Bowen and the boats crew of H.M.S. Sandfly. The deed was done by Honggo men, and the men of Gaeta who were at war with the Honggo people hunted down the murderers who were all hanged with the exception of one man - the chief's son - who turned Queen's evidence. One of the boats crew only escaped - a man named Savage, and it is strange that yesterday I took a photograph of the man who saved Savage's life - Peter by name, and also the photo of the man who wanted to kill Savage. The murders were committed in a revenge for some injury done to the Honggo people.
All round this part of the coast is very dangerous - full of reefs. Consequently the Captain was rather nervous about things. Landing for Longopolo takes place at the Black Rock some mile and a half from the village - the coast opposite the village being unapproachable owing to the great reefs spreading out so far. There is a track through bush and along sandy benches and coral reef - very nice and refreshing, and soon negotiable. Mr Stewart reckoned the distance at 3 miles fully, but he is no walker, and it is pleasant to find 3 miles turn out to be about 1 1/4 Tasmanian ones! The usual thing in village scenery and equipment at Longopolo - a big church and a sprinkling of houses. There was a confirmation [41/42] service held, which mopped up nearly all the inhabitants of the town so I had it pretty well all to myself. There was not much to do, so I got the work done, and played with a pretty little black baby who was laughing and crowing at me, crawling about in the sand, and wanting me to nurse him. I took snapshots of him and nursed him afterwards. I could not keep noticing the sea birds here catching fish in the lagoon inside the reef. I don't know what name they have but to see the way they would dart like a flash of lightning straight into the water with a splash, diving after the fish and bringing them up glittering in their beaks, was a sight to see. It was an admirable exhibition of bird fishing.
About 2 hours or more wait then back to the ship. She lay about a mile off the shore, standing off and on - there being no anchorage. Along the coast the country is broken off into small detached islets, and there is a curious pair of rocks, of small size, at the end of a longish reef, called the Asses Ears which form the extreme Southeastern point of the Florida coast. It is all very pretty and picturesque about here, the land being broken up very curiously, with big open stretches giving it a settled appearance. All along villages are to be noticed by the sea shore, but our next call was at Kombe 15 miles from Longopollo. We got there about 1 o'clock, and stayed ashore till nearly four. I did a good deal of photo work here - groups, types, houses etc.
We got up to Siota our last call for the day at about 5 o'clock and made a hurried run ashore. There was nothing of Mission business to do. It is a very pretty situation, used to be an important Mission establishment forming a training centre, but had to be abandoned owing to sickness being prevalent. Many of the buildings have been removed, and the remaining along with the property have been leased to Mess. Lever Bros for trading purposes. This part is the Northern entrance to the Uthua Passage and had I been able to spend an hour longer would have got some good photographs. As it was in half an hour I got a few very picturesque views and got on board rather tired soon after six o'clock. Plenty of lightning again and a big ring round the moon - rain! At about 11 o'clock rain set in and lasted all through the night, making me feel very uncomfortable in my hot cabin.
Wednesday October 24th At 5.30 a.m. the anchor was weighed and we stood away for Nore Fou, Malaita to pick up Mr Hopkins and do any visitation work necessary. The day broke up fine - sunny with strong cool trade blowing. Florida looks very well looking back upon it, this point showing its character and position excellently - the position of the Sandfly Passage - the islands to the westward, and the mountains of Guadalcanar standing up over all, with Savo on the right. There was nothing eventful on the run down. We got to Nore Fou about 2.15, and the Bishop decided that I should fill in the short time available, by visiting one of the interesting artificial islands, about 6 miles from the ship. Mr Drew and Mr Durrard came along in the boat, and the wind being in our favour we [42/43] sailed down in about an hour. It is very shallow all along the reef, and requires knowledge of the place to navigate the passages successfully. Fortunately we had a returning teacher (Jack - ) with us who knew the ropes, and who was also a cousin or nephew of the chief who ruled at Adegege, the Island we were bound for, which was a further gain as it gave us entry to the whole place. Jack [left blank] is one of the Mission's teachers, a returned Queensland boy, whose school is situate near Adegege, and who has influenced the chief to allow his son to go to Norfolk Island to be educated. I took a photo of this boy, and was struck with his smart intelligent appearance.
From the ships anchorage opposite the Mission station, down the lagoon to Adegege there must be 8 or 9 of these islands of various sizes, and these we snapshotted on the way back as long as the daylight would allow us. Ws landed at our destination, under the direction of our guide, at the mens landing place and had a crowd awaiting us, a decidedly, motly [sic] crowd it was too. One old gentleman of advanced years being particularly noticeable by his patriarchal appearance and the entire absence of anything but ear and nose adornments. This island is about a 1/4 acre in size, and has a population of 150 more or less. It is just crammed full of houses and people, reeking with smoke, pigs, dogs and filth. The alleys, were, as can be imagined, narrow, and few. Canoes seemed to be stuck all over the place. You found them sticking out nearly everywhere you went, and at the mens landing place there were some very large ones. The chief was away from home, but his brother received us graciously, and I took a photo of him. Jack proved invaluable - he disarmed all suspicion about the camera, and in consequence every body yearned to be photographed. Then he directed operations and helped the work wonderfully. Our time was all too short, we had only 3/4 of an hour, but I got several groups, and figures, with some difficulty owing to the smoke, and bits about the place with the people swarming all over it. There are several very tame parrokeets on the island and one of them followed me about evincing the utmost curiosity at what I was doing. It was a very beautiful bird, would sit on my shoulder, then on my camera, then cling to the legs and be carried about as I went from place to place. It was so unusual and so pretty. I wanted to buy it but Jack said it belonged to a man's wife who would not part with it. Probably it would not live in a cold climate like Tasmania.
We left at 5 o'clock amidst hearty goodbyes, and we showered a few sticks of tobacco about the crowd who stood on the landing, to their satisfaction, no doubt. We landed Jack on the main land at his school, all his people coning out to meet him. He seems a superior fellow, and most agreeable. It was 20 past 5 before we started for home, and when we arrived at the ship it was 6.45. It was a delightfully cool journey back in the evening air, but pulling against a head wind is always a hard task.
 Thursday October 25th Mr Hopkins came on board yesterday with all his requisite effects. He goes on a visit to Australia, and has to be landed at Fea, where he will run across in his whaleboat to Gavutu, via Siota and the Utuba Passage, and be in time to catch the Sydney steamer there. I sent my last letters by him. Our programme today was down the coast to Uru some [left blank] miles distant to [left blank] of Nore Fou, visit the school there, land a passenger, and take pupils for Norfolk Island.
The only passenger for Uru we had on board was rather an important one, and deserves mention. He was an old man of over 60 years, rugged old head, but withal a kindly face. His name was Issac [sic] Ia__a. Isaac was kidnapped by a recruiting vessel, along with his brother and others of his countrymen. They resented this naturally, and waited for a favourable opportunity to make their escape. When the opportunity arrived they turned on the whites and murdered them all, eating most of them afterwards. They were quite unable to manage the vessle [sic] and so they drifted away, were ultimately sighted and picked up by a man of war, who placed them under surveillance. During their imprisonment on board the warship they nearly died of starvation not comprehending that the biscuits and rice served to them constituted food. They were landed in Fiji where they were tried for the murder, convicted, and sentenced to imprisonment for life. After serving 21 years in prison he was allowed his liberty. During their residence in Fiji he and his brother became Christians, were baptised and married Fijian women. Then they returned to their native village of Uru, and for some cause the people there killed Isaac's brother and the two Fiji wives. Isaac then left Uru, and commenced his work for the Melanesian Mission by building schools at different places and getting teachers for them. He was always desirous of getting one established in his native place, Uru, and at last started, with his canoe, very heavily laden, from a place some considerable distance away. About half way the canoe upset but he saved the cargo and got all ashore, when the bush people swooped down upon him, took all his effects from him, leaving him his canoe only. Thankful that he had escaped with his life, he made his way to Mr Hopkins at Nore Fou where he started for Uru again in his canoe, more moderately laden, and succeeded in his object, and today Uru has a growing school, which gives every encouragement and hope for the future. I took a photo of Isaac on board the Cross.
Uru is another of these artificial islands, lying picturesquely in a pretty bay, with indications of settlement plainly discernable on the mainland all round. Strange to say Uru is an island divided against itself, and has in its centre a battle ground marked out in which the contestants settle their differences. Why this should be I don't know. We didn't land on the island but went across the bay to the [left blank] shore where the school is. There were many men and women, looking wild enough and during the short time I had I got several photos of them. [44/45] After completing arrangements at Uru we returned by the same route, past Nore Fou on to South West coast, calling first at Tarea, anchoring in the bay in the evening, close to 7. There was some difficulty in getting into safe anchorage but that was soon settled, and the night was spent quietly and safely.
Friday October 26th Went ashore early to Tarea. It is a small, very small place, but it is a strange place. Most of it seems to consist of a fort, built out upon the high rocks forming the coast line here. Landward this fort consists of a high coral wall with a narrow entrance, with a kind of natural moat round it across which a big log forms a roadway to this door. Seaward all that can be seen of the fort is a series of funny little balconies, italian [sic] like in appearance into which the people crowd and enjoy the sea air, and from which many of them watched our shore coming. A hugh [sic] tree, branched out from the end of this fortress, and high among the branches stood the chief, a picturesque figure, watching our approach, perhaps welcoming us by his presence, for no other outward manifestation did he give. We landed under a house built on piles among the rocks, and became at once conscious of smells. It is a smelly place. We scrambled up the bank from under the house and found ourselves in the little village consisting of the fort, and about a dozen houses and a church. The church is surrounded by high stakes, and looks funny. The principal place is the fort, of course. Inside there is plenty of room for all the inhabitants of the village when danger threatens, and it does often threaten, for this is a particularly bad part of the coast, and the bush people are very wild and warlike. The chief is a friend of the Mission end the whole place seems Christian. Services were held in the church, and most of the people attended, and afterwards I got a photo of their school among which figured the chief and a noted warrior now a man of peace. I got altogether a most interesting series from this little place.
Back to the ship, breakfast, and then ashore again, this time at Foate some 5 miles further. There are two villages here, the Christian one on the low ground by the beach, and the heathen one high up on the bank above the beach. The people here are bush people, and as wild as you would care to meet, armed to the teeth with spears sniders and revolvers. I went up the hill to their village and found it surrounded by a wall, which can be scaled by a ladder. Inside there are a few houses, but most of them are outside the wall, the wall being used, I presume, only in time of attack from outside. The village is dirty, and the scorching sun beating upon the filthy ground made it most unpleasant and I was glad to finish my work there. The Christian village looks very pretty from the hill, and I got a fine picture of it
Below on the beach the people had gathered in force and I got some good [45/46] photographs. One old gentleman, a village elder I was told, wore hugh [sic] tortoise earrings, and carried a big spear. I enquired innocently of him what the spear was for, and you should have seen him smile as he rose from his seat and threw himself into an attacking pose with the weapon in his raised arm. I intimated my comprehension of the exhibition, by smiting myself on the left breast and staggering backward, which created roars of approving laughter all round. The women here were not so shy as they usually are, and I made some pictures of them. The whole atmosphere smells of war.
On board again and away to Feu further South East - some 4 miles. Feu lies in a large belt of flat country, in a pretty bay with a rather large river emptying into it. The people all seem Christian but they are well guarded, sentries with rifles being continually on patrol giving the place an appearance of insecurity. The church is very pretty situated at the end of a fine cocoanut avenue, and has fine native decorations painted over it, both inside and outside. I had good opportunities of getting types of the peoples here, so I made the best use of them and used up all my plates. Mr Hopkins was left here, and we got up anchor at 5 o'clock and were off to Pulalaha,
Saturday October 27th We had been steaming slowly all night, and about 5.30 were off Pulalaha, and soon after 6 were on shore, on the banks of the river of that name. There are peculiar native fishing contrivances here. They consist of two high bamboo structures, placed on each side of the river - two long bamboo poles placed about 6 feet apart and secured, and stayed firmly from either shore. High up on these structures were platforms from which the people could stand and work the nets, the plan being to have the net sunk in the river below, watch when fish appeared over it and haul it up and secure them. There were also curious fanciful erections noticeable on the coast and by the settlement, consisting of long bamboo poles with a small cross piece near the head, ornamented with pretty balls, and trailing fibre adornments. These were native notice boards in substance "Trespassers will be prosecuted" - warning people not to touch the cocoanuts in that quarter. I got photographs of these. The people were inclined to look wild, but they were eager enough to have the photographs taken, and I made some good pictures. The river is small and unlovely.
We wasted no tine, but were on board again by 7.30, and on our way to Port Adam. We took some people off to attend Luke Masuraa's ordination at Saa tomorrow, then we continued on to Roas Bay to get more people. There I got some good type photos of people, and took Luke Masuraa's photograph in his deacon's robes. From there we went to Saa and anchored in a little bay North of the usual landing place. During the afternoon the Bishop pulled up to the landing and put in the night at Saa to save time while the Captain and Second Officer went ashore [46/47] and had a good bathe in a deep creek near the ship. I went too but there were no photographs worth getting.
During the afternoon I began to get unwell - felt very 'groggy' about the legs, with bad head, and feverishness which increased as the evening wore on. The Skipper started a few games after dinner, charades, General Post and such like which he insisted me to join. I felt more like going to bed than playing the fool, but joined in to please. There was one part in which one of the clergymen had to arch himself on the deck and I had to crawl through, and just as I was going under on my hands and knees, the Skipper wretched villain that he is threw himself - 15 or 16 stone - on the arch and everything crashed on top of me. I just felt as if I would die, I was so flattened out, helpless and breathless. I got into my hammock about 10 o'clock and lay till 3 when heavy rain drove me below. My head was dreadful then, and I lay in my 'oven' and fanned myself, and choked, and wished for the day. I put a wet handkerchief over my forehead, and I believe that gave me relief quickly. I put on my overcoat and went up on deck and lay on a damp chair until I got a little more strength from the cooler atmosphere. It was a sullen, threatening sky - the lightning flashing wickedly towards the horizon, and sometimes flaring up behind the dark grey rolling clouds which covered the sky all round. The wind was almost gone, and I dozed off for about an hour, then went below, and went to sleep until about 7 o'clock when I woke up and found myself considerably better.
Sunday - October 28th I was surprised to hear the telegraph going, and to note that the anchor was being hove up. On looking out I found all wet and rainy, the wind having chopped round and blowing dead into the bay, with a pretty choppy sea which gave every appearance of increasing. The anchor had been dragging during the morning, and the ship got dangerously close to the reef when the skipper determined to get out of the shop. It was rather unfortunate that the Bishop was absent, but the ship steamed round to the usual landing blowing the whistle at intervals to warn them at Saa that all was not well with us. It was just 9.30 before the Bishop's party put in an appearance, the service taking 2 hours, but there was no difficulty about getting off, and indeed the weather begin to moderate considerably, and soon the sea went down until it was as smooth as a mill pond, and everyone seemed comfortable. I slept most of the day in my deck chair, and towards evening I felt very much better - my head having almost become normal again, although I felt rather weak. Ship lay in a quiet cove near Saa.
Monday October 29th Rather a cheerless day, having to go back and cover old ground again, which was not bargained for. We called at Saa, landing first, for a short time, then on to Roas, and picked up a boy or two for Norfolk Island. I [47/48] got a few rather good action pictures here, men throwing the spear fishing. Then away again to Port Adam, where we landed Luke Masuraa and family, then away to Ulawa, arriving at Medora at about 4 o'clock. Went ashore there till 6, completing the work I had left unfinished when there on the up trip. Clement Marau and family were left here. Clement had been very unwell for some time on board, and he got ashore with some difficulty. The ship anchored for the night nearby the landing.
Tuesday October 30th - Spent a most wretched night, could not sleep, and only succeeded in dropping off about 4.30. I shall be so glad when it is all over. At six I was in the boat with my photo. gear going ashore at a place called Lenga. It is a very poor place in an uninteresting bush. There was a marriage ceremony performed, and after I had photographed the bride and bridegroom we packed up and made for the ship.
The next call was at Marata, 2 miles along the coast South. Like Lenga it is uninteresting. The landing place is rather rugged, indeed all Ulawa coast is the same, great coral boulders detached and lying off a coast formed of the same material. The Bishop tells me Ulawa as a whole is just the same, a great boulder, or heap of coral boulders. [The following is inserted from previous page:] Rather a pretty stream of water runs by, but not of any size, just a small creek. It looked so inviting that I thought I would get a cold drink for certain, and kneeling down took a sip. That was enough! I am certain there is no cold water in these islands! A good many wild people, anyway they were not Christians, were about here. They came from a village called Abia, some 3 miles further along the .coast to the South East. They were very shy, and wouldn't let me take their photos. [End of insert from previous page.]
Next call was at Abia, and here I found things more interesting. There is no school here yet, but some prospects show of a formation in the future. It seems the people are always promising, and stopping at that. I don't know why they object to a school, anyway they prefer to be let alone or to let things go as they were, so they remain in their old time ways and are very dirty and smelly in consequence. Still they are interesting. The Bishop had a despatch [sic] to read to them from the Resident Commissioner of the Solomon Protectorate, respecting some cases of alleged pig killing which they were charged with. I took groups of the crowd listening to the Bishop while he read the paper. They have a very large and fine gamal here, the best I have seen yet. There are many carvings of a somewhat "loud" order, fine food bowls, and other native manufactures useful and ornamental. I got the gamal with some of the occupants. By the time we stayed the people were loosing their timidity somewhat and the Bishop succeeded in getting them to give us an exhibition of fighting with the spear. This they did on the beach, and I got photographs of it. One gentleman seemed to enter into the thing with all his heart and soul, so much so that at times I feared he would be carried away by all his excitement, and as he danced about me, as an imagined enemy, thrust me though and through as a triumphant finale of his prowess, I got his photograph as quickly [48/49] as I could, and somewhat gladly said "passo", and put an end to the uncertainty. It was the finest piece of acting of the real thing I have seen, or indeed I suppose shall ever see.
On to the ship again, having finished Ulawa for good, and we now steer for Ugi an Island about 8 miles off the San Cristoval coast, and about 35 miles from Ulawa. We arrived about 3.30. It is low lying, with lots of cocoanut trees, and a big station belonging to Lever Bros in Selwyn Bay, called [left blank]. They keep lots of cattle, and have cleared a good deal of land around the house and laid it down in grass It looked quite cheery and home like to see all the green and the cows browsing in it The grass is couch. That seems to be the kind grown in these islands. We went ashore and paid a visit to the man in charge J. Larkin who received us graciously, and offered us his hospitality. I took two of his bananas, some took cigars. He has been threatened by Mala people he was telling us. They want a white man's life for some reason or other, and they have determined that he will be the man, and he rather resents it. One night about 80 of them came in 4 canoes wanting to sell copra. For some time he would have nothing to do with them, but being satisfied with their assurances he went down to their well armed canoes and bought the copra. One of their men came up to the store to transact the business, the others he insisted upon remaining in their canoes else he would fire on them. He had his boys all standing on the verandah armed with rifles, and while he was arranging with their agent his people told him that there were a few natives coming up from the canoes towards the house. He immediately slung out their agent, and fired at them, upon which they immediately withdrew and continued on their voyage, but they threaten they will return and kill him some day. They seem a lawless daring people in Malaita, and require looking after by the government far more than is done now, or has been done in the past. That is the complaint all round, there is not sufficient protection, and the people want to know, and it is a reasonable expectation, why such neglect. The reply generally comes to any extra outburst - our ships are too expensive for such dangerous parts - they do not warrant the risk. Well that is rather a doubtful excuse. The sooner the British government provides suitable, inexpensive vessels for the policing of these islands the better, and also for their exact survey, for in spite of all the survey work already done, and I daresay much of it is real honest work, there remains such a hugh [sic] uncertainty about it all that every island skipper must be and is a chart unto himself, and, well, Lord help the new chum with his regulation charts to guide him!
We went along the shore in the boat to a village called Eteete where I used up a number of plates on very interesting carvings made by a blind artist who lived in the village many years ago. Many have fallen to decay, and the remainder will soon be a thing of the past, so that a record of them will be useful. They are [49/50] rather indecent, still they represent the mind of the people of the period they were executed. Back to the ship to dinner which finished a busy day
Wednesday October 31st Off at 4 a.m. for Heuru, San Cristoval. A lowering morning with heavy North West swell, making the landing very rough. We got into the boat at 6 a.m. and were soon in the thick of it. One has to be very nimble when a heavy sea is running, and you have to land on a weather shore. When you sit in the stern sheets, and see the rollers tumbling in behind you, ready to engulph [sic] you, and the boat, and everybody else, well, you begin to think things are only just middling, and begin [to] look around for a soft rock to be cast on to. But it wasn't so bad as we expected. As soon as there came the smooth moment - there is always a series of rollers, then a break, and then on they come again - which is always waited for before landing, we ran her on the beach, and as soon as she touched, there was a rush, and the danger was quickly over. We got ashore dry, and as the seas came along they lifted the boat up and ready hands dragged her up high end dry. The Bishop generally takes the steer oar, and is a most expert boatman. It was quite a rush, no time for careful, thoughtful work, but I think I got a couple of decent pictures.
Aboard before 7 o'clock and off to Wango 8 miles further North. There is rather a pretty river here, but the village is falling into decay, and the people decreasing. I saw the famous red chief Taki and got a photo of him. Another of a group of school people and we were away again - this time Fagani, [left blank] miles further [left blank][.] I did not go ashore here, as I had exhausted it when on the voyage North. Next place [left blank] but there was no time to get ashore for photos, then Pamua where Mr Drew went ashore for good. We lay here for a couple of hours or so, but I did not go ashore as I had done it on the northward trip. The weather too, was very much against photography, very hazy and blowing hard. There is no doubt about it in my mind that all the unusual electric storms we experienced north meant a change in the weather, and it has come. It cannot be called disagreeable for a fresh cool breeze is always acceptable in the tropics, but for photographic conditions it is most unfortunate. One thing I am glad of is having photographed the coasts on the way North fairly well, so that if it is hazy it will not matter much. Still I am short of Merelava, Opa, [blank space] and thereabouts. We left Pamua about 4 o'clock and farewelled Mr Drew in the usual way. He is a fine intelligent active man and has a future before him in San Cristoval. It's big enough anyway for two or three of his stamp to run successfully. We put in at Mannafueki, 10 miles, and picked up somebody for the South, and then we turned our head East for the Reef Inlands some 250 miles distant.
The Solomons had come to an end, and as I watched San Cristoval fade out swathed in mist and rain, with a bit of a sea running and making things uncomfortable on board, I bade them goodbye forever - I shall never see them again in this [50/51] life. They have given me a rare example of the life and customs of primitive eastern life which will be a life long experience for me, furnishing no end of material for the most pleasant recollections, recollections of a loveable race, and an earthly paradise.
Thursday, November 1st Another month commenced - how will it end. It must end this voyage, but when. The Captain says we'll get into Auckland on the 24th - Bishop says 20th - 1st Officer 18th - 2nd Officer 24th. Well all I hope is that it won't be on a Monday late, else I shall have to stop a week in Auckland to wait for my boat to Sydney - she sails only on Monday afternoon.
We have had a very rough night, although fairly cool. It has poured, so that I had to lie in my bunk below, and the ship is tossing about very much making things very lively for all. We are again in the 'Sea of Growls', but I am thankful I am not in one of the old Southern Crosses. What must it have been like on board one of those 'packets'! The rain has gone and it looks fine, but there is a very heavy swell on. Cleared up during the day, but there was pitching very lively all day, and the ladies did not appear at meals.
Towards evening we approached Tinakula, the volcanoe [sic] and about 8 o'clock shut down to half speed, as the Captain did not want to get among the reef islands till daylight. At about 12 o'clock we were under the lee of the volcanoe, and I was anxiously watching its summit for any sign of eruption. There were clouds on the cone and occasionally these seemed to be blown high up in the centre like a cone, as though from an escape of gas from the crater. When I turned it looked like a general's hat with its cocade of white feathers.
Friday, November 2nd When I got out of my deck chair, there was no sign of Tinakula, but we were approaching Nukapu, and at 6 o'clock we were in the boat pulling for the entrance to the big reef which surrounds it. The sun was beginning to peep from behind the clouds as we found the entrance to the lagoon, and I got a pretty picture of it as we crossed the breakers. It is a fine sight a line of breakers roaring white and foaming on the reef, and unless one is very careful to take the right moment for a landing there is a great risk of swamping the boat and everything in it. A light wave carried us successfully through, and soon we were going through the lagoon towards the landing, the historical spot where good Bishop Patteson came to his death [left blank] years ago. The cross could be seen as we approached and I got snaps of it from the boat, but the sun was behind instead of to the right or left of it. We landed and were received by the inhabitants, a quiet, nice looking race of people - Polynesians - and soon I was at work at the cross and other things - time and tide urging the work forward in a way sad enough for the most careless to contemplate. I got about 15 pictures in the _ or 3/4 of an hour I was allowed and we returned to the [51/52] ship. While crossing the reef this time we were not so fortunate - we went a wave too soon, the consequence being that he tumbled right over us and nearly filled the boat. Fortunately I did not get wet, but a heavy tropical shower came on and then I was soaked through and through in no time.
Away to Pileni some 13 miles further South. Went ashore and got a good many photos there. There are great numbers of big sailing canoes lying on the shore. All the houses are walled round, and generally the place is very clean, but oh, it is hot! I came across the lagoon in a canoe to save getting my feet wet. This was all the shore work I did during the day as I had been to Matema, and as we were pressed for time I did not care to use any of it up without just reason. I got snaps along the islands as we rapidly passed along, and as we got abreast Tinakula I made several photos. It was always changing - the clouds around the crater closing in, then melting away leaving the cone bare and rifting so beautifully below. We were a good distance away from it - 8 miles or more. We finished the Reef Island work after Matema, and the skipper was relieved. He hates the Reefs, with their shoals and currents.
We were now approaching Santa Cruz, our anchorage being Graciosa Buy, at its head near the trading station. The coast is just like the rest of the islands in these parts hilly and mountainous. I got some photos of it only it was rather misty. Graciosa Bay is flanked by the mainland to the East, and the island of Timotu to the westward. As we got into the bay we saluted Mr Nind at Namu in the usual way. He gave us a light, and later on in the evening he came down in his boat and spent an hour or two. He is looking better than he did when we left him on the trip up. During the evening canoes came around the ship, and the air was full of chatter but none of the people were allowed aboard.
Saturday November 3rd Spent a cool night in Graciosa Bay, and got up at 5.20. The ship got away for Mr Nind at 5.30, and when we picked him up and his effects, we got off round the corner to a place called Otivi ? where Norfolk Island people Fisher Nobbs and [left blank] were shot by the Santa Cruz people in 187[left blank]. I got photos of the place and the locality of the murder. By the way there was, as usual, a big crowd of canoes round the ship trading this morning. I bought bananas and another Tama and a few spoons, and I got a few photos of the canoes as the ship steamed ahead. Some of the jokers left on board when she started forward jumped over board with their wares held up out of the water, and shouting, screaming, splashing, and blowing they quickly rejoined the canoe fleet and got aboard safely. They are just like fish these Santa Cruz peoples.
Our next visit is to Timotu, some two miles across the bay from Otivi. As we crossed the bay we could see crowds of canoes waiting for us at the North end of the island where the village lay. We could see houses all along the coast towards Graciosa Bay, showing large population evidently. The population [52/53] is computed at about 3000, and all the villages are walled with low coral dykes There are 12 villages on the island, and they are a bellicose, warlike people. Taking Santa Cruz as a whole, the population is estimated at 10,000.
We lay off the villages of Manambumba and Bena two villages really divided only by a wall. There is a reef to negotiate here, and the landing is one of the worst if not the worst. As you approach the great waves thunder on the reefs giving you a rather disagreeable feeling. The people are standing on the edge of the reef ready to seize the bows of the boat and pull it ashore You watch your opportunity and when the calm comes run in on the best swell, and up you go on the coral bed - bad for the boat but what can you do! The Bishop almost jibbed at it, and wanted to go round the corner into quieter water, but he was at last prevailed upon and in we went and soon landed quite dry. We at once attacked the place with the camera, got the Chief first, then into the village among the round houses the great feature of this part of Santa Cruz. How did the idea of building round houses originate here? In no other part does such building show. There is quite a big village here and we got a fine series of houses and groups. Then we turned our attention to the ship, got a photo of the vessle [sic] showing the beach and the ship, then we had to get the boat off and therein lay the trouble. Lying on the ledge of the reef with the surf thundering in was something of a formidable undertaking, and I thought the sight awfully grand. I got a snap of them trying to drag the boat off the ledge, then when it had been got near enough I got in the boat, and got a snap fore and aft, then the fun commenced - the surf washed the boat round and she lay exposed almost beam on to the sea. They were struggling to get her round, the Bishop was working frantically at the stern oar and shouting as hard as he could, I went forward and got a snap of him, and just as I was going to take it a big breaker struck her and over I went head first into the bottom of the boat as she shot a bit forward. I would have wished to have had another plate in but I daren't go aft, it looked too dangerous - however I succeeded, and went back again and had another shot. The breakers now began to wash in like great mountains. I came aft and waited to be washed out of the boat. I shut up my camera, strapped it over my shoulder end held the instrument up in one hand. Then there was a din - the Timotu people were shouting, our people were shouting, everybody was making a noise but nothing seemed to be making the boat go any forrarder [sic] - above all the thunder of the great waves. Then they seemed to get her a bit round towards the reef ledge, and just as this was done there was a mountainous surf struck her, and over she went and nearly filled with water. Next she was over the reef and riding easy. I didn't get wet more than behind - that was nothing, and the sight was worth seeing. They were watching us from the ship and gave us a cheer as we got off safely. It was just touch and go being capsized. All were very wet. I saw Mr Durrard literally up to his neck at the bow as he [53/54] struggled on board. Mr Nind and the Bishop were also equally doused. They don't seen to mind though. We received quite an ovation as we came to the ship. What a mercy the ladies didn't come.
Up anchor and off round the corner to a place called Nondu. A nice little place, with a few people. The Chief a dignified old chap, with a resemblance to Gladstone (if he had put on the collar It would have been a 'dead spit') would not allow himself to be photographed. He was superstitious, and thought that by so doing we might gain some hold on him, so we just left him out of it - we didn't care. There was a goodish hill behind his village which the Bishop wanted me to go up, so up we went. Half way up there was a very fine view of the west passage of Graciosa Bay with the Nondu houses below. This I got. On top there were other round house villages which we passed and then out on the brow of the hill and got a fine panorama of Graciosa Bay. Down the Nimbi side of the hill is a fortified village, part of the walls of which we photographed, then through it, and got a good example of a weaver spinning the well known cloth. Just as we had finished down came the rain and we ran into the gamal close by and saved getting a wetting. I lay down on the matted floor, resting my neck on a wooden pillow and felt quite comfortable. The Bishop was at the door sitting and chatting, and a native was handing us cooked nuts, very nice, while the rain outside was teeming in torrents. It was quite novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. After the rain had passed over, we descended into the shore, through a fine foliage track, and came upon the school buildings and people and the ladies we had left at Nondu with Mr Nind. We got a few photos and then went round to Nondu and embarked having used up all our plates, and spent a most enjoyable and interesting day.
I was presented with a basket by an old lady at Nimbi, and another wanted to put two very big yams into it, and when I made a face at them they all laughed. Two youths took my hand, another put his arm round my neck as we walked along the track to Nondu, They are very loveable boys thereabout. I like the Santa Cruz people, savage as they are reputed to be. Lunch when we got aboard at 2.20 - then another call at Nimbikana and we were finished with Santa Cruz and off to Torres Islands via Vanicolo, which we will touch at tomorrow.
Sunday November 4th Thought we would have had a wet night, but when the moon rose it cleared things up a bit and as a result a beautiful night. We were going dead slow after 12 as we would cover too much ground and get there sooner than we wanted. We don't as a rule do any work on Sundays, but today there is only one boy to pick up at Vanicolo, and if we left it till Monday It would mean a whole day wasted and would hinder the Torres work. Sunday is always a welcome day with me, I get a good rest, and I need it. Knocking about these islands as I have done these couple of months takes the life out of a new chum and on Sundays I just recuperate. The Sunday services are most enjoyable and altogether it is the pleasantest day of the week. My great trouble seems to be coming to a climax, and if it [54/55] continues to advance at it has done lately I will soon be out of the 'fighting line'! Work now is done with a continual pain, and sleep is obtained in snatches only. Today I have rested absolutely and at its end find myself the better for it, only there are 6 weeks more of it to endure before I get back to my hone, and I sometimes loose [sic] heart over the prospect.
Read Churchills [left blank] and liked it very much. We were off the coast of Vanicolo all day, and as the weather was fine the country looked beautiful, and at night the sun effects were simply wonderful. The Bishop got one or two lads for Norfolk here. Strange that this big island should be so sparsely populated. Bishop tells me there are about 150 only on it. They have been dying off very rapidly lately. How strange! On some of the islands, Malaita for instance, it seems just the other way, teeming populations and warlike to a degree.
Monday November 5th We found ourselves among the Torres Islands this morning, and at 5.30 "boats crew" sounded, but it was just a bit early for me so I didn't go ashore at Hue. There was really nothing worth going for - and the boat was back soon after 6. We got on to Tegua afterwards and I went ashore there. The landing is on a rocky ledge of coral, and nearby is a little blowhole. The village is on the hill 3/4 of a mile from the beach, small but clean, with a very big church. Bishop consecrated a graveyard here, and I had time to get a good representative lot of photographs of the place.
We next crossed over to Loh, where we had been before, I supplemented my former lot of photos by representations of club fighting, and women carrying food, just the kind of thing I want, and have hitherto been unable to get. North of Ulawa the women wear grass skirts and carry artistic round baskets on their heads, but try as I would I never could induce any to have their photos taken.
Mr Durrard packed up his things here for his stay at Norfolk Island, and by 4.10 we were on board again, and off to our last call at the Torres Group - Toga. Half an hour brought us there, and at 10 past 5 we put off in the boat for the landing. The village is on the high ground of the island, not the highest. I think the highest plateau must be about 1200 feet. The island is flat topped, and slopes off to the sea in shelving plateaus, on one of which the vanua is built. The skipper was anxious I shouldn't go up, but Mr Durrard said the walk was nothing - Captain gave it at 1/2 an hour - Durrard at 10 minutes. I went up and risked it, and was glad I did go - distance well within 10 minutes, and the panorama of the Torres Group glorious. It was a rush of course, but I got the village church and other buildings, and on coning down, I had a peep through the trees at Loh, the sweetest thing I have yet seen in these parts. The track to the vanua is steep in places, runs through pretty bush, and higher up near the vanua the scented air was beyond description. I said if heavens air was half as delicious, then it would be time for rejoicing with exceeding great joy. We did the whole [55/56] run from the ship and back in just a little less than an hour and I got six pictures - and wouldn't have missed the sight for anything.
The ship got under weigh for Ureparapara 40 miles to the East, so we went dead slow all night to get there early in the morning, and some coal "en route". The Cross consumes 10 tons of coal per day, at full speed and about 4 tons running dead slow. This being Guy Fawkes day in the evening there was a display of fireworks and gramaphone concert. Two bombs, 2 rockets, and 2 blue lights were fired to the great interest and admiration of the Melanesians, and certainly they were most effective. It would not have been safe, to do this i[f] we had been in the neighbour of men of war, and in such case doubtless we would have got into a big row, for showing distress signals without a just cause, however we were not within coee [sic - call?] of man of war, so we risked it.
Tuesday November 6th When I got up at 5, we were lying off Leba, with the great green clad crater walls of Ureparapara standing up against the sky, with a misty capping on top. The boat went off soon after 5.50, but I did not go ashore. The bishop was away for an hour and half, then we ran into Dives Bay, and ashore there for only a few minutes. I stayed on board and photographed. I had an amusing shot at a little sinner from Mala. I saw him with his head right down my cabin ventalater [sic] trying to find out what was below. He looked so comical I ran and got my snapshot camera and photographed him, and then I got the skipper to call out to him and when he withdrew his head and looked up I got another shot I labelled them 'Inquisitiveness' and 'Found out'.
From Ureparapara we ran over to Rowa, and from the anchorage, the wind being favourable, we sailed in in grand form and thoroughly enjoyed it. We left a good many smart boys here, ones who could handle boats well, and we will miss them - Segotle, [Footnote: Name not clearly legible.] Alfred his brother, a real solid, sensible looking man, who went from Rowa with us for the trip as foreman and a few others. I thought I would have been able to get a photo of the church interior, but it was still unfinished so I had to leave it. I got instead, types and groups and one or two views. Oh what a sauce-pan Rowa is! The sun was simply appalling - heat and flies, how glad I was to get away. The mosquitoes must be dreadful - indeed while the ordination services were going on, Mr Nind said they were hard at work in the church biting his ankles. How on earth vegetation exists here I don't know for it is just a sand flat. We got a fine start back to the ship and were just 2_ hours away. From there we ran to anchor in Vureas Bay, getting there about 5 o'clock. I got a view or two from the deck, but left the work till tomorrow morning - the steamer leaving at 8 a.m. for Motalava etc.
(variagated hybiscus [sic] all over the place. Boys sticking flowers in their hair)
Wednesday November 7th Went ashore to Vureas, at 5.30, and walked up to [56/57] Sanlan. Mr and Mrs Adams went on board on a visit to see the ladies. I had a good many photographs to make, and by the time I had arranged to get back to the ship I had just bagged 12. What a lovely place it is, makes one quite envious, only the climate kills it. Mr O'Farrell laid the place out, so the Bishop told me, and as he was a landscape gardner [sic] that explained the artistic arrangement of the whole, so recognisable to a visitor. I had a good many shots at the great Banyan Tree there, also mummy apple etc. etc. and got back to the ship by 8 a.m. and she set off for Motalava and Ara. It was a very rough day, showery and squally, but as the day advanced it was finer, and when we anchored as near as we could to the reef we had a fine breeze in our favour and sailed right in to the beach saving a good pull of 3 miles at least.
I didn't go on to Ara this time but across the lagoon to Motalava, and I was glad I did so. They are a fine happy crowd at Motalava, and they seized all my photo goods, took my hand and literally ran me round their country, and I did quite a roaring photographic business. I photographed their village church, houses, boys, girls, women, young and old men, and all the views I could set eyes on, and then they loaded me with cooked breadfruit, and carried me into the boat when it came back again, in fact did for me more than I could ask or think for, and all for nothing! What more could a man want - I was only sorry I had so few plates left.
We got back to the ship about 5 o'clock, and it was decided to run over to Port Patteson for the night, and from there go to Mota and Santa Maria. Port Patteson is a fine harbor with anchorages suitable for any weather. We lay under its western peninsula. It is, of course, part of Vanua Lava, and, naturally, it was raining. It was called after Bishop Patteson's father Judge Patteson.
As we moved away from the shore, a poor woman began to weep for her son who was going to Norfolk Island. She seemed utterly disconsolate, wading out into the lagoon after [the] boat crying all the time most piteously, until she stood up to her neck in water and the waves were breaking clean over her head. I could see her standing thus until we got to the ship. Poor thing - one can't help pitying such cases.
Thursday November 8th We left our anchorage at about 5 o'clock, and ran over to Mota, where we were to pick up Mr Palmer. I went up to the village which is about 1/2 a mile from the landing, well up the hill. It is a pretty walk, and peeps of the coast seen are well worth looking at. There is not much of the village to see, a fine old church, with the Mission House, and half a dozen houses. Mota is the mother of the Mission, and it has an added interest on that account, although there is little about it to give any additional value to it. We were longer there than the Skipper liked, and he growled when we did get on board. We ran over to Santa Maria to Tarasag, where we stayed on n short time then along [57/58] the coast to Lakona where we anchored for the night. I went ashore and got a good many pictures, groups on the beach, and views in the little village back on the
hillside. There is a pretty peep of the beach with Cocksparrow Point to be got from the village.
Friday November 9th The King's Birthday. I was wondering how it would be held in Hobart, and wished I was there! Here we didn't hold it - we were too busy in the morning, and in the evening too sad. We left Lakona at 12 o'clock in a gale of wind which nearly blew me out of my hammock, and certainly drove me down to my cabin. About 5.30 I could see the great mountain of Merelava towering up ahead, gloomy and mist clad, and the wind strong enough to blow one's head off. I was in time to see the sun rise behind it, and to get some rather fine effects, and by the time we got up to the landing it was nearly 6.30, and the boat took me off with a full compliment of plates. The Bishop got a smart young man named Clement, who had been in Fiji and who could speak English to carry my things up to the village, so I went there straight away. A narrow path leads up from the landing to it, and I should roughly guess the height to be about 1000 feet from sea level. It was a steep rough climb, and one couldn't help admiring the pluck of the people in overcoming the great difficulties of the situation. They have built walls on the side of the hill and filled them in to get level ground to build on. This is particularly the case at the top village, where the church property seems to be built in this way, on a big scale. There are one or two groups of houses on the track to the top village, and you can see, all over the higher parts of the mountain slopes cleared patches of ground for the cultivation of the yam which is the staple product here. The Merelava people are a very hardy race, and they need be with so much to struggle against in their island.
The scene on the landing rock was animated - all the population of the island were congregated there, and the rough lava rocks were plentifully strewed with all sorts of provisions for the ship principally yams. I bought a bunch of bananas from a short stumpy little woman who I called Trucanini, she being as like that woman as could be - one could have believed her to be an incarnation or the last Tasmanian woman - and as I sat by them a gentleman inquired very earnestly if I would buy yams. I said no! but I would like to get some oranges, but they were out of season, and I couldn't get any. I had been looking forward to getting more oranges, as on the up voyage I had so many of them but we will get back to Norfolk without any. Well it will save my handkerchiefs! It was blowing very hard, and made photographic work very unsatisfactory, but I succeeded in getting some good scenes showing the state of things at the landing.
We got away about 10 o'clock for Maewo where there was to be a general wash of the Melanesians, and then anchorage at Opa, opposite. As we steamed away from [58/59] Merelava, one could not help being struck with its strange similarity to Ureparapara - it must have been exactly like Merelava before the evil day arrived when it was blown to pieces, and one could not but speculate upon the probability of such an ending for Merelava some of these days. I hope it won't come as there would be much loss of life. The population today is about 500, and William Vaget, the island pastor told us it was increasing. There is a crater on the top of the island, 300 feet deep, with some water in it, but there has been no sign of activity for many years, although in Bligh's time it was in action. Bligh named it Star Peak.
Got to Maewo about 2 o'clock and at once sent 7 boat loads of Melanesians to the river. They were back again by 3.30, and we immediately got under weigh for Opa. When the boats returned, we were confounded by awful news of the death of the Rev. Goddon [Godden] of Opa. He had been shot by a returned Queenslander on the 18th October. They are strange people at Maewo, perhaps no more so in that respect than elsewhere amongst these islands, but they only informed the missionaries in charge of the boats on shore of the murder just as they were leaving for the ship. It came as a great shock to all of us, and cast quite a gloom over the whole of the ship, spoiling the ending of the voyage.
We made all haste to get across to Opa to get the news confirmed, as nothing of a satisfactory kind could be gathered as to the circumstances of the case at Maewo. When we arrived there, we saw no indications of an unusual kind at. the house, although every available glass was levelled at it, but by and bye the Selwyn boat began to put off from the shore, and as the crew drew nearer all doubts vanished, and our hopes for the best were dashed to the ground. It was a pitiful sight to see these poor fellows, with crape bands round their sailor uniform, pulling dejectedly, and weeping, to the ship, running in their oars as she came alongside and then keeping their heads down on their arms across the oars, helpless with grief. Not a word was said. The Bishop stood at the gangway silent and solemn, as one of the crew came up with a letter which the Bishop read, and then immediately went down into the boat and was rowed ashore. He called out to us on board as he was leaving that he had had no details, go we just waited for his return, all sad and dejected.
When he came back we heard that Mrs Goddon was in the house with Miss Hurst ? of Lamolana, and that she intended returning in the Southern Cross to her people in Sydney. The circumstances of the murder were as follows - Mr Goddon was visiting in the Lobaba district about 8 miles West of Lolowai. He left home by boat on Monday 15 October - slept in Tobaba - no school at present. Next morning he went to another village called Durivenua, there he baptized 7 babies and 1 woman. About 10 he left there for Lomalanga to arrange starting a school by a returned Queenslander. He had to walk about 1 mile to there (and when about 2/3 of way) a number of school people preceeding [sic] him, while a number of heathen [59/60] people, including Alamemea (who shot him) being the only native around, followed behind. He came to a dip in the road about 2/3 of way and feeling a stone in his shoe he knelt down to extract it, the people crowding around listening to his chaff, the school people going ahead. At about 2 or 3 yards range Alamemea suddenly fired at him with his rifle, the bullet grazing his shoulder and cutting the artery of his right thigh. The people then fled, and the man seeing Mr Goddon only disabled lying on the ground, rushed at him with an axe chopping him on the wrist and ankle, and then fled. Everybody was panic stricken, and at last after the excitement had somewhat subsided, some of his people returned to attend to him, finding him just alive. He told his people to take him to Lolowai with all speed and forbade all fighting over the matter. He drank a green cocoanut before removal, then covering him with a mat they proceeded to remove him when he almost immediately expired.
Meanwhile a boy had gone to tell a trader nearby Mr Hoffman who then took charge and superintended affairs pacifying the natives and sending the body off to Lolowai. The murderer returned to his house and was arrested that night while Kava drinking by a number of people who had arranged to take him first obtaining possession of his rifle. He was handed over to Mr Hoffman for safe custody, and this gentleman watched over the handcuffed man for six days, feeling that the affair may have originated among the natives, and not, as was afterwards ascertained, from the man only. A trading schooner came in on the 6th day (22nd) and took him on board, called at Lolowai and took off Mrs Goddon also, who had during the interval been making attempts to get to Pentecost but on account of bad weather had to give it up - distance 15 miles. On the way across a French man-o-war overhauled them (Vauclueuse) and took Mrs Goddon and prisoner on board, putting Mrs Goddon ashore at Raga, and carrying the prisoner on to Vila, where he was afterwards sent on to Sydney.
The prisoner is a Queenslander Kanaka, who has been returned 3 years. During his residence in Queensland he had served 3 years imprisonment for stabbing his master, and vowed then that on his return he would revenge himself on some white man. He chose Mr Goddon on account of his influence on the island. It may be of interest to know that from this district the Captain and crew of the schooner Pearl were murdered 3 years ago. The murder of Mr Goddon was simply the fulfillment of this one man's vow that he would have a white man's life in return for the imprisonment he had received in Queensland for having stabbed his master. The people of the district have subscribed money enough to erect a memorial on the spot of the murder, which by the way has been tabood [sic] or reserved. Mr Goddon was buried at Lolowai by the little church where Mr Drummond of Raga superintended.
Saturday November 10th The Bishop, Captain and others were ashore till late last night packing up Mrs Goddon's things. She goes on to Sydney via Auckland - her home. I went ashore and got a few photos of the house, and Mr Goddon's [60/61] grave. They have buried him by the little church - a big wooden cross with a wall of stone all round it, and as I came away, I was the last to leave, a scattered branch of hybiscus [sic] lay on the head of the grave - so sad, so sad! We are all so sorry. It has cast quite a gloom over the ending of the voyage.
At 9.30 a funeral service was conducted on board by the Bishop. It was most impressive and solemn. Every available person on board was present and the saloon was crowded. The Bishop wore a black stole, and looked so grave and careworn. "I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whoso liveth and believeth in me shall never die". Oh, how strangely solemn those words sounded in that little saloon, as they fell upon that hushed audience - every word seemed to come with such searching power and impressiveness. Then came that beautiful 90th Psalm - so comforting, so prayerful, a balm for all, for all time. Then Paul's dignified explanation of the resurrection - "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept - Oh, death where is thy sting? O, grave where is thy victory? But thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - Then, what I think is so beautiful - I don't know why, I'm sure. Perhaps living
as I have lived a very busy, worrying life, the idea of rest seems so sweet to me, and a rest free from any feeling of weariness or desire for or necessity for work has an especial attraction for me - "From henceforth blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: for they rest from their labours".
Then we sang that beautiful Hymn "Peace Perfect Peace",
"Peace perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus' keeping we are safe and they".
Yes, I sang that verse, or tried to sing it, very feelingly. We are all more or less selfish, I suppose, and I am just like other people, but this voyage has given me such a shaking that perhaps I may be excused for any feeling I display - I never thought I would see home again, in the body.
I shall never forget that tall, spare figure standing in the beautiful sanctuary of the missionary steamer Southern Cross, with hands folded, bowed head, and set, painfull [sic] expression, pronouncing the benediction upon us all - "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost be with you all, evermore, Amen. It was all so real and heartfelt. [Note: "at 9.30 and heartfelt" inserted at end.]
We got away for Raga at about 8.30, and soon ran across. I did not go ashore as I had done the place very thoroughly on the north journey. Bishop and ladies went ashore and they had celebration. It was a lovely day, a bit showery, but clear, and the Maewo coast looked quite clear and crisp. Opa was away to leeward and was covered by the passing rain. The passage between Pentacost [sic] and Maewo is called after Bishop Patteson, while that at the South end is Selwyn Passage.
We sailed at about 2 for Steep Cliff Bay to pick up Mr Drummond who is stationed [61/62] there. Steep Cliff Bay is well named, being the end of a great valley flanked on both aides by steep hills, densely wooded. It is a good bay and affords plenty of shelter, anyway from [left blank] to [left blank][.] It is open to the [left blank] There was a neat French labour schooner lying at anchor while we were there - the Albatross of Noumea. She had 104 people on board, most from Maewo and Opa for Sandwich. We ran alongside, just for a look, as we pulled ashore, and the skipper a dark looking foreigner who could speak English very well told us, very civilly, about his affairs. Ashore things look poor - houses very miserable and squalid looking, but there is a lot of cultivation along the valley, principally bananas. Mr Drummond's house is a nice native structure, and the church also, different in style to what we have seen. I got a good few pictures before we went back to the ship, and when finished, I had at last completed my Melanesian Mission work. I felt a great relief, although of course there will be lots of odds and ends to get before I can pack up my traps finally. We got away for Vila at about 12 o'clock.
Sunday November 11th Beautiful fresh morning, the weather being perceptibly cooler. We were running along the New Hebrides coast, and they could be easily seen away on the port quarter. We passed quite close to Havannah Harbour and I got photographs of its South and Western entrances. Then on the starboard quarter was Hat Island, so called on account of its shape. We passed between it and the main land of Sandwich, and passing a couple of long low points we turn Eastward and run in to Vila. We got to anchor about 12.30, and spent the rest of the day quietly. I got to work cataloguing, and made good headway,
Monday November 12th Went ashore for a run this morning and bought a couple of pair of sand shoes for my two girls, and one or two odds and ends. Had a grand glass of German laager beer at Burn Philps' store - most refreshing. After lunch went over to Iririki Island, the British Residency to get some photographs. Mr Howard and Mr Palmer came with me. I introduced them to Mr Sego, the Deputy Commissioner's Secretary and then went on with my photographic work which I successfully finished at about 3 o'clock - total 12 pictures. It is a very beautiful situation, and commands the whole panorama of Vila and its environs.
We went ashore and picked up the Bishop and Mr Durrad and then made for the ship. Coaling had been going on all day. Hulks had been towed out from Burns Philp and Coy's wharf to the ship, and our own boys did the coaling. Burns Philp pay them 3/- per day - not bad pay. They looked like Christy minstrels when they had finished. The skipper took in an extra 10 tons just at the last minute to avoid any chance of being stuck up, so that delayed us sailing until 9 o'clock. It was a lovely night, and Vila looked quite big in the darkness as we steamed out, its many twinkling lights reflected in the quiet waters of the bay.
 The last of the tropics - the last I shall see of then I am afraid. I shall always look back on the tropics though as a most interesting, the most interesting period of my life, and although it has been a most painful time taking it altogether, yet I don't think I would have liked to have missed it. How glad I will be to get home again though! Even if it is to find things are not good. I am trusting they will be better than I hope for, and will be amply thankful if they are so, it will be such a relief.
By the way I weighed myself at Kerr's store Vila, and found I was just 1_ stones lighter than when I started on the voyage. I knew I was thinner, and not so fit as I felt then, but I didn't think I had fallen away so much. Another 6 weeks and I would never have come home!
Tuesday, November 13th On the ocean steaming full speed for Norfolk Island - fresh and cool weather. We expect to reach Norfolk on Thursday afternoon, and leave again on Saturday evening, which will mean that we arrive in Auckland on Tuesday afternoon - this day week. Things are at last looking towards a finality, and I am calculating on reaching Hobart on December 6th. The thought of it makes me fairly chuckle. I am looking for my letters at Norfolk so much. I am rather sorry I did not [have] them addressed to Fila [sic] as I could have got them 5 days sooner. All the others got heaps at Fila, except me, and I felt like the fox and the grapes. They will come all the more acceptable later, and I only hope they will bring joy and comfort - I need it badly, God knows! I will get my cable ready for Norfolk today. It will be delivered on Friday morning I expect, and my letters will have been delivered on Thursday. I am thinking of the surprise - the letters, there ought to be a pile of them - and then next day the cable!
How long it seems steaming all day without seeing land. In the tropics we had land all round us pretty nearly all the time. I got to work with my catalogue, and was busy writing pretty well all day up to 9 o'clock when I turned in tired and sleepy. I can sleep in my cabin now without much inconvenience. It is getting rather too cool on deck, besides when the ship is steaming it is generally too rough in the hammock with no shelter.
Wednesday November 14th Another day of writing. I got one or two snapshots just to break the monotony of it all a little. It does get monotonous, and will be so good when we get to Norfolk Island. Everyone getting restless and expectant from the Bishop downward.
Thursday November 15th Very busy packing this morning. Bishop had heaps of curios and things, and so had the others. We are now out of the tropics, and we can notice the difference in the atmosphere both in appearance and feeling. The [63/64] sky is not so clear out and crisp, and the sunsets are just ordinary. Well I don't regret the change - it has been a very trying experience to me and I am glad I have come out of it as well as I have. It will take some time to get back into my old form again, but perhaps it will stand me in better stead in the end.
We won't get to Norfolk Island before Friday morning, and then we will have to anchor off the town, the trades having ceased and the wind set in from the North-West. I am rather pleased as it will give me a chance of seeing the landing there, as on the way up we called at the Cascades. I lay in my bunk this morning looking at the photograph of my two girls, stuck up on the wall facing me, and it did me good to look at them and think of how soon I would be with them again. Oh, how nice it is to be homesick, and better still to be going home really. I shall remember the aching I felt in my heart as the Oonah shut rapidly out Mt Stuart as she passed down the Derwent and when it was blotted out, what a void it seemed to leave. Now there is the expectancy of seeing it appear again, and climbing the familiar hill, and riding the old bike, and seeing the old friends - I sometimes think it is too good to be true! I am wondering when you will get the cable. I have told then to send it home immediately, so I should think it would go up sometime on Friday afternoon. The girls will get a surprise when they come home from school!
Friday, November 16th We were off the Cascades this morning at about 6 o'clock, and as the wind had shifted more towards the South during the night it was found a suitable anchorage so we let go and blew the whistle to rouse the people up as not a soul could be seen at the landing. Soon a horseman came tearing down the hill, and as soon tore back again. Then another one came along and did likewise, and by and bye they began to trickle down the road, and soon had a boat out and aboard. The landing was very rough, but it was smoothing fast. After a while the Archdeacon Cullwick came aboard and brought me a great bundle of letters - oh how I grabbed them, and immediately opened the shop ones first to get them off my mind so that I could devote all my time to the ones from home. I read them sitting on a rock at the Cascades with the great rollers breaking at my feet, and the beautiful coast covered with the familiar Norfolk Island pine before and behind me! Oh how thankfull [sic] I was to find things were right. My heart fairly sang, and my soul thanked God for all His goodness. How I laughed at the dear children's epistles, and the ladies were just as anxious to hear how the children were, and when I told them about the multitude of kisses I had sent me they were very amused. Jean and Muriel are as well known in the Mission as I am! After I had disposed of my correspondence for the while, I got my photographic work done at the Cascades and drove up to St Barnabas. The Bishop kindly invited me to stay at Bishopscourt - a lovely place, peaceful, restful to a degree, so I was alright. The day was [64/65] beautiful, so cool and pleasant. Oh, what a delightful change from the enervation of the North climate. And the beauty of the island too - why I wouldn't exchange Norfolk Island for all the Northern Islands - Norfolk Island is the most beautiful place in God's earth! Life is worth living there - you seem to breathe life and health and enjoyment.
Coming back to the quiet peacefulness of St Barnabas was delightful - how I would like to stay a month there! and better still to have my wife and family with me enjoying it. Well, there are greater surprises than even being able to do that. It may come about some of these days - who knows! I am keeping it back of my mind as one of the items to be completed in our life's programme, and I always find that these latent engagements come off ultimately, and come off too sooner than one expects some times.
It was so pleasant to get through my work there, so [sic] sweating to death process, but a pleasant exertion that brought on healthy weariness at the close of the day, not complete exhaustion, and terror of night, like in the tropics. That is all a horrible nightmare now - thank goodness.
Everyone was so kind, ready to do anything for me. After lunch at the big dining hall, the usual thing is to break off into afternoon tea parties. One lady will invite a party, another will take another, and the tea and dessert will be served out on the verandah of the beautiful houses of the staff, where the men folks can smoke their pipes or cigarettes, and all can chat pleasantly for an hour. It is a most enjoyable break in monotony of the day. I went to the Bishop's, where Miss Coomb - his secretary - entertained us -- tea, cake, bananas, bleumange [sic] and stewed apricots. It was quite delightful, and perhaps much of the enjoyment was contributed by the ideal surroundings of the place - beautiful flowers, tall Norfolk pines, cool sunny weather - pleasant companions of course. We had strawberries and cream for dinner - so nice they were - and new potatoes and peas, but I suppose by this time in Tasmania that will be nothing new.
I had a long days work up to 5.30 p.m. then dinner, and service at 7 o'clock - a long service in the church where a silver cross was dedicated. It was made from the silver plate of the late Bishop Patteson, and is an exceedingly beautiful production. The service was conducted in Mota. At 8.30 another service was held in English - a thanksgiving for the ending of the voyage - and afterwards there was a meeting of the clergy.
Afterwards I went with the Skipper, who stayed ashore and slept at Bishopscourt also, and we smoked cigerettes [sic] in the drawing room while Miss Coomb gave us some nice music on the piano. Then the Bishop and the Archdeacon came along after the meeting and we yarned and had coffee, and strawberries, until it was close on ten o'clock, when I went off with the Archdeacon, and took a flash light photo of the dormitories at compline. Afterwards a chat about the next days photographic programme till 11 o'clock, then back to the Bishop's to change plates, and just as the Vanua clock struck one I got safe in bed, and I was glad, and was comfortable [65/66] and I slept like a top till half past 5 and felt sorry I had to get up.
Saturday November 17th A lovely bright cool morning. There was the usual matins at 7 o'clock and celebration afterwards. I attended matins, and came out before celebration, to get ready for making a photo of the breakfast room, which I had arranged to take by flash light. At the morning meal the whole of the community sit down, and it is a fine sight to witness. A long table in the centre at which the white people, the staff, sit with the Bishop at the head, while down the sides, at short tables, the Melanesians are ranged with their big plates of rice or kumaras, yams, or whatever is going. After breakfast, I took a group of the whole of the community, over 250 people, just in front by the beautiful Patteson memorial church. It was a grand sight to see, and nothing of the kind has been attempted before. You should have heard the row after I told them I had finished. The boys dashed off to forms, tables etc. rushing away, everywhere, screaming and shouting at the tops of their voices - such a bedlam! They have a holiday on Saturday, and some go fishing, and picnicking and enjoying themselves in any fashion they like.
I got a group of the clergy afterwards, then a flash light of the girls' sewing room - a good picture if it comes out well, and I hope it will. Then I climbed up a hugh [sic] pine tree and got a series of snapshots of the vanua from the top, and was kept busy with one thing and another until 3 o'clock when I closed down and packed up as the ship was to sail for Auckland at 5 o'clock and Sister Kate was to drive me down, and arranged to come for me at 3.30. I said goodbye to the friends generally and some of the boys, and at 3.45 was being driven down to the Cascades in the sister's dog cart.
That great pine avenue at Longridge, along which you drive, until you branch off at the Fern lane, what a sight to see, never to be forgotten. And to me who knows something of the past what memory it awakened. The loveliness of it all, driving along, the roads hedged with tobacco plant, lemon trees, green with fruit, tall tree ferns, and the lovely pine, with the clearings and comfortable houses, and the beautiful hillsides and vallies [sic], and glimpses of the blue ocean beyond! Norfolk Island is the gem of the Pacific - there is no question about it! And then with it all there was the fragrance it all gave. Oh how delightful, how delightful. Norfolk Island is essentially an up and down place and the Cascades is down, and when you get there you are surprised to find the place, such a quiet place, busy, thronged with people, horses and veickles [sic] you would wonder how Norfolk Island could muster such a miscellaneous assortment, and such a crowd too.
The arrival and departure of the Southern Cross is always a great day at the island, and today there were a good many passengers going from the island and they had their friends, and their friends' friends down to see them off, and of course others came too and there was a big muster from the Mission, and lots of Melanesian [66/67] boys came down - Mr Wayn [Wayne] and his family were leaving - the Bishop was leaving - and so who could wonder at the crowd coming in strong force. I met Captain Drake R.N. at the Cascades and he introduced himself. He is the administrator of the island, and I had a letter of introduction to him from Mr Ronald Smith of the Tasmanian Mail. I was sorry I could not find time to run down to Government House to see the Governor, but I sent the letter with my apologies by Captain Sinker of the Southern Cross who spent the day with Captain Drake. He is leaving the island at the end of the year, and coming back to Tasmania again in February to his farm at Lymington, Port Cygnet. Everybody on the island is averse to his going I believe, and steps have been taken to induce the Government to consider the wisdom of retaining him for a further period, but how it will end is not known.
The landing was quite calm so there was quite a crowd upon the landing rock - generally awash - and I got a few snap shots in illustration. I paid a last goodbye to my kind friends on shore - John Young, Mrs Charlie Rissiter, Mr Robinson her father, Sister Kate, Mrs Comins, Mr [left blank] the cable manager, Hardy Rissiter, a heap of Norfolkers, and got into the last boat, and, in a sense, regretfully left an island which has always attracted me, which I have always longed to see, and which I hope to see again at greater leisure.
There was quite a crowd of passengers and the cabins are full. I have the Rev. Mr Drummond of Raga with me, and the next cabin has Rev. and Mrs Wayn. Mr Wayn has been in the Mission for a good few years, and has principally overlooked the agricultural affairs there. Poor chap! he is such a nice fellow, but is just an awful sailor. Yesterday morning he came on board first thing - what for goodness only knows. She was rolling delightfully, and I went out to the gangway to see how things were progressing. I noticed Wayn hanging over the lee side in earnest convulsions. He finished, came down, and seeing me rushed to shake hands, but, alas, he was taken immediately again, and he daubed his handkerchief to his mouth to receive it, and last I saw of him was fighting desperately through the crowd towards the weather quarter, his cheeks actually bulging out like a full noon. Oh, it was so comical, and I could afford to laugh too - I was well enough - but still how I could sympathise with him. He will keep his bunk all the trip to Auckland, I am sure, just fancy 4 nights cooped up like that - the thought of it makes me shudder!
Sunday - November 18th The weather is actually cold. I had on my white jacket, and the skipper complained at lunch time about me wearing it - it made him feel cold, and as he has taken a cold he argues that it is making it worse. Well I am just comfortable and don't take any notice. I had a bad night with my feet - roused up at 12 o'clock, dressed myself, and came on deck, and tried to go to sleep on the bridge, but couldn't, so came down and lay on the cabin seat all the [67/68] rest of the night till 6 o'clock or so. Those rotten feet!
I spent a very quiet, busy day. Morning service by Mr Drummond, also in the evening. I did a lot of writing - wrote up my diary - worked up my photographic notes - read "The Song Celestial", and interested the Bishop in it - re-read my home letters and all the newspaper cuttings, and "thinked and moralised" and when the evening came wished I hadn't to go to bed although I am tired - and that's just about how I have felt from the time I left Tasmania in August last. If I am not due for a good few nights rest when I get home again, well, it's a bad look out for me, and I will begin to seriously consider that for me the only refuge is the thought "There is sweet rest in heaven".
We have the tables all to ourselves at meal tine - not a solitary passenger turns up - and secretly I am glad, although the class that comes from Norfolk would not interfere with our harmony much. Of course the Mission does not want to carry passengers, but she can't help herself, people who go to Auckland can only get there by going by the Southern Cross direct when she is available, otherwise they must go via Sydney which is long and most expensive. All the available accommodation in the saloon, both ladies and mens are generally taken up by their own people, and the alternative is either the boys or girls quarters fore and aft - not very inviting, to people used to something better, still quite comfortable enough to pass the night in. The saloon seats are all taken up by sleepers, and I don't know what it is like aft in the ladies quarters.
We expect to get sight of the New Zealand coast tomorrow night, and should be in Auckland Wednesday morning. The wind has been against us since we left Norfolk and that won't help us any - and the ship has been rolling and plunging a good deal, but nothing like the way she behaved on the trip up from Auckland - then she was rolling ports under - now my ports are open, although I do feel sometimes nervous, still up to the present, we have had no misadventure. I couldn't help feeling regret as we were having service this evening, regret at it being the last I shall ever attend on board of the Southern Cross. The singing was very hearty - "Just as I am" and "Our Blest Redeemer". The services have always been refreshing to me - the singing and the hymns particularly - I may say solely. I think the service of the Church of England beautiful, but I cannot help feeling that it is a rut in which those who choose to run stifle all their spiritual opportunities of development. There is not room for the blossoming of a spiritual life as I understand it. Where would a soul, overflowing with a love to God and his fellow man be if he had to work with a Church of England Prayer Book in his hand. No, I think the greatest blessing mankind has ever had is Nonconformity with its freedom from the trammals [sic] of clerical red tapeism, with its warm embrace of the absolute freedom of religious thought by everyone, and the consequent expansion of spiritual thought and life throughout its kingdom. Where freedom is there [68/69] must be expansion, particularly is this so where the Christ. life is concerned. I cannot see how the Christ. principle can be anything else but dwarfed by the rule of thumb methods of the Prayer Book, and the user left behind in the lower classes of the spiritual school, when otherwise he might have advanced far higher.
Monday - November 19th We had a little bit of a sensation last night. I was just thinking of turning in - was sitting in my cabin reading, when I heard a rattle of chain outside, a rush of feet, and then the telegraph rang "stop", and all was still. I went outside of course to see what was up, and found that the port rudder chain had become undone. I held the lamp while the men hitched on a block and tackle and drew the two chains together when they were screwed into a junction quite easily, and the ship resumed her running again. It is strange how a sudden stoppage of the engines makes one feel uncomfortable. The steady dig, dig, dig, of the machinery becomes a kind of necessity to the ear, and when it stops we must know the reason why. It only shows how careful one has to be at sea - you never know when or where something unforseen [sic] will take place. It was fortunate in this case that we were out in the ocean - had we been dodging a steamer or two it might have been serious. I dressed myself in my ordinary clothes this morning to please the skipper, so I suppose now it will be the same old thing, and soon I shall resume the hum drum life of the past - thank goodness for it too!
"Lever Bros" in the Solomons is a distinct concern from the Australian firm. The Solomon Syndicate is called "Levers Pacific Plantation Coy [sic] Ltd."