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Mount Uluman crater
Mount Uluman crater
Waters Bismarcksee
Geographical location 4 ° 38 ′  S , 145 ° 58 ′  E Coordinates: 4 ° 38 ′  S , 145 ° 58 ′  E
Karkar (Papua New Guinea)
length 25 km
width 19 km
surface 362 km²
Highest elevation Mount Kunugui
(Mount Uluman)
1839  m
Residents 65,000
180 inhabitants / km²
main place Kinim

Karkar (German obsolete Dampier Island ) is a 362 km² volcanic island in the Sumkar district of Madang Province ( Papua New Guinea ). The soils of Karkar are among the most fertile in the country. Some beautiful coral reefs encircle the island. The volcanic islands of Manam and Bagabag are within sight .


The English pirate and explorer William Dampier was the first European to land on the island. Since 1643 is Stratovolcano Karkar about broken a dozen times. In 1979 the two volcanologists Robin JS Cooke and Elias Ravian died in an eruption . The most recent outbreak was on March 26, 2014.


Like the neighboring island of Bagabag, Karkar belongs to the Sumkar District of Madang Province . The capital of the island and the Sumkar District is Kinim in the northwest of the island.

Society and economy

The volcano is still of religious importance for the residents, although the population of Karkar today professes the Lutheran and Roman Catholic denominations. The soil is one of the most fertile in Papua New Guinea and covers its own needs for a variety of fruits. The average annual rainfall is 3000 to 3500 mm. The main industries are the cultivation of cocoa and copra , both on plantations and on a small scale, and betel nuts . Some of the formerly most productive copra plantations are located on the island. Areas near the coast are used for agriculture and horticulture. The inland around the mountain and volcanic crater is used as a hunting area open to all and is only inhabited up to a certain height.

A road that was newly paved in 2004 surrounds the island. From Madang City, Karkar can be reached in an hour and a half by speedboat (boat with outboard motor) or in four to six hours by copra steamer. There is also the option of taking a bus to the north coast from Madang and then taking a dinghy boat to the island in 45 minutes. This variant is riskier (such boats occasionally sink), but is preferred by the residents because of the lower costs.

There is a hospital in the south of the island called Gaubin owned by the Lutheran Church of New Guinea. The hospital was built by the Lutheran churches in Germany and, with around 120 beds, offers basic medical care for Karkar and the neighboring island of Bagabag.

The population density is 180 people / km². Since the population is only distributed along the coast and the inland is not inhabited, problems slowly arise due to a lack of space and an increasingly difficult nutritional situation. A family planning program was therefore started in the hospital so that the residents can now find out about contraception and sterilization. The program is showing initial successes, but the population continues to grow rapidly.

Languages ​​in Karkar

The population of Karkar is traditionally divided into two language communities: speakers of the Austronesian language Takia and the trans-New Guinea language Waskia . In Ethnologue , however, the language Gedaged, which is spoken on Krangket and is closely related to Takia, is also given (both languages ​​are combined in the group of Bel languages). All residents of the island also speak the common Pidgin language in Papua New Guinea .

Individual evidence

  1. German Colonial Lexicon. Edited by Heinrich Schnee. - Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer 1920. - 3 vols.
  2. District map of the province of Madang  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.tourismmadang.com  
  3. Madang Province ( Memento of the original from October 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 167 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.nri.org.pg

Web links

Commons : Karkar Island  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files