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    New Caledonia  
New Caledonia Island is located in the South Pacific located to the east of Australia. The island has tall mountains, and the second largest coral barrier reef in the world. Today, divided into three provinces: North Province (province Nord), South Province (province Sud) and Loyalty Islands Province (province des îles Loyauté).

North Province (Province Nord)
Plaine Des Gaiacs  located on the western coast of New Caledonia, Plaine Des Gaiacs Airfield.
Koumac  located on the western coast of New Caledonia.
Paita  located inland and north of Gomen Bay, POW camp and cemetery.
South Province (Province Sud)
Nouméa  capital of New Caledonia and the provincial capital of South Province.
Nouméa Harbor  borders Nouméa.
Ousassio Hill (Kimball Hill)  located near Nouméa.
Mount Mou  located inland from Nouméa.
Bourail (Boureil, Burail)  located inland from the western coast includes Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery.
Loyalty Islands Province (province des îles Loyauté)

Loyalty Islands  located to the east of New Caledonia.

French colony.

Wartime History
After the fall of France, New Caledonia had a Vichy French government. During late February 1942 the country was identified as a possible threat to Australia and a small force from the Australian Army 2/3rd Independent Company (commando) led by Matheson who spoke French landed to ascertained the island's loyalties and was deemed safe.

On March 12, 1942 the first American troops reached New Caledonia. The island was developed into a major American Allied staging base and a ferry point for aircraft flying across the Pacific or bound for Australia. During its height, 40,000 American servicemen were based in New Caledonia, and also as a rest and hospital area for combat troops. As the war progressed, fewer came thru the island, as other more forward bases were established. The local people (Kanaks) were employed on the US bases observed relatively good relations and were paid real wages for the first time, one of the reasons the colony's status was changed to 'French overseas territory' post war.

New Caledonia has nearly two hundred thousand residents are an ethnic blend of Melanesian, European, Wallisian, Polynesian and Indonesians. Today, divided into three provinces: North Province (province Nord), South Province (province Sud) and Loyalty Islands Province (province des îles Loyauté).

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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