New Guinea, located just north of Australia, is Earth's second largest island (Greenland is the first), having become separated from the Australian mainland when the area now known as the Torres Strait flooded after the last glacial period. The name Papua has long been associated with the island. The western half of the island contains the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, while the eastern half forms the mainland of the independent country of Papua New Guinea.
In the alternate designated as 3477 by Crosstime Traffic, New Guinea was one of the places where the Germans' dreaded Feldgendarmerie established "Penal Colonies" where prisoners had little chance of long survival. Prisoners could be taken out of their countries and shipped to New Guinea at the Feldgendarmerie's discretion, after a perfunctory trial or without any trial. Similar "Penal Colonies" were also located in such places as Siberia, Patagonia and the Mojave Desert.
New Guinea was an Australian Territory until the war in the Pacific erupted. Since the US Pacific Fleet and its carriers had been destroyed in the invasion of Hawaii, Japan had no trouble securing the island and its major city, Port Moresby. From airbases on the southern half of the island, the Japanese Air Force had complete air superiority over the northern half of the Australian continent.
By mid-1943 however, the Japanese had lost that air superiority while the Americans were now bombing the southern coast of New Guinea.
The island of New Guinea was divided among three powers. The Netherlands held the western portion, Germany had the north eastern, and Britain held the southern east most portion. Although the British owned the Territory of Papua, it was officially administrated by Australia.
During the Great War, Australian troops occupied German New Guinea in 1914. It was held by the Australian Military until the war's end in 1917 and was handed back after Britain signed the armistice.
After the Great war, Japan set its sights on the Island when it annexed the Dutch East Indies, taking the whole western half of the island.
The southern half of New Guinea was held by Australian forces, while the north and north western half was held by the Japanese as both countries fought with each other for control of the island during World War II.
After the Racearrived in 1942, Australia abandoned the island in order to defend the continent. Having abandoned the island, and after Australia's defeat and annexation by the Race, the Japanese were able to move in, and claimed the whole island for their empire.