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Athabasca University

Reports & Historical Documents

This section of the website contains digitized copies of periodicals and essays that have been important for book history in PNG, as well as extracts from governmental annual reports that outline attitudes that existed in the colonial administration with respect to education and culture. We also include some early examples of life writing and more recent examples of creative writing and performance media.

Sir Hubert Murray

Lieutenant-Governor of Papua from 1908 until his death in 1940, Sir Hubert Murray was a scholar as well as an administrator. The following are several of the essays he wrote while governing the colony of Papua. They establish a strong link between a new method of colonial governance – indirect rule; the resulting link between administration and the newly forming field of anthropology; and an equally new consideration of what cultural contact entailed.


Francis Williams

F.E. Williams was hired as Government Anthropologist in Papua from 1928 until 1943. His annual reports and the essays included below demonstrate his own thinking about cultural contact and how that might affect adult education. Williams established the first periodical in PNG that invited colonized peoples to express themselves in writing while retaining their traditional cultures. The periodical was called The Papuan Villager, which Williams edited from 1929 until his death in WWII.


Review of the Australian Administration in Papua from 1907 to 1920

Excerpts from Territory of Papua Annual Reports 1926-1973

The excerpts of Annual Reports included here have been chosen because they illustrate something about the growth of print culture in PNG, or attempts by change agents to encourage print culture. In general, they demonstrate attempts to transfer certain western cultural ideas and institutions to the colony over a protracted period.

Updated October 13 2016 by Library Services