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From the Kundiawa News 50 years ago today

Possible roads to the Highlands 50 years agoKEITH JACKSON

By the time it reached its fourteenth issue, the Kundiawa News has settled into a neat fortnightly publishing routine with a 16-page production circulating around 100 copies. And for the first time it was being made available in Goroka. As the parliamentary public works committee came to town, the topic of conversation in Chimbu was of how to convince the Administration that the best route to the Highlands would be a linking road from Madang to Kundiawa. Fifty years later we know it did not happen, but then there was hope….


A hushed air of anticipation hung over Kundiawa this morning as hundreds of luluais, tultuls and other Chimbus gathered in the town to lobby the Standing Committee on Public Works. This number included most of the village officials in the Gumine area, 110 of them gathered by Kundiawa Town Advisory Council member, Mr Kuman Dai.

When he arrived in Kundiawa with his petitioners late Wednesday night, Mr Dai stated: “This is not the time to look back, we must look ahead. In the future the Chimbu will be a centre of industry for the Highlands, already we produce the most coffee of any area in New Guinea - this is why we need the road.

“There is so much potential in the Chimbu that I believe this road should come from Madang to Chimbu. All Chimbu people want this road to come here – the road must come to Chimbu.”

Many opinions were expressed in Chimbu yesterday about a Madang-pChimbu route:

John Jones (Roadmaster) stated that engineers should look at all possible rouets and decide the best one for themselves.

Bob Brown (Agricultural Officer) commented that the country on the Madang side of the Ramu-Chimbu Divide was not particularly rough and was suitable for the construction of a main road.

Grahame Collett (Agricultural Officer) said the road would be a great assistance to the resettlement of Chimbu people in the sparsely populated regions of the Gembogl area.

Lionel Davies (Public Works Department) said the stores position in the Chimbu would be much improved by a direct Madang-Chimbu route.

Nigare Kaupa (Omkolai) said that Chimbu had the most coffee and so it was logical that a road should go from here straight to Madang and in the future this position will not change.


It seems quite fitting that this week’s criticism should be directed towards the current topic of conversation throughout both the Eastern and Western Highlands: the eventual route of the Highlands-Coastal road. Surely, where a wrong decision on such a vital issue could mean the retardation of a District for many years to come, the right decision must be obvious to all those persons who are interested in the future development of the Highlands as a whole.

This is an issue where all past rivalries must be put aside, where Highlanders must unite, forgetting such things as District boundaries, and strive for an economy which would rival that of their coastal counterparts. Such an economy can be assisted greatly with a coastal link as is proposed, and surely where there is a question on whether one or two Districts will be included in this link, the answer must in honesty be an easy one to find.

Here in Chimbu the indigenous population is, to put it mildly, greatly incensed at the possibility that their Division, which is one of the Territory’s greatest coffee producing areas, should be completely bypassed; thereby depriving them for some considerable time of the opportunity to develop at a pace which their population alone warrants in order to keep abreast of other areas of the territory.

This is a matter which is of extreme importance to all of us, so let us raise our voices in support of our needs and if we are fortunate enough to gain the decision then let us meet the challenge and convince all critics that our appeal was that of a Division which is more than capable of “pulling its weight” in the development of this country.


A huge cave has been discovered just three miles north of Kundiawa that could rival some of the biggest in the world. Last Sunday, president of the Goroka Caving Club, Mr D Cole, was the first person into the cave accompanied by three other cavers. To reach the main cave the party had to clamber down a 45 degree slope in the huge cavern, but time denied any further investigation.

A spokesman said that the chamber was at least 200 feet high and at the furthest point of exploration an estimated 500 feet wide and believed to be broadening. One of the first people into the cave, Mr K Buxton said, “I feel that this discovery could rank with any others in this field in recent years.”

There were no large formations of rock in the cave – apparently the result of an earth tremor – but large stalactites coloured red, orange and blue were embedded in the mud on the floor of the cave. A team from Kundiawa hopes to make a more detailed exploration of the cave within the next few weeks.


Tuesday 14 July saw the opening of a new permanent material aid post at Goro, built through the efforts of the Waiye Native Local Government Council. Present at the opening were Miss Martineau (welfare officer), Mrs Buxton, District officer Doolan, ADO Desailly, Supervising Council Officer Paul Crowe, and PHD representative Mr K Buxton.

Visitors were met by Council President Kondom and councillors of the Waiye Council viewed by a large crowd of spectators. Mr Kondom delivered a speech of welcome in his native tongue and called upon the DO to address the gathering.

Mr Doolan spoke of the efforts of the Council in endeavouring to effect much needed improvements within their area and commended all concerned in making possible thje construction of such an obvious asset for the local community. Mr Kondom then delivered a further address and presented a key of the aid post to PHD representative Mr K Buxton. Mr Buxton said he was speaking on behalf of all PHD staff in expressing great pleasure at such a wonderful achievement.

He said although in the past he had opened many aid posts in various areas, all had been built completely out of bush materials and he felt it an honour to have been given the privilege of opening such an impressive building and hoped that such buildings would rapidly multiply in the years to come. The aid post was then opened for inspection by the public.


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Laurence Quinlivan

Keith was the route ever surveyed from Kundiawa to Madang?

Not that I know of. Bob 'Bik Rot' Cleland may have the full story - KJ

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