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"By Aeroplane to Pygmyland" Accounts of the 1926 Smithsonian-Dutch Expedition to New Guinea

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Journal of Matthew Stirling
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June 10, 1926 : Albatross Camp (Base Camp) ; Mamberamo River ; Airplane Flights


June 10th

This morning after much wading around in the mud and submarine work on the part of Moon and half a dozen Dyaks, the Ern was sitting up high and dry on her float. Beginning {p. 120} this afternoon Hans and Prince will give her a thorough servicing. At 8 o'clock this morning, practically the whole expedition - staff, convicts, soldiers and Dyaks - were lined up and photographed. Leroux took a couple with his panorama camera and Dick took movies of the crowd [See Film Selection #8]. The motor boats did not have enough oil and gas to keep them running on the transport line so I have given them 620 gallons of aviation gas and fifty gallons of oil. We are reserving 1250 gallons of gas for the plane - enough to complete 50 more hours of flying and 100 gallons of oil - to last the same period. This morning Van Leeuwen announced the tentative schedule worked out by Posthumous for our advance up the river. On June 11th[,] Posthumous with a sergeant and about twenty soldiers will leave with four canoes and will go straight through to Head camp. On June 17th Lieut. Jordans and van Leeuwen leave, arriving at Motor camp June 26th, with 5 canoes, 4 or 5 soldiers, [and] Van Leeuwen's mantri and boy. When Posthumous returns about the end of June, Leroux and Stirling will go direct to Head camp. [V1: bracketed section below was marked with "omit" in journal transcript]

[V1: bracket marked] The involved situation of the expedition with all of its various factions is growing more and more difficult. In response to the telegram of the Indian committee regarding the additional Dyaks and the additional expense, I wired that I would contribute 5000 guilders additional expenses and also urged that the expedition return to Java in December after completing its work rather than to remain longer in the country. [V1: bracket marked] One of the Dyaks brought in a lively young pig this evening with brown and {p. 121} yellow horizontal stripes, who has been named Pete and become one of the official camp pets which consist now of 8 dog, a cat and a pig.




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