Fate of the asopa.com.au website
TPNG education: the 1959 enlightenment

On the trail of Andrew Goldie, collector

Lakatoi Assoc Prof Steve Mullins, a historian at Central Queensland University, is travelling halfway round the world to the Isle of Cumbrae in Scotland to begin unravelling an intriguing piece of PNG’s early colonial history. In the island’s small museum, he will be given access to a 120-page manuscript written by Andrew Goldie in 1881.

Goldie was one of the first Europeans to live in Port Moresby and from about 1875-90 was the most significant collector of PNG natural history specimens and artefacts for Australian museums. Apprenticed as a gardener in Scotland, he migrated to New Zealand in 1862 and spent ten years as a nurseryman. After collecting botanical specimens in the South Seas, he shifted his attention to PNG, collecting until his death in 1891. His possessions, including an unfinished manuscript, were then sent back to Millport on Cumbrae.

Prof Mullins believes the Goldie manuscript may be a unique window on the Papuan past. His aim is to bring Goldie’s manuscript to life by editing a book containing an annotated and illustrated version of the original hand written manuscript. It will also catalogue the 130 or so Goldie items held by the Queensland Museum.

“Until now very little has been written about Goldie [who] is particularly interesting because he was a commercial rather than a scientific collector,” Prof Mullins says. “Because he opened Port Moresby’s first trade store, Goldie knew everyone on the … south coast, and by annotating his manuscript we hope to coherently link up with their histories.”

Source: ‘Rare New Guinea manuscript comes to light’, The National Weekender, 20 June 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Kristina Winters

Hello, I'm a student at a Gavilan College in Morgan Hill, womens history.

I have acquired a beaver hat with tied Ostrich feather extensions and on the side is perched an authentic Goldie Bird of Paradise. The hat is dated 1910.

Could you tell me a little bit about Goldie and how this bird had come to be such an ornament during the times of millinery? Did Goldie have any statistical record of the population of this remarkable bird during the time of discovery. Did he trade this bird out to hat millineries? Are there any documents to show this and could you share a copy with me?

This would be greatly appreciated... Thank you.

Bob Dowsett

Do you know if Goldie visited Nigeria in or just before 1874? A certain A Goldie collected the type of a bird (Lobornis Alexandri, now Parmoptila woodhousei alexandri) at Calabar, a trading and mission post on the coast.

Janet Caroillon de Villecourt

Hello - I am seeking informartion about my grandfather James Henry Shaw and the exploration of New Guinea.

I have found it reported that: "Goldie published reports of his travels and arranged with Edward Ramsay of the Australian Museum to take two collectors, Alexander Morton and William Blunden, on his next trip. Accompanied by James H Shaw, surveyor, the party reached Port Moresby in Goldie's cutter 'Explorer' on 17 July 1877."

I have an early newspaper article of one of my grandfather’s tips to New Guinea and I understand there is a Shaw River and wonder was it named for him.

I hope I can be directed to more information about the exploration of New Guinea and my grandfather.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)