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

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May 23, 1926 Wollaston

Alexander Frederick Richmond Wollaston (1875-1930) participated in two expeditions to West New Guinea (1910-1913) which attempted to climb to the peak of Mount Carstensz (now Mount Jaya) in the Nassau (now Sudirman) Mountains. The second of these expeditions, led by Wollaston himself, departed from the southern coast of the island. The expedition moved upstream along the Setakwa and Otakwa (aka Utakwa) as far as they were navigable, collecting anthropological, ornithological, and entomological specimens on the way. A party of the explorers almost reached the peak of Mount Carstensz, but was forced to turn back short of the summit. See Wollaston’s Pygmies and Papuans (New York: Sturgis and Walton, 1912), a book Stirling and other American 1926 expedition members often cited. See also C. Ballard, “A.F.R. Wollaston and the ‘Utakwa River Mountain Papuan’ Skulls” in Journal of Pacific History 36(1):117-126 (2001).


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