Fort Téremba is located in the town of Moindou on the west coast of New Caledonia, at only 1h30 from Noumea.
The history of the fort
It was built in 1871 in order to serve as a detention center for convicts. Prison Administration behaviour at this time is to monopolize land under the umbrella of colonization, to install convicts once their sentence is completed. Often these lands are bribed to Kanak, who are pushed ever further into the territory. In addition, settlers strongly develop the livestock and do not bother to close the land. The animals escape and commit a lot of damage to food crops, like tarot and yams allowing Melanesians to live.
The growing sense of injustice led the Kanak to rise during the 1878 revolt under the leadership of the iconic Ataï chief of the tribe of Komalé.
Bloody attacks lead to massacres of settlers and local population. To stem this violence, action is quickly taken: Fort Téremba is redesigned and strengthened so as to provide the basis for French soldiers coming as reinforcements and eventually serve as drop zone. It will never be taken by the Kanak whose uprising was crushed by the French forces.
From 1890, following the questioning of convicts convoys, the fort is on the decline until it fell into disuse. It ends up being sold at auction in 1919.
A museum to preserve the memory
The Marguerite Association gets fully committed from 1984 into the rehabilitation of this historic place. City Moindou bought the site which became then listed building by the Southern Province.
Today the museum that has been created gives an extremely dynamic and entertaining visit through numerous information boards, interactive kiosks and animations. In the main building called "Bunker", the old cells are open to visitors offering insight and understanding of the living conditions of convicts through this past long remained silent.
Outside, an undercover tour takes us to the discovery of other completely renovated infrastructures: the bakery, kitchens, powder magazine, the watchtower ...
Fort Téremba gets life for an extravaganza of light and sound, in October or November of each year, ended by a beautiful fireworks. A hundred figurants in costumes call into light the Caledonian history to the time of the prison era.
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9am to 4pm
Price: 800 XPF / adult and 400 XPF / child
Phone: +687 44 32 71