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    Popondetta Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Frank Anderson 1971

Click For Enlargement

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2007

Lat 8° 46' 0S Long 148° 13' 60E  Popondetta is an inland village along the east-west road to the north of Mount Lamington. Today located in Oro Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Popondetta was a small agricultural station.

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

American missions against Popondetta
September 20, 1942–October 15, 1942

September 20, 1942
A-20s bomb and strafe troops and installations along the Popondetta-Andemba Road.

October 15, 1942
(5th AF) A-20s and P-40s pound forces south of Popondetta.

After the war, Popondetta became the provincial headquarters for Oro Province. On January 18-21, 1951 Mount Lamington erupted killing an estimated 3,000 people and destroying the government headquarters in town. Afterward, Popondetta was the center of recovery efforts.

Today known as Popondetta Town or simply "Town". Popondetta is the provincial capital of Oro Province and is the center of commerce. The market table tops are made of marston matt (PSP) recovered from the nearby airfields and dump areas. An American propeller on display outside one of the buildings in town.

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

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

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.

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Last Updated
April 21, 2019


Map 1971

Map 1976

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