Diagnoses of new rats from the New Guinea area
Since inception of the Department of Mammals in 1919, attention has been given to obtaining collections from New Guinea and the South-West Pacific, for which the Museum was mainly dependent upon the voluntary activities of residents and administrative officers. Appreciative acknowledgement is made for the following collections, which included rat species of importance regarding the scrub typhus problem in war time:
From the Mount Lamington District, inland from Dobodura, Northern Division of Papua, from 1927–1929, representative mammal collections were received from Mr. C. T. McNamara, Resident Magistrate. From the Buin district of Bougainville Island collections were obtained from the Rev. Father J. B. Poncelet, S.M., of especial interest for the discovery of a giant rat, Unicomys ponceleti, which Rummler and Ellerman have since wrongly relegated to the genus Melomys. Included also was an insular race of Rattus praetor, first described from Guadalcanal by Thomas, and mistakenly recorded from New Guinea by Tate. From 1936–1939 interesting series of mammals were received for identification from Dr. C. E. M. Gunther, Medical Officer of the Bulolo Gold Dredging Company, as potential animal reservoirs of scrub typhus in the Wau-Bulolo area.