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    Fairfax Harbor National Capital District (NCD) Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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RAAF February 28, 1940

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USAAF c1942


Grimes May 29, 1943

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Justin Taylan 20004

Location
Fairfax Harbor is located to the south of Port Moresby bordering Paga Hill (Paga Point, Monga Point), Hanabada (Hanuada) and Napa Napa. The area nearest to Port Moresby is sometimes referred to as "Moresby Harbor" or "Port Moresby Harbor". Fairfax Harbor includes Tatana Island and Motukea Island. To the west is Idlers Bay and to the west is Walter Bay, Joyce Bay and Bootless Bay. Outside Fairfax Harbor to the southwest is Gemo Island and Lolorua Island. Further to the south is Nateara Reef and beyond the Coral Sea.

Prewar
Fairfax Harbor was used as a commercial port for the territory of Papua. During the 1930's used by flying boat and seaplanes including Qantas Airlines and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Fairchild 91B / Model XR-942-B "Kono" Registration NR777
Sunk during 1936 during a tropical storm

Wartime History
During the Pacific War, Fairfax Harbor was an important port supporting the Allied war effort in New Guinea. During 1942, the harbor was bombed by the Japanese sinking several ships and aircraft sunk. The harbor was defended by Australian gun batteries on Paga Hill and Gemo Island Battery an anti-submarine net and mine fields.

Port Moresby Flying Boat Base (Qantas Flying Boat Base)
Prewar flying boat base used by RAAF flying boats during the war and postwar. Disused since 1966 when Qantas discontinued service.

PBY Catalina Serial Number A24-5
Sunk April 24, 1942 at its moorings after Japanese bombing raid

Tatana Island
Island inside Fairfax Harbor. American forces built a causeway to the mainland. The causeway was built by a U. S. Army 96th Engineering Battalion (Colored) African American Negro soldiers During the war, Liberty Ships docked at the island and were unloaded. The causeway was one vehicle wide. Post war, this causeway has been widened.

Wharf
Built prewar and operated by Burns Philips, the wharf that connects Port Moresby to Fairfax Harbor. During the war, the wharf was pressed into service as the only wharf available, until a causeway was built to Tatana Island. The wharf was targeted by Japanese bombers including film by Damien Parer showing it being hit with 60kg bombs. On June 20, 1943 a detachment of 70 U. S. Navy Seabees from the 55th Battalion arrived to direct the wharf, and were later augmented by a detachment from Milne Bay. The Seabees directed harbor operations, built a radio station, port headquarters and ten Quonset huts for living quarters, water supply and storage, generator and transmitter buildings that went into operation by July 15, 1943. By January 12, 1944, eight additional Quonset huts were built and in July, nineteen more Quonset huts were added. On April 3, 1944 CBMUU 546 arrived to relieve the Seabee detachment. In October 1944 base roll-up was initiated and completed by November 1, 1944. The wharf is still in use today as a commercial port, primary for container ships and cargo vessels.

Napa Napa
Located across from Port Moresby, bordering Fairfax Harbor.

MV MacDhui
Sunk by Japanese bombing on June 18, 1942

A-20G Havoc Serial Number 43-9626
Pilot Jesser, crashed March 18, 1944

Ammunition Dump
At the end of the war or due to accidental dumping during the war, small arm ammunition dump (.303, 30 and 50 caliber) rounds in wooden boxes were dumped into Fairfax Harbor near Napa Napa. In 2004, the site was discovered by locals that were free diving to it to recover rounds to set off as fireworks and sell the brass as scrap metal. Today, some boxes remain on the muddy bottom.

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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