Remembering the legacies of World War One

When Australian military forces occupied German New Guinea in 1914, the conflict was short lived, with the German forces surrendering barely a month after the war had commenced. Private William Potter, who served with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, was stationed in New Guinea until February 1916. During his time, he was officially sanctioned to collect ethnographic objects, many of which are now part of the Queensland Museum’s New Guinean ethnographic collection.

In pre-war Papua New Guinea, the German administration had appointed headmen, known locally as Lululai, to act as village spokesmen and intermediaries during disputes. Supporting each Luluai were offsiders known as tultul, often distinguished by the military style caps that they wore. 

The cap pictured was collected by Private William Potter, and has been in the State Collection since 1917. Drawing on objects such as this one within Queensland Museum’s strong social history collection, our curators are uncovering many stories that reveal connections with World War One. 

With your help, our conservators will treat this item in preparation for display in Queensland Museum’s new gallery, Queensland Remembers, which will reflect upon the centenary of Anzac and is due to open in late 2018.

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