Ours was the year that was: 1960-61
Hell for the Yanks is Paradise for the rest of us

The musty-sweet scent of our memories

Things work in strange ways. Yesterday Bill Welbourne emailed he’d read in ASOPA PEOPLE that Siebrand Petrusma had donated a collection of old Pacific Islands Monthly magazines to the cause. Did they go back to 1966, Bill asked.

PIM - now extinct – was a publication that one observer said provided “advertisements, photographs and stories that fuelled the idyllic image of these magic [Pacific] lands”. It turned out that a 1966 issue had published a photo of Bill and his son Tony.

In this lost article,” Bill wrote, “I remember seeing a photo of me as the South Pacific record holder and hot favourite for the 800 metres. The photo shows my two-year old son Tony handing me my athletic spikes.”

I leafed through the copies from 1966 that Siebrand had sent - some issues missing, some without covers - gently turning torn pages as the detritus of PNG fell on my desk – dust, grass fragments, small spiders. And all the while that musty-sweet scent of the tropics emitting from the newsprint. Until there, on page 24 of the December issue, was Bill’s missing photo.

Bill_tony_dec_66Jackson Wells Morris office supervisor James Cropper scanned the page and we sent the result to Bill, who was grateful and generous in his praise: “Thanks ever so much, Keith. The speed of your public relations set up amazes me. By the time I scratched my nose and put out the garbage, you had retrieved my lost photo which I have been wanting all those years.”

And how did Bill go at that second South Pacific Games in Noumea. Unfortunately three years of teaching in the tropics had taken their toll. In the 800 metres he ran 8 seconds off his best and was pipped on the line just 0.3 seconds adrift of Ellia Humuni of New Caledonia. Bill also won silver in the 400 metres hurdles.


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Richard E. Jones

Great to see that Siebrand had kept his PIMs in reasonable and readable condition. Keithy will remember editor-in-chief (I think that was his title) Stuart Inder and indeed I had a full set dating back to the mid-60s. From time to time I had penned an article either about boxing in PNG or the South Pacific Games of '66 or '69.

Alas for my collection. During some renovations in our Bendigo house one summer we needed to relocate the PIMs (in their specially provided plastic boxes (or did those come from the sets of Choice magazines) to the garage temporarily. Anyway our zealous next-door neighbours left the hoses attached to their water tanks on for about 5 or 6 hours, thereby draining the scarce resource while providing moisture for their laburnum walk, but flooding our garage into the bargain.

The PIMs ended up as a sodden mass. However, copies of the Fighter magazine encapsulating many of the exploits of Martin Beni, Tumat Sogolik and the late Johnny Aba, had been placed on a pile of winter wood - and survived.
So Billy and Keithy. You are very lucky indeed to have access to dry copies of the mid-1960s Pac Islands magazine.

Siebrand Petrusma

Delighted to see good use of those wonderful old issues of PIM. They have been part of my treasures for decades and am sure will bring many memories back to many ex Territorians.

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