The Daily Volcano Quote: one woman against the volcano 8 July 2011Posted by admin in daily volcano quote.
At about midnight Matupi volcano started to blow its head off; the gurias [earthquakes] always seem to come in at night. The whole of the furniture and crockery in my house was rocking, and I looked out the window and saw that the mountain had a huge fiery peak. All around the house hundreds of frightened natives were chattering and crying in terror. I went straight out in my nightgown carrying a lantern and did my best to pacify them. But I had a difficult task, as many were overcome by superstitious fear. As a matter of fact, the present upheaval would probably cause hundreds of natives to die through sheer fright. They are a very simple childlike people. I gave aspirin tablets to those who were most badly affected, telling them that it was medicine stronger than the guria. They believed me implicitly, partly on account of my red hair, which they tried to imitate and thought was in some way sacred.
‘Woman who braved Matupi volcano’, The Australian Women’s Weekly, 12 June 1937, p. 4. The woman in question was Mrs Ray McPherson, ‘who for several years was the only white woman on Matupi Island, near Rabaul’, and who provided the account given above. Matupi is another name for Tavurvur, a volcanic cone within the Rabaul caldera, which (with Vulcan cone on the opposite side of the caldera) erupted destructively from 29 May to 2 June 1937 — the ‘present upheaval’ referred to by Mrs McPherson. Matupi or Matupit Island lies just west of Tavuruvur.
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