Ramu is a river in northern Papua New Guinea. The headwaters of
the river are formed in the
Kratke Range from where it then travels
about 640 km (398 mi) northwest to the Bismarck Sea.
Along the Ramu's course, it receives numerous tributaries from the
Bismarck Range to the south and the Finisterre and Adelbert.
1.1 German exploration
1.2 Australian administration and Second World War
2 Hydroelectric plant
4 Image gallery
For many millennia, people have lived along the river, and the river
has formed the basis for food, transport, and culture.
The area encompassed by the
Ramu was part of
German New Guinea
German New Guinea in 1884. The Germans were quick
to explore their territory, and the mouth of the
Ramu was discovered
in 1886 by Vice-Admiral Freiherr von Schleinitz after returning to
Finschhafen from an expedition to the nearby Sepik. Schleinitz
called the Ramu, Ottilien after his ship the Ottilie.
The course of the river was first discovered 10 years later in 1896
after Dr Carl Lauterbach, a botanist, led an expedition organised by
German New Guinea
German New Guinea Company (Neu Guinea Kompagnie) to find the
headwaters of the Markham River. After crossing the Ortzen
Astrolabe Bay south of Madang, Lauterbach's party,
instead of finding the Markham, found an unknown river flowing
northwest. The party canoed along a section before their supplies
dwindled; they returned to the coast retracing their route.
Another German explorer, Ernst Tappenbeck, who had accompanied
Lauterbach previously, led the first expedition to ascend the
1898. Tappenbeck was charged with discovering whether the Ottilien
found in 1886 was the same river Lauterbech had found. He was
accompanied by former Prussian Army officers, a Kompagnie official and
an Australian gold prospector Robert Phillip, and travelled in the Neu
Guinea Kompagnie steamer Herzog Johann Albrecht.
After five days of journey up the Ramu, Tappenbeck left his companions
at a well-stocked camp when river water levels fell. He returned four
and half months later in another steamer, Herzogin Elisabeth, and the
party managed to navigate 190 mi (310 km) upstream and go
farther still by canoe. By the end of 1898, the expedition had
established a station on the river, mapped it and tributaries, and
made a large botanical collection.
Further explorations for gold and botanical specimens were conducted
by the Germans. In 1902, Hans Klink and J. Schlenzig established a new
Ramu station that was later connected by a bridle track to the
coast. Dr R. Schlecter led another expedition in 1902 in search of
gutta-percha trees. Then in 1907, Austrian explorer Wilhelm
Dammköhler led an expedition up the Markham Valley and linked the
headwaters of the Markham
River with the
Ramu for the first time.
Australian administration and Second World War
Ramu villagers investigating a camera during an Australian expedition
in the 1930s
After the First World War,
German New Guinea
German New Guinea passed over to Australian
control and became the Territory of New Guinea. The
Ramu reverted to
its local name during this time.
In 1936, Briton, Lord Moyne, ventured up the
Ramu during an expedition
Indonesia and New Guinea. Moyne discovered a race of pygmy-like
people inhabiting the middle
Ramu region 170 miles (270 km) from
the mouth of the river in the Aiome foothills.
During the Second World War, in 1942 the Japanese annexed the entire
Territory of New Guinea
Territory of New Guinea from the Australians. Intense fighting
occurred between the
Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army and the Australian and US
Armies to recapture New Guinea. During the
Finisterre Range campaign
in 1943 and 1944, the
Ramu valley became the scene of a major battle.
Ramu flows into Yonki Dam, where it feeds the
Ramu 1 power
A hydrolectric plant is currently under construction on the toe of the
Yonki Dam; however, construction is currently (May 2011) suspended.
^ a b Souter (1963) p. 73
^ a b Souter (1963) p. 77
^ a b c Souter (1963) p. 78
^ a b c Souter (1963) pp. 111-112
^ Lord Moyne;
Kathleen Haddon (Jul–Dec 1936). "The
Pygmies of the
Aiome Mountains, Mandated Territory of New Guinea". Journal of the
Royal Anthropological Institute. Royal Anthropological Institute. 66:
269–290. doi:10.2307/2844082. JSTOR 2844082.
Souter, Gavin (1963). New Guinea: The Last Unknown. Angus &
Robertson. ISBN 0-207-94627-2.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
The last 300 or so kilometres of the
Ramu as it winds towards the
Sepik sediment plumes
Major rivers of Papua New Guinea