mariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 24654 posts, RR: 86 Posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2165 times:
I'm working on a project that partly deals with German New Guinea, immediately prior to WW1.
Information about the colony is hard to come by - in English - and my German is both basic and very rusty. I'm particularly interested in the towns of Madang and Rabaul, but any info would be welcome.
Specific questions - were any of the officers (army or navy) allowed to take their wives out there and were there many (any?) women in the colony, either as missionaries, or botanists/anthropologists, or simply as settlers?
Perhaps some of the German members might know something - or point me in a direction?
And any Australian members who might know something of Australian interests in German New Guinea? Australia controlled the southern half of NG and I believe "had designs" on the German side.
globeex From Germany, joined Aug 2007, 742 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2121 times:
Not really familiar with the topic but since I have to study a welcome excuse not to. So....
from the homepage http://www.zum.de/psm/imperialismus/kolonialatlas13/atlas10.php:
Bismarck Archipel: 1911 : 563 Weiße, wovon 402 Deutsche und 94 weiblichen Geschlechts.
On the Bismarck Archipelago 1911: 565 white, of these 402 German and 94 female
Kaiser Wilhelmsland; 1911 : 290 Weiße, dabei 260 Deutsche und 75 Frauen.
In Kaiser Wilhemsland; 1911: 290 white, of these 260 German and 75 Women
Apparently there were female missonaries there as well as there is a book that includes "protestant missionary women in British and German New Guniea" (Tanja Hammel: Lebenswelt und Identität in Selbstzeugnissen protestantischer Missionsfrauen in Britisch- und Deutsch-Neuguinea, 1884-1914. Hamburg Verlag Dr. Kovač 2012, ISBN 978-3-8300-6213-4.)
Hope I could help a little.
As you may presently yourself be fully made aware of, my grammar sucks.
kiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8494 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2069 times:
Sorry, I don't have anything to contribute, but I just wanted to say how fascinating I find this topic.
Although I was well aware of the German presence in what is now Western Samoa, German New Guinea is something that I had only vaguely heard of. I always find 'what ifs' fascinating and I wonder how different my own 'near' neighbourhood might have been if World War I had never happened.
Thank you Mariner for starting the thread, and you Globeex for shedding some light on a part of history I know almost nothing of.
Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
Quokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2029 times:
A few years back the Australian Broadcasting Corporation conducted a series of radio interviews discussing life in PNG when Australia "ran the show". Subsequently they published a book, Taim Bilong Masta, first in 1982 and again in 1990.
While it deals primarily with PNG under Australian rule, it does touch briefly on that part under German rule. One point that I found interesting was how the different style of the Australian and German colonists compared in the eyes of labourers. While in German New Guinea the colonists were seen as being strict but fair they were also seen as being consistent. In contrast the Australians' approach was seen as confusing: one minute friendly, putting arms around the shoulders and sharing a beer; the next booting them up the backside.
With regard to Australian designs, it was largely at the prompting of Australian business interests that Britain agreed to take possession of New Guinea. In the same year the Germans planted their flag as part of the scramble for colonies. A compromise arrangement resulted in a line being drawn on the map with German New Guinea being formed in the north and what became Papua in the south.
The same book mentions that in 1914 when Australia took control of the north the terms of the settlement were that German laws would remain in force for the duration and that planters could continue to conduct their business as long as they did not sell produce or send money to Germany.
mariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 24654 posts, RR: 86
Reply 5, posted (1 year 9 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2008 times:
Quoting Quokkas (Reply 4): A few years back the Australian Broadcasting Corporation conducted a series of radio interviews discussing life in PNG when Australia "ran the show". Subsequently they published a book, Taim Bilong Masta, first in 1982 and again in 1990.
Thanks, mate, Ill try and get hold of the book.
Quoting Quokkas (Reply 4): With regard to Australian designs, it was largely at the prompting of Australian business interests that Britain agreed to take possession of New Guinea.
I gather there was an earlier attempt by Australia - in 1883, the Queensland government formally annexed "New Guinea" but Britain repudiated the act.
What interests me out of that - for my project - is whether the Aussies still had the same "imperial" ambitions on NG in 1912/13 and to what extent there may have been planning to achieve it.
The successful invasion, the short, sharp Battle of Bitapaka and the German capitulation just ten days later suggests that such plans did exist.
Emma Eliza Coe (26 September 1850, in Apia – 1913, in Europe), known also as "Queen Emma of New Guinea", Emma Forsayth, Emma Farrell and Emma Kolbe was a business woman and plantantion owner of mixed American/Samoan descent."
After some interesting and fairly dramatic adventures:
In 1881, Emma became interested in land around the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain and differed with Farrell who continued trading. Emma bought the land from the local chiefs and with the assistance of her brother in law, the Dane, Richard Parkinson, set up a large coconut and cocoa plantations around Kokopo, East New Britain. During this period, she became highly successful and well respected. She was known as a heady woman, known to affect her charm on others and for throwing outlandish extravagant parties aided by her nieces. She was the envy of the German colonists who started to move into Kokopo around 1890 and passing trades ships. It was during this period she became affectionately known as the “Queen of New Guinea”."
Commercially from 1880–1900 years, her enterprises in Kokopo surpassed most in the region and the Pacific and she was most certainly the commerce queen of New Guinea.
So now I know what one woman was doing in German New Guinea.
gemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5554 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (1 year 9 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1925 times:
I don't have much to add personally, apart from saying that German copra plantations were still very much in evidence on Manus Is when I was there, as a kid, 1968-70. I made a few searches, I found nothing on line but I did find some resources that may be useful if you are prepared to put the time in. As an archivist, in a former life, I can assure you that searches such as you are doing are extremely time consuming and difficult.
The two most likely from my brief search were:
1) The Pacific History collection at the University Auckland
2) The National Archives of Australia has some 108 series listed as containing records relating to German New Guinea (a series can contain from one to several thousand items)
General NAA website address: http://www.naa.gov.au
A simple search has reveled this series which may be of use:
The items are translations done for Investigation Branch of the Attorney Generals dept in the early 1920s of annual reports & other correspondence to/from Berlin between 1897 and 1921 from German New Guinea . I don't know what you are looking for but as these are translations into English the may be be you best, certainly closest source.
If you want any help with the NAA system, especially the archival terms, please PM me. E g Quantity: 0.18m = 1 standard box (which could hold from 1 up to about 1500 - 2000 sheets of paper)
mariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 24654 posts, RR: 86
Reply 8, posted (1 year 9 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1851 times:
Quoting gemuser (Reply 7): 1) The Pacific History collection at the University Auckland
I've made contact with Queensland and the ANU, but I had not thought of Auckland, except for German Samoa. Thanks.
Quoting gemuser (Reply 7): 2) The National Archives of Australia has some 108 series listed as containing records relating to German New Guinea (a series can contain from one to several thousand items)
General NAA website address:
I've also made contact with the Catholic and Lutheran Mission Societies.
As often happens, this is acquiring a life of its own. I started looking for just some background detail, but it seems to have expanded far beyond that and Queen Emma may become a project as well.
Last night I spent a couple of hours trying to find out when (domestic) electricity was installed on the Mornington Peninsular - it may seem unrelated, but Portsea is the other side of the project. There used to be a fabulous collection of PNG artifacts at a private home in Portsea, which is the springboard for the project, or one of them.
Ps76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (1 year 9 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1830 times:
I too find it an intersting topic. In my late teens I spent 9 months working in a university science lab in the country of Vanuatu which I'm pretty sure has the same language as PNG. I think I'm still fluent so if you need anything translated just let me know.
mariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 24654 posts, RR: 86
Reply 10, posted (1 year 9 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1797 times:
Quoting mariner (Reply 8): As often happens, this is acquiring a life of its own. I started looking for just some background detail, but it seems to have expanded far beyond that and Queen Emma may become a project as well.
It is bigger than I had anticipated, it does have a life of its own.
I suppose it began in 1992, when Hallmark flew me from Boston to Madang in Papua New Guinea (at three days notice) to do a crash, two week job.
I'd never been to PNG before, and I loved Madang - or Mad Ang as I think of it - mostly because of the ex-pats. I met several people - Aussies, Brits and various Europeans - who were carving out lives there, and all of them had a story to tell. All had some "unfortunate instance" in their past (usually brushes with the law) and were, in effect, hiding out. At times it was like living in a novel by Joseph Conrad.
I began to wonder if this had always been true, and old-timers told me it was. Almost every ex-pat in PNG, they claimed, was running away form something, especially on the north coast.
So then I wondered if it was true back in the old days of German New Guinea and began to believe it must. The "remoter colonies" were fertile ground for writers - like Conrad, or some of the Somerset Maugham stories.
I became more and more interested in the German colony - so far from home - and the people there, especially the women. Adventurous women pop up in all sorts of unlikely places, such as Jane Digby el Mezreb (who was married to a Bedouin sheikh) or Isabel Eberhardt (who lived as a man and "drowned" in the Mahgreb desert) - or Isabel, Lady Burton (who was just as wild as her more famous husband). So it is no surprise to me that Queen Emma turned up here.
German New Guinea now seems to me to be one of the great, romantic "lost places" and then I began to wonder about Australia's relationship with the colony and with New Guinea generally.
This led me to Australia's later relationship. I had previously written about Kokoda and the Chocolate Soldiers, but I had never touched the Coastwatchers, except for John Murphy's imprisonment in a Japanese concentration camp.
So now I have a three part project - (i) Queen Em, (ii) Australia immediately prior to WW1 and (iii) Australia in WW2 and the Coastwatchers.
I'm going to stick to my plan and work on the middle section first (see Portsea above) because I think it's possible I may need to make another trip to PNG before I can really get the measure of the rest of it.
So - thanks everyone for your help or interest. It's been a blast of a couple of days.
Quoting Ps76 (Reply 9): I think I'm still fluent so if you need anything translated just let me know.