• Short Summary

    When Australia finally relinquishes control over the territory on September 16, the small, tropical area north of Queensland will become the independent state of Papua New Guinea.

  • Description

    When Australia finally relinquishes control over the territory on September 16, the small, tropical area north of Queensland will become the independent state of Papua New Guinea.

    After more than sixty years of rule by its southern neighbour, Papua New Guinea is ready, willing and -- its politicians believe -- able, to stand on its own feet, after having been self-governed since 1973.

    The Papuan national symbol is the Bird of Paradise -- and indeed so idyllic is this island territory in the South Pacific -- that many nations have fought to claim it.

    European settlement began in the 19th century, when the island of New Guinea was divided into three. The Dutch claimed the western half, Germany annexed the north-east and neighbouring islands, and Britain claimed the south-east.

    During the first world war, Australian force occupied the German section, then called New Guinea. In 1921, both that area and the South were placed in Australian hands, under mandate from the League of Nations.

    The territory of Papua New Guinea was officially declared in 1949. In 1964, a Parliamentary House of Assembly was set up. Indonesia had claimed the area west of the Papua New Guinea border as West Irlan. After disputes, the border was marked on the ground.

    Papua New Guinea has had a colourful history, with a considerable share of terror and tragedy. Tribal warfare -- usually over affairs of honour -- has been widespread and has resulted in thousands of deaths. Volcanoes have caused death and havoc. In 1951, four thousand people died when Mount Lamington erupted.

    Nevertheless, the country's 2.5 million people have achieved a level of self-dependence and development which will make the September 16 Independence Day little more than a formality. Although the copper-rich island of Bougainville has announced its decision to secede, both Australian and Papuan leaders believe the country can successfully rule itself.

    Chief Minister Michael Somare will continue his role of head of government; and Queen Elizabeth of England will be titular head of state.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA7D4XYOFTOY1V0OXN7SODXPMFZ
    Media URN:
    VLVA7D4XYOFTOY1V0OXN7SODXPMFZ
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    27/08/1975
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:52:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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