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15 posts from September 2006


Joekathryn_1 My clean living bikie mate Joe Crainean, seen here with new wife Kathryn, is seeking to contact Paul Wells who taught at Kibaru Primary T School in the Southern Highlands around 1963-65. Kibaru was a few miles out of Mendi on the way to Oiyarup Primary T School, where Joe was head teacher from 1964-65. Paul was an E-Course graduate. Should you read this log Paul, you can get in touch with Joe here.


62basketball There was a time. A time when we were ageless and lean. A time when our primary concerns were finishing assignments on schedule, scraping through examinations and a season free of injury. These young men are in that time. The ASOPA firsts basketball team of 1962. You may recognise, at the back, Bob (Moose) David, Loch Blatchford, Russ Derbridge and Roger Cordukes. And, in front, David Keating, Grahame (Ben) Uhlmann, Graham George and Ken Godden.


Davesirjohn I've been very tardy in posting these photographs to ASOPA PEOPLE. They were both taken at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in March this year. The first shows David Keating [ASOPA 61/62] with Sir John Dawanincura, the Secretary-General of the PNG Sports Federation.

David and Sir John have been friends for 40 years, having met at the South Pacific Games in Noumea in 1966. At the time, David was a prominent athlete and Sir John a member of the gold medal winning PNG Rugby XV. They're pictured standing in front of a plaque commemorating the gold medal swim by PNG's Ryan Pini in the 100 metres butterfly.

6162girls The second photograph was also taken during the Games and shows four of the women from that 1961-62 ASOPA course: Marg Raspin (nee O'Connor), Liz Gregory (nee Keegan), Erica Smith (nee Ardill) and Barbara George (nee Webb). As fine a group of ex-Asopians you'd go a long way to find.

Blokes at the Oaks

Davebreatho Colin 'Huggiebear' Huggins visits Sydney Town for a bit of R&R from the north. We catch up for a spot of lunch at The Oaks, where else, with Dave 'Dubbo' Kesby. Despite the graphic photo of a breathaliser wielding Dave (my greatly amused mother in law, Libby Lowig, in attendance) the taxi-travelling public of Sydney has no reason to fear. Dave restricted himself to two glasses of soda water - before driving Col home gratis. That's why Sydneysiders love our cabbies. Col continues to do a fantastic job with the bigger than Ben Hur production that is next year's ASOPA reunion in Brisbane.

Marie Reay

Marie_reay Marie Reay [1922-2004] was a senior fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the Australian National University, author of The Kuma and numerous articles on the New Guinea Highlands. She also spent time at ASOPA. The anthropologist AP Elkin inspired her with an interest in Aborigines and in the mid-1940s she became the first anthropologist to study contemporary conditions among Aborigines in Northern NSW.

After a year as a research assistant at the London School of Economics, Marie spent two years lecturing at ASOPA. She then began a study of the Orokaiva in Papua. This project was aborted by the eruption of Mt Lamington, in which she was caught up and after which she suffered a nervous breakdown.

In 1953, however, she returned to New Guinea and was the first woman anthropologist to go to the Highlands, though the authorities took a good deal of persuading, and imposed absurd restrictions including dress, which once in the field she was able to ignore. The journalist, Colin Simpson discovered her there, and featured her in his travelogue, Adam in Plumes (1954).

Marie remained at ANU for the rest of her career and, despite increasing infirmity, continued to return to the Wahgi, where she maintained a house, almost to the end of her life.

[Source: Australian Journal of Anthropology, December 2005 by Paula Brown Glick and Jeremy Beckett]


Andrew Hughes describes himself as a “(very) mature-aged student”. The 53-year old PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide is also working on a (very) unusual thesis. He’s undertaking research exploring notions of manhood among Australian men who lived and worked in positions of authority with Indigenous Australians and Papua New Guineans.

Andrew wants to interview about 20 men from a variety of careers (patrol officers, community advisers, missionaries, police, teachers etc). Participants must be Australian citizens over the age 18. The study is confidential, so nothing said will be reported in a way that will identify individuals unless people agree to be identified, and it will be based on interviews about people's reminiscences, experiences and attitudes concerning masculinity and ethnic identity.

Andrew hopes the study may reveal personal understandings of black - white frontier relations of the type usually unrecorded in official histories. It may also disclose how masculinity is sensed and measured in relation to other people and so could be of assistance in understanding conflict in inter-cultural situations.

This is a worthwhile project, which has been approved by the University of Adelaide Human Research Ethics Committee as well as by Andrew’s supervisors in the University’s Department of Gender, Work and Social Inquiry.

You can contact Andrew Hughes c/o Department of Gender, Work and Social Inquiry, University of Adelaide SA 5005. Telephone (08) 8303 3743 or email him hereI’ll be sticking up my hand to assist and I hope qualified male readers will contribute to furthering knowledge about ‘frontier relations’ by doing the same.


Oakshotel_street_shot The Oaks Hotel at Neutral Bay (just across Military Road from the offices of Jackson Wells Morris) was always a popular watering hole for patrol officers and education officers studying at ASOPA. In fact, there was period in the 1960s, with the kiaps banned a number of other pubs in the district, that it became the nearest place to buy a beer. The pub was especially well frequented each second Thursday – pay day – when it became difficult to get a quorum for those afternoon lectures.

The Oaks, as all habitués are aware, has an expansive courtyard dominated by a magnificent oak tree (quercus robur). The tree was planted in August 1938 by Kathleen McGill, a member of the Furlong family who held the hotel’s licence from 1918-75. The original 30cm high seedling came from the old Anthony Horderns department store in Sydney’s George Street, where it was a custom to give an oak tree seedling to any patron spending more than 10 pounds.

OaktreeThe tree still stands, and long may it, and this month the hotel management is giving away oak seedlings to patrons who buy four steaks at the Bistro. Not quite as elegant as spending a tenner at Anthony Horderns, but a neat historical echo nonetheless.


Stephen Romei and his wife, my daughter Sally Jackson, who was born in Rabaul, were New York-based correspondents for The Australian from July 1999 to July 2002. In today’s issue of the newspaper Stephen writes of his 9/11 in an article dramatically entitled,‘The day I feared I'd sent my wife to her death’ ….

Sally_sydney “As it was 11pm in Sydney, the deadline would be tight. I decided to stay at the computer and write the story. My wife, Sally Jackson, also a journalist with The Australian, would duck out and get some colour. "Just get as close to the World Trade Centre as you can," I told her. A dozen words; it was five hours before I saw her again.

“Five hours in which I wrote and wrote and wrote. Just as well, really, as it was only the work that stood between me and panic and despair. As I watched the towers tumble in constant replay on CNN, I convinced myself that I had sent Sally to her death.

“She had the mobile but it was useless as the transmission tower was on the WTC. I didn't know that until much later; I must have called the number 100 times. Bizarrely, or so it seemed at the time, people in Australia - editors in Sydney, family, friends - had no trouble reaching me on my home phone.

“As it turned out, Sally got stuck on the subway and was never in any real danger. She got close enough to the scene to be covered in soot and dust, but that was all. About 2pm, she walked through the door of our apartment, about 20 blocks from Ground Zero. We have joked about it since.”

Photo: Sally with son, Sydney [Ingrid Jackson]


A recent issue of the Australian Sculptors Society Bulletin reports:

Somare In 1962 Hal Holman flew to Port Moresby for what was intended as a brief visit to see his sister, Lexy. Instead he joined the Department of Information and Extension Services as senior illustrator. Among his colleagues was a young journalist named Michael Somare, who later became PNG’s first Prime Minister.

Hal was called upon to train Papua New Guineans direct from village level, as art room staff. His job also required that he design publications with illustrations of PNG subjects for education and conservation of wildlife, such as birdwing butterflies, birds of paradise and endangered reef fish and coral. At that time he designed the PNG National crest and was largely instrumental in the design of their flag.

Qeii Since then many commissions have come from PNG such as a large bronze bust of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and bronze busts of the six prime ministers of PNG since Independence. In addition Hal created an eight metre high stainless steel Bird of Paradise adjacent to Parliament House on a highway roundabout in Port Moresby. There are many other sculptures in the Botanical Gardens and the University.

Sculptures of Sir Michael Somare and the young Queen Elizabeth II [Photos by Hal Holman]

Chicken ASOPA

Thought you’d enjoy hearing about a dish called Chicken Asopa, which is apparently a favourite of chef Juan Carlos Cruz - self-styled 'calorie commando' who, according to the Foodnetwork website, "heads up a saucy swat team to help regular folks deal with their food issues". The dish is five-star rated and is said to serve up to ten people.

1 kilo boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons olive oil
100 grams bacon, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 medium spicy turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, chopped
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup long-grain white rice
3 cups water or chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas

Toss chicken with oregano, pepper, paprika, salt, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil until evenly coated. Brown chicken in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil a large non-stick pot. Add bacon and garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until onion and pepper are tender.

Add tomato, browned chicken, and sausage. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add olives, capers, rice, and water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add frozen peas and simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Sounds good, huh?


Paul Brigg and Dick Arnold have done a fine job in locating all but 5 or 6 of the ASOPA Class of 1960-61. The group’s first reunion will coincide with the third reunion of the Class of 1962-62 in Brisbane from 12 - 14 October next year. It is estimated that up to 50 people will attend. The Class of 1960-61 have now been added to the circulation list of The Mail, receiving their first email copy today. If you haven’t caught up with Issue No 102, you can do so here.


Murray Bladwell advises that the annual Papua New Guinea Education colleagues and friends lunch is on again this year - scheduled for 12 noon, Saturday 14 October at the Jindalee Hotel, Sinnamon Road, Jindalee in Brisbane.

Challenge Last year a record 68 former PNG educators, partners and friends attended the event at which Gail Burke’s book, Meeting the Challenge, was launched. Copies of the book [left], about Australian teachers’ experiences in PNG, will be on sale at the lunch.

The cost of the lunch is the same as last year, $30 a head plus $2 a head to cover out of pocket expenses. A cash bar will be open in the private dining room. Meal payments are to be made by cash or cheque to Murray Bladwell on the day.

Could you please let Murray know if you can or cannot attend no later than Thursday 28 September. You can phone him on 07 3379 3771 or email him here.


Bill_bohlen Bill Bohlen [left] has launched a useful website for people attending the reunion of the ASOPA Class of 1962-63 in Brisbane from 12 - 14 October 2007. In addition to detailing available accommodation and enabling email bookings, the site has a current list of participants and a wealth of information for visitors to Brisbane – including attractions, food and wine, the arts, health and leisure and much more. While parts of the site are still being put together, it represents a valuable input to enable people to get the most from their visit to the Queensland capital next Spring.


Francis_drake_1In January 1970 the SS Francis Drake [left] docked in Rabaul’s Simpson Harbour eight weeks out of Sydney going the long way round - via Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei, Yokohama, Nagoya and Guam.

I disembarked with then wife, Sue, and two-year old son, Simon, and we absorbed the ambience of our new home. The town and its harbour, protected from the sea but ringed by volcanoes, were visually splendid. The air was hot, humid and still and smelled of copra and sulphur. This photo shows Simpson Harbour with Tavurvur Volcano in the distance and the wharf middle distant.Rabaulcaldera

Radio Rabaul, where I was to take up my new appointment as assistant manager, was nearby. After a week in a hotel, we moved into our quarters on 2nd/22nd Street, named after the ill-fated Australian garrison overwhelmed by invading Japanese forces in 1942.

1970 was an eventful year in Rabaul. The Mataungan Association had stepped up its struggle over land rights and was causing the Australian Administration much grief. Prime Minister John Gorton visited in July and, as Gough Whitlam, later wrote: “He was greeted in Rabaul by an audience of 10 000 who were as hostile as our 11 000 (on an earlier visit) had been enthusiastic. Tom Ellis, head of the Department of the Administrator, gave Gorton a handgun.”

It was at about this time that I first met Sam Piniau, a Tolai broadcaster who, a couple of years later, was appointed as the first chairman of the PNG National Broadcasting Commission. Sam – a charming, capable and intelligent man - was to become a great friend.

94rabaul200x136c Last week, on a scratchy telephone line, I spoke to Sam for the first time in many years. He now lives in a village outside Kokopo, the new provincial capital since Rabaul was destroyed in the volcanic eruption of September 1994. Later next month, I’ll be in Rabaul for the first time since 1971 on the MY Orion. And Sam and I are looking forward to renewing the friendship.

[Lower photo: Rabaul after the 1994 eruption - University of Papua New Guinea]

New Pacific role for Sean Dorney

Australia_network About a month ago the ABC launched a new international television service, the Australia Network, which broadcasts to 10 million homes across Asia and the Pacific with news, sport, documentaries, drama and lifestyle programs.

Long-time ABC Papua New Guinea and Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney has just taken up a new role as Pacific correspondent for the Australia Network. His boss is former PNG broadcaster David Ransom, who's in charge of news and current affairs for the service.

SeandorneyFor the first time in about five years I met up with Sean over dinner last night – and am pleased to report he’s very enthusiastic about his new assignment. We shared a great evening with veteran broadcaster Phil Charley and artist and sculptor Hal Holman, just returned from Port Moresby where his most recent sculpture - of former PNG Prime Minister Rabbie Namaliu, with whom I shared a politics honours class in 1976 - was unveiled.

Sean is one of the ABC’s most experienced and respected correspondents, an acknowledged authority on Papua New Guinea and author of two books on PNG affairs. He lived and worked in PNG for almost 20 years and, in a roller coaster career, was both deported and awarded honours by the PNG Government. The first of his three postings to Papua New Guinea began in 1974, just before PNG independence, when I first met him.

Sean was captain of the PNG Rugby League national team, the Kumuls, and played representative football for two years. In 1991 the PNG Government awarded him an MBE for services to broadcasting and sport. He won a Walkley Award for radio news reporting after his coverage of the tsunami that struck PNG in July 1998. He returned to Australia in 1999 with wife Pauline, also a journalist. Apart from that impressive cv, Sean Dorney’s also a bloody good bloke.