Papua New Guinea is a land of incredible beauty, with awesome mountains, plunging gorges and rushing rivers.
It is part of the largest non-continental island in the Pacific and is in the middle of a long chain of islands which form part of a great arc of mountains stretching from the Asian mainland through Indonesia and into the South Pacific. It has more than 600 islands and is south of the equator, some 150 kilometres north of Australia.
CAPITAL AND MAJOR CENTRES
Port Moresby is the capital and was named after Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby. Other major centres are Lae, the second largest city situated at the mouth of the Markham River; Madang, consisting of reef-fringed low lands backed by some of the most rugged mountains in Papua New Guinea; the Eastern Highlands with its capital Goroka; Western Highlands Province with Mt. Hagen as the capital, (Rabaul, prior to recent volcanic eruptions was the centre of tourism and is now being rebuilt); and the Sepik River running 1,126 kilometres from source to sea, one of the world's largest waterways.
Locals are predominantly Melanesians and Papuan with some Negrito, Micronesians and Polynesians. More than 800 indigenous languages are spoken throughout Papua New Guinea. Melanesian pidgin and Hiri Motu are the two widely used, but English is the official language in education, business and government circles.
First settled more than 30,000 years ago, the first recorded sighting by Europeans was in 1512 by two Portuguese explorers. Dutch explorers followed and named it New Guinea because of similarities to Africa. Interaction between regions has been largely restricted due to the topography of the land and the diversity of the languages.
Apart from areas where missionaries and traders exerted their influence, many tiny, independent villages account for most of the traditions and cultural heritage which is preserved today. The country was divided between three nations, the Dutch, the Germans and the British towards the end of last century. In 1905, Australia took over the British sector naming it "the territory of Papua" and then captured the German sector during WWI. The country became fully independent in 1975 and is now a member of the British Commonwealth with strong ties to Australia.
The animal life is as varied as its vegetation. High mountains and wide lowlands provide a favourable environments for many kinds of animals. Sandy wallabies are found in the savanna grass lands of the south coast, and shy forest wallabies live in the forests. There are also slow-moving cuscuses, two kinds of echidnas, seven birdwing butterflies and bats, bandicoots, possums, gliders and tree kangaroos. Also more than 700 bird species including 38 of the world's 43 species of the spectacular Bird of Paradise, New Guinea eagles, and goura pigeons are to be found. There are also thousands of insects, plus more orchid species than any country in the world.
The infamous Kokoda Trail is within striking distance of Port Moresby which sprawls along the coastal bays and back into the hills. Central province is home to the Variarata National Park, a spectacular mountain region. In the delta land of the Papuan Golf, there is a maze of flooded waterways, and villages built high on stilts above the muddy river banks. Daru is the main town of Western Province. Situated on a small island of the same name just off the coast while Bensbach Wildlife Lodge, a few kilometres from the Irian Jaya Border is well worth a visit. In the northern province is Mount Lamington, an active volcano which is a favourite climb for visiting bush walkers.
The Milne Bay islands are 160 in all and Moresby Province is a huge arc of land on the Huon Gulf which includes a number of volcanic islands between the Huon Peninsula and New Britain.
WHERE TO STAY
Cities and tourist centres have a variety of good quality hotels, as well as guest house, lodges and resorts. Some village have basic guest house accommodation for visitors and there is limited camping. Transportation is mostly by air. A good network of roads connect the Northern Zone and the highland region.
There are hire and rental cars, local boats and ferries, taxis in larger towns, plus local buses. There is no road link between the northern zone and the capital, Port Moresby because the country is too rugged.
FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT
Western cuisine is available in hotels, restaurant, guest houses, lodges and village resorts. Port Moresby has many Asian and European restaurants. Major hotels provide their own entertainment. Main activities gold, tennis and squash, fishing, diving, snorkelling, hunting and trekking.
Modern Department complexes rub shoulders with quaint little stores and artefact shops where you can try your hand at gentle bargaining. The village of Aibom, near the Chambri Lakes, is the only place on the Sepik that specialises in pottery. There is also pottery at Yabob and Bilbil Village near Madang and at Milne Bay. Arts and Crafts are as diverse as they are distinctive. Pottery, weapons, carvings and basket work are just a few of the handicrafts sold throughout Papua New Guinea, the world's largest producer of tribal arts and crafts.
ARTEFACTS AND CRAFTS
There is a fascinating selection of masks, including ancestral and spirit masks which are traditionally the most important. Boys wore them with woven body shrouds which can also be purchased. Decorated boards are popular objects in Papuan Gold culture as are boats, prows, thought to be protective spirits to ward off sickness and evils. Shields come in all shapes and sizes and are made of hide stretched over a frame work. Stools, tables, and head dress are ornate and carry intricate carving while fishing hooks were suspended in the men's house and represented spirits which helped in fighting, hunting and warding off disease. Skull racks for both enemies and relatives make novel souvenirs and are nicely decorated.
Musical instruments, mostly hand drums, are made from wood with the skin of snake, lizard or tree kangaroo stretched tightly over the mouth and glued to the rim with tree sap. Finally jewellery, body ornaments and accessories are made up of a number of components including pigs teeth, shell, orchid stems, dogs teeth, seed, snake spine and pigs tusks. The two greatest regions of art are the Sepik River Basin and the Papuan Gulf and the two major craft producing areas are the Huon Peninsula and Milne Bay.
The commercial centre of the nation, Port Moresby is in itself a microcosm of Papua New Guinea, catering for about 200,000 people consisting of a large number of non-citizens, as well as 800 diverse languages and cultures.
Moresby fluctuates from the hustle of commercialisation to the serenity of a country town. Downtown at the waterside is the nostalgic Moresby, of narrow streets and historical street signs. At the entrance of Fairfax Harbour lies Lolorua and Fishermen's Island, favourite picnic areas for sailors. Beautiful views from Paga Point overlook Ela Beach and Koki Bay.
Juxtaposed to the metropolis is the partly stilt-based Hanuabada Village, home of the traditional Motuan landowners of Moresby. Burnt after WW2, the big village was rebuilt by the Australian Administration. Despite cosmetic changes, the character of the village is still here and it is renowned for its elaborate and expensive bridal ceremonies.
Koki market down at the waterfront is a favourite for trade in seafood brought in daily by local fishermen. Here you'll trade in seafood brought in daily by local fishermen. Here you'll also find lots of fresh vegetables and fruits for sale. There's a pleasant informality about dress in Port Moresby and casual clothes and open neck shirts for men are worn throughout the year, along with the traditional clothes such as rami, sulus, laplaps and kolos. Blending the new and the old, the National Parliament, a symbol of modern architecture, contrasts with the dignity of traditional design at the National Museum and Art Gallery.
The first permanent display of local cultural artefacts was established in late 1978 and is well worth a visit. Located on the slopes of Independence Hill at Waigani, the National Museum and Art Gallery is open weekdays and Sunday afternoons. If you are lucky enough to be in Moresby during the Hiri Moale Festival in September, you can join the celebrations to commemorate the historical trade between villagers around the Gulf Province and the capital. The festival features canoe races, processions, choirs, string bands, sing-sings and the Hiri Queen contest.
Port Moresby is made up of a complex traditional society formed upon historical bonds between the traditional landowners, the coastal Motuans and the inland Koitabu, through intermarriages and trade which have been occurring since the mid-nineteenth century.
Today the Motu-Koitabu have sacrificed much of their heritage to the influence of Europeans and Polynesian missionaries, who have been visiting the port since the 1780s. If you are interested in local artefacts, considered the best in the Pacific region, visit the PNG Arts Artefact Shop. This will confirm the wealth of tribal implements, statues and weaponry.
Forty-six kilometres from Port Moresby is the Sogeri Plateau where the infamous Kokoda Trail became the centre of war between the Japanese and Allied Troops. The trail is a redex trial of slippery slopes and steep mountains covered in jungle.
At 800 metres, the atmosphere is cool in contrast to the humidity of the city. You can take short drives around the many picnic sites and jungle walks, and swim in the Crystal Rapids.
Varirata National Park is a spectacular natural mountain region which offers views over Port Moresby and the coastline. If you get up early, you can catch the mist which blankets the ranges and provides a glorious picture. West-bound from Port Moresby is the Hiritano Highway which connects the city with Bereina, home of the Kairuku and Mekeo people. The Mekeos are renowned for their strong chieftain system as well as their grand traditional costume and the designs they draw on their faces.
While in Moresby and its surrounds, keep your eye out for Papua New Guinean wild life. It is as varied as the vegetation and very special. Look for the long-snouted echidna, the New Guinea eagle, the bird of paradise, goura pigeons, seven types of birdwing butterflies and different kinds of egrets.
A wooden drum, three feet high, from the lower Fly River area on the Papuan Gulf, carved as a male figure without a head.
The people of Tangu who live in small hamlets not far inland from the north coast of New Guinea have a myth about a certain woma
n who had no husband to protect her. One day, she left her daughter alone and a stranger came and killed the child and buried the body. The woman had a dream that revealed the whereabouts of the grave and she recovered the body carrying it in her string bag from village to village until she found a place to bury it and a man, the younger of two brothers, who would marry her. She had two sons by her new husband.
Later she visited the daughter's grave and parting some coconut fronds she found salt water flowing from the grave with fish swimming in the water. The woman took some water and a small fish as food for her family. The results were miraculous. Overnight, her son grew to manhood. Her husband's elder brother was envious and wanted the same for his son so she directed him to the grave. Instead of taking a small fish, the foolish man seized the large eel-like one. Immediately, the ground quaked and water thundered forth from underground, forming the sea and separating brother from brother.
After a while, the two brothers re-established contact by floating messages to each other written on leaves. It soon became apparent that the younger brother was able to invent and make wonderful things like boats with engines, umbrellas, rifles and canned food while the elder brother could only make copies. The narrator's conclusion was that this was why some people were black and ate yams. This theme of the release of the sea is a common one all over Melanesia and is obviously of considerable antiquity.
On the island of Dobu in Massim, New Guinea, it was believed that when the sea was released all the beautiful women were swept in a flood to the neighbouring Trobian Islands while the ugly women were scattered inland in Dobu. In these examples, the consequences that flow from certain kinds of anti-social behaviour for disobedience seems to be much more important than the explanation of how the sea originated. Sot it is not surprising that in many other places besides Tangu this type of myth has been adapted and reinterpreted to account for the differences between white and black men.
Before the coming of the European, the Melanesian's knowledge of the world seldom extended beyond its immediate neighbours with whom he traded and fought. Amongst the semi-nomadic Arapesh who lived on the mountains to the north of the Sepik River, the world was vaguely thought of as an island. The coastal Busama of the Huon Gulf saw their districts as the centre of the world shaped like an upside-down plate, and believed that anyone who travelled beyond the neighbouring territories had to climb the vault of heaven which was "solid like thatch".
The Trobianders, who were fine sailors and took part in extensive overseas trading expeditions, had a broader world view that encompassed the few hundred square miles of ocean which they called Pilolu. Beyond this, to the south and west, were the land of people with wings and people with tails; to the north they knew vaguely of a country of ordinary men - probably New Britain - and another extremely dangerous land, the island of women.
Each small community had its own unique way of looking at the world. Each had its own coterie of mythological beings whose names were seldom known beyond its borders. The earliest hybrid group in Papua New Guinea, the Papuans, are mostly found in the western areas of the south coast of New Guinea and in parts of the interior. A scattering of Papuan elements, including languages, are found in some nearby islands as well as in New Britain and New Ireland and the Northern Solomons. A Papuo-Melanesian mixture predominates towards the eastern extremity of New Guinea and the neighbouring small archipelago. The further one moved south the more elements predominates that can be called Melanesians, though distinctions can be made between coastal and bush people.
IN THE BEGINNING: THE PREDECESSORS OF MEN
Belief about man's origins were many and varied. Some myths say he came into the world fully grown either from the sky or from underground or was released from a tree. Other myths say he was created from clay or sand or that he was carved from wood. These mythical beings who acted as creators were not the sole creators, for each clan or sub-clan within the group had its own view. For example, some Kiwaians believed that their "father" was the crocodile and a modern account of the story had been written by Mea Idei from Boze near the Binaturi River. He tells how a being called Ipila carved a human figure out of wood and brought it to life by painting the face with sago milk. First the eyes open, then the nostrils quivered and the "man" made a noise like a crocodile. His name was Nugu but he was not satisfied until Ipila made three more men as companions for him. These men refused to learn the things Ipila wanted to teach them and turned their backs on him. After a while, two of them became tired of only eating sago and started to kill animals for food. Almost at once, they turned into half-crocodiles. Neither the animals nor Nugu and the other man wanted any more to do with them so they tried to make some of their own kind. But they found that they could only make men because Ipala sequently altered their work. From these new men are descended the people who claim the crocodile as their father. Ipala was so angry with his first creation, Nugu, that he condemned him to hold the earth on his shoulders for ever. The narrator concludes that these events explain why his people only know what they know - not why they are alive, nor what is happening beyond their part of the world.
The Keraki Papuans of the southwest coast often say that there is a sky world from which the first beings came - these were called Gainjin. All agree that they went back into the sky when their time on earth was finished. The exception was the two Gainjin animals, Bugal the snake and Warger the crocodile, who still haunt the bush. An excess of rain is regarded by the villagers as a sign that the sky beings are displeased. They fear that the great rattan cane which supports this aerial world will one day break, so during heavy storms they stand ready to defend themselves in case any of the sky beings should tumble down.
There are many stories about how man was released from a tree. There are two Keraki mythologies, each associated with its own sacred site, and in one of the Kuramangu stories a sky being, Kambel, was curious about the unintelligible sound which issued from a palm tree and he cut it down, releasing the people. In the evening, a shiny white object rose from the palm and slipped from his grasp into the sky. It was his son, the moon. (Both father and son are associated with the moon).
There are also many stories about how man emerged from underground. The northern Massim area is a relatively homogenous cultural grouping and there it is believed that the life which existed below ground was exactly like the one above, so that the people who emerged brought with them the rules governing conduct as well as the knowledge of special skills and magic lore. Among the Trobianders, for example, each small sub-clan had an ancestress who emerged with her brother from a particular spot sighted in a grove grotto lump of coral or rock. With each of these hole of emergence were associated certain territories including garden land and seashore so that each particular myth determined land usage and inheritance. One particular site on the peninsula of Kirawina was especially renowned because from it came the first creatures to emerge on earth. They were the iguana, the dog, the pig and the snake - the animal ancestors of the four principal clans.
The central characters in a number of Melanesian myths are two brothers, who although they have different names from place to place tend to be associated with the same mythological theme. They often share the laurels in Ogre-killing stories but sometimes victory is achieved because of one's brother's superior strength and astuteness. In other stories it is this very difference between the brothers' abilities which determines the outcome of events.
In a tale from Mekeo in New Guinea, one brother only has fruit to eat while the other eats meat. The former spies on the latter, and sees him enter a hill which opens at his command and then closes it behind you. A little later he emerges with a wallaby and two scrub hens. When the foolish brother tries to do the same thing, he was too slow and all the animals escape. The two brothers begin to fight but their wives separate them and send them off to fight an ogre instead.
In several places along the north coast of New Guinea and inland amongst the Arapesh there are myths in which the jealousy and rivalry between two brothers reaches such a pitch that one tries to kill the other by crushing him in a post hole.
The first humans to set foot on Bougainville-Buka, some 28,000 years ago, came from the northwest - either directly, from southeastern New Ireland or, more probably, by stages from there via the Feni and Nissan Islands. The present open-sea distances between New Ireland and Buka, via Feni and Nissan, are no wider than 72 kilometres. Their coasts may have been even closer during the Pleistocene period, when the sea level throughout this area had been low3ered appreciably as a result of the impounding of much of the earth's waters in vast continental ice sheets. But even 72-kilometre stretches of ocean were well within the seafaring range of these pioneers: their canoes were certainly seaworthy enough, and the inter-island distances sere within visibility range (Lewis 1972).
There is no mystery about how the ancestors of those pioneers came to be in New Ireland at that early date. Archaeological evidence from both New Guinea and Australia (which were periodically joined together during low-sea-level phases of the Pleistocene) shows that humans had begun to cross over from insular Indonesia as early as 50,000 years ago, and that some of them had spread eastward into New Britain and New Ireland by about 30,000 years ago. It is also quite likely that some of the early descendants of the first Bougainvillians pressed further southeastward, at least as far as the island of San Cristobal. There is no means of knowing why those pioneers made their ways to Bougainville, or beyond: escape from victorious enemies? deliberate search for richer food supplies? need for safe landings during stormy fishing expeditions? or perhaps, in a few cases, curiosity about unfamiliar shores?
More certain is how they subsisted. From archaeological evidence it can be inferred that their diet consisted of forest vegetables, fish and shellfish, birds, lizards, fruit bats, and rats. Included among the vegetables they gathered and ate were two species of taro, Colocasia and Alocasia, some of which may have been 'tended' (i.e., semi-domesticated) long before the indigenes began to cultivate them in gardens. For some 25,000 years after initial settlement, the Bougainvillians appear to have had little contact with their northwestern homelands, except, for example, for their import of the galip nut (Camarium indicus), which they proceeded to plant and use as a favoured food supplement. Even opossums (Phalanger orientalis), which were to become highly favoured hunting prey, did not reach Bougainville-Buka un til 3200 years ago. Thus, the first Bougainvillians were to remain almost entirely isolated from their northwestern homelands for nearly twenty-five millennia. although they were isolated, they were evidently not unified, and most certainly not homogenous, either physically or culturally. During those many millennia, the pioneers' descendants proliferated and dispersed, mostly in the larger island, where indigenous terrestrial food resources were richer and more diverse. In time those little bands of food gatherers and hunters (and in some places, fishermen), dispersed so widely and remained so scattered that they evolved into many, sharply different, societies, each with its own language. (A society as herein defined is a social unit composed of people who reside adjacently, speak the same language, or languages, and who share, in large measure and more or less distinctively, a common set of cultural principles, values, and practices. In some parts of Melanesia a single community constituted a whole society as well, but in most cases a society contained two or more communities.) Some of those earlier languages may in the course of time have died out, but in the year 1939 there were nine of them:
This classification is based mainly on the degree of similarity between the languages' vocabularies. In addition there are some significant differences between the northern and southern stocks with respect to grammar. For example, the languages of the southern stock classify their numerals into forty or more categories, according to the nature of the objects they count; the northern languages lack such a classification but share a complicated kind of verbal system that differs markedly from the one found in those of the south. Linguists have not yet calculated how long the two stocks have been separated, but clearly it must be reckoned in thousands of years. During this time there developed several other marked differences between the cultures of the northern and southern societies (including cannibalism and male initiation rites in the north but not in the south). On the other hand, both northerners and southerners retained their common practice of affiliating individuals into matrilineal clans - supra-familial social units made up of persons related by maternal, rather than than paternal, kin ties. This is evidently a cultural heritage of their common ancestry from New Ireland and New Britain, where such matriliny also prevails.
Another trait shared by the present-day descendants of both northerners and southerners is their skin colour, which is very black. Indeed, it is darker than that of any population of present-day Pacific islanders, including the present-day indigenes of New Ireland, the larger homeland of the first Bougainvillians. The presence of Bougainville as a 'black spot' in an island world of brownskins (later called redskins) raises a question that cannot now be answered. Were the genes producing that darker pigmentation carried by the first Bougainvillain s when they arrived? Or did they evolve, by natural or by 'social' selection, during the millennia in which the descendants of those pioneers remained isolated, reproductively, from neighbouring islanders? Nothing now known about Bougainville;s physical environment can support an argument for the natural selection of its peoples' distinctively black pigmentation; therefore a case might be made for social selection, namely, an aesthetic (and hence reproductive) preference for black skin. This preference has, by the way, surfaced recently with added political meaning.
While alike in their distinctive skin colour (and in the Melanesia-wide frizziness of their hair), the descendants of Bougainville's pioneer settlers eventually became differentiated into two major types with respect to some other bodily traits: a taller and broader northern type, and a shorter, slenderer southern one. This distinction corresponds to the language differences noted earlier. Bougainvolle's long-lasting isolation was not ended until about three to four thousand years ago. Then, people having different physiques, speaking entirely different kinds of languages, and bearing many cultural innovations, surged from the west into the Pacific and on into or through New Britain, New Ireland, the Solomons and the New Hebrides. (From the Solomons some of the descendants of these newcomers moved on into the Gilbert Islands, and thence on to the Marshalls and Carolines. From the New Hebrides others moved into Fiji and Tonga and Samoa, where they evolved into the people now known as Polynesians.) Meanwhile, beginning about 3200 years ago, some bands of those newcomers settled on Buka and on Bougainville's northern and southwestern coasts. Much later, the descendants of some of those who had settled on the islands immediately south of Bougainville, resettled along Bougainville's eastern coast; the most recent of these movements founded the present-day community of Roruana, only about a century ago.
The descendants of the newcomers who settled on Buka and on the fringes of northern Bougainville eventually superseded or mixed with whatever firstcomers still remained there, as revealed by the entirely different kinds of languages spoken there today. These newer languages are all interrelated and they are as different from the earlier ones as is, say, English from Arabic. They are divided into two groups (see Figure 3); one consisting of Tinputz, Teop, and Hahon; the other of Petats, Halia, Solos, and Saposa. All of these newcomer languages are members of a vast family of languages labelled Austronesian, which originated in south China and/or Formosa. Austronesian languages proliferated and spread throughout Southeast Asia (with one branch in far-off Madagascar) and all over the Pacific. They are found in the islands of Micronesia and Polynesia, and of Melanesia, except for most of New guinea and pockets of earlier, non-Austronesian languages elsewhere, including those of Bougainville. (In the connection, some linguists believe all or most of Melanesia's non-Austronesian languages to be members of a single, 'genetically' interrelated group which they label Papuan, but expert opinion is not unanimous on this point.)
As Figure 3 shows, Austronesian languages are spoken also on Bougainville's central coasts, both east and west. Banoni and closely related Nagarige-Amun, spoken on the west coast, are direct and fairly recent offshores of the island's northern Austronesian languages; on the east coast Torau (also called Roruana) and Papapana are spoken by people whose ancestors migrated there from the Shortland Islands only a few generations ago. When the author was on Bougainville in 1938-9 the present site of the town of Arawa was occupied by a small community speaking an Austronesian language also derived from the Shortlands at a time somewhat earlier than the arrival of the speakers of Torau. Now, fifty years later, that language, called Uruava (also Arawa), has become virtually extinct. Its former speakers have died out and their offspring have adopted the more prevalent language of their Nasioi-speaking neighbours, a transformation doubtless furthered by marriages between immigrants and earlier residents. Some of Bougainville's languages, both Austronesian and pre-Austronesian, are somewhat mixed, in that they contain certain words and even grammatical features borrowed from neighbouring languages.
Like the Uruava, several other bands of Austronesian-speaking immigrants may have lost both their language and their physical (i.e. genetic) distinctiveness after settling on Bougainville, but those who did not do so (including the Banoni, the Roruana, and the present-day residents of Buka and northernmost Bougainville) remain somewhat lighter in skin colour and generally taller in stature than their non-Austronesian neighbours.
Accompanying the new languages and genes that the Austronesian speakers brought to Buka and Bougainville were several other innovations; these included pottery, obsidian tools, domesticated pigs and chickens, and probably domesticated dogs. It is likely that they also introduced new crops and new techniques of gardening, although the idea of producing food plants - rather than merely collecting or tending wild ones - may have spread to these islands before then. Moreover, while the languages and the genes of the newcomers remained mostly on Buka and in the coastal areas of Bougainville, the cultural innovation brought in by them diffused throughout the larger island. Thus by the time Europeans 'discovered' Bougainville, all of its inhabitants were growing most of their vegetable food while continuing to collect a few wild-growing ones, such as the starchy pith of the sago palm. While they continued to fish, and to hunt such wild animals as opossums, flying foxes, birds and bats, they also raised pigs and chickens for their occasional feasts, and kept dogs as pets and for assistance in hunting the pigs that had escaped domestication and gone wild. doubtless there were always regional differences in food-getting; fishing figured larger in the lives of coast dwellers than of islanders, and gardening required more effort among mountaineers than among plains-dwellers. but rather than attempt to reconstruct the changes that had taken place in Bougainvillians' cultures from the early days of settlement, let us focus on what they had become just prior to European 'discovery' and colonization.
On evidence that will be given later on this Web site, the number of persons living on Bougainville-Buka just prior to their 'discovery' by Europeans was about 45,000. This number had been reached several centuries earlier and had remained, thereafter, a bout the same. Most of those 45,000 resided in small and widely dispersed hamlets; it was only in a few places (for example, on beaches adjacent to good fishing, on tiny offshore islands) that larger settlements, nucleared villages, were to be found. Except for the island's southeast ti - a heavily forested but otherwise habitable area - the uninhabited, blank, spots on Figure 4 correspond with terrain wholly unsuitable for gardening (e.g. very high mountains or extensive swamps).
Within both hamlets and villages, the basic social unit (for sleeping, for getting, processing, and consuming food; for raising children, etc.) was the family-household. This consisted in some cases of three generations of family members, or of a man and his two, or three, wives and their offspring; but in most cases it consisted of a monogamous couple and their own offspring. In addition, every Bougainvillian became at birth a member of his or her mother's clan, a kind of social unit which had many shapes and many functions (with regard to property rights, choice of spouse, religious practice, etc.). First of all, those tribes were in most cases very small, consisting of no more than a single village, or a few neighbouring hamlets; in other words, a tribe's 'citizenry' ringed in number from about twenty persons to seldom more than 300. Secondly, the normal relationship between neighbouring tribes was characterized by some degree of hostility, ranging from constant wariness to active warfare. And thirdly, 'chieftainship'- i.e. the kind of leadership characteristic of Bougainville tribes - varied from place to place, with respect to who the leaders were and what they did.
Such were the human condition s on Bougainville and Buka when whites first landed there: in doing so they precipitated, within a few decades, greater changes than had occurred during the previous 28,000 years.
Every adult visitor to Bougainville-Buka these days will know that they contain large quantities of valuable ores, but a first view of the visible landscape is likely to leave two impressions. One is that the topography is monotonously uniform, a jumble of hills and mountains and some flat coastal plains. The other superficial impression is that the soil is everywhere fertile, as indicated by the thick mantle of vegetation that covers all but the two active volcanic peaks. After a while the initial impression formed of the topography will be confirmed, but even the most unperceptive visitor will learn that the mantle of vegetation is extraordinarily varied, and that the underlying soils also vary greatly in the kinds and amounts of vegetation they can support. while the islands' rich ores last, and are profitably mined, their native residents will probably continue to share, directly or indirectly, in that source of wealth. But when the rich ones are all gone and the two islands' residents have to depend again on what they can grow in their soils, their standards of living will inevitably return to levels simpler than they were when mining began.
Bougainville and Buka Islands form a single land mass separated from one another by a shallow strait 800 metres wide. Together they are about 240 kilometres long, and about 64 kilometres across at their widest point. They are located along a northwest-southeast axis, and are, geologically, part of the Solomon Islands chain. Their total land area is approximately 9000square kilometres, minus some 13 square kilometeres of lakes and some other expanses of freshwater swamp. About half of the land area is hilly or mountainous, with peaks rising to 1500 to 2400 metres, including several active, dormant, or inactive volcanoes, along with remnants of a geologically ancient plateau of uplifted oral limestone. This coarse-grained classification of natural environment is detailed enough for some purposes, but it is inadequate for anyone seeking deeper understanding of the islands' geographic history and economic prospects. For such purposes scientists have devised a much finer-grained classification composed of 'land units' and 'land systems'. According to this scheme a land unit is one characterised by 'a particular association of topography, soil, and vegetation' such as, for example, 'a beach with an average slope of about 10 degrees composed of white sand and supporting mixed herbaceous vegetation'; or 'a drainage depression of low gradient composed of submerged peats (up to three feet deep) and supporting tall forest trees chiefly of the Terminalia brassi species'.
Needless to say, land systems vary widely in the kinds of human activity they can support. For example, of the two just delineated, the Siwai system can and does support fairly intensive growth of indigenous food plants as well as certain kinds of cash cops; the coastal Jaba system appears to be suitable only for coconuts and plants with similar growing requirements. There are many other kinds of land systems on these islands that can support no food or cash-crop plants at all - and indeed no other conceivable form of human activity except perhaps swatting mosquitoes or admiring distant views. Some general conditions can be drawn from a map of the islands' forty distinctive land systems. first, the environmental diversity helps partly to explain the cultural diversity that obtains among the islands' several types of subsistence technologies; between coast-dwellers of the north and the east, etc. While no human society has its way of life determined in all details by its physical environment, none is wholly independent of environmental influences. And for societies with less-developed technologies, including those of the indigenes of Bougainville-Buka, such influences tend to be more decisive.
Second, and more relevant to present-day concerns, a land-systems map reveals, in a way that no amount of guesswork and wishful thinking can deny, how very limited are these islands' surface land resources in terms of economically feasible agriculture. This needs to be asserted here at the outset, as a caution against the widespread and erroneous impression that in the seemingly verdant soils of Bougainville and Buka, 'anything can be made to grow'. The land 'systems', as just defined, owe their similarities and diversities to several factors, including the islands' geology and climate, and the land-altering activities of its indigenous residents - which, it will be recalled, have been taking place for 28,000 years. The geological history of these islands has been marked by four land-forming processes; volcanism, coral-limestone growth, tectonic movements, and weathering. At least three p0eriods of major volcanism can be distinguished in the remote past - one prior to the Miocene epoch and two during the Pleistocene. As the fiery cone of Mount Bagana attests, volcanism continues to take place and to alter nearby landscapes. The growth of coral limestone is also a continuing process along the islands' shores; throughout two large areas - northern Bougainville and Buka, and the Keriaka Plateau - raised limestone constitutes the entire bedrock. Heavy rainfall and year-round tropical temperatures have served to mould all these formations, as well as to build alluvial plains, to cut deep stream beds and to create economically useless swamps. This brings us to the topic of climate.
The climate of the two islands is of the wet-tropical or tropical-rainfall type, and it is remarkably equable the year round. The mean annual temperature at sea level is about 26.7 degrees Centigrade; the monthly sea-level mean temperatures vary only a degree or so above or below that mark, and the average diurnal range at sea level is only about 10.6 degrees. Temperatures are lower at higher elevations (according to records from comparable places, mean temperature undergoes a drop of 1.35 degrees with every 300 metres), but here also they change within quite narrow monthly and diurnal ranges, and nowhere reach conditions of frost. The alternating wind systems that affect these islands consist of a variable set from the northwest, which occurs between December and April, and a stronger, more continual set from the southeast, which prevails from Mayh to December. These changes in wind have little discernible effedct on (sea-level) temperatures but they exert some influence on patterns of rainfall, particularly in the north.
Average rainfall at sea level is higher in the south (about 3353 millimetres per annum) than in the north (about 2667 millimetres per annum), and regional topographic factors serve to extend these differences somewhat. (Rainfall also tends to increase with elevation, but there are too few records available to indicate how much.) the north-westerly winds (December-April) distribute about the same amount of rainfall over all parts of both islands. during the southeast season (May-December), however, the moisture-laden winds deposit more of their water on the southern slopes of Bougainville's mountains, thereby accounting for the higher average annual rainfall in the south. As a result of this circumstance, Buka and north Bougainville undergo a dry season during this part of the year. but it is only relatively dry - or rather, relatively less wet; the longest recorded period without rain anywhere in these islands is only sixteen days, and the mean duration of rainless days for both islands is three days or less for all months of the year. The equability of the climate is also indicated by figures for relative humidity. On the basis of observations at sea-level stations, the mean monthly recordings range between only 75 and 86 per cent, and diurnal variations for any one station are even smaller.
Certainly, climate should be considered as one of a number of factors that affect the landscapes of the islands. In addition, of course, climate exercises more direct influences on the lives of the human inhabitants. For example, the unremittingly high temperature and relative humidity undoubtedly affect the health and activities of expatriate visitors from temperate climes. It is reasonable to assume - although difficult to prove - that these climatic factors have some deleterious effects on the indigenes as well, not only in the encouragement they offer to some kinds of diseases but also in their influence upon levels of energy.
To the unsuspecting eye viewing these islands from the air or the sea or even from the ground, humans appear to have made very little impression upon the soils and the profuse vegetation, except for the areas directly affected by mining activities (including the new urban centres and sprawls), and the pockets of expatriate-developed plantations. Even some general awareness of the economic uselessness of many of the land systems cannot entirely erase the visual impression that the indigenous residents have barely begun to exploit the economic potential of their land. The most striking conclusion to be drawn from such a comparison is that in terms of existing types of cultivation and their present ratio of mix, the agricultural potential has already been pushed almost to its limit.
First Contacts with Europeans
The first Europeans known to have sighted either Bougainville or Buka were those aboard the British ship Swallow, commanded by Philip Carteret. The Swallow passed within sight of Buka Island on 25 August 1767, but did not approach its sores. Bougainville Island itself was first sighted on 4 July 1768 when the French ships La Boudeuse and L'Etoile sailed along the eastern coasts of both islands and anchored briefly off Buka. Here is the account of their encounter with the indigenes, written by the expedition's commander, Louis de Bougainville:
After leaving the passage (west of Choiseul), we discovered to the westward a long hilly coast, the tops of whose mountains were covered with clouds. ... The 3d in the morning we saw nothing but the new coast, which is of surprising height, and which lies N.W. by W. Its north part then appeared terminated by a point which insensibly grows lower, and forms a remarkable cape. I have it the name of Cape l'Averdi. On the 3d at noon it bore about twelve leagues W, 1/2 N, and as we observed the sun 's meridian altitude, we were enabled to determine the latitude of this cape with precision. The clouds, which lay on the heights of the land dispersed at sun-setting, and showed us mountain of a prodigious height. On the 4th, when the first rays of the sun appeared, we got sight of some lands to the westward of Cape l'Averdi. It was a new coast (Buka), less elevated than the former, lying N.N.W. Between the S.S.E. point of this land and Cape l'Averdi, there remains a great gap, forming either a passage or a considerable gulf (Buka Passage). At a great distance we saw some hillocks on it. Behind this new coast we perceived a much higher one, lying in the same direction. We stood as near as possible to come near the low lands. At noon we wee about five leagues distant from it, and set its N.N.W. point bearing S.W. by W. In the afternoon three periaguas (canoes), in each of which were five or six negroes, came from the shore to view our ships. They stopped within musket shot, and continued at that distance near an hour, when our repeated invitations at last determined them to come nearer. Some trifles which were thrown to them, fastened on pieces of planks, inspired them with some confidence. They came along-side of the ships, shewing cocoa-nuts, and crying houca, houca, onelle!
They repeated these words incessantly, and we afterwards pronounced them as they did, which seemed to give them some pleasure. They did not long keep along-side of the vessel. They made signs that they were going to fetch us cocoa-nuts. We applauded their resolution; but they were hardly gone twenty yards (18 metres), when one of these perfidious fellows let fly an arrow, which happily hit nobody. After that, they fled as fast as they could row; our superior strength set us above punishing them.
These negroes are quite naked; they have curled short hair, and very long ears, which are bored through. Several had dyed their wool red, and had white spots on different parts of the body. It seems they chew betel as their teeth are red. ... This isle, which we named Buka, seems to be extremely well people, if we may judge to by the great number of huts upon it, and by the appearance of cultivation which it has. A fine plain, about the middle of the coast, all over planted with cocoanut trees, another trees, offered a most agreeable prospect, and made me very desirous of finding an anchorage on it; but the contrary wind, and a rapid current, which carried to the N.W. visibly brought us further from it.
During the quarter-century after Bougainville's brief visit, other European vessels sailed within sight of these islands. The first recorded shore visit took place in 1792, when d'Entrecasteaux's vessels lay off the west coast of Buka for a few hours and carried on a lively trade with the indigenes who came to meet them in their canoes. According to one journal of this voyage, the islanders were more eager to obtain red cloth than iron. They are described as astute in bargaining, as well as cheerful and friendly:
M. de Saint-Aignan played them a fairly lively air on the violin, and the sound of this instrument, new to them, appeared to please them greatly; they laughed and jumped on the benches of their canoes. They offered in exchange for this violin not only the bow which we had already asked of them, but also some clubs they had not yet showed us. (Rossel, Voyage, vol. 1. p. 110, quoted in Dunmore 1965, p. 302).
During this period to her European vessels may have made contact with the indigenes of Buka. When Sarah, an English whaler, lay off northern Buka in 1812, the inhabitants traded with the visitors with some degree of familiarity and with apparent appreciation of the utility of the glass bottles and iron they received in exchange for their coconuts and weapons. Thereafter, until the end of the century, Bougainville and Buka were visited by whites for four different purposes: by whalers in search of provisions and fresh crews; by traders in search mainly of coconuts and copra; by labour recruiters; and by explorers, English and German.
Between 1820 and 1860 British, French and American vessels hunted sperm whales in the waters of the northern Solomon Islands, and through them Bougainvillians acquired quantities of weapons, metal tools, cloth and tobacco. During this period some Bougainvillians accompanied the vessels as crew members, sometimes as far as Australia. As a by-product of their contacts, foreign diseases and a liking for liquor were also introduced. Bougainvillians had been trading with other islanders long before Europeans appeared on the scene. Those in the north traded with Nissan and Kilinailau, and those in the south with Shortland, Mono and Fauro.
More is known about the southern trade, in which the Bougainvillean fish and lime (for betelnut chewing). When European traders appeared on the scene, the Bougainvillians began to trade smoke-dried copra in return for steel axe- and adze-blades, machetes and calico. Sometimes a venturesome European trader would cast anchor off the southern Bougainville coast and barter direct with local islanders, but in the beginning most of this trade was carried out through Bougainville Strait islanders acting as middlemen. Occasionally the latter also acquired live Bougainvillians, by kidnapping or trade, to serve as menials or concubines or for religious sacrifice - and probably for sale to Europeans as labourers. During the 1880s the Strait Islands were under the suzerainty of Gorai, a famous Shortland Island chief, who professed great respect and liking for Europeans. Gorai's influence, though not his actual rule, extended up Bougainville's eastern coast as far as Cape l'Averdy. On one occasion he sent a fleet of his war canoes to the village of Numa Numa, 160 kilometres north of Shortland, and killed a score of its people to avenge the killing of a white trader with whom he was friendly.
A detailed description of a foreign trading visit is provided by the German museum collector, Carl Ribbe, who accompanied a white trader, based on Shortland, on some of his voyages to Bougainville in 1894-5, I reproduce here my translation of an abridged account of one of these visits - this one to the Buin coast just east of Kangu - because of the picture it gave of the manner in which commercial relations between Europeans and indigenes were conducted during that era:
Mr Tindal and I left Faisi (the main port on Shortland Island) in a small two-masted cutter. ... Around four in the afternoon we drew near to the Bougainville coast ... From where we were the land looked flat in every direction except for two or three 100-metre-high hills directly on the coast (i.e. Kangu Hill). The whole southern Bougainville plain was canopied by tall tress ... and channelled by numerous full-flooded streams. Far to the north-east the horizon was dominated by several high and steep-sided mountains, comprising the Crown Prince Range. ... The narrow strip of hill country between mountains and plain are, like the latter, covered with a high stand of forest but the mountains themselves appeared to be only partly forested. ...
On first seeing these mountains I thought to myself what a rich field of research they must offer to the naturalist. Unfortunately, it would be virtually impossible to get to them, because the country approaching them is said to be densely populated by inhospitable and warlike tribes, whose opposition would prove even more difficult to overcome because of their ignorance of the power of firearms. Cases have been reported in which such islanders as these have ridiculed their fire-arm bearing opponents, asking what possible effect the latter's noise-making bamboo sticks could have against their own formidable spears and bows and arrows.
it has been my experience that when accompanying a small-sized expedition into the interior of islands in this part of the world, one has less to fear from the hostility of the natives who have already experienced some contact with whites than from those who have never before seen them. Typically, when a small party of explorers is opposed by indigenes with no prior experiences with firearms it is apt to be wiped out in the first assault. Since the thick undergrowth conceals the attackers struck down by bullets, their unwounded fellows remain unaware of the deadliness of firearms and so press their attack fearlessly and relentlessly ...
From where we lay at anchor off shore no houses or canoes were to be seen along the beach, the native villages being located some five to six kilometres inland. ... We remained aboard our cutter that night, then, shortly after sunrise, four of our Shortland Island servants took off for the villages of Suriei and Takerei to inform the villagers that we had come to trade for copra. Each of our messengers was of course armed with rifle and revolver, for we could not rule out the possibility that they might meet up with hostile mountaineers and be obliged to fight. ... Shortly after noon we were hailed from the shore, where we saw many indigenes alongside several piles of copra. The cutter's boat was rowed to the beach to bring back some villagers and their copra, and the trading then began - during which, I should add, we kept our firearms constantly at the ready. . . .
The bartering indigenes were permitted to board the cutter from one side only. While one of us whites occupied himself with the trading, the other kept a close watch to guard against attackhis kind of trading is no great pleasure - indeed, it is long drawn out and boring. However, it is essential not to give up or lose patience; otherwise the blacks would not bother to return to trade another time. The owners of the long strings of dried coconut chunks usually delegate negotiations to one or two of their number, who invariably, in the beginning, demand exorbitant prices. Then, before any transaction is concluded, each of the villagers o9resent is asked whether he agrees with the terms offered. They appear to have no conception of the monetary value of the various trade items offered to them. It often happens that they will first demand a ridiculously high trade price for their copra, and then in the end he satisfied with a very modest return. Thus, one can obtain 100 coconuts for 65 pfennigs worth of calico, or for 10 coconuts they will accept either a clay pipe worth 1.2/2 pfennigs or 2 sticks of tobacco worth 5. A short muchete costing 40 pfennigs will purchase 50 coconuts, while a long one coasting 1 mark will obtain 100. A box of matches worth 4 pfennigs will obtain 10 coconuts, a Jew's-harp worth 15, 30 coconuts, and an axe worth 1 mark will obtain 100. From these few examples one can see . . . that the indigenes have no idea of the relative values of the trade goods they obtain with their coconuts. The state of affairs, which often results in a disadvantage to the white traders (when indigenes demand too highly priced goods for their coconuts) is the fault of the traders themselves. (How much more often, one may inquire, did this 'state of affairs' result in disadvantage to the indigenes?)
The trader has to exercise special care to protect his own interest when the indigenes demand calico for their copra, since the customary method for measuring cloth can work to the latter's advantage. the unit of measure used here is the 'fathom', the span between fingertips of a person's outstretched arms. The length of this span can of course be varied according to the extent that one stretches the arms and the way one holds the cloth. And it is not surprising that the indigenes insist upon having the measurement done by the man with the longest arms. (One can well understand what diplomacy the trader is called upon to exercise in winning agreement to use a shorter-armed man as a measure.) Distance from outstretched fingertip to nipple also serves as a unit of measure, as does the distance between the outstretched tips of thumb and index finger - these measurements being usd when the indigenes exchange their coconuts, etc. for strings of shell money (mauu'ai, perasali).
thus, the whole commerce is a form of barter - which incidentally, is highly profitable to the white traders in this part of the Solomons. The copra, which the trader sells to the schooners that ply these waters, at seven and eight pounds sterling a ton (i.e. 5000 coconuts), he is able to buy from the indigenes at three pounds, thereby realizing a profit of four to five pounds per ton. Among Bougainvillians the trade goods in most demand are hatchers, axes (with metre or half-metre long handles), pocket knives, large blue and red heads for necklaces, small red, blue and white beads used for making ornaments, porcelain bracelets, tobacco and pipes, thin, patterned or red or white calico, plane blades for wood-working, mirrors and Jews' harps. The indigenes also extend this form of trade among themselves. some goods obtained from the white traders end up in increasingly high prices, so that a distant inlander will pay 300 to 400 coconuts for a hatchet that was obtained at the beach for only 100.
Ribbe went on to say that it was the cop0ra trade that had made the southern Bougainville coast a safer place for outsiders to visit. After about 1870 Bougainvillians were recruited to large numbers for plantations in Queensland, Fiji, Samoa, and New Britain. those of Buka were in especially heavy demand because of their reputation for trustworthiness and industry. for example, the German trader-planner, Richard Parkinson, found his Buka labourers to be invaluable protection from his hostile indigenous neighbours in the Blanche Bay area of New Britain. 'I always licked them fearfully with my Bouka boys of which I have 150.' Some of the Bougainvillians (including Buka) went voluntarily with the European recruiters, evidently eager for the European goods to be earned, or to escape from dangerous situations at home. but others went under duress, as in th case of those kidnapped by the Melbourne vessel Carl for work on Fiji.
The Carl was owned by an Irish physician, Dr James Murray, who embarked upon his South Seas adventures in 1871 after a series of scandalous scrapes in Australia. After 'recruiting' - that is, kidnapping - nearly eighty indigenes from various islands in the New Hebrides and Solomon Islands and imprisoning them in the vessel's holds, he sailed his ship to northern Bougainville and Buka. Here is Edward Docker's recent reconstruction of what ensued:
Even King Ghorai of the Shortlands with his mighty war fleet never dared attack Buka, and with visiting ships the big, very black Bukamen paddled out in their twenty-man canoes prepared either to trade or fight as the mood suggested. They never had such a shock in their lives. large lumps of pigiron or cannon slung in ropes crashed down on the canoes, then immediately, as they struggled in the water, with many of them badly gashed and bruised, the boats were among them, hauling them in like tuna. The score was forty the first day, forty-five the next. the earlier captive were now stowed right forward and aft, with the eighty-five Bukamen under the main lurch. Not one was either handcuffed nor leg-ironed.
That evening there was much recrimination on deck among Murray's party about these methods of recruitment - with no attention being paid to what was happening below. Here the Bukamen had broken up their bunks and were using them as implements to force open the hatch. Before long the clamour from the hold drowned out all sounds of the dispute on deck and settled the argument among the white men, at least for the time being. The best-corroborated version of the events of that evening are supplied by a woman, Davescove. He later testified:
'I was awakened about ten by the boy Fallon coming to my bunk, an d asking me for God's sake to come on deck, as the ship was on fire, and they would be all dead men. I went on deck, and to the main hatch, where ai found the passengers and others assembled, called out to the natives to keep quiet. I saw no signs of fire, and went below to the cabin for a minute. While away I heard sounds of firing, and returned on deck, and saw William Scott, Dr Murray, Captain Armstrong, and others firing down into the hold. The natives were fighting amongst themselves, and trying to break open the hatchways, Mount and Morris were firing with revolvers.
'After the natives had been fighting a bit they would stop for a few minutes, and then the firing would cease, and be resumed when the row began again. I went to the cabin after the first row was quieted. I saw Morris there loading a rifle, and Dr Murray loading a revolver. There was firing off and on during the night. I fired myself, once or twice, before I saw Morris and Murray in the cabin. At one o'clock in the morning the mate raised a cry that the natives had charge of the deck, and Dr Murray called out, "Shoot them, shoot them, shoot every one of them."
'When daylight broke, everything was quiet. The shooting continued, off and on, until about three o'clock, or half-past three, when we knocked off altogether. The firing was resumed at intervals of five, ten and fifteen minutes, and sometimes half an hour elapsed between the rows. At four o'clock everything was quiet, and I went into the galley and served out some coffee to the men and passengers. After a bit Dr Murray came aft. Lewis, the second mate, said, "What would people say to my killing twelve niggers before breakfast?" Dr Murray replied, "My word, that's the proper way to pop them off."
'Everything was then quiet, and breakfast was got ready. After breakfast the ladder was put down the hold by the passengers and crew, and the natives were told to come on deck. some of the wounded natives came up; they were wounded in the back, arms, and legs. Those who had a narrow wound were put on one side, and those more dangerously wounded on the other. All the wounded natives who could come up, came up. Two of the good natives were sent down by Dr Murray with ropes, which they fixed round those who were dangerously wounded, so that they could be hauled up. the wounded were separated as I have described by Dr Murray's directions. The passengers were looking on all the time, and Mount and Morris told the natives to do their work.
'I heard them tell them to lay the wounded down, and make fast their hands.
'Dr Murray went forward to the starboard side of the ship, and said, "Well, boys, what do you think of doing with these men?" Mount asked, "What do you think of doing?" "Well," said Murray, "I think that the best we can do is to get the leeward of the island and land them there." A man said, "How far are we from land?" Dr Murray answered, "I don't know, but not very far." Mount said, "You have been gaffer all this time, what are you going to do?" Dr Murray then took four or five of the friendly natives an d went aft, and told them to pick up a man and throw him overboard. There was a boy with six fingers and six toes, who was wounded in the wrist, and he was the first thrown overboard. When Dr Murray told the friendly natives to pick up the boy, the other natives screamed "No, no, no!" He was lifted onto the rail, and Dr Murray pushed him overboard. He was the first who was thrown overboard. At this, all the Bougainville men who could do so, jumped overboard.'
In the end the total of natives killed outright or tossed badly wounded into the sea amounted to seventy. Another fifteen or so of the unwounded may have swam safely ashore, which now left on board the seventy-six so-called 'friendly' natives. One result of the abortive mutiny was that the Malaitamen had completely abandoned their former overhasty ideas of escape.
Some of the Europeans who took part in these outrages were eventually arrested and sentenced to death or terms in prison, but the agile and ingratiating Dr Murray tuned Queen's evidence and escaped punishment altogether. The most detailed account of labour recruiting on Bougainville - Buka is that of Douglas Rannie, who accompanied a recruiting expedition on board an Australian vessel as government agent. The vessel stopped twice off Bougainville-Buka in search of recruits for the Queensland sugar fields; first at an unspecified point off Bougainville's northwest coast, and then off Buka. The different receptions accorded the vessel at these two points serve to show how different the inhabitants of the two islands had by then become in terms of their experience and sophistication in dealing with whites:
On the morning of the 25th of June we lowered our boats about eight o'clock and made towards the shore. This being the weather side, a very heavy surf was breaking on the beach; so heavy, indeed, that for some time we thought we should have to give up all idea of getting into communication with the natives, whom we saw in large numbers lined up on the sand.
There appeared to be two tribes assembled. They did not seem to be upon amicable terms, as they held aloof from one another. They were all heavily armed with very long bows and sheaves of arrows. Besides these weapons some carried spears, and each man had suspended from his shoulder a tomahawk, club, or heavy wooden sword. The tribes were distinguished by the colour of their head-dress. This was composed of a hat exactly resembling an egg-shaped lamp-globe and of similar size. These hats were made of basket-work, and beautifully covered and sewn with the skin of the pandanus leaf. They reminded me more than anything else of the baskets used in billiard-rooms for pool and pyramid balls. The opening was not much wider, although it might have admitted a cricket ball; into this the natives towed their long, woolly hair. The large amount of hair they managed to stuff in caused the hats to stick up jauntily on the side of the head. The hats worn by one tribe were all white, while those worn by the other were stained a bright red.
Pulling along the coast we came to a smooth part, and were able to approach nearer the islanders. After a lot of persuasion we induced them to approach nearer to each other as well as to us. Both tribes wished to enter into communication with us, and both had stuff for barter. As neither would entirely trust the other, they each left a strong armed p0arty immediately behind them in the scrub as guards. The mate, with his boat stern first, cautiously approached what seemed to be the most moderate break in the surf, and I directed his attention to the heavy break which occurred with every third or fourth wave outside the ordinary surf. As a man came out neck-deep in the water, holding a young sucking pig over this had, the mate ventured too much. A huge wave broke over the bows of his boat, filled her and swept here right up on the beach. The boat's crew leaped out before she grounded, having first secured their rifles. Many of the islanders ran for their weapons, but others professed to offer assistance. In the meantime we were outside the influence of the surf, and covered the other boat's crew with our rifles. The natives ashore seemed to be of two minds. Some,
I thought, desired to assist our men, while others were inclined to go for loot. but the fact that our men still retained their arms ashore, and we were almost out of range of their arrows, and had them well covered, decided them to help us in our difficulty and trust to our generosity for remuneration. A number of them turned to with a will, and after the mate had given them all the print and calicoes, besides beads, pipes, and tobacco, which he had in the trade box (the axes, tomahawks, long knives, and butcher's knives were in the bottom of the boat), they re-launched the boat. but alas! before the boat's crew could get her under way with their oars, a great rolling sea caused her to broach-to and capsize, and surge in towards the beach, bottom up, with the crew underneath. One by one they struggled out. The mate was dragged out with a horrible gash on the back of his head and neck, from which the blood flowed freely. Hastily we unbent the painter and the sheet of our big-sail, and backing the boat in as far as we deemed safe through the surf, we threw the boat's crew the rope. They made it first to the mate, and we were able to draw him through the surf to us. Pulling out to a safe distance beyond the breakers, we rendered what first aid we could to the wounded man.
A terrible scene ensued ashore. The natives of both tribes rushed down to the boat, dragged her up on to the beach, and fought savagely for the axes, tomahawks, and knives that were lying in from two to three feet (60 to 90 centimetres) of water. Two natives would be struggling for an axe. One would manage to free his arm, with the axe aloft' and the next instant it would be brought crash, down through the skull of the other unfortunate one. Several could be seen fighting and slashing each other with the long knives and butcher knives, as they rolled over and over each other in the water. Those ashore along the fringe of scrub took up the fight, and a general battle ensued. The arrows were flying in the air like showers of hail. Presently a large body of men charged out from the scrub, on those nearest the boat (they had manoeuvred round through the back of the scrub from the tribe of the white hats), and making a wild dash among the bowmen of the red hats, mowed them down with tomahawks and hardwood swords before the red hats had time to unsling their weapons. The red hats then took to flight, but were followed by the white hats with showers of arrows until the bush gave them shelter. There must have been upwards of a thousand engaged in the fray, and the casualties were very numerous. Seeing that we could not do much more until our second boat was patched up, we made for the north end of Bougainville and came to anchor at Buka Island.
We were visited at Buka Island by large numbers of islanders in many canoes. The canoes carried from ten to sixty men in each. As many of them were as high in the sides as our own little vessel, we made a rule that canoes were to be allowed on one side only, and that the starboard. The port side was to be kept clear, as well as the main deck on the port side; so the ship was roped off fore and aft amidships. We had also to be constantly on the watch and always armed; for, on the slightest show of carelessness on our part, or of being off guard, we should all have been massacred for the sake of loot.
One of our boatmen told me that on a previous visit he had been shown on a clear day the hull and masts of a vessel lying on the horizon in deep water. She had been taken and looted by the natives and then sunk. We secured the services of an islander here as an interpreter. He was the only one able to speak English. He told us that his name was 'Maggy', and that he had worked for a Mr Farrell in Samoa. Maggy piloted us to quite a number of villages, but found no one anxious to emigrate to Queensland. The villages were kept as clean and ship-shape as any in the Shortlands, and the natives displayed as much taste in the manner in which their plots of flowers and flowering plants about their houses were attended to. As the Shortlands I noticed that the dead were buried in the ground and large cairns of stones were piled over the graves, these again were filled in with soil, and the interstices planted with bright and fragrant flowers. but here the dead were disposed of in quite a different manner.
We had an opportunity while on a visit to one of the villages of seeing their strange funeral ceremony. The corpse was carried down to and over the ref by a few of the deceased's comrades, followed by a crowd of women wailing and performing strange antics. At the edge of the reef the remains were placed in a canoe, paddled out some hundred yards or so, and with a few heavy stones attached were sunk to the bottom. although five from any particular amount of general sickness, and physically as fine a race of people as we had so far met, 80 per cent of them seemed to be afflicted with a disagreeable skin disease they called 'buckwah' (?). This disease breaks out in patches on the body in the form of a number of small dry rings, resembling ringworm. They spread till the whole body becomes covered with a mass of dry, scaly rings, which comes off a flakes and dust. I have cured many of the sufferers with a mixture of sulphur and kerosene, applied with a large paint brush. Clean -skinned natives seem to have a horror of contracting the disease.
We found the islanders very skilful in the manufacture of spears and arrows, and many of their weapons were tastefully inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Pearl-shell appears to be fairly plentiful in those regions. From the many patches of reef s we sailed over. I believe large quantities of shell could be obtained. Three days were spent in visiting villages scattered here and there, but all our recruiter's eloquence could not induce any of the natives to engage in the Queensland sugar industry. So the skipper decided to make a move the following day. That evening two large canoes came along from some foraging expedition. Their crews, numbering about forty each, were quite jubilant over some foray, or success. They clicked their paddles on the side of their canoes, keeping time to a wild chant or war song.
The paddles of these canoes had each the design of a dancing demon stained on it in permanent black and red dyes. Crouched despondent in the bottom of one of the two canoes, we noticed, as they came alongside, a wild, powerful-looking man. After an animated conference with the savages in the canoes, our interpreter Maggy approached the skipper and me, and told us that the savages had a captive in one of their canoes whom they wished to dispose of by selling them to us. I said that the strict meaning of the Act would not allow any such mode of recruiting. Yet as the circumstances of the case seemed very peculiar, I determined that I would go into them very carefully.
Impressing upon Maggy that he must speak the truth, and nothing but the truth, I elicited through him from the canoe savages that the man whom they now wanted us to take was a captive they had made upon their present expedition. They were taking him home with them, there to be dealt with in a way that even Maggy hesitated to describe. I inferred that he was to be put to death, and eaten. I got Maggy to explain to the captive that if he chose to come of his own free will on board of us he could do so, and that if he chose to leave the ship at any place to the islands no one would prevent him. As he came on board under peculiar circumstances, the same circumstances would allow him to go ashore anywhere he liked where the ship should touch before leaving for Queensland. As we had an interpreter on board who could speak his own language, the whole of the nature of the work expected of South Sea Islanders on Queensland plantations would now be fully explained to him, together with the nature and terms of agreement. but that he would not be called upon to enter into that agreement until some time during the trip when others might be signed on.
All this I was confident Maggy faithfully explained to him, and he came very joyfully aboard. In return, the savages, at their captive's hands, received a bundle of fancy-coloured print, in which were rolled up some glass beads, paint, tobacco, a couple of butcher's knives, and a tomahawk. I made the parcel of trade come from the captive as a ransom paid by himself, and not as the price paid for a slave. Thus we got our first recruit, and he was entered on the Passenger List as No. 1, Cheeks and Buka, Bougainville. He was about twenty-five years of age, well built and muscular-looking, with a huge head of hair hanging in a mass of ringlets down to his shoulders. Each ringlet was plastered thick with lime and cocoa-nut. We soon set one of the crew to work with the scissors and his locks were consigned to the deep. Cheeks was quite pleased with the change, and was anxious to adopt European habits at once, so great was his delight at escaping from his enemies. And yet, he told me afterwards, he had never seen a white man in his life before.
The effects of these early encounters between Bougainvillians and white must have varied widely. some of the former, mainly coast-dwellers, and especially those of Buka and northern Bougainville, became well acquainted with the material goods and customs of whites, and with their characters, both good and bad. Many, however, experienced nothing of the new alien influences except the occasional steel tool that filtered to them through coastal intermediaries. One of the most detailed accounts of that period was written by H.B. guppy, the naval surgeon attached to a British exploring expedition to the Solomon Islands in 1882. This writer tarried for several months in the islands of the Bougainville Strait and made several visits to the south coast of Bougainville itself. guppy collected much useful information concerning the indigenes and the natural resources of southern and eastern Bougainville, including specimens of ore that led him to make the prophetic statements: 'A sample of stream tin from the southeast part of Bougainville was given to me by the Shortland chief. Copper will not improbably be found in association with the serpentine rocks of these islands.'
Until 1884 Bougainville-Buka continued to remain outside the administrative domain of any European power, although British subjects (including some Australians) were most in evidence there, as visiting traders and labour recruiters. This situation began to change in 1834 when Germany annexed northeast New guinea (Kaiser-Wilhelmsland) and the Bismarck Archipelago. This action moved Queensland, and eventually Britain, to annex Papua (i.e., southeast New Guinea). Bougainville and Buka were not officially added to the German colony until 1899, but by an exchange of notes with Britain, in 1886, these islands (along with Shortland, Choiseul, and Isabel) were declared to be within the German sphere of influence. In fact, German influence began to extend to Bougainville and Buka some years earlier in the persons of traders, explorers and recruiters of labourers for plantations on Samoa, the Bismarck Archipelago and elsewhere. The best-known of those early Germans was the Richard Parkinson referred to earlier. Parkinson had moved to New Britain from Samoa in 1882. (His wife was sister to the much-married Emma Forsyth - 'Queen Emma' - who had gone from Samoa to New Britain earlier and had established extensive trading and plantation enterprises in the Duke of York Islands and on Blanche Bay.) Froi his New Britain base Parkinson made many trips to Bougainville and Buka, trading, recruiting, and collecting natural history specimens; he recorded his observation in several scientific papers and in his lengthy book: Dressig Jahre in der Sudsee (Thirty Years in the south Seas.) In summarizing his findings, Parkinson reported that by the turn of the century the coastal inhabitants had become fairly familiar with Europeans, through trading with them or serving on their plantations on New Britain and elsewhere, but that the interior of the larger island remained 'virtually closed-off'.
Ignorance about Bougainville's inland areas during that era can be attributed partly too its physical inaccessibility, partly to their inhabitants' ways of life, and partly to the behaviour of the white visitors themselves. During the nineteenth century, and probably for centuries and millennia before, the native people were separated into numerous minute tribes whose interrelations, if any, were typically hostile, with the exception of occasional instances of intertribal trade. Moreover, this normal state of hostility was more often than not intensified in specific cases where one tribe was made up of coast-dwellers and the other of islanders. This antagonism was for a time reinforced by the appearance on the scene of white traders and labour against their traditional enemies. for some islanders the only way to acquire the eagerly sought European trade goods was by raids against coastal settlements. Also it is likely that many of the inlanders who ended up in the hands of labour recruiters arrived there through kidnapping by coastal middlemen.
In addition, much of the initial hostility shown to whites was the direct result of the latters' bahaviour. for every Parkinson visiting these shores - for every white who viewed the indigenes with intellectual curiosity and treated them with some degree of fairness and humanity - there were many others who considered them to be subhuman and handled them fraudulently and brutally. before some measure of colonial authority was established, the only constraint exercised by most traders and recruiters was their wish again to trade and recruit there some day. Here is Parkinson's description of the labour recruiters' part in this contact:
The recruiters concentrated their efforts on the filling of their ships. From place to place they went, searching the coast up and down with their boats, and, whether or not, came into conflict with the natives who could not make themselves understood, and who knew from experience and hearsay the methods of recruiting labourers which they regarded as pure kidnapping.
No wonder, then, that the Bougainvillians of that era earned reputations for hostility against whites, all whites. As Parkinson recorded:
Murders of white men were recorded every year, murders that were brought about by the victims' own fault, or, as was unfortunately the case, done to avenge the misdeeds of other recruiters. Every white person was regarded as an enemy, recruiter, trader or missionary; the crime of another has often caused the death of a perfectly harmless and peaceful man.
In 1902 the Catholic Society of Mary extended its missionary endeavours in the Solomon Islands by setting up a station on Bougainville's eastern coast, near Kieta. Then, in 1905 the German colonial administration at Rabaul established a post at Kieta, and at about the same time a few European planters and traders began to settle along the eastern and northern coasts of Bougainville and along Buka's western and southern coasts. Between 1899 (when these islands were officially annexed) and 1905, German political control - such as it was - was administered by means of occasional visits of officials from Rabaul.
BOUGAINVILLE HISTORY 2. (Contacts With Europeans - The German Era )
German merchants and shipping firms began to move into the Pacific in the 1850s, intent upon building up a trade empire to equal or surpass Britain's. their first south Seas base was established at Apia, Samoa, in 1856. Within a few years they had extended their trading activities, including shore-based stores, to the Marshalls, the Gilberts (Kiribati), the Ellice (Tuvalu), Tonga and Fiji. About 1870 their agents became the first traders to brave the frontier hardships of New Britain, thereby becoming the forerunners of German sovereignty there. For a number of years after that the Germans' commercial operations were carried on without government backing' even the unification of Germany did not immediately change that, Bismarck having been initially opposed to colonials. In time, however, German merchants and patriots had their way, and the government adopted a policy in favour of empire and world-girdling naval powers, in deliberate competition with Britain.
The first product of this policy change in the south Sea was in the form of even stronger support for German firms in New guinea. In 1884 this led to annexation of northeast New gui8nea (Kaiser-Wilhemsland) and the Bismarck Archipelago - which, as noted earlier, prompted Britain's annexation of Papua. For a number of years thereafter the German government left it to the Newguinea-Kompagnie, the new colony's largest plantation and trading firm, to govern it. this arrangement worked more or less successfully (i.e., profitably) for a few years, mainly because of profits from tobacco-growing around New guinea's Astrolabe Bay. However, the company's losses elsewhere in the colony, plus the coast of trying to govern, forced it to turn administration over to the government in 1899, the year in which the colony's boundaries were extended to include Bougainville and Buka. After that, occasional visits were made to the latter by German officials but a permanent government station was not established there (at Kieta) until 1905.
Official German policy valued the colony principally as a source of raw materials and as a strategic outpost in Germany's expanding commercial and political empire. Insofar as the area's indigenous peoples figured in these objectives, they were looked upon mainly as private producers of raw materials, as labourers in European enterprises, as consumers of European manufactures, and a accessories of this official policy it should be added that it was not indifferent to the indigenes' 'welfare'; it merely reflected the widespread European view of that era, that the best thing one could do for 'primitives' everywhere was to inculcate in them waitman's habits of work, thrift, civic orderliness, sexual morality, hygiene, religion, etc. Some whites in the colony dealt with the indigenes as if they were less than human and hence to be exploited like domesticated animals, but official policy was more positive and humane, especially under the aegis of Dr Albert Hahl, whose tenure of governorship lasted from 1896 to 1914.
From 1899 to 1914 the principal commercial activity on Bougainville and Buka was growing coconuts for export. by 1914 nearly 30,000 hectares of land on Bougainville-Buka had been alienated by whites, principally for coconut plantations. this represented only 3.3 per event of the islands' total land area, but some 10 per cent of all the areas suitable for growing coconuts, and a much larger proportion of such land favourably situated for commercially feasible production. The manual labour used on copra production was supplied mainly by the two islands' own indigenes. (Some efforts were made to employ Asians for such work, but this source proved in time to be too expensive and unreliable.) In addition, many of these islands' indigenes were employed to work on plantations elsewhere in the Pacific, especially in Samoa and, for r a while, in the British Solomon Islands. Some plantations were able to obtain some or all of their labour from nearby villages, either on a contract or non-contract basis, but all 'overseas' labour, that is all individuals having to be transported by boat from home area to place of individuals having to be transported under contract and was subject to Administration supervision.
The usual term of contract was three years and the legal minimum wage was five marks a month plus keep. (At that time a mark was roughly equal to a shilling.) Most employment were officially licensed to punish their labourers physically, usually by flogging, for breaches of discipline, and when runaways were caught they were forcibly returned to work, if necessary by armed police. On the other hand the Administration attempted to see to it that such labourers were fed, housed and doctored well enough to keep them active and reasonably healthy, and their employers were required to repatriate them at the end of their contracts. The Administration attempted to ensure that any individual entering into a labour contract did so voluntarily. However, the methods whereby unsophisticated indigens were usually recruited - by inducements that never materialized, or in terms that they did not comprehend - rendered this measure meaningless. for many indigenes the first inkling of what a contract meant occurred only when they found themselves forcibly detaianed at work in places without native women and far from home.
Contemporary apologists for this indenture system asserted that forced disciplined labour of this kind was a civilizing influence, the best way to transform barbarous and inherently lazy natives into useful and presumably happier members of the wider colonial society. It was even held that such work was essential to save them from the mental and physical stagnation that allegedly resulted when the stimulus of intertribal warfare was denied them. (As we shall see, the white stereotyped that 'natives' are 'lazy', like those concerning their sexual morals, and religious beliefs, is both ancient and durable.) As for other effects of working and living on a white-owned plantation, it is questionable how much civilization rubbed off onto men who were herded together in barracks and work gangs, and consigned to such ranks as bush clearing and coconut splitting.
The long-term absence of a labourer also affected his home community. Most indigenous communities of Bougainville-Buka were so small and closely knit that the absence of several of their productive male members left them economically and socially upset; households were left without male food producers, and families without husbands and fathers. In some instances the proportion of absent males was so large and birth rates fell so sharply that the authorities attempted to limit recruiting, through as much from concern for future labour supply as for the welfare of the communities themselves. Some plantations were able to draw much of their labour from neighbouring settlements, with or without contract. From the indigenes; point of view, this arrangement was far better, the labourers were able to earn some cash income without giving up their familiar satisfactions, and their communities were able to maintain a more normal way of life.
Although a large proportion of the colony's copra exports was produced by the indigenes in their own small groves, the German authorities were concerned mainly with the white-owned plantations. Very little was done to transform the indigenes into successful independent producers, or to stimulate other forms of indigenous economic enterprise. Instead the German authorities sought to civilize their charges by organizing them into an administrative hierarchy, and by requiring them to pay a head tax and to work without compensation on public projects. As soon as any indigenous community was brought under 'control', i.e., as soon as it was made reasonably safe for whites to visit it to trade or recruit labour, one of its residents was appointed to the office of luluai (the word for chief in one of th4 languages of New Britain). The German official in charge usually made an effort to appoint the community's established leader, or at least one of its more respected elders, but often the office was given to the most ingratiating man. (In many instances a community's real leader shoe not to occupy this office and put forward a nonentity instead.) The duties given to a luluai were varied: collection of the annul head tax, supervision and government recruiters, arbitration of minor local disputes, etc. Instead of a salary, such officials received 10 per cent of the tax money collected by them, and they were given badges of office in the form of a bat and a silver-beaded stick.
To assist the luluai there was also appointed an interpreter (tultul), and a medical orderly (doctorboy). The former was a man with some fluency in Pidgin, usually an ex-plantation labourer. The latter's job was to dispense bandages and simple medicines and to enforce elementary sanitation measures. Under German administration all physically fit indigenous males past childhood were required to contribute unpaid work on public projects for up to four weeks a year. such projects included road-building and a maintenance, and work on government plantations and stations. In addition, forced labour of this kind was used as a means of punishing fractious individuals and, more generally, as a device for inculcating indigenes with the civilized value of sustained physical work on behalf of 'public welfare'. The public welfare in question was, of course, chiefly that the colonial authorities and businesses.
The system of taxation introduced by the German authorities was regarded by them more as a civilizing device than a source of revenue. When an area was first brought under administrative control it became subject to taxation, but on a graduated scale. In highly colonized areas, like the area around Rabaul, where the indigenes had many opportunities to earn money, the tax rate was ten marks a year. Elsewhere it was seven, or five, marks a year, according to the area's state of commercial development. Where taxation applied, every physically fit male over about twelve years of age was assessed, except for a white for at least ten months during the current tax year. for those taxable individuals unable to pay, the alternative was work on a public project for about fourteen extra days a year. Whether or not this taxation helped to civilize the indigenes, it undoubtedly contributed to the economic progress of the colony, both by encouraging work on white-owned enterprises and in the production by indigenes of cash-earning crops. It is doubtful, however, that it served to educate those taxed in the virtuous necessity of taxation as a duty of responsible citizenship.
As for other measures of education, the German authorities left formal schooling, such as it was, almost entirely in mission hands. What effects did these colony-wide policies and practices have on Bougainville-Buka? By 1914, large numbers of Bougainvillians were employed on plantation s, both locally and in the Bismarck Archipelago. They were generally known as 'Buka boys', and easily identified as such by their darker skin colour'; they had become favourably known for their industrious ness and what seemed to be eagerness to learn new skills. but exactly how many were so engaged and that proportion of them worked away from home is not recorded. What is certain, however, is that these two islands were only partially under the Administration's control. Bika, being smaller, less mountainous, and nearer to Rabaul, was better explored and subjugated, as was the northern end of Bougainville and the coastal areas immediately north and south of Kieta. the rest of the larger island was uncontrolled, the Greater Buin Plain - where the usual state of intertribal warfare was further complicated by the illegal recruiting of labourers for plantations in the British Solomon Islands. At one point it was proposed to set up a government station on the Buin coast to assist 'in pacifying the tribes, who even at the present time have pitched battles, and render accessible to (legal) recruiting this virile stamp of men. Occasional (official) tours and punitive expeditions cannot cr4eate quietude in these regions. (From the official Report on New Guinea, quoted in Rowley 1958, p..5)
The first whites to establish permanent residence on Bougainville-Buka were Marist missionaries, who founded a station at Kieta in 1902. Three years previously the mission had set up headquarters on Shrotland Island, and prior to the move to Kieta had begun to win Bougainvillian converts in the person of the many young people who became workers and trainees at the Shortland station. (Then and previously, it will be recalled, there was frequent contact between Shortland Islanders and the Buin-speaking peoples of southeast Bougainville. Many of the latter lived on Shortland in a stage of benign semi-bondage or of concubinage.) The German authorities encouraged the Marists to extend their influence on Bougainville-Buka itself - including the acquisition of land - but more with a view to economic development than to evangelization.
By 1906 relations between whites and coast-dwelling Bougianvillians had reached a state of peaceable interaction. Here are some extracts from an account by Parkinson, who, it will be recalled, was the German planter based in Rabaul who made frequent visits to these islands trading and recruiting labourers for New Britain plantations. this account, which is translated freely, is in the form of a travelogue describing the coasts of the larger island. Only those parts dealing with the inhabited strips of the coasts are included here. It may be safely concluded that the remaining coastal areas contained no indigenous settlements of any size, except those along the southwest coast which Parkinson did not include in his circuit. Travelling north from Bougainville's southeast point, Cape Friendship, he first mentions indigenes in his description of the mouth of the Luluai River, where he records the presence of:
small canoes drawn up along the banks, which indicate the proximity of indigenes - a conclusion that is borne out by the sight of some native gardens along both banks of the river ...
At the mouth of the Luluai there are usually many indigenes to be seen, and although they are invariably armed with their bows and barbed arrows they are not as dangerous as they seem. they came to this spot to fish, their actual settlements being north of here in the Kaianu district. ...
North of the Lulua the steep and deeply fissured foothills of the Crown Prince Range reach almost to the coast, and in Kaianu they terminate abruptly at the coast itself. the palm-shaded houses of the villages in this area are built on the hillside slopes, and far inland the sight of forest clearings and rising columns of smoke indicates the presence of native gardens. ...
North of Kaianu is the district of Koromira whose coastal area is well populated. According to reports, inland Koromira is also well people, and by indigenes who are described by the coast dwellers as being so warlike that the latter must keep themselves continuously armed. (This is the characteristic way that coast dwellers describe their inland neighbours in this part of the world.) ...
Proceeding north along the coast we came to the village of Toboroi whose inhabitants are a peaceful folk who came originally from Shortland Island. during the period when the great Shortland chief, Gorai, was extending his rule over much of south Bougainville, the Toboroi people constituted his northern-most outpost. ... Next comes the Toboroi roman Catholic Mission which was established in 1902 (the first permanent European settlement on the island), and after that Kieta, where a police station has recently been set up by the German administration.
Further along, in Arawa Bay, one is treated to a sight which is becoming increasingly rare in the South Seas. From time to time the mountaineers who live inland from Arawa come down to the coast, either to fish or to view with wonder the sight of a European vessel. they come in throngs, of both sexes and all ages, mainly for mutual protection but perhaps also because it would be unsafe to leave anyone behind if the men alone were to come (since no village is able to trust its neighbours). They arrive completely naked, their black bodies painted red or white, and carrying their bows and arrows and spears. these wild-looking bands rush at the visitors with loud cries, but they turn out to be quite harmless. Their shouts and gesticulations are simply their way of expressing excitement and astonishment at the unfamiliar sight of whites. Everything we possessed excited their amazement and wonder, whether it be a piece of coloured calico, a height-hued bead, a mirror, a knife, an axe, a fishhook, or whatever. They readily exchange their finely wrought weapons for cheap trinkets, behaving like children who have just en given a long-wanted toy. In due course even the females overcome their initial shyness and crowd around us to clamour for their share of the beautiful new things. Speaking of the women, while many of the young girls are favoured with strong slender bodies and pleasant faces and ivory white teeth, the older ones, with their wrinkled skin and deeply furrowed faces, look like nothing so much as Blocksberg witches. . . .
In recent years it has been possible to recruit some of these mountaineer males to work on plantations in the Bismarck Archipelago. After they have served out their indentures and returned home they will probably, through their example, influence a large number of their fellows to engage in works away from home. . . .
Continuing north along the coast some fourteen kilometres past Cape Mabiri, one comes to the village of Bagovegove which is located in what evidently is a very vulnerable position. When I first visited this village in 1886 it had just been rebuilt after having been destroyed by hostile mountain-dwellers. In 1889 it it was again wiped out by the latter, to be rebuilt in 1894, and again burnt to the ground by the same enemies in 1895. However, since its last reconstruction in 1898, it has survived unscathed, mainly because of its reinforcement by immigrants from north Bougainville and east Buka. On my visit to Bagovegove in 1902 I counted eighteen large war canoes and over fifty ordinary ones, which bore witness to a large population and was confirmed by the sight of swarms of men, women and children around the houses built along the beach. In 1889 I also spotted a small village, Sapiu, about one kilometre south of Bagovegove, but this was subsequently destroyed by the mountain people and evidently not rebuilt. . . .
Inland from Bagovegove and Sapiu and south of the latter is an extensive area of swampy terrain, and the inlanders who live on the higher ground around it are described by the coastal peoples as being fierce and unrelenting cannibals, ever eager to capture victims either by open attack or ambush. Now whether it is the inlanders who are the real aggressors, or the coastal dwellers themselves, I am not able to prove. I am however inclined to the belief that it is the latter who are the original aggressors, in their eagerness for bloodletting and booty, and that the actions of the inlanders are nothing other than reprisals. . . .
the inhabitants of the strip of coast, known as the Numanuma area, have on occasion been hostile to whites as well as to their inland neighbours. In the 1870s, for example, the small trading steamer Ripple was attacked here by the local people; its captain, a Mr Ferguson, was murdered, along with several of his crew. Although the handful of surviving crew members were badly wounded, they managed to pull up anchor and escape. 'Revenge was not long in coming. It happened that Captain Ferguson enjoyed the friendship of the Shortland chief, Gorai, and the latter sent a fleet of warriors who wiped out Numanuma and its inhabitants during a month long campaign. Since that time the indigenes hereabouts have remained more or less peaceful (toward Whites), but they continue to bear the reputation of being the most untrustworthy people in Bougainville. . . .
Between Numanuma and Point Nehus (now the site of Inus plantation) are many small inlets and flat stretches of beach which are ideally suited to native settlement. Indeed, before 1888 there were numerous settlements just here, but now the only remains of them consist of their coconut palms. . . .
Just north of Point Nehus the mountains rise abruptly behind the narrow coastal plain and form the site for many native settlements, their well-built houses, laid out in rows, being clearly visible from the coast. continuing north towards Cape l'Averdy, the coastal plain broadens and the foothills become less steep. In the waters off these shores one almost always sees canoes, engaged either in fishing or in trade expeditions to nearby settlements. . . .
Off Bougainville's northeast cape lies the inhabited island of Teop, but on the mainland opposite Teop one has to go a considerable distance inland before reaching any settlements, on account of the continual state of warfare between Teop and the inlanders. the latt4er are industrious gardeners; on occasion they bring large quantities of produce, mainly taro, down to the beach to trade. In addition they are also very warlike and are rarely to be seen unarmed. On the various occasions when I have visited them in them in their mountain village, I have invariably found them to be friendly and hospitable, but such relation do not obtain between people of separate village. In every settlement I have visited unexpectedly he must not consider it to be a sign of hostility to him if he finds himself suddenly confronted with a crowd of men threatening him with their weapons; for, as soon as he is recognized, his hosts' hostility will immediately give way to joyous greetings. Future exploring expeditions to this region need fear no great difficulties from the local indigenes, provided that their leaders exercise tact and maintain calm. However, a high-handed attitude on the part of the visitors, or an unjust action or display of violence, will quickly have the effect of turning friendship into hostility, and will force the expedition to turn back. . . .
The harbour of Cape l'Averdy could become an excellent base for opening up the nearby countryside, which contains large areas suitable for cultivation and which could be developed without damage to the interests of the indigenes. In fact, in my opinion there are many places on Bougainville where the local indigenes would welcome the establishment of plantations, in which their own labour would be involved. for not only would this kind of development contribute to more peaceful relations among the different tribes in the areas in question, but it would provide markets for the indigenes' own garden produce. . . .
Some four kilometres west of the harbour at Cape l'Averby lies the small harbour and village of Tinputz. Then, for the next twelve kilometres or so up to Laua Harbvour, the coast itself is uninhabited, the nearest settlements being a long way inland. Within this uninhabited stretch of coastland are many thousands of hectares of excellent agricultural land, the best in all northern Bougainville. here also are several fine harbours, numerous year-round streams, good soil, regular rainfall - and no indigenous settlements to be disturbed by the establishment of plantations. Moreover, the area further inland and the nearby districts contain a sizeable population already accustomed to sending young men away to work . . . .
West of Bantu Bay the coastline becomes high and steep, but here and there are to be seen shallow little bays bordered by sandy beaches which provide sites for a number of indigenous settlements. Here along the coast one frequently meets fleets of twenty and thirty canoes, each one containing twenty to thirty people, there being a lively trade between here and Buka. In addition to the beach villages found along this stretch of coast there are a number of others located along the top of the seaside cliffs. In fact, for a number of years this area has been a major source of plantation labour; the local people are less timid of whites than their fellow islanders elsewhere, and it is possible to communicate with them in Pidgin English. . . .
Continuing westward through Buka Passage and south of the island of Sohano we enter a very large bay, bordered on the east by the Sailo Peninsula and protected on the west by the Taiof and a number of other smaller islands. Here we are visited by indigenes whom we have met before, on the other side of the peninsula. this time, however, they are travelling not in their large war- or sea-going craft, but in small outrigger canoes, or even on roughly constructed rafts. the have crossed the narrow peninsula to fish in these relatively calm water, and evidently find the canoes and rafts better suited to this activity than their larger craft. the whole of the peninsula is given over to cultivation, mostly of taro and banana. . . .
Southward along Bougainville's west coast one passes the foothills of the mighty Emperor Range, and in some of the coastal valleys of the foothills are to be seen small garden clearings. The mountains hereabouts are said gto be well populated, but the inhabitants are reputed to be hostile to all outsiders. . . .
Further along one enters broad Empress Augusta Bay, which acquired an evil reputation during the era of uncontrolled labour recruiting for the plantations of Australia and Fiji. Time after time recruiting vessels were attacked by the local indigenes and all their people killed. Since that era, however, the situation here has greatly changed. the coastal villages, now largely depopulated through emigration, are threatened by the inland mountaineers. ?Scarcely a quarter of the inhabitants of this once thickly populated coastal area now remain, and some whole villages have entirely disappeared. 'And what used to be a dangerously unfriendly populace has become far less so; in my frequent visits to the surviving villages I invariably meet with a hospitable reception. These villages are regularly visited by traders from Shortland Island, and for the past few years no whites have been attacked.
Turning now to the island of Buka, it is quite densely populated, and for this reason alone does not provide much opportunity for the establishment of European plantations. the indigenes of Buka belong to the same race as those of Bougainville, and have for many years been offering their services as labourers. . . .
Except fort the labour, however, neither Bougainville nor Buka has much to offer in the way of local produc4ts; and such produce as there is is usually acquired as a sideline by recruiting vessels. With respect to these island, but commerce in that area is largely in the hands of English traders based on Shortland Island, and is thus of little value to us Germans.
By 1914 additional Marist mission stations had been established at Patapatuai (Buin), Koromira, Torokina, and Burunotui (Buka); and the headquarters of the bishop had been transferred from Shortland to Kieta. Up to that point the Marists, mostly of French and German nationality, were the only missionaries at work on Bougainville-Buka, but their exclusive hold on the field was soon threatened from the Solomon Islands where Methodists were reaching out towards the north.
Yet another kind of waitman presence on Bougainville-Buka during the German era which must be mentioned was the handful of journalists, scientists, traders and recruiters whose visits were brief but whose influence may have been considerable.
This was the situation in 1914, when World War I convulsed Europe, and its effects were felt even in distant colonies. shortly after the outbreak of war, Australian authorities rounded up a motley band of volunteer s and shipped them to Rabaul. their commander accepted the surrender of the handful of German residents, and announced to the bewildered crowds of onlooking indigenes: 'No more 'um Kaiser; God save 'um King'. this declaration revealed just how unprepared they and their political leaders were to govern this huge, alien, and seemingly intractable addition to empire. From then until May 1921 the colony was administered by Australia under a military regime, but throughout this period most of the rules and practices established by the German s were continued. All German civilians taking an oath of neutrality were permitted to return to their properties and regular pursuits. such arrangements were not only in accord with the principles of international law of the time; they were also necessitated by the Australians' small numbers, their lack of tropical colonial experience, and their views on colonialism, which seem to have been almost identical with those of their predecessors. After a while whites were deprived of the personal right to punish their indigenous employees corporally, but in most other respects the German-established laws and practices regarding relations between whites and indigenes were maintained. During this period of military occupation the colony came to be viewed as a protective bastion for Australia, but its natural resources and native peoples continued to be treated mainly as colonial economic assets.
The Australian force at Rabaul was so small that three months passed before it was able to extend the occupation to Bougainville-Buka. On 9 December 1914 two companies of infantry and a machine-gun section landed at Kieta without opposition and accepted the surrender of the German district officer there. the German officials were imprisoned and returned to Rabaul; other German residents - missionaries, planters and merchants - were permitted to return to their regular pursuits after taking the oath of neutrality.
A small military garrison was stationed at Kieta, but is main efforts throughout the occupation period were aimed at punishing fractious indigenes. Little was accomplished in the way of extending the areas under administrative control. Plantation and trading stores continued to operate as before, including even the German-owned ones, whose managers were allowed to remain. By war's end, of the 30,000 hectares which had been alienated on Bougainville-Buka, including 1650 owned by the Marist mission, only one-third had been brought under cultivation. The only other major change that occurred during this period was brought about by missionaries. In 1911 the Methodist mission reached out from its New Georgia headquarters and established a station on Treasury Island, just south of the Shortlands. It would be hard to decide whether the Marists then put more energy into converting islanders from heathenism or saving them from the threat of Protestantism. Some of the Marists were under the impression that the German authorities had granted their mission exclusive rights on Bougainville-Buka, this was not officially so, but until the Australian occupation the Marists had the fiekd to themselves. From their base on Treasury Island the Methodists had made a brief sortie into the Siwai area of southern Bougainville in 1916, and then settled down to stay in 1920. Their entry there had been facilitated by the traditional relationship that existed between the Treasury Islanders and the Siwai; a similar factor had earlier provided the Catholic mission based on Shortland Island with entry into Buin.