When large-scale resource extraction began on the main island of the Lihir Group in 1995, Lihirians anticipated that their long-held dreams of economic advancement and moral equivalence with Europeans would finally materialise. Lihirians have placed huge expectations upon this mining project, few of which have been realised. Many of their desires surfaced in earlier politico-religious movements during the colonial period. The beliefs and expectations for radical change which emerged in response to colonial inequality have decidedly shaped how many Lihirians interpret the presence of the mining operation and the nature of their relationship with the government and the mining company. In order to comprehend contemporary Lihirian ambitions and engagement with outside bodies, it is necessary to consider the genesis and continuity of earlier politico-religious movements. This paper provides a short history of the conditions and significant events during the latter part of the Australian administration (1945-75), detailing the emergence and persistence of desire and antipathy.

Publisher: Journal of Pacific History

CITATION

Bainton, Nicholas A. (2008) The genesis and the escalation of desire and antipathy in the Lihir Islands, Papua New Guinea. The Journal of Pacific History, 43 3: 289-312

The Genesis and the Escalation of Desire and Antipathy in the Lihir Islands, Papua New Guinea
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The Genesis and the Escalation of Desire and Antipathy in the Lihir Islands, Papua New Guinea