TUMBY BAY - I think I received my first invitation to a reunion when I was in my mid-forties.
Why on earth, I wondered, would anyone who went to the Elizabeth Boys Technical High School in the early 1960s even want to admit to having gone there and, worse, want to get together for a meal and a yarn?
I had for many years gone out of my way to avoid telling anyone that’s where I went to high school.
I did a little bit of delving and discovered the reunion was the idea of a couple of businessmen who had done well after leaving school and wanted to brag about it. They wanted to rub the collective noses of those who hadn’t done so well as the businessmen perceived they had themselves.
I duly gave it a miss.
Ever since then I’ve been wary of reunions, although I must admit I once went to a reunion of mud skippers from what is now Western Province. And I went to a one-off affair involving the crew from the old Aboriginal and Historic Relics Unit of the South Australian Museum.
Those reunions were based on old friendships more than anything else.
For some years now, people who worked in pre-independent Papua New Guinea have been holding reunions but apart from the above mentioned mud skippers bash I’ve avoided them.
Perhaps the most famous and enduring is the kiap reunion held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland every alternate year. There is a smaller version in Cairns in the intervening year.
In recent years both these events have widened their scope to embrace anyone with a history in Papua New Guinea. A case of diminishing numbers I suspect.
I can’t imagine that kiaps are the sort of people who would get much satisfaction from bragging about themselves, so attending has always been an option for me.
Unfortunately I’m not the most organised person in the world and I’ve usually been busy doing something else somewhere else at the time.
I was thinking about this the other day and wondering what it would actually take for me to get organised enough to attend such an affair.
Then it came to me.
If they actually held a reunion in Papua New Guinea I’d make sure I got there.
Just think about it. A bunch of grizzled old kiaps in some middle-of-the-road accommodation somewhere in Port Moresby rubbing shoulders with their local counterparts and learning what has happened to the place since they left decades ago.
Maybe even invite some pollies along to join in the merriment and anything could happen.
Now that would be a reunion to remember.