Many of these people have been doers, not recorders of facts, with the result that our knowledge of the territory’s exploration has not kept pace with the exploration itself.’ They journeyed on the "Banyandah", a cruiser of 38 feet (12 m) from Madang up the coast to the mouth of the Sepik River, travelling along that river to Marienberg and Moim, then along the Karosameri River to the Karrawaddi River and on to the Arrabundio River and Yemas, after which it was necessary to transport their stores and equipment by pinnace, canoe and ultimately on foot to their Mountain Base on the upper Arrabundio River.During their first expedition the Akmana Field Party prospected the tributaries of the Arrabundio and then trekked across a spur of the Central Mountain Range to sample the Upper Karrawaddi River.
During the Pacific War, Papua was governed by an Australian military administration from Port Moresby, where General Douglas Mac Arthur occasionally made his headquarters.
With Europe's growing desire for coconut oil, Godeffroy's of Hamburg, the largest trading firm in the Pacific, began trading for copra in the New Guinea Islands.
There also are indications of neolithic gardening having been practiced at Kuk at the same time that agriculture was developing in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
Today's staples – sweet potatoes and pigs – were later arrivals, but shellfish and fish have long been mainstays of coastal dwellers' diets.
The possession was placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1902.
Following the passage of the Papua Act in 1905, British New Guinea became the Territory of Papua, and formal Australian administration began in 1906, although Papua remained under their control a British possession until the independence of Papua New Guinea in 1975. Australia administered it separately under the Papua Act until it was invaded by the Empire of Japan in 1941, and civil administration suspended.
Much of the Territory of New Guinea, including the islands of Bougainville and New Britain, was occupied by Japanese forces before being recaptured by Australian and American forces during the final months of the war (see New Guinea campaign).
‘The exploration of Papua–New Guinea has been a continuing process.
In 1526–1527 the Portuguese explorer Jorge de Menezes accidentally came upon the principal island and is credited with naming it "Papua", after a Malay word for the frizzled quality of Melanesian people's hair.