The History Network

A fortnightly military history podcast looking at all aspect of war throughout the ages.

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episode 3: Bougainville: Civil War leads to new nation


Bougainville is a 9000 sq. km pacific island and was first subject to European contact in 1768 when Louis Antoine De Bougainville landed there and, in an act of typical vainglory, named it for himself. People had been on Bougainville for 28,000 years but it was the Austronesian people who 4,000 years ago established pigs, chickens, dogs and cultivation with obsidian tools.  The Comte De Bougainville was every bit the equal of James Cook and it was he who established the Falkland Islands, circumnavigated the globe and fought as a captain of dragoons in the what was effectively the first world war, the 7 years’ war between England and France. As an Admiral he sailed south from Tahiti and nearly discovered the Great Barrier Reef then in 1768 encountered Bougainville, east of Papua New Guinea. The wonderful variegated coloured flower, Bougainvillea, is named for him. The island is a natural wonder and historical treasure.

This episode was written by Lt Col Chris Alroe.

Chris was an Australian Army Officer and specialist medical practitioner who spent twenty-one years full and part time in the Australian Defence Forces. He was at one time SMO 11 BDE and later appointed SMO 3 BDE, retiring from the army before taking up the appointment. During Operation Bel Isi commenced 1999, the UN Peace Keeping Mission to the Island of Bougainville after the civil war there, he was appointed Officer Commanding the Combined Health Element for the mission. He was commended by the Brigadier of the Mission for his survey of New Guinea Health services which he conducted as part of the plan to complete the Mission.


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 2020-04-05  17m