75th Anniversary of SPC headquarters in Noumea

MCXV+3FM, Promenade Roger Laroque, Nouméa 98800, New Caledonia
Noumea, New Caledonia


On 5 March 2024, the Pacific Community celebrates the 75 anniversary of its headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia.

Historical background: Shifting from Sydney to Noumea 

Shifting from Sydney to Noumea The newly established Commission held its first two meetings (the Sessions of Commissioners) at its temporary headquarters at Mosman during 1948. Despite the advantages of a metropolitan site, the South Seas Commission Conference had decided that SPC’s headquarters should be established within the Commission’s area. The First Session appointed a working committee to survey potential sites and report to the Second Session. Suva was originally suggested by the South Seas Commission Conference, and the committee received two additional offers: Port Moresby and Noumea. According to former Secretary-General Tom Smith, ‘Port Moresby was not strongly favoured and the choice was to be between Noumea and Suva.’ Suva had the edge in terms of communication and transport, but Noumea was able to offer suitable buildings for office and staff accommodation in the former ‘US Headquarters – South Pacific Base Command’, a large wooden structure built at Anse Vata by the American military forces during the war, and nicknamed ‘The Pentagon’. After the war was over, the building and the surrounding land had reverted to the French government. Despite concerns about the longterm life of a wooden building intended for temporary wartime use, architects’ reports indicated that, subject to immediate restoration and ongoing maintenance, the building had a prospective useful life of 40 years. The French government’s offer was therefore accepted. The transfer from Noumea to Sydney took place on 5 March 1949, and was one of the first tasks of SPC’s first Secretary-General, W.D. Forsyth. He had been appointed by the Second Session on 25 October 1948, formally taking over from the Interim Organisation. Necessary alterations to the buildings started immediately and continued over the next four years. 
For more information, please checkThe Meeting House of the Pacific.
Joint Event