The diabolic forces who inhabit our politics
John Kasaipwalova, poet & radical, dies at 74

The residues of war that linger to this day

Image: Paga Hill Estate


LONDON, UK – I’ve recently been awarded a grant to conduct research in Papua New Guinea for my PhD project on ‘the enduring legacies of World War II’.

To gain a research visa, I need to produce a detailed plan for my proposed trip, and I hope readers of PNG Attitude might be able to help me with some aspects of my study.

The research I’m conducting will comprise interviews with Papua New Guineans and observations of my own about any matters relating to World War II that have lingered to this day.

It will cover memories of those who died, the physical and psychological effects of the war on people, how traditions and languages might have changed.

I'd like to visit some of the battlefields, war graves and other places associated with the war, and see the relics on land and in the sea.

I'm also interested in the more unusual aspects of the war, for example, the giant snail and the coconut rhinoceros beetle - invasive species that were introduced during the war.

My trip is to take place in November and December this year for about six weeks - the grant conditions dictate this and it cannot be changed.

My main headache right now is deciding on where to visit. I have provisionally earmarked those parts of PNG that were impacted most by the war or those which have received little scholarly attention in the past.

At the moment, the places I’ve noted are Wewak, Aitape, Madang, Lae, Rabaul and Buka.

So I’m inviting readers to send me information and tips about travel, logistics, budget accommodation, coping with the climate, people who might be useful contacts and any advice on PNG that will be useful to a first-time visitor or for the purpose of this specific field trip.

Please leave a comment here, or email me at [email protected]


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Henry Sims

From the Australian point of view, places known for military actions in and around PNG and the Pacific theatre included Kokoda, Gona, Buna, Milne Bay, Bougainville, Rabaul, Solomon Islands, Sandananda, Wau, Bulolo, New Britain, New Ireland, Tarakan, Labuan and Balikpapan. Lae, Salamaua, Wewak and Aitape would also be important from a Japanese perspective.

World War II debris can still be found at places like Finschhafen and Dregerhafen.

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