Despite the nearly 150 years since the Chevert sailed far too little is known about this expedition. The Chevert Log is one way to unearth what happened on that voyage in 1875. It contents have probably not been read since it was written in 1875. Transcribing it will enable the transcriber to be the first to relive what is hidden in within its pages.
The Chevert Expedition was the first scientific expedition from Australia to another country. It was privately funded and organized by William Macleay (later Sir William). It took place in 1875 and marked Australia as having come of age as it reached out beyond its own borders. For the first time Australians looked away from the inland journeys of Bourke and Wills (1861); Leichardt (1848); and Sturt (1830). Australia for the first time looked beyond its own coastline into its immediately surrounding neighbourhood of Asia and the South Pacific. The world press took notice and the Australian public held their collective breath for news of the Chevert Expedition to New Guinea.
In the 1870s, Americans were re-building from their Civil War (1861-1865) with Ulysses S. Grant as President; Queen Victoria reigned in Britain and over the Commonwealth; in France, Napoleon III was making way for the Third Republic. The modern mail-steamers were emerging to replace the age of sail. The knocking of steel and the smell of coal-smoke were fast replacing the hard flapping sound of the wind in the canvas and rigging of the tall ships. The map of the world was nearing completion with only the wildest parts remaining unexplored. The dark hearts of the Congo and Amazon Rivers needed traversing; the secretive isolationist east was opening at the edges; India and Hong Kong had been settled and ruled; the South Sea Isles mostly discovered and New Guinea had been tentatively landed upon in the west, north and east—leaving only the south and its dark interior to be unearthed and have their maps drawn. Birds-of-Paradise were among the drawcards for naturalists to New Guinea as were the many other new species of animals and plants to be found there. Adventure awaited the daring and scientific discoveries awaited the curious. For those bold enough to touch its shores the natural history rewards would be great, but they would go hand in hand with the compulsory mosquitoes and fever, while the less fortunate would meet with spears and arrows.Read more »