1°43' South
142°50' East
The Wuvulu Research Center for Wuvulu Island and the Other Western Islands of the Bismarck Archipelago, Bismarck Sea, South Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Manus Province.
Artifacts, Photographs, Drawings and Artwork

This page will eventually include photographs, drawings and artwork of the Western Islands of the Bismarck Archipelago in Papua New Guinea.

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  • Large Master-Carver axe, 19th century. Ex coll.: Lorenze Eckert, N° inv. 163, with pencil inscription in German on blade “…Matty Ins…“. Gallery Meyer Oceanic Art
    [Accessed July 18, 2008]
  • Ceremonial Paddle, probably Hermit Islands, probably 18th century. Saint Louis Art Museum, Oceanic Art, item No. 18.
    [Accessed July 8, 2008]
  • Hermit Islands paddle carved with rat's teeth (see: Pre and Post "Contact" section and photo). Antique Roadshow, Tips of the Trade, Oceanic Art.
    [Accessed July 8, 2008]
  • Bowl (apia nie)
    Wuvulu, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea, Calophyllum wood, L. 20.88 in. (53 cm), W. 11 in. (27.9 cm), H. 3 in. (15.2 cm).  Provenance: Johnson collection 
    (A "coconut milk bowl" used to extract the "white milk" of the coconut by squeezing grated cocunut meat into it)
    [Accessed July 8, 2008]

Area Photographs
NASA Astronaut Photography

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Wuvulu Island
NASA Photo# STS112-E-5476
Ninigo Group and surrounding islands
NASA Photo# STS104-720-74_3
Astronaut photography courtesy of the
Earth Sciences & Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center

On the full size photo of Wuvulu Island (click the photo to view it) one distinguishes clearly, on the West side of the island (left on the photo), the small air strip and at each end of the strip the two villages, Onne in the North West (top) and Auna in the South West (bottom) partly covered by clouds formations.

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Historical Photographs

Images from the Western Islands, taken during the voyages of the government steam yacht "Franklin", January-March, 1925.
(Click photos for larger view)

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Wuvulu houses were said to be so well and tightly constructed that they were mosquito-proof Wuvulu islanders with
traditional outrigger canoe
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Wuvulu islanders "Wahlenburg" - very large mansion built atop Maron Island in the Hermit Group by Swedish Consul Heinrich Rudolf Wahlen who owned the H.R. Wahlen Co. of Gunantambu in Rabaul.  That house was reputed to have been the first house with electricity in Papua New Guinea.  It was burned down and demolished in the 1960’s
All above photos by E.W. Pearson Chinnery, 1925
courtesy of Peter Hallinan; reproduced with kind permission of Sheila Waters, née Chinnery.

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Other Photographs

Historical photographs online at Oceania Ethnographica
#5030 Fishing canoe, Matty Island (Wuvulu) , Manus Province, New Guinea - Original photograph, c 1910-1918, postally unused; printed on Kodak Austral card stock. 138 x 87 mm - Inscribed verso in pencil: Maty island
#5002 Fishermen in canoe, Matty Island (Wuvulu) , Manus Province, New Guinea - Real photo postcard, circa 1910, (uninscribed; postally unused), Caption in negative reads Fishermen at Maty Island. 139 x 87 mm

Other photographs of interest online at Voyageurs et Curieux, Paris Gallery

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Traditional Wuvulu outrigger canoe (13037 bytes)
Figure 1.  Traditional Wuvulu outrigger canoe

Legend has it that such outrigger canoes, with their very unusual, spear-like ornaments were used by the Wuvulu Islanders to ram other canoes when they waged war onto their nearest neighbors, the Aua Islanders.

The name of each island or atoll is followed by a to facilitate cross-referencing with the Annotated Index of Current and Historical Names in the Western Islandsabove.  The names are spelled out exactly as found in the literature.  A name followed by an asterisk (*) denotes a major island part of a group, i.e.: Maron* (H) is a major island in the Hermit (code H) group.  These names are thus marked because they are often cited by themselves in the literature to refer to or describe the group of islands to which they belong.

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