Stethoscopes, Kiaps and the Law of the Jungle by Dr Malcolm Dunjey, Ark House Press, 2021, 162 pages, ISBN 9780645103168, US$22.99 from Ark House Press
TUMBY BAY - This short book describes three patrols conducted in the Western District between 1966 and 1967 that were accompanied by Dr Malcolm Dunjey, who was the District Medical Officer based in Daru.
My particular interest stems from the fact that I led patrols into the same areas a few years later when I was based at Olsobip and then Nomad River.
The usual way in which a book like this is written is to gather together primary and secondary sources of information, noting key events and issues, and then develop a narrative into which those elements fit.
However Dr Dunjey presents the sources in the form of reproduced excerpts from patrol reports along with his notes and observations.
Apart from the general themes of patrolling and medical and health issues, there is no real narrative linking the components together.
It is an interesting approach and has a certain value in the way it presents the nuts and bolts of patrolling to the reader.
Although I don’t recall doing so, I would have read these reports prior to embarking on patrols into the same areas.
This is something all kiaps did as a matter of course, particularly when it involved areas that were largely unexplored and uncontrolled.
Throughout the book it becomes apparent that the three patrols were a highlight of Dr Dunjey’s career in Papua New Guinea and have remained in his memory ever since.
Also apparent is his high regard for the kiaps who led the patrols in which he took part and of kiaps in general.
On each patrol there were dangers, including rugged and inhospitable terrain and the possibility of attack from people who were still routinely carrying out intertribal raids and occasionally attacking patrols.
Dr Dunjey spent six years in PNG and then worked in Australia before going to Pakistan and the Middle East as a missionary.
In 2015 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
The book is an unabashed celebration of the role kiaps played in the development of PNG but should be of interest to general readers because of the way it presents the raw data of their reports and correspondence.
There are also about 30 coloured photographs of historical significance.
And my favourite policeman, Constable Kasari Digambari, gets a mention in passing.