Although European navigators visited and explored the Papua New Guinea islands for 170 years, little was known of the Papua New Guinea inhabitants until the late 19th century.
Students explore countries of the Asia region and the connections Australia has with other countries across the world. Students will explore and reflect upon the importance of intercultural understanding.
A newly independent Australia administered the Territory of Papua in 1906. At the end of the First World War and the German withdrawal from New Britain, New Guinea became a mandated territory of Australia in 1920. After the Second World War, Papua and New Guinea were combined and Australia continued as administrator until 1975 when Papua New Guinea achieved independence.
Today, Australia and Papua New Guinea enjoy a strong bilateral relationship where economic growth, cultural understanding and political diplomacy is encouraged and supported.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is a developing nation with 85% of its population living and working in farming and agriculture. The remaining 15% live in urban areas. Subsistence farming is the common practice with the main crops being sweet potato, taro and greens. Their diet is supplemented by meat, predominately pork, fish and imported products.
There are over 800 language groups in Papua New Guinea and many groups remain isolated through a lack of roads and almost impassable terrain, particularly in the wet season.
Issues surrounding health, education and wellbeing are major hurdles to development. Diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are common and Tuberculosis (TB), cholera and HIV/Aids are of growing concern. Just 40% of the population has access to clean water. The population reflects the trends of developing nations with low life expectancy (66 years), high birth rates, high maternal mortality rates and a high infant mortality rate (39 per 1000). Adult literacy rates are low at 64% and the average time spent in school, is less than five years.
The nation is experiencing some positive economic growth and trade is developing however, the country struggles with poor governance, corruption, economic mismanagement, poverty and crime. In 2015, the official advice for travelling to Papua New Guinea was ‘high degree of caution’. This is due to the high rates of crime, violent incidences including car-jackings and rape. Travel warnings also relate to poor road infrastructure and the high risk of landslides and flooding in the wet season.
Papua New Guinea has implemented strategies that will see them strive for improvements in: human capital development; gender, youth and people empowerment; wealth creation; institutional development and service delivery; security and international relations; environmental sustainability and climate change; spiritual, cultural and community development and strategic planning, integration and control. Papua New Guinea Vision 2050 – National Strategic Plan Taskforce, 2011 Papua new Guinea’s current goal is to achieve United Nations Millennium Development Goals
Australia is committed to assisting Papua New Guinea, in reaching their goals. Australia contributes 10.5% of all Official Development Assistance (ODE) to Papua New Guinea. Investment priorities are in health, education, governance, law and order and investment and trade. Our two nations also experience political cooperation on regional and global issues affecting our two countries, in particular issues relating to the environment.
On completing this unit, students will have a greater understanding of the positive relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea, how geographic proximity and historic links have bonded the two countries and the friendship that currently exists.
Students will explore the aid Australia provides the people and government of Papua New Guinea, economic investment and the importance of our trading partnership. Tourism opportunities, sport and migration will also be highlighted to provide opportunities for further inquiry.
Students will be challenged to consider the future connections between the two countries.
Angel of Kokoda by Mark Wilson
The lost tail by Patricia Bernard and Tricia Oktober
The turtle and the Island by Barabara Ker Wilson, illustrated by Frane Lessac
Global education – PNG case study and additional links
Behind the news – PNG Independence segment with additional links
Papua New Guinea Vision 2050
Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) – Papua New Guinea
Travel advice by the Australian Government (DFAT)
Australian Aid to PNG fact sheet (DFAT)
Country fact file on investment and trade (DFAT)
Millennium Goals United Nations
State Library Website
Flickr photo files
Acquiring geographical information
Processing geographical information
Communicating geographical information
Learning across the curriculum