Volume X – The Australians at Rabaul. The Capture and Administration of the German Possessions in the Southern Pacific (10th edition, 1941)

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Author: Mackenzie, Seaforth Simpson

This volume describes the first Australian fighting in the First World War. In September 1914, while the Australian Imperial Force was still being formed, the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force under Colonel William Holmes captured Rabaul. Within three months, Holmes’s forces had garrisoned the remainder of Germany’s Pacific possessions south of the Equator, stretching from northeast mainland New Guinea to the Admiralty Islands, New Ireland, Bougainville, and Nauru.

This volume presents the background to and a detailed account of the capture of German New Guinea, and it also covers many aspects of administration until 1921, when Australia’s civilian rule of those terrirories began as a League of Nations mandate. This story of Australia’s military occupation “up north” is crucial to our understanding of this country’s role as a colonial power and of W.M. Hughes’s campaign at the Paris Peace Conference to shore up the post-war defence of Australia’s interests in the Pacific. It is also pertinent to the history of the infamous White Australia Policy.

Introduction by H Nelson and M Piggott, to the University of Queensland Press edition.