History in Jaya Pura

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Base-G beach,jayapura-papua

Base-G beach,jayapura-papua

Rolland de Medici

Jayapura is very much the result of the Second World War. Before the war the place was called Hollandia. What is now called Jayapura was then Hollandia Haven, while the real Hollandia, with the government offices, was Hollandia-Binnen, present-day Abepura. There were no good road connections between “Haven“ and “Binnen”. By 1940 the place had about 300 inhabitants. This was “the outer-end of the Dutch East-Indian Empire”.

After the successful invasion in April 1944 the Americans immediately saw the good use they could make of the two natural harbours, Tanah Merah Bay and the port of Jayapura (Hollandia Haven). The area became the basic Base for the attack on the Philippines and then on Japan . The rest of Indonesia was left under the control of, respectively, the Japanese Army (West Indonesia) and the Japanese Navy (East Indonesia ). Jayapura, stretching from Humboldt Bay till Denpapre on Tanah Merah Bay , came to have in the war all of a sudden some 170,000 inhabitants. Maybe never in history in such a short time such a large city has been created out of nothing. There were seven cinemas. The people were housed in Quonsets, build of such a good quality that after almost 60 years many still provide comfortable housing, as for instance on Pos Tujuh, Sentani, in Ifar Gunung and in Abepura.

When the Dutch returned to New Guinea in the wake of the Americans they established their headquarters at Kampung Harapan, about halfway between Sentani and Abepura. This was then named Kota NICA, the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration City. City was a very grand name for a place with some improvised buildings. Later the civil administration moved to Abepura, where the Governor build his “palace” out of the parts of the headquarters of  General Douglas MacArthur, which he had build on Ifar Gunung. The site of his house has a monument. This is situated in the compound of army barracks.

The Americans were very generous to leave to the Dutch for a very moderate price all what was remaining from the war effort. That was the main reason why the Dutch after the War decided to move the capital of New Guinea from Manokwari to Jayapura, though it was in a very eccentric position.

Many names still remain from the American period (1944-1945):

Polimak: the Americans build a 75 km road from Jayapura Harbour to Denpapre, 10 meters wide. This road was made from macadam (material for road-making with successive layers of compacted broken stone). So when you went from Jayapura Harbour to Abepura or Sentani or Depapre you took the Polymac, which is the road that goes up alongside the Kalam Kudus Church . In the end the name Polimak was given to that particular stretch of road and the area adjacent to it at the beginning of the Polymac Road .

Skyline, formerly called Pim. Pim is an old Papua word. At present it denotes the area high up, after Kotaraja, the Hindu Temple, where the weekend house if of the Governor (build for the Dutch Governor Dr Jan van Baal) and some sender masts of the radio. There is a beautiful view over the whole of the Yotefa Bay .

APO is the Army Post Office, .

During the War the American Army had 11 docks, 2 for the Navy and 9 for the Army. All the docks still retain their names.

Base “G”or Ji is now the name of a beach. However, the whole area from Jayapura to Tanah Merah bay was Base “G”. Base “F “, the previous Base was in Finschhafen, now PNG .

Pos Tujuh is off course also an American Post. The real Pos Tujuh, the Seventh Post, is what is now the house, a Quonset, from the owner of the motor cycle garage at the right at the beginning of Jalan Pos Tujuh.

Very few names remain from the Dutch period. There is a Jalan Bestir (“Bestuur” = Government) in Sentani, well-known as the place where the residence of  the late Theys Eluay is, where the only Morningstar flag remaining is still waves. In Kemiri, on your left after the bridge, when going to Doyo Baru, you will find Jalan Hollandia Drome. If you follow this road you come to a field which was once the airfield of Hollandia/Jayapura. What is now Sentani Airport was build, with forced labour, by the Japanese. It was extended by the Americans.

World War II remains

(a)      Japanese tank at kompleks former STT Walter Post, Kampung Harapan

(b)     Tugu MacArthur, at military complex Ifar Gunung. Situated on the highest point of elevation, this was MacArthur's HQ and bunker. He used it from the middle of 1944 until the invasion of the Philippines . It   offers a commanding view over the area. Good picnic spot with a nice view. At this military training complex, RINDAM XVII/Trikora, there is also a nice place for swimming and picnic, also good for families with small children. After the military post where you report, (put off our sun glasses, when driving into the gate) go left instead of right to Tugu MacArthur. Ask for “swembad”. It is after a Pentecostal church, housed in one of the half round buildings, left from the American camps. When you approach the gate of the military camp, you will be asked to put off your sunglasses. At nighttime put off your lamps and lit the inside lamp of your car.

(c)      Monument (tugu) Invasion Place Hamadi. On the road which goes alongside the Pasar Hamadi and the large mosque with the blue towers. The exact place of the American invasion on 22 April 1944 is marked with an obelisk and a plaque, telling the story in English and Indonesian. The place is on the other side of the road where the wharf   and dock PT Yosiba is.

(d)     Japanese boat in the Teluk Yos Sudarso.

(e)      Japanese tank on the road to Depapre, on the left hand side. After the restaurant, which is on the left, after the stream. I have not yet been able to spot it.

(f)       There are five or six plane wrecks from WW II in the Sentani Lake . One has been recently salvaged by a Dutch navy divers’ team for a Dutch air force museum.

(g)     Japanese monument for the victims, which were many, in the war. Small monument with Japanese inscriptions in Tanah Hitam/Abe Pantai. On the left in a bend of the road to Vanimo/Arso/Skouw/Holtekamp, when the road makes a sharp turn to the right.

(h)      Large containers used for storing petrol and kerosene can still be seen on the hills east of   Depapre, if you take the first road to the right, before the police office. On your right hand side. These lie at the base of the track built be the Americans that connects Tanahmerah to Jayapura (Hollandia) to the East.   If after the police office you go immediately to the left and follow the road you come at a place, which local people use as a beach and for picnics. From there you can swim to the wooden mooring poles still remaining there from the American period (June 1944-August 1945).

(i)          Cinema from the war. During the war there was at least seven cinemas in Jayapura and surroundings. One is still remaining and it was still in function just one year ago. It is behind the shops where you turn left (when coming from Jayapura or Abepura) to the old pasar Sentani. I think it should become a monument or a museum.

Japanese and American airports:          

(a) Hollandia Aerodrome. Today, it is still in use and the principal entry point into that half of the island. It is the only one of the WWII airfields still in use.

  (b) Sentani Airfield. Built by the Japanese, it was liberated by the 186th Infantry on April 26, 1944. It was badly cratered by previous American bomber raids, and completely useless. The barracks in the area had also been largely destroyed by bombing. It appeared to have not been operational for some time.   The strip was improved by the Americans. It was a huge airbase complex with fighters, and heavy bombers operating out of the area. It once operated a wing of B-29 Superfortresses.

(c) Cyclops Drome.   Built by the Japanese, this airfield is at the base of the Cyclops mountains along the Depapre - Aerodrome track. Occupied by the 186th Infantry on April 26th, 1944 it was found serviceable for light planes with the possibility for expansion.   Gene Strine <../restore/maam/glass.jpg> visited the site of the old airfield in the late 1980s. "No one knew exactly where it was because it had become completely overgrown. After walking to the approximate area, I was able to find overgrown Anti-Aircraft gun revetments. One of the guns was still in its revetment. I discovered an Antiaircraft fuse for a shell, and this Japanese liquor bottle.”

Cyclops Mountains had an airplane wreck. P-61B "Midnight Queen"   Serial Number 43-39445. Has been repatriated to the US .

(d) Tami Drome lies East of Humboldt Bay (for background see above)

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June 11, 2008 change by theoikos (1 point)

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