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Dusting, Ellestan Joyce Papua New Guinea Text
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Postcards of German New Guinea

  • AU PMB Photo 40
  • Collection
  • 1912-1916

This collection of 60 postcards and photographs of German New Guinea, all dated 1912-1916, were transferred to David Kaus at the National Museum of Australia by Merrell Davis and Catherine Evans, included with the papers of Ellestan Dusting. Dusting served as private secretary to Australian Minister for External Territories, Sir Paul Hasluck, and as Vice President of the Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA). Mr Kaus transferred the photographs to the PMB on 28 January 2011.

Though these postcards were collected by Dusting, the envelope in which they are held is signed by R.G. Bowen and a number of the photographs are marked as having been taken by, or given to Bowen by a Col. Pethebridge, or ‘administrator’. It is possible the photos were given to Sir Paul Hasluck as some of his paper were amongst those of Dusting.

Lieutenant R.G. Bowen, RAN, was amongst the first Australians to fight German troops in World War I. On 11 September 1914, Lieutenant Bowen landed at Kakabaul in New Britain with No. 6 Company of the Naval Battalion of the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force, to destroy the main German wireless station in the area. At the outbreak of war, Col. Sir Samuel Augustus Pethebridge, believed to be the photographer or sender of some of these images, took command of the Australian North-West Pacific Expedition, raised to occupy German islands north of the equator. Before the expedition could sail, the British government decided to allow the North Pacific islands to be left in the hands of their Japanese occupiers. Pethebridge suggested that his unit, known as Tropical Force, might be used to relieve the expeditionary force led by Colonel W. Holmes which had captured German New Guinea in the first weeks of the war. This was accepted, and in January 1915, Pethebridge succeeded Holmes as administrator at Rabaul. In January 1917, he contracted malaria which forced his return to Australia, where he died a year later.

The photos contained in this collection show people and infrastructure of German New Guinea (Deutsch-Neuguinea) including the Bismark Archipelago (hotels, churches), Rabaul (wharf, naval headquarters, hospital, China Town, ship building yard), the Bita Paka wireless radio station at Kakabaul and the wireless station and at Morobe (along with the District Officer’s residence and police quarters). The photos also feature Herbertshoe (naval signal post, hospital and German soldiers). There are also images of people (police, singsing, traditional headdress) and landscapes, including volcano Mt Mother, Mt Daughter, the beehive rock, plantations and a giant fig tree.

Sources:
Naval Historical Society of Australia, The Navy in New Guinea in 1914, http://www.navyhistory.org.au/the-navy-in-new-guinea-in-1914/
Australian Dictionary of Biography

Dusting, Ellestan Joyce

Ellestan Dusting slides of Papua and New Guinea, New Hebrides and New Caledonia

  • AU PMB PHOTO 44
  • Collection
  • 1957-1959

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.

Dusting, Ellestan Joyce