The New Guinea Club, a hub of history

The New Guinea Club is one of the oldest party hubs in East New Britain province, tucked away at the back of the volcanic town of Rabaul.

It was an ideal location built by the colonial administration for partying and leisure.

The club was established in 1919, around the end of the First World War.

In its glory days, it was a businessmen’s club with strict guidelines.

Although it suffered extensive damages from the world wars, it has been rebuilt numerous times.

On its brick walls are evidence of bomb holes that penetrated the structure during the World War 2 Battle of the Pacific fought in and over Rabaul.

Inside, the club has been transformed into a museum that holds some of the oldest memories of war, the stories of the colonial administration and even the first seafarers who travelled across the Pacific.

“ During World War 2, it was Yamamoto’s officers mess. But before that it was the German Club. There’s been something…a feeling that remained here since 1914. Now it’s a little museum,” said Susan McGrade, the club’s patron.

Almost 99 years later, and the structure still remained.

In recent years, East New Britain has got the recognition as a tourism hotspot.

More tourist ships ferry tourists into the province every year.

A significant portion of those tourists visits historical sites like the New Guinea Club.

Today, the centre, doesn’t get much visitors as it used to back in the years.

The club patron hopes the historical club will get recognition from the East New Britain provincial government for a facelift.

But they are not sure if that recognition would come.

“ Some of the tour operators are fantastic. There is an honest system and when they have a group coming in they pay at the end of the month. But a lot of people would try and come in and not contribute anything and it’s just a shame because we need money to run this place”, said Susan.

Edwin Fidelis

is EMTV's correspondent based in Kokopo, East New Britain. He has been with EMTV for four years covering social issues, crime, politics, development and business stories for news and documentary programs. Edwin graduated from Divine Word University in 2013 with a Bachelor in Communication Arts and Journalism.

Edwin Fidelis

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