Official ANGAU estimates from February 1942 to November 1945 place the number of Papuan indentured labourers at 24,500 and New Guineans at 25,500, for a total of 50,000.
For Papua New Guinean workers, life under the military and ANGAU was not easy.
ANGAU provided treatment for common pre-war malaise; the army provided a good medical budget, treating approximately 85,000 Papua New Guineans between February 1942 and September 1944.
59) Thus it was often the strain of wartime resources, rather than malicious intent, which prevented ANGAU from supplying adequate rations to Papua New Guineans.
An ANGAU report succinctly summarised the significance of the carriers in the Kokoda Campaign of 1942: '[t]hey in fact formed a living supply line without which the [Kokoda] campaign could never have been brought to a successful conclusion as expeditiously was the case'.
The poor conditions often led labourers to desert ANGAU or their carrier positions.
74) Despite recognising the causal relationship between poor conditions and carrier desertion, the armed forces and ANGAU did not address the causes of desertion.
76) Mair suggests that ANGAU officers also flogged into submission those who did not wish to re-engage with ANGAU upon completion of their contracts.
Hodges, Major-General, 'Native labour overseers ANGAU', 19 June 1943, in NAA Melbourne, series MP70/1, item 48/101/384: Native labour overseers ANGAU [recruitment].
See also 'Report on the Activities of ANGAU in Respect of Native Relief and Rehabilitation in the Territory of Papua and the Mandated Territory of New Guinea.
49) On the positive side, the CIC was willing to work closely with other intelligence agencies as well as bodies including NICA and ANGAU when required.
36) See Alan Powell, The Third Force: ANGAU's New Guinea War, 1942-1946, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, 2003, page 60 for the recommendation from General Herring that ANGAU become the control agency for all intelligence gathering from July 1943.