Archbold Expedition to New Guinea (2nd : 1936-1937)
- Existence: 1936 - 1937
The Second Archbold Expedition to New Guinea took place between 1936 and 1937 and was funded by Richard Archbold. It is also referred to as the 1936 Archbold-Rand New Guinea Expedition or the Archbold-Rand New Guinea Expedition (1, 1937, p. 62-63). The focal area for this trip was the largely uncharted area of the Western Province of Papua New Guinea from Daru up the Fly River (2, 1940, p. 341). It was the first Archbold Expedition to use amphibious aircraft for transportation while in the field. The scientific party was comprised of Archbold, Austin Rand, Leonard Brass and G. H. H. Tate.
- Scientific party arrive in Port Moresby, collect in Rona area, travel to Daru.
- 1936-03 to 1936-04
- Air and transport parties arrive in Daru, conduct reconnaissance flights and collection in area.
- Travel by boat to Palmer Junction camp, meet air party, advance party travel toward Mt. Mabion.
- Successful supply deliveries at Mt. Mabion camp.
- The Kona capsizes.
- 1936-08 to 1936-09
- Travel by raft to Lake Daviembu and meet air party. Scientific party collect in area. Air party return to United States.
- 1936-10 to 1937-01
- Scientific party continue along Fly River, collecting at various spots between Lake Daviembu and Daru.
- 1937-02 to 1937-03
- Scientific party return to Port Moresby; Brass and Rand return to the United States with remaining collection, Tate stays and collects in the area near Port Moresby until late March.
After the success of the first expedition to New Guinea (1933 and 1934), Richard Archbold wanted to continue the systematic exploration of Papua New Guinea. Because of the experience of the first expedition, he knew that one of the main challenges to exploration in this region was in the effective provision and transportation of supplies overland in this mountainous terrain. (3, 2000, p. 15) Archibald purchased a Fairchild Amphibian seaplane which he named Kona. He planned to use the craft to deliver supplies to the remote areas by parachute. This use of air transport, along with a system of radio communications, was innovative and highly successful. The radios allowed the various divisions of the expedition to keep in contact and coordinate supply drops and pickups from remote areas. In addition to its value as a means of transport for personnel and supplies, the Kona also enabled reconnaissance flights over proposed collecting areas to review terrain and identify potential camp sites and landing areas. The effectiveness of the seaplane would directly inspire Archbold in his planning of the next New Guinea Expedition (4, 1937, p. 576).
Archbold was expedition leader, mammalogist and Kona’s pilot. Austin Rand was assistant leader and ornithologist, and also collected cold-blooded vertebrates. The scientific party included botanist Leonard Brass and G. H. H. Tate, who collected mammals and invertebrates. Archbold, Rand and Brass had already worked together on the previous New Guinea expedition. Non-scientific personnel included pilot Russell Rogers, radio operator Ewing Julstedt, and L. A. Willis, who supervised ground transport. Local patrol officer Michael J. Healy and his colleagues accompanied the trek. Throughout the expedition, native workers were drafted as porters and as assistants for the collecting work.
The expedition depended on the coordination and communication of the various parties: the advance land transport, the collecting party, and the plane group. They embarked from Port Moresby, then traveled across the gulf to Daru, where the entire crew converged and where the plane would be stationed. From here they executed a series of reconnaissance flights to determine mountain camp sites and possible landing areas for the Kona. Additional main camps were established at Palmer Junction and on the Wassi Kussa River (5, 1940, p. 342). Specimen gathering took place throughout the entire expedition; including major collecting sites at Rona, Mabaduan, Mt. Mabion, Lake Daviembu, Sturt Island, Gaima, Tarara and Penzara. Initial plans called for flights to higher elevations in the mountains, but the Kona was capsized by a sudden storm in July. Besides the financial setback of this loss, the team, forced to adapt to the situation, quickly changed their plans and arranged for alternate means to transport the collections. The scientific staff and the carriers built a flotilla of rafts to float the specimens and supplies down the Fly River (6, 1937, p. 575). Although their original plans had to be abandoned, the expedition continued collecting extensively in the lowlands. Archbold returned to the United States to begin organizing the next expedition (7, 2000, p. 19) and the scientific party remained in the area until March of 1937. The expedition was very successful from a collecting aspect. In total, they collected over 7800 specimens for the AMNH departments of mammalogy, ornithology, ichthyology, and herpetology, and 2600 botanical items. (9, 1940, p. 379), which were given to the Arnold Arboretum (8, 1940, p. 379).
SOURCES (1) American Museum of Natural History, 69th Annual Report for the year 1937, New York, 1938.
(2) Rand, A.L. and Brass, L.J., "Results of the Archbold Expeditions No. 29," Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 77, Article 7, 1940.
(3) Morse, Roger A., Richard Archbold and the Archbold Biological Station. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2000.
(4) Archbold, Richard and Rand, A.L., "With plane and radio in stone age New Guinea," Natural History 40, no. 3, 1937.
(5) Rand, A.L. and Brass, L.J., "Results of the Archbold Expeditions No. 29," Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 77, Article 7, 1940.
(6) Archbold, Richard and Rand, A.L., "With plane and radio in stone age New Guinea," Natural History 40, no. 3, 1937.
(7) Morse, Roger A., Richard Archbold and the Archbold Biological Station. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2000.
(8) Rand, A.L. and Brass, L.J., "Results of the Archbold Expeditions No. 29," Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 77, Article 7, 1940.
Papua New Guinea
-- Date: 1936
- Note: The expedition was the second in the Archbold Expeditions to survey and explore Papua New Guinea.
-- Date: 1936
- Note: Expedition site
-- Date: 1936
- Note: Expedition site