PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea – As the sun set on the afternoon of 15 September 1975 the Australian flag came down for the last time from Hubert Murray Stadium, in Papua New Guinea’s capital of Port Moresby.
Almost 70 years of Australian governance was coming to an end. The next day, a different flag, black and red with a golden bird of paradise rose on Independence Hill, near a newly established Parliament House. In contrast to other recently formed independent states in the world, the change in Authority in Papua New Guinea was marked not by bloodshed but by celebration.
Sir John Guise, the first Governor General of Papua New Guinea said at the flag lowering ceremony ‘It is important the people of Papua New Guinea and the rest of the world realise the spirit in which we are lowering the flag of our colonisers. We are lowering the flag, not tearing it down.’
As a proud member of the commonwealth Papua New Guinea remained within the realm of the Queen, and as part of the Royal Jubilee celebrations Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will be visiting Papua New Guinea in November.
The spectacular natural beauty and cultural diversity of the world’s second largest island happily welcomes the increasing influx of tourists from the United Kingdom. Visitors come to admire the stunning scenery and enjoy some of the best bird-watching in the world. Papua New Guinea is home to the glorious Birds of Paradise and over 750 various species. Papua New Guinea is also renowned for superb trekking on the famous Kokoda and Black Cat trails and diving the coral reefs or seeking out WW2 wrecks.
An expansion in both international and domestic aviation capacity driven in part by economic activity is ensuring easier access. The National Carrier, Air Niugini has regular services from Singapore, Hong Kong, and other Asian and Australasian hubs, making this stunning country a fine destination for the traveller.