When Australia finally relinquishes control over the territory on September 16, the small, tropical area north of Queensland will become the independent state of Papua New Guinea.
CU Map of New Guinea supered over fisherwomen
LV & SV Women fishing (2 shots)
LV & SV Fishermen and boats in front of stilted houses on waterfront (2 shots)
CU Carved human heads and other artifacts showing primitive art (5 shots)
GV Village market place (MUSIC ENDS)
SV & CU Fishmonger in market (3 shots)
SV women selling
CU Faces of people in market (5 shots)
CU National flag designed by schoolgirl
GV PAN OVER Port Moresby
LV & CU Traffic directed by policeman (2 shots)
LV & CU Papua Development Bank with wrought iron sculptured figure (2 shots)
GV & SV Central Government offices (2 shots)
GV Australian Office
GV Driveway to university, flanked by flowers (2 shots)
CU ZOOM OUT University sign carved from tree trunk
SV PAN DOWN Flag & EXT House of Assembly
GV INT House of Assembly sitting during speech by Chief Minister Michael Somare, moving motion for Queen Elizabeth to remain titular head of state
CU Bird of Paradise emblem and members with Australian translator seated behind glass hour-clock (3 shots)
CU Sir John Guyse, KBE, listening
SV ZOOM IN PAN TO Somare ending speech and interpreter putting motion to house and ayes have it.
GV Members seated
Initials BB/1600 MC/MR/BB/1655
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: When Australia finally relinquishes control over the territory on September 16, the small, tropical area north of Queensland will become the independent state of Papua New Guinea.
After more than sixty years of rule by its southern neighbour, Papua New Guinea is ready, willing and -- its politicians believe -- able, to stand on its own feet, after having been self-governed since 1973.
The Papuan national symbol is the Bird of Paradise -- and indeed so idyllic is this island territory in the South Pacific -- that many nations have fought to claim it.
European settlement began in the 19th century, when the island of New Guinea was divided into three. The Dutch claimed the western half, Germany annexed the north-east and neighbouring islands, and Britain claimed the south-east.
During the first world war, Australian force occupied the German section, then called New Guinea. In 1921, both that area and the South were placed in Australian hands, under mandate from the League of Nations.
The territory of Papua New Guinea was officially declared in 1949. In 1964, a Parliamentary House of Assembly was set up. Indonesia had claimed the area west of the Papua New Guinea border as West Irlan. After disputes, the border was marked on the ground.
Papua New Guinea has had a colourful history, with a considerable share of terror and tragedy. Tribal warfare -- usually over affairs of honour -- has been widespread and has resulted in thousands of deaths. Volcanoes have caused death and havoc. In 1951, four thousand people died when Mount Lamington erupted.
Nevertheless, the country's 2.5 million people have achieved a level of self-dependence and development which will make the September 16 Independence Day little more than a formality. Although the copper-rich island of Bougainville has announced its decision to secede, both Australian and Papuan leaders believe the country can successfully rule itself.
Chief Minister Michael Somare will continue his role of head of government; and Queen Elizabeth of England will be titular head of state.