The year 1913 saw the implementation of a plan for the ‘pacification’ of Papua, with increased government patrols aimed at bringing the interior regions under administrative control.
A major economic incentive for expanding the government’s territorial control was the potential to supply new labourers for Papua’s plantations and mines. As Australian investors moved into the newly controlled areas, a new cycle of development would begin.
This era of frontier colonialism led Lieutenant-Governor Hubert Murray to rethink his initial aspirations for rapid development. Instead he looked to introduce more gradual reform with an eye towards preserving, where possible, local customs.