A dangerous year for poetry
A million ideas & millions gone

When the last old kiap dies


They're all old now their hair turned white, as the years went rolling by,
And with every year that passes now, we see more kiaps die.
Their children scattered far and wide, grand-children further still.
And who will care when the last one dies? Whose memory will be fill?

We'll remember all those lilting songs the mission children sang,
But who'll remember Maurie Brown, Jack Worcester or Mal Lang,
Ron Galloway or Preston White, Des Ashton or Bob Bell,
Jim Kent Bob Fayle or Brian Dodds, and Jack Emanuel?

We'll forget about Dan Duggan,  Harry Redmond and Rick Hill.
But we'll remember Ela Beach, and the view from Paga Hill.
We'll forget about Tom Ellis, Des Martin and John Land,
And we won't remember Bill McGrath, Denys Faithful or Bill Brand.

We'll remember snow-capped Giluwe, and the islands of Milne Bay,
But not Keith Dyer nor Freddy Kaad, nor Christopher Gordon Day,
Vin Smith and Graham Pople, and old Jack Battersby,
Peter Salmon and Des Fanning and Bill Brown MBE.

And hundreds more we can recall, but too many here to name,
They all deserve our praise and thanks, they've earned eternal fame.
Heroes all of the jungle tracks, road builders of renown.
Across this land from north to south, they helped build every town.

We'll remember all events now past, which developed PNG,
But the names of those who built this land, will fade from memory.
From Stone Age depths of PNG, they helped this nation rise,
But who will mourn his passing, when the last old kiap dies?


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Lindsay F Bond

Them Kiaps operated as sharper shapers.
If politicians were and perhaps still are ‘unable to do anything about it’, celebration is due to the pollie (or few) who was most instrumental in establishing that Kiap cohort as instrument of transition, no matter the flaws which is another chapter.

Graham Bone

I remember Denys Faithful from my time in PNG 1971 to 1975. A great builder of fireplaces, I believe.

Ross Wilkinson

Hi Bob,

Not exact but I'll send you what I have to date per your email


Bob Cleland

Does anyone have an age-ordered list of ex kiaps?

Alan Brooke

Old kiaps never die
They just go on last patrol.

I grew up in Moresby, now enjoy reading books on PNG and tell my own disbelieving kids about our incredible life there. I will mourn the last kiap.

Paul Oates

I suggest that the real issue concerning Kiaps that no government wants to recognise is that this was a classic example of a semi wartime, accountable organisation being able to function in a mostly peacetime environment.

Kiaps operated in the absence of today's huge and bloated bureaucracy that essentially achieves very little except spending large amounts of taxpayer funds and thus providing a rationale for politicians to claim they are actually doing something about everyday problems that they are really unable to do anything about since they have never been appropriately trained, qualified or have any relevant experience in handling.

No wonder no one wants to know about the Kiap administration of PNG. Its really beyond the comprehension of most political leaders to imagine, let alone do.

That's not to say Kiaps didn't make mistakes or were more important than anyone else. It was just a simple, streamlined system of administration that actually worked and worked well with very few resources.

Dan Claasen

"Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you!" Paul Simon, Bookends 1968.
Fine sentiments Chips, and Chris. Worth remembering!

Lindsay F Bond

Make no mistake, this is to acknowledge governance intention and applaud actual accomplishment, commemoration of participants and resilience of the then affected populations.

Bonza acclamation, Chips.

Those magnificent men in their trying machinations
once obliged by sets of governance agenda actions
averting scourge effect of invasive exploitations
broadly on-track accomplishing by facilitations,
their era surpassed now leaves lingering fascinations.

Every day a venture, every evening of epoch passing
every enclave entered, even certainties evaporating
every encounter exciting exchange, past then exiting,
every embrace of keen eyes, elating commemorating
every elderly look-back, lifts, buoying mirth e’en laughing.

Michael Dom

A fine memorial elegy.

Chris Overland

Very good Chips. You have lyrically described our individual fate accurately, which is to fade into obscurity.

The urgent and pressing needs of today soon overwhelm memories of the past until they become mere shadows, flickering in our peripheral vision, hardly noticed much less cared about.

But our collective deeds and misdeeds will live on in the odd history book and doubtless will be scrutinised and debated down through the years until even those preserved memories finally fade into utter obscurity.

By the time our grandchildren reach our age we will just be a few old photos in an album or on a computer screen, momentarily seen and rather quaint images from the olden days.

That is as close to immortality that we can aspire to achieve.

So we must take comfort in our memories as long as we can. In the end, it is all we have got.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Those guys in the photograph look vaguely familiar. Circa 1966-69 I reckon, judging by the Tojo. You can pick the spos (cadet) too.

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