Manus was no exception in the struggle for victory. The western side of this idyllic little island is littered with remnants of a bygone era…reminders of conflict in paradise.
Either the machine never made it or where it stopped must have once been brown earth!
Some would argue that this was no paradise to fight a war in in the 1940s as malaria was prevalent and other diseases which assailed the soldiers and sailors who may have made this little island their home for a short while. However, when you actually look at the surrounding tropical palm trees, sandy shores and the islands was actually a paradise…on a fine day like this thus it was conflict in paradise, without a doubt.
I kept thinking what impact the sight and sounds of WWII in the northern tip of Papua New Guinean territory made on the people of Manus then. I did not expect to find these wrecks here on this idyllic island where the construction of a world class tourist accommodation is underway. Even a couple of hogs are being fattened up for the opening of the resort.
I had to put aside my musings on this walk through a Papua New Guinean ‘Eden’ to focus, albeit momentarily on WWII. I come from the Milne Bay Province where the battle raged most ferociously so I’ve been told by my family who lived through it. Never for one second did it dawn on me that Manus was no exception. The whole of the southwest Pacific must be littered with so many of these war wrecks and relics.
Now my thoughts turned to tourism – a third of my mandated responsibility – could these wrecks be a tourist attraction for those WWII buffs or just those that collect war wreckage as part of a private or institutional collection of WWII memorabilia.
On our walk around the island, we came upon remnants of a communication hub for the troops under the command of General McArthur. We were told by our local resident friends. What? Here too? From Manus, in those days, the Philippines must have seemed a stone’s throw away.
What had been menacing weapons of war now lay rusting in the tropical sun…2 degrees south of the equator.
As we came full circle to where we started our walk, I couldn’t help thinking having seeing these WWII wrecks here on this idyllic island – war leaves no-one untouched. No-one.
I really must end this experience with a spectacular uplifting picture of 2Island Resort. The promise of a future for Manus and Papua New Guinea as a tourist destination.