Chris Viner-Smith’s book, Australia’s Forgotten Frontier, reminds us that, in addition to many other duties, the Kiap was also a commissioned officer of the Royal Papua & New Guinea Constabulary, with the rank of Sub Inspector; although with no uniform or badge of office. Viner-Smith was 19 years old in 1961 when he responded to an Adelaide newspaper advertisement for the position of ‘Cadet Patrol Officer, Territory of Papua and New Guinea – Training Provided’. His application was successful and his experiences in PNG until 1971 provide the basis of this book.
“[These experiences] could be described as the origins of international deployment of Australian Police to overseas countries,” writes reviewer Mick Barnes. In 1964, the PNG-West Irian border. Smith details his experiences of having to confront large groups of Indonesian troops who had crossed the border and attacks on his police patrol by local tribes.
Reviewer Nancy Johnston writes: “In the chapter ‘Seeking Recognition for all Kiaps’, the author tells how he challenged the Federal Government, without success, [to acknowledge] that Kiaps were different to the expatriate regular police and that they should be recognised for the rather amazing things they did in the early post war years including controlling the International border with the Indonesians and maintaining law and order in an Australian Territory under extreme conditions; thus assisting Papua New Guinea towards Self Government and ultimately Independence.”
Australia's Forgotten Frontier by Chris Viner Smith, ISBN 978-0-646-47541-7. Price $14.95 incl p&p. Available from PO Box 394, Curtin, ACT 2605 or email email@example.com
Sources: Nancy Johnston, ‘Una Voce’; Mick Barnes, ‘Queensland Police Union Journal'