Lat 7° 19' 60S Long 146° 43' 0E Wau is located at an elevation of 3,720' / 1,133m in New Guinea. To the north is Bulolo and to the west is Edie Creek. The Bulldog Track terminates at Wau.
Today, connected by road to Bulolo and westward to Edie Creek and to the west is McAdam National Park. Today located in Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
During the 1930s, Wau was a gold rush boom town full of prospectors. During 1930-1933, Errol Flynn lived in Wau during 1930-1933 working as a Patrol Officer (Kiap), trader, shipper, hustler and gold prospector. The Catholic church established a mission at Wau. In 1940, Father Glover was assigned to the mission.
In early March 1942 Australian Army Captain Allan Cameron and his men withdraw from Salamua Airfield via Wau and noted Wau was "a terrible mess after bombing, water on drome, town completely deserted" then trekked the Bulldog Track to the south coast.
After the Japanese defeats elsewhere in New Guinea, the Japanese Army hoped to strengthen their holdings in New Guinea by advancing from Salamaua on the coast inland to capture Wau. During February 1943, the Japanese offensive was defeated by the defending Australian forces, then pushed back towards the coast.
missions against Wau
February 6 - June 13, 1943
Built prior to the war, first used on April 18, 1927. Used heavily during the Wau campaign.
Bulolo No. 6 Dredge
Bulolo Gold Dredge that was overrun by the
Japanese. This dredge is still abandoned outside of Wau, where
it was used post-war, then abandoned.
Pilot Sato shot down February 6, 1943
The Battle for Wau (2008) by Phil Bradley page 53 (orders for Wau demolition)
Hell's Battlefield (2012) by Phil Bradley page 25
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October 23, 2019