Author(s): Yvonne Webb
From an evocative tale of a feisty science-driven man who lived among the indigenous people of New Guinea, to his suffering from beriberi and malaria, sending him to Australia and a fanfare from the scientific community, Yvonne Webb presents hismultiple passions, achievements and disappointments. A biological research station was built for him in Sydney. A German colleague doublecrossed him. He was instrumental in the British, German and Australian presence in New Guinea. He married aNSW Premier's daughter. Archival material sheds light on the blackbirding trade and the slaving of people from Arnhem Land and Papua New Guinea by the adjacent Muslim Maharajahs. In Queensland he travelled recording previously unknown facts of indigenous lives. Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace were his friends. His story is one of a driven man struggling with the politics of the time. He died prematurely of an undiagnosed brain tumour. Yet this giant of a man is generally unknown in Australia.