Collection UQFL99 - John Joseph Murphy Papers

Identity area

Reference code



John Joseph Murphy Papers


  • 1932-1985 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

7 boxes.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Captain John Joseph 'Mangrove' Murphy, patrol officer, prisoner of war and amateur linguist, was born in Queensland in 1914. He was educated at Christian Brothers' College, Maryborough, St Joseph's College, Nudgee and the University of Queensland (although he did not take a degree). He moved to New Guinea in ca.1936 and became a patrol officer, compiling a dictionary of Pidgin English which was published in 1942. He joined the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit and the Allied Intelligence Bureau during the Second World War and was captured in 1943. He was the only Australian among the seven survivors of the Rabaul prisoner of war camp and was tried at court-martial for treason thanks to suspected collaboration with the Japanese: he was honourably acquitted of all charges. Murphy worked as a colonial administrator after the war in the Western and Gulf districts of PNG and returned to Australia in 1969.

Archival history

Collection previously titled as: Papers, 1932-1985
Collection alternatively titled as: John Joseph Murphy Collection

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Diaries, correspondence, reports and photographs, relating to Murphy's service in the Australian administration of Papua New Guinea in a number of official positions between 1936 and 1969. Includes material relating to John J. Murphy's book, The book of Pidgin English; also a small amount of family history papers relating to the Campbell, Boyd and Pratt families, including letters from Austin Pratt written after his evacuation from Gallipoli.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Unrestricted access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area


Material in this collection may contain culturally sensitive words or descriptions.

Alternative identifier(s)



Millennium Local System Number


OCLC Number


Libraries Australia ID

21259607 ; 62992974

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Description control area

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Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Revised, Linda Justo, 17-Aug-2021. Migrated from LMS: April 2019, P.A.




Accession area