Housing after World War II
With the easing of restrictions on the movement of indigenes into urban areas in the aftermath of World War II, migrants began to trickle steadily into Port Moresby. The colonial administration had no general long-term program for housing the newcomers, in what had become in many respects an Australian small town. Before the war, indigenous workers recruited from beyond the immediate villages had been accommodated in barrack and dormitory conditions. The only habitats in Port Moresby not fully controlled by European interests in that period were the local villages of the Motu people, the traditional coastal inhabitants of the area who had intermarried to a degree with the Koita, who lived inland. A few of the early postwar migrants managed to establish themselves in these villages, on the basis of old trading relationships and sometimes through intermarriage with the Motu-Koita. Apart from this, migrant housing in the decade after the war was principally of three types: workers’ ‘compounds’, established by government departments and companies such as the traders Burns Philp, Carpenters and Steamships; domestic quarters attached to European residences (commonly referred to by Europeans in kitchen pidgin as ‘boyhouses’); and so-called settlements.