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‘Fantastic’ response for kiap tribute day


THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES says there’s been a “fantastic” response to the Kiap Tribute Day in Canberra this coming Saturday.

Archives spokesperson Elizabeth Masters said more than 200 people plan to attend: about half of them former patrol officers (kiaps).

She said the kiaps will see their contribution to PNG recognised with a display of photographs and memorabilia.

Among special guests will be PNG’s High Commissioner Charles Lepani and Major General Michael Jeffery, former Australian Governor-General, who served with the Pacific Islands Regiment.

A panel comprising Jim Sinclair, Nancy Johnston and Paul Oates will discuss the role of the kiaps in developing PNG.

ABC Radio breakfast presenter in Canberra, Mike Solly, will be compere.


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Ilya Gridneff

From the Canberra Times [21/11/10]:

THEY dealt with cannibals, were hit by tribal arrows and spent months on end living in the bush.

It is not widely known, but from 1949 to 1975 more than 2000 Australians headed to Papua New Guinea to teach the native villagers how to live in a civilised society.

They were known as kiaps, or patrol officers, who moved from village to village performing jobs ranging from policeman, judge and administrator to farmer, teacher, explorer, engineer and anthropologist.

Yesterday, the National Archives recognised their contribution with a reunion and the opening of an official exhibition.

More than 250 people gathered to hear key speakers including PNG high commissioner Charles Lepani and former governor- general of Australia Major General Michael Jeffery.

But the most popular part of the day was an afternoon of memories shared by a panel of former kiaps and their associates.

Kiap historian Jim Sinclair paid tribute to 16 men who had died in service, some shot in the chest by bone-tipped arrows in a clash with tribespeople.

Nancy Johnston told how she had followed her husband, Bill, to PNG only to live in thatched roof houses with geckos who urinated through the cracks.

Photos and memories of the kiaps are available on the National Archives website http://www.naa.gov.au

Reginald Renagi

Can Paul Oates give the good readers of 'PNG Attitude' a debrief on this?

What a good opportunity to talk about some of our former heroes - the Ex-Kiaps of PNG.

The Ex-Kiaps all deserve our respect and thanks for a job well done in PNG before Independence.

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