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    Popondetta Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Frank Anderson 1971

Click For Enlargement

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2007

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2000

Lat 8° 46' 0S Long 148° 13' 60E  Popondetta is an inland village along the east-west road to the north of Mount Lamington. Prewar, Popondetta was a small agricultural station.

Wartime History
During the battle of Buna and Gona, Popondetta became strategically important area. After the battle, the entire area was developed into a major Allied base area.

Postwar, Popondetta became the provincial headquarters of Oro Province. On January 21, 1951 Mt. Lamington erupted suddenly, killing 3,000 people and destroying the government headquarters in town.

Popondetta Market
The table tops for the Popondetta market are made of marston matting, probably recovered from the nearby airfield or dump areas. An American propeller on display outside one of the buildings in town.

Popondetta Airfield
Built by the Allies and used to support the battle in the area.

Popondetta War Memorial (New War Memorial)
There is a war memorial in the center of town, built in 1962. It includes plaques and relief map commemorating the Australian and American units that fought in the Buna, Gona and Kokoda areas. Two Japanese Type 88 75mm Anti-Aircraft guns are displayed near the monument, both were recovered from the Buna battlefield in 1962.

The memorial was refurbished with funds from the Australian government, rededicating it in November 2002. The new memorial includes new descriptive plaques with photos a shelter and circular rotunda for bronze battlefield plaques.

75mm Type 88 Anti-Aircraft Gun
Recovered from Buna displayed in Popondetta at the war memorial

75mm Type 88 Anti-Aircraft Gun
Recovered from Buna displayed in Popondetta at the war memorial

House of Kokichi Nishamura
Former Japanese soldier Kokichi Nishamura served in Oro province during the war.  He left his family and life in Japan to move to Popondetta to devote himself to finding the remains of his comrades and sending their bones back to Japan. Also he works with local villagers and makes donations to their infrastructure.

P-40K "Swing It" 42-45981 Tail 30 (5)
Pilot Props, crashed April 27, 1943 discovered 1946 recovered 2000

P-38F Lightning Serial Number 42-12711
Pilot Hawthorne crashed January 22, 1944

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Last Updated
August 15, 2015


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