Location of the Territory of New Guinea in western Oceania.
|Status|| League of Nations Mandate of Australia |
United Nations Trust Territory of Australia
|Common languages|| English (official)|
|Government||Mandate, later Trust Territory of Australia|
|Historical era||Interwar period|
|28 June 1919|
The Territory of New Guinea was an Australian administered territory on the island of New Guinea from 1920 until 1975. In 1949, the Territory and the Territory of Papua were established in an administrative union by the name of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. That administrative union was renamed as Papua New Guinea in 1971. Notwithstanding that it was part of an administrative union, the Territory of New Guinea at all times retained a distinct legal status and identity until the advent of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.
New Guinea is a large island separated by a shallow sea from the rest of the Australian continent. It is the world's second-largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 785,753 km2 (303,381 sq mi), and the largest wholly or partly within the Southern Hemisphere and Oceania.
The Territory of Papua comprised the southeastern quarter of the island of New Guinea from 1883 to 1975. In 1883, the Government of Queensland annexed this territory for the British Empire. The United Kingdom Government refused to ratify the annexation but in 1884 a Protectorate was proclaimed over the territory, then called "British New Guinea". There is a certain ambiguity about the exact date on which the entire territory was annexed by the British. The Papua Act 1905 recites that this happened "on or about" 4 September 1888. On 18 March 1902, the Territory was placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia. Resolutions of acceptance were passed by the Commonwealth Parliament, who accepted the territory under the name of Papua.
The Territory of Papua and New Guinea was established by an administrative union between the Australian-administered territories of Papua and New Guinea in 1949. In 1972, the name of the Territory changed to "Papua New Guinea" and in 1975 it became the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.
The initial Australian mandate was based on the previous German New Guinea, which had been captured and occupied by Australian forces during World War I.
German New Guinea consisted of the northeastern part of the island of New Guinea and several nearby island groups and was the first part of the German colonial empire. The mainland part of the territory, called Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, became a German protectorate in 1884. Other island groups were added subsequently. New Pomerania, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the northern Solomon Islands were declared a German protectorate in 1885; the Caroline Islands, Palau, and the Mariana Islands were bought from Spain in 1899; the protectorate of the Marshall Islands was bought from Spain in 1885 for $4.5 million by the 1885 Hispano-German Protocol of Rome; and Nauru was annexed to the Marshall Islands protectorate in 1888.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
Most of the Territory of New Guinea was occupied by Japan during World War II, between 1942 and 1945. During this time, Rabaul, on the island of New Britain, became a major Japanese base (see New Guinea campaign). After World War II, the territories of Papua and New Guinea were combined in an administrative union under the Papua New Guinea Provisional Administration Act (1945–46).
The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.
The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in the Pacific and Asia. It was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia, and in China.
Rabaul is a township in East New Britain province, on the island of New Britain, in the country of Papua New Guinea. It lies about 600 kilometres to the east of the island of New Guinea. Rabaul was the provincial capital and most important settlement in the province until it was destroyed in 1994 by falling ash of a volcanic eruption in its harbor.
Archeological evidence suggests that humans arrived on the island of New Guinea at least 60,000 years ago.[ citation needed ] These Melanesian people developed stone tools and agriculture. Portuguese and Spanish navigators sailing in the South Pacific entered New Guinea waters in the early part of the 16th century and in 1526–27, Don Jorge de Meneses came upon the principal island "Papua". In 1545, the Spaniard Iñigo Ortiz de Retes gave the island the name "New Guinea" because of what he saw as a resemblance between the islands' inhabitants and those found on the African Guinea coast. Knowledge of the interior of the island remained scant for several centuries after these initial European encounters.
Jorge de Menezes was a Portuguese explorer, who in 1526–27 landed on the islands of Biak, whilst he awaited the passing of the monsoon season, and on the northern coasts of the Bird's Head Peninsula, calling the region Ilhas dos Papuas. He is thus credited with the European discovery of New Guinea.
Yñigo Ortiz de Retez was a 16th-century Spanish maritime explorer of Basque origin, who navigated the northern coastline of the Pacific–Melanesian island of New Guinea, and is credited with bestowing the island's name.
In 1884, Germany formally took possession of the northeast quarter of New Guinea and it became known as German New Guinea.
In 1884, the British government proclaimed a protectorate over the southeastern quarter of New Guinea. The protectorate, called British New Guinea, was annexed by Britain outright on 4 September 1888. The territory was transferred to the newly federated Commonwealth of Australia on 18 March 1902, and British New Guinea became the Australian Territory of Papua, with Australian administration beginning in 1906.
One of the first actions of Australia's armed forces during World War I was the seizure by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force of German New Guinea and the neighbouring islands of the Bismarck Archipelago in October 1914.Germany administered several territories in the south and central Pacific which the British requested be captured by Australian and New Zealand forces. On 11 September 1914, a Royal Australian Navy force arrived off Rabaul with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force and naval troops were landed at Herbertshohe and Kabakaul to search for German radio stations, facing some minor German resistance. Rabaul was occupied, unopposed, on 12 September. The German administration surrendered German New Guinea on 17 September. Australian troops and vessels were subsequently dispatched to occupy Germany's other territories including the New Guinea mainland, New Ireland, the Admiralty Islands, the Western Islands, Bougainville, and the German Solomons. The colony remained under Australian military control until 1921.
At the 1919 Paris Peace Conference following the war, Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes sought to secure possession of New Guinea from the defeated German Empire: telling the Conference: "Strategically the northern islands (such as New Guinea) encompass Australia like fortresses. They are as necessary to Australia as water to a city."
Article 22 of the Treaty of Versailles provided for the division of Germany and the Central Powers' imperial possessions among the victorious Allies of World War I. In the Pacific, Japan gained Germany's islands north of the equator (the Marshall Islands, the Caroline Islands, the Marianas Islands, the Palau Islands) and Kiautschou in China. German Samoa was assigned to New Zealand; German New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and Nauru to Australia as League of Nations Mandates: territories "formerly governed [by the Central Powers] and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world". Article 22 said:
There are territories, such as South-West Africa and certain of the South Pacific Islands, which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centres of civilisation, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the Mandatory, and other circumstances, can be best administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards above mentioned in the interests of the indigenous population.
The British Government, on behalf of Australia, assumed a mandate from the League of Nations for governing the Territory on 17 December 1920. The terms of the mandate were not received in Australia until April 1921.This mandate was enacted and administered by the Australian Government through the New Guinea Act 1920 until the outbreak of the Pacific War and Japanese invasion in December 1941 brought about its suspension.
Shortly after the start of the Pacific War, the island of New Guinea was invaded by the Japanese. Most of West Papua, at that time known as Dutch New Guinea, was occupied, as were large parts of the Territory of New Guinea but the Territory of Papua was protected to a large extent by its southern location and the near-impassable Owen Stanley Ranges to the north.
The New Guinea campaign opened with the battles for New Britain and New Ireland in the Territory of New Guinea in 1942. Rabaul, the capital of the Territory was overwhelmed on 22–23 January and was established as a major Japanese base from whence they landed on mainland New Guinea and advanced towards Port Moresby and Australia.Having had their initial effort to capture Port Moresby by a seaborne invasion disrupted by the U.S. Navy in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Japanese attempted a landward invasion from the north via the Kokoda Track. From July 1942, a few Australian reserve battalions, many of them very young and untrained, fought a stubborn rearguard action against a Japanese advance along the Kokoda Track, towards Port Moresby, over the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges. Local Papuans, called Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels by the Australians, assisted and escorted injured Australian troops down the Kokoda track. The militia, worn out and severely depleted by casualties, were relieved in late August by regular troops from the Second Australian Imperial Force, returning from action in the Mediterranean theater.
The Japanese on the Kokoda Track were ordered to retreat to the coast so the Japanese could focus their efforts on the Battle of Guadalcanal, and the Australians pursued them back to the Buna-Gona area. The bitter Battle of Buna-Gona followed in which Australian and United States forces attacked the main Japanese beachheads in New Guinea, at Buna, Sanananda and Gona. Facing tropical disease, difficult terrain and well-constructed Japanese defences, the allies finally achieved victory after experiencing heavy casualties.The offensives in Papua and New Guinea of 1943–44 were the single largest series of connected operations ever mounted by the Australian armed forces. The Supreme Commander of operations was the United States General Douglas Macarthur, with Australian General Thomas Blamey taking a direct role in planning and operations being essentially directed by staff at New Guinea Force headquarters in Port Moresby. Bitter fighting continued in New Guinea between the largely Australian force and the Japanese 18th Army based in New Guinea until the Surrender of Japan to end the war on September 2, 1945. The New Guinea campaign was a major campaign of the Pacific War. In all, some 200,000 Japanese soldiers, sailors and airmen died during the campaign against approximately 7,000 Australian and 7,000 American service personnel.
After the war, civil administration of Papua and of New Guinea was restored, and under the Papua New Guinea Provisional Administration Act, 1945–46, Papua and New Guinea were combined in a new administrative union. [ citation needed ] The act provided for a Legislative Council (which was established in 1951), a judicial organization, a public service, and a system of local government.the Papua and New Guinea Act 1949 united the Territory of Papua and the Territory of New Guinea as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. However, for the purposes of Australian nationality a distinction was maintained between the two territories.
Under Australian Minister for External Territories Andrew Peacock, the territory adopted self-government in 1972 and on 15 September 1975, during the term of the Whitlam Government in Australia, the Territory became the independent nation of Papua New Guinea.
The prehistory of Papua New Guinea can be traced to about 60,000 years ago, when people first migrated towards the Australian continent. The written history began when European navigators first sighted New Guinea in the early part of the 17th century.
Maroubra Force was the name given to the ad hoc Australian infantry force that defended Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from the Japanese, and was involved in the Kokoda Track Campaign of the Pacific War, World War II. The force was established by the Allies under the codename "Maroubra", referring to the troops in the forward area, it was one of many units forming the body of the New Guinea Force, the main Allied army formation in the South West Pacific Area during 1942.
The Battle of Rabaul, also known by the Japanese as Operation R, was fought on the island of New Britain in the Australian Territory of New Guinea, in January and February 1942. It was a strategically significant defeat of Allied forces by Japan in the Pacific campaign of World War II, with the Japanese invasion force quickly overwhelming the small Australian garrison, the majority of which was either killed or captured. Hostilities on the neighbouring island of New Ireland are also usually considered to be part of the same battle. Rabaul was significant because of its proximity to the Japanese territory of the Caroline Islands, site of a major Imperial Japanese Navy base on Truk.
The Kokoda Track campaign or Kokoda Trail campaign was part of the Pacific War of World War II. The campaign consisted of a series of battles fought between July and November 1942 in what was then the Australian Territory of Papua. It was primarily a land battle, between the Japanese South Seas Detachment under Major General Tomitarō Horii and Australian and Papuan land forces under command of New Guinea Force. The Japanese objective was to seize Port Moresby by an overland advance from the north coast, following the Kokoda Track over the mountains of the Owen Stanley Range, as part of a strategy to isolate Australia from the United States.
Goodenough Island in the Solomon Sea also known as Nidula Island is the westernmost of the three large islands of the D'Entrecasteaux Islands in Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. It lies to the east of mainland New Guinea and southwest of the Trobriand Islands. It is roughly circular in shape, measuring 39 by 26 kilometres with an area of 687 square kilometres (265 sq mi) and a shoreline of 116 kilometres (72 mi). From a coastal belt varying in width from 2 to 10 kilometres in width, the island rises sharply to the summit of Mount Vineuo, 2,536 metres (8,320 ft) above sea level, making it one of the most precipitous islands in the world. The small island of Wagifa Island lies to the south-east of the island and is included within Goodenough's administration.
The New Guinea campaign of the Pacific War lasted from January 1942 until the end of the war in August 1945. During the initial phase in early 1942, the Empire of Japan invaded the Australian-administered territories of the New Guinea Mandate and Papua and overran western New Guinea, which was a part of the Netherlands East Indies. During the second phase, lasting from late 1942 until the Japanese surrender, the Allies—consisting primarily of Australian and US forces—cleared the Japanese first from Papua, then the Mandate and finally from the Dutch colony.
Buna is a village in Oro Province, Papua New Guinea. It was the site in part, of the Battle of Buna-Gona during World War II, when it constituted a variety of native huts and a handful of houses with an airstrip. Buna was the trailhead to the Kokoda Track leading to Kokoda.
The New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (NGVR) was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army. It was initially raised as a unit of the Militia from white Australian and European expatriates in New Guinea upon the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, before being activated for full-time service following the Japanese landings in early 1942. NGVR personnel then helped rescue survivors of Lark Force from Rabaul in February and March 1942. Between March and May, the NGVR monitored the Japanese bases which had been established in the Huon Gulf region, being the only Allied force in the area until the arrival of Kanga Force at Wau in May. The battalion subsequently established observation posts overlooking the main approaches and reported on Japanese movements.
The Kapa Kapa Trail is a steep, little-used mountain trail that stretches from the Kapa Kapa village on the south coast of Papua New Guinea, across the extremely rugged Owen Stanley Range, to the vicinity of Jaure on the north side of the Peninsula. Also known as the Kapa Kapa-Jaure Track, the trail runs parallel to but 48 kilometres (30 mi) southeast of the more well-known and more accessible 96-kilometre-long (60 mi) Kokoda Track. The 210-kilometre-long (130 mi) Kapa Kapa Track is more than twice as long as the Kokoda Track and at its highest point, 10,100 feet (3,100 m), is more than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) higher. Total ascent and descent is around 14,400 metres (47,200 ft). Because the track is very steep, difficult, and unimproved, it has been hiked by very few non-native individuals.
New Guinea Force was a military command unit for Australian and native troops from the Territories of Papua and New Guinea serving in the New Guinea campaign during World War II. Formed in April 1942, when the Australian First Army was formed from the Australian I Corps after it returned from the Middle East, it was responsible for planning and directing all operations within the territory up until October 1944. General Headquarters Southwest Pacific Area Operational Instruction No.7 of 25 May 1942, issued by Commander-Allied-Forces, General Douglas MacArthur, placed all Australian and US Army, Air Force and Navy Forces in the Port Moresby Area under the control of New Guinea Force. Over the course of its existence, New Guinea Force was commanded by some of the Australian Army's most notable commanders, including Sydney Rowell, Sir Edmund Herring and Sir Leslie Morshead.
The 2/16th Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army, serving during World War II. Attached to the 21st Brigade that was assigned to the 7th Division, the 2/16th was raised in 1940 as part of the Second Australian Imperial Force from volunteers drawn mainly from the state of Western Australia. After training in Australia, the battalion was deployed to the Middle East where it undertook defensive duties along the Egyptian–Libyan border in early 1941 before taking part in the Syria–Lebanon campaign, fighting against Vichy French forces in June and July. At the conclusion of the campaign, the 2/16th remained in Lebanon, contributing to the Allied occupation force there, before returning to Australia in early 1942 following Japan's entry into the war. In August 1942, they were committed to the fighting along the Kokoda Track and then later fought around Buna and Gona. After a period of rest and reorganisation in Australia, the battalion fought around Lae and then took part in the Finisterre Range campaign in 1943–44. Its final campaign of the war came in Borneo in July 1945. At the end of the war, the 2/16th were disbanded in January 1946.
The Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) was a unit of the Australian Army raised in the Territory of Papua for service during the Second World War. Formed in early 1940 in Port Moresby to help defend the territory in the event of a Japanese invasion, its soldiers were primarily Papuan natives led by Australian officers and non-commissioned officers. Following the outbreak of the Pacific War, the PIB served in many of the Allied campaigns in New Guinea; however, due to the nature of its role its sub-units mainly operated separately, attached to larger Australian and US Army units and formations. Slow in forming, the first members of the PIB were not officially posted in until March 1941. By 1942 it consisted of only three companies, all of which were under-strength and poorly equipped. It was subsequently employed on scouting, reconnaissance and surveillance patrols against the Japanese, where the natural bushcraft of its native soldiers could be used to their advantage. The PIB was sent forward in June 1942 to patrol the northern coast of Papua and was dispersed over a wide area. These small parties were the first to make contact with the Imperial Japanese forces upon their landing in Papua, before participating in the Kokoda Track campaign. As part of Maroubra Force, the PIB fought alongside the Australian 39th Battalion at Kokoda, Deniki, and Isurava as the Japanese forced them back along the Kokoda track, but was withdrawn before the campaign finally turned in favour of the Australians.
Soputa is a village located inland from Gona, Buna and Sanananda in Oro province, Papua New Guinea. The village is located at the crossroads of the Kokoda-Sananada Road and Buna-Kokoda Road. Trails lead to Buna and Sananada.
The 30th Brigade was a brigade-sized infantry unit of the Australian Army. Formed in December 1941, as part of the Militia, the unit was raised for service during the Second World War. Established in response to Japan's entry into the war, the brigade's subordinate units were established in several Australian states. Some of these had already been dispatched to New Guinea before the brigade's headquarters was established, although the majority arrived there in early 1942. Following their arrival, the brigade initially provided garrison troops to Port Moresby before later taking part in the fighting along the Kokoda Track during which elements took part in delaying actions around Kokoda and Isurava, before being relieved by units of the Second Australian Imperial Force. After the campaign began to turn in favour of the Australians, the Japanese withdrew north towards their beachheads around Buna and Gona, and elements of the brigade were recommitted to the fighting. In early 1943, the 30th Brigade was withdrawn back to Australia and was disbanded in July 1943, with its personnel being redistributed to other formations.
The Invasion of Buna–Gona, called Operation RI by the Japanese, was a military operation by Imperial Japanese forces to occupy the Buna–Gona area in the Territory of Papua during the Pacific campaign of the Second World War. The initial landings and advance on Kokoda occurred between 21 and 27 July 1942. The Japanese invaded and occupied the location in preparation for an overland attack on Port Moresby along the Kokoda Track. The landing marked the start of the Kokoda Track campaign. The landings were not directly opposed by land forces but were engaged by elements of Maroubra Force as they advanced on Kokoda. This initially included B Company of the 39th Battalion, patrols of the Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) operating in the area and a small number of the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) that became attached to the force. The Australians were initially repulsed near Oivi but subsequently regrouped to defend Kokoda in an initial battle there from 28–29 July.
The 144th Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment in the Imperial Japanese Army. The regiment was attached to the 55th Division. The regiment participated in the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, fighting in the Pacific during a number of battles including those at Guam, Rabaul, and Salamaua. It also participated in the invasion of Buna-Gona, the Kokoda Track campaign and the battle of Buna–Gona.
The Battle of Buna–Gona was part of the New Guinea campaign in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. It followed the conclusion of the Kokoda Track campaign and lasted from 16 November 1942 until 22 January 1943. The battle was conducted by Australian and United States forces against the Japanese beachheads at Buna, Sanananda and Gona. From these, the Japanese had launched an overland attack on Port Moresby. In light of developments in the Solomon Islands campaign, Japanese forces approaching Port Moresby were ordered to withdraw to and secure these bases on the northern coast. Australian forces maintained contact as the Japanese conducted a well-ordered rearguard action. The Allied objective was to eject the Japanese forces from these positions and deny them their further use. The Japanese forces were skillful, well prepared and resolute in their defence. They had developed a strong network of well-concealed defences.