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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 11984


Mr FEENEY (Batman) (13:45): Kamiatum in Papua New Guinea is a small village that during the Second World War was just inland from the Japanese coastal base of Salamaua. In March 1943, the Imperial Japanese Navy occupied the townships of Lae and Salamaua. The campaign to retake this region occupied 10½ Australian and US infantry battalions, three Australian independent companies and lasted until September that year. Last week, Kamiatum honoured one of those stalwart Australians, officially naming their local school the George Warfe Elementary School.

Born in Victoria, George Warfe was a major at the time of the Wau-Salamaua campaign, commanding the 2/3 Independent Company. George Warfe demonstrated outstanding leadership during the campaign and was awarded the Military Cross. Later, he would also be awarded the Distinguished Service Order. The George Warfe Elementary School in Kamiatum is a lasting memorial to the strong emotional ties that connect Australia and Papua New Guinea, ties that will continue to bind us as the next generation learns about our shared past and shared aspirations for the future of our region.