Bob Burlington was the year behind me at Nowra High School and then he arrived at ASOPA the year behind me in 1963. He was of pleasant countenance, as lean as a ferret and as clean cut as a country boy can be. After graduating from ASOPA in 1964 Bob spent some ten years in PNG’s  Madang Province - six teaching on Karkar Island, two teaching at Talidig and two in Madang as curriculum adviser. At the time Madang was billed as the prettiest town in the South Pacific. “Good years and great friendships,” Bob recalls now, “although I’d have to confess to contributing greatly to the ongoing financial security of South Pacific Brewery”.

I’ve just received a letter from Bob, my first contact with him in 44 years, which included a query about whether I remembered him. Of course I remember him. Nowra boys never forget (there was so little to forget in the forgettable fifties). Bob now lives on 100 acres in the village of Rylstone, one of the oldest settlements on the lee side of the Great Divide in NSW. He still does a bit of casual teaching after retiring from his post as a high school teacher at Mt Druitt in Sydney's west.

Bob’s teaching career book-ended periods as a truck driver and working in a publishing company as, like a lot of us who left PNG around Independence, he sought a career in Australia to match the  excitement and romance of the one he’d just left.

Hearing from Bob, I was reminded of a story. Col Booth visited Bob on Karkar for kapti one Saturday morning in the sixties. They talked, as Col relates, “while Bob had a beer as he was inclined to do most mornings”. Everything seemed peaceful in the haus wind until Bob excused himself and returned with a rifle. “He took aim at the saksak roof, pulled the trigger and pieces of a large python fell at our feet,” claims Col.

I reckon that's a great anecdote. And I think we all kept Bruce Flynn, then general manager of SP Brewery, a very happy man and much loved by his shareholders. Bruce, as you might expect, was also very partial to a glass or two of his product.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Richard E. Jones

LAST Easter we rented a holiday house in the Jervis Bay area of NSW's south coast for a family holiday.
During the week we were there we visited a number of the neighbouring towns, as you do, to suss out rural beachside living, NSW-style.
I have to say, Keithy and Bob, Nowra was a great disappointment. Run-down and a trifle tawdry despite its obvious "Gods' waiting room" ambience.
However further south a little town called Huskisson was terrific.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)