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Research Guides


Papua New Guinea Records 1883–1942: Microfilm Collections


5 PNG Patrols Records, Photographs and Other Material

Image 7: <i>Orokolo (Avavu) Hihi Kairu boys being decorated inside the eravoy</i>, from the collection of glass plate negatives of ethnological photographs mainly taken by F E Williams.

Image 7: Orokolo (Avavu) Hihi Kairu boys being decorated inside the eravoy, from the collection of glass plate negatives of ethnological photographs mainly taken by F E Williams.
NAA: A6003, 143
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This chapter includes some examples of material created and held in Australia as distinct from the other material covered in this guide which was largely created in Papua New Guinea and has been microfilmed and returned to Papua New Guinea. A large number of series in the National Archives, particularly records of the Department of Home and Territories (CA15) and later the Department of External Territories (CA42) hold material relating to Papua and New Guinea. The examples described reveal some of the wide variety of records available including photographic material.

Patrol reports in particular are significant for information about initial contact as patrolling was the accepted method of both exploration and pacification for many years in both Papua and New Guinea. In the early years patrols also could, and did, have a punitive function. To the natives the patrols, usually of natives trained in a military fashion led by one or two administrative officers who held police powers as a result of their administrative function, were the visible signs of the strange new culture which was about to transform their lives.

SPECIAL BUNDLES, FILES OF CORRESPONDENCE, STATION JOURNALS, PATROLS, PATROL REPORTS FROM OUT-STATIONS, 1890–1941

This material has already been noted in its appropriate position in the chapter covering British New Guinea records and is repeated here because of the difficulties some researchers have had in locating the Patrol Reports which are part of the records in this series. It contains various material from out-stations, including patrol reports and station journals. Some material is duplicated in series G99 and in G115, G116, G117, G118 and G119.

Series: G91
Quantity: 58 rolls of microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: 1890–1941 Government Secretary's Office (from 1900, Government Secretary's Department; from 1909, Department of the Government Secretary (CA 1419); 1941 Department of the Government Secretary and Native Affairs (CA 1420)
NAME INDEX CARDS, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 'PAPUA, NORFOLK ISLAND CABINET', 1911–28

One bundle of index cards in basic alphabetical arrangement, these cards are mainly a name index of applications for employment and applications to lease land in Papua and Norfolk Island. There is also some subject indexing of other matters. The file series indexed by these cards are series A1, Correspondence files, annual single number 1911 to 1928 and series A5, Correspondence files, annual single number with 'NG' prefix 1923 to 1924. The card entries show – (a) name, state or office to which application was sent, registration number, subject; (b) name or subject, registration number, date, subject and remarks.

Series: A73
Quantity: Copies not made, originals held in Canberra
Recorded by: 1911–16 Department of External Affairs (I) (CA 7); 1916–28 Department of Home and Territories (CA 15); 1916 – Prime Minister's Department (CA 12)
NEGATIVES OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF PAPUA AND NEW GUINEA, 1915–24

These 55 glass plate negatives appear to have been made in the course of the production of lantern slides. The majority of the negatives (33) correspond to lantern slides in series A24, although none can be identified with the earlier slides from that series. At least 31 of the negatives were probably made from photographs taken by the surveyor Sabine in 1909 and obtained by the Department in 1925. Probably the rest of the negatives were also made about that time. In 1988 photographic prints were produced from the negatives to be used as reference copies.

Series: A57
Quantity: 55 original photographs in Canberra
Recorded by: 1915–16 Department of External Affairs (I) (CA 7); 1916–24 Department of Home and Territories (CA 15)
GLASS PLATE NEGATIVES OF ETHNOLOGICAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY F E WILLIAMS, 1922–35

This series consists of 728 glass plate negatives of photographs taken in Papua by Francis Williams working as an Anthropologist for the Australian Government. At least one photo is of Williams (item 71.2 'Williams and anthill'). The photographs cover many aspects of the life of the Papuan natives with whom Williams worked from 1922 until 1943 when he was killed in an air crash on the Owen Stanley Range. The photographs vary in quality but are a unique and exceptional collection. Between 1950 and 1952, the collection was included by the Research Section of the Department of Territories in their collection of about 2400 photographs which they made into a set of prints pasted onto cards (series A6510). The complete set of prints and also these negatives were arranged according to a lexicographical subject classification system adapted from that used by the Bernice Bishop Museum in Hawaii. The classification symbols comprise alphabetical letters representing part of the classification, eg C – Administration, CA – the Administrator, CB – Administration Headquarters. Within each group negatives are numbered consecutively, eg CA–1, CA–2, CA–3. These symbols were added to the negatives in white ink. On the cards in series A6510 the box list number of the negative was entered in the section 'serial no. of negative', eg V, 185. In 1989 the material was copied for preservation purposes with duplicate negatives and reference prints being produced.

Series: A6003
Quantity: 728 photographs in Canberra
Recorded by: 1922–28 Department of Home and Territories (CA 15); 1928–35 Territories Branch, Prime Minister's Department (CA 822)
PAPUA AND NEW GUINEA PATROL REPORTS, 1922–55

This series consists mainly of reports of specific patrols in Papua and the Territory of New Guinea sent to the responsible Commonwealth Department in Canberra. It also includes a small number of more general reports such as district monthly reports, anthropological reports, etc. Some reports contain detailed maps and occasional photographs. The majority of the patrol reports are very detailed – including a brief memorandum to the District Officer giving subject, duration, object of patrol, personnel accompanying the patrol and, at the end, a resume of such subjects as geological features, native customs and physical appearance, differing dialects and vocabulary, health and sanitation, investigations of unrest or murders, and general observations on such matters as initiation ceremonies, methods of cooking, housing, vegetable gardens and cannibalism. It is evident that these reports, when received in the departmental head office in Canberra, were filed together with the covering correspondence on files in series A518. The numbers (pagination) handwritten in red, fit into the sequence of similar numbers in the A518 file. At some point the actual reports were removed from the A518 files, placed in their own covers (mostly Department of External Territories) and placed in the departmental library – some have Dewey cataloguing numbers written on them. A simple numerical control has been imposed on the reports by the National Archives.

Series: A7034
Quantity: 7 rolls of microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: 1922–23 Prime Minister's Department (CA 12); 1923–28 Department of Home and Territories (CA 15); 1928–41 Territories Branch, Prime Minister's Department (CA 822); 1941–51 Department of External Territories (I) (CA 42); 1951–55 Department of Territories (I) (CA 60)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 'NG' SERIES, 1923–24

These correspondence files, produced by the Australian Department of Home and Territories, cover most of the transactions between the Australian government and the New Guinea administration in 1923 and 1924. They cover topics ranging from the importation of cattle and birds to purchasing of shipping and deportation of remaining Germans. The files are an annual single number system with 'NG' prefix. The remaining files have control numbers ranging from NG 23/22 to NG 24/3852.

Series: A5
Quantity: Copies not made, originals held in Canberra
Recorded by: Department of Home and Territories (CA 15)
MICROFILM COPIES OF 1927 TO 1940 PAPUA AND NEW GUINEA PATROL REPORTS COLLECTED 1986

Microfilm copies of patrol reports (mainly of the Lake Kutubu region) that were collected by Mr Ivan F Champion, a Patrol Officer and later Director of the Department of Native Affairs in Papua and New Guinea. Mr Champion became a Patrol Officer in May 1924. The period covered by the patrol reports in this series coincides with a period for which there is a gap in the records of series A7034, Papua New Guinea Patrol Reports, 1922–55 (described above). It is very likely that the original reports should be part of A7034.

Series: A7357
Quantity: 1 roll microfilm in Canberra
Recorded by: National Archives of Australia (CA 7970)
MATERIAL MICROFILMED BY THE PACIFIC MANUSCRIPTS BUREAU, AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau of the Australian National University is not associated with the National Archives in any way but some of the material it has microfilmed complements the holdings of the National Archives. For example the material identified by Pacific Manuscripts Bureau as PMB 605 (reel 1) Territory of Papua New Guinea Executive Council Minutes 1959–61 is a useful companion to Archives holdings identified as series G64, Executive Council Minutes (British New Guinea and from 1908, Papua), 1888–1942.

Pacific Manuscript Bureau material covers Press Clippings, Private papers of persons associated with Papua New Guinea and records of religious missions. The National Office of the National Archives holds over 30 boxes of microfilm from the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau. For more information on the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, see www.sunsite.anu.edu.au/spin/ RSRC/PMB.


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