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Machete used by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in New Guinea during WWI

Date: 1914 - 1918
Dimensions:
Overall: 395 mm, 0.65 kg
Medium: Metal, wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Armament
Object Name: Machete
Object No: 00016862
Place Manufactured:Australia
Related Place:Papua New Guinea,

User Terms

    Description
    This machete is believed to have been used for forest clearing by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) which served in New Guinea during World War I.
    SignificanceThis machete is one of very few items associated with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force's occupation of German New Guinea during World War I.
    HistoryThe 18th and 19th centuries were a period of extensive European colonisation and the island of New Guinea was duly claimed by foreign countries. Germany obtained the north eastern area of New Guinea in 1884, with the Dutch and British claiming the other territory on the island. Britain transferred control of their area to Australia in 1906.

    The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF), which was sent to occupy German New Guinea during the First World War, was comprised of 1,000 infantry, 500 naval reservists and ex-seamen, and part of a young citizen force battalion from Queensland. It is likely that this machete was used for agricultural purposes rather than hand to hand combat.

    Although poorly defended by the Germans and local residents, the AN&MEF still struggled to capture the wireless station and take control of the area. However, in September 1914 they succeeded in securing the surrender of German New Guinea, after which Australia controlled the eastern side of the island.

    During World War II, the area saw sustained fighting between the Allies and Japanese, but Australia retained control post war. In 1975 Papua New Guinea was granted independence by the Australian government.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Machete

    Primary title: Machete used by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in New Guinea during WWI

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