Collection PHOTO 44 - Ellestan Dusting slides of Papua and New Guinea, New Hebrides and New Caledonia

"Laying bricks made at Kavieng prison by men charged for Telefomin murders" [Memorial sign marking military action of 7th Australian Division] [Structure with corrugated iron roof] "At the Bung, Rabaul, P.N.G." "Looking across Kavieng Harbour from D.C.’s [District Commissioner?] office" [Aerial view of unknown town] "Pathway at Goroka, Eastern Highlands, T.P.N.G." [Territory of Papua and New Guinea] "Everyday wear at Minj, Western Highlands, T.P.N.G." [Territory of Papua and New Guinea] "Traffic on pathway at Goroka, Eastern Highlands" "Qantas charter arrives Goroka airstrip"
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Ellestan Dusting slides of Papua and New Guinea, New Hebrides and New Caledonia


  • 1957-1959 (Creation)

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292 digitised 35mm slides

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Biographical history

Ellestan Joyce Dusting OBE attended Canberra High School and growing up was active in the Brownies, Guides and Rangers. Her involvement with the Guiding movement continued throughout her life, holding the positions of Guide Commissioner in Canberra and in 1970 she was elected President of the Trefoil Guild in Canberra. In 1954, Dusting served as an official for the Commonwealth Royal visit of Queen Elizabeth II. Dusting went on to serve with the Commonwealth Public Service Board and as private secretary to Sir Paul Hasluck, Australian Minister for External Territories. In the 1980s, Dusting served as Vice President, then Honorary President, of The Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA).

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This collection of 292 slides was transferred from the National Museum of Australia ‘Ellestan Dusting Collection’ to the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau in 2010. The slides came in two wooden boxes: one labelled ‘Papua and New Guinea’; the other labelled ‘Cocos Islands, New Hebrides and New Caledonia’ (however, inside the second box, the labels are for New Hebrides and New Caledonia only). No information was supplied with the slides except for a few handwritten captions on those for Papua and New Guinea.

There are 139 photos taken in 1957 and 1959, during official visits to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea by then Australian Minister for Territories, Paul Hasluck. Ellestan Dusting served as Hasluck’s private secretary in this period. On the 1957 tour, Hasluck was accompanied by Netherlands Minister for Overseas Territories, Mr Helders. The images captured in this set include several photos of Hasluck, Helders and other officials, though the majority of photos are of services and infrastructure, people, scenes of daily life and photos taken in transit. The delegates visit Goroka, Madang, Rabaul, Lae and Port Moresby. Photos include sing-sing at Wau show, visits to schools, hospitals and cemeteries.

The 135 slides of New Hebrides were taken as Dusting accompanied a short official “Joint Tour” in conjunction with the French and British Commissioners. The tour started in Vila and then went up through the central islands, Pentecost Island and on to Espiritu Santo. The slides depict images of dancers from many different regions. They don’t necessarily indicate the island where the photograph was taken as dancers from other islands were often asked to participate in tour festivities. In addition to formalities of the tour, including the consecration of a church and the opening of a bridge, this collection includes several images of Girl Guides and Boy Scouts. Dusting had a lifelong involvement with the Girl Guides movement.

No information was supplied for the 16 slides of New Caledonia. These photographs depict images around Noumea in an unknown year. This set of images features landmarks such as Haut Commissariat / former Hotel du Gouvernement, Noumea port, Societe Le Nickel (SLN), South Pacific Commission / Du Pacifique Sud building, Noumea, Pointe de l'Artillerie and Cathedrale Saint Joseph de Cluny] as well as many natural features.

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Pacific Manuscripts Bureau

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Access this title at PMB Member Libraries or by contacting the Bureau directly:

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Related collections: PHOTO 40


Individual item titles are taken from the handwritten captions on photos. The language is reflective of the period of captioning. In the absence of captions, titles were devised by cataloguer based on image content and information supplied by relevant experts. Information supplied by photographer is in quotation marks. Information added by cataloguer is included in square brackets [ ].


Keywords: World War Two, World War 2, World War II, WWII, WW2, W.W.II, W.W.2, Second World War, 2nd World War, Pacific War

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  • No captions were supplied by Dusting for the New Hebrides photos and the PMB gives thanks to Dr Kirk Huffman and Dr Carlene Winch for their assistance in captioning these slides. PMB is grateful to Dr Emilie Dotte for her assistance with identification of places and captioning of the images of New Caledonia.
  • Information on Paul Hasluck's visit to Territories of Papua and New Guinea from DUTCH TO STEP UP N.G. WORK (1957, November 9). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), p. 4. Retrieved September 8, 2020, from

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