After the rebellion, sweet peace - & Uluru
Destruction on the Sepik River

A history of the Western Highlands

Landscape around Mt Hagen (Gudmundur Fridriksson)
Landscape around Mt Hagen (Gudmundur Fridriksson)

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MOUNT HAGEN - I am pleased to report that we are about to complete the first phase of research on the history of the Western Highlands (including Enga and Jiwaka provinces).

The first phase involves library research, much of which is coming from the archives of the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen.

The second phase comprises field work to collect primary data on clan history, group structures and territories, profiles on community leaders, an assessment of physical infrastructure, economic development and civil society organisations.

The sponsors of the Western Highlands history project met last week to agree on the parameters of the study.

The Archbishop of Mount Hagen, Archbishop Dr Douglas Young, and the owner of Tininga Limited, Mr Patrick Duckworth, decided that our aim is to educate the present and future generations of Papua New Guineans on the rich cultural history of the Kewapi, Enga, Temboka, Hagen, Baiyer, Wahgi and Jimi people of the Western Highlands.

We seek to achieve this objective by creating a website on the cultural and natural history of Western Highlands, by establishing a Cultural Centre in Mount Hagen and by publishing a monograph on the history of Western Highlands District.

Our mission is to mobilise resources and to collect primary and secondary information to achieve the specific objectives of the project.

The project will be directed by a board of trustees. The interim board is made up of Archbishop Dr Douglas Young, Bishop Stanley Mukate, Patrick Duckworth, Margaret Duckworth and Bryan Leahy.

Others to be brought in later include Professor Michael Mel, Dame Meg Taylor, Sam Koim, James Ekip Yoka, Dr Thomas Webster and Dr Julienne Kaman.

An overview of the history of the Western Highlands will be presented at a symposium at the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen, Rebiamul, on Tuesday, 6 July 2021.

It is hoped that panel discussions during the symposium will provide us with some direction on the next phase of the project.


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Jonathan Ritchie

This is good news. Joe, I wonder if you would mind contacting me please at my work address - [email protected] - as there are some possibilities I would like to suggest to you about how we at Deakin University might be able to help with this exciting project. Good on you and your team for taking this important work on.
Dr Jonathan Ritchie

Philip Kai Morre

Is it too late to collect oral history because most of the old people have gone. We are in transition between old history and modern history. Most of our historical events and recordings are lost in antiquity. However, all the best for such initiative.

Garrett Roche

The Lutheran Mission at Oglebeng may also have valuable archives. Early studies by Lutheran missionaries Strauss, Vicedom and Tischner, are well worthwhile revisiting.
Wishing Joe Ketan all the best with this endeavour.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Brilliant initiative.

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