Jack Hides

Jack Gordon Hides (1906-1938), Administration officer and explorer, born and mainly brought up in Port Moresby. In 1925, with very limited formal education, he joined the Papuan public service. He became a patrol officer in 1928, and an assistant resident magistrate in 1934. As a magistrate he accompanied patrols to arrest suspected criminals in difficult country distant from his coastal base.

In 1934 the Administrator, Lieutenant-Governor Hubert Murray, asked him to lead an expedition to explore the country between the Strickland and Purari Rivers – the last major unexplored area in Papua. The patrol, which included L.J. O’Malley, 10 Papuan police and 28 carriers, left Daru in January 1935. They crossed the Great Papuan Plateau and Hides and O’Malley became the first Europeans to enter the southern highlands. In the Tari Basin, and the Wage and Nembi Valleys, they found areas more densely populated than any previously encountered in Papua. The patrol arrived at Kikori, through the Erave and Samberigi Valleys, in June 1935. In conflicts with people who had not previously seen Europeans at least 32 villagers were killed. A patrol policeman and a carrier died from exhaustion and cold. Murray regarded the Strickland-Purari expedition as the most dangerous and difficult undertaken in PNG.

In 1936 Hides resigned from the Papuan public service. In 1937 he led a disastrous expedition to exploit gold deposits which he claimed to have discovered in the Strickland River area. His companion David Lyall became dangerously ill, five carriers died, and he was forced to abandon the project. Hides died in Sydney, Australia, the following year.

More about Jack Hides: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hides-jack-gordon-6660

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