Saturday, 15 June 2013

Wednesday 6th July 1898 HMS Mohawk 13 Blue jackets absent over their leave

13 blue jackets remained absent over their
leave finished taking in provisions

Tuesday 5th July 1898 HMS Mohawk Queensland premanent Artilery win Football match

provisioning ship went on shore and played football with Queensland Permanent Artillery resulted
in a win for the Artillery

The military barracks on Thursday Island, Torres Strait, Queensland, where 50 men of the Queensland Permanent Artillery were stationed. The barracks were built in 1892/1893 in preparation for an expected Russian invasion which never happened. The garrison was disbanded in the late 1920s. (Information taken from: J. C. H. Foley, Timeless isle : an illustrated history of Thursday Island, 1982.) The grand timber buildings of the barracks have a very tropical look, with wide verandahs, and were designed by architects H. Neale and Son. The soldiers are in full military uniform, and appear to be practising with mounted artillery pieces (field guns?). A windmill-like structure is visible in front of the buildings.

Monday 4th July 1898 HMS Mohawk Coasting steamer arrives with orders

All day thoroughly cleaning ship in the even
ing small coasting steamer arrived with our stores &

provisions from Sydney, received answer to telegram from
Admiral to say that we had got to carry out previous orders

Sunday 3rd July 1898 HMS Mohawk Washed and brushed up Leave given

Washed down had a quik brush up all round
left the Coal Hulk and dropped anchor just off the pier went
to divisions, there read prayers and gave leave to half the ships
company 1st time men had ben on leave since leaving

Saturday 2nd July 1898 HMS Mohawk alongside Coal Hulk William Fairbairn

4.30 am Got up anchor and went alongside coal
hulk "William Fairbairn" commenced coaling and continued
till 4 am Sunday Morning


Owned by edward bates and son870-1878 William Fairbairn (1856), iron fullrigged ship. Liverpool Journal ships for sale 1877 Iron ship, WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN, 1293 Tons, built at Birkenhead by Messers LAIRD, 1856.
On 01 January 1903, William Fairbairn was lost off Goode Island, Torres Strait.

Friday July 1st 1898 HMS Mohawk

5 am weighed anchor proceeded on our course
arrived Thursday Island 7 pm recievd 18 bags of Mails for
our ship, received 14 lettters and 8 pearsons?  for my own cheer

Thurday 30th June 1898 HMS Goldfinch

7.30 Anchored in Tores Strait as navigation
very dangerous at night time.

Wednesday 29th June 1898 HMS Mohawk

9 O'clock sailed for Thursdy Island after
filling up H.M.S. Goldfinch with provisions

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Tuesday June 28th 1898

Arrived Port Mausley found H.M.S. Goldfinch
in Harbour dropped anchor and dressed ship Captain Leggett
of Goldfinch came on board and we turned over our orders and the
Senior officers box of the Northern Division. likewise to prepare
for Sea at once to carry on the duties that we was told off to
perform round the Solomons, our Captain feeling confident
that we should be ordered to Sydney to go into Dry Dock
to have our bottom seen to 12 o clock fired a salute of 21 guns
it being Coronation day in the evening turned the captured
Cheif ov tothe Goldfinch with instructions to take him to
Gavatu to be tired by the Commissioner Mr Woodford
The marines sent us some papers and magazines the first we

had received since leaving Sydney found out thatthey had been
having fine times in Thursday Island, Cricket, Football, & Enter-
tainment being in full swing between them and the Queensland
Permanent Artillery stationed there, the Goldfinch had been
swinging round the buoy for 6 weeks, heard that all our mail
was waiting for us on Thursday Island.

Monday 27th June 1898 HMS Mohawk Tube Cannon practice

General quarters and cannon tube practice
at target in forenoon stations for Man & Arm boats in the

Sunday 26th June 1898 HMS Mohawk Captured Chief of head hunter village likes Pea Soup

Usual routine read prayers on
Quarter Deck the Captured Chief seems to take things
quite comfortable and fully smacks his lips over the
ships rations especially on Pea Soup Days.

Saturday June 25th 1898 HMS Mohawk Usual routine

Usual Routine squaring things off ready for cleaning ship up a bit.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Friday 24th June 1898 HMS Mohawk Head hunting, defensive tree houses and the Currency of the Solomons

7.30am Captain with all boats fully armed
with Officers & men went on shore but could  find out nothing
regarding the two females, but after searching round about the
front of the bush we came across and old man that had bee
wounded the day before, after the Doctor had dressed his wound
he told the Captain through the interpreter that they had save the
two females for a feast  that was close at hand or as the call it
a Great Kiki gathering, but they would not have it till
we had sailed, as they knew very well their chief would
not come back, it is their custom that when they launch a
Big War Canoe they go head hunting to the neighbouring islands
and capture as many women as they possibly can they then
cut their heads off and decorate their canoe and have a great
gathering and a feast with the bodies, the chief we captured
very well on it indeed he stands 5 ft 11 inches and an has

a very decent corparation of him, he takes this very coolly and seems
to think that there is nothing in dying, they have no thought on
fear of death, they put less value on their lives than we we do a flys.
When we found that it was no good wasting time there, we re-
turned on board, Mr Mahephy preferring to stay behind with
the trader, we then shaped our course for Port Marsley in New
Guinea and from there we was to proceed to Thursday Island,
which is North of Australia in the Torres Straits , and as we had
got over a thousand miles to go with only just enough coal to
do it with, and besides the Captain was very anxious to get to
the mainland, as he had reported nothing about us going on
shore to the Admiral. The curse of the Northern Solomon Islands
is head hunting the more savage tribes make collections of
heads which they adorn their huts, and are very eager in the
hunt for them they are not satisfied with the heads they h
get by fighting one another, but they organise expeditions
sweeping down on the weaker tribes and carrying off all the
victims that they can possibly seize, the Southern end of
of the Island of          is a favourite hunting ground for them
more Northern Tribes, who come down in great force bring-
ing large canoes full of Warriors from the Island of
Chaiseul and New Georgia, the more peaceful Southerners
make no attempt to forcibly resist them, but they build

themselves strongholds into which they retire and if possible defy
their enemies,these places of refuge are of two kinds, tree houses
and hill fortifications, the tree houses posses the greatest in-
terest, and in some parts of the island are quite numerous
the people attain the nimbleness of monkeys by continually
climbig up and down these trees, and walking along their
branches, at a village which we passed their was tree house
close tot he waters edge, and as as we was steaming dead
slow and close in shore we had the opportunnity of have
ing a good look at it, the tree in which it was built was
a magnificent one growing upon the cliff by the shore
all th elower branches where cleared away and its peculiar
appearance made it most conspicuous amongst the
surroundig palms and smaller trees, there was a clear
space found the foot of the tree and from the branches
hung a slender rattan cane ladder, th eladder seemed of the
weakest and swung abount unpleasantly,the rounds are

merley bits of stick slashed on to a single cane rope which
would be impossible for an booted whiteman to get a foot
hold on, the house was built well in amaongst the branches
and seemed to be very large they estimated size of it, about
26ft long 18 wide and about ten feet from the branches in
height at each end of the house are balocnies oe of which

looked over the sea, the height of th ehouse form th eground
I should say was between seventy and eighty feet, along
the side of the balconies was piled up small heaps of
stones which they used for defensive purposes, when they
get news onf an expected raid to be made on them by the head
hunters, the people all retire to these sort of places for safety
drawing the thin ladder up after them if the head hunter
come near for th epurpose of cutting down the trees,
whic is avery hard job for them as they have not got any proper tools
and the trunk is as hard as iron, they would be pelted with
stones from above and unless the enemy was armed with rif
rifles it would be impossible to dislodge them, the other
kind of stronghold is less curious, the build house s on the rock-
iest peaks they can find, then cut of the all approaches by construct-
ing dykes and allkinds of obstructions which must have caused
them a exceptional lot of hard work, the money used
in the Solomon island sis very interesting, the general
currency consisting of strings of shell beads about the size
of Shirt Buttons, strung on native cord in 6ft lengths,
thereare two kinds red & white money, above this comes from
a dog jaws are used and there value is very considerable a hole
is made in each tooth and when a man has sufficient

number, he sets them on a band and wears them as a collar
Popoise teeth are used but only one fifth the value of
Dogs Teeth, there is another coinin the shape of a marble
Ring it is worn upon the chest and looked upon as a charm
as well as a oin, I managed to get  a scale which varies
but little through out the Group ( it seems as follows)

Scale of Solomon Island Coinage

10 Coca Nus = 1 string White Money or Stick of Tobacco
10 Strings of W. Money = 1 String red Money or 1 Dogs Tooth
10 Strings Red Money = 1 Isa or Porpoise teeth
10 Isas = 1 Good Quality Wife
1 Bakika or Marble ring = 1 very god pig
1 Bakika = 1 medium Young man

By this table a wife cost 10,0000 Coca nuts which they
have to pay to the father of the bride, the girls are short
but well made with pretty hands & feet their faces are
covered with tattoeing, they wear a loin cloth of
native gass, the generral articlles fof table which the
traders get from the natives are Copra, Beche de mer Y
Yams Vegetable ????, Shells, coca Nuts, the climate is

is very bad indeed full of fever which rises from the
ground, through decayed vegetation everytime we

landed we had to be dosed with Quinins directly we arrived
on board

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Thursday 23rd June 1898 HMS Mohawk Arrested Chief of Village of Head Hunters

Arrived  back again at Ronago during the time
Jean Pratt  was on board he reported to the Commissioner that
a chief of a village next to his station had made a raid on a
small island and had carried off 18 young women which
he had brought back with him, the commissioner then
asked the Captain to land an armed party for the purpose
of rescueing the women, so we man & armed boats and
set off on the expedition, we found out on landing that
out of the 18 women only two was left the others had either
been eaten or sacrificed for canoe launching, they had
taken the remaining two women with the women &
children of the tribe up into the hills we had a bit of of a
sharp brush with the natives who then fled but we man-
aged to capture the head chief we brought him on board and

placed him in Irons with a Guard over him, the Commissioner
and trader remaining on shore with 12 marines as a body guard
they held a parley with the natives and made known to them
that they had they brought the two women down from the the hills
and turn them over to us, so we could take them back to
their own Island, we would release their chief, we then got
under weigh, and cruised and cruised up and down off the island all

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Wednesday June 22nd 1898 HMS Mohawk they wanted the Head of Pratt the trader to stick on a New War Canoe

7.30am we stopped off the island of Wanono at
this place lived a trader named Pratt who had sent news down
to Sydney that he had been murderously attacked by the Natives of Vella
La Vella this man is a Frenchman and whilst trading with the na-
tives, of a village in Juno bay he and his crew was murderously
attacked whilst on board this schooner, Pratt received a terrible
cut across the left side of his head which very nearly cost him his
life the natives who struck him was instantly killed but one of the
schooner crew named Jack a black man who very nearly severed
the native in half by a blow from an axe another native was
shot in the head by Pratt before he had received the blow, the
schooner crew managed to beat the natives off who when they
found that they had lost two men retreated in their canoes
they wanted the Head of Pratt the trader to stick on a New
War Canoe which they was about to launch this had taken
place seven months back November 1897 and we had come
here with the commissioner on purpose to punish the Natives
and to try and stop them from head Hunting, our
boats went on shore and brought off Mr Pratt and 2 natives
we had them to act as guides. to show us, the place of hiding
of the Chiefs, we then proceeded on to Vella la Vella
arriving there at noon, we landed 70 Blue Jackets

and all the marines, the Commissioner & Mr Pratt on getting
ashore we found the Village was deserted the Natives hav-
ing retreated in to the bush, where it would be sim-
ply madness to try and follow them,they made a sig-
nal to the ship and they fired some 6 inch shrapnel
& Common shells into the surrounding hills but would
find no traces of them, they had some very fine huts
& war canoes these we broke up and burnt destroying everything
we came across, whilst the huts were burning , I amused my-
self shooting at some pigs that was running about in half
wild state, I was attending on the 1st Lieut , my Governor, he
managed to shoot two bad enough to stop there run-
ning, but a Lee Matford Bullet would pass clean through
them and they would hardly take as much notice of
it, that if I had only stuck a pin in them after
all the huts was well a light, we started to return
back to the ship, but just as we started to shove off
from the shore a native showed himself in the
Bush we fired a volley at him from the boats,
thinking that there would be a lot more in the bush
by him, he was only a little over 100 yds away and
I never in all my life see a chap jump so high
in the air, he must have been like a top of a
pepper box riddled with bullets, Our Captain did
not think it wise enough to turn back as the sun

Continued in Exercise Book

Continued from red book

Wednesday June 22nd. was beginning to set and it would be ex-
tremely dangerous to be on shore, as no sooner than the sun is
down it is dark, so we returned on board and left the place
going at slow speed, during the time I was on shore we came
across a native oven of smooth stone a human skull
and a few loose bones, scattered about, I expect they had
made a bake for that chap we collected the Bone, and
buried them I managed to stow the skull away, but
could not find the lower jaw to go with it.