Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/375

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157
REPORT BY G. S. FORT.

apparently led into the heart of the country. There were several deltas at the mouth. The land on either side was flat and the soil very rich; vegetation very tropical and in abundance; depth of river from twelve to sixteen feet. Large numbers of natives were seen; they were, however, very friendly.

Within a radius of 100 miles from Port Moresby, the wallaby is to be found in large numbers. The undulating plains which extend at the back of Port Moresby are great hunting grounds for wallaby and pigs. Outside this radius the wallaby is not found. Wild pigs are found everywhere in the Protected Territory. The cuscus, an animal resembling the Australian native bear, and a species of tree kangaroo are to be found in the southern portion of the Peninsula. These animals, together with the wallaby, are marsupials. It is supposed that monkeys exist in the interior in the west. Birds of all sorts—pigeons, duck, cassowary, birds of paradise, &c.,—are very numerous.

The mineral resources of the Protected Territory, both as to kind and quantity, are still a matter of conjecture. With regard to gold, two specimens of sand, one from the Larogi and the other from Milne Bay, have been assayed. The assay of the specimen from the Larogi River yield gold, but not in payable quantities; the results of the assay of that taken from Milne are not yet known. It is the opinion of Mr. H. O. Forbes, based upon his geological observations, that gold will not be found to the westward, but might lie among the high country in the Milne Bay district, and on the North-East Coast. Plumbago has been seen at various places along the South- West Coast. Pebbles and small fragments brought down from the interior, consisting of mica slate, quartz, sandstones, greenstone, and jasperiod rocks, show tho formations there to be undistinguishable from the Silurian and Devonian series of the goldfields of New South Wales. Rocks of similar age, with granite and gneiss, were also found.

The following industries are at the present time in operation in the country, from which a revenue could be immediately obtained:—Timber, bêche-de-mer, copra-making, pearl fishing, &c.

The glowing accounts which have appeared in the newspapers of the prospects of the timber trade in New Guinea have raised expectations of a very sanguine nature. It is true that there are large quantities of cedar and malava (species of cedar) on the banks of the rivers in the west, in the Manu-manu district, and on the Kemp, Walsh, Edith, and other rivers; but it is not generally known that a very large proportion of this timber is so small as not to be of marketable value. As large quantities of cedar had been felled before the proclamation of the Protectorate by firms in Australia, permits were granted to remove this