Applicants fail at judicial review – for now
When their eloquence escapes you

The tragedy & metaphor of Wawin Farm


Wawin Workshop I OFFER YOU a few images of Wawin Farm, which was a big privately-owned mixed-cropping and chicken-production establishment set up by an energetic Englishman called Chris Boston in the Markham Valley pre-Independence.

Twenty years ago Wawin Farm was bought by the Morobe Provincial Government and redesigned by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock as a broad-acre farming and livestock training centre.

Later Wawin was identified as the site for a major aid-funded investment aimed at increasing national food security by imparting new ideas and skills and introducing improved, high-yielding varieties of traditional food crops.

An experienced PNG agriculturalist who sent me these photos, taken a year ago, commented as follows:

The Wawin experience is the legacy of a United Nations Development Program-funded program of food security for the Markham supervised by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock [DAL] with technical assistance of about twelve Filipino didimen who lived at Erap for two to three years.

The Markham never came up on anyone's radar of being worthy of such a project but Erap was the only place still under DAL ‘control’. It provided some DAL types with lots of overseas trips.

Wawin Eqpt 2 While political reform is at the top of the list for PNG, for the reasons we see here, and in the PNG dailies, there are other huge problems for this society to overcome.

Dishonesty, lack of responsibility and laziness are all endemic in the PNG workforce, both in public and the private sectors.

This handicap is regularly euphemised as "lack of technical training" and addressed continually, deludedly, by ever more donor-endowed "capacity-building programs", which concentrate on technology as opposed to rigorous corporate and worker management.

PNG and all its problems is a huge case of "you can lead a horse to water". Even with a focus upon worker discipline, communal honesty and firm social and industrial management, an honest and focussed national parliament is going to want lots of help for at least two generations to come.

Wawin Warehouse That’s if such a parliament comes to exist. It’s a big ‘if’, and no signs that such may be the case are presently apparent.

May I suggest that if this very worthy blog and its indefatigable creator/moderator are indeed to make a difference, that we trend away from piousness, wishful thinking and the sentimental memories of PNG as perceived by very young men forty years ago.

We need to concentrate not only upon trying to get our own Australian politicians to listen to us, but also to persuade more Papua New Guineans (some, regrettably few, but some, are already on the ball)  to look realistically at the future of their race as the owners of a beautiful home and a very valuable source of income.

Envy and greed combine to seek opportunity. There will never be another paternalistic colonisation of PNG such as began and ended between 1875 and 1975.

There will simply be an alien invasion; slow, insidious, but permanent and ultimately, controlling.


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James Wilson

Higher education can have a sometimes negative social effect. Some years ago, a surgeon performed some minor surgery for me, and in the post-op discussion, we chatted about his history.

He and two siblings were brought up on a fine sheep and cattle station just west of Longreach. They enjoyed a happy upbringing with mustering, fencing, shearing and the myriad tasks that a broad property would demand.

Mum and Dad sent all the children to fine schools in Toowoomba. All went on the tertiary education – one became a surgeon, one became architect, and the other an engineer.

Mum and Dad were hoping that one or two of the children would return to the family property (which had been in their hands since it was established). Mum and Dad were getting on in years and wanted to pass the property on to the kids.

But alas, no. The kids all had much different lives and would not be returning, apart from family gatherings, and holidays in the fresh air of the outback.

Mum and Dad had no option but to sell the property, and retire to Toowoomba. Education had wreaked its way.

I know a quite a few PNGeans who have attained higher education (one a chemical engineer), and will not be returning to their home villages, apart from visiting their ageing parents and wantoks. Why? There are no chemical engineers in Chimbu, nor will there be for some time.

I suspect that the departure of the kiaps from PNG would be s similar parallel. Their skills and knowledge have been lost.

You may be right up to a point, James, but there are many examples in PNG of professionally and technically competent people returning to their home provinces having pursued successful careers elsewhere. I immediately think of my good mate and PNG Man of Honour, Jimmy Drekore, a scientist who returned home to initiate the Simbu Children Foundation - and my late mate Sam Piniau who went back to the Gazelle from his job of NBC chairman. There a lot of other examples. In fact the presence back home of such eminent people represents some optimism that one day - and perhaps sooner than we expect - the rural people will begin to asset themselves over the lazy venality of many of their current elected representatives - KJ

Daniel Kumbon

Would it be a bad idea if the PNG government resettles refugees on Manus Island with agricultural backgrounds on this and other run-down state-owned properties in PNG?

Their skills and resources are being wasted as they are being held captive like criminals getting mental everyday.

They are people looking for a place to settle down and live. Give them a chance. PNG needs their skills.

Why can't the PNG Government consider resettling some of the geniuine refugees on its run down properties. I am sure they will show Papua New Guineans how not to be lazy.

Asian tucker shop owners are working 24 hours a day to make money while PNGeans sit around chewing buai and playing bingo.

Philip Fitzpatrick

We've been trying to get the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade in Australia to fund scholarships in memory of kiaps who died on the job Baka. Paul Oates has managed to get assistance from the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia for the purpose.

The response of the minister, Julie Bishop, has effectively been go away and try somewhere else. She's happy to fund Indonesian scholarships but not Papua New Guinean scholarships.

Educating Papua New Guineans as exports is pretty cynical but educating Papua New Guineans so they can more effectively manage their country is a laudable endeavour.

Convincing the politicians of this is the hard part.

Baka Bina

Sorry. A lot of us have lost the knack to know how to file and sharpen a spade, a bush knife or an axe, essential tools for a rural farmer. This is even true for a villager.

Ask most able bodied men and women in the village how much time they spend in their cash crop garden and they look at you like you are from some alien place.

Why would you indulge in cash cropping when the returns are negligible. They can make the same amount of money sitting around a kandis in a day as in 5 days sweating out a cash cropping.

Might as well take on the Singaporean idea to educate the nation and export them out.

We are not good at maintaining infrastructure, let us think outside of the box. Australian Aid should be spent on educating the populace and giving more spaces on the Australian Awards - increase the number to ten thousand recipients per year i.e. use all of the Ausaid money to do that.

That will be one good tangible cause that will result to put money back in the village - by remittance from those educated working outside the village town, province and country.

James Haydon

The original farm Chris Boston was involved with, only had a small layer (egg farm) section and a small crop growing area. He also grew Lucina for charcoal production, although this never got anywhere.

The Warwin farm really took off, when it was bought by Busu Coffee (Jack Amos being owner not Amos Jack as frequently reported).

Jack expanded the farm when he leased more land from the Sassiang village, and started a meat bird industry.(Parent stock, incubators, meat bird growing area and abattoir producing frozen chickens). He expanded it to involve beef production, pigs and market garden vegetables for Lae.

As the farm grew, he started to expand in house production of chicken feed (to compete with Lae Feed Mills). He bought some 600KVA generators and constructed a high tension electricity network for the farm and the various industries he had built.

At the time the 40 Mile store was owned and run by a expat named Slim, left over from the World War II. The store sold many of the by-products of the chicken enterprise (which was first named Warwin Good Pela Cokaruk and later Palm Frozen Chicken.

As Busu Coffee had many retail outlets in Lae and the highlands, the farm produce was sold in all his outlets. The farm was later sold to the Morobe Provincial Government.


I tend to agree with such notions of change in how we do things. I believe radical changes are very much needed in PNG.

For example, the cold morning shower. Walk straight into the shower and turn on the cold water without stopping to think or question what you are doing.

Do it because you must elicit an instant response physically to stimulate you mentally. Do it because its good for you.

PNG needs a cold shower to wake up!

Reginald Renagi

I wholeheartedly support Arthur Williams. Stop the annual Australian financial grant to PNG now.

Australia can start immediately by incrementally reducing it by 20 percent at a time. In the next five years, PNG should be running on its own resources.

PNG needs more trade with Australia, not more aid money.

This will force PNG to plan better and use its resources more prudently than it has done in the past.

Arthur Williams

I think the first step for Australia would be to cease giving any financial aid whatsoever to PNG.

The nation is very, very rich especially when one considers it has less than seven million people; it has gold and other mineral mines and potential mines in many places; huge timber and marine resources; cash crops of every tropical description.

What is the reason for Australia giving money to the evil bunch of politicians now in control who merely puke it back onto the ground in Queensland?

Enough is enough. If you have spare cash then use it more wisely where others have a far far greater need than PNG.

The withdrawn handouts may make PNG corrupters think a little deeper about what they have done to their nation rather than try to blame a colonial style government that quit the scene 36 years ago.

Oz money will not keep any alien invasion at bay.

My wife's tribe has never received even half a million kina of Oz money even if you add up every coin and note since that day in 1914 when Australia became destined to control the islands of New Guinea.

The evil-doers in the parliament and their cronies make no positive impact on their daily toil and early deaths.

May God forgive those who have manipulated the nations wealth since 1975.

Arthur Williams
Lavongai & Silures


DAL is an ongoing example of the decay in PNG government and its interaction with partners and stakeholders.

It may be predicted that if we cannot fix even that arm of government, that deals with the very livelihood of 85% of the nation, what possible good can we do elsewhere?

A hungry man so easily becomes a lawless man.

Reginald Renagi

A good article by John 'Moses' Fowke and the last sentence is true. It is now up to a new PNG leadership.

Today's generation must try to ensure PNG does not fall further and further into the trap of freely allowing foreign interests to conquer the country by doing it on the sly.

Barbara Short

About ten years ago I had an interesting holiday in Fiji.

I travelled with a missionary couple and their children to many parts of Fiji in the local buses and ships.

My friend was an agricultural teacher at a church school.

We visited a number of farms run by Indian Fijians where we were impressed by the way they were running their farms.

The Indian families were very glad that their children were being taught Agriculture by this friend of mine and cooked a wonderful meal for us.

I guess John, the last sentence you wrote, also applies to Fiji.

Just think about how this may work out for PNG if a similar pattern occurs here.

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