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Research Guides


Papua New Guinea Records 1883–1942: Microfilm Collections


1 German New Guinea and Military Administration Records, 1885–1921

Image 1: <i>Native Police with rifles</i>, from a collection of glass plate negatives probably taken about 1909 by the surveyor Sabine.

Image 1: Native Police with rifles, from a collection of glass plate negatives probably taken about 1909 by the surveyor Sabine.
NAA: A57, A5
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This chapter includes material from the New Guinea Company 1885 to 1899, formally known as Das Schutzgebiet der Neu Guinea Kompagnie (the Protectorate of the New Guinea Company), and the German Government administration, Das Schutzgebiet von Deutsch Nue-Guinea 1899 to 1914. It also includes material produced under the British Military Administration, which was in effect Australian Army administration of the German occupied territory 1914 to 1921.

Reflecting the preoccupations of the time, the majority of the surviving records relate to administrative, financial and legal concerns; a small quantity dating from as early as 1885. Because many of the early records are handwritten, they can be difficult to read. The handwriting in early German records in particular can be hard to interpret.

Copies of the records described in this guide are not held in all the Archives' reading rooms. Where microfilm is only held in Canberra, it can be duplicated on request and a copy sent to any of the Archives' reading rooms.

CORRESPONDENCE FILES, IMPOSED NUMBER SERIES, 1885–1914

Over 1 000 files which relate to all aspects of the routine administration, and include some policy material, of the German settlements on the mainland of New Guinea (that is, on the North-East Coast), and on Neu Pommern (New Britain) and Neu Mecklenberg (New Ireland). Similar records of the Imperial Government covering the external Island Territories (Carolines, Marianas and Marshall Islands) are found in series G1 and G2.

Series: G255
Quantity: 86 rolls microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Kaiserliches Gouvernement von Deutsch Neu-Guinea (CA 1449)
JOURNAL/GERICHTS – JOURNAL (DAILY REGISTER OF LETTERS RECEIVED), 1893–97

A single remaining bound volume, with printed columns, recording information about letters received under various headings. These headings include Number, Date of Document, Date of Receipt, Document sent by, Contents, How dealt with and Location of Document. The word 'Gerichts' has been added to the title, probably about 1895, to distinguish it from another register identified as series G30, the 'Ver Waltungs Journal' (Administration Daily Register).

Series: G250
Quantity: 1 roll microfilm in Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart
Recorded by: Imperial Court of the Protectorate of the New Guinea Company Eastern Jurisdiction District (Bismarck Archipelago and Solomon Islands) (CA 1504)
EINGANGSJOURNAL (DAILY REGISTER OF LETTERS RECEIVED), 1895–1914

These journals, used first by the New Guinea Company, and later by the Imperial Government, record each incoming letter and give such information as, number, date of receipt, contents, how dealt with, location, etc.

Series: G30
Quantity: 10 rolls microfilm in Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart
Recorded by: 1895–99 Neu Guinea Compagnie, Landesverwaltung in Herbertshohe (New Guinea Company, Territorial Administration at Herbertshohe) (CA 1506); 1899–1914 Imperial Government of German New Guinea (CA 1449)
ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS OF GERMAN NEW GUINEA, 1899–1914

Most of the material in the nearly 200 files remaining in this series covers legal matters dealt with in the various 'Imperial Courts' of the different districts. These matters include smuggling, larceny, contravention of the Bird of Paradise Hunting Ordinance, general legal matters (wills, mining leases) and financial accounting details of the 'Principal Treasury' of the German Government.

Series: G254
Quantity: 16 rolls microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: 1899–1914 Imperial District Office, Friedrich Wilhelmshafen (CA 1517); 1901–05 Imperial District Court, Friedrich Wilhelmshafen (CA 1518); 1901–14 Imperial District Court, Herbertshohe/Rabaul (CA 1508); 1909–14 Imperial District Office, Herbertshohe( to 1909, Rabaul, and to 1914, Rabaul Town) (CA 1507)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1899–1911

The remaining files in this series deal with a range of general administrative matters which relate to the administration of the Island Territory ('Inselgebiet') area of the German administration of New Guinea. This area includes what is now the Carolines, Mariana and Marshall Islands. Numbers were added to some files, previously unnumbered, probably about 1911.

Series: G1
Quantity: 8 rolls microfilm in Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart
Recorded by: Kaiserliches Gouvernement Von Deutsch Neu-Guinea (Imperial Government of German New Guinea) (CA 1449)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ALPHABETICAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1911–14

The surviving files in this series cover a wide variety of topics relating to the German administration of the Island Territory ('Inselgebiet'). This included what is now the Carolines, Mariana and Marshall Islands. Surviving files have numbers ranging from A.16 Bd.1 to Z.2. Similar material relating to the mainland is held in series G255.

Series: G2
Quantity: 11 rolls microfilm in Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart
Recorded by: Kaiserliches Gouvernement Von Deutsch Neu-Guinea (Imperial Government of German New Guinea) (CA 1449)
DEBT CLAIMS, 1914–

These are files relating to claims and payment of debt petitions filed before the Central Court. The claims are made by both individual persons and companies who were owed money.

Series: G282
Quantity: Part one roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1914–23

Eighteen surviving files containing correspondence by the Military Administrators, the Central Court and the Crown Law office in relation to various court cases and the general administration of German New Guinea territory. The court cases include breaches of labour recruitment regulations, prosecution of criminal and civil law offenders, breach of lease and contract agreements, settlement of debts, divorces and court statements and affidavits.

Series: G261
Quantity: 1 roll and part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: 1914–21 Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462); 1921–23 Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Civil Administration (CA 7488)
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT GAZETTES, 1914–

Published Australian government gazettes for the years 1918 and 1919 and an Index to those published from 1914 to 1917.

Series: G275
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
GUARDIAN FOR A MINOR, METHODIST MISSION, 1914–16

Declaration and transfer of guardianship for a minor, Karl Schimidt, to William Henry Cox within the Methodist Mission. The declaration is made before the Judge of the Central Court.

Series: G283
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
LEASE AND CONTRACT AGREEMENTS, 1914–

Files relating to property transfer agreements, contract and traders agreements, public trading partnership notices that are declared before the Judge of the Central Court. Included in the series is a file relating to breach of contract and provisions on the rights of the lessor if there is a breach of contract.

Series: G278
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
TREASURY LEDGERS AND ACCOUNTING CORRESPONDENCE, 1914–22

Files relating to the Military Administration's accounts in the districts, salary and personal accounts, business and village taxes and annual expenditure and revenues monitored by the Treasury Department under the jurisdictions of the Military Administration.

Series: G264
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
CENTRAL COURT CASE FILES, 1915–28

These are 20 surviving cases with related documents. These court cases cover various matters ranging from rape, murder, stealing, Breach of Contract Agreements and other civil cases. Cases referred to the Central Court include those heard against both indigenous and non-indigenous people and companies. The information includes affidavits and exhibits presented to court as evidence and decision given by the Central Court in Rabaul.

Series: G259
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: 1915–21 Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462); 1921–28 Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Civil Administration (CA 7488)
LAND RENTALS, AITAPE, 1915–

One file containing correspondence sent to the Colonial Administrator by the District Officer of Aitape concerning land rentals.

Series: G279
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
MISCELLANEOUS ACCOUNT BOOKS, NOTE BOOKS AND SHIP'S LOG (CHINESE), 1915–20

These are three small notebooks, one ship's log and two small account books. The three small notebooks are entirely in Chinese. There is a label on the front of one that gives the date in arabic numerals of 1920, then the numbers 29.2.20. The ship's log appears to be for a vessel called 'Heicu'.

Series: G286
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, INVOICES AND ACCOUNTS, 1915–28

An assortment of receipts, invoices and accounts. Some are legacies of the German Colonial era but most of them relate to the day to day running of the Australian Military Occupation. Some reflect purchases of food, goods and services from the Government Store, Rabaul. Others detail accounts, invoices, notices and correspondence accumulated as a result of the running of the Officers' Mess, Rabaul. There is also a batch of miscellaneous receipts, invoices and accounts relating to the Department of Justice, Rabaul. Some German language consignment notes are overstamped 'Supply & Ordnance Dept., Rabaul'. All are addressed to the District Officer, Kavieng. These are in two formats, one type is in the normal form of a bill, but has no prices marked in. The other appears to be written on a contract form of the Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen shipping line.

Series: G284
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: 1915–21 Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462); 1921–28 Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Civil Administration (CA 7488)
NATIVE AFFAIRS FILES, 1915–

Files relating to the running of native affairs such as marriages and divorces, labour recruitment, treatment of half castes, law and order and native court cases.

Series: G273
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
NAURU REPATRIATION REPORT, 1915

This material details a report on an Australian Repatriation Commission trip to the Caroline Islands on board the Norwegian Steamer Pronto. Submitted to the representative of the Pacific Phosphate Co. Ltd. in Nauru, possibly by a naval officer in Nauru.

Series: G256
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
OFFICER IN COMMAND NOMINATION AND APPOINTMENT, 1915

Material providing for the nomination and appointment of an 'Officer In Command' in the absence of the Colonel Administrator.

Series: G266
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
SHIPS FILES, 1915

Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)

Files relating to seizure and detention reports of the steamships Sumatra, Nusa and Matupi and the schooner Moewe. Included are files relating to charter of the launch Berar and repairs to the steamship Madang.

Series: G280
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
COMPANIES FILES, 1916–20

Files relating to the Mioko Company Business receivership. It also includes older correspondence of Hernsheim & Co and the Neu Guinea Compaignie.

Series: G277
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
CORRESPONDENCE REGISTERS, 1916–23

Four small and one large register covering correspondence received by the Military Administration. Correspondence is numerically listed in all the six registers. The registration system used in these registers does not correspond to most of the correspondence registered in the 'General Correspondence' files in G261.

Series: G260
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: 1916–21 Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462); 1921–23 Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Civil Administration (CA 7488)
COURT CASE REGISTERS, 1916–25

General criminal and civil case registers and Native Court case registers. The registers give a numerical listing of cases heard and decisions made. Under the Australian rule the native cases, either civil or criminal, were heard separately from all others.

Series: G281
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: 1916–21 Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462); 1921–25 Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Civil Administration (CA 7488)
COURT MARTIAL FILES, 1916–20

Four files relating to some members of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Forces put on trial by court martial and member's certificate of discharge. These files are Australian Government records and other court martial files are held in the record series A471.

Series: G265
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
DISTRICT COURT CASE RETURNS, 1916–27

Monthly returns of District Court Cases heard in Manus, Salamaua, Talasea, Aitape (Wewak), Kieta, New Britain, Kavieng, Namatanai, Sepik, Rabaul, New Ireland and Madang. The material from New Ireland and Madang contains documents relating to particulars of cases and has a date range of 29 July 1916 to 31 March 1918.

Series: G258
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: 1916–21 Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462); 1921–27 Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Civil Administration (CA 7488)
SECURITY CLEARANCE, 1916

A memorandum to the Collector of Customs, Sydney by the Colonel Administrator in relation to conditions of travel by Cheung Suang to China through Sydney.

Series: G267
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
LEGAL DEPARTMENT DIARIES, 1917–24

Two diaries that appear to be the only extant remnants of diaries that were probably kept by the Law Department of the Military Administration and continued by the civilian successor Department in 1921. The items are two foolscap – week to an opening – diaries. A John Sands diary for 1917 and a Woods' Australian Diary for 1924. Entries in the diaries are fairly sparse and cryptic.

Series: G285
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: 1917–21 Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462); 1921–24 Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Civil Administration (CA 7488)
PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION FILES, 1917–21

Six files relating to petitions submitted to the Judge of the Central Court to obtain court orders to administer estates of deceased persons as stipulated in the Probate and Administration Ordinance 1913–15. The files also contain decisions given by the Judge. One of the files contains documents relating to declaration and transfer of Mortgages under the authority of the acting Judge of the Central Court.

Series: G263
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
SECURITY REPORT, 1917

A file containing confidential report on security aspects of the territory obtained by Mr S Mackenzie the then Colonel Administrator of the German New Guinea Possessions.

Series: G272
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
LEGAL MEMORANDUMS, 1918

Memorandums used by the Government Secretary and Judge of the Central Court in relation to control of natives and the conduct of court cases of various nature such as, breach of native labour regulations, marriages and divorces, assault, drug trafficking, illegal recruitment of labourers, etc.

Series: G270
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions (CA 7462)
AUSTRALIAN MILITARY ORDERS, 1918–21

Garrison, District and Administrative Orders issued by the Brigadier General of the Military Administration. The orders relate to staff transfer, duties to be performed by officers on duty and recommendations for promotion in the military ranks. Included with the orders is an earlier file relating to amendments to the Australian Imperial Force Orders dating from 1917.

Series: G276
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: CA 7462 (Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions)
GERMAN ASSET DECLARATION FILES, 1919–22

Declaration of assets by German Nationals and employees of the Military Administration. The series also consists of other declarations made to confirm employment, deaths and affidavits presented in court cases as evidence. There are 241 items, each a folder containing one person's or family groups declaration forms.

Series: G257
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: CA 7462 (1919–21 Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions); CA 7488 (1921–22 Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Civil Administration)
CENTRAL COURT DECISIONS, 1919–20

Two surviving decisions of the Judge of the Central Court. One decision is a criminal case, the other a probate court case.


Series: G262
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: CA 7462 (Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions)
CRICKET SCORE BOOK, 1919

A book used to record the scores of cricket games played between the Australian Garrison and civilians of German New Guinea.

Series: G268
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: CA 7462 (Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions)
ORDINANCE AND REGULATIONS FILES, 1919–25

Files relating to various ordinances and regulations such as non indigenous registration ordinance, the companies ordinance, recruiting ordinance, law of costs, immigration regulations and liquor licence permits. Included in the series are German Colonial Legislation, German Maritime Law and Crown Law Office Circular Numbers 15 and 16 of 1925.

Series: G274
Quantity: Part 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: CA 7462 (1919–21 Military Administration of the German New Guinea Possessions); 1921–25 Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Civil Administration (CA 7488)

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