Reformers bring new hope to PNGAA
Papua's Parika: from Moresby to MCG

Phil Ainsworth – profile of a reformer

Whistlestop Phil Ainsworth, who last Wednesday was appointed to lead the PNGAA Reform Group as it seeks to engender a new mood of unity, harmony and reform in the Association, is a founding partner and long-serving Managing Director of King and Co, a leading Queensland commercial and industrial property company. He also has other business interests in Queensland.

Phil was in PNG for 21 years from 1960, serving through Independence and post Independence before retiring to Brisbane, his hometown, where he took up a cartographic position in the Department of Forests assisting in the mapping of PNG forest areas. In this role, he was involved in the production of the first true topographical maps of PNG. He also began a cartographic course for Papua New Guineans at the Forestry School in Bulolo.

After graduating in Economics from Queensland University, Phil was involved in PNG forestry project negotiations before moving to the Central Planning Office in 1972. He stayed with this organization until 1981, serving under its head, Charles Lepani, present PNG High Commissioner to Australia.

Phil established King & Co in 1988 and it quickly became a leading player in South East Queensland's commercial real estate market. This company’s expertise have made it a respected authority in this field. Phil is also credited with strongly influencing the debate on transport in South East Queensland and he is a respected analyst on the relationship between the commercial property industry and major transport infrastructure.

For the past four years Phil has also been the President of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles and Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles Ex-Members Association Inc, which has a strong track record in working with Papua New Guinea to ensure that the contribution of this group is recognised and remembered. Phil’s association with the military began when he was obliged to undertake National Service training in 1955. He transferred to the CMF at about the same time he was commissioned in the Artillery Corps in 1959.

As soon as he was appointed to PNG, Phil transferred to the PNG Volunteer Rifles, an Australian CMF unit, as a platoon commander in Port Moresby. He recalls as perhaps the most satisfying part of his military service being in 1964 when the integration of Papua New Guineans into the PNGVR occurred.

When the PNGVR was disbanded in 1973, just prior to self government, over 80 percent of members were Papua New Guineans and the first commissioned officers had been appointed. Phil transferred to the military reserve in 1968 with the rank of Captain.

Phil has been a member of PNGAA since October 2008, about the time he first made contact with the organisation concerning the proposed Montevideo Maru Memorial at Subic Bay. He became interested in joining the Association because of the restructuring proposal he read about on the Association’s website. Although the NGVR/PNGVR Association is working positively to benefit relations between Australia and Papua New Guinea, it would always be limited because of its nature.

The renewed PNGAA seemed to him to be an ideal vehicle for building the relationship: a fairly large and growing Australia-wide membership; an excellent journal; and, above all, a broad community of people who had an affinity with Papua New Guinea and who seemed committed to develop and build meaningful engagement with our nearest neighbour.

Comments

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Colin Huggins

Paul - Besides the cattle stud of "Bovine Beauties", of which we now all know (must have been the Finschhaafen experience?) observance of various aspects is highly commendable.

How bloody observant - the clock!

That clock is five minutes fast for train catchers. Funny how I watch it and still miss my train. Eventually I'll work out the maths. And catch the train!


Paul Oates

Phil - Clearly the photograph is proof the you only partake when the sun is over the yardarm. Great to have you on board.

Now about that PNGVR/Light Horse range day. What size targets do you have in mind? .303's at 100 yards (er, sorry) 100 meters. Do you need any practice before the comp?

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