1887 - Douglas Rannie
New Britain, Papua Neuguinea (Bismarck-Archipel)
The steamer anchored close to us. She was owned by Farrell and Co., of Ralum, cotton-growers and general traders. The whole of their extensive business was managed by Mrs. Farrell in person, so far as the islands part was concerned, while her husband looked after their interests in Sydney.
Mrs. Farrell was aboard the 'Golden Gate' with a large party of ladies and gents. That evening I had the pleasure of meeting her for the first time at a dinner party given by Messrs. Hernsheim. Mrs. Farrell, or 'Queen of the South Seas', as many call her, is worth more than a passing note. She is the daughter of Mr. Coe, American Consul in Samoa, and a Samoan princess, and was educated in ladies' seminaries in America.
She was a handsome and very striking figure when I first met her. She was dressed in white satin, with a long train, which was borne behind her by half a dozen dusky little maidens, natives of the Solomon Islands, all dressed in fantastic costumes. Above her jet-black hair she wore a tiara of diamonds - her whole carriage was queenly. She was accompanied on this occasion by a number of female cousins and other relations from Samoa, mostly part-Samoan, and all highly educated and beautiful women. Mr. Stuart, American Consul here, was in her train.
After dinner, her little maidens stood behind her chair. Some fanned her, while others rolled small cigarettes, which she smoked between sips of coffee and cognac. After coffee, all adjourned to the skittle alley, and afterwards dancing was indulged in until the morning's early hours.
Ralum is beautifully set in a picturesque and lovely bay. About 20,000 acres belong to the firm at Ralum, and it is all being brought into cultivation. Well-kept paths lead up through extensive grounds to Mrs. Farrell's large and commodious bungalow, 'Gunantambu'. The grounds are tastefully arranged in terraces, leading down to the sea-front. In front of the house is a fort or battery, with cannon brought to New Ireland by the Marquis de Rays, as ordnance for the unfortunate colony. Hanging from a nail on the verandah was the flag, all fringed with gold, under which the poor colonists left their natives lands with such high hopes …
Last, but not least of the relics of that deplorable expedition, we saw in the bungalow's dining-room the altar presented to the colonists and consecrated by the Archbishop of Milan. It was a magnificent work of art, and beautifully inlaid. But instead of the holy and pious use for which it was intended, it was used as a sideboard and stocked with liquors. We witnessed our hostess with her own hands concoct strange and cunning Yankee drinks upon the blessed altar.
My Adventures Among South Sea Cannibals
Quoted from :
Robson, R. W.
Queen Emma – The Samoan Girl Who Founded an Empire in 19th Century New Guinea