Sovereignty, China, PNG & Australia
Stories from our new year: 2010-11

Stories from our new year: 2007-09


1 January 2007 - Courses of study (Keith Jackson)

Happy new year to all my readers. And here's a question to test the ageing memory of former teaching students at the Australian School of Pacific Administration. Exactly how many of those ASOPA courses that you diligently studied (or wilfully disregarded) can you recall? And how many subjects were you examined in during the two year program?

Well, the answers are in this document, taken from the 1962-63 Cadet Education Officers course handbook. We studied an impressive 28 courses in our first year at the School and 25 in the second year. And seemed to have plenty of time left over for sport, dramatics, parties and frequenting the pool table at the Mosman Hotel. Ah, youth's fierce energy!

1 January 2008 - Winning swimming was tough in PNG (Richard Jones)

PNG produced many fine athletes during the 1960s and 70s, but few swimmers. Unlike disciplines such as track and field, weight lifting, the football codes, softball, boxing and even lawn bowls where leading competitors mushroomed, the ranks of top class swimmers were decidedly slender.

It was always a surprise that PNG didn’t produce more local swimmers of note. On any given day in the country’s coastal areas, scores of children of all ages could be found leaping in and out of the sea.

But pool swimming demands real discipline. Countless hours of training. It’s a demanding sport and, as I wrote in a Post-Courier feature in December 1976, perhaps the required strict training regimen discouraged many potential PNG swim stars.

Dedicated coaches can train youngsters in basic stroke skills and techniques, even for something as demanding as butterfly swimming. Once those techniques have been mastered thousands of laps need to be swum so that fitness and durability can be built up. The long, hard training grind might have been just too much for many aspiring PNG teenagers.

1 January 2009 - After 4 decades, it was a great re-uniting (David Weeden)

At Maroochydore from 17–19 October 2008, 40 years after they graduated from the ASOPA course for secondary teachers in 1968, the majority of that intake celebrated a memorable reunion on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Over a six-month period, all but six of the group were subsequently found through good old fashioned networking, stored memories of where particular students had come from or last been heard of, contacts with ageing parents, searches of electoral rolls and the Internet and sheer chance.

Forty years is half a lifetime. With few exceptions, most of the class had not seen each other in all those years. Predictably, the reunion was characterised by loud greetings of recognition (or, in some cases, bemused non-recognition) and raucous and uninhibited behaviour not normally associated with late 50s to mid-70 year olds.


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Richard Jones

One ASOPA course which I wilfully disregarded --- perhaps, in retrospect, was too lazy to bother about --- was the homework from Handy Andy's Art and Craft sessions.

I may have only completed two or three assignments over the two years, but I distinctly recall flatmates Henry Bodman, Leslie Lyons and 'Dubbo' Dave Kesby diligently completing all of theirs.

From carefully designed art works, to sketches of the Middle Bay harbour and beaches to puppets made of scrunched-up and moist paper my hard-working housemates did them all.

Considering I must have been allocated virtually a zero rating for Handy Andy projects, how then did I manage to get an ASOPA qualification, KJ?

And what was Handy Andy's name in real life. Was his surname Foster or Forster?

John Foster, seconded from the Commonwealth - KJ

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