New Dawn’s light begins to shine bright
Gold and treachery – the Mt Kare affair

Hal Holman puts phoenix to bed at last

Portrait In a long career as jackeroo, soldier, ad man, artist and sculptor, Hal Holman OAM has lived a rich life. As a young commando, he fought in the New Guinea campaign in World War II beginning an association with PNG that continues to this day. It is a relationship that has yielded a strong cultural outcome: he designed the PNG national crest, sculpted larger than lifesize bronzes of every PNG prime minister since Independence and contributed significantly to the design of the PNG flag.

Hal has now completed the long task of writing his autobiography. The book focuses both on the making of the artist and the trials and tribulations that seem an inevitable part of the artistic life. Here's an extract from the book, ‘The Phoenix Rises Eternal’…..

We spread out again until I began to doubt that Jack would tend toward the furthermost signal fires. From earlier conversations I knew that he would head for the saddle on the eastern side of Mount Wilhelm. That would keep him more toward the two fires we had passed. In view of this I also surmised that Jack might have treated the five shots as a Japanese ploy. I also realized it was possible that he might be dead.

My gut feeling was that a repeat volley of five shots was needed to affirm that there was someone here who was not afraid of being heard. So I fired another five rounds at measured intervals. The echoes seemed to go on and on.

A great hush fell on the carriers. Then a shot rang out within a reasonable distance!

The team had been ordered to remain silent in such an event and they all converged on me to seek my instructions. I addressed them when all were accounted for. In subdued tones I instructed them about the folly of rushing to the origin of the shot in case it came from the Japanese. I took two carriers with me and we approached the site with stealth. If it were Jack I would let the carriers know. With that I left with two men; the others were to hide in the bush to await our return.

You can read the full chapter in The ASOPA Archives at left.

‘The search for Private Jack Dellar’, from ‘The Phoenix Rises Eternal’, an unpublished memoir by Haldane Sinclair Holman OAM

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