Milne Bay Province

View over the Bay

Milne Bay Province takes in both the mainland coastal districts surrounding Milne Bay itself and the islands to the east and north, including Kiriwina, Fergusson, Goodenough, Woodlark and the Louisiade Archipelago.

Located at the eastern tip of the New Guinea mainland, Milne Bay’s strategic importance was rapidly recognised by the Australian and American allies and work began on constructing airfields and port facilities there in June 1942. Australian troops, with American support, began to arrive and by the time of the Japanese landings in late August of that year, there was a large enough contingent to be able to repel the invaders, after a battle that lasted two weeks.

Although the Japanese had been defeated in their attempt to seize the airfields, they remained a constant menace through their presence on some of the nearby islands and the frequent air attacks on the stores, depots, airfields and port facilities, continuing well into 1943. The area hosted a large population of Australian and American servicemen and women throughout the War. In 1943 more airfields were constructed on the islands including Kiriwina and Woodlark for the use of Allied aircraft engaged in the bombing of the main Japanese base at Rabaul for much of the rest of the War.

Both men and women from Milne Bay were recruited by the Allies – women as nurses and servants, men as carriers and in a range of support roles. A significant number of Papuan Infantry Battalion members came from Milne Bay and the nearby islands.(/p>

Items in the Milne Bay Province Collection

Nuwaselo Nuwapai - Oral History interview recorded on 05 April 2017 at Divinai, Alotau, Milne Bay Province
Mr Nuwaselo Nuwapai tells the story of a fearless warrior called Sikana. He was a strong masculine soldier who helped the Japanese fight in the war and also known to be the flag bearer of the Japanese army.

Simon Basili  - Oral History interview recorded on 07 April 2017 at Alotau, Milne Bay Province
Mr Simon Basili tells the story of his grandfather Mr John Wesley Basili who during the war worked as an ANGAU Supervisor.

Muyawa Basinauro and Ruth Kalo - Oral History interview recorded on 02 April 2017 at Rabe, Milne Bay Province
This is an interview with Muyawa Basinauro and her sister, Ruth Kalo. They discuss their father Giliu Basinauro, who experienced the Japanese invasion of Milne Bay and afterwards participated in the burial of the many soldiers who were killed in the…

Muyawa Basinauro - Oral History interview recorded on 03 April 2017 at Rabe, Milne Bay Province
This interviiew is with Muyawa Basinauro, who talks about the nurse, Maiogaru Taulebona's, work to save an Allied airman during the Battle of Milne Bay. She interviewed Maiogaru in 1975 at Dago village, while Maiogaru was still alive.

Norah Bate - Oral History interview recorded on 06 April 2017 at KB Mission, Milne Bay Province
In this interview, Norah Bate talks about her mother who was a trained nurse during the war in Milne Bay, and her own early childhood memories.

Adrian Boitewa - Oral History interview recorded on 24 March 2017 at Gamadoudou, Milne Bay Province
Mr Adrian Boitewa retells the story of his grand uncle (his mother's mother's brother) Mr Bedaiyelo Lobeseni. He was a recruited by the Australian and American allies as a cook during the war.

Nigebolena Buama - Oral History interview recorded on 05 April 2017 at Ahioma, Milne Bay Province
This is an interview with Nigebolena Buama, 92 years old at the time of being interviewed. She is assisted by her daughter Aselika Nailina, as she describes her experiences as a young woman during the war.

Margaret Cardigan - Oral History interview recorded on 27 March 2017 at Ladava Elementary School, Milne Bay Province
Mrs Margaret Cardigan tells the story of her father Mr Teboina Togilei who was recruited by the Papuan Infantry Battalion as a soldier during the war.

Norris Cardigan - Oral History interview recorded on 30 March 2017 at Waema, Milne Bay Province
This is an interview with Norris Cardigan who was six years old when the war came in 1942. She talks about her father, John Pilacapio, who was a carrier for the Allies during the war.

Barbra Damaya - Oral History interview recorded on 04 April 2017 at Alotau, Milne Bay Province
Mrs Barbra Dayama tells the story of her grandfather Mr Joash Damaya who was recruited by the Papuan Infantry Battalion as a soldier during the war.

Tom Dasi - Oral History interview recorded on 27 March 2017 at Maiwara, Milne Bay Province
Mr Tom Dasi tells the story of his father Mr Dasi Besei who join the Papuan Infantry Battalion. He also speaks of how the special powers of the Milne Bay women protected the Papuan men fighting in the war.

Noweni Deboyamina - Oral History interview recorded on 25 March 2017 at Kilakilana, Milne Bay Province
Mr Rodney Galahodi tells the story of her grandmother Mrs Noweni Deboyamina and the special powers they used in the war to guard them from the Japanese bombs.

Timo Deiwili - Oral History interview recorded on 08 April 2017 at Kaloi, Milne Bay Province
In this interview, Timo Deiwili talks about his uncle Barnaba Ou, who was a carpenter employed by ANGAU to construct buidings at the bases in Milne Bay during the war.

Galahodi Delidelito - Oral History interview recorded on 24 March 2017 at Gamadoudou, Milne Bay Province
Mr Galahodi Delidelito tells the story of his two grandfathers namely Panuela Laulauaga (his father's father) and Mado Fanohi (his mother's father). Mr Panuela Laulauaga was recruited as a carrier while Mr Mado Fanohi a carrier and butcher of the…

Aiva Dileina - Oral History interview recorded on 27 March 2017 at Maiwara, Milne Bay Province
Mrs Aiva Dilenia tells the story of her father Mr Asario Douglas who was recruited by the Papuan Infantry Battalion as a soldier during the war.

Rima Doboela  - Oral History interview recorded on 24 March 2017 at Gamadoudou, Milne Bay Province
Pastor Rima Doboela was 10 years old when the war reached Gamadoudou. He and his family were evacuated from their village until the end of the war. His uncle Mr Gauluwe Weneko was recruited as a carrier for the Australians.

Margo Doilegu - Oral History interview recorded on 06 April 2017 at Alotau, Milne Bay Province
Margo Doilegu talks about her childhood memories of what she and her family experienced when the War came to Milne Bay. She also talks about Maiogaru Taulebona.

Sinehile Doilegu and Tohoa Doilegu  - Oral History interview recorded on 10 April 2017 at Divinai, Milne Bay Province
This is an interview with Mrs Tohoa Doilegu and her sister Mrs Sinehile Doilegu. They tell the story of their father, Mr Doilegu Peni, who was a PIB soldier during the war.

Baroni Douglas - Oral History interview recorded on 12 April 2017 at Bou, Milne Bay Province
Mrs Baroni Douglas was a young girl at the age of 18 years when the war came. Her peaceful beachside home was invaded by soldiers one quiet evening and changed the lives of her people. She tells the story of how the war affected her family.

Priscilla Eddie - Oral History interview recorded on 11 April 2017 at Wiole, Milne Bay Province
Mrs Priscilla Eddie tells the story about her father who was recruited by the Australians and the American to work as a cook during the war.

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