Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/355

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SIR PETER SCRATCHLEY arrived in Melbourne at the end of the year 1884. Before, however, he was able to proceed to New Guinea, two main questions had to be settled—

(1) To find a suitable vessel in which to go to, and remain on, the New Guinea coast:

(2) To arrange with the various Australasian colonies with regard to the present and future contributions towards the expenses of administering the Protected Territory. In order to settle this latter question, Sir Peter Scratchley visited the colonies of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, and New Zealand, and personally interviewed their respective Ministers. He also met and interviewed the Premier of South Australia. The purport of the replies from these colonies with regard to this point was to the effect that they would continue to contribute their respective quotas for periods varying from two to five years, on the condition that a certain share in the expenditure should be borne by the Imperial Government.

The difficulty and delay in obtaining a suitable vessel for service on the New Guinea coast was intensified by the threatened rupture between England and Russia, which was imminent during the months of March and April of that year. Early in January, 1885, Sir Peter Scratchley had gone to Sydney, and while there the Government had offered to place H.M.C.S. "Wolverene" at his disposal for service on the New Guinea coast for six months. This offer was accepted, and the vessel was placed in charge of Captain Taylor, who was instructed to