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PNGAA needs your support to establish centre for Pacific nations

ASOPAKEITH JACKSON

THE Papua New Guinea Association of Australia is pressing for a splendid project that would transmute the former Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) buildings at Middle Head in Sydney into a Community Centre for Pacific Nations.

To introduce the idea to the community and take it forward, the PNGAA will hold an open day at the site next Sunday 22 May between 10am and 2pm and it’s looking for support.

“The project aims to engage our community of Australians and Papua New Guineans with a suitable living, interactive, tribute in the form of a Papua New Guinea-Australia centre - a focal point for the PNG-Australia relationship,” says Andrea Williams, PNGAA president.

“ASOPA had a foundational linkage of military and civil engagement in securing, planning for and developing Papua New Guinea for nationhood and its direct successors became the dominant institutional presence in the precinct for 51 years until the AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training was abolished in 1998.”

This area and adjoining lands at Middle Head are now managed by the Sydney Harbour Trust and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service as public parkland.

“The Open Day and Planning and Information Day to be held at the former ASOPA site on Sunday 2016 is a great opportunity to hear about its past and consider its future,” Ms Williams said. “And the PNGAA needs your support.”

After the Open Day, the Trust will draft new amendments to the Middle Head Plan. These will be placed on public exhibition and submissions will be requested. This will provide an opportunity for the PNGAA’s concept to go forward for consideration.

Clearly if there is a substantial demonstration of public support for the idea next Sunday, this will greatly assist the PNGAA achieve its goal of establishing a Community Centre for Pacific Nations.

“The PNGAA initiative includes having the former ASOPA site put to use to foster better understanding of the importance of past and future relationships with PNG,” Ms Williams said.

“If those plans come to fruition, PNGAA will also need to play a co-ordinating role with a wider group of organisations with similar objectives.”

If you’re able to attend, or merely offer your supporting voice, you can email Andrea here.

 

Comments

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Sara Turner | Events Coordinator, PNGAA

It has been an exciting and fulfilling time being part of the group that is attempting to win the stewardship of this magnificent, historical site.

The PNGAA's actions have received strong support from many groups including the Friends of Rambutso, The Melanesian Women's Group, the Png Wantoks Club of NSW, The Melanesian Lotu, PNG Catholic Association of NSW, NSW Council of Pacific Communities, Australian south Sea Islanders and various other groups.

The group of people that we need to have contact with are those who actually attended ASOPA, or any other courses run there.

Also, as there is not capital works funding, we are on the look out for assistance financially. So if you have a bit to spare, do contact us! We would love to hear from you
in anticipation

Paul Munro

PNGAA reps were pleased by the turnout and level of support shown at Sunday's Open Day for the brick buildings at the ASOPA site.

Good weather and a cross section of attendees drawn from former students from all over. Wantok Club, Chinese Catholic Association, PNG Consul General Nomasi, NGO reps including Friends of Rambutso and many others had a look and many responded to a consultative questionnaire issued by the Harbour Trust conveyors.

It was a good beginning and show of interested support for the proposal to use Ten Terminal as a Community Centre for Pacific Nations. Winning through will be a long haul.

PNGAA in Keith Jackson's presidency was listened to for a while with a similar proposition. It failed to gain the critical mass necessary to get the funding and sponsorship aboard.

A difference this time may be the apparent willingness of PNGAA to recruit allies and partners in the belief that a multifunctional centre going well beyond the mere commemoration of ASOPA ethos should be conceived.

PNGAA will need as much support as can be given by former students and families.

One point on which help might be forthcoming are details about any use made after 1952 of the Ten Terminal brick buildings.

On Sunday an ITI student who got her matric there in 1974 told me the Library was still in the brick building. Ross Johnson believes the Hallstrom Pacific Collection Library stayed where it always had been in the brick admin building until dispersed in 1998 on the abolition of ACPAC. Anyone know?

Authoritative details of courses and attendees during ITI and ACPAC years would also be useful in making out a case and developing a campaign.

Contact admin@pngaa.net and leave a message or reference for Paul Munro if you have material that may help.

Jenny Barr

This looks like a wonderful idea - perfect location for a Pacific Island focus, with history in the site as well. Will try to come along on Sunday.

Lynne Shori née Quinnell

This is a fantastic opportunity - congratulations Andrea for grabbing and running with this.

Being of mixed PNG-Australian heritage, and the founder of a grass roots NGO working in PNG, the concept of a Pacific precinct or hub that brings us together to celebrate our shared history, promote cultural exchange and public engagement on contemporary PNG challenges is long overdue.

It would also stand as a fine tribute to the founding fathers and graduates of ASOPA.

Surely this is a once in a generation opportunity. If PNG mattered to you, please show your support by joining the Open Day or, alternatively, send letter of support. For the next generations of Australians, PNG and Pacific people. For yumi olgeta.

Andrea Williams

Many thanks Keith! Just wanted to clarify that the Harbour Trust are holding the Planning/Open Day - further information on it is at: http://www.harbourtrust.gov.au/news/2016/05/04/middle-head-planning-information-day-%E2%80%93-sunday-22-may-10am-2pm

PNGAA would like people to attend and show support for our proposal.

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