Bagana, an andesite lava cone on Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea, is thought to be a very young central volcano. We have tested this idea by estimating the volumes of lava extruded over different time intervals (1-, 2-, 3-, 9-, 15-, 70-years) using digital elevation models (DEMs), mainly created from satellite data. Our results show that the long-term extrusion rate at Bagana, measured over years to decades, has remained at about 1.0 m3 s?1. We present models of the total edifice volume, and show that, if our measured extrusion rates are representative, the volcano could have been built in only ~300 years. It could also possibly have been built at a slower rate during a longer, earlier period of growth. Six kilometres NNW of Bagana, an andesite-dacite volcano, Billy Mitchell, had a large, caldera-forming plinian eruption 437 years ago. We consider the possibility that, as a result of this eruption, the magma supply was diverted from Billy Mitchell to Bagana. It seems that Bagana is a rare example of a very youthful, polygenetic, andesite volcano. The characteristics of such a volcano, based on the example of Bagana, are: a preponderance of lava products over pyroclastic products, a high rate of lava extrusion maintained for decades, a very high rate of SO2 emission, evidence of magma batch fractionation and location in a trans-tensional setting at the end of an arc segment above a very steeply dipping and rapidly converging subduction zone.