Image courtesy of Downies
This medallion was issued to commemorate 60 years of Australian administration of Papua.
The island of New Guinea was colonised by three European countries – the west by Netherlands, the southeast by Great Britain, and the northeast by Germany. In March 1902, the administration of Papua (the south‑eastern colony) was transferred from Queensland to the new Commonwealth of Australia. In 1962, it was assumed (at least in Australia) that Papua would remain an Australian territory for a long time to come.
Even after the League of Nations had, in 1919, granted Australia the mandate for the Territory of New Guinea (the north‑eastern colony which Australian troops had occupied early in World War I), the two territories were administered separately until July 1949. The combined territories achieved self-government in December 1973 and gained independence as Papua New Guinea in September 1975.
This 38 mm diameter medallion was designed by W E Curran and struck by K G Luke, Melbourne in the following metals:
¨ Sterling Silver (50, numbered 1 to 50)
¨ Bronze (50, numbered 51 to 100)
All medals were individually numbered.
There is known to exist two trial strikes, each of the obverse and reverse. The “Pidgin English” on the reverse has been criticised as being incorrect.
The obverse design features a Papuan tribesman and the legend “THE NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION OF VICTORIA” and the year “1962”.
The reverse has the legend “PAPUA OR BRITISH NEW GUINEA THIS MEDALLION COMMEMORATES THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF PAPUA BY THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA MARCH 1902 – MARCH 1962 Big pfella Government him stay long tian this pfella Papua” in the centre. Around this legend are the names and dates of the following European explorers to visit Papua: “DE MENESIS 1525 . DE SAVADA 1528 . DE RETEZ 1545 . DE TORRES 1606 . TASMAN 1643 . Dampier 1666 . CARLARET 1767 . CAPT.J.COOK 1770:”.