Speculation displaces planting

Ross argues that the expropriation of the German planters in former German New Guinea was not beneficial to the new Australian colonizers.

While planting was the economic core of the German community in Rabaul, some former planters now make do with small businesses. A few have even protected their agricultural holdings via front men. Ross bolsters his criticism of Australia’s colonial mandate with statements from within the new colonial administration. Hubert Murray, vice governor of the Territory of Papua, and the Rosses’ host in Port Moresby, is cited as having warned his government not to rid New Guinea of its most competent planters, German or not.

When the agricultural properties were resold after their confiscation they became subject to financial speculation. Thus the “unhealthy economic conditions” [p. 242] of the new Mandated Territory can be traced back to disadvantaging the local Auslandsdeutsche element, Ross concludes. Along national attributions well-rehearsed in right-wing German discourse, Germany is associated with agriculture, the cultivation of land (see: German lushness in New Guinea), and the British empire with financial speculation disconnected from the properties’ utility value.

Joachim Schätz

Colin Ross. [Excerpt from] Mandat und Mutiny. In: Haha Whenua.  Das Land, das ich gesucht. Mit Kind und Kegel durch die Südsee. 4. Aufl. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus; 1933; 240–2.

Topic: Auslandsdeutsche
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30

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