By the time Australia withdrew from Papua New Guinea in 1975, about 10,000 Australian women had lived there at some stage since 1920. Many came with their husbands who were missionaries, plantation owners or government administrators while numerous others came of their own initative working as teachers, medical practitioners, nurses and missionaries. Chilla Bulbeck's book is an evocative and compelling account of the experiences of white women in Papua New Guinea between the 1920s and the 1960s. It is based on oral interviews and the written documentation of nineteen women and is written against a backdrop of official colonial affairs. By exploring the colonial period through the eyes of women, it offers fresh insight into Papua New Guinea history. Many who have personal colonial experiences will empathise with the book and it will be of interest to historians of the Pacific as well as readers in colonial studies and women's studies.
Map of Papua New Guinea; Introduction; 1. Passages to Papua New Guinea; 2. Different destinations; 3. White women in Papua New Guinea: relative creatures?; 4. In town and down the road; 5. War, a watershed in race relations; 6. The civilising mission; 7. Matters of sex; 8. Making a space for women; Appendices; Bibliography.