The New Guinea Club, Rabaul, is hugely significant in being a living link to pre-war Rabaul. During the 1920s and 1930s, Rabaul social life was dominated by clubs. These served several different segments of the population – there were various Asian clubs, for example, including the Kuomintang Hall. The New Guinea Club was one of the European clubs. It was here that the reservists of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles assembled for the last time in January 1942 before taking to the field to face the Japanese invasion.
During WWII, virtually all of Rabaul was levelled by Allied bombing. However, the distinctive walls of the New Guinea Club largely survived and were restored after the war. The building was once again lovingly restored by local volunteers after the 1994 earthquake. Today it is one of the very few surviving and fully functioning buildings in that area of the city.
The club contains many old relics and photos – some even dating to the German era - and is a must visit for anyone interested in the history of Rabaul. The bar is fully functioning, and I believe it opens regularly for special events. I would contact the Rabaul Hotel for advance information if you are planning a visit.
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