You will be impressed by this historic vestige of French deportation and of the living conditions of convicts. In Fort Téremba, these buildings restored to as they used to be will transport you to another era, that of life in this penitentiary. A visit laden with emotion for understanding a chapter in the history of New Caledonia. 

When the construction of Fort Teremba began in 1871, nobody could have imagined the singular fate that awaited it. Indeed, the citadel has become a historic testament to the colonial era as well as the site of a light and sound show that attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Place of memory

Approximately 90 minutes from Nouméa, the town of Moindou hosts Fort Téremba, former jail and headquarters of the French army overlooking the sea and extending over 11 hectares. This place provides an intense history of the penal colony in New Caledonia. This open-air museum was listed as a historical monument in 1989. 

Built along Uarai bay, the military fort and penitentiary constructed under the command of the then governor, Gaultier de la Richerie, was christened Teremba with reference to the islet of the same name found in the middle of Uarai bay. Soon to become the penal and administrative centre of a vast territory that covers La Foa, Farino, Moindou, Téremba held within its walls convicts of France, men and women who had committed crimes or misdemeanours. 

Having become a key focus of the region’s penitentiary and military heritage, Fort Teremba now welcomes a great many tourists each year, not to mention the thousands of school children invited to discover a piece of local history. 

A historic site

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  • Fort Teremba in Moindou

    At the heart of the 1878 revolt

    Depending on their sentences or conduct, convicts received a plot of land to resettle in New Caledonia, at the expense of the Melanesians. The anger of the dispossessed mounted, exploding in the Kanak revolt of 1878, led by the legendary chief Atai. Téremba came under siege, but was never taken. The centre was reinforced by the construction of a fort in the penal colony. This story is told in part by the permanent exhibition that is now installed inside the fort.

  • Fort Teremba in Moindou

    A permanent exhibition

    Depending on their sentences or conduct, convicts received a plot of land to resettle in New Caledonia, at the expense of the Melanesians. The anger of the dispossessed mounted, exploding in the Kanak revolt of 1878, led by the legendary chief Atai. Téremba came under siege, but was never taken. The centre was reinforced by the construction of a fort in the penal colony. This story is told in part by the permanent exhibition that is now installed inside the fort.

  • Fort Teremba in Moindou

    Rebirth of Fort Téremba

    The end of the sending of convicts plunged Téremba into oblivion.After several decades of disuse, Teremba would take on a new lease of life when it was restored thanks to the initiative of the local Marguerite association, leading it to be featured on the list of New Caledonia’s historic monuments in 1989. The old fort can now be seen exactly as it was. Start your walk outside to have a view of the buildings and understand the organization of the penitentiary. The reconstructed main building thus features a permanent exhibition of the fort’s history. Reconstructed prison cells offer a very convincing illustration of scenes of the way life once was there. Lastly, the watchtower and perimeter wall, which can be explored on foot, have also undergone meticulous restoration. Having become a key focus of the region’s penitentiary and military heritage, Fort Teremba now welcomes a great many tourists each year, not to mention the thousands of school children invited to discover a piece of local history.

  • Fort Teremba in Moindou

    A light and sound show full of color!

    Since 1987, every November, the fort has hosted a light and sound show recreating scenes from its heyday. A great many spectators crowd around the fort to watch the show involving more than 150 volunteers. Over the course of a two-hour show, major events and small details from Caledonian history are thus portrayed: the penal colony, the 1878 insurrection, the daily life of the settlers, the work of the stockmen (local cowboys!) or the American presence during the Second World War.
    To conclude the show, Fort Teremba is illuminated by the most stunning twenty-minute pyrotechnic show organized in New Caledonia each year!

  • Fort Teremba in Moindou

    Around Fort Téremba

    • Ryawa palm tree farm
    • Sodacal Aquaculture farm
    • Méaoué nursery
    • Kabyle cemetery
    • New Zealand military cemetery

Discover the must-sees in Moindou