Territory of Papua and New Guinea

Dependency of ‌Australia
Flag of the Territory of New Guinea
Flag of the Territory of Papua
1949–1975 Flag of Papua New Guinea
Flag of Australia
Map of Papua New Guinea
RegionNew Guinea
CapitalPort Moresby
Status Dependency
Legislature House of Assembly
November 6, 1949Union established
December 1, 1973Self-governing
September 16, 1975Independence
CurrencyAustralian Dollar
Flag of the Territory of New Guinea New Guinea
Flag of the Territory of Papua Papua
Papua New Guinea Flag of Papua New Guinea

The Territory of Papua and New Guinea (1949-1975) was a dependent territory of Australia, located on the island of New Guinea.


In 1949, the Papua and New Guinea Act confirmed the administrative union of the New Guinea and the Papua under the title of 'The Territory of Papua and New Guinea' and placed it under the international trusteeship system. The Act provided for a Legislative Council (established in 1951), a judicial organisation, a public service, and a system of local government. The first House of Assembly, which replaced the Legislative Council in 1963, opened on 8 June 1964. In 1972, the name of the territory was changed to Papua New Guinea and elections saw the formation of a ministry headed by Chief Minister Michael Somare, who pledged to lead the country to self-government and then to independence. Independence from Australia was proclaimed in 1975, and Somare became the first Prime Minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.[1]


1526-27 Don Jorge de Meneses credited with naming the principal island "Papua" - a Malay word meaning frizzy hair
1545 Yngio Ortis de Retez (a Spaniard) coins the term "New Guinea" because of a presumed resemblance to inhabitants of the African Guinea coast
1884 Germany takes formal possession of the northeast quarter and adjacent islands (including Bougainville)
1884 British protectorate - British New Guinea - proclaimed over the southern coast (the area now called Papua) and adjacent islands
1888 British New Guinea annexed by Britain on 4 September
1899 German imperial government assumes direct control of the northern territory, naming it German New Guinea
1902 British New Guinea placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia
1905 Passage of Papua Act in the Australian parliament - British New Guinea now known as Territory of Papua
1906 Commencement of formal Australian administration of the Territory of Papua
1914 Australian troops occupy German New Guinea, which remains under Australian military control until 1921
1920 British Government, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, assumes a mandate from the League of Nations to govern the Territory of New Guinea
December 1941 Japanese invasion brings suspension of Australian civil administration of the Territory of Papua
1941-45 Allied military administration of the Territory of Papua
1945 Japanese surrender restores to Australia civil administration of Papua, as well as New Guinea, under Papua New Guinea Provisional Administration Act, 1945-46[1]


Papua New Guinean Polities

New Guinean Polities

Neighbouring Nations


  1. Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Country, economy and regional information