Wamira - History and Cultural Relations

The region in which Wamira lies has had a long history of contact with Europeans. In 1888, Britain annexed the Southeastern portion of New Guinea, which became the Protectorate of British New Guinea. With the passing of the Papua Act of 1905, the Protectorate of British New Guinea became the Australian Territory of Papua. First missionary contact with Wamirans occurred in 1891 when two Anglican missionaries, Albert Maclaren and Copland King, landed on the shore Between the villages of Wamira and Wedau. Soon thereafter, the mission station of Dogura was built on the plateau above Wedau. Dominating Dogura Plateau, as a majestic landmark visible from great distances, is the monumental white-walled, red-roofed Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul which, when completed in 1936, was the largest cathedral in the Southern Hemisphere. The Anglican mission has had a major effect on the villages in the immediate area. Most Wamirans express positive feelings toward the mission and demonstrate respect for most of the changes it has brought: cessation of village warfare, improved health care, and formal education. Since 1975, when Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia, however, Wamirans have expressed regret that formerly the mission, and now the government, have not brought more in the way of development. The area has neither roads, electricity, running water, nor any means of earning cash.

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