Samarai Island: Once A District Nerve-Centre

Samarai is a gorgeous place. I visited Samarai 20 years ago and loved it. It is a shame that the authorities let it run down, especially when it held historical significance for Papua New Guinea from the 1920s. Thank you for sharing this post, sister Islandmeri.

Visit here for Samarai archival images from 1900s.  Read additional history from Loosenuts blog.

My Magic Moments

The south side of Samarai Island. The sight of a lone man in his canoe – still the main mode of transport for many people in these islands.

It was a short trip to Samarai from Doini Island – less than 30 minutes. I had never seen the island from this side before.

The Kwato Mission boats, MV Osiri and MV Labini would berth here some Saturdays bringing shoppers from Kwato and the famous homemade Kwato bread and buns. These were a popular hit as the ladies always returned to Kwato with the large empty bread basins.

Many happy memories of this wharf especially when the mission boats, MV Osiri and MV Labini would berth here for Kwato islanders to do their shopping at Samarai’s two main department stores – Steamships and Burns Philp and many other shops such as the hardware store.

Samarai was the District headquarters for the Milne Bay District before the advent of provinces. It was a hub for many islanders…

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4 thoughts on “Samarai Island: Once A District Nerve-Centre”

  1. A touching and deeply feeling story, takes me on a post colonial dreaming and a feeling of ambivalence, loss, and also of new possibilities. In South Africa we have many similar stories, places pre-colonial that were paradise before it all. During colonial times these special places where people LIVED a self contained life were then taken over by the newbies who of course enlisted the indigenous folk to slave behind the scenes to upkeep the glamorous surface life styles. Once the glam pulled out, the gloom behind the scenes came creeping through. Now we see the true colors of what happened behind those scenes. It awaits renewal, rebirthing. Phoenixing. My wish is for each of us that we all take back our power as individuals and as peoples, and reassert our own unique and timeless beauty in our lives – and recreate Paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

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