Places - Before the War

Tales of life in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

  • Gerstad, Joan - Joan Gerstad describes the early years of her marriage to Norwegian plantation manager, Christopher Gerstad in The Jungle was our Home. The couple married in the spring of 1938 on New Ireland, and then set off to start married life at Bula. They were transferred to Friedhaven near the Sepik and then on to New Britain and the establishment of their own plantation before the war arrived.

  • Mandated Territory of New Guinea (1921 - 1942) - In 1919 it was decided by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers that the Territory of New Guinea, which Germany gave up as one of the terms of the peace, should be entrusted under Mandate from the League of Nations to the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia. The issuing of the Mandate was delayed until 17 December 1920 when its terms were settled and the Mandate itself did not reach Australia until 6th April 1921. The following day, the Governor General issued a Proclamation bringing the New Guinea Act into force on 9th May 1921. From that date, the Military Administration ceased and Civil Administration was established throughout the territory.

  • O'Dean, Derek Westoby (1921 - ) - 'I arrived in Rabaul in 1923, aged not quite three, and left at the end of 1927, but still retain many vivid memories of an absolutely fascinating place and people, which I feel I should set down, as I would be one of the few left who lived there in that era.'

  • Overell, Lillian - In 1923 A Woman's Impressions of German New Guinea was published, describing Lillian Overell's vist to Rabaul and surrounds prior to the establishment of the Mandate. She spent time with Phoebe Parkinson and captured the anxiety of the German settlers as they waited to hear of their fate under the Mandate.

  • Schmidt, Adolf (Ardie) (1903 - 1942) - Adolf Schmidt was Head of Native Schools in Rabaul when the Japanese invaded in 1942. He became a prisoner of war and is recorded as one of the civilians who lost their lives on the sinking of the Montevideo Maru.

  • Simpson, Thomas Nevison (1909 - 1942) - In 1936, Tom became the first missionary on the New Hanover District circuit. Over the next six years, he established the mission, supervising the building of the church, houses, jetty and roads. His daughter, Margaret Henderson documents his story in Yours Sincerely, Tom. A Lost Child of the Empire.



  • R.W. Johnson and N.A. Threlfall, Volcano Town The 1937-43 Rabaul Eruptions, Robert Brown & Associates, Buranda, Qld, 1985, 151 pp.

Home | People | Places | Resources | Search and Index
Rabaul Memorial | People of the Plaque
Created by Joanne and Jenny Evans, July 2002. Updated 29 May 2011