Start eastwards from Heath Island—Naroopoo—Trading with Natives—Landing at Roux Island—Interview with the Chief—The Man with the club—Effect of a gunshot on the natives—Ellengowan Bay—Narrow Escape—The steam-whistle useful—Attempt to go inland unsuccessful—Amazons—Women chief instigators of quarrels—Toulon Island—The real “Amazons’ Land”—How the report arose—Cloudy Bay—Interview with the Chief—Sandbank Bay—A hurried time—Dufaure Island—Attack on Mr. Chalmers by Aroma natives—Defended by some of the natives—Attack due to evil conduct of white men—Intentions of the natives—Heathen customs—Pigs—Planting—Trading—Sickness.
The Ellengowan had been thoroughly refitted at Sydney; and in the spring of 1878, accompanied by my wife, I embarked on a cruise from east to west along the south coast of New Guinea. The little steamer was commanded by Captain Dudfield, and manned by an efficient native crew. Communication was held with some two hundred villages, one hundred and five were personally visited, and ninety for the first time by a white man. Several bays, harbours, rivers, and islands were discovered and named; the country between Meikle and Orangerie Bays, together with that lying at the back of Kerepunu was explored, and the entire coast line from Keppel Point to McFarlane Harbour, traversed on foot.
In travelling through a new country, it is impossible not to have many experiences that may interest those at home, although to the traveller they may seem of little moment. In May, 1878, I began my journeys on New Guinea, in parts hereto unknown, and amongst tribes supposed to be hostile. I resolved, come what might, to travel unarmed, trusting to Him in whose work I was engaged, and feeling that no harm could come to me while in His care.
On leaving Heath Island, we really began on new and little-known seas and country, and we first anchored in a bay we called Inverary Bay. On landing, we were met by a few men, the others coming out with goods and chattels. We steamed round by the Leocadie, through what forms a good harbour for small vessels, and over by the sandbanks in Catamaran Bay. We called at Tanosina, to the east of the Leocadie, landing with caution, as these people had been rather troublesome on our first arrival at South Cape, and were very anxious to avenge the man shot on board the Mayri. They did not receive us heartily, and seemed inclined to be impudent, so I thought it best, after giving one or two presents, to get quietly to the boat and away. I may here say that in after-times these people were very friendly, and helped us much in our work. We visited all round the bay, returning to South Cape.