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I. North-East New Guinea

 II. South-East New Guinea

III. Papua New Guinea

IV. Papua New Guinea Armed Forces

 V. Etnological Note

VI. Indonesian Papua






In the 16th C. Spanish and Portuguese seafarers discovered the eastern part of the island of New Guinea. The island was colonized by the Dutch who, at the arrival of Germans and British in the 19th century, divided the island in two parts along the 141° eastern longitude. The north-eastern part of the island was occupied by Germany on 16th November 1884, its southern part by the British. In 1885 the german Neuguinea-Kompanie was chartered by the German Emperor, but it ceded its jurisdiction to the German Empire in 1899. In WW. I this part was occupied by the Australians, who became the mandate over the territory from the League of Nations in 1921 as a consequence of the Treaty of Versailles of 28th June 1919. In 1946 the trusteeship of the Australians was continued by the United Nations.

The British part was declared a Crown Colony with an administrator subordinated to the governor of Queensland in 1888. After the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1st September 1906 the territory, now called Papua, came under Australian rule. 

In 1949 the British and the Australian parts were united under the name of Papua - New Guinea Territory. On 24th June 1971 the country was called Papua New Guinea and it was granted internal autonomy in December 1973. Papua New Guinea was proclaimed a sovereign state on 16th September 1975.







I. North-East New Guinea







The bird of paradise (Paradisea apoda - Paradisaeidaea) as a symbol of New Guinea was introduced by the German New Guinea Company. It  was printed on their silver and gold coins, minted in 1894 and 1895.


2 Neu-Guinea Mark, 1894






Project for a coat of Arms of New Guinea, 1913.

Arms: Vert, a bird of paradise, head downwards, Argent; and a chief of the Empire.

 Crown: The German Imperial Crown. [1]



The coat of arms, together with the coats of arms of the other lost colonies of Germany, was published about 1933 in a German Magazine called Afrika Nachrichten. In this magazine it was discovered by C. Pama and mentioned in his “Lions and Virgins” about South African Heraldry. He writes:


….just before the First World War, in 1912 and 1913, the then state-secretary of the Imperial Colonial Office (Reichskolonialamt), Dr. Solf, had made a journey during which he visited all the German colonies and some of the British possessions as well. He was struck by the fact that these British colonies did have their own colonial badges, and that by placing them on the Union Jack local colonial flags could be designed which were nevertheless all of one British pattern. This impressed him greatly and on his return to Germany he sent a memorandum to the Emperor Wilhelm II in which he stressed the desirability of adopting such symbols as well in German colonies, and went so far as to suggest that designs should be made immediately.

The Emperor agreed with Solf and the German Bureau of Heraldry, the Heroltsamt, was asked to submit suitable designs at their earliest convenience.

Before being shown to the Emperor, the designs had to be approved by Johann Albrecht, Duke of Mecklenburg, under whose supervision they were made.

When they finally reached the Emperor, he was satisdfied with most of them; on other drawings he suggested small alterations, in his own handwriting, and tye final drawings could then be made. In fact they were made, but in the meantime the war broke out, and they were never sent off to the colonies for which they were destined.  [2]


The original drawings, together with an explanation were published recently on Internet by Mr. Jörg M. Karaschewski  (in German). [3]



TERRITORY OF NEW GUINEA 1921 - 1942 / 1945 - 1949




The badge for the Territory of New Guinea consisted of the letters T.N.G. below the St. Edwards Crown. It was placed on the blue ensign, for the governor within a garland on the Union Jack.



II. South-East New Guinea





b. BRITISH NEW GUINEA 1888 - 1906

c. PAPUA 1906 - 1942 / 1945 - 1949





Badge of New Guinea Protectorate

Badge of British New Guinea



Badge of Papua


Badges flown on the blue ensign [4]



III. Papua New Guinea


The national emblem of Papua New Guinea was announced in the Papua New Guinea Gazette of 1st July, 1971.

The article reads:



IT is hereby notified for general information, that His Honour the Adminsitrator on 24th June, 1971, assented to the under-mentioned Ordinance passed by the House of Assembly: -

N°. 41 of 1971. - National Identity Ordinance 1971.


                                                                                                        D. M. SPEAKMAN.

Acting Clerk of the House of Assembly.






I, LESLIE WILSON JOHNSON, the Administrator, by virtue of the powers congferred by the under-mentioned Ordinance and all other powers me enabling, hereby fix 1st July, 1971, as the day on which the said Ordinance shall come into operation: -

           N°. 41 of 1971, National Identity Ordinance 1971.

           Dated this twenty-fifth day of June , One thousand nine hundred and seventy-one.


                                                                                                          L.W. JOHNSON.











The National Emblem is as shown at the head of this issue of the Gazette. As necessary for typographical or reproduction reasons, simplified or stylized forms amy be used. The following is a stylized form that has been approved:  -



            Where it is necessary, to identify the Emblem the words “Papua New Guinea”should be printed (preferably in Gothic sans serif or similar lettering) in a shallow arc immediately below the Emblem as in the above stylized version.


             The National Emblem is described in the National Identity Ordinance as follows: -

                  The Papua New Guinea National Emblem is a partially stylized represntation of the wide-spread Bird of Paradise Gerrus paradisaea in display, head turned to its left.seated on the upturned grip of a horizontal Kundu drum with the drum-head to the right side of the bird, from behind which a horizontal ceremonial spear projects with the head to the left of the bird.


If coloured proper, the following colours should be used: -


Bird of Paradise

Head                  .      .      .      .      ….


Bill                     .      ….      ….      ….      ….


Neck                   .      ….      ….      ….      ….


Breast                 .      ….      ….      ….      ….

Green with yellow band

Abdomen            .      ….      ….      ….      ….

Light brown, darkening to vent

Wings and long tail feathers                ….      ….

Brown (reddish)

Display plumes   .      ….      ….      ….      ….

Deep red (slightly brownish)



Black, with white highlights.


Kundu drum

Drum head          .      ….      ….      ….      ….


Body                   .      ….      ….      ….      ….

Black, with white ornamentations

Grip                    .      ….      ….      ….      ….

Black, with white highlights.


For the infgormation of interested persons, it is proposed to publish in the Gazette at a later date a reproduction of the National Emblem in full official colour.


Use of National Emblem.

Pending the formal making of rules by the Administrator in Council, the dfollowing rules should be observed.


The National Emblem should not normally be used except for official purposes. Applications for orther uses should be made to the Department of the Administrator.


The National Emblem is to be used for all official purposes of the Administration and on all occasions on which, and for all purposes for which, it is customary to use a national emblem or national Arms - that is to say, generally speaking on all occasions when the Commonwealth Arms are used at present. However, the Commonwealth Arms will continu to be used for all official and personal purposes of the Administrator himself, and the usages of Commonwealth Departmens and instrumentalities are not affected. Also, existing stocks of stationary, etc., may still be used. [5]


ð See illustration at the head of this article.



Governor Generals’flag


IV Armed Forces


Papua New Guinea Defence Force




Crest of  PNGDF






Officer's hat badge,

Achievement of Australia, 1908.Legend: TERRITORY OF NEW GUINEA Royal Crown

Brass, 62Í54mm.

Lot 4200

TERRITORY OF NEW GUINEA POLICE FORCE, c1930, Native TNG Constabulary, voided hat badge, King's Crown in brass (50mm x 37mm). Good very fine.

View lot

Lot 4201


TERRITORY OF NEW GUINEA POLICE FORCE C1930, European TNG Constabulary, voided hat badge, King's Crown in brass (50mm x 36mm). Good very fine.

View lot


From: http://www.noble.com.au/auctions/search/?sale=83&c=2926&g=&q=&e=&p=3





Above and left: Royal Papua and New Guinea Constabulary arms, cap badge and shoulder patch



Present Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary arms

V. Ethnological Note


Papua native shields are of a great variation of types with a preference for abstract motives in white, red and black. In spite of their great variability they can generally immediately be recognized as of New Guinean origin. It seems that every tribe had its own type of shield and as such these can be considered as a kind of tribal emblem be it with great individual differences.

Many of these shields, as well from the Dutch, the German and the British part of the island have become part of the collections of Ethnologic Musea. For example: Museum für Völkerkunde und Schweizerisches Museum für Volkskunde Basel, Basel, Switz.; Tropenmuseum Amsterdam (for Western New Guinea); a good finding place is also Google and “Shields. Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania.” Munich 2000, pp. 166 - 204.


Kundu drums are used to provide accompaniment to clan songs that are sung at ceremonies, funerals, the inauguration of a new canoe, and at the completed construction of a clan house. The drum's sound is closely associated with the supernatural as it represents the voices of spirits and ancestors.


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© Hubert de Vries 2008-10-20; Updated 2011-03-22; 2013-03-21



[1]  Picture from: http://www.dr-herzfeld.de/flaggenkunde/FlaggenSchutzgebiete.pdf

[2]  Published  Cape Town,  1965; pp. 111 - 112.

[3] Karaschewski, Jörg M.: Wappen und Flaggen in den deutschen Kolonien. Wolfenbüttel, 2011.

[4]  See also:  Roberto Breschi and  FOTW.

[5]  From: Encyclopaedia of Papua and New Guinea. Carlton Melbourne University Press, 1972.


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