BRISBANE - I was born in Rabaul in 1955 but grew up on Bougainville - on a couple of plantations: at Tenakau near Wakunai and at Aropa, which my dad, Greg Wall, managed from 1964-1971.
I'm researching on Aropa Plantation (south of Kieta) and trying to fill some gaps pre-1947 and earlier.
I’m interested in contacting Nathan Diercke to see what he has on his great-great grandfather's time on Woskawitz at Tinputz, which could tie in with German holdings on Bougainville at that time.
I'm really interested in finding out about life on Bougainville in the German times prior to the expropriation board confiscating properties.
As a child, I remember Mrs Francis Kroening well. She was Dr Bruno Korening's widow and lived on Toboroi Plantation. Helmut, her son, ran the plantation as she was elderly by then.
Mum and dad used to call in on her, as Toberoi was between Aropa and Kieta. She was also part of the Parkinson family, a daughter of Queen Emma's niece. Frances Kroening's mother was born on the Mortlock Islands. Maiden name Calder. She told me lots of stories about the Ralum days and I'm so sorry no story has been written on her.
In any case, if you can steer me in a direction of resources on German times on Bougainville and also pre-1947, I'd be most grateful. Even if Aropa isn't specifically mentioned, it paints a picture of the economic, political, social life at that time.
I have the book Bougainville before the Conflict and am accessing interesting material through libraries and journals.
I'm in touch with past owner, Robin McKay, and managers who took over after Dad died in 1971. I’m also trying to locate information on WM Greer who first tendered for Aropa from the Expropriation Board in 1927.
It was after Greer, that Robin McKay lived there, selling the plantation to the New Guinea Biological Foundation in 1964. Mum moved to Kieta after dad died and was going to take out PNG citizenship. But she had a heart condition and I advised against her giving up her Australian passport.
I return to Bougainville almost each year as have been working on aid projects in PNG since 2006 and volunteering prior to that.
Focusing on plantation history is useful as they were a catalyst for development change in the Pacific. I'm looking forward to your readers’ comments and feedback.