Woodlark Island

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AS07-04-1609 (21 Oct. 1968) --- Woodlark Island in the Solomon Sea, east of New Guinea and northeast of Australia, as seen from the Apollo 7 spacecraft during its 158th revolution of Earth. Photographed from an altitude of 140 nautical miles, at ground elapsed time of 251 hours and 21 minutes.
Native name: Muyua, Muyuw
Karta PG Woodlark isl.png
Woodlark Islands
Woodlark Island is located in Papua New Guinea
Woodlark Island
Woodlark Island (Papua New Guinea)
Location Melanesia
Coordinates 9°7′35″S 152°48′20″E / 9.12639°S 152.80556°E / -9.12639; 152.80556
Province Milne Bay Province

Woodlark Island, known to its inhabitants simply as Woodlark or Muyua, is an island in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea.


Woodlark Island is also called Woodlark or Woodlarks[1] by English language speakers. It is called Murua by the inhabitants of some other islands in the province.[1] The wider Woodlark Islands group also consists of Madau and Nusam to the west, Nubara to the east, and the Marshall Bennett group to the southwest.


An Italian missionary order of Catholic clergy, the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (P.I.M.E.), sent five priests and two brothers to Woodlark Island in 1852. Giovanni Battista (John) Mazzucconi was killed there in 1855 by an islander called Avicoar who opposed the missionaries and their religion.[2]

Operation Chronicle was the name given to the landing of Allied forces on Woodlark Island and Kiriwina on June 30, 1943, during World War II. Within a few months of the landing U.S. Navy Seabees had constructed a major airbase at Guasopa Bay, known as Woodlark Airfield (later Guasopa Airport).



The island includes a volcanic core of Tertiary age and a wide limestone belt, mainly originated by corals (coral reefs are still active around the island). Also intrusive rocks and sedimentary sands are found.[3][4]


Murua Gharial[edit]

An extinct gharial species, "Gavialis" papuensis (occasionally informally referred to as "Murua Gharial"), occurred in Woodlark Island during the Pleistocene or Holocene period.[5] A late surviving gryposuchine, this 2-3 meter long piscivore was the last known truly marine crocodilian (modern saltwater crocodiles that still occur in the Solomon only occasionally venture into the sea, preferring freshwater environments), found in association with sirenian and sea turtle remains. Like other insular Pleistocene megafauna, it was presumably hunted to extinction by the first human settlers of the islands.


A plan by the Malaysian company Vitroplant to use 70% of the island for palm oil production was scrapped after opposition from the islands inhabitants.[6][7][8] The project was seen as a threat to endemic organisms on the island.[8] As of 2009, a full wildlife survey of the island had not yet been carried out.[6]


Muyuw language, one of the Kilivila–Louisiades languages and part of the Austronesian language family, is spoken on the island.


  1. ^ a b Seligman, C.G. (1910). The Melanesians of British New Guinea. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 40. 
  2. ^ Thomas Mary Sennott (14 January 2009). "Blessed John Mazzucconi and the New Guinea Battlefield". catholicism.org. 
  3. ^ D.S.Trails (1961). "The geology of Woodlark Island" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-09-07. 
  4. ^ D.S.Trails (1967). "Geology of Woodlark Island, Papua" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-09-07. 
  5. ^ Molnar, R. E. 1982. A longirostrine crocodilian from Murua (Woodlark), Solomon Sea. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 20, 675-685.
  6. ^ a b Gascoigne, Ingrid. Papua New Guinea (Cultures of the World). 2009-03. Benchmark Books. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-7614-3416-0. 
  7. ^ "70% of rainforest island to be cleared for palm oil". Mongabay.com. 2007-12-13. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  8. ^ a b [Biofuels versus Native Rights: "Biofuels versus Native Rights: Planned logging of Woodlark Island for biofuels opposed by islanders and scientists"]. Mongabay.com. 2007-11-12. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 09°07′15″S 152°44′10″E / 9.12083°S 152.73611°E / -9.12083; 152.73611