Science, Research and Adventure: Austrians in the Pacific

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Science, Research and Adventure: Austrians in the Pacific

Insights into an unusual and mostly unknown aspect of Austrian history

Hermann Mückler

The almost landlocked Austrian Empire never developed sufficient naval capacities to become a major naval power in the concert of European empires from the 17th to the early 20th century, although the empire had access to the Adriatic Sea until 1918. Its traditional focus was centered to continental-Europe's East and South-East which encouraged the political administration to extend its hegemonic aspirations through political and economic influence into the Balkan (Croatia, Bosnia, Hercegovina, Montenegro), and to Galicia (Poland, Russia), also occupying the Bukovina (today part of Western Ukraine). Traditionally the Austrian (k.k.) and later the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (k.u.k.) executed a specific form of borderland-colonialism, like the Tsarist Russian Empire, instead of developing serious colonial ambitions overseas. To give an example: Austria took part in two of the three partitions of Poland in the second half of the 18th century, conquering parts of Southern Poland for the benefit to increase its regional influence into northern and eastern continental Europe. But Austria also had access to the sea since the year 1382, when the commune of the city of Triest asked protection from Austria against the dominating nearby cities Venecia and Aquilea; this access – which included a naval harbor in Pola (Pula) on the peninsula of Istria – ended in 1918, the end of World War I, when the monarchy fell apart.

Only twice Austria occupied tiny colonies outside Europe for a very short period of time. In 1777 captain Wilhelm Bolts of the Austrian ship "Joseph und Theresia" raised the Austrian flag at Delagoa Bay (today Maputo Bay, Mozambique, Africa) and in 1778 he did the same on the Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean to establish a chain of trading outposts and supply stations for Austrian ships on the way to potential markets in South-East and East Asia. Although the then Austrian Empress Maria Theresia was in principle interested in establishing colonies for the Empire to encourage the trading of Austrian products and raw materials like copper and mercury on a large scale, the overall interest of the political administration at those times for aquiring colonies outside Europe was negligible, mainly because of the expected high costs and Austrias traditional focus on Central and Eastern Europe as hegemonic spheres of influence. The small settlement on the Nicobars was abandoned after the death of its first and only resident Gottfried Stahl in 1783 and afterwards the island chain was – strange but true – just forgotten by the Austrian political administration. It was not before the mid 19th century that during the preparations for the Austrian scientific expedition with the ship "Novara" (1857-1859) the government remembered this former Austrian foothold in the Indian Ocean which was in the meantime then under Danish administration.

Suprisingly early an Austrian came in touch with the Pacific Ocean and some of its islands: In 1623 the Austrian soldier in the rank of a captain Christoph Carl Fernberger had to undertake unvoluntarily an adventurious voyage round the world in the years 1621 to 1628, and he touched the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific. Fernberger, fighting in the Spanish Rhine-Army as a mercenary against the Dutch in the Spanish-Netherlands War the years before 1621, he was captured near the small town of Rosenthal and for a short time he became prisoner of war of the Dutch. At that time the Dutch people struggled to become independent from Spanish suppression and colonization. Fernberger, amember of a noble family from the province of Upper Austria and was probably born between 1596 and 1600. It seems that he got a good education and was greatly interested in the new sciences of his time, especially in geography as well as language studies. Finally released by the Dutch in Rotterdam in 1621, Fernberger tried to find a good opportunity to travel back to Austria. Asking different captains in the harbour of Amsterdam – the base of the Dutch East India and West India Companies – for a passage to Venice, he finally hired in November 1621 as a cook on a ship of the Dutch East-India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, VOC), bound for Africa – a fact, he did not know until the ship was already offshore. It is not possible to verifiy if this was due to a misunderstanding or a false information given by the crew of the ship; nevertheless he had to comply with the situation and so he started his adventurous trip which lasted seven years before he finally managed to return to Austria. The ship which was on its way to West-Africa and filled with guns and trade-goods to be bartered north of the mouth of the river Congo, wrecked at the end of January 1622 on a reef off the coast of Sierra Leone, where about half of the crew died. Fernberger surived with some others swimming to a cliff close to the Cape Verde Islands. Without water and food he thought his fate to be sealed, when another Dutch ship from the VOC picked him up on its way round South-America to factories in the Netherland-East-Indies (today: Indonesia). On the way from the Magellan-Strait (which the ship successfully encircled between 18th September and 2nd October 1622) proceeding to the Molucca Islands, Fernberger crossed the Pacific Ocean, touching the "Islas de los Ladrones", as they were named by Ferdinand Magellan, or Mariana Islands on 30th March 1623.

Coincidently the Mariana Islands name symbolizes a link to Austria. Queen Maria Anna de Austria, widow of King Philipp IV. of Spain and daughter of Ferdinand III. of Austria, was inspired by a report of the Spanish Jesuit missionary Don Diego Luis de Sanvitores, who has visited the island of Guam, about the "pagan life" of the indigneous Chamorro population of the islands. This report encouraged Queen Maria Annas ambitious activity to establish a lifely missionary work on the Ladrones, despite initial protest from the Spanish Governor of Manila, but backed by the Vatican. To pay tribute to Maria Annas engagement the islands were renamed from "Islas de los Ladrones" into "Marianas" in 1668.

Christoph Carl Fernberger was one of the earliest Europeans who came in direct contact with and wrote about the Chamorros, and this is of significant value, as sources of the first half of the 17th century are rare. The post eventum Fernberger-Diary is stored in the private archives of the Counts of Harrach in Vienna (Archives of the Count of Harrach, Vienna, Codex No. 473). Although Fernberger's account is brief and somewhat incomplete it provides some interesting details of Chamorro life in the period in which the first contact between Europeans and natives took place. At that time stereotype patterns came into being on both sides, the Spanish conquerors and the indigenous population, which had disastrous consequences for the Chamorro. Those natives who opposed the process of assimilation and acculturation were exterminated and the few who survived were forced into assimilate with Spaniards and Tagales, the latter brought by Spanish colonizers from the Philippines to the Marianas to be added to the indigenous population as a work force. Based on the diary, the full account of Fernbergers voyage round the world was published in the year 1972 by the Austrian anthropologist and historian Karl R. Wernhart and an article by the same author about Fernbergers contact with the Chamorros can be found in the Journal of Pacific History. Recently Wernharts book about Fernberger was reedited and published in 2011 (Wernhart 1972a, 1972b, 2011).

The remaining adventurous time of his voyage round the world can be summarized as follows: Fernberger continued from the Marianas to Ternate in the Mollucan Islands via the Philippines and arrived in Batavia on the island of Java on 25 July 1623. Having retired from the service of the Netherlands East India Company in 1624, Fernberger became a merchant in the Malayan archipelago, especially on Celebes and Banda. He went as far as Formosa (today: Taiwan) and from there to Chuanchow in China. He made the acquaintance of the Portuguese trader Emanuel Rodrigo and accompanied him to Siam (Thailand), where he got involved in local politics. He took part in a campaign of the Queen of Patani against the King of Siam and his strategic and military knowledge secured the victory for the Queen. Having returned to Batavia, he set off for home on 18th August 1625. On 1st September 1625 he reached India (Gujarat) and when he continued his voyage he shipwrecked (again) near the Strait of Hormuz. Saved by Arabs he was sold as a slave to an Armenian merchant whom he accompanied in 1626 on his travels to the Persian city Isfahan. After he had repurchased his personal liberty with some diamonds that he had seized in one of his military expeditions before in South East Asia and worn hidden in his clothes, he again returned to Batavia via Macao with the only available ship and set off from there for home for the second time in 1627. With the fleet of the retiring Governor of Batavia, Pieter de Carpentier, he arrived, after rounding the Cape of Good Hope at the Table Bay. From there the ship sailed northbound along the west coast of Africa. Finally the fleet, and with it Fernberger, arrived in Amsterdam on 26th July 1628. So he was back at his original starting point. From there he travelled – this time overland – to Vienna via Hamburg and Prague, completing his journey round the world. Fernberger died in 1653. The Viennese manuscript is the oldest handwritten diary of a voyage round the world in Austria. It contains geographical, cartographical, historical and ethnographical information on parts of South East Asia, America, the Middle East – and one of the earliest accounts about the Chamorro people of the Marianas.

Although focusing on the Pacific Islands or Oceania, I briefly mention the Austrian botanist and artist in painting plants Ferdinand Lukas Bauer (1769-1826), who accompanied 1801-1802 the expedition of the British explorer Matthew Flinders, with whom he charted large parts of the South-, East- and parts of the North-coast of Australia. He was one of six scientists selected by Sir Joseph Banks to accompany Flinders expedition to circumnavigate Australia. Bauer was the first Austrian who set foot on Australian soil. Bauer left Flinders in 1802 and joined the British botanist Robert Brown to go to inland Australia, to Tasmania and to the Bass-Strait islands. Besides Bauers published illustrations about Australia (Bauer 1813) in Oxford, his collected plants from the Norfolk Islands were published in 1833 in Austria by another Austrian botanist, the Pressburg (today: Bratislava) born Stephan Ladislaus Endlicher (1804-1849) and titled "Prodromus Florae Norfolkicae".

The next Austrian person who came in touch with the Pacific Islands was a lady: Ida Pfeiffers (1797-1858) effort, to reach the Polynesian island Tahiti was a remarkable undertaking. Ida Pfeiffer was a lady who left the traditional "Biedermeier"-role of family and household behind after her two children were grown up and her husband, twenty-four years older than her, had died. In 1842 at the age of forty-four she started an extensive voyage to Konstantinopel, Asia Minor, Syria, Palaestine and Egypt, followed by a tour to Scandinavia and Iceland in 1845 and her first voyage round the world in the years 1846-1848, following the route from Europe via Brasilia and Chile to Tahiti, continuing to China, India, Persia, Asia Minor and Greece. Her second voyage round the world from 1851 to 1854 was sponsored by the Austrian government – a result of the success she achieved with the first publication of her travel-records – and took her to England, Africa and Madagascar, followed by a trip to the Sunda-Islands and the Moluccas where she stayed for eighteen months. Her life was quite contrary to the way women usually had to behave at those times. Travelling, a monopol for men, seemed too dangerous for a lady who, beyond the fact that she was travelling by herself, was gazed at in wonder by men who often opposed and interfered in her plans. Nevertheless she managed to make her intentions become true and also visited areas where no other travellers have been before. The significant difficulties she had were never part of her publications, although she suffered serious health-problems during her voyage, partially caused by low budget travelling. Pfeiffer was at first well equipped with a generous inheritance, but had lost most of the money in her married state because of a long period of unemployment of her husband, who was a lawyer. Due to serious financial problems she had to adapt with low standard forms of travelling and low cost accomodation – today we would call her a "backpacker". She herself called it "travelling like a sailor", which is also the subtitle of a book about Pfeiffers letters written and edited by Gabriele Habinger (2008). Ida Pfeiffers books, published immediately after the return from her voyages, achieved great popularity to a broader audience as well as for scientists. Among others Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Ritter were two well-known scientists who backed her projects. She was continuously in contact with these supporters and the letters sent between them show the seriousness of the scientific discourse and the acceptance which she got from these scientists. In the latter years of her life she was showered with honours from several countries for her detailed descriptions of people and cultures which she contacted. Her emotional presentation of her own doubts and hesitations show her self-reflexive and critical approach in viewing and interpreting her own position and actions. In total she surrounded about eight times the globe, an achievment never accomplished by a woman before.

Ida Pfeiffer arrived in Tahiti on the 25th April 1847, coming from Valparaiso (Chile) on her way to Hong Kong, and stayed almost one month on the Polynesian island. It was a time in which the French influence to the islands just started to become crucial. Tahiti, for a long time a point of dispute between England and France came under French supremacy in November 1846. The Tahitian Queen Pomaré, who had escaped for the times of turmoil to another island of the archipelago, was just about five weeks back on Tahiti when Ida Pfeiffer arrived in Papeete the main town and capital of the island of Tahiti (Pfeiffer 1850:152). Pfeiffer passed on a lot of geographical details of the landscape, the vegetation and the settlements of the indigenous population in her description of the landing at the harbour of Papeete and her trips further inland. During her own search for a place to stay she examined the houses of several Europeans, who lived in small houses close together in the coast and harbour area of Papeete. A special account was given by her to the work and life of the French governor Armand-Jospeh Bruat, whose measures to control the Tahitians have been controversial and in its effects causing fundamental changes to the island and its inhabitants. Pfeiffer focused in her description on the missionary work of Anglican missionaries and to a lesser extent on catholic missionaries who just started to intensify their involvement – after an early but short interlude by the Spaniards in 1772 and 1774. Beside these general views, she noted many ethnographic details in her diaries for later publishing. The physiognomic description of the native people and reports of typical garments, including the locally typical wraparound skirt "pareu" and the "tiputa", as well as the practice of tattooing give valuable witness of main aspects of Tahitian life and culture. Broader space is given to a description of the Royal family and specially Queen Pomaré Vahine IV., who had come into power in 1827 after the death of her half-brother Pomaré III. Although honouring the overwhelming hospitality of the islanders, her interpretations are underlayed by her European perceptions and self-understanding, and some prejudices (and her explanations for them) show the culture clash, which she experienced. Further accounts were made on Tahitian dance (which she felt was too indecent), the much more unrestricted and permissive way men and women behaved, reciprocity in Tahitian society, religious belief and traditional law, but also catching fish, architectural details and food. Her diary of this trip was published soon after her return to Austria. The value of her reports lies in the description of facets of a society under dramatic stress in an era of fast growing European influence which caused fundamental changes: Tahiti was a Polynesian society fighting unsuccessfully against the inevitable colonization and Ida Pfeiffer was a witness of these dramatic circumstances.

The probably best known Austrian enterprise into the Pacific is the so-called Novara-expedition. The expedition of the imperial frigate "Novara" round the world in the years 1857-1859 was accompanied by a whole group of Austrian scientists. Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria, the Commander in chief of the Austrian Navy since 1854 initiated the expedition under the command of the Austrian Imperial Navy, combining scientific with political aims. Maximilian was the brother of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I. and in his later career famous for becoming the short-time emperor of Mexico in 1864, who, during the Mexican revolution in 1867, was executed in Queretaro. In its history the Austrian Imperial Navy constantly suffered a lack of financial resources for sufficient equipment and supply for ships and crews, due to its already mentioned focus on continental issues. Under such circumstances it was an unorthodox decision by very few motivated persons in the governments administration as well as parts of the Austrian nobility to initiate and support scientific expeditions outside the mediterranean region. With the expedition of the "Novara", Austria for the first time in its history tried to engage its navy in a global dimension, reacting to an increasingly globalized world and adopting a new worldwide strategy for trading and achieving access to potential overseas markets. Beside the economic aspect, the main aspect of this engagement was the hope to position oneself as a major European power and therefore to participate on a small scale in the imperialistic race for colonies which became vital in the mid 19th centuries competition between the rivaling European powers. A seriously discussed issue was that of the benefit of a selfsufficient colony which can provide the necessary resources to its "protecting" and exploiting motherland.

The expedition of the "Novara" lasted three years and is still remembered in Austria as the most successfull expedition and world-circumnavigation undertaken by an Austrian ship. The ship itself has its own story: originally planned to be named "Minerva" and built in 1843, it was renamed into "Italia" when the Italians captured Venice from the Austrians and it was renamed again, into "Novara" after the victory of the Austrian troops against the Italians near Novara in northern Italy in 1849 which brought Venice back to Austria. On board of the frigate were a group of scientists under the scientific command of Commodore Bernhard von Wüllersdorf-Urbair (1816-1883), who himself was a renowned geophysician and astronomer and temporary director of the marine-observatorium in Venice, joined by the geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter (1829-1884) and the zoologist Georg von Frauenfeld (1807-1873), the latter responsible for collecting and sorting all items of the voyage. Josef Selleny (1824-1875), the expeditions artist, had the responsibility to document the whole voyage with sketches in aquarell and oil paintings, as photography did not have the significance as in subsequent decades. Karl von Scherzer (1821-1903) was added to the scientific staff as negotiator to establish trade links to the visited countries. After the return of the expedition he wrote a three volume edition which became popular for a broader audience and still figures as one of the best accounts of Austrian voyages (Scherzer 1862; regarding Scherzers biography see Treffer 1973). Published originally in German, it was later also translated into English and Italian. The detailed scientific report in twenty-one volumes about the voyage of the "Novara" including the results and interpretations of all accompanying scientists was published by the scientists in the following decades, partly under control of Karl von Scherzer who supervised this grand edition. Still there are parts of the material not yet published.

Captain of the frigate during the expedition was Friedrich Freiherr von Pöckh. The ship had started its enterprise on the 30th April 1857 in Triest the second and biggest Austrian harbour beside Pola, the major Austrian navy base on the Istrian peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, and had stopovers at Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, South-Africa, Ceylon and Madras (South India). It touched the already mentioned Nicobar Islands, a former Austrian colony, on its way to Singapore, Batavia (Jakarta), Manila and Hong Kong. Coming from Shanghai the "Novara" entered the Pacific Ocean undergoing a hard time by struggling against a taifun.

On 26th August 1858 the island of Guam in the Mariana Islands, Micronesia, was sighted. The harbour of Umata seemed too dangerous for a save landing at this season of the year, so the ship continued to Phonpei (in the records named Puynipet), where a longer stop offered the opportunity to get in touch with the islands population. The island was reached on the 18th September. For the first time Austrians had the possibility to instantly study the structure and conditions of growing coral-reefs. Detailed accounts of the population were listed, that some years earlier had suffered a serious small-pox epidemy implemented by a careless British captain which decreased the population significantly from 5.000 down to about 1.500. Beside some meteorological aspects, mainly geological details were noted in the records. A visit to the village of the Roankiddi-tribe (Ron Kitti), as it was noted in the records, opened the way to some anthropological and ethnological analyses. The arriving Austrians found Phonpei as a place with a fast growing ethnic diversification, due to incoming white settlers, whalers and traders who settled on the island. Beside this fact, they observed American missionaries engaging themselves in the evangelization of the local population.

The "Novara" continued its voyage from Micronesia to Melanesia, to the Solomon-Islands, crossing the equator and the calm belt which slowed down the speed of travelling and delayed the original schedule. Passing by the island of Malaita, Solomon-Islands, the "Novara" headed to Sikayana or Stewart-Atoll, where the ship arrived on the 17th October 1858. A stop in Sydney, Australia, was used to repair damages on the frigate, caused by a taifun after leaving Shanghai and another storm, which the "Novara" had to endure on its way to Sydney. The stopover was used to organize short trips to the inland to see parts of New South Wales. The route took a group of the crew to the Blue Mountains and to Campbelltown, where Australian wine was tested, followed by a trip down the coast to Wollongong. In the district of Illawarra the Austrians met Aborigines for the first time. Scientific profit emerged above all in the fields of botany and zoology. The craniological collection, enlarged to more than one hundred species during this stop of the voyage, was enhanced with some sculls of aboriginal people. These sculls remained in the depot of the Vienna Museum of Ethnology until they were restituted to the Aboriginal people in the 1980s after a formal request. Plenty of collected (and purchased) fossils help to ligthen the geological age of the Australian continent and are now part of the palaeontologic section of the Vienna Museum of Natural Science.

Similar experiences were made in New Zealand, the next stop on the frigate route in the Pacific. A stopover in Auckland from 22th December 1857 until 2nd January 1859 was used to collect and consider some aspects of Maori life. Many pictures, paintings and sketches were made about the ornamental decoration of artefacts, houses and face-tattoos of the Maori. While Ferdinand von Hochstetter explored deposits of brown coal or lignite in the Drury-district (his output was published as a topographic-geologic atlas and a monography; see Hochstetter 1863), other members of the scientific crew inspected the Kauri-trees in the Manukau-mountains. One reason of the roundtrip on the Northern Island of New Zealand by the frigate's crew was to find some persons of Maori origin who would like to come on board of the "Novara" and join the ships crew to be brought back to Austria for further scientific studies. Finally only two men voluntarily joined the crew: Wiremu Toetoe Tumohe and Te Hemara Rerehau Paraone, both from the village of Ngatiapakura in the Waikato district. They accompanied the expedition of the "Novara" and were later admired by the Viennese, when they arrived in the Austrian capital (see Sauer 1998). The nine-month stay of the Maoris in Vienna was a public sensation and they were even invited by the emperor Franz Joseph I. During their stay they learned the profession of letterpress printer at the state printing office. Finally the two Maoris, packed with a lot of presents, were sent back to New Zealand via London. The main present of the Austrian government was a printing machine, which was used later by the two Maori to produce proclamations against the English colonial administration in New Zealand.

The Novara-crew continued the voyage to Tahiti in the Society Islands. On 11th February 1859 the ship came in sight of the silhouette of the island and anchored in the bay of Papeete. During the seventeen days of the stopover scientific analyses in the field of astronomy and charting were undertaken, then the "Novara" left the Pacific Islands heading to the Chilean coast. The remaining route touched Valparaiso on its way back to Gibraltar and Triest, where the ship arrived on the 26th August 1859. The importance of this voyage round the world lies in the huge amount of zoological, botanical, geological and ethnographical artefacts and species collected and purchased on all continents and the adding of substantial details to many different fields of science. The next ten years the analysis and utilization of the material in Vienna and elsewhere occupied dozens of scientists. Parts of the objects are on display in the showrooms of major Austrian museums, namely the Weltmuseum Wien (the former Museum für Völkerkunde Wien, Vienna museum of Ethnography) and the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (Museum of Natural Science Vienna), a model of the "Novara" and some personal belongings of the travellers can be seen in the Wiener Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (Vienna Museum of Military History).

It is worth to mention the expedition of the Austrian Navy ship "Albatros", because of the tragic consequences which were caused by the crews negligence of the crew and misunderstandings between members of the expedition and the native people of Guadalcanal. The "Albatros", launched in 1873, was in 1895 on its way to the South Pacific with a crew of scientists on behalf of the Vienna Academy of Science to undertake extensive hydrographic, meteorological, botanical, anthropological and ethnographic analyses on all islands touched by the ship, but also to find potentially exploitable nickel deposits on some of the Melanesian islands. The leader of the scientific staff was Heinrich Freiherr Foulon de Norbeeck, a wellknown expert for discovering and exploring mineral resources. On the 6th August 1896 the ship anchored off the island of Guadalcanal in the Thousand-Ship-Bay on the roadstead of Gora, after visiting the islands St. George, Isabell and Savo. The intention of some crew members to climb up the 5.500 feet high mountain "Lion's Head" (locally named Tatube) together with three native guides, was implemented although the hostile behaviour of the local people at the foot of the mountain, as recognized by one of the midshipmen. The noise of the drums in the inland native villages was ignored; the indigenous population was not willing to guarantee any kind of cooperation or support as the mountain was seen by them as sacred and therefore assigned with a taboo. Nevertheless the expedition crew of the ship continued the walk through the dense jungle forest. A basic camp was erected at the foot of Mount Tatube, about seven miles away from the sea at a level of 2.800 feet and the total expedition crew split into two parts, of which one wanted to climb to the peak, while the rest planned to wait at the basic camp. On 10th August the natives suddenly attacked both parts of the expedition. Six expedition members were killed by the natives, five Austrians – among them Foullon de Norbeeck – and one native guide, Jonny Parramatta, who was from a coastal-village of Guadalcanal. The members of the expedition crew defended themselves and killed several local people. It was not possible to retrieve the dead bodies of the expedition crew members and carry them to the coast; they remained in the jungle and were assumed as cannibalized; a suggestion made by the fleeing Austrian survivors. Two days later a landing detachment with thirty Austrian soldiers landed to rescue the surviving members and to search for the corpses but were not successful to find again the exact spot of the massacre. Two years later, the Austrian Navy cruiser "Leopard" brought a three metre tall stone cross made of porphyry to Guadalcanal, which was erected at the coast as a memorial for the killed Austrians. The monument survived the battle of Guadalcanal in World War II and after its renovation in the 1980s can be visited about 70 kilometers east of Honiara (see Winter 2005; Wagner 1955).

Beside the expeditions organized and undertaken by the Austrian Imperial Navy, several private persons came into the Pacific for scientific purposes. Andreas Reischek (1845-1902) from Upper Austria travelled from 1877 to 1889 in New Zealand. Ferdinand Hochstetter, who accompanied the "Novara"-expediton and remained for some month in New Zealand, recommended Reischek for the foundation of a museum in Christchurch. Reischek crossed eight times the country and was welcomed by the Maori, whose culture he intensively studied. In honour of his interest in Maori culture he was appointed by the Maori-king Tawhiao as a chief. In the early 1980s Reischek came under critic because of how he obtained some of the objects which he brought back to Austria. A controversial book written by Michael King accused Reischek of stealing Maori mummies and certain other objects, which later were housed in the Museum für Völkerkunde Wien. In the late 1980s, the disputed mummies were given back to Maori representatives to be buried according to traditional Maori rites (King 1981; Reischek 1924). A balanced and detailed description of Reischeks achievements as well as the problematic aspects of his acting provides Erich Kolig (1996).

Robert Lendlmayer von Lendenfeld (1858-1913), a zoologist, enriched the Austrian collections of New Zealand fauna in 1899 and also made several geographical and geological studies. In the years 1882-1886 Lendenfeld surveyed in New Zealand some glaciers of the Southern Island, among others the Tasman glacier. He had extended his work to Victoria (Australia) as early as 1881 where the invitation and instructions from the Australian government enabled him to explore the Australian Alps. He found and measured the highest peak (Mt. Townsend, today Mt. Kosciuszko) in 1885-1886 in New South Wales, where also another Austrian, Franz Malcher could be seen later as a well-known alpinist, followed by Ludwig Schmarda (1819-1908), another zoologist, who made his studies in the Blue Mountains. In the Museum of Auckland some paintings of Maori culture, created by Gottfried Lindauer (1839-1926), an artist from Pilsen (Plzen, now Czech-Republic) are on display (Hassinger 1947:175). The geologist Ottokar Feistmantel (1848-1891) explored Tasmania in the year 1902 and Jiří Viktor Pavel Daneš (1880-1928) analysed in 1909 the karst in Queensland. Carl Friesach (1821-1891) visited in 1858-1859 the Sandwich-Islands (Hawaii), exploring some volcanoes before continuing to the Marquesas-Islands and Tahiti. Botanical studies were made by Albert Grunow (1826-1914; he also accompanied the "Novara"-expedition) in 1885 in New Caledonia, and by Lilly und Karl Rechinger (1867-1952) in Samoa, New Guinea and the Solomons in 1905 (see Rechinger/Rechinger 1908) as well as by Alfred Zdekauer in the Bismarck-Archipelago in 1918. Also Karl Diener undertook in 1913 and Victor Pietschmann in 1933 zoological studies in the Pacific region (Hassinger 1947:176) for the benefit of the Austrian collections.

Ethnological studies were mainly made in Melanesia. The expedition of Rudolf Pöch (1870-1921) in the years 1904-1906 was undertaken to study the Papuas in New Guinea, as well as aboriginal Australians in New South Wales. From the Bismarck-Archipelago Pöch carried a large collection of ethnographic objects back to Austria. The inventory of the Weltmuseum Wien counts 3.768 pieces, most of them brought from New Guinea, New Ireland, New Britain and the Solomons (Museum für Völkerkunde 1967:18). Hugo Bernatzik (1897-1953), an anthropologist from Vienna, made his ethnological/anthropological researches on two small islands of the Solomons, Owa Raha (Santa Ana) and Owa Riki (Santa Catalina) in the years 1931-1932 (see Bernatzik 1936), followed in 1932-1933 by studies in the south-eastern parts of New Guinea, where also Georg Höltker (1895-1976) – not an Austrian but of German descent, who lived and worked most of his life in Mödling near Vienna – made in 1938-1940 his observations. This incomplete listing of Austrians who got in touch with the Pacific for scientific purposes or as travellers shows how deep a general and specific interest on this region emerged in a country which had no colonizing ambitions.

The results and effects of the missions and voyages about this region can be seen mainly in the ethnographic, botanic, zoologic and geologic sections of Austrian museums. Especially the ethnographic collection of the Weltmuseum Wien comprises thousands of artefacts from all parts of the Pacific. Additionally many pieces were bought or purchased at international auctions to complete specific sections and to give an overview of cultural life in the islands. The most noted collection of objects, which was successfully bought by auction in 1806 in London by the Imperial family and brought to Vienna, is the so-called Cook-collection, comprising 238 pieces of captain James Cooks three expeditions into the Pacific. About one third of all objects collected by him on his three voyages is now owned by the Vienna ethnographic museum, the Weltmuseum Wien. The huge ethnographic collections opens a door to the scientific study and analysis of Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian cultures. At the University of Vienna at the Department for Cultural and Social Anthropology, the only academic institution of such kind in Austria, there is a branch of Pacific Studies, led by the author of this article, who also organizes trips to the Pacific islands regularly. Austrian students interested in Oceania might therefore add in the future to the study of Pacific islands cultures and people.

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