What is stated to be the firs known south to north, coast to coast crossing of the great island of New Guinea, was completed Apr 4 when the French film expedition led by M.
What is stated to be the firs known south to north, coast to coast crossing of the great island of New Guinea, was completed Apr 4 when the French film expedition led by M. Pierre Gaisseau arrived at Holtekang, Humboldt Bay, Netherlands New Guinea after a seven months march from Pirimapun on the south coast, which it left on 5th September last year.
Netherlands New Guinea Government officials greeted M.Gaisseau and his colleagues at Holtekang. Welcomed by the Resident of Hollandia with "Sir, I congratulate you wholeheartedly on the magnificent result of your expedition," M.Gaisseau replied, "Sir, you should have been with us, it was great fun meeting the stone-agers!"
They had travelled more than 1,500 kilometres (approximately 937 miles) on foot, by canoe and by rafting down fast-flowing rivers. It crossed wide, jungle-covered plains as well as mountain ranges rising to 3,500 metres (approximately 11,500ft), filmed the primitive inhabitants of several hitherto unexplored areas and was sometimes greeted by warriors with bows and arrows at the ready. It suffered considerable hardships, although food and medical and other supplies were parachuted to it at intervals, and three of its 60 Papuan carries died from exhaustion.
Colour film of their encounters - expected to run for 90 minutes of editing - will be available in July.
The expedition received the patronage of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and it named a large river it explored after Princess Marijke, youngest daughter of the Prince and Queen Juliana.