Commemorating our contribution to PNG
Missing People column is launched

The spy who ran into me

Martin Hadlow writes: “This morning I was in a Harvey Norman shop in Brisbane and recognised one of the customers. I approached him and asked: ‘Are you John from Kieta?’ It was he - John McGregor.”

John_mcgregor In the middle of the computer store, both men got down to some serious reminiscing. John [left] regaled Martin with tales of his time as an intelligence officer in Kieta in the early seventies and boldly revealed his nickname of the time, 006½. Distant days from the time in 1972 I accosted John in a Kieta tradestore, hailing him with a loud “monin tru 007”, whereupon said spy ducked for cover behind boxes of tinned meat, wildly flailing arms cautioning me to silence.

John ‘went finish’ to north Queensland in 1975, buying a large boat and spending the next 25 years carting tourists around the Barrier Reef. He’s now managing director – and has been for 19 years - of a Brisbane-based computer firm mischievously named Smallpond, which among many other things hosts the Ex-Kiap website. Smallpond's marketing blurb is pure ex-kiapitan: “The Captain’s Web [see logo, right] prides itself in honest Captain assessment of your internet circumstances - this may not be advice you wish to hear, but it will be based on 19 years of practical experience.”

John is now contemplating a return north to live in a small village in the Cairns hinterland. He remains married to Julie and they have three children. Martin comments: “John is now grey of hair (aren't we all) and, clearly, judging by his girth, has been continuing to put away more than a few beers.” Haven’t we all.

Good to hear news of our erstwhile comrade.


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