The Papua Insects Foundation
The Star Mountains Expedition (1959)
The expedition to the Star Mountains ("Sterrengebergte") in the eastern part of Papua's Central Mountain Range took place on initiative of Professor Dr. Ir. F.A. Vening Meinesz, in cooperation with the Royal Dutch Geographic Society (KNAG) and the Company for Scientific Research in the Tropics.
After suffering a lot of set-backs during the preparations, which costs a lot of time, the expedition actually starts in the beginning of 1959. They explored the wide surroundings of Mabilabol (Oksibil) in the Dutch Star Mountains.
Insects, collected during this expedition, are in the National History Museum in Leiden (Naturalis, RMNH). In the few years hereafter till 1963 the Dutch had a biology station in Mabilabol. Insects collected in that period are in the Zoological Museum of Amsterdam (ZMAN), mainly collected by Dr. R.T. Simon-Thomas.
Members of the expedition
Many people, scientists and others, took place in this expedition. We mention the most important ones:
- Dr. L.D. Brongersma (general and scientific leader)
- G.F. Venema (technical leader)
- Dr. A.G. de Wilde (Physical Anthropology)
- L.E. Nijenhuis (blood research)
- Dr. J. Pouwer (Cultural Anthropology)
- Dr. J.C. Anceaux (languages)
- C. Kalkman (Botany)
- Dr. B.O. van Zanten (Botany)
- Dr. Chr.B. Bär (Geology)
- Ir. H.J. Cortel (Mineral Geology)
- Ing. A.E. Escher (Mineral Geology)
- Ir. J.J. Reynders (Agrogeology)
- Dr. H.Th. Verstappen (Geomorphology)
- Dr. W. Vervoort (Zoology)
- C. van Heijningen (Zoology, technical chief assistent)
- J.J. Staats (Zoology, technical assistent)
- F.L.T. van der Weiden (Cartography)
The wide surroundings of Mabilabol in the Star Mountains (from: Brongersma & Venema, 1960)
Some important sites
- Digoel River, the actual start of the expedition took place over this river. The Star Mountains were reached from the south.
- Kloofkamp (Cleft Camp), an important camp in the Digoel route, especially for helicopters.
- Katem, the northernmost village of the the Digoel route from where helicopters flew to Sibil Valley.
- Mabilabol, the main village of Sibil Valley (the Indonesians call it now Oksibil, but the local people stick to Mabilabol).
- Sibil River (in local language "Ok Sibil" which explains the confusion of the Indonesians), the main river in Sibil Valley.
- Kiwirok Valley, north of Sibil Valley.
- Mt. Antares (4170 m), at the border of Papua New Guinea.
- Mt. Juliana (Mt. Mandala, 4700 m), the highest peak in the Star Mountains and covered with snow.
Further detailed information can be found in the comprehensive report in "Het witte hart van Nieuw-Guinea" by L.D. Brongersma & G.F. Venema (1960).