Matthew Island

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Abstract

ON May 7, 1928, when on the s.s. Suva, I passed close to Matthew Island, in the South Pacific, but was unable to land. It is about 200 miles from the nearest of the Loyalty Islands, and about 170 from the southernmost of the New Hebrides. It is known to be inhabited by numerous sea-birds, and it is possible to see green vegetation on the sides of the central mass. I could not see any coconut palms. From the heavy surf dashing against the shore, it appeared that landing would be difficult, but I was told that the island was used for target practice by British gunners during the War. Owing to the position of the island, and the many interesting problems connected with the fauna and flora of the New Caledonia and New Hebrides groups, any endemic terrestrial animals or plants found upon it would be of extraordinary interest. It may be that none will be found, but I think the chances for discovery are good enough to justify a careful search, especially in view of the richness of Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island. Perhaps there are some records, but I have not heard of any, and believe that no careful investigation has ever been made.

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