Papua New Guinea Patrol Reports

Reports from government patrols represent a major source of primary information on the pre-independence (before 1976) era in Papua New Guinea. Patrol officers and other officials wrote detailed documents reporting on all aspects of the work carried out by the patrols. The reports provide first hand accounts on many topics, from first contact with remote Highland villages, to census counts, tax collection, health care, administration of justice, plantations, missionaries, anthropological descriptions, tribal warfare, languages, and more. The original reports are at the National Archives of Papua New Guinea.

About the Project

The microfiche and this guide are the results of a cooperative project between the National Archives of Papua New Guinea, and the former Melanesian Studies Resource Center (MSRC) at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego). The microfiche was filmed in Port Moresby by and for the National Archives of Papua New Guinea with support from the UC San Diego Library.

The project had several objectives; the first and most important was to preserve the patrol reports held in the National Archives by making microfiche copies of them. The National Archives generously provided the technical work and microfilming labor and equipment. UC San Diego provided funds for the microfilm supplies and processing. The preservation microfilm masters are held in the National Archives.

The project's second aim was to create an index of the reports, providing access by the areas patrolled and the patrol officers. The indexes were generated from databases running on Pro-Cite software and compiled by staff at the MSRC.

The third goal of the project was to make the patrol reports accessible to scholars outside of Papua New Guinea. To this end, the microfiche have been made available for purchase from the National Archives. For information on purchasing copies of the microfiche, please contact the National Archives of Papua New Guinea at the following address:

Chief Archivist
National Archives
P.O. Box 1089
Boroko, Papua New Guinea

Please note that UC San Diego Library does not have stocks of these microfiche available for sale, nor are we able to provide extensive photocopies.

To Access the Reports

In recent years and with the permission of the National Archives of Papua New Guinea, a portion of the PNG patrol reports have been digitized and are available online at https://lib.ucsd.edu/png-patrol-reports

The following sets of microfilm are not available digitally, and are housed in and administered through the Special Collections & Archives (SC&A). Information on hours, photoduplication policy and pricing, etc. may be obtained from the SC&A website.

The reports are arranged by patrol post and year. This guide lists each report in the order microfilmed and provides an index to patrol officers. A geographic index is also provided, although it indexes only those geographic terms appearing on the title pages of the reports--as such, it is incomplete. To find all of the references to a certain locale (village, etc.), it is necessary to search the complete microfiche file for the appropriate subdistrict.

Microfiche
Files
Reports
Dates (inclusive)
Central Province
650
280
2767
1934 to 1975
East New Britain Province
86
297
1946 to 1974.
East Sepik Province
348
180
969
1933, and 1945 to 1974
Eastern Highlands Province
402
109
1464
1944 to 1973
Enga Province (filmed with reports for Western Highlands)
152
934
Gulf Province
412
163
1737
1912 to 1974
Madang Province
300
139
1250
1936 to 1974
Manus Province
74
33
260
1943 to 1974
Milne Bay Province
342
204
1380
1923 to 1974
Morobe Province
451
293
1587
1933 to 1974
New Ireland Province
220
80
741
1945 to1974
North Solomons (Bougainville) Province
210
142
778
1943 to 1974
Northern (Oro) Province
277
160
1120
1943 to 1974
Simbu(Chimbu) Province
200
87
730
1940 to 1974
Southern Highlands Province
409
207
1926
1949 to 1974
West New Britain Province
199
92
738
1939 to 1974
West Sepik (Sandaun) Province
301
174
1060
1934 to 1974
Western Highlands Province (filmed with reports for Enga)
152
934
Western Province
209
1566
1903 to 1975

Note: Provincial boundaries in Papua New Guinea have changed over the years. To identify reports on a given area, search the records for neighboring provinces and subprovinces using the "Find in page" function to look for particular placenames (Ctrl F).

The information on number of reports, extent, patrol officers, and areas patrolled, has been taken directly from the contents pages supplied by the National Archives, rather than from the reports themselves. Thus, it must be noted that this information is somewhat incomplete. For example, not all of the geographic names noted in a patrol report have been indexed.

For other information about the Papua New Guinea Patrol Reports or other Melanesian materials at UC San Diego, please contact:

Cristela Garcia-Spitz
Curator, Tuzin Archive for Melanesian Anthropology
UC San Diego Library
9500 Gilman Drive, 0175D
La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
Phone (858)822-7906
Fax (858)534-0189
cgarciaspitz@ucsd.edu