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Title: 'Savagery' and 'civilisation' : the convergence of Europeans and Papuans up to the proclamation of the British New Guinea Protectorate in 1884
Author: Bore, R. P.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2005
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This essay discusses relations of Papuans with foreign incomers from first known contact up to the proclamation, in 1884, of a British Protectorate over south-east New Guinea. The area covered is that of the future Protectorate together with Torres Straits, both initially part of a single cultural continuum. We begin with a characterisation of Papuan society was encountered by white travellers and settlers during the later nineteenth century, particularly aspects that affected relationships with foreigners. Early explorers and their contacts with Papuans are next discussed, starting with Torres in 1606, followed by Cook, Bligh of the Bounty, Flinders, Dumont d’Urville and others, and then by the 1840s surveying voyages of HM ships Fly, Bramble and Rattlesnake. We recount the unique story of Barbara Thompson, discovered by the Rattlesnake after living marooned for some years among the Kaurareg people of Torres Straits. A new phase begins in the 1860s with the development of the Torres Straits beche-de-mer and pearl-shell fisheries, and the subsequent arrival of missionaries of the London Missionary Society, both contributing to the transformation of Torres Straits societies. From 1873-4 interest expands to the mainland and islands of south-east New Guinea, including missionary and trading activity, the Papuan response, periodic naval intervention, the 1878 Port Moresby gold-rush, and especially the labour trade interlude o f1884, with the atrocities of the Hopeful. A variety of significant personalities, Papuan and foreign, are portrayed. A separate chapter narrates the build-up of British and Australian interest in New Guinea, culminating in 1884 with the proclamation of the Protectorate. This is followed by an analysis of a series of subsequent murders which cast light on the interplay of Papuans and foreigners. The essay concludes with brief remarks on the loaded question of how “civilisation” confronted “savagery” in Papua – a recurrent theme of contemporary observers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available