Off Bougainville, Sunday – It’s a good day to spend at sea. As Orion makes her passage from Gizo to Rabaul the clouds are low, visibility is poor and it’s raining. Somewhere to the east is Bougainville - home to my family and me for three years in the early seventies, when I was manager of Radio Bougainville.

Around 1972, PNG Director of Education, Dr Ken McKinnon, visited Kieta and, through the radio station, I did him a small favour, to which he quipped: “I’d expect nothing less from an ex-teacher!

The other day my daughter Sally, a journalist with The Australian newspaper, interviewed Ken, who is the long-standing chairman of the Australian Press Council. Sally mentioned ASOPA PEOPLE to him and Ken wrote a comment to this blog, which I will amplify by reproducing here:

“Until Sally sent me the ASOPA URL information, I had no idea there was an active internet blogging facility for ex PNG people, so I am following your travels with interest. I can beat your thirty year reunion with PNG, having first landed in Port Moresby in early May 1954 after an ASOPA course between January and April.

“My Sydney sojourn came after two years at Oodnadatta, so was mostly a time for savouring the offerings of the city - not neglecting the ASOPA luminaries such as James Macauley and Camilla Wedgewood.

“Anyway, at the beginning of 1955 I was posted as Area Education Officer in the Milne Bay District based at Samarai (Alotau did not exist) and got around the Trobriands, Misima etc.

“I see you are going to Rabaul and meeting Sam Piniau there. Remember me to him, as I have strong memories of him initiating me into the Duk-duk society, which cost me a fascinating afternoon of dancing and later several fathoms of shell money. More when I have time and memories come back.”


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