Newspaper article about Rev Hagenauer's visit to Queensland 30 September 1885

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Transcription - Page 1

Gippsland Times
Sep 30 1885

The Rev. F. A. Hagenauer's
Visit to North Queens-

The Bloomfield Waterfall.
Perhaps it is just as well to state here
that few days later we were accompanied
in the large boat belonging to the Vilele
estate by some young gentlemen from the
plantations of Messrs Bauer and Co., and
Messrs Hislop and Co. to the first great
waterfall of the Bloomfield about six or
eight miles up the river from the entrance
into Weary Bay. The river is from 300
to 400 feet wide, and in some places very
deep. The banks on both sides are a con-
tinuation of mountains rising at some
places very high and reach at a distance
(Mount Peter Botte) the height of 3,300
feet. The most charming aspects meet
the eye every turn of the river, for the
whole ground up to the mountain tops is
covered wit hthe most beautifal tropical
trees, shrubs, and creepers, many of them
in full bloom. The river seems well sup-
plied with fish, bu the horrible alligator
has his habitation there also, and is really
a terror to man and beast. Not long ago
Mr F. Bauer shot a large one dead,
through the eye, which seems the only
spot where a ball can enter. Strange to
say the great animal had in the other eye,
two sharp spear ends from the weapons of
the Aboriginals, thereby showing that the
brute had been hunted before. We saw
the heavy skin or hide, likely to be made
ready for some exhibition or museum in
a city of the south. The flesh gave a kind
of alligator banquet to the Aboriginies, who
enjoyed it very much, for they seem to
take great pleaseure in feasting upon the
bodies of their enemies. At one very
gloomy looking spot several miles up the
river, under the overhanging trees, is a
great stone, on and under which a great
evil spirit dwells, according to the state-
ments of the blacks, who are so much
frightened that they will not pass the
locality, and if it happens that any of them
are in the large boat belonging to the
plantation, they will stoop down and hide
themselves, so that the evil spirit cannot
see nor catch them. I have an idea that
once upon a time one of these alligator
monsters had taken down and devoured
one of the Aboriginals near this great
stone. The place looks very much like
one where this would occur, and when
we touched the stone and looked into the
clear, green, deep water we naturally did
so with great care and caution. Our
friends told us that the blacks always
cautioned them not to go near the dark
stone, and when afterwards "Binny,"
the son of the late Balebi chief, heard that
we had been there, he made many gestures
of astonishment. We had a very fine trip
up the river, but at the same time were
always on the lookout for unex-
pected meeting with wild black men,
for they are very numerous in this moun-
tainous district, especially at places where
small rivulets flow into the main stream.
On the following evening, I observed from
the top of one of the hills along the moun-
tains, a number of fires, proving that the
blacks are there, but near the river we
saw none. A good many tribes on the
Vilele side of the river are on friendly
terms with the white settlers, and are to
to [sic] all appearances quiet, Amajins
and the Tyangatjins, on the opposite side
as far as Mount Peter Botte are, under no
circumstances, to be trusted. It is not
many years ago that two miners from the
Palmer diggings, on their way to the tin
mines at Peter Botte, somewhere near the
great waterfall, disappeared just at the
time when many of those blacks were in
the neighbourhood, and it was generally
believed that the two travellers had been
killed and eaten. Of course this horrible
act could not be proved, for the wild blacks
are still in the dense scrub as wild as ever,
and no white man had seen the occur-

[next column]
rence, but all conjectures point in the
direction indicated. At a distance of
about two miles from the waterfall, the
river becomes narrower, being hemmed
in on both sides my the mountains, which
seem to be much higher here than lower
down the river. The last mile, or some-
thing like it, we had to walk along the
stony or rocky bank, all the while hearing
the thundering noise of the rushing water,
until we came suddenly in sight of the
fall itself. As the river above the fall
flows between high mountains until it
tumbles over an almost perpendicular pre-
cipice of about 200 feet from its rocky bed
above into a large basin below, it has a
most majestic appearance, and fills the
admirer of nature's beauty with a feeling
of solemn awe. I took a seat on a rock
under the shade of an old chestnut tree
to enjoy the sight, and silently adore the
Lord, who has made such wonderful
works upon earth to give pleasure to his
people. Mr Wauer, together with our
young companions, climbed up the moun-
tain side to see the river and its downfall
from above. On the way up they saw
a native plum tree, laden with fine large
blue fruit, the size of small fowls' eggs.
Of course they helped themselves to a
quantity of the plums, and I brought
several with me to Ramahyuck as a kind
of memento of the waterfall. Our friends,
however, had to pay dearly for their plea-
sure, for whilst they had been busy with
the plums they had come too near one of
the stinging nettles, generally called
stinging tree (urtica gigas), and without
wishing to touch it, they had to feel that
they had already done so. The burning
sensation caused by a touch with the finger
or the hand on this awful urtica gigas,
swells and stiffens the whole arm, inflames
the shoulder, and sometimes creates
strong pain down the whole side of the
body. The worst of it however, is that it
always increases very much when the
hand is put into cold water, and that the
pain returns again and again for several
months. In order to try the force of the
waterfall, our young friends rolled a cedar
log into the stream above, and it broke
into endless splinters during its passage
over the precipice into the gulf below.
About three miles higher up is another
still larger waterfall of about 400 feet deep,
but we were quite satisfied with what we
we [sic] had seen, and returned well pleased to
Balebi landing, and from there by tram
cars to the Vilele plantation, where we
received a hearty welcome from our
hospitable friends, Mr and Mrs Bauer and
their kind-hearted and clever sons and

Meeting with Large Numbers of
To read and speak at a comfortable
distance about "the noble savage," who
reposes under the blue canopy of heaven
or roams his native forest in full vigour
and strength, unfettered by the forms and
fashions of so called civilisation is one
thing. It is what a learned friend of mine
would call "a conglomeration of falla-
cious imagination," but it is quite another
thing to go and meet large numbers of
them face to face in their wild state of
nature, to hear their howling voices and
to know perfectly well that in the cruel,
treacherous way hitherto pursued by
them, they are always ready to shed
blood, and if convenient, to feast upon the
body of their victim. I wonder where the
noble savage may be found? The bare
and stern reality of seeing yourself in the
midst of hundreds of such people will
soon drive away the romancing idea of
the noble savage. We had the privilege
of spending a week at Vilele, and during
that time we met everyday large num-
bers of wild black who had come in
from the surrounding mountains, the
very people of whom we had been told at
Cooktown, that they were very wild, and
that we should not go to that place to
meet them without a strong police pro-
tection. Setting aside all fear of danger,
but knowing that, in a friendly way, you
are surrounded by one or two or three
hundred of such poor and degraded
human beings, who have not a sign of
clothing about them, with no hope nor
prospect in themselves for the better,
but to live and die in misery like the
beast of the field, what Christian heart
will not be filled with intense pity and
compassion for these our fellowmen?
Yes, truly one's heart bleeds for the poor
creatures; you stand in their midst, for-
getting all danger, and your thoughts

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Document Details

Date 30 Sep 1885
Letter From
Letter To
Author Hagenauer, Reverend Friedrich August
Holding Institution Museums Victoria
Collection Name Alfred W. Howitt Collection
Registration Number XM 189
Medium Newspaper
Summary "From the ""Gippsland Times"". Content relates to a visit to North Queensland by Reverend F.A. Hagenauer. Appears to be one of a series of articles- this being number five ""The Bloomfield Waterfall"" ."
Physical Description Article. Four columns. A few annotations, including date of article and name of newspaper Condition: good.