Places - Before the War | Territorial Administrations - Mandated Territory of New Guinea
9 May 1921 - 11 February 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.
From the New Guinea Handbook:-
Brigadier-General E. A. Wisdom, CB, CMG, DSO, VD, was appointed the first administrator and the capital was established at Rabaul, New Britain. He was succeeded in on 13 June 1933 by Brigadier General T. Griffiths, CMG, CBE, DSO and then Brigadier General W.R. McNicholl, CB, CMG, DSO, VD, who was appointed on the 13 September 1932.
At the time of Japanese invasion in 1942, the administration was in the process of moving to Lae, following the volcanic eruptions in 1937. With the bombing of Rabaul by the Japanese in January 1942, the Deputy Administrator, Harold Page, cabled Canberra seeking to evacuate the civil administration and population. After consideration by the Chiefs of Staff and the War Cabinet a reply was sent on the 20th January which asked for numbers 'as a preliminary step' for evacuation and stated that 'the withdrawal of administrative officers, so long as there is work for them to do, is deprecated.'
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