Papua New Guinea celebrates its 39th Independence Day commemorating its separation from Australia on September 16.

After being ruled by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia in 1975. Elections in 1972 resulted in the formation of a ministry headed by Chief Minister Michael Somare, who pledged to lead the country to self-government and then to independence. Papua New Guinea became self-governing on December 1, 1973 and achieved independence on September 16, 1975.

In the morning of the first day of Independence for Papua New Guinea (September 15, 1975), flag raising ceremonies took place throughout the nation. The ceremony in Port Moresby was conducted at Independence Hill overlooking the main city centre. International guests in national dress and western dress assembled for the occasion. Former Administrators D.O. Hay and J.K. Murray, and former Minister for External Territories C.E. Barnes were among the spectators. Prince Charles unveiled a plaque to mark the site of the new National Parliament building. A military band, accompanied by the percussion of a thousand clicking camera shutters, played “Sunset” as Warrant Officer Ibor lowered the Australian flag, folded it and handed it to Sir John Guise, the Governor-General of Papua New Guinea. That marvelous sunset, together with Sir John Guise’s words “We are lowering this flag, not tearing it down” made for a memorable occasion. Tears fell for many, a moment they shall never forget, as the Australian flag came down for the last time.

Independence Day Celebrations

This year, like the previous years, the country will celebrate the occasion with a variety of activities. From cultural dances, singing, a lot of music and the selling of art and craft. Everywhere the country’s national colours black, red and gold will be waved here and there.

Papua New Guineans are a patriotic lot and there is no better time to show this patriotism than on this auspicious day.

The National Capital District has planned activities to mark the celebration of the day and once the final details are on hand information will be disseminated.

In the meantime, preparations are ongoing as shown in the photo to give what can be expected during the celebrations of this momentous day in Port Moresby.

CPSC extends its warmest felicitations to the Government of Papua New Guinea and its people on the auspicious occasion of its 39th Independence Day!