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ORIGINAL DIARY HELD UNDER
P.M.B MANUSCRIPT NO. 8
PACIFIC MANUSCRIPTS BUREAU
THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL
DIARY FOR THE YEAR
MAURICE MYLES WITTS
RESEARCH AND PHOTO COPIES OBTAINED BY HIS GREAT GRANDSON
GRANT ADAM JONES
TRANSCRIBED BY HIS GRANDSON
PAUL LESLEY JONES
WITH HELP ON THE FOLLOW UP NOTES BY HIS DAUGHTER
NANCY MABEL HASSALL
Word/names that could not be deciphered are represented <?>
Words/names were spelling could be incorrect---- <example>
SUNDAY 1 JANUARY Commonwealth Day
Hurricane yesterday. Fine again to day.
20 inches rain fell during Sat. and Sunday.
MONDAY 2 JANUARY
Ringdore came in with top mast broken and sails blown to ribbons- also one boat missing.
A.S.Thomas J.Fysh and I started to Malo 6pm. Reached Turtle Bay 12 midnight.
WENDESDAY 4 JANUARY
Held committee meeting during morning.
Present: L Shepherd (chair)
Decided to send representative (the
Came up to Second Channel. Anchors off Michelar's.
THURSDAY 5 JANUARY
Stopped all day at the Second channel- old Chatinier repairing rudder.
15 ton Schooner he is making for <?> nearly finished.
Spent evening up at Michelar's
FRIDAY 6 JANUARY
Reached Petersen's place 3pm. Stayed night.
SATURDAY 7 JANUARY
Took Wells up to
SUNDAY 8 JANUARY
Came home found every thing well.
MONDAY 9 JANUARY
Planted some Corn for experiment.FRIDAY 20 JANUARY
S/S Matarrbe came in this morning: No reply to report I sent in last time, re shooting affair on Boundary of my Top Blacks. That is the Gorp. all over.
Meanwhile there is a general Scare here, the local natives are afraid to venture off their own garden for fear of getting shot. A Lelak woman says she saw 3 men from Thingaru's house the other day-Sepirh, Rervah, and Hagarol. Asked her not to let anyone know she had seen them.
At the school they are no less frightened, while T. B's boys are panicky; watching at night and going carefully by day. So far mine are splendid and don't seem to have caught the infection.
Thingaru is said to have threatened to wipe out all the white people here first, and then proceed with the natives.
THURSDAY 26 JANUARY Foundation day
Sent by D.S.J
Letters to Nell, 2 for HBm.C,
Mab 2 (2nd one containing draft for £5.
Started work to-day; 6 Middle Santo boys.
Sent by D.S.J. Deeds for Depositing with Court to W.L.B.
FRIDAY 27 JANUARY
P.S.Thomas left for
Cutting from newspaper included this page as follows
Dec. 23rd. 1910
STORES WRECKED AND
steamer Makambo, which arrived yesterday afternoon from the New Hebrides,
brings news of a severe earthquake at the
WEDNESDAY 1 FEBRUARY
The Thingaru scare still continuous unabated.
It received a certain stimulus yesterday when it became known that he and a chief named Neath- a bad egg- had between them shot 2 men a woman and a child- up Port Olry way.
Thingaru- says he will have much pleasure in "doing for" the one that sends letters to the Government about him. That's me! Well I am always more or less prepared for a surprise by night but I wont lose a great deal of sleep over the matter.
If only we could go up and catch he and his tribe some dark night, but it is said that they never sleep in their houses now, which looks as though they are expecting that we will make a move of that sort.
THURSDAY 2 FEBRUARY
Just before dawn this morning I was awakened by what seemed to be somebody gently closing the store door. I got up and gazed out through the window. There was just light enough to make out the form of a man- apparently a bush native standing in the yam house with what appeared to be a musket in his hand. He was peering across at my window I thought. I did not wait for more, but slipped out with a gun and called him- only to find that he was one of my own boys with an axe in his hand, he had had fever, and feeling cold, had come down to the store where he new the axes are kept. He wanted to cut some firewood for his fire.
------------ Willie- Started to lay up- Dysentery.
FRIDAY 3 FEBRUARY
Wulikar- one of
1 tablespoon to ½ pint warm water.
Dr.Footes Recipe for Dysentery: Table salt 4 grams Baking soda 4 grams Water 1 pint Dose 1 wine glass every 2 hours Put up house for patient so as to isolate him . Size of House 6x8: Started with 3 boys at 11 o'clock. finished before sundown (Exactly 5 hours)
Put on old leaf- discarded from
- How Yams Originated - Taro had been growing since any one could remember.
Old Moli- the oldest man in the district remembers his
Grandfathers Taro gardens- but Yam had not been heard of.
One day however a woman named Nonol had been at work in the taro beds. On leaving she was terrified to see a huge snake on the path in front of her. By making a detour through the bush she though to evade this reptile, but the snake was always close behind. At last she sank to the ground from sheer exhaustion, and her pursuer made ready for a final spring, but at that very moment Sari the Great Spirit, sometimes in one form, sometimes in another, now in the form of a stalwart young man, stepped forward, club in hand, and with one blow dispatched the offending snake. Then with a knife he cut it in ten pieces, each a foot and these he carefully planted in the ground. In time vines grew from each of the holes, and one day some native more curious or more fearless than his fellows, dug down to see what was beneath the surface. After a deal of digging he unearthed a long slender succulent Yam. Instinct no doubt told him what to do with it. Any way after cooking, it was found so good that the remaining nine also were soon being roasted, the tops were replanted, and from them a never failing supply has ever since been kept.
SATURDAY 4 FEBRUARY
Pallia- French Police boat (Captain Yancker) called in last night on her return from the Banks.
Police Captain held a Conference on board to decide what measures had best be taken with regards to Thingaru's and Co/. who have now killed 5 and wounded 1.
He has only half a dozen police
on board, so it was decided that he should run to
We the Britishers made our statements (re the urgency of having Thingaru taken away) and duly signed them.
Later Pire Boxhu (Who has also been threatened) did likewise.
TUESDAY 7 FEBRUARY
Boys finished, 3 acre strip (in 1 day- 10 boys)
WEDNESDAY 8 FEBRUARY
Millikar to work again to day. Seram 1 day off+ ½ yesterday= 1 ½
With Hob, Peter went over to Lathu for Copra. Finished both sides (about 300) Took <ull> out of nuts on the spot (much better that way) Boys cleaning Top (Plateau Blocks)
THURSDAY 9 FEBRUARY
Millikar of work again =
8 days Seran "
= 2 " Put wire-netting fence between
stockyard and<Leo> Robert Petersen came in during night.
Brought his Chinese cook to doctor. Hand blown off with dynamite, those
FRIDAY 10 FEBRUARY
Four of the "Heavy Ones" lit out for home this morning after having got their pay.
They have been sick most of the time since they started. Their ailments (most of which they bought with them) include toothache; fever and dysentery. I've had the pleasure of feeding them and attending to them for a fortnight, and now that they are fit to walk about, they decide to go home, say that they are afraid if they stayed any longer that would die. Made the usual inane promise of returning at some future (unspecified) date to work. Said I "Don't!", Men who work 3 days out of 14 are not much use to me.
They blame their sickness to the fact that I wouldn't let them squat about cooking each at his own fire. They suffer from that awful cast system, which cannot permit of certain persons eating victuals cooked at other persons fires etc. They are a lovely crowd.
Asked how there <?> (who has been here for 12 months) has managed to survive, they confess that it is different in his case "Kai Kaving" all right ( as they call eating in a more or less civilized fashion) they explained, has no evil effects on any one working for a longer period than 6 months. Less than the half year- Yes he would certainly suffer if he were so reckless as to eat a potato cooked in a fellow- workman's saucepan. A piece of pork of the feminine gender (were it only as big as a sixpence) would positively seal his doom. Very doubtful if he would live even to get home.
The local natives, so far as their customs go (excepting for a playful habit of shooting one another) are Angels compared with the scraggy gentry from the interior.
FRIDAY 17 FEBRUARY
Put 3 Specimens (Large White Grub) Transition Stage and Mature Beetle in Formalin,(about 20%) Too strong probably.
I- says 5% should be sufficient for samples.
THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY
S/S Malaita came in noon. Rough sea in bay.
Sold ½ Ton Copra (15/0/0 per Ton)
6 Packages from Mab and 1 from Hordern's arrived chest of drawers with out the key, cannot get it open.
FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY
T.Thomas got from here 400 seed nuts.
Previous (growing) 100
Most dreadfully hot night. Sitting here writing with only thin pajamas on, perspiration rolling down my face and arms.
FRIDAY 17 MARCH- St. Patrick
This morning the
Theo Thomas and I were to
accompany them on the expedition to the far place- Thingrau's. Also to get
It was decided that Capt. Jancker, with his 10 Police and half of the volunteers, should go up by boat after night fall, to Port Olry , and under Pere Boxhu's guidance, march on Neath's village about midnight and surprise and take him. They were quietly surrounding the place, when a dog barked, and breaking through the end and sides of the big sleeping house, the natives fled into the bush, firing as they went. The Police returned the fire, killing two men, but unfortunately the Chief escaped unharmed.
We of the other party were even less successful: Our native guide- the only man who really new the road to Thingaru’s village- deserted. We left at 9pm. and bored our way through a image of very bad bush tracks by feeble moonlight, By 4am we had reached Roneal's village, which is within a couple of miles of Thingaru's, and as no one new the road further, we decided ask Roneal to supply us with a guide. We believed him to be friendly. But when we called out persuasively the sleeping natives bounded through the far end of the house and stampeded off into the bush. Nor could we get within speaking distance of them again. We had lost some valuable time, and day was beginning to break. We went on another mile, but even had we known the road it was now to late to think of surprising such a wily one as Thingaru. So after refreshing ourselves on Nebharu's oranges, we began a weary return march, reaching home 3pm.- 18 hours, at least 16 of which had been solid walking and, thanks to our guide- all for nothing.
TUESDAY 21 MARCH
At 3pm, the combined Police under Captains Horrorell and Jancker started out again for the Bush. T. Thomas and I again accompanied them, and we had gathered up a strong (that is numerically at least) party of native volunteers. Of the latter there were about 60 in all roughly divided into about 3 equal portions from the Mission Station, Peter and Thomas side.
Of this Buffalo Brigade I was placed in command and we formed the Rear guard.
At 6 we halted. It had been drizzling in the bush and we were more or less wet through. Squatting down in the shelter of big trees, we had our supper. Dr. Mackenzie had let us have his Thermos flask for the trip, and we four white men had a most delicious cup of tea each, hot as when made six hours before.
We camped until 12 o’clock, vainly endeavoring to get to sleep. It was probably a relief to all when at 12 the moon rose and we started our tramp.
This time we had our Guide on a rope- to make sure of him.
WEDNESDAY 22 MARCH
At 4 o’clock we were within 400 yards of Thingaru's house- creeping along in single file, very cautiously, very silently.
I was in the extreme rear, and fancied I could hear twigs snapping behind. I thought we were perhaps being followed. But just then from the front came hollow, echoing report of two guns fired almost together, followed by a volley from the Police.
Again we had failed, the Bushmen were waiting for us, planted within 10 paces or so of the road.
The first shot had wounded our guide, but the firing from our line caused the planners of this pretty little ambush to draw off a bit.
We waited just where we were until daylight and then took possession of Thingaru's house and yam garden.
The house was from 25 to 30 yards long, and had sleeping accommodation for about 15 men.
After destroying the yam, we set alight to this big leaf house and during most of the time thus occupied, we were being fired at from the thick bush near by, by the a larger number of men than we would have thought possible. (It appears that Roneals men (15 or 20) and Nebhars, had joined with Thingaru.) Three times I put my Buffaloes round the outer fence as a picket for the front, and each time they ran in. We could hear the Bushmen talking 30 yards away but could not see any of them. but we fired away in the direction of the voices and two of them were killed for a certainty (some reports say 3).
We had nearly finished our work
of demolition, When I was called in from the outer fence to find that T.
Thomas had been knocked over by two bullets- one of which had passed
through the lower extremity of the left lung, the other having
lodged in the upper thigh. Besides him was a
The Buffalo Brigade was getting
quite panic-stricken and it was with difficulty I could get sufficient men
to carry the stretchers. When however soon after, another
But the horror of that return march. Four wounded men to be taken a distance of 15 miles over an awful road. More than once I had to shoulder a man myself and stager a long a few hundred yards.
Wus and Sairdair died on the road.
The sun was low when we reached
I toddled off home where I drank
innumerable cups of tea. We had neither water nor food since 6 o’clock the
previous evening. The man that carried my water bottle was amongst the
deserters, as also was Nethgar, whom I had entrusted with our provision
basket. Dr. Mackenzie’s Thermos and Captain Harrowell's haversack-
containing his flask of
FRIDAY 24 MARCH
Word came through to-day from
Lewaria, that Thingaru was gathering all the men he could get, and was
going to make an attack on the
Captain H- took the matter
seriously. had the scrub cleared all round the
SATURDAY 25 MARCH- Annunciation- Lady Day
"Makambo" came in about sundown. Captain Harrowell got her to take a message down to the Second Channel where we knew the French Cruiser "Kersaint" to be.
No night attacks
SUNDAY 26 MARCH- 4th in Lent
This morning at day break both the "Makambo" and "Kersaint" were anchored in the bay.
Shortly afterwards Makambo went out, taking Mrs. Mackenzie and the 8 children away.
The "Kersaint" remained until
evening when she steamed out in rout for
It seems very strange the Mission station being turned into a Garrison Post, with sentries out, and armed men sleeping in reserve.
THURSDAY 6 APRIL
Cruiser Lersaint came in noon. Commissioners Kim and Martian on board.
Came of in afternoon. Drew up Proclamation offering a reward of £30 each for Thingaru. Neath and Roneal.
Decided to make
Besides these, as Commandant, I am
authorised to recruit 8
My appointment is "until further orders" Salary to be that of a Commandant of Constabulary- £200 per annum. time of appointment commences from (and including today)
Cash received. from the Government for payment of wages.
Rewards etc.= £60.
FRIDAY 7 APRIL
Recruited for a term of 6 months
from to day the following
"Kersaint" went out 8am taking detachment of Marines away, also Captains Harrowell and Janker with 4 men each.
This is my first night in charge, I found Corporal Komawha of the French Division fast asleep at 10pm. his hours of duty were from 6 till 12.
SATURDAY 8 APRIL
Corporal Sâk of the British section asleep while on duty tonight; which meant that the men on sentry 6 in all- instead of being taken off at 12 o’clock sharp (they had been on since 10pm.) were left until 1.
After all these men are only natives, and the 6-hour stretch from 6pm till 12, and 12 till 6am. is a bit long. Tomorrow night I will try 6 till 10. 10 till 2. 2 till 4. 4 till 6.
FRIDAY 14 APRIL- Good Friday
Caught French Corporal asleep again during night.
Says his head is bad, and his legs cold?
Had him paraded before Dr. M for medical examination, Doctor says nothing wrong with him.
SATURDAY 15 APRIL- Easter Eve
Rumours came thick from all quarters these times.
Its said that most of Thingaru's
men have left him, or at least that he has only 8 or 9 with him, and that
he with the remainder, has gone to Valitkar- a wild valley between his
At noon (I had just finished lunch). Tren came up with a tale of the Pere having caught Neath.
With four men (2 of the British, and 2 French)
I went up by dinghy at once to find that Neath was miles away, up by Quiros- no one new exactly were.
He had met the Pere by appointment the previous day to ask him to intercede with the Government on his behalf, but nothing further. Returned 11pm.
TUESDAY 25 APRIL
To come to hand per. Malaita
1 Box Biscuits
2 Bags Rice
2 Box Irons 6"
Malaita came in Dusk: Johnson on board. Received from him (about) £26:13:8 - £12:16: 8 = for Police as follows
Lce. Corp. Sâk 1: 8: 8
5 Privates @ £1 each= 5: 0: 0
6: 8: 8
And Balance £13:16: 9 (?) for Self
Note for next Steamer=
Thomas Short-landed = 3 pairs Cashmere Socks
1 box Kettles
SUNDAY 30 APRIL
Started from Hog Harbour 3am with 2 Privates from each of the Sections under my charge ie British, French and Nohai (Mission Police) Overland to Shark Bay- where the Guadeloupe is anchored, and said to be selling Gun powder to Bush natives
At Nathens's house got Iriget to
accompany us as Guide (Paid him 2/-)
Sent Iriget ahead to beach with 3/- to buy 1/- worth powder and 2/- Snider Cartridges.
Returned 15 minutes later with ¼ flask FFF Gunpowder But no Cartridges. Then sent Saru with 1/- to ask again for Cartridges. He returned with 5 Shot-Cartridges.
Then took Police aboard and searched ship for contraband.
Found 18 Snider Rifles in After
Cabin (the two Boats were provided with 5 Rifles (
Continued search. Found case
containing 165 tins of Gunpowder. These, together with 16 tins taken from
2nd Ships Boat ( in all 181 tins ) I sealed up- marking wax with Shill,
and addressed to
to be delivered to Monsieur Jenner unopened. Then left.
MONDAY 22 MAY
Started on Expedition to
Reported to Mr. King on board H.M.S. Prometheus before starting. Got 1 water bottle and one haversack from Mr. Johnson (1st officer ).
Sea heavy. Reached Port Olry an hour after dark- Stayed the night.
Next morning early left for Bush accompanied by Tain and Kussain (guides).
He sent back word that he was afraid to come.
Sent back message to say that if he did not come (and that quickly) I would go back for the Militia and take him. Shortly afterwards he came. Left him sitting on a log whilst I finished My lunch, then before 25 men made him "Sign" a paper promising (on condition that he receive a pardon for what he had done) that would never again shoot or cause to be shot any person man woman or child- or take any part against Government. Also that he would help us to capture Thingaru in every way in his power.
I further required him to come up whenever called upon to do so by those in Authority.
All of this carefully translated to him, so that he will have no excuse if he breaks his promise.
After seeing him sign paper, I drew Revolver from Haversack and put it to his head, explaining that if he ever dared to " Gammon " again that I would shoot him with every one of the six Cartridges the revolver contained.
Reached Port Olry dark. Slept there.
Returned hog harbour 24th May.
FRIDAY 26 MAY
Makambo came in 6am
Sent No.19 Pte. Mghriae back to
SATURDAY 27 MAY
Paid Mission Police up till June 9th.
The squared up post Ration of 25/-, but owe for 4 bags rice and 1 tin Biscuits still
= 4 Rice @ 10/- = £ 2: 0: 0
1 tin Bis. = 15: 0
£ 2:15: 0
TUESDAY 30 MAY
Left home before daybreak for
Had dinner ( and afterwards slept ) Tamarina.
Made arrangements with Hugo Kerr, Dawson, Wells and Hoffman to come up on the following Monday if I sent word before 6pm. on that day.
Natow and Thingaru's Sing Sing is on Wednesday 7th and we would need to take up positions on the night of the 6th.
Mr. K-wanted it understood that if the War Ship passed on her way north on or before Monday that they would not go.
Gave Mr. Boothes letters to post at Second Channel.
WEDNESDAY 31 MAY
THURSDAY 1 JUNE
SATURDAY 3 JUNE- Kings birthday
Asked A.S.T. if he would run
down in Phyllis to
Did not seem to keen on it, but said " Yes "
SUNDAY 4 JUNE- Whit Sunday
Received per St Michail letter from Acting Commandant, British Section N.<?>.C. letter admonishing me for having boarded and searching the French ship Guadeloupe for Contraband, which I new to be there. But being as much a French Official as a British, why should I not search a French vessel, Particularly when the safety of white residents- both British and French- would have endangered by my not having done so.
MONDAY 5 JUNE
Waiting and watching anxiously for sign of "Prometheus" so much depends on her coming in to-night.
11am. Asked A.S.T. what time he
would be a start for
I might have sent word overland yesterday had I known, but now tis too late.
TUESDAY 6 JUNE
No Sign of Prometheus Yet its 8pm. and now to late! What the devil are they doing. No such chance will occur again probably, but these pampered snails let it go unconcernedly.
Worst of it, they instructed me not to go without them and now its too late for any of us to take up a position, and I have been almost living in the bush getting things in train for there arrival. In the first place it took me nearly two weeks to find out the correct date of the Sing Sing, and the particular road on which Thingaru and his men must travel to reach Natow's village where the ceremony is to be held to-morrow.
WEDNESDAY 7 JUNE
Mission Police paid up till to-day (tonight)
SATURDAY 10 JUNE
Made attempt to get up to Thingaru's house by moonlight, but got blocked by bad roads.
Cut my way for 2 miles or more, but had to give it last.
SUNDAY 11 JUNE- Trinity Sunday
Ship St Michall ( Ballande's ) burned this morning 7am.
Native Empire boy badly burned about arms and face. no loss of life, but excepting £500 or £600 in cash every else went Captain and crew came here in 2 wale boats. Stayed over Monday and started for Second Channel 6am. on Tuesday morning.
TUESDAY 13 JUNE
Shifted Police over to Thomase's Corn Shed.
FRIDAY 16 JUNE
Went overland to Port OLry. Took 3 boys with me. Had to cut our way for miles. Road completely overgrown, or tangled up by late hurricane.
Took us 8 hours to go 10 miles. had lunch with Pere Boxhu and left Port Olry again on return trip 2pm. reached home 6pm.
SUNDAY 18 JUNE- 1st after Trinity
Had another try to get up to Thingaru's by moonlight. went as far as Almiror's during afternoon. Had supper there and waited until moon rose 12. Then I made a fresh start but not a man would put me on the road. Declared there was no direct road; but last year I came down from Thingaru's past Almiror on a road of a sort. tried to find it my self, but had no success, so came home 3am. Am about sick of these night wanderings about the bush to no to purpose.
I have now walked somewhere near 250 miles in connection with bush excursions. scouting etc. and I am about as far ahead as I was at the beginning. <Kreryone> wants to sool me on to Thingaru and C/o as though I were a public bulldog, but not one person will give the least assistance. In fact one does not know who to trust and who not to trust.
THURSDAY 22 JUNE
Coronation Day. Full dress uniform.
Took Militia over to the
SATURDAY 24 JUNE
Malaita arrived with Missionaries.
MONDAY 26 JUNE
H.M.S.Prometheus came in dusk. Reports all correct.
TUESDAY 27 JUNE
Prometheus remained at anchor. Thomases Fysh and I dined on board. Captain Warleigh.
Engineer Commander Mr little
Navigating Officer Mr Norwood
Captain's Secretary Mr Drayson
Sub Lieutenant Mr Wright
" " Mr Robinson (Aust)
Lieut. of Marines Mr Handley
WEDNESDAY 28 JUNE
Mr Paton <(Pangtuma)> has not arrived Synod yet was to have left Mallicollo Saturday last in launch Synod people very anxious.
Prometheus went south to look for him.
THURSDAY 29 JUNE
Prometheus came back noon
with Mr Paton on board. Found him at Tamprua. Batteries and Engine gave out, and he put into Tamprua until weather moderated.
Had a conference with Mr King and Captain Warleigh urged them to do something about capturing Hostile Chiefs. Seemed reluctant but promised to shell from Big bay, and send parties inland at some date to be arranged later.
Prometheus went out sundown: for
FRIDAY 30 JUNE
<Synod finished its Sittings>
Disbanded Auxiliary Police- Paid them off.
SATURDAY 1 JULY
Malaita came in ( to take Missionaries aboard 11pm.)
Reverent Gentlemen refused to go aboard as it would mean landing some of them on Sunday.
So Steamer went off again to Oba- to return tomorrow night, Dr Spicer on board came off.
SUNDAY 2 JULY- 3rd after Trinity
Gave Dr Spicer Photograph of Santo Woman.
SATURDAY 15 JULY
Attempted shooting of
3 women returning from
THURSDAY 20 JULY
Nereruy came down 4pm. to say that word had reached him of an attack upon Gussuoe's village by Thingaru and Roneal that night.
I hastened up with 10 men and took up position on road from Thingaru's, but though we waited all night and until sunrise next morning no one came. it is possible that he heard that we had been sent for and refrained from coming.
I issued 375 Snider cartridges,( 200 of which went to mission village in charge of Lien ) to various chiefs in this immediate neighbourhood whom I know to be friendly.
Consider it is the only way.
These Villages as they were without <protection>
Were <unduly> at the mercy of Thingaru and C/o, and lived in a state of terror.
Now they say they are alright.
SATURDAY 29 JULY
Left poor old Lelak and Larry and the wee small fellow. Had a last lunch of Biscuit and plum jam and a pannikin of tea before going on board.
Shipped 21 packages ( not counting 2 tin trunks, Basket and Row of Rings in cabin )
10¼ Tons Paid freight on 9 3/4 = £19:10: 0
Passage = 13:15: 0
£33: 5: 0
Took Police too (12)
SUNDAY 30 JULY
Got to <B?> <P?> (Oba) early this morning. Took his Copra ( about 30 bags on )
went on to Alberts, then anchored at Pindeys ( 20 tons here)
MONDAY 31 JULY
Went ashore at Pindeys in company with Mr Mc Laughlin, gave him a taste of Bread Fruit- the first he had tasted, not my first experience in that line.
Finished at Pindeys about noon- and then on to Joyces. Saw young <Ayton> here. anchored with small cutter Recruiting. Good look anyhow, I was awfully sorry to say good bye to him.
Strange place this Oba Native's Gardens away up near top of steep mountain- perhaps 500 feet above sea level.
Oh but it is a steaming hot day, no breeze of any kind and sun shining on whichever deck one happens to sit.
Left Mr Joyces place 4pm. for the banks.
TUESDAY 1 AUGUST
Reached Pakeha ( Captain Whitford's ) daylight, Choyer from rubber C/o. came aside in his launch. Took me back with him.
Surprised at the number of white men employed there. Choyer Manager, Haigh- Overseer, Northam- Engineer (launches), Joe Hawksbry- Carperter-Accountant and Bookkeeper, Blackburn- Storeman, and Piper (leaving) Skipper of "May Queen".
Choyer has fine 13 roomed ( and office ) house in a beautiful situation.
Old Choyer was very kind to me
indeed. He has staying with him also a French surveyor named Guirod-
formerly manager of the French
Mr Segoe and I stayed night ashore.
WEDNESDAY 2 AUGUST
Stayed ashore another happy day with Choyer and Haigh and Segoe.
Went aboard 4pm. Found Capt. Whitford and Mrs W- and 6 of there Children aboard. Old Frank with his hard face and earrings looks a real old Pirate.
Left Banks Group 6pm.
THURSDAY 3 AUGUST
Anchored at Ngugu (
<Dalrigmple> shipped 6 Tons of Copra.
Left his place 2pm.- called at Tasmate 4pm.
Checked Thomas Copra net 4 Ton
( A quantity of Sandalwood remains there )
Anchored for night at Tasirki
FRIDAY 4 AUGUST
Left Tasirki 7am. Reached <Tasmalaom> ( Clapcott's ) 9am. Left 10.30. reached Tarpoa 2
Mrs Thompson, <Maporu>, small baby got off.
Called at Abratare and Wills: Went ashore. Found <Segoe> there drinking tea. went on up to Shepherds, but wind to strong so ran back again to wills. Anchored night.
SATURDAY 5 AUGUST
Worked <?> to Barclay.
then on up to Shepherd's
TUESDAY 8 AUGUST
Reached Lamburnbu lunch time. Grean's out station.
( 4hrs walk across
Helped him ship 4 young cattle- pretty wild. Much excitement. Very Successful.
Ran down to
Promised to interview Brodgiak for <Mc Afce>. Enquired price of 26 foot boat - 4-6 HP. Engine? Says willing to sell £150
MONDAY 7 AUGUST
Finished <Rand> (Jimmie Wrights) then to Port Stanly. went ashore with Gillan in Launch, and missed seeing Corlette. Had tea with the Gilans. Mrs G. and three Children going up to Sydney Mr G and Maggie came on board for a trip round Maukula. Intend getting off when steamer returns to Onua ( Patons ).
Took on Flemmings Copra.
SUNDAY 6 AUGUST
Worked Nicola's, ran on to Achin ( Malekula ). Finished there on to Wala, went ashore Wala with Pedley and Mc Laughlin, saw big Sing Sing Grounds and magnificent collection of Pig Tusks, some of which described 2 complete Circles. As much as £5 have been offered for a pair of these latter, but the native would not sell.
WEDNESDAY 9 AUGUST
At Lamps place (
28000 trees of his own. Got Sample of Ficus Elastica ( rubber ) from one of his trees.
Finished working there 5pm. Ran up to Onua (Fred Paton's) were Gillan and I went ashore.
Took on Mr Paton ( for
Gillan decided to come across to <Ambiem> and get Harpares to run him back in launch.
THURSDAY 10 AUGUST
Reached Dip Point daylight. Very rough. Only held on long enough for Dr and Mrs Borrie and Madame Carmichael to come on.
Cleared out hurriedly could not even land Mr Frater's mail; to rough.
Came on to Epi. Anchored night
FRIDAY 11 AUGUST
Still to rough to work. Picked
So Mrs Quean and Miss Q.
have to come on to
SATURDAY 12 AUGUST
Ship taking in Copra and Corn at
Came on to
SUNDAY 13 AUGUST
Had a note from Harrowell asking
me to come off as soon as possible to stay with him while in
Went out to Erekor and Pango
Point for <Piania> with Captain Harrowell, Dr Adams ( Promtheus ),
Paymaster Parker ( Pro ),
MONDAY 14 AUGUST
Gave Evidence in the
TUESDAY 15 AUGUST
Had breakfast with Janqua- Commandant Militia -
Received balance of my pay from Gorp £56:19: 0 Previous 13:11: 0
Maurice Witts was born at their family station near Bombala NSW. on the 28 February 1877- the second youngest of 11 brothers and two sisters. His Fathers name was Alfred Ed Witts, and his mother's name was Sarah Anne.(Nee- Tivvy)
He went to school locally, and
finished his education at
He held a position as overseer of East Indian labourers with the Colonial Sugar Refining Company in Fegi for fourteen months and was held in high regard, until he resigned on the 9 July 1900
He served with the 2nd. N.P. Mounted
Rifles and had a rank of Quarter master sergeant in the war in
It was after this that he went
* *Arthur.S and Theo Thomas who has some mention in the preceding diary, were cousin's of Maurice Witts, Theo married a native girl.
The Diary ends 25 September 1911. It is thought that he was on his way back to Australia to reunite with Wife- Mabel (Whom he married in August 1907 at the Mission Station at Santo), and Their Daughter,Helen Kate, was born on the 23 October 1909 at the Mission Station, soon after Mabel's daughters birth and due to repeated severe Malaria attacks She left the plantation and returned to Australia were She stayed with Her Mother Kate (Nee- Tucker) and Father Lesley Herring on there Orchard at Beecroft NSW.
On the 20 November 1911 they
bought a place at Wyong NSW. Intending to run it as a dairy farm which
they called "Lelek", (The same name that he had called the
plantation in the
The Farm was not a great success, and it was during this time that Mabel's, parents died within a short time of each other, and it was with Mabel's share of the inheritance, (Which was considerable) that enabled them to sell the farm and purchase Willow Grange, a picturesque property of some 8 acres a mile out from Moss Vale on the Berrima road.
After his wife Mabel died (25 November 1942) he lived on, and in his later years was cared for by his daughter Betty, until at the age of eighty nine he died on 1 July 1966, and
was laid to rest with his wife in the Berrima cemetery NSW.
Note- The following was included in the preceding Diary under days March 27 to 30 1911, but as it was not part of daily happening was left out.
BASS AND FLINDERS
Two notable pilgrims in Australian history
If Governor Phillip were to visit
surely open those fine dark eyes of
his in astonishment at the change brought in two generations He would look
in vain for the Tank Stream from the bank of which he had cleared a space
just sufficient to form his first Settlement. Instead he would see the
stately Hotel Metropole and the Giant wool stores round the Quay, would
probably be bemused by the busy traffic of the surrounding streets. A
giant change indeed has taken place, in the centenary and a half since
Captain Phillip so able played his part in giving us our present beloved
city, for no community has ever been more completely isolated than the
first inhabitants of
They were three thousand miles away from the nearest white men; before them a great ocean, for the most part unexplored; behind them, an unknown Continent, an un-trodden waste, in which they formed but a speck. they were almost completely shut out from intercourse with the outside world, and few of them could have any hope any hope of ever returning to there native land-
But it was not desirable that Australia should always remain as unknown and unexplored as it then was, and seven years after the first settlement was made, two men arrived who were determined that it would not so remain.
When Governor Hunter arrived in 1795 he brought with him a young surgeon, George Bass, and a midshipman named Flinders.
They were both of them men of
admirable character, with lofty ambitions and a keen desire for
adventurous service- Within a month of their arrival they purchased a
small boat- about eight feet in length, which they christened the "Tom
Thumb". In this Cockle Shell they sailed out through the Heads, and, after
tossing for some time like a toy on a stormy sea, succeeded in entering
On their return Governor Hunter was so pleased with the chart that he gave them leave to make a longer expedition to the south. It was not until two days later that they found the place they were seeking, which turned out to be, not a river at all but the inlet now known as Port Hacking, on landing here, they found that their supply of Gunpowder had got wet from flying spray, and, in order to dry it again, they spread it out on a rock in the sun. While thus engaged a party of between Forty and fifty natives armed with spears and boomerangs came silently from the shadows to investigate, for the two unenviable men, the position was not a pleasant one, but the tactful Flinders, produced a bright pair of scissors, persuaded them one by one to sit on a rock while he trimmed their beards. It is a strange fact, and one for which I can personally vouch, but nothing pleases a blackfellow more than to have his whiskers clipped, and the stratagem not only diverted there attention and gained valuable time, but put them in such high good humour that they gave our heroes quite a pleasant send off- It is not on record whether Flinders made them a present of the scissors, but I guess he did.
When they reached
The also found that an accident had indirectly assisted exploring that very coast on which they had landed-
A vessel called the Sydney Cove
had been wrecked near Cape Howe and some survivors had been cast ashore
there headed by a Mr. Clark, one of the ships officers, began a dreary
march of three hundred miles through dense and unknown country. Some fell
by the wayside, exhausted, and of those who succeeded in reaching within
thirty miles of
Clark, who alone with one or two others, succeeded in reaching Port Jackson, was able to give a very valuable account of a big stretch of hitherto unknown country, and, it is interesting to know that it was he , who first discovered the outcrop of coal which afterwards gave Coal Cliff its name.
The rest of the voyage of
discovery was undertaken by Bass in an open whale boat and accompanied by
six seamen his friend Flinders having sailed in his ship the Reliance, to
The next year, Governor Hunter gave our two young Explorers a sloop equipped with two months supplies, for the purpose of circumnavigating the Island of Tasmania, or Van-Demen's Land as it then was- This they did, discovering during their voyage, the Tamar River and the estuary, Port Dalrymple. Flinders was very thorough and reliable, and made most beautiful and exact charts of all the Coasts he visited, sometimes spending whole days verifying his calculations and measurements.
On their return to Sydney from this trip, sad to relate, Bass met some roving friends who persuaded him to join them in a venture of a very dubious kind, that of running contraband goods to South America, in spite of the Spaniards. If they were fortunate there fortunes would be made in a short time. But they were not fortunate; there vessel was captured, and Bass was sent to the Mexican silver mines, and was never heard of again.
After all his hardships and adventures, he passed from men's eyes; his end none knew, but we Australians have learned to honour the name of the man who first, in the company with his friend, laid the foundation of so much of our Geography.
Flinders seems to have remained
in his Majesty's service, and a year after Bass had gone, was promoted to
the rank of Lieutenant and in his little sloop, the Norfock, he scanned
the coast from
The English Government was so pleased with the excellence of Flinders work that he was commissioned to chart the whole of the coastline of the continent- a big undertaking for so young a man.
Sailing through the Bight he met
with a French expedition under Captain Baudin, who had been sent out by
Napoleon to make discoveries in
He had, however loitered so much on his way that Flinders had been able to complete the examination of the greater part of the Southern Coast, before the Frenchman even approached it. But this trifling fact did not deter the gallant captain from sailing into the very bays Flinders had so carefully charted, and giving them French names..
Some months later the two
expeditions met one another again in Port Jackson. Flinders showed Baudin
his charts and the Frenchman reluctantly admitted that he had been
forestalled. Not withstanding all this, however, he seems to have sent
home a report to
Flinders sailed north, rounding
Cape York, making an excellent chart of the Torres Straits, but his vessel
becoming too rotten for further use, he was forced to return to
Desiring to have his journals
and charts printed, and there being no facilities in this new land for
such work, Flinders was given a small schooner, the
He believed that his passport from Napoleon would be sufficient protection, but the Governor who seemed to be a treacherous kind of a chap, seized his papers and charts, and cast him into prison.
By a strange coincidence, some
time after, Commander Baudin called at the
Then having taken copies of
Flinders charts, he sailed for
Nearly seven years passed away
before poor Flinders was released and when he went to
With characteristic zeal he commenced to write his book and worked with utmost pains to make all his maps accurate
After many months of incessant labours the books were ready for the press, but he was doomed never to see them.
So many years of toil, so many nights passed in open boats or on wet sand so much privation and years of undeserved imprisonment had taken their toll, and on the very day his first book was being published, Mathew Flinders crossed the Bar.
He was perhaps our greatest maritime discoverer; a man whose heart was always in his work; a man who lived laboriously and did honourable service to mankind, and yet, like his friend Bass, died almost unknown to those of his own day, but leaving a name, which the world feels every year more disposed to know.