Bac de l'Ouaieme, Grande Terre, New Caledonia. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
Bac de l'Ouaieme, Grande Terre, New Caledonia. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

Fort Teremba: a prison for deportees in New Caledonia (Grande Terre)

Written by Marco Ramerini. English text revision by Dietrich Köster.

This fort is situated between La Foa and Bourail, 124 kilometers north of Nouméa.

In 1871 a group of 25 convicts, 2 wardens, 3 gendarmes and the head of the topographical department set up a camp on the left bank of La Foa river near the Kanak village of Uarai, later that year the camp was moved to a better site on the right bank of the river on a little hill.

This small camp was enlarged between 1871 and 1877 through the construction of several buildings: water tanks, cells, huts for military troops and for the convicts, the commander’s house, a chapel, some workshops and warehouses, a school, a bakery, an infirmary, a telegraph station, an anchorage etc..

The fort was built after the Kanak insurrection of 1878. Inside the perimeter of the walls were built a blockhouse, a watchtower and a prison. The number of the convicts was between 120 and 300, some of them worked at the farm penitentiary of Fonwhary, situated 8 kilometers away on a fertile and well irrigated land.

The settlement of Teremba was damaged by a cyclone in 1898.

In 1984 the Association Marguerite attempted to make Teremba a place of living memory. In 1989 the site was classified as historical monument. In 1992 the first buildings were restored. The site has actually a little museum and it is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 4 PM, admission fee: 250 CFP.

About Marco Ramerini

I am passionate about history, especially the history of geographical explorations and colonialism.