Kiap recognition project takes next step
Friends all over the place: bits & pieces

Richard closer to story than ‘Bulletin’

Henry MacD Bodman

I am relieved that my fellow ruckman of Sydney University days (and well known PNG League aficionado) ‘Richard the Dick’ Jones has, in his recent piece, resisted entering the same state of orgasm adopted by the Gold Coast Bulletin in the matter of Amua Parika’s budding stardom.

In the article, extolling the promise of this young Papuan beanpole, the Bulletin’s sports writer referred to “the first (Rules) ‘international’ played between the Gold Coast and  Papua New Guinea in 1971.” The story goes that a former Surfers Paradise premiership player, Clive Foster, was field umpire of this ‘international’ game at the Lex Bell Oval on the Isle of Capri and remembers “most of them (PNG players) did not even wear boots and most spoke pidgin English”. He also remembers “the fact Gold Coast won easily”.

Richard the Dick also refers to the Gold Coast Rules “bond”and a “series of internationals”. I wonder about these.

As a member of an “end of season” club trip to the Gold Coast in 1971 a game was played as Clive remembers, but the “PNG players” were a mix of club senior and reserve players - predominantly expatriates with Australian playing experience. There were also a couple of players of PNG birth – two of them on their way to the VFL grand final at the MCG – hosted by the St Kilda Football Club.

As part of the selection process carried out by the PNG A. N. F. Council, I can assure readers that those selected to be the country’s flag bearers in Melbourne during “the last week of September” were selected as much on their ability to “sell the PNG image” (in English) as their ability on the field. Both played in the Gold Coast “friendly”in football boots and would not have used pidgin as members of a predominantly Australian team.

Thus, the so called “first international” was merely a club end of year trip with a social game played by a scratch Port Moresby Club side.

The easy win to the Gold Coast is also a long way off the mark. The scratch side led all day and in 25th minute of a final 20 minute quarter (no time on) the bell was rung the moment the Gold Coast kicked a goal to “win” the game by less than six points.

On the matter of “internationals”, games against Cairns, North Queensland and Townsville were played in the mid fifties - as soon as the Papuan Australian National Football League was established. But the ”PNG sides” were selected only from the Papuan competition. Internationals?

Henry Bodman was a distinguished aerial ping ponger from the New Guinea side and also a pioneer in establishing and developing Australian Rules in PNG


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Gordon Walmsley

I read the articles by Henry Bodman. I am sure I played for Boroko against Henry Bodman who represented Port Moresby in the Papuan League around 1961.

In 1962-c63 I became captain coach of Boroko and was appointed captain-coach of the Papuan representative side playing against HMAS Swan and North Queensland.

Amongst the Papuan team was Jack Moffat (DCA) an ex Swan Districts (WA) player. The team was mainly expats and few local lads with good potential.

I was subsequently transferred to Lae in 1964 by Trans Australia Airlines after my marriage to Lee Wightman and my involvement with Aussie Rules continued by flying to POM from Lae in the DC6B to play for Port Moresby. However this was for only a few games.

I was subsequently appointed captain-coach of New Guinea where we were soundly thrashed by Papua in Lae.

I retired from football in 1964 however went on to umpire the 1964 Grand Final between Port Moresby and Sogeri . I still have the souvenir program.

Your column may assist in me returning the Burns Philp Shield to the PANFL that Papua won from North Queensland in 1964.

My time continued in PNG at Bulolo as airline agent for the Bulolo Gold Dredging Company 1965-66 before I was appointed Port Manager Ansett MAL Rabaul 1966-68.

I then returned to Perth with Ansett ANA.

I have a photo of all the managers from PNG days taken at Madang in 1966 and I can make this available if considered suitable.

I look forward to providing further contributions.

We'd like to hear more from Gordon about footie and aviation in those far off days. Can any reader assist Gordon with his request about returning the Burns Philp Shield to PANFL? - KJ

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