When the green eagle flew
Power, hedonism & the best years of our lives

A privileged life with adventures to be had

Exploring the high hills in the early 1950s. The late Harry West OAM   war veteran and kiap
Adventures to be had. Exploring the high hills in the 1950s. Kiap Harry West OAM on patrol


ADELAIDE - I enjoyed Henry Sims’ recollection (‘Blunting a few, grilli & gumi races’) of the 'glory days' in Port Moresby.

Of course, life in Moresby was quite different from life on an outstation. The social whirl was rather restricted when the entire European population could be counted on one hand.

Station life revolved around the routine demands of your job and demands that arose simply because you were the go-to person for virtually anything untoward or unexpected that happened.

There was a bit of boozing and card playing and the odd dinner or barbeque but mostly it was a quiet life devoted to work or the necessary chores of domestic existence.

On patrol the entire day was consumed by the work required to keep up with the planned schedule and managing the inevitable complications arising when on the move.

These included injuries to carriers or other patrol members, enforced diversions when the chosen route became impassable for whatever reason and, if water borne, the trials and tribulations imposed by the vagaries of the weather or uncooperative mechanical devices (notably outboard engines).

In the wilds of Papua New Guinea the country truly was a 'land of the unexpected' and flexibility, pragmatism and a tendency not to panic were essential requirements.

Once acclimatised to the peculiarities and pleasures of outstation life, few of us had much desire for the bright lights of Moresby.

It was a place best viewed from the window of a Boeing 727 as you headed south on leave.

That said, it is clear that many people loved their time in Moresby which was, as Henry Sims explains, full of opportunities for socialising, sport and more than a little hedonistic feasting and carousing.

Whether living in Moresby or on an outstation, most of us were young and comparatively carefree. There were strange and wonderful things to see and experience, and adventures to be had.

Sure there were a few sweaty nights to endure and grilli and other exotic diseases could be unpleasant, but these were a small price to pay for a unique experience.

It was a privileged life in many respects and one we should be grateful to have experienced.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)