Since being elected president of the Papua New Guinea Association a couple of months ago, I’ve discovered, more than I ever previously knew, that a lot is done by individual Australians to provide meaningful and targeted assistance to the people of PNG. Let’s look at an example of this as seen in the contribution of Colleen Neville. Colleen gave birth to her three eldest sons when she lived in Milne Bay, and now she returns to the province regularly “to do what I can to help the local community”.
“My visits to PNG become more exciting each time I return,” Colleen says. ”A lady in Cairns made six beautiful teddy bears which I was able to use as part of the prize list to hold a fund raising dinner to buy medicines for the hospital in Alotau. The airlines and local businesses were very generous with their donations and Masuarina Lodge provided the venue. Two young local men, Jeremiah and Ben, kept us entertained all night with their very professional guitar playing. It was all a great success and raised two and a half thousand kina.”
Now Colleen is about to leave Cairns once more to help her sons put the finishing touches on a plantation resort they’re building on Doini Island near Samarai. “The waterfront dongas are beautiful,” Colleen says. “On the edge of palm fringed white sandy beaches surrounded by turquoise waters.”
It seems a committee has been formed in Alotau to build a war museum to honour the troops who fought and died during the battle of the Coral Sea and to acknowledge this turning point in World War II, which many believe saved Australia from occupation by the Japanese. (Although military historians now accept that the Japanese had no intention of invading Australia because of the logistical problems that would have ensued.)
Colleen asks that if anyone has family or friends who would be interested in donating war memorabilia to the museum, these contributions would be greatly appreciated. You can email Colleen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 0418 700 642.