Welcome to

The South Pacific WWII Museum

From crystal clear seas where Tales of the South Pacific was born. Where three American President’s served their country – along with the with the First Lady of another. And the derring-do of young aviators, soldiers and sailors would become the thing of legends, comes a wartime history many have long forgotten and many more never knew existed.

Base Button on Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu, grew from nothing on a quiet, peaceful island – known more for its coconut plantations than bomber bases and stevedoring – into the largest military base in the South Pacific, playing host to over 500,000 service men and women throughout World War II.

We’re now sharing that history with the very descendants of those who supported the Allied war effort in the Pacific. With our plans to expand  into a new world class museum building, our dream is coming alive to commemorate, preserve and pass on the amazing history of what was then known as New Hebrides, to new generations of Ni-Vanuatu and visitors from around the world.

Honouring the many

Latest news from the Museum project.

Extended by popular demand until October

The Coolidge Exhibition at our Museum in Luganville, features the world’s largest exhibition of items from the famous passenger liner. We hope to see your there soon.

News in brief

June 3 — This month’s newsletter is full of stories with links to Santo. From the earthquake that caused the Coolidge’s swimming pool to drop out of the ship, to the compass rose on Turtle Bay Airfield and the amazing photographic collection of Camp Elrod, there’s plenty of great reading — and photos. We’re also very excited to have had Andy Werback’s scratch-built model of one of the floating dry dock pontoons finally delivered — you’ll get what we’re talking about after reading the story. All in our May newsletter you’ll find here.

May 3 – We begin this month with our traditional Anzac Day dawn service on Espiritu Santo. This has become quite an event, particularly for Australians and New Zealanders living on Santo. It’s always a very moving ceremony. We also have a great story on the SBD Dauntless aircraft, the battle for Rabaul and an in-depth story on the logistics of war and Santo’s role in keeping the fleet afloat. A great April newsletter you’ll find here.

April 5 – A great mix of stories this month, kicking off with a minor but important change to our logo. We’ve also received the last part of an important collection donated to us in October of last year from the nephew of an Army aviator. Plus Charles Lindbergh, watermelon farming in the Pacific and a very interesting article about Santo from a guest author of some note. You’ll find it all in the newsletter here.

March 3 – Another month and lots to report in this month’s newsletter. Our special bottle from the Coolidge Foundation finally turned up – only 4 months late! We’re welcoming a new volunteer from New Zealand through Volunteers Abroad. We also feature the remarkable story of the discovery of sections of the dry dock ABSD-1, that was based in Santo during WWII. As far we knew, the dock had been scrapped. Time to rewrite the history books. You’ll find it all in the newsletter here.

February 4 – We’re kicking 2023 off with some very interesting photos that we discovered in two books in a San Francisco museum. One shows the facilities of Base Hospital No. 3. The other from 1942/43, is a photographic record of the construction of the Sarakata River bridge by Navy Seabees. Plus we finalise the donation from the Santo Game Fishing Club and Kevin McCarthy has written another fascinating story on the month in military history. You’ll find it all in the newsletter here.

We’ve created a new Million Dollar Point gallery, featuring the work of award winning underwater photographer Chris Hamilton. You’ll find the gallery here.

Jan 11 2023
Great news today. Moreno Aguiari from VintageAviationNews.com has done a fantastic piece on the Museum in their Aviation Museum News section.

Moreno has done an amazing job detailing the history of the Museum, what we’ve been up to and where we’re heading. We can’t thank him enough for his support and we’d be grateful if you’d take a look at the story for yourselves – it’s the least we could do for Moreno.

You’ll find the story at:

January 6 – What a month, what a year! In this, our final newsletter for 2022, Museum Chairman Brad Wood reviews the year and share’s his thoughts on what’s been quite a year for the Museum. Plus we tell the heartwarming tale of a small Yorkshire Terrier found in New Guinea who touched the hearts of many a soldier. Those stories and more in this month’s newsletter. You can read the newsletter here.

December 5 – A busy month in November with the return of so many tourists to Luganville – including our first cruise ship in a very long time. The big story this month is the search for the remains of a Japanese soldier who may still be buried on Santo. Quite a research challenge and we cover it in detail in this month’s newsletter. You can read the newsletter here.

November 7 – What a day it was on October 26 with the S.S. President Coolidge 80th Commemoration and Exhibition coming to Luganville. We have all the coverage in this month’s newsletter. Plus we have received an incredible surprise donation to the Museum and another beautiful Pacific Theatre collection is on its way north. You’ll find it all right here.

October 2 – Not long to go now before our commemoration and exhibition for the 80th anniversary of the sinking of the Coolidge. With that in mind we’ve got some wonderful news about some exhibits, a gift coming from the United States and some generous sponsorships for the events on October 26. You’ll find it all right here.

September 6 – The sound of the Coolidge is set to ring out for the first time in 80 years, thanks to the Museum’s restoration of one of the famous ship’s whistles. That’s our big lead story in this month’s newsletter, that’ll you find here.

August 5 – It’s our biggest newsletter to date and we unveil to the world the amazing aircraft found just weeks ago in the Segond Channel. Plus we cover the Museum’s plans for our Coolidge 80th anniversary commemorations and the Coolidge exhibition beginning on October 26. That and lots more in our July newsletter, that’ll you find here.

July 6 – Our June edition of the Museum newsletter is another cracker! Of particular interest are the three new collections acquired by the Museum. Two have come from the USA, while the third is an incredible find for Museum Chairman Bradley Wood – a jar of silver coins, buried since WWII. You’ll find it all in our latest newsletter here.

June 2 – The May edition of our Museum newsletter is live. And we probably don’t need to tell you what the lead story is. Yes, Stage 1 of the museum project is our feature bumper story. You’ll also find a great story on a new collection donated to the Museum just this week.  You’ll find it all in our latest newsletter here.

May 6 – The April edition of our Museum newsletter is another fascinating mix of history from throughout the South Pacific, including another dog tag that was found over near Million Dollar Point and the story of the Japanese pilot who crashed landed on an Hawaiian island after the Pearl Harbour attack and survived – what happened next was quite extraordinary.  You’ll find our latest newsletter here.

Apr 1 – Much happening again this month with a wonderful new collection of personal items arriving from the United States. There’s also a great story of the ‘bombing of Adelaide’ with oranges and Coca-Cola!, a B-17 that rose from the ashes named ‘Swoose’ and much more. You’ll find our latest newsletter here.

Mar 6 – Another big month at the Museum with a lot going on as we head towards what will be our busiest year ever. Some great stories this month about our bank vault – yes we have finally identified it. Some more on the ‘fifth airfield’ on Santo. James has a chat to some yachtties and much more. You’ll find the February issue here.

Feb 4 – 2022 kicks off with a fantastic edition of our monthly newsletter. Things are ramping up this year at the Museum, we take you on a trip up to northern Santo to a remote radar site, we catch aircraft in mid-air with a hook, ram a Japanese submarine and more! It’s all in this month’s newsletter you’ll find here.

October 26 - a day that will be long remembered

The Coolidge 80th Anniversary Commemoration was a huge success. (story)

The museum's newest large exhibit arrives

It was a monumental task getting our latest exhibit from the USA. (story)

Our first ever dedicated museum exhibition

The Coolidge exhibition means redecorating the museum.


A ship's namesake and a bottle of pop

A bottle of spring water brings goodwill from the USA.


The South Pacific WWII Museum and Project Office is now open.
Visit us Monday – Friday from 8.00am – 5.00pm.

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