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Patrolling with kiaps in remote PNG


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.

Now in his late eighties, he is studying ancient Biblical Hebrew in an online course run by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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.


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Tony Fisk

I'm happy for my comment to be forwarded to Doc Dunjey for comment before publishing. Though personally I think open and honest is the best method of discussing the integrity of documents produced by authors.

And I believe that the best defense against suit for libel is the truth..... care to see the documents?

Tony provided me with a comment that I cannot publish because it is potentially defamatory. Nor do I have any contact for the person concerned - KJ

Malcolm Dunjey

Hi Philip. Thanks for your review. As my book deals with only three of the remaining 22,000 (now) digitised patrol reports written since the early 1900's, I hope I have paved the way for the other reports to be accessed, commented on and published - with approval of PNG Archives.

Martin Roy

Thanks Philip for this information. I am from Olsobip and I need this to get a copy of this book.

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