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My Gun, My Brother

My Gun, My Brother: The World of the Papua New Guinea Colonial Police, 1920-1960

Copyright Date: 1998
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    My Gun, My Brother
    Book Description:

    Despite the heated competition for colonial possessions in Papua New Guinea during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the personnel required to run an effective administration were scarce. As a result, the Australian colonial regime opted for a quick solution: it engaged Papua New Guineans—often to perform the most hazardous and most unpopular responsibilities. Based on extensive interviews with former policemen, written records of the time, and reminiscences of colonial officials, this book links events involving police, villagers, and government officers (kiaps) over a forty-year period to wider issues in the colonial history of Papua New Guinea and, by extension, of the Pacific Islands and beyond.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6369-2
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-x)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    For most villagers during the period of Australian rule in Papua New Guinea, the government was a white field officer and a troop of eight or so policemen. In Papua, unless there was a risk of attack from villagers, it was government policy to restrict personnel on government patrols to one European officer, eight to ten policemen, and enough bearers to carry essentials to last the estimated period of patrol. The rationale was that “a large party requires a large transport, and transport is always a difficulty in Papua; and furthermore, a large party is more difficult of control, and...

  7. Chapter 1 The Role of the Patrol Officer in Papua New Guinea
    (pp. 19-41)

    The patrol officer system was a powerful instrument of administration, whose establishment resulted from the British, Australian, and German colonization of Papua New Guinea. It was a system not unlike other institutions established by colonial powers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to administer subordinated people.

    A patrol officer’s responsibility in Papua New Guinea was broad and varied. A significant part, particularly in his early years of employment, involved the “exploration of new territory and [the] pacification of warring tribes” (Sinclair 1981, 7).¹ Until 1960 this task constituted the practical aspect of Australian colonial administrative policy. The responsibility for that...

  8. Chapter 2 Recruitment of Police
    (pp. 42-84)

    Thousands of Papua New Guinea men served as policemen in the Papuan Armed Constabulary and the New Guinea police force from the forces’ inception in the 1890s, according to the total yearly establishment figures for the period. The Papuan Armed Constabulary Ordinance of 1890 and a similar declaration in German New Guinea in 1896 made provisions for the recruitment of men between seventeen and forty years of age. However, recruiters concentrated on enlisting mostly young men. Of those I interviewed, John Guise, who was recruited at the age of thirty-two, was an unusual case. According to his testimony, his recruitment...

  9. Chapter 3 Training
    (pp. 85-109)

    The history of police training in Papua New Guinea falls into five phases. Some of these are not particularly distinctive, but are demarcated for the convenience of discussion and to indicate the beginnings of changes that may have continued over time. During the first phase, no legislation allowed for a police force in either possession, a situation that ended in Papua in 1890 and in New Guinea in 1896. The second phase, which lasted until 1910, saw the establishment of police forces and was characterized by haphazard training and punitive expeditions. In the third phase, from 1910 to 1940, the...

  10. Chapter 4 Policemen at Work
    (pp. 110-137)

    By 1913, when Headquarters Officer Nicholls of the armed constabulary was writing, the police had established a tradition of excellent work that spanned twenty-three years. The message in Nicholls’ calculated assessment is clear. The responsibilities of the armed constabulary were many and varied; their contribution in all facets of native administration was without equal. Without their involvement, native administration in Papua at best would have suffered public ignominy because little had been achieved, and at worst would have “ceased.” More than thirty years later their New Guinean counterparts continued to receive equal praise for their participation in the processes of...

  11. Chapter 5 The Use of Force
    (pp. 138-163)

    In chapter 1 some possible rationales are offered for the establishment of a police force in the colonial context, and why it was necessary for the police, as an instrument of the colonial regime, to use force. Before examining the degree of force that a Papua New Guinean policeman was legally allowed to use during the course of his work, some general factors must be considered.

    Ideally everyone wants to live in peace without fear for themselves, their relatives, or their property. In most countries therefore a large section of the community endorses the organization of a police force by...

  12. Chapter 6 Police Involvement in the World Wars
    (pp. 164-203)

    Tribal wars in Papua New Guinea did not extend beyond broad geographical and linguistic boundaries. Alliances tended to join together particular clans rather than unite all peoples within a particular culture group. However, refugees from wars have been known to migrate to more distant places, into the territories of people who were not related to them by culture or language but who had established some link, perhaps through trade. For instance, Marie Reay found at Minj that after a major war, members of the defeated tribe sometimes made their way to Simbu and the Jimi Valley (1982, 630). Two tribes...

  13. Chapter 7 Perceptions of the Police by Goilala Villagers, Papua
    (pp. 204-222)

    Much has been written about the reactions, or lack of them, of Papua New Guineans when they saw white men and other Papua New Guineans for the first time. Ample literature describes the relationships experienced once the traumas of the first contact were overcome and colonialism became established. The material on first contact has echoed with a familiar ring. None has failed to mention the novelty of the meeting. The photographs taken by Michael Leahy and exploited effectively in the filmFirst Contactcapture better than any words the astonishment and nervous vulnerability of people suddenly confronted by absolute aliens....

  14. Chapter 8 Perceptions of the Police by Gende Villagers, New Guinea
    (pp. 223-243)

    I interviewed Tawi at Orobomarai village (Gende, Bundi) in 1985 on the last leg of my highlands field trip. Because this was more than fifty years after first contact, it is again important to keep in perspective the dangers of misreporting. However, Tawi is regarded as the custodian of his clan’s traditions because of his ability to remember and narrate stories of his clan’s past. Present during the entire interview session were one other man and a woman who were approximately the same age as Tawi and had witnessed parts of his harsh experience. Apart from minor interjections, they generally...

  15. Chapter 9 Officers’ Perceptions of the Police
    (pp. 244-263)

    From primary and secondary source materials, two quite different conclusions are drawn about European officers’ views of the policemen and the assessments of their performances. The distinction, however, is arbitrary, and at no stage did the differences of opinion extend to other areas of administration. One represented the views of white officers who had some dealings with the policemen in an official capacity and, in almost all cases, from a great distance. The second represented the views of white officers who had worked with and therefore been in daily contact with the policemen.

    The first group expressed a negative viewpoint....

  16. Conclusion
    (pp. 264-270)

    On 6 November 1987 thePapua New Guinea Post Courierpublished an eye-catching obituary on Kamuna Hura: “Highlands trail-blazer dies as a . . . forgotten man of Papua New Guinea history!” (Meava 1987). Kamuna, with Jim Taylor, was in the forefront of many significant expeditions into the highlands in the 1930s, and a witness to many subsequent momentous events in Papua New Guinea’s history (Radford 1987, 100; Sesiguo 1977, 227ff). His daughter grieved, “My father died a lonely death without anybody knowing. Even I did not know of his death until I was told by some people while I...

  17. Appendix 1 Response of Rick J Giddings to Questionnaire
    (pp. 271-284)
    Rick James Giddings
  18. Appendix 2 Interview with Sir John Guise
    (pp. 285-308)
    John Guise and AK
  19. Appendix 3 Interview with Petrus Tigavu
    (pp. 309-319)
    Petrus Tigavu and AK
  20. Appendix 4 Interview with Sasa Goreg
    (pp. 320-334)
    Sasa Goreg and AK
  21. Appendix 5 Interview with “Wizakana” Tawi
    (pp. 335-353)
    “Wizakana” Tawi and AK
  22. Appendix 6 Kegeriai’s Eyewitness Account of Tawi’s Ordeal
    (pp. 354-356)
    AK and KV
  23. Notes
    (pp. 357-374)
  24. Glossary of Tok Pisin Words
    (pp. 375-376)
  25. References
    (pp. 377-404)
  26. Index
    (pp. 405-414)
  27. Back Matter
    (pp. 415-417)