Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit

Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) was established by the Australian military authorities in April, 1942, to administer those parts of Papua and New Guinea which were not under Japanese occupation. ANGAU officers were recruited from the former colonial Administration, and the police were placed under ANGAU control. ANGAU conscripted PNGans as carriers and stretcher-bearers for the Allied troops, and as laborers on roads, wharves, air-strips and plantations. Some PNGans resented working for ANGAU. Others cooperated willingly. ANGAU patrols gathered much useful military information. ANGAU units of men (white and black), with local knowledge, often accompanied forward movements of infantry. As the Japanese were driven back, ANGAU moved in to restore Administration services and bring plantations back into production. In most cases, food gardens had been badly damaged by Allied bombing and Japanese pillaging; many people had been killed or wounded by Allied or Japanese bombs, shells and bullets. In some places, epidemics of diseases with high mortality rates were raging. ANGAU’s most urgent work in reconquered regions was to establish emergency hospitals and bring in medical supplies and food for the indigenous population. In 1945, when the Japanese had been driven out of PNG, ANGAU was replaced by an Australian Provisional Administration.

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