German New Guinea


50 Marks, 1914

50 Marks, 1914 uniface

Enlarge: Uniface50 Marks, 1914 uniface

After taking over German New Guinea in 1914, the Australian government released an emergency issue of paper money which circulated with the German currency. The note, shown above, was known as the Rabaul Treasury banknote. A total of only 29 notes are known to have survived.

Courtesy Lyn Knight.

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German New Guinea, located in the northeastern part of the island of New Guinea, was a German protectorate from 1884 to 1914. The New Guinea Company first administered that part of the island under the German flag in 1884. The German government formally took control in 1899. Australian troops occupied German New Guinea in 1914 shortly after Britain declared war on Germany. It was mandated to Australia by the League of Nations in 1920.

Japan invaded New Guinea and Papua (the southeastern quarter of the island, also known as British New Guinea) in early 1942, but Australian control was restored before the end of the year in Papua and in 1945 in New Guinea. Following Japanese surrender, both territories came under U.N. trusteeship with Australia as the ministering power. After World War II, Australian currency was used exclusively in the two territories. On December 1, 1973, Papua New Guinea became self governing with Australia retaining responsibility for defense and foreign affairs. Full independence was achieved within the British Commonwealth on September 16, 1975.

For a more detailed country profile, see CIA World Factbook on Papua New Guinea.


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