2.13 Halfway around the world.

May 20, 2012

Hayes sailed west from Sydney on his way back to the US; thus his arrival in England marked his first complete circumnavigation of the globe.  Please click to the website to see the map.  The distance Hayes traveled in six weeks requires zooming out to show half the earth’s surface.

December 25, 1912 – February 9,1913

On boarding G.M.S. Zeiten at Sydney on Christmas Day, Hayes makes no comment on the holiday but does note that the German penchant for naming ships for “obscure old time generals of Napoleon’ day… Seydlitz, Roon, Goeben, Zieten…” parallels the US use of “Civil War generals no one in Europe ever heard of… Grant, Sherman, Slocum, Logan, Hancock, Sheridan and so on.” He prefers the German ships to the British boats on the same line as faster, cleaner, and more solicitous of the passengers – still – “Were it not for the military aspect of it all, I would like it.”


G.M.S. Zeiten

A glance at the map shows Hayes retracing his route of eighteen months previously. This time though, instead of south to Mombassa, he’ll turn north at Aden toward the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean, and eventually home to the US.

Having covered this ground recently, his diary entries include little detail: Great tides at the entrance to Melbourne harbor: a suspicious woman on board who announces her intention to “escort” every male passenger on the Zeiten; silver-lead ore loaded at Adelaide bound for German factories; the drear Nullarbor Plain north of the Australian Bight; dry at Fremantle; Neptune’s visit at the equator; gamblers causing a ruckus banned from the salon by the officious Germans….

“Colombo made a pleasant interlude” – except that “Lady Alice” followed Hayes and his fifteen year old companion on a tour of a Buddhist temple. “If this is to be a sample of her keeping company with every man on board, she is hard put for escorts.”

Hayes’ critique of Buddhist practices following his visit to the temple might seem unduly harsh if he was less egalitarian in his denunciation of organized religions across all faith boundaries. “The great buildings, the bizarre decorations, the useless, lazy priests who are drones on the body politic cost tremendous sums, but the people give of their little freely to support all this.” How reminiscent of his assessment of Roman Catholicism. He does though write a line particular to Buddhism: “to the onlooker Buddhism resembled a stagnant pool, a slough of despond from which none escape who enter.”

At Aden the “brutal, domineering ways of the Germans showed to full advantage.” Without warning, sailors turned two great fire hoses on the hundreds of purveyors of small merchandise swarming about the Zeiten scattering men, boats and merchandise into the sea.

Sinai Penninsula

The view of the “vast, rugged bulk of Mt. Sinai” on entering the Gulf of Suez prompts Hayes to write a little biblical exegesis: “Of one thing one may be assured. If Moses led 3,000,000 people through this wilderness it was accomplished only by supernatural aid. There is very little natural food in this desert, nor water, nor shade.” (Hayes does not justify his number; one wikianswers site tells how to reach that number, another site asserts that the entire population of Egypt at that time totaled about 3.5 million people.)

The site of Elim’s wells, where Hayes says Miriam danced as the Israelites celebrated their escape from the Egyptians, elicits from Hayes another critical speculation concerning the biblical account of the parting of the Red Sea. “We are even shown where the Hebrews crossed, down some miles south of Suez. This is very unlikely.” The winds just don’t blow properly. The east wind described in the bible won’t push the waters back from the quicksand – “but a north wind will drive back the waters off the flats from some miles. There are quicksands there, and it is possible.” Perhaps Hayes would like to believe in the miracle that saved the Israelites: “The contour of the land may have changed materially in 3,000 years. It can easily when the sands blow across the desert as they do now.”


Suez Canal

The Zeiten makes slow headway up the Suez canal until reaching “the bitter lakes” where the ship can steam more quickly, “materially lessening the time that would be otherwise consumed if it were all canal the entire 110 miles.”

In a diary passage concerning the city at the north end of the canal, Hayes demonstrates that his reading extends beyond the bible:  “Port Said must be near the site of ancient Pelusium, where Cambyses the Persian captured the city by stratagem from the Egyptians.”  And that he is not interested in the kind of photography on offer from wouldbe guides to the “purlieus” of the town: “Peddlers in the streets are everywhere, both as guides and purveyors of pictures. They follow after persistently and will not be denied. Doubtless most people desire to be rather naughty when away from home, else this would not be so fully exploited.”

Kaiser Wilhelm II 1913

On January 27 1913, the Kaiser’s 54th birthday, all the Brits on board the Zeiten join the German’s celebrating, at least “insofar as beer guzzling goes.” Hayes writes that “There is a general Balkan war going on now…” From the deck of the Zeiten, he watched a Turkish battle ship run from a larger Greek ship. When the Egyptians voiced their “sympathies with their co-religionists,” Hayes and some of the other sailors on board told them (falsely) that an even larger British ship entering the Port was another Greek ship hunting the Turkish ship, “an antiquated American battleship sold to the Ottoman government.”

Intrigues aboard the Zeiten reveal that Lady Alice is a spy for the German government. “She gets her trips about the world in payment for information gleaned from her fellow passengers.” Sailing through the narrows as Scylla and Charbdis, “there were no other sirens than Lady Alice.” But even the German officers hold her in low regard, “for who can like a traitor to one’s own coutry?”

Past Capri and “the sullen smoking bulk of Vesuvius,” the Zeiten docks at Naples amidst a swarm of pimps and vendors. But past that crowd, “There is really something to this report of Naples’ surpassing beauty, especially at sunset.” Of course, admiration for a city can’t last more than a paragraph for Hayes. His entry for January 29, 1913 ends: “The more I see of the world the more I feel convinced it would be a better place without man in it.”

Campo Santo, Genoa

Approaching Genoa, a passenger on the Zeiten asked Hayes if he’d “seen anything of the leaning tower of Pysy [sic] yet. [The Passenger] could scarce believe this could not be seen when miles at sea.”  On arrival, Hayes visited the house where Christopher Columbus was born, commenting that the Genoese of his time thought Colombus crazy and the Spaniards threw him in jail before he died. Of all the sights of Genoa, the Campo Santo most “excites the admiration of a mere tourist and globe trotter.” He writes that the compound is only eight acres but “half a million people have been interred her from time to time.” He’s not much for sculpture in general but feels inadequate to the job of describing “this wilderness of marvelously carved marble.” He’s also impressed by a candle a foot in diameter and more than ten feet tall designed to burn for hundreds of years.

French President Raymond Poincare

Leaving some of the “more bibulous passengers” behind in Italy, the Zeiten sails past Corsica, then along the coast of Africa with a splendid view of the Leseser Atlas Range. “Algiers is a clean city” in the midst of a great celebration for the coronation of French President Poincare.

A German man-o-war anchored near enough to the Zeiten that Hayes could see their sword-work drills, elicits comparison between national military comportments: To Hayes, the German officers are bullies, the Brits are occasional snobs brought quickly to earth by their countrymen, and the French are least domineering “though it is said the foreign legion is tough.”

Passing through the strait at night, Hayes could see the lights of Gibralter to the north and of Tangier to the south. With the Bay of Biscay “on its best behavior” none on board suffer seasickness which allows “boozing to their heart’s content.” Taking on a pilot at the needles,

The Needles, Southampton

the Zeiten makes her way to Southampton where Lady Alice greets her fiancé radiant with smiles despite a severe session with the ship’s captain moments previously. “Surely Germany has some obscure purpose in this, and why an English citizen can demean herself to carry tales on her fellows is more than one can see.  I hope I never see her again.”

February 9, 1913, one day short of Hayes’ 35th birthday. His arrival in Southampton signals his first circumnavigation of the globe – a milestone unremarked in his diary.


2.12 Jervis Bay Naval Station

May 13, 2012

I know some of my readers are snake sensitive.  Mom, don’t read the last two paragraphs of this segment.

In this eight month period Hayes doesn’t move far – just a little up and down the Australian east coast getting together a bankroll to pay for return to the US.  Then you’ll really get to see him moving fast.

April 7, 1912 – December 20, 1912

When Greer and Hammond “decided to freeze [him] out of the plantation deal,” Sydney was too rich for Hayes.  The Australian government was about to begin building a new naval college at Jervis Bay and a national capitol at Canberra; surely a skilled man could find work at one of those sites.  So Hayes rode the train 100 miles down the beautiful Australian coast past Bulli, Wollongong, and Nowra through some of the most productive agricultural land in the country.  Upon arrival at Jervis Bay, the capitol project in Canberra hadn’t started at all and the naval college was only a forest of survey markers.  There would be work at Jervis Bay but not for a few months:  “In the meantime I must find something to do” – or starve.


Royal Australian Naval College, Jervis Bay 1913

A local “bush merchant” offered to stake Hayes weekly food deliveries if Hayes would gather grass tree gum.  Germany buys the gum from yellow grass trees, “said to be for varnish, but one wonders”  – perhaps the inventive Germans turn grass tree gum into “an engine of destruction.”  In any case, a “fair patch” of gum trees grows within site of the survey crews at the naval base, which relieves the loneliness of the bush and puts Hayes first in line for paid work when construction begins.


Xanthorrhoea resinifera, Australian grass tree

After the quarrel with Greer and Hammond over the plantation, Hayes writes, “Somehow I’m glad to be alone.”  His diary in this quiet solitary time describes the local geology, the magnificent bird life of Australia and New Guinea, the fauna, and the insularity of the Australian bushmen (as he calls the European immigrants).  Most bushmen are illiterate, though they have a “native intelligence and know what is going on around them.”  That, and they know everything about two other subjects:  boxing and the Australian Robin Hoods.  At campfires every night all across Australia the exploits John L. Sullivan, Jim Corbett, and Jim Jefferies alternate with tales of the bushrangers Ned Kelly, Ben Hall, and Captain Moonlight

May 25 finds Hayes cutting gum alone in the Australian outback sleeping nights under a shabby tent that doesn’t quite turn the cold rain of the start of Australian winter.  But Massson, “a genial Frenchman who is in charge of the gangs” at the naval college knows Hayes’ work ethic by his gum production and promises him a place.  This good news of a job offsets a disturbing letter from home telling of the death in Oregon of his uncle Thomas Jefferson Perkins.  “It causes a certain feeling of loneliness, knowing I will see him no more.”

By mid-June Hayes sits sharpening the axe Masson issued him outside his tent now pitched on a “street” in the permanent encampment at the Jervis Bay construction site.  Fortunately he’s as good with an axe as these Australian axemen – “artists in their line” – because some of the locals resent a foreigner given a chance on the crew.


Felling a gumtree, Australia circa 1900

In late July Hayes’ irrepressible industry brings trouble.  First, he’s been out gathering honey to share around the camp.  Second, he’s been barbering the other men free of charge.  This is a union camp:  you can’t give honey to the bosses unless you’re a suck-up, and you can’t do more than one job.  “My immediate superior is a leader in this anti-foreign crusade.  We had a good round the other day.”

Hayes got the last laugh on the anti-foreign supervisor a few days later.  Hayes had made two kerf cuts on the way to felling a tree three feet in diameter when the minister of naval affairs for all Australia happened to be strolling on inspection of the site.  Just before the giant tree fell, the minister’s small cadre stopped to watch allowing Hayes to overhear the minister give a little patriotic speech: “Gentlemen, Let me point out to you an example of our Australian axeman!  Superior to those of every country, observe for yourselves!”  (Hayes’ quote.)  No one corrected the minister’s misidentification of nationality, but the timekeeper for the entire work, hearing the speech and knowing Hayes, promoted him to head the timber yard (a position superior to his anti-foreign supervisor).

As the last cold winds of September promise Australian spring, Hayes has the timber yard organized well enough that the anti-foreigners can’t fault his work.  But he’s still upsetting them by cutting hair.  With three hundred men now in camp, and the nearest barber twenty miles north, men line up on Sundays outside his tent.  Hayes thinks of it as “an accommodation” to be performed without charge.  He’ll even do it for a union boss, but when the clean-shorn boss tossed him a shilling, Hayes knew well enough to avoid that trap and tossed it back.  Had he accepted payment, they would have run him off for doing more than one job.

By November Hayes has flowers growing around his tidy tent.  The union bosses suspect more sucking-up and worse yet, wives of officials at the construction site compliment him!  Time to be thinking about returning to the US.  The compliments are bad enough but he’s also got too much money for his comfort.  The construction site has no bank so he has to carry twenty pounds earned from the sale of gum and six month’s salary on his person at all times.  Furthermore, he’s worried about inflation:  The Australians unions are bothersome and inefficient and, though Hayes admits they may have once remedied some evils for the workingman, they are now running the country into massive debt at 7% interest.  “Yes, it is time to leave a country like this before the money I have earned is valueless.”

Mid-summer in Australia means winter in the US, so Hayes dawdles at the job for a few weeks more at the naval base robbing honey trees with a pal and trying “to steal as near as possible to feeding kangaroos before they become aware of our presence.  Then, to see them leaping with twenty-five foot jumps – it is a sight to behold.”

Just before Christmas 1912, Hayes quit the naval base.  By now he says all the union bosses protest his departure; they “Now realize I was not distributing honey [and] cutting hair to gain the goodwill of the bosses.”  But their change of heart came too late – Hayes needs to check in with his family in the United States.

On the first short leg of his journey halfway around the world, Hayes rode the coach from Jervis Bay to Nowra with a “peculiar chap” whom all the men call Buffalo Bill “for he affects long hair and a Stetson hat.”  To Hayes he may be a dime-store cowboy, but he’s also a bona fide expert snake handler.  Collectors in Sydney will pay seven shillings-sixpence for poisonous black snakes – and Buffalo Bill has a sack full.  The bushman driving the coach to Nowra knew Buffalo Bill’s business and wouldn’t let his “writhing mass of reptiles” into the compartment so the sack of snakes rode to Nowra dangling beneath the vehicle.  However, anonymous on the train from Nowra to Sydney, Bill heaved his sack onto a rack directly over the heads of several female passengers.  The snakes weren’t bothered.  The women, ignorant of the sack’s contents, weren’t bothered.  Buffalo Bill retrieved his sack and departed the train.  At that point Hayes felt it necessary to explain about Buffalo Bill and his sack, “and they almost screamed then.”

“Sydney is the same dusty city.”  Greer and Hammond are no friends, though they want him back on the plantation project.   Yes, Hayes remains convinced that December is a pretty good time for leaving Australia –  by Christmas day he’ll be sailing west, then north toward the Suez Canal on a German freighter, across the Mediterranean, then the Atlantic to arrive in Washington DC by March.


2.11 Plantation on Mullins Bay

May 6, 2012

Writers and Missionaries and Businessmen – oh my.

August 12, 1911 – March 3, 1912

Hayes’ vague plan to see New Hebrides got revised:  “Withdrew my deposit on the ticket to the Hebrides and changed it to New Guinea.” Hayes feels he knows New Guinea and its inhabitants well, so Greer, the importer who thinks he knows coconuts, in partnership with the reverend R.B.S. Hammond, decides to send Hayes to purchase land “and see what about promotion of the plantation.”

R.B.S. Hammond
Robert Brodribb Stewart Hammond

Of the return trip up the Australian coast “there is little of interest to tell now” – miners, planters, rapidly vanishing blackbirders, smug missionaries…. Instead Hayes writes an extended apology for his way of life: “A man does not survive many years in this environment, unless it be the missionaries, whose lives are better ordered than we adventurers who break the way for so-called civilization. It is a thankless job, but we like it. The freedom of the bush, the confidence given by the simple natives, the absence of the binding conventions and man-made rules is sufficient reward and repays for the hardships we must meet. Then there is the thrill of being the first to see a new river, find a rich mine, a new people whose knowledge of white men is nil.”

At Port Moresby Hayes met “the Honorable Staniforth Smith, lieutenant governor of British New Guinea” immediately sizing Smith up as “a suave sort of person, one who steals your brain and all that’s in it.” Hayes has nothing to say to the “great explorer” sitting behind a desk reaping the credit for the work of “hardy prospectors.”

Staniforth Smith
Staniforth Smith 1916

During the stopover at Port Moresby, Hayes also met the writer Beatrice Grimshaw of whom he had written somewhat disparagingly earlier (see section 2.7 of this synopsis).  Grimshaw was forty-one in 1911 and had been living In Papua New Guinea for eight years.  Their  meeting in person wrung from Hayes this slight approbation: “now she picks out the truth from the tares and makes fairly creditable books.” He still chides her for writing romance about the Papuans: “Those who in a measure are civilized would be back into cannibalism in a month if left to themselves.”

Beatrice Grimshaw
Beatrice Grimshaw
When the Red Gods Call
When the Red Gods Call, 1911

At Samarai he hitches a ride on the Kaiora with a former boss, Joseph Cox, who is now director of the Papuan Rubber and Trading Company, around to a river he calls the Regurani on Mullins Bay. [This must be the Wegulani River, the only river on Mullins Bay with a similar name.] The dickering for land purchase goes well. “The old women, slaves as they are but controlling public opinion, favor me.” With the land deal sealed, Hayes returns to Samarai by the overland route, a “hard run” wading rivers across the peninsula “to get government consent.”

Upon return to Samarai, “Unfortunately envy has been aroused among my old associates because all the natives in the country want to work for me.” Hayes freely advises his associates on how they too can succeed: leave the women alone, play square with the men, and carry a pound of chrysophanic acid to doctor the ringworm. “All Samarai is amazed at my success.” The reverend Charles William Abel of the London Missionary Society at Kwato believes Hayes ought to have asked Abel’s permission since he “seems to think he is head of all this (region).” Instead, Hayes seeks out Connolly, territorial surveyor, who will return with Hayes to the river to officially define the borders of his tract.

Connolly was required by “the boys who sit in the seats of the mighty at Port Moresby” to outline all roads on his survey map. As there are no roads at his prospective plantation, Hayes paid Connolly 75 pounds after Connolly’s road map “plotted down where natives have been chasing kangaroos in the grass.”

Connolly leaves just as the season is turning a bit dryer, “though there seems to be no real dry season here.” The drier grasses permit all the villages around to join in a hunt using nets of pandanus fibre to snare wildlife fleeing a line of fire set in the dense, six-foot high lalang grass. (This hunt is reminiscent of one described by Barbara Kingsolver in The Poisonwood Bible.) One of the native men who Hayes describes as deaf and dumb, and “easily the strongest in this community,” wrestles a wild boar live from the nets. “This is counted a great feat” marked by a ceremonial killing followed by a great feast. “None of the youth, no woman nor child might eat of this, but they offered me some. I was glad enough to get a good hunk of leg.”

Perhaps courtesy toward the post-hunt ceremony required Hayes to eat from the cook pot. A paragraph later he writes, “I dislike eating anything cooked in these community pots. In them they boil snakes, goanas (huge lizards seven or eight feet in length at times), alligator flesh or eggs, and perhaps human flesh for all I know. For all the bush people are cannibals and think nothing of it.” His gladness over receiving a hunk of boar’s leg was probably relief at recognizing what came to him from the pot.


Australian Goanna

In November of 1911, Hayes traveled back to Samarai where his backers from Sydney urged him with confident words and glowing praise to carry on developing the plantation – but produced no additional money. He says they want him to exploit the native workers according to “the Spanish dictum practiced in South America and Mexico, to get the natives’ work for nothing, but to treat them right and see their souls are saved.” Hayes won’t practice the dictum, he knows that good pay, fair treatment, and respect for women brings the best result.

For the second time, Reverend Abel from Kwato tried to interfere with Hayes’ land purchase.  Of course Hayes ignores Abel about the plantation but Abel’s presumption prompts a lengthy comparison in the diary between missionaries and miners – the two vanguards of colonialism. Miners wear their faults openly: “drink and loose women.”  While, according to Hayes, most of the missionaries practice the same two vices but top them with hypocrisy. “To get to brass tacks there is little difference between the miners and the missionaries on any of these matters.”  (Hayes’ critique of missionaries is quite general.  His complaints about Abel are specifically about interference with Hayes’ prospective plantation.)

Back at the plantation, the land is fertile; it would be perfect for coconuts but with no cash on hand for a tractor the whole place grows to palms instead. As Christmas approaches, his tinned food runs out so Hayes turns to eating sago, kangaroo, and wild pig. Right after the first of the year 1912, beseeched by her distraught parents, Hayes doctored an extremely sick young girl from a nearby village. Walking six miles daily to attend the girl, Hayes finally got the fever under control with quinine and the girl lived – for which the entire village demanded payment. “It seems that an ethnologist spent a few days among these people some years ago. The samples of blood he took he paid for, telling them it was excellent medicine he was giving them.” A precedent had been established and all were angry when Hayes refused to pay.

Enough of bad food, no money, and ingratitude form Europeans and Papuans alike; Hayes writes to Sydney asking for fare back to Australia and departs the plantation project.

At Samarai, Hayes relates tales of men once wealthy and of high station reduced by drink to beachcombing. From one of the beachcombers  (a term Hayes uses derogatorily) he heard a long tale of cannibalism and retribution for cannibalism accompanied by the gift of two pineapple war clubs captured in the fight on the Yodda River as proof of the veracity of the story.


Pineapple War Club

When the boat to Port Moresby stopped at Yule Island to deliver booze to the priests, Hayes meets a saint – a haggard, emaciated crone who cooked for the mission for twenty-four years. “The hard boiled traders, miners, blackbirders all respect her, stand dumb before her when they blaspheme at the name ‘missionary’ concerning others.”

In Australia, all the talk is about the disappearance of lieutenant governor Staniforth Smith into the bush west of Port Moresby. Hayes says they ought to send a couple of prospectors experienced in the bush to find them rather than “a government party with all the trimmings.”

Hayes travels as fast as possible down to Sydney to be finished with the plantation, but boats are slow. Conversation with the “hard-bitten bushmen” (a complementary term Hayes uses to describe Europeans toughened by experience in the bush) on board turns first to crocodiles. The longest length mentioned is thirty-three feet. Hayes himself says, “I saw one on Mullins Harbor longer than my whale boat, which was 26 feet.” They will chase prey on land successfully unless the man or calf is smart enough to twist and turn. A crocodile can outrun you but turns poorly, so, when chased by a crocodile, dodge and weave. And should one of these monsters clamor over the gunwales of your lighter (small rowboat), shove an oar down its throat. He’ll snap it in half but you might survive. Then to giant clams:  If you step in an open clam’s mouth, you’ll be seized and drown. Oh, and the native men won’t dive for pennies when sharks are in the vicinity.  It’s so dangerous here, “Even many plants are predatory or parasitic in their ways.” Just the shipboard chatter behind the Great Barrier Reef on the way to Sydney.

After knocking about Sydney for more than a month Hayes finally settled up with Greer and the Reverend Hammond. They convinced Hayes to sign for 25 pounds in payment for his six months in the bush plus 200 shares of stock in the company.  Subsequently Hayes learned that Greer and Hammond allotted themselves 900 shares each. “I don’t blame Greer, he is a so-called business man, and we all know such are one the borderline of robbery. But Hammond is one of the most noted ministers of the church in all Australia.”

So much for Hayes Perkins plantation owner; he’s done with this kind of business and this kind of ministry.


2.10 Sydney to Sydney – by way of Mombassa

April 29, 2012

Hayes likes sailing on boats.  Look at the map: Sydney to Sydney with a two week stop in Mombassa – he would have stayed but for some missionary perfidy – in six months travel time.

March 27, 1911 – July 27, 1911

Sydney, Australia March 1911: “Nothing seems to be doing, so why stay in Australia? The world is large, adventure calls, my ears are attuned to its call. Africa doesn’t seem so far away.”  Straight-line distance from Sydney to Mombasa stretches more than seven thousand miles – considerably further traveling by way of Fremantle, Colombo, and Aden. But financing for Strachan’s proposed copra plantation fell through; the US offers nothing but hard, low-paid work; but Africa – Africa promises “adventure, perhaps riches, surely hardship, a fifty-fifty chance of death. Or will it be as last time, leaving there with a broken heart?”

Who could pass on odds like that? With a little money jingling in his pocket from the timber cruising on Murua, Hayes purchases passage on the Nord-Deutscher-Lloyd liner Seydlitz steaming for Melbourne joined by a throng of Australians traveling to the coronation of George V. in London and seventy “cocky” German sailors on leave from colonial island duty who constantly chafe with the Brits on board.


The Seydlitz

A ship of the Nord-Deutscher-Lloyd line leaves Sydney every two weeks carrying freight to port in Bremen. These freighters like the Seydlitz also “have a large passenger accommodation, and are cheaper and better than any of the British lines.” At Melbourne stevedores loaded frozen mutton; at Adelaide came wheat and wine; then at Fremantle they stowed jarrah wood blocks en route to paving the streets of London.

At Fremantle, Hayes writes a long passage prompted by a statue in the harbor of a man he identifies only as “a man with an Irish name.” This was C.Y. O’Connor who developed the port of Fremantle and a water system to the Kalgoorlie making gold mining possible in that desolate region.


C.Y. O’Connor with sculptor Pietro Porcelli

O’Connor vindicates Hayes’ general view on working men: “He was not a skillful politician, had not the finesse to lie and cheat and flatter to win the applause of men. So they rode him, maligned him until he broke under the strain. One morning his body was found floating in the harbor. His mind had snapped, he could bear his burden no longer. Then public opinion turned, and he was a hero.” Hayes generalizes O’Connor’s experience: “Man is a strange animal. He who tries to save him he slays, then places his victim on a pedestal.” According to Hayes, preachers expound this same story of Christ from every Sunday pulpit.

Passangers find entertainments on the Seydlitz mostly at night. “Deck chairs are a bit too light to support two, but the hatches are strongly built, and the forecastle head has plenty of room.” Toward the end of April to break the monotony of the 3,300-mile cruise from Fremantle to Colombo, Neptune paid a visit as the German ship steamed across the equator.  The hazing revel initiating those crossing the equator was very much as Hayes had experienced years ago sailing around the horn: tar, shaving, a large water tank, and a slide with fire hoses (see sections 8 and 9 of volume I of this blog). “Nor was first class excluded, and despite remonstrances from some of the more uppity among them they were put through the mill.”

At Colombo, a group of Brits took up a collection to see if a slight present made to the German sailors might ease national relations aboard the Seydlitz. The British representatives sent to buy the gift had to be carried back on board; a suitable gift for a German sailor eluded their search through every pub in Colombo.  Hayes says that the bazaars of Colombo offer, “Opals from Australia … Rubies, moonstones, catseyes, jewels of every sort … at prices far below elsewhere in the world. Tiger skins, leopard hides, ivory objects, silks and all the gewgaws of the Far East are here, and many of the Occident.”  The Germans declare: “We can buy our own presents,” and national sentiments continue their boil.

Neither Colombo nor Aden has a deep-water port. All commerce transits in small “lighters.” At Aden, Hayes disembarks the Seydlitz taking up temporary residence at the Hotel D’Europe run by Jews whose “forefathers were chased out by the edict of Torquemada 400 years ago.” His first impression of Yemen: “All is a blistered, sun-baked waste, a few scrawny tamarisks managing to survive the heat and thirst of Aden.” Nevertheless, “this is one of the places where geography has decreed must be a town.” In May of 1911, pilgrims to the coronation in London swamp Aden’s 50,000 permanent residents – who oblige with price hikes from 100 to 300%. From among the throng going to London, Hayes rates as most interesting the giant Ethiopian Ras Makonnen “conqueror of the Italians” in Abyssinia, who strides about Aden hung with gold necklaces and sporting a black Quaker hat..”

[I need the help of an Ethiopian historian here.  The wikipedia entry for Ras Makkonen, Haile Selassie’s father and general in the Italo-Ethiopian war, has him attending the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 – and dying in 1906.  So that can’t be the right Ras Makkonen.  Haile Selassie was also Ras Tafari Makonnen but I find no record of his traveling to the coronation of George V in 1911.]

Hayes spends his five days in Aden satisfying his thirst for knowledge about history and geo-politics. He and a companion visit the famous tanks above Aden. “The tanks must have been built by the Phoenicians or Persians two or three thousand years ago.” But how? “They have been cut out of the solid rock, and there was no explosive in those days.”


Cisterns of Tawila Aden, Yemen

Next a discussion with a Scottish engineer who proposes they to do some gunrunning to the Arabs fighting the Turks at Hodeida, a port up the Red Sea. Mentioning the potential profit and not the morality of his companion’s proposal, Hayes declines noting the 1,500 white troops, the regiment of Indian soldiers, and the British gunboats who would be happy to interrupt their vigilant watch for slave traders to intercept a couple of gunrunners.


Hotel de L’europe Aden, Yemen

Then drinks on the veranda (water for Hayes, iced whiskeys for the others) with the European consuls ensconced at the Hotel D’Europe who swap “strange tales of the desert coasts all the way from Suez to Bushire and to Kurachi” while watching caravans of as many as 3,000 camels “creep across the sands from Sheik Othman, where the Arabs must leave all arms until their return.”


Caravan at Sheikh Othman 1912

Onward to Africa. Hayes takes deck passage on the German liner Winhuk “dirty beyond description.” Haughty German officers with facial scars from school-day duels fill the first class cabins. In second class Hayes chats with missionaries who “seem very solicitous concerning my welfare, ask many questions as to my destination and business. There is something bout them that does not ring true.”

At Mombasa, the missionaries turned on Hayes. He quotes them tattling to Waller, the Kenyan immigration officer: “We don’t want that adventurous class in the Country! We want men with capital, not penniless wanderers who will corrupt the natives.” Following this advice of Reverends Burns and Brewer of Nairobi and Hoima respectively, Waller, demands ten pounds deposit “to carry me out of the country in event of my going broke in East Africa.”

Hayes would prefer not to go broke in East Africa, but what work can he find? “All trading companies handle liquor, so that lets me out.” He’s a skilled farmer but here parents pay farmers from 100 to 150 pounds per year to apprentice their boys. So, he scouts around Mombasa for a few days: an old fort built by the Portuguese in 1593 still flying the flag of the Sultan of Zanzibar, a ruined city in a forest of baobabs, markets with Swahili buyers and Arab sellers – then after scarcely two weeks in Mombasa, he books passage on the British liner Gascon to retrace his voyage back to Australia.

Fort Jesus Mombassa, Kenya 1833

Just before embarking on the Gascon, Hayes had one interesting encounter with an elephant Hunter named Dixon “who has been scouring the Congo for some years and has made a lot of money.” Apparently, Hayes and Dixon spoke at some length, for “He showed me many scars drawn in fights with the natives,” and invited Hayes to accompany him into the bush. Hayes declines because Dixon is “hot.” (Hayes’ quote) A recent agreement between the Belgians and the British requires a license to shoot an elephant and both European nations have it in for Dixon. Hayes says he cannot accompany Dixon because “I know I can’t beat a braced game.”

A transfer at Aden to the G.M.S. Goeben, sister ship to the Seydlitz, full of immigrants all packing pistols for the wild Australian outback – wild monsoons outside Colombo – Neptune at the equator – grapes at Fremantle – frost in the streets of Melbourne – finally back to Sydney. All very much like the voyage west.

“I never care for cold after so long in the tropics, and am planning on getting back to the islands as soon as is possible.” Maybe New Hebrides? “An importer named Greer has a sight on some coconut land … on the island of Erromanga …”


2.9 East Australia and New Guinea

April 22, 2012

Now he’s back in motion bouncing around the east coast of Australia and cruising timber on Woodlark Island.

October 9,1910 – March 27, 1911

Hayes walked with Moody, one of the new men at the Sagarai River station, across the isthmus from the plantain site to Milne Bay stopping briefly at the Anglican Mission at the hilltop. A bit of a scrape ensued when one of the young Papuan women followed the men down to Davey More’s trading station at Gibara:  when Hayes pushed off from shore without replying as “Connie, clad in a coconut fiber rami, or waist mat reaching from waist to knees, eagerly pressed me with questions in her native tongue,” the worst happened. “She threw both hands over her head, ran up and down the bank screaming.” Old Davy accused Hayes of “spoilin’ the missionary girl.” (Hayes’ quote.) Moody loudly denied the charge, vouching for Hayes, but the rumor struck. “… So I grin and bear it. Just tell them I can’t help bein’ good looking.”

Waiting for a ship to Sydney, Hayes repeatedly circles “the enchantingly beautiful path” around Samarai Island watching the locals spear fish by torchlight and listening to the beachcombers tell hair-raising stories of cannibals. “Trouble is, most of them are prone to fiction.”  (Beatice Grimshaw‘s romance novel Guinea Gold published in 1912 uses this very short path around Samarai Island as the meeting place for her ill-fated lovers.)

The boat to Sydney travels first to Port Moresby through “a bad willy-nilly… the local name for a hurricane.” [Hayes’ diary has a date discrepancy regarding this storm. He says the steamer Koombara sank with the loss of all 128 aboard in October of 1910. Wikipedia says the Koombara sank in May of 1912.]  Approaching Port Moresby after the storm, Hayes says he’d rather watch the native Papuans sailing outrigger canoes than a yacht race. “If there be any faster sailing craft in the world, I have never heard of them.”

Turning South from Port Moresby, Hayes sailing with Strachan and his wife, have “ample time to plan what to do in the way of founding a new plantation.” But his diary makes Hayes’ skepticism clear: “But that is all up in the air as yet, and no one knows what will be doing before we are done. I long for Africa, my folks want me to return to the U.S.A., the company wants me to return for them.” Mrs. Strachan succeeded in smuggling tropical bird feathers hidden beneath her skirts into Brisbane, Australia despite the guilt advertised across her face.

Hayes enjoys regular food and the company of a few friends in Sydney but, “All round, I like the bush the best.” He does not like “the inner council chamber” of the rubber plantation company to which the investors summoned him immediately on return to Sydney. Based on Neville’s reports, the stockholders expected immediate dividends following the arrival of the new men and the sawmill at the Sagarai River station. “I explained as truthfully and without reserve as I could what was doing there.” In response, he describes “consternation” and “consideration” among those assembled.

After Hayes’ truthful report about the lack of trees at the Sagarai River site, the company needs to find a use for their sawmill. After some haggling, Hayes agrees to go to Murua [Muyua or Woodlark] Island in return for forty pounds and refund on his fare from New Guinea. In the meantime, news arrives that Neville, the lead man in the plantation swindle, skipped to London “where he was taken by police and made disgorge 7,000 pounds.” Slight return to the investors, who lost the rest to this “flim-flam game to fleece the public.”


Matunga at Alexis Harbor, German New Guinea 1918

In December 1910 Hayes sailed first class on the Matunga toward Murua jostled by miners returning from the “cup races” at Melbourne and Randwick and by missionaries headed to New Guinea. One expects it from the miners but, “Most missionaries are tipplers, some openly, others surreptitiously; but they love their hooch. The others are godly, self-sacrificing people. These are in the small minority, and always have the lowest places.”  Sailing beyond Brisbane north toward Cairns, calm seas behind the Great Barrier Reef, “bring most of the disciples of Bacchus on deck. At Cairns “some say” the river falls 700 feet at Barron Falls and rainfall in this wet corner of a dry continent “is above 200 inches.”


Barron Falls

Arrival at Port Moresby on December 25th – all others on board are “blind paralytic” after the holiday celebration. “Once I looked on man as something apart from the so-called lower animals. I still do, but place man below instead of above them now. What pig, what dog would demean itself by acting as these people do?”

On the Matunga’s quick delivery run to Yule Island, Hayes observes the “65 whites,” on the island all Christian missionaries and all divided along denominational lines: “Methodists, Episcopal, London Missionary Society, the Catholics and perhaps one or two others.” Conversion progresses slowly: “If they have uplifted one native I have not seen evidence of it.” On the other hand, he wryly notes that they are having some success with snakebite:  At the Catholic mission, “the holy fathers were taking every precaution against poisonous serpents, for almost all the cargo discharged was Old Scotch, Johnny walker and other noted antidotes against snakebite.”

South from Yule Island, past Samarai and through “a maze of emerald isles like those described in fairy tales,” brings Hayes back to Murua where “I am established at Gus Nelson’s, a bar and hotel combination at the village of Kulumadau.” Arriving on January third, Hayes shares Gus Nelson’s with all the broke hung-over gold miners down to celebrate the New Year.

Away from the haunts of civilized society to Solongo (Suloga) Bay, Hayes camps with a scattering of gold miners while scouting “much good timber, easily gotten if so desired,” with “an old native named Doudau.” One of the miners, Slater, says he was with Bayley and Hannan discoverers of the “Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie respectively,” two of the richest mines in Australia. Each blew his large fortune. One is dead of drink, the other on the way. Though Hayes wrote earlier that he tires of wild tales of cannibals, he takes a paragraph to relate in a story from the 1870’s told by a miner Hayes knows only as Old Jimmy – Hayes relates grim detail about Papuans eating Chinese laborers gruesome beyond anything Jack London could possibly have gotten published.

Immediately following this forty-year-old, second-hand cannibal story Hayes writes a first-hand account of contemporary barbarisms: Of one of his European hosts he writes, “His wife doesn’t look over seven years of age.” Colonial practices differ little the world over: “The miners keep tab on all girls approaching puberty on Murua, and the district commissioner doesn’t see it. Thus the people are dying as the Indians did where I was born in Oregon, and unless something happens will soon be gone.”

While tramping around most of Murua, “Doudau regales me with tales of the old time islanders before the whites came. They were man-eaters then,and on the smaller islands of Nesquab and Velous are settlements of refugees who fled at that time some twenty years agone from raiding cannibals.” Hayes still writes second-hand information about cannibalism, though perhaps it’s more reliable coming from Daudau, a native to the island – who agrees about the contemporary disaster: “But these raiders were less harmful than the invading white man. At least they did not debauch the women, brought no social disease nor broke up rthe ways of living by means of which the blacks survived for ages.”


Muaru or Woodlark Island

After the joys of wandering about the bush at Solongo Bay, Hayes returns to civilization at Kulumadau to write a couple of pages of gossip about “the men who have known palatial halls and women clad in diaphanous silken things” sunk low by drink. He names some of these beachcombers, others are described only by position as “a bank manager in Melbourne who now lives on the beach at Misima in the Louisiades.”

Disgusted to see men laying drunk in the gutters, Hayes walked fifteen miles across Murua, accepted food and cool coconut water from the people “said to be dangerous,” and marveled at a forest of tree-ferns that, “reach to a height of sixty feet, and completely smother all other vegetation in the gullies where they grow.” The crocodiles grow big too; Hayes says he personally saw one “longer than my 26-foot whaleboat when it ranged alongside.”

The investors must still be trying to salvage something out of the Sagarai River rubber scheme; Hayes bought many rubber plants for them. And the timber prospects at Murua were good enough that “I am engaged to set up the mill and oversee it, but it means nothing.” On the way south back to Sydney, Hayes wonders, “if I’ll ever see this island again.” He knows his own wanderlust – he’s been four months in this region now – quite a long time for him.

Toward the end of February 1911, Hayes steamed back through Samarai, Port Moresby, Cairns, and Brisbane chatting with missionaries and the occasional sober prospector. “It is truly enjoyable.” Except for the politicians on board. “Politicians are a fungus that grows on the body politic whom the world would be better without.”

At Sydney he gave an encouraging report to the investors and checked in with Strachen about the plantation proposal. “Strachan has not yet succeeded in promoting the plantation. He is much too honest a man for this business.” Well, that’s Australia and New Guinea – where to next? His premonition was right about not returning to Murua.


2.8 Rubber Plantation Sagarai River

April 15, 2012

The map for this four month period shows relatively little travel by Hayes’ standards.  He’s putting together a colonial plantation site with just a few side trips to villages previously unvisited by Europeans and one longer trip to a mission at Isuleilei.

June 12, 1910 – September 12, 1910

Throughout his diaries, Hayes comments on the wildlife and geography of every region he visits and includes extensive observations about the architecture and religious and social organizations of the native people he meets. Though his descriptions are often unflattering, no doubt he regards his as an accurate record intended to offset the sensationalism of a writer like Jack London.

Dense mangrove forests grow in the saltwater swamp of the Sagarai River delta. Any houses in the region must be built on stilts above tides that rise as much as twenty feet. At a place he calls Karola Creek, Hayes finds a bit of solid ground on which to build two stilted houses, one for him and a larger one for men he is beginning to hire.


Stilt House Papua New Guinea

Within two weeks of arriving Hayes writes, “my name is good now, and I get new men constantly.” His self-restraint with the native women and his work ethic offer some explanation of how he can earn a good name in such a short time, nor does he hold himself above the men he hires. When the last sago palm frond finished the roof of his two houses, he and the men went to clear some sunken mangroves to make a shipping channel. “This required going into the water with the crocodiles, and as it seemed hardly fair to set the natives at it and me on the safety of the shore, I went in too. One of us stood guard constantly with the rifle to fire at any croc, but the singing boys frightened them away.” Canoes arrive daily with men looking for work thereby saving Hayes the six pounds other Europeans must pay to recruiters.

“New Guinea must be the aviary of the world, for there are thousands of bright plumaged birds about me constantly”: the iridescent bird of paradise, red bird of paradise, parrots, several species of pigeons, the flightless cassowary, water birds, waders, swimmers, even the megapodes laying their eggs in giant mounds of trash. Though he has not heard of the platypus seen here, the other animals he sees:  wild pigs, kangaroos, opossums, bandicoots, and even echidna suggest to Hayes recent union with the Australian continent.

Even with a good crew of dependable men paid a stick of tobacco to seal any bargain, Hayes still has to contend with trouble. Food is scarce and “Then there is the question of puri-puri. Witch doctors to you and me, meaning little, but to the simple native, life or death.” Paddy, one of the native men recently hired (and named), received a curse from the end of a pointed bone. Hayes forcibly fed Paddy, laughed at the curse and got him past the appointed hour of his death by convincing him that “my medicine was superior to that of the puri-puri man, and he lived.”

Work on the station proceeds well enough with his crew that Hayes can take a day now and again to wander the nearby mountains visiting “several villages where white men have seldom gone.” Not above some Jack London style exoticism he says that he laughed “to see the women nursing small pigs or pups at their breasts.” Full-grown sows roam the village “pugnacious to all but the immediate family” of their “foster mothers” right up to the moment they go into the stew pot.


Group of indigenous men Boku, New Guinea circa 1908-1910
photo by H.P. Schlenker missionary.  USC digital libraries.

Then too, in New Guinea the men routinely break the leg or wing of a captured bird to keep the meat fresh until they are ready to eat it. “They become angry when I kill these wretched brutes, saying their ways are not my ways, and that theirs suit them.” None of his arguments convert the Papuans to Hayes’ ethic. Hayes hears accounts of cannibalism as well: The skipper of a forty-ton sloop that came by their newly built station told of finding several men with limbs broken as for the wings of birds, “laid on a bed of live coals to slowly roast.”

On July 16th, about a month after Hayes arrived at the Sagarai River, Neville, the promoter of the rubber plantation, paid a visit “and he [Neville] realizes he has misrepresented the potentialities of the proposed plantation to the investors.” Nevertheless, a sawmill and several white men from Australia have arrived to further the project. The sawmill is useless and the men are worse; all have come in search of “sensual bliss” with the Papuan women, touching off the jealousies of Hayes’ native workingmen.

Strachan, Hayes’ immediate supervisor on the rubber plantation project, can also see Neville’s swindle unraveling. There are no rubber trees here – but coconuts would grow. Strachan and Hayes take a side trip down to the London Missionary Society station at Isuleilei harbor where Strachan proposes that he and Hayes dump Neville and start a plantation of their own. Strachan has wide acquaintances in Melbourne who will back the endeavor. Hayes knows he can manage the work and Papuan men – could he consider the prospect of owning  a plantation?


Mission House Kalaigolo, New Guinea circa 1908-1910.
photo by H.P. Schlenker (who served at Isuleilei until 1900), missionary.  USC digital libraries.

Through August and September, the lusts of the newly arrived men, Hans, Andy, Percy and the others, breed resentment among the Papuan workers. “The men resent it, have no respect for them and refuse to obey any orders unless forced.” Hayes suffers anemia from the poor food and barely keeps the malaria in check with quinine. His best native men are sent to other parts of the enterprise only to return “bitter because of the beatings so unnecessary, to say nothing of being brutal.”

By the middle of September Halley’s comet has about run its course and the profligacy of Hans, Percy, Andy et al, together with the beatings by other managers have ruined any prospect of maintaining a Papuan workforce in the area. How quickly the idyll of establishing a worksite in the good company of only native workmen is fouled by the ways of the foreign workers arriving to take up station there – time for Hayes to be moving on.

But – “copra is 27 pounds per ton, this will give 20% profit on any capital invested if properly handled.” Maybe Strachan could get the money together? Hayes Perkins plantation owner? “Strachan says he can raise it, and if so, it will be my big chance.” In October, Hayes sails south back to Samarai bound for Australia with this thought in his head: “If all goes well I will return shortly and see what happens in the way of developing land for a plantation of my own, at least in which I expect to be vitally interested.”


2.7 Melbourne to Sagarai River

April 8, 2012

Broke and heading alone on foot into the bush on Papua New Guinea.

March 5, 1910 –June 6, 1910

Never a man for cities, after ten metropolitan days Hayes writes: “Am about satiated with Melbourne.” Sydney has more appeal for him; it will be easier to get into the bush from there.

A trip to the museum immediately followed by a tour of  the red light district in Melbourne touched off a pensive passage. At the museum Hayes saw the skeletons of the extinct diprotodon followed by those of the Wooreddy and Trugannini, the last of the native Tasmanians.


Diprotodon skeleton


Truganini

In the red light district girls formerly beautiful and charming accosted him “offering what is most precious for a pittance.” The discordance between the exalted museum and the tawdry streets prompted Hayes to question: “Is man an equal to the wild creatures he is exterminating? When their natural appetites are satisfied they are willing to live and let live, even the predators among them. Not man, for I see in the harbor warships, about its shores forts and guns to destroy their own kind. I would like to forget men, am sometimes ashamed of my own species. Yet I am no better than the rest.”

At Sydney, Hayes takes up temporary residence at a Salvation Army hotel called the People’s Palace, “the largest hotel in the in the Antipodes.” The one-hundred rooms of the palace house too many men for his comfort so Hayes quickly transfers to a family boarding house where he bunks with only Carter, “a man from the back blocks of Queensland, near the Gulf of Carpentaria.” Hayes has heard of rich opal strikes up that way, but Carter warns him off: that area is poor, sparsely populated and almost unexplored. Carter says a smart man would try Cairns where there is lots of work in the sugar mills.

Just as he was about to leave for the bank to secure funds for the boat to Cairns, Hayes noticed an advertisement in a magazine trumpeting financial opportunities in Papua New Guinea. That afternoon, he was in the offices of Charles Neville landing a job pioneering 6,000 acres for a prospective rubber plantation. Hayes thought 300,000 pounds had been subscribed to this project but it turns out to be 1,500,000 pounds. Personally, he is down to 20 pounds, then flat broke by the time he outfits for the trip, but “Money doesn’t count in an expedition like this. I want to see the big world down in this part of the globe and this is a splendid chance.”

MAKAMBO of Burns Philp & Co at anchor
Steamer Makambo

Seen from the deck of the steamer Makambo, Halley’s comet grows larger nightly on its approach to perihelion. By day, deck chatter concerns George V succeeding Edward VII in England but “I take a deal more interest in the rapidly growing comet, now the finest feature of the skies, than all the kings of earth.”

On the passenger list of the Makambo Hayes reads the name Young who are missionaries and plantation owners at Bundaberg. When he “chipped in a sovereign for the work,” Miss Florence Young approached Hayes to tell him “She sees how the Lord has laid it upon me to run their small sailing craft between the islands picking up copra and trade, receiving nought but my keep.” He agreed to the work “if she would give me what the secular trading and planting companies did.” No sale.

[According to Riedl and Tietze in Jack London’s tales of Cannibals and Headhunters, London had lunch on this same ship, the Makambo, on August 22, 1908. In his short story The Terrible Solomon’s,  begun shortly after that lunch, London’s character Bertie Arkwright learns about inevitable white men on a steamer called the Makembo.  London also writes the Makambo into his novel Michael, Brother of Jerry.]

After a brief stop at Tulagi, the Makambo pulled in at Pendufferyn, a plantation on Guadalcanar (sic) where the white managers are still laughing about the recent visit by Jack London. Seems the adventures he set down as real were entirely vicarious. “In truth, he sat on the veranda of the wide bungalow and penned these thrilling episodes in safety, drinking numerous highballs the while.” Later, on the way to Gizo, Hayes continues on the subject of adventure novelists: “One of the worst features of the South Seas is the itinerant writer.” He complains that these writers soak up the wild tales of beachcombers and island traders in a six-week tour on a boat like the Makambo then write these tall tales as personal experience. “Consequently there are almost no books portraying these people truthfully to be read in any library.” Jack London and Beatrice Grimshaw receive low marks for veracity; Louis Becke rates a little higher. [London spent two years sailing the South Seas on his ketch the Snark. Hayes’ comments are particularly unfair to Beatrice Grimshaw who spent 27 years on Papua. Louis Becke spent more than 10 years adventuring about Australia and the South Sea island chains.]


Jack London on the Snark circa 1908


Beatrice Grimshaw

Louis Becke

Dinner Island, all of its 54 acres, received the name Hayes recorded when Captain John Morsby paused there for a meal in 1873; maps now call it Samarai Island. Perhaps two miles across a small strait surging with great tides Hayes can see the mainland of Papua New Ginea.

At Waga Waga, the orchids, coconut palms, frangipani, hibiscus, coral sands, and bluest sea elicit from Hayes, “What a marvelously beautiful land!” As usual, for Hayes the beauty of the natural world exceeds that of its human inhabitants: “Many are not unprepossessing, but others are hideous.” He goes on for two paragraphs: piercings, distended earlobes, betel nut, sipoma, hair died red in enormous dreadlocks, etc.

On the walk overland to the Sagarai River, Hayes amazed the native porters by taking onto his own back a load from an exhausted man, “for such a thing as a white man carrying a load is unknown. But we did it all in Alaska.” At the 6,000-acre prospective plantation, Hayes finds constant rain and no solid ground on which to build. “All the natives seem half wild” – especially the women – which Hayes says, “gives one suspicion of the attitude of the general run of the Europeans toward the native girls and women, and these people are extremely jealous.” Fortunately, the natives speak an understandable English jargon and, by toting the pack, Hayes has made a good impression on them.

It’s June, it’s raining, Hayes, a lone “European” in the bush, is already gaining the trust of the native workers – and he’s about to discover, little to his surprise, that the rubber plantation is an investment swindle.


2.6 Eureka to Melbourne

April 1, 2012

Hayes writes with reference to the low quality ship he finds headed to Australia: “But somehow it is the sea.  I love it even as it is.”  The map shows another long eastward jaunt.

I’ve also included a link to download a google earth global map of the first six segments of volume 2.  The map centers on the Western United States with long arms reaching east and west.

November 21, 1909 – February 25, 1910

As he expected, Hayes found  a ship bound for Australia out of Eureka – a dubious one called “The Foxley, an English tramp whose men are either in jail or else fleeing to the woods to escape the ship.” In the year-and-a-half knocking about the western US after rowing down the lower Yukon, Hayes recovered his health and spirits but not his finances. In order to get to Australia he needed to sign on as a sailor.  He knows the Foxley “must be rotten” to cause all the desertions; furthermore the mate warns Hayes the captain will never pay him off in Melbourne regardless of the captain’s  promises.

Hayes quotes the captain directly: “Yes, I’ll give you a sight in her!” he shouted. “And I’ll give you five pounds a month, more than these hell hounds are getting. What’s more, I’ll pay you off in Melbourne. Get here on two days, I’ll sign you on.”  (Hayes’ quote.)

The chief engineer agrees with the mate: “He won’t do it.” (Hayes’ quote.) But doesn’t an adventurer has to “take a long chance” now and again? “It doesn’t look good,” but  there she sits: docked  at Eureka ready to sail for Australia. “There is no other ship,” – none of the better ships sailing to Australia need to replace fleeing seamen – and besides, the constant drizzle at Eureka drives Hayes to distraction; he convinces himself that if the Foxley is bad at least she’ll be warm and dry sailing south.

No one told Hayes about coaling the Foxley before the long run across the Pacific.  Leaving Eureka, the Foxley sailed straight north to a coal stop at Nanaimo, British Columbia with snow and “a thin shim of ice on the bay.”  What’s more, eight days out of Eureka, the captain had yet to formally sign Hayes onto the crew.


Dodd Narrows in a strong ebb tide, from Seabird Travels

Nevertheless, the captain was willing to give Hayes plenty of responsibility.  Right before sailing into Nanaimo, “The tides are strong, the currents tremendous coming into the Gulf of Georgia. I was at the wheel running the narrows down at the lower end two days ago, and it was all I could do to get the wheel over in time to miss the next rock.” The captain must have been impressed with Hayes’ seamanship. He formally signed Hayes onto the crew (this time swearing to pay him “a pound more than these stiffs I have in here now’) and renewed his promise to pay Hayes off the ship at Melbourne.  None of the officers believe the captain will keep his word. They scoff at Hayes’ gullibility but keep him at odd jobs around the bridge to hear his tales of the US, Africa, and the Yukon.

The first day of 1910 and Hayes still can’t get out of the cold. The Foxley ran up the Columbia River  to St. Helens: “Ice growing thicker, with great floes constantly passing.”  Most of the crew jumped ship even at dreary, cold St. Helens.  After signing new men with a months advance pay at Portland, the  “Scottish skipper” anchors the Foxley well offshore fearing more men will jump ship given the chance.  Anchoring midstream means more work for Hayes as he and three other boatman have to buck the current rowing a small boat ashore nightly to stand in the freezing rain “while our captain enjoys the embraces of his gay dolls uptown.”


Columbia River Gorge in winter, from American Rivers

At Astoria, lumber jacks load the Foxley with a mountain of ice-rimed timber:  maximizing profit for the long run to Melbourne that caused Hayes  “fear for the ship’s safety because of the high deck load.”  Immediately out from the mouth of the Columbia, the overloaded ship ran into “one of the worst storms I have ever seen.” The ship creaked and groaned, wandering about the compass, taking breakers over the forecastle while alternately listing thirteen-degrees from one side to the other.  The storm blew at them all the way to Alenuihaha Channel between Maui and Hawaii – a wild ride, but at least the rain driven from the southwest  fell warm.

On the British Foxley, Hayes’ crew mates  include, “Spaniards, Germans, Turks, Greeks and so on.” Already, in 1910, the Germans keep to themselves and speak eagerly of the war certain to come between Britain and Germany. Herman, a sailor from Hamburg, explains their motivation: “Dey vas in our vay! Dey have all der goaling stations! Us? Ve has notting, only some poor golonies. We will beat dem, vill make der vorld all Cherman!” (Hayes’ quote.)

As the crew squabbles national allegiance and the officers repeat their dire warnings about the captain’s perfidy, Hayes  looks to the natural world.  He measures the visible tail on Halley’s comet at perhaps half a degree in length. “As it is not yet round the sun and consequently farther away than later, we may see more of it later on.”

Halley’s Comet, May 29 1910

After Hawaii, with the Pacific calmed to befit its name, Hayes took up quarters “under a boat on the poop.” Halley’s comet disappeared behind the sun but Achernar, Canopus, and the Southern Cross put on a show. “Stars of the second magnitude now appear larger than those of the first on land, for here there is no haze to break the nightly vista of the heavens.”

Sailing past the Ellice Islands (now Tuvalu), the Foxley continues its alternating thirteen-degree lists all the way to Newcastle, Australia where she hopes to take on more coal.  Newcastle has plenty of coal – and a long line of foreign vessels waiting out a coal-handlers strike in a swarm of biting flies. The Nanaimo’s coal will have to last until Melbourne; the skipper orders half speed to conserve fuel sailing around Wilson’s Promontory past “ghostlike eucalypts.”

National allegiances finally came to a boil at the first bar in Melbourne. When an Irish messboy entered the pub where the Germans had gathered, words flew and “the German took off his long uniform coat and his cap” preparing to mop up the Irishman. “The latter knocked him head over heels through a plate glass window, then reached for his assailant’s coat and cap and ran for it to the ship. No hard feelings on the Irishman’s part, he was merely saving a shipmate’s clothing. The fight was merely a social interlude.”

Hayes liked the Foxley well enough but his contract said the captain would pay and discharge him at Melbourne. The chief engineer advises: “You had bloody well clear out of here, that blighter ‘ll never pay you off.” Echoed by the second mate: “If he tells the truth, it’s an error on his part. You’re definitely a part of the permanent crew of R.M.S. Foxley.” (Hayes’ quotes.)

When asked directly, “[The captain’s] face hardened. He is a man who has lost faith in his fellows, trusts no one, but has a semblance of honor still. He leaned forward as he spoke, gritting his teeth like a savage dog.” Saying: “I told you I was going to pay you off, and I will. But you’re the only one of these devils who gets a penny!” (Hayes’ quote.)


Collins Street Melbourne, circa 1890-1910

By two in the afternoon he’d been paid, accepted through immigration, and installed in a workingman’s hotel near the houses of Parliament. “I am eager to explore the city and its surroundings, to get a glimpse of Australia.”


2.5 St. Michael to Eureka

March 24, 2012

Thanks to my Aunt Ruth for the family photos.  Click to see this map; it’s a long one showing about 18 months of Hayes bouncing around recuperating from the rigor of his trip down the Yukon and getting back on his feet financially.

July 23, 1908 – November 21,1909

Just before arriving at St. Michael, Hayes and Feodor were so hungry they tried catching sandhill cranes, “or anything we might find to take the slack out of our stomachs.” Feodor chased an old bird trailing a wing until he was a dot on the horizon. Hayes caught a young bird, but after a fierce struggle, didn’t have the heart to wring the bird’s neck.


Alaska Sandhill Crane

Both men must have been hoarding just enough money for fare from St. Michael to Nome and then south down to Seattle.   Among “the goodly number of ex-gold hunters” joining them aboard the Ohio only one requires a straight-jacket but eleven others “have been so despondent their minds have been clouded.” Hayes, Feodor and the others “considered rational enough to be left to our own resources” joke about the hardships and misfortunes. “If we could not do this we too would be insane.”

Sailing south out of Nome, a passenger named John Rosene  tried to recruit the best of the gold miners for a venture in Siberia. Hayes figures that the Russians would have long since exploited any real prospects in Siberia – and he’s had enough of the cold: “Africa, Australia, any place but this bleak land where all is moss, snow, ice, bitter wind and no food.”

Looking at the map, you can see Hayes getting back on his feet in familiar fashion after one of his devastating adventures: knocking about the western United States getting a stake together before setting off to some new corner of the world.

The mountains of Idaho are beautiful, “but a working man can’t live on beauty.” In August of 1908 he sold magazines for one day, then landed sawmill work in Raymond Washington. At $25 per month, this job lasted until October when he left to visit his Uncle Jim (and Aunt Mary, great-great-grandparents of the author of this blog) in Riverton, Oregon. Always oppressed by family, and too proud to tell them he’s down to his last 80¢, he beats it out of Riverton to another mill job in North Bend that pays $2 a day.


James Manley Perkins and Mary Lucretia Covey Perkins

At North Bend he finds some kindness from a young people’s meeting called Christian Endeavor.  “To be met as a human being … to be asked to return makes it seem like I was still a man.” Nevertheless, he demurs: “they have seen me only when it is dark and do not realize how poor I am. … Until I get some decent clothes it is out.”

Finally, in November of 1908, with a better position as log hauler for the mill at North Bend, Hayes can afford to send to Montgomery Ward for an order of clothing to replace those he’d been calling rags ever since the Yukon. With the new clothing, “I have crashed the crème de la crème of the town and even the mill bosses speak when we meet on the street.” The big boss at North Bend is 87 year-old L.M. Simpson whose vast lumber empire initially was “built up by cutting corners, as have all the big fortunes of the West.” According to Hayes, “No man could hold a job here thirty years ago unless he first took up a homestead. This would be located in the finest timber, and must be sold to Simpson when proved upon.”

Apparently Simpson lived a colorful life. One of his close friends, Peter B. Kyne, “has builded a story of romance founded on the factual experiences of this remarkable man” titled Cappy Ricks. “Of course, the romantic part of it had to be injected into the tale but Simpson’s life is truly portrayed in this book as it has been lived.” (Cappy Ricks or The Subjugation of Matt Peasley has recently been posted as a free ebook.)

The job at North Bend lasted until March of 1909 but Simpson had the bad habit of shutting down the mills “just to make us realize he is boss” so Hayes moved north to another mill job surrounded by “Finns, Swedes, Norwegians and other Scandinavians” in driving rain at Aberdeen Washington. By June he was east in Pomeroy haying with a threshing gang. Then in August, a little farther east harvesting wheat at Nez Perce with “money piling up.” By September, he was fit and flush enough to begin hearing the call of far places again. “I still have some faint remembrance of a river called the Yukon, and of a stormy corner called Cape Stiff by sailormen. But it seems to be the best part of my life, overcoming these hardships and dangers, and here goes.”

But first to Seattle for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific world’s fair.


Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Washington’s First World’s Fair: A Timeline History
by Alan J. Stein

Hayes is not surprised that the “hurry gurdy part” attracts most people: “Not so different from the Barbary Coast, a suspicion of naughtiness without the blatant obscenity that portrays the Barbary.”

After seeing the fair up north, Hayes made a quick jaunt down to California – San Francisco, San Pedro, then out to “Cinco, far out in the desert beyond Mojave” to check on a job.  The foreman courteously asked Hayes  to work seven days a week; Hayes as politely declined.  “No man can do justice to himself and his employer and work every day, to say nothing of pushing the helpless mules he drives.”

Leaving the desert, Hayes returned briefly to Oregon for a few week’s farm work for Cousin Joe Donaldson at Riverton. (Minnie Louisa Perkins, daughter of James Manley Perkins, so first cousin to Hayes,  married Joseph Duncan Donaldson.  Minnie and Joseph Donaldson are the great-grandparents of the author of this blog.)  In November of 1909 Hayes bid goodbye to his uncles in Oregon: “Somehow I feel encouraged to try for Australia.”


Joseph Duncan Donaldson and Minnie Louisa Perkins Donaldson

With his health restored a year-and-a-half after the arduous row down the Yukon, it’s time for another big jump.  His experience in the California logging mills assures Hayes that cargo ships regularly sail lumber west from Eureka to Australia.  Surely at Eureka a short-handed steamer will welcome an experienced seaman for a work-away to the unvisited continent down under.


2.4 Rowing down the Yukon

March 16, 2012


When I talk to friends about Hayes Perkins, this Alaskan adventure is always one of the first stories I tell:  nine hundred miles down the Yukon River in a row boat in twelve days.

 

July 7 1908 – July 19, 1908 (12 days)

If you are stuck at Fort Gibbon in the center of Alaska, 900 miles from the mouth of the Yukon, without enough money for fair downriver to St. Michael where you can catch a steamer to Seattle, no job, surrounded by a thousand unemployed men, what do you do?

To begin with, find a companion.  Hayes found Feodor Romanoff, a Bulgarian with soft hands who “says he has a good education, does not need to do physical labor.  He has no other outfit than a small leather handbag, and in this are cosmetics such as a lady has in her boudoir.  Small sort of puff balls, powders and perfumes.”

Then a boat:  Four prospectors pull up in a rowboat from White Horse looking to sell cheap so they can get inland to the diggings fast.  Hayes’ assessment? “Our boat is seaworthy, though rather clumsy.  She is the product of the small shipyard at White Horse….  She is constructed of whipsawed lumber, strips of kerosene tins nailed over the moss filled seams.  She does not leak, and strangely runs well for so heavy a craft.  One oar is hewn out of a spruce limb, the other is a straight stick with a piece of lumber nailed to it.  All round I am satisfied with the boat.”

Lake

Lake Bennett Boats

And provisions:  The miners were in a hurry; Hayes worked them a little.  Five dollars bought the boat, together with, “twenty pounds of flour, eleven pounds of bacon and two pounds of prunes.  A coffee pot, a frying pan, two tin plates, some knives, forks and spoons.  What more does a man want on the Yukon?”  Well, Feodor had his cosmetics bag and Hayes had a change of underwear and two blankets.

One of the blankets and a stick found on a gravel bar make a passable sail and the journey starts fast:  140 miles to Kokrines in “eighteen hours and twenty minutes, actual timing.”  Of course Feodor’s hands won’t let him row more than an hour even if he did know how, but Hayes teaches him to steer with an oar when wind fills the sail, so Hayes can get a little sleep.  “Feodor does not realize the seriousness of our position.”  Not yet anyway.

Between Bennett and Lindeman Alaska; not exactly the right place, but the right image

Ten miles below Nulato, 290 miles below Fort Gibbon, out “two days and ten hours,” the wind whipped around to the west (head on) and chopped the river rough as open sea.  Hayes and Feodor put in to a small native village trying to buy some fish.  Hayes, Feodor and the native men find they have only the word “hooch” in common.  “We had none, and they lost interest.”  But a woman from the village who had learned English at the native school at Holy Cross approached with two small children suffering from “the hordes of mosquitoes.”  Hayes gave her some carbolic salve and, when she asked if they had anything to read, could only offer some Salvation Army tracts a man gave him at Fairbanks.  Attention to the children bought them a load of fish, “that we accepted with thanks, but threw over the side when we turned the first bend.”  Cultural differences on how long fish remains edible.

Hayes describes the mosquitoes as truly ferocious.  Here is the once daily drill with the flour and bacon:  “I take the oars and drive for a (sand) bar at full speed.  Feodor stands in the bow, and when the boat strikes the sand, he leaps out, runs to the drift with a bundle of birch bark in his hands and has a fire going by the time I have moored the boat and got the grub box ashore.  We light several fires as quickly as possible, fighting mosquitoes the while.  Then I fry bacon and flapjacks and make a spot of coffee, which we eat while sitting in the smoke.  Then, after cooking enough for the rest of the day we get more bark for the next stop, take the grub box and run for it again.”  Out in the middle of the mile wide river, the mosquitos aren’t so bad, “and when the wind blows we escape them.”

The sun sets for a couple of hours each night but never to darkness.  Feodor is afraid of the Northern Lights; Hayes is afraid of the empty native villages they pass one after another.  He writes, “hooch peddlers float down the Yukon each spring behind the ice.  Then they can sweep up the furs in every Indian village and encampment…  The bootlegger has done his work well.  Selling all their furs to buy booze, there was nothing left for flour and other provisions, so they starved when winter came.”

Above Kaltag, Hayes and Feodor pull ashore at another village escaping the rain.  A native family takes them into a fine cabin (abandoned by woodcutters) but won’t sell them salmon for money.  Furthermore, “something about our appearance aroused their mirth, for without any movement on our part the three boys of the family would laugh loud and long.”  In this instance, a stitch kit was more valuable than money.  Hayes fixed a pair of shoes for a young woman then gave her the tools.  She reciprocated with a well-cooked salmon dinner.

Below Anvik, they meet a priest, “a humble man, living with the Indians as one of them” who could interpret for one of the elders:  “When the Russians were here, they brought us good clothing and other goods, but the price was very high.  Now the Americans bring us poor material, and the price is still high.  The Russians brought no hoochino, but the Americans have ruined our people with it.   During the Russian occupation we were many.  There were four people then to where there is one now.  In a few years we will all be gone.” (Hayes’ quote.)

Now that Feodor’s hands are hardened to rowing, Hayes thinks about making a smudge to keep the mosquitoes off – Maybe a little later, Feodor rows better when he has to move to keep the bugs off.

July 15, eight days on the river and precious little flour and bacon remain in the grub box.  Hayes hears a beckoning from shore and pulls in to find a grey-haired prospector who leads him to a tent where his once gigantic friend lies withered and broken.  “During the previous winter he had been frozen, his feet are now black and gangrened.”  Hayes’ admiration for these hardy men merits exclamation marks:  “But with splendid spirit his partner has cut wood and is trying to sell this [to passing steamships] to pay their passage to the states.  No seeking relief for these self-reliant men!  They are trying against almost hopeless odds to pay their way as they go.”  Despite Feodor’s protests, Hayes leaves half the flour and bacon with the two prospectors.  “It is the right of any prospector to ask for food, for he may be asked himself under the same circumstances.”  Hayes also left the last of the Salvation Army literature with no recorded complaint from Feodor.

Hayes and Feodor left the two prospectors shorter on food but longer on information.  “We were soon in the maze of the delta channels after passing Andreafski, which is 180 miles above St Michaels (sic).  It was fortunate we met the two old miners, else we would never have know which way to go.”  Following the miners’ directions they came to a group of Eskimo men fishing.   One wanted passage north to an Eskimo camp at the Pastolik River mouth for which he eventually paid “a splendid king salmon.”  Perhaps more importantly, the local man showed Hayes a path to the end of the Yukon on the Norton Sound.

The Eskimo men let Hayes and Feodor rest in their shaman house, sold them half cured salmon they’d put up for the dogs and offered them a kind of mulligan stew made from all but the tail and wing feathers of some wild fowl boiled in seal blubber.  “Neither of us could force it down.”  The locals had better food but apparently Hayes had a gold-filled tooth that lead them to believe the two travelers could pay more handsomely than they would.

After more than 800 miles down the Yukon, only forty miles separate the mouth of the Pastolik from St. Michael – forty miles of open sea.  “It has been the worst passage I have ever made.”  A lull had come to the previous day’s storm but the wind freshened immediately after their small boat crossed the “rough bar.”  Hayes hoisted their blanket sail while Feodor lay helplessly seasick moaning in the bottom of the boat.  “The wind blew stronger as we kept on.  Billows broke about us, over us, and for a time I managed to get the now desperate Feodor back to man the steering oar while I bailed for life.”  After 13 hours at the oars, the blanket sail, and the bailing bucket Hayes spied a tall pole “some kindly hand” has placed showing where to tuck safely in behind Egg Island.  Safe from the storm but completely lost:  “Channels, one after another, lead off here and there, and we wonder whither we are going.”

Fortunately the two lost adventurers stumbled across one more kind stranger who knew the river.  In return for the last sweepings from their flour can, the head of a native family gathering berries drew Hayes “an accurate map of our route, placing all the false channels and drawing a line across each.”

After one more short stretch rowing on open sea, Hayes drove hard onto the sand at St. Michael where, “Feodor leaped ashore and without a word cleared up town.”  Hayes sold the boat (“I had gotten a real affection for our boat, a clumsy craft on whose bow someone had inscribed ‘Mary Ann of White Horse’”) for two dollars, gave away their gear, then went looking for Feodor, former half-owner of the Mary Ann, “and gave him his buck.”