Places - New Ireland

A mountainous narrow island, with dense tropical forests and some grass plains. In 1938 Kavieng was a proclaimed town and port of entry, linked to Karu and beyond by a motor road. There were both European and Chinese owned plantations. Off shore island groups were coral atolls or of volcanic origin.

  • A.I.F. 1 Independent Company, Australian Infantry - This unit, commanded by Major J. Edmonds-Wilson (SX9068) passed through Rabaul with 158 personnel of all ranks en route to New Ireland in July 1941. It was disposed for the protection of airfields at Kavieng (New Ireland), Vila (New Hebrides), Tulagi (Guadalcanal), Buka (Bougainville), Namatanai (New Ireland), and Lorengau (Manus Island). Many of its members suffered the same fate as those of Lark Force.

  • A.I.F. New Guinea Volunteer Rifles, Australian Infantry (1939 - 1943) - On 4 September 1939, the Administrator of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Sir Walter McNicoll, was given authorisation from the Australian Government to form a volunteer defence force to be known as the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles. NGVR members were public servants, merchants, bankers, business men, members of the Christian missions, miners, prospectors, traders and plantation owners, managers or associated employees.

  • Ashby, Stan (1894 - 1942) - Husband of Emily Myra and father of Erice, Norman and Joan, Stan was a plantation manager and owner on New Ireland.

  • Coast Watching Organisation, Royal Australian Navy - The Coast Watching Organisation was developed by the Naval Intelligence Division of the Royal Australian Navy to provide information of any enemy activity in or near Australia.

  • Kavieng Wharf Massacre (1944) - Approximately twenty three Australian civilian internees held in the custody of the Japanese Armed Forces were executed near Kavieng south wharf in March 1944. In late 1947, some of the accused were tried and sentenced at a War Crimes Trial in Hong Kong.

  • Linge, Hosea ( - 1973) - In November 1941, Hosea Linge was appointed as a probationer to his home circuit of Pinikidu. He remained in New Ireland throughout the war, continuing with his duties where possible. He recounts his experiences in An Offering Fit for a King

  • Murray, Harold John (1896 - ) - Harry Murray was an Australian who had spent his life on his plantation at Kavieng, New Ireland. He escaped from the Japanese invasion of New Ireland in 1942 and returned there as a coastwatcher in October 1943. He was awarded the Military Cross and his wife wrote about his experiences in Hunted A Coastwatcher's Story.

  • Oakes, William Daniel (Dan) (1905 - 1942) - Husband of Marion Lilian and father of George and Parker, Dan was a Methodist missionary on New Ireland/New Britain from 1933 to 1942.

  • People of the Plaque - On 4 July 2002 a plaque was unveiled at the Kavieng War Memorial to commemorate civilians in New Ireland who lost their lives under Japanese Occupation.

  • The Reckless Mountain Boys, B-17 bomber of the 43rd Bomb Group, 63rd Squadron of the US Army Air Forces - Father John Glynn recounts the story of the American B-17 bomber which crashed on the reef at Komalu in 1943. When parish priest of Karu in 1997, he was contacted by Janice Olsen, who had collected a lot of information and had also interviewed the Captain of the plane in the US. Following her visit, he decided to find out more from the old people. Here is his story.


Edited Books

  • Official Handbook of the Territory of New Guinea, Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra, 1938, 551 pp.

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Created by Joanne and Jenny Evans, July 2002. Updated 29 May 2011