Item 10: General William Holmes diary, 23 August 1914-22 February 1915 - Page 148

You are here


[Page 148]


On Saturday, 17th October, the Administrator had an interviews with Messrs. Mirow and Taifert, who acted as a Deputation from the  various German Merchant Firms in Rabaul, in regard to the distribution of supplies provided they purchased the same from Mr. Lucas, representing  Burns, Philp Coy. Ltd.    They pointed out that Mr. Lucas had informed them that   certain quantities of goods had arrived by the S.S. "Moresby", which he was prepared to dispose of to them on certain terms and conditions.   The prices at which the goods were offered by Mr. Lucas were fairly  reasonable, and they did not anticipate any difficulty in regard to definite arrangements being made in payment for same, but it was useless for them to purchase these  goods unless they had facilities for forwarding the same to their various stations in the different Islands.

The Administrator pointed out that the goods in question had been shipped from Australia by the "Moresby" at his instance, on representations made some time ago by the Merchants themselves, who stated that they were getting short of supplies and had asked the Administrator  to help them in obtaining supplies from Australia, which they undertook to purchase on arrival.

The Administrator intimated that he was anxious that normal conditions of trade should be established at the earliest possible moment.   He realised that as the outlying stations were in need of stores, and  as the administration had been taken over by the British, it was incumbent upon  him to do all in his power to assist the Merchants in distributing their goods. He, therefore, gave the deputation his assurance everything would be done to facilitate this distribution by the Merchants.   All that would be necessary was, when the Merchants wished to forward supplies to their stations, to make application to the Administrator stating when they desired their vessel to leave, where they were going to, and when they would return.   He would then direct the King's Harbour Master to issue the necessary permit to  pass them out of port.   This course was necessary, as it was desirable for obvious reasons that traffic of this kind must be kept under control.   With this assurance, therefore, they would be perfectly safe in negotiating with Burns, Philp and Coy's Representative, for the purchase of the supplies which they needed.  

The Deputation stated that the Motor Boats at present in the Harbour at Rabaul would not be of sufficient capacity to convey goods to the  Stations, and asked that they might be permitted to call in various vessels belonging to them at different places, to assist in the distribution.

Mr. Taifert, Manager of the  New Guinea Company, was very anxious to know whether he could send word for the Steamer "Siar" to come to Rabaul.   The Administrator informed him that this was a question he could not answer at present, as he understood that the "Siar"" had just had just  recently come from Macassar loaded with rice and other supplies, a portion of which had been surreptitiously landed at Vuna Paka on the North Coast at one of New Guinea Coy's Stations.   Seeing that no authority had been given for this  supply of goods to be landed there, and no duty had been paid on the same, he (the Administrator) had come to the conclusion that the goods in question had been smuggled into the Colony, and had, therefore, given instructions to the Provost Marshal to impound all that had been landed, and this had already been done.

This page has its status set to Completed and is no longer transcribable.