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PAPUAN COLLECTION.

TO THE. EDITOR OF THE HERALD.

Sir,-When I passed through Papua on my first vlBit I observed that a highly valuable ethnological collection could readily be made, and I rogretted that I had neither the time nor finances to do so at the moment. The million people that paid admission to see, hear, and leam from "Pearls and Savages," tho photographic record of that visit, all as- sisted to finance the recent venture, and en- abled me to equip.and set .out on a larger scale than hitherto. I approached the trus- tees of the Australian Museum to allow a trained collector and recorder to accompany the party, with the result that my estimable friend, Mr. A. R. Mcculloch, joined us. Inde fatlgably he persevered throughout, with the result that a magnificent collection of unique material was Becured. Personally, I was Just as keen, for we both realised that in a fow years much of the material would not be avail- able, owing to the subversion of tribal customs by civilisation.

The Museum, In other words, tho public, was expected to pay nothing for the collection. The entire collection was presented, so that it might remain a permanent record of a re- markable people, and as an element i-f educa- tional value to the community. Had I been commercially inclined, I could have sold t',.j lot in the old world, been a few thousand pounds botter off, and probably have jn-less criticised. One correspondent actually has the puerility to charge mo with paying too highly for the Items, and thereby setting a precedent! Surely this gentleman belittles the objects of a great public institution, and makes him- self too ludicrous to take seriously. I can as suro the public that every item was secured ns honourably as the treasures of Luxor, and I doubt not that in the generations to come the confiscated collection will be of equal scientific and public interest. The former, a dazzling record of an amazing and ostenta- tious civilisation, the latter tho humble and primitive emblems of a mysterious cple still dwelling in the Stone Age. It was hoped to display the collection whilst the films were being screened, so that those interested might see the pictures and then visit the Museum and examine the actual objects. Thus an am- bitious educational project has been ruined, and, judging by the hundreds of letters' which I have received from school children and others, the Papuan Administration has dis- appointed many by its myopic stupidity, and

to its lasting detriment.

.am,"etc" FRANK HURLEY.

Napier, Bcresford-road, Rose Bay. P»b. 2?.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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