Territory of Papua

Territory of Papua

Infobox Former Country
native_name = Papua
conventional_long_name = Territory of Papua
common_name = Papua
continent = Oceania
region = New Guinea
status= Colony
empire= United Kingdom
year_start = 1884
year_end = 1949
date_start = November 6
date_end =
event_start = Colonization
event_end= Union with New Guinea
s1 = Territory of Papua and New Guinea
flag_s1 = Flag of Australia.svg

flag_type =

flag_type =

symbol = Coat of arms of Papua New Guinea
symbol_type = Badge

image_map_caption =
capital = Canberra
common_languages = English (official), Austronesian languages, Papuan languages, English creoles
title_leader = King
leader1 = List of British monarchs
title_deputy = Prime Minister
deputy1 = List of Prime Ministers of Australia
title_representative = Lieutenant-Governor
representative1 = List of Lieutenant-Governors of Papua
era =
currency = Australian Pound

The Territory of Papua was a "de facto" Australian possession comprising the southeastern quarter of the island of New Guinea, existing from roughly 1902 to 1949. It had previously been administered from London as British New Guinea and remained a de jure British possession Fact|date=August 2007 until 1975 when Papua New Guinea was granted independence by Australia. The territory now forms the southern part of Papua New Guinea, and makes up roughly half of that country.


In 1883 Sir Thomas McIlwraith, the Premier of Queensland, ordered Henry Chester (1832-1914), the Police Magistrate on Thursday Island to proceed to Port Moresby and formally annex New Guinea and adjacent islands in the name of the British government. Chester made the proclamation on 4 April, 1883, but the British government repudiated the action.

On 6 November 1884, after the Australian colonies had promised financial support, the territory became a British protectorate.

On 4 September, 1888 it was annexed, together with some adjacent islands, by Britain as British New Guinea.

The northern part of modern Papua New Guinea, then known as "Kaiser-Wilhelmsland" and part of the colony of German New Guinea, had been under German commercial control since 1884 and passed to direct rule by the German government in 1899.

In 1902, Papua was effectively transferred to the authority of the new British dominion of Australia. With the passage of the Papua Act of 1905, the area was officially renamed the Territory of Papua, and Australian administration became formal in 1906 although Papua remained a "de jure" British possession until the independence of Papua New Guinea in 1975, an anomaly which has continuing minor legal significance with respect to certain statutes which have force in the former Papua but not the former Australian New Guinea.

Shortly after the start of the Pacific War, the island of New Guinea was invaded by the Japanese. Papua was the least affected region. Most of Western New Guinea, at that time known as Dutch New Guinea, was occupied, as were large parts of the Territory of New Guinea (the former German New Guinea, which was also under Australian rule after World War I), but Papua was protected to a large extent by its southern location and the near-impassable Owen Stanley Ranges to the north. Civil administration was suspended during the war and both territories (Papua and New Guinea) were placed under martial law for the duration.

Post-war, 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, which later became the fully independent Papua New Guinea. However, for the purposes of Australian nationality a distinction was maintained between the two territories.

ee also

* List of colonial heads of Papua
* History of Papua New Guinea

Further reading

* "Colonial Intrusion", Papua New Guinea Centennial Committee, Port Moresby 1984, ISBN 9980-84-009-9

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