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THE NEW BRITAIN MASSACRE.

j THE RESULT OF CARELESSNESS. | Further iutuliigence to hand regarding ; the massacre of Messrs. Meucke and- Caro ; at St. Matthias Island, m the Bisiuark j Archipelago, points to the fact that the i massacre was due to the negligence and ' carelessness of the unfortunate men who met such an awful fate. St. Matthias is an island situated to the north of New Ireland, and about 270 miles from the seat of Government m New Britian. .It is an island of illrenute owing to the savagery of its inhabitants, and has very seldom been I visited by white men on that account. This undoubtedly made it an object of greater interest to scientific men, as valuable specimens of birds, flora, etc., would m all. probability be discovered m its mysterious and unknown interior. From accounts to hand, it appears that Mencke and party were a considerable time attempting to conciliate the natives before venturing on a landing, and as a precaution twenty native policemen were placed at their disposal by the Governor of the Archipelago, all of whom were armed with rifles. Effecting a landing, liberal "presents were made to the savages of the island, who thereupon assumed a friendly attitude towards the scientists, and operations were at once commenced to procure birds, etc. So friendly did the natives appear to these men (who, by the way, were utterly unacquainted with natives, and therelore not cognisant of their treacherous friendliness) that nojookout was kept, and on the night preceding the massacre the police boys, received orders to take their rifles to pieces, so as to have them zeady for cleaning first thing m the morning. This was done, and the policemen then retired to rest along with the remainder of the camp, not the slightest semblance of a guard being kept. Before dawn, the natives' favorite time of attack, the onslaught was made by a horde of silent, grim savages, and the deadly spears were sent on their mission of death, and the unfortunate secretary, Caro, was killed as he slept. Mencke was also asleep at the time he was speared, and unable to rise, whilst several of the police boys were also killed outlight. Dr Heinroth, the only one who liad a revolver, - fired into the opposing mass, and with the assistance of the surviving policemen carried Mencke to the boat, and pushed off. The total number who were on shore vrere 14 police boys, Mencke, Caro, Dr •Heinroth, andi a qarpenter. Six police and Caro were killed -outright, and Hencke died a few days afterwards. The object of the crime can easily be attributed to the natives' greed for gain, and # tlie culpable carelessness of the party m not appointing a proper guard; and will donbtless act as a warning H:o other expeditions to secure the services of a man conversant with natives and their treacherous ways before penetrating or landing on islands of ill-repute. Mencke, the leader of the expedition, v.as a man of about 30 years of age, and enormously wealthy." He visited Xew Britain two years ago, coming from Fydney, and it was then he resolved on fitting out an expedition of scientists to prospect the islands of the Western Pacific It was his intention at the conclusion of his island researches to lead an expedition into the interior of Australia. Caro, his secretary, was 29 years of age, and went to New Britain about IS months ago from Sydney, to act as secretary /to the ' : Governor : of the Bismark Archipelago '(Herrn Von Benningsein), but m February last left that position to act as secretary to Mencke. Both the unfortunate men had no inornate knowledge of the savages of the Western Pacific, and their action m landing and camping on St. Matthias was foolhardy m the, extreme.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/PBH19010510.2.48

Bibliographic details

Poverty Bay Herald, Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XXVIII, Issue 9143, 10 May 1901

Word Count
635

THE NEW BRITAIN MASSACRE. Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XXVIII, Issue 9143, 10 May 1901

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