Von Sibirien nach Neu Guinea

Captain Dallmann, seine Schiffe und seine Reisen 1830-1896

Ein Lebensbild in Selbst- und Zeitzeugnissen
Hauschild Verlag, Bremen
1996, 208 p., 173 ill., partly in colour, large format (21 x 27 cm), hardback
EUR 43,– ISBN 978-3-931785-25-3

Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum, Bremerhaven
Museum Schloss Schönebeck, Bremen

Eduard Dallmann (1830-1896), of Blumenthal on the lower Weser (today a suburb of Bremen) was an exceptional captain. He went to sea at the age of 15 in 1845. He took command of his first ship, the whaling vessel PLANET, in 1859 on a whaling voyage to the sperm whaling grounds in the Pacific and to the Sea of Okhotsk. Over the period 1864-66 he commanded the Bremen-built Hawaiian vessel W.C.TALBOT, owned by H. Hackfeld of Honolulu, on trading voyages to the Alaskan and Chukotka shores of the Bering and Chukchi seas. On 17 August 1866 he sighted and landed on Ostrov Vrangelya (Wrangel Island), a year prior to its sighting by Thomas Long, credited by many with the first sighting.

For the following three years, he commanded the whaling barque COUNT BISMARCK, again Bremen-built and owned by the Hawaiian based firm of Hackfeld, on whaling cruises to the tropics, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Bering and Chukchi seas. In 1873-74 he made first German backed Antarctic whaling voyage aboard the steam barque GROENLAND, and discovered and charted the west coasts f Anvers, Brabant, and Liège islands, as well as many smaller islands and straits including Bismarck Strait. He spent the 1875 whaling season as expert consultant, still aboard GROENLAND, on the Davis Strait and baffin bay whaling grounds.

Then, to complete his career in polar waters, from 1877 to 1883 he made annual attempts to haul freight to the mouth of the Yenisey River in Siberia, to be exchanged for grain cargoes brought down that river by barge. On the seven attempts, only four were successful, the rest being foiled by ice conditions in the Kara Sea, and on the basis of this record, Baron von Knoop, the Bremen born Russian entrepreneur who was financing the operation, decided to end the operations.

From 1884 to 1893, Eduard Dallmann was a pioneer in exploring the Northern shores of New Guinea and the islands of the Bismarck Archipel as master of the steamers SAMOA and YSABEL, owned Adolph von Hansemann and the Berlin based Neu Guinea Compagnie. He was the first European to sail with his ship through the Buka Passage, thus proving that Buka and Bougainville were two separate islands (1888).

Dallmanns sudden transfer from icy regions in the Arctic and Siberia to unknown tropic waters close to the Equator at the age of 54 shows the exploratory spirit and daringness of a seafarer who never lost a ship during his whole career of 34 years as captain. Wrongly he is not well known outside the boundaries of his home region. That is possibly due to the fact that Dallmann did not wish to publish any written account on his voyages.

The book "Von Sibirien nach Neu Guinea", not one of the usual biographies, describes the career of a distiguished German "dicoverer captain" of the second half of the 19th century by means of letters, excerpts from diaries, ship's journals, accounts from historical sources, documents, and newspapers, and above all historical illustrations. More than 150 illustrations, partly in colour, complement the text. Selective maps give evidence that Eduard Dallmann visited the remotest regions of the world which were unknnown and uncharted in those days. Furthermore the reader has the opportunity to become acquainted with all ships Dallmann sailed on. They are described comprehensively in words and images.