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Historical Flags (Papua New Guinea)

Last modified: 2002-11-23 by santiago dotor
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Papua New Guinea is made up of two former colonial territories:

Both territories were jointly administered by Australia since 1949, became a self-governing state on December 1st 1973 and independent on September 16th 1975. The western half of the island of New Guinea constitutes the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya. Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981.

Santiago Dotor, 5 January 1999

The Territory of Papua was acquired by Queensland (against the express wishes of Whitehall) in 1884 following a scare that the Germans would be on our doorstep. Germany took the Territory of New Guinea the same year, headquartered in Rabaul. During this period the British exchanged Bougainville and Buka Islands (part of the Solomons) for some other German territory.

During World War One Australian troops captured New Guinea (the North-East quarter) and administered it under German law until 1921, when the League of Nations mandated it to Australia. Papua and New Guinea were administered separately until World War Two when the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) amalgamated the two Territories under military law. After the war the United Nations made New Guinea an Australian Protectorate, and both came under a common administration, until independence in 1972/3. A good book on the history is John Reid, The Hot Land.

Garry McKellar-James, 12 September 2001

In 1883 part of New Guinea was annexed by Queensland. In 1884 a British protectorate was proclaimed and in 1888 it was annexed to the British Crown. In 1901 it was assigned to the Commonwealth of Australia for five years and in 1906 it was proclaimed a territory of the Commonwealth under the name Papua.

David Prothero, 13 September 2001

The Territory of Papua was the southern half of present day Papua New Guinea, and was first controlled by the British from 1884-1906, when it officially was transfered to Australian control.

The Territory of New Guinea was the northern half of present day Papua New Guinea and was first controlled by the Germans from 1885-1914/15, when Australian military forces took control. Australian control was officially recognised by the League of Nations as a Mandated Territory from 1920-42, Japanese invasion in early 1942. Australia regained control in 1944, and it became a United Nations Trust Territory in 1949, called Papua and New Guinea.

Between 1920-42 separate flags were approved by the British Colonial Office for use in each Territory:

  • Papua: Defaced British Blue Ensign with a white disc containing a coloured Crown and the word 'PAPUA' in black.
  • New Guinea: Defaced British Blue Ensign with a white disc containing a coloured Crown above the letters 'T.N.G.' in black.
Both of these flags appear on the Flags of Paradise 1996 chart, and my source was different editions of the British Admiralty's Drawings of the Flags in Use... by Various Nations 1907 and Flags, Badges and Arms of the British Dominions... 1932 for Papua, and Longueville (February 1996) for both Papua and New Guinea badges. Unfortunately, at the last stage of computer printing the crown disappeared from the Papuan Badge.

Ralph Bartlett, 18 November 2001

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