Anglican Church - Samarai Island

This is the first in a series of tours highlighting places that are lost to us.

This is an old church on the main street of Samarai. Samarai Island is a small island in the Milne Bay Province  located off the south-eastern tip of New Guinea in the China Strait. The island is historically significant as the site of a trading port and stop-over between Australia and East Asia. Samarai town was established on the island and at its height was the second largest after Port Moresby in the Territory of Papua.

Exterior of the church 2011

Exterior of the church 2011

History has it that during the second world war when all buildings were put on and razed with fire for fear of the impending Japanese invasion - the Anglican Church was the only building that did not burn down (although it was set alight too) and eventually was the only building left standing. 

Unfortunately, I heard recently from Justin Friend, that on a recent expedition to Samarai Island he saw that the church has succumbed to the elements and the roof has collapsed and there is not much hope for the remaining structure. I feel honored to have been able to preserve it's memory in some small way.

Exterior of the church 2013 - photo Mick Fogg

Mick Fogg, expedition leader on many of my adventures has just sent me a photo that he'd taken in 2013 and you can clearly see the amount of damage the church has undergone from my visit in 2011.

Mick is going to be in Samari in December on a Ponant cruise and will send me an more recent picture of the remains.