For those of us who were educated in Australia, the war in New Guinea 1942 to 1945 was the battle that saved Australia. Fought by our countrymen, many of whom had already proven themselves warriors in Egypt, Libya, Greece and Syria; they were led by men who had crafted the victory before Amiens in 1918. Valiant they drove the Japanese from the shores of what was then Australian territory, colonies are not allowed by the Australian Constitution. The people of Papua and New Guinea, our history tells us, served with us. Sure footed angels, they willingly carried our wounded on the precipitous muddy trails leading from battle areas. Ferocious warriors, they stood beside us mainland Australians.
However, John Waiko, eminent Papua New Guinean historian, noted that the people most affected by the war in New Guinea were New Guineans. His statement seems an obvious one, but it is not often heard. Scholarship on the war routinely ignores New Guinean perspectives. This address by Seumas Spark at the Auditorium, Anzac Memorial, Sydney on 15 February 2019 discusses some of these perspectives, and their importance.
Please use the controls below to view the presentation, it runs 41 minutes and 7 seconds. It is a MUST SEE for all Australians.
DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT A full transcript of the talk is available for download using the link to your left.
The Audience were left thinking about the story told. There was an appreciation of the social disruption this war caused to the people in whose neighbourhood it was fought.