A Kiap’s Chronicle: 31 - Propaganda & confrontation
29 December 2021
THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - The Bougainville operations of Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia (CRA) had dominated Australian government and Territory Administration thinking from 1964, but that all changed in September 1968.
The trigger was a report by the Australian Broadcasting Commission that broadcast details of a meeting hosted in Port Moresby by two Bougainville members of the House of Assembly, Paul Lapun and Donatus Mola.
The two men had updated their constituents in the capital on distressing events back home: the Pakia fracas and the imprisonment of Councillor Teori Tau and nine other men from his village.
The meeting condemned the Administration's high handedness and determined to create an organisation to control all land dealings in Bougainville.
Even more alarmingly for the Australian government was the meeting’s decision to seek a referendum on whether Bougainville should remain with Papua New Guinea, join the British Solomon Islands or become an independent state.
Of the three options, Lapun had said he preferred independence.
From that day on, the official directives dribbling into Kieta were confused. The Australian government and the Territory Administration had dual objectives: they wanted Bougainville to remain an integral part of Papua New Guinea and they were determined that CRA would proceed to mine at Panguna.
Psychologists Brigadier Campbell (1) and Dr Alex (AJ) Sinclair (2) had been despatched to Bougainville by George Warwick Smith, Secretary of the Department of External Territories.
The Minister's attention had been drawn to their report that the situation on Bougainville was readymade to manipulate public opinion in the Administration's favour.
Campbell and Sinclair said the ostensible aim would be to advance the people's political education to enable them to decide their political future, but the real objective would be to exploit the community's political, religious, and social divisions.
In a response to Canberra's prodding, the Administrator summoned four senior Bougainville-based kiaps to Port Moresby: Ken (KJ) Hanrahan (Assistant District Commissioner, Buka), Mal (M) Lang (Assistant District Commissioner, Buin), Rick (RF) Hearne (Acting Deputy District Commissioner), and me as Acting District Commissioner.
And so on 10 December 1968, we met with Acting Assistant Administrator (Services), Tony (APJ) Newman, and members of the Public Relations Advisory Committee (PRAC), which he chaired.
Administrator David Hay opened the discussion. He spoke briefly about national unity and the teams tasked to visit Bougainville to tell people about the importance of unity, then he disappeared.
He asked the committee to also prepare publicity for both Radio Bougainville and the Australian and local press to explain (that is, justify) the compulsory acquisition of Bougainvillean land for CRA.
Newman introduced the PRAC members: Lisle (LR) Newby (3) Director, Department of Information and Extension Services; Ian (IG) Ord (4) Psychologist, Public Service Commission; David (DM) Fenbury (5) (Secretary, Department of Administrator); Bill (WG) Sippo (6); and the committee’s Executive Officer Terry (TW) White (7).
The other participants were Bill (WR) Dishon, Assistant Director Department of District Administration, Lucas (LJ) Waka (8), Jim (HH) Leigh (9) Controller of Broadcasting, Department of Information and Extension Services, Syd Nielson, Department of Education and PRAC team members Royce (RA) Webb (10), Jack Baker (11) and Roy (RA) White, Chief of Industrial Services. The gabfest dragged on all day.
Roy White lectured us on propaganda techniques. Nielson advocated using school publications to promote unity but could not explain why the map on the back of school exercise books omitted Bougainville.
Newby raved about the value of Radio Bougainville and criticised me for discontinuing former District Commissioner Des Ashton’s controversial talk show, Toktok Bilong Nambawan Kiap ('The District Commissioner Talks').
Five months of that program had been enough. The Bougainville people did not like it, and neither did I.
Only Leigh, Newby and Waka had visited Kieta, Leigh and Newby making overnight visits after the opening of Radio Bougainville in April 1968.
Waka was better informed. He had spent two weeks in the Pinei Valley at Pakia with District Officer Terry Daw and Welfare Officer Judy Peters at the end of May 1967 and knew a lot about the resistance to CRA.
None of them seemed to know that Bougainville had more than 20 languages and that major cultural differences existed between south and north, even between communities around Kieta. I found it alarming that they thought of Bougainvilleans (popularly known as the Bukas) as a homogenous group.
There was no awareness that Bougainville had become an administrative identity only in February 1950. At the end of World War I it was named the Kieta District and retained that name immediately after World War II.
At that time, the incoming Administration had relocated the district headquarters from Kieta to Sohano (on Buka Passage in the north).
On 15 February 1950 - worn down by District Officer Raleigh Farlow's complaints that mail addressed to the District Officer, Kieta District, Sohano, was being delivered to Kieta - Director Mac (MCW) Rich had written a three-line memorandum changing the district's name to Bougainville.
Neither were we the experts that Newman had suggested. We were not close enough to the people. They lived in their societies, and we were in a socially distant expatriate world: disparate communities of missionaries, plantation owners, entrepreneurs, CRA employees, Administration officials and wives.
Hanrahan had been in Bougainville the longest, five years I had been around the Kieta area for two years since 1966, but focussed on the central Bougainville people’s problems with CRA. Hearne and Lang were new arrivals.
Even so, Administrator Hay and Newman expected us to foreshadow questions the people would ask the PRAC teams and formulate responses to them. We were also asked to develop itineraries that would keep the teams separated from routine patrols and any CRA activity.
Somehow, these senior administrators and their public relations advisers thought the people would not relate these strange expatriates telling them about the importance of national unity with the expatriates they knew.
Perhaps I should have spoken out that it would take more than a few PRAC teams to overcome or even mitigate the people's fears: their hatred of the Administration's mining legislation and its support for CRA, and their anger at the threatened compulsory acquisition of their land.
I had thought the Public Relations Advisory Committee was lacklustre and ineffectual when I attended an earlier meeting in 1967. My view was not altered by subsequent encounters. Occasionally new faces appeared but no added dynamism.
Assistant Administrator (Services) Les (LW) Johnson continued as chair, a milder kiap, Kingsley Jackson, replaced Tom (TG) Aitchison and Jim (JW) Braxton - a 53-year-old journalist cum public relations guru fresh from New Zealand - joined Terry White to share the role of Executive Officer.
I thought the suggestion to exhibit a model of the mine’s proposed residential town, Arawa, in the Kieta Council Chambers was pointless. Very few villagers visited the building and they did not want their land taken for a town.
At a another meeting, the committee proposed to improve the image of kiaps on Bougainville by means of a feature story about the activities of Deputy District Commissioner Brown (myself) to be broadcast on the Administration radio network.
It was an equally bizarre idea and nothing that I heard looked like it would change the reality on Bougainville. But now, in early 1969, the public relations teams were ready to be deployed.
Team 1 (District Inspector Royce (RA) Webb from headquarters and John Kup-Ogut (12) from Mount Hagen) arrived in Kieta on 15 January, flew to Buin and drove to Konga in the Siwai area of south-west Bougainville.
Team 2 (Terry White, Jack Baker and Roy Wright) arrived a week later, visited Hutjena, Buin and the Siwai and spent some time around Kieta.
Team 3 (District Officer Ross (RR) Allen (13) and Assistant District Officer Phil Bouraga (14)) arrived on 17 March and would not be the last (15) but would remain the longest. Allen and Bouraga trekked north along the east coast until 18 April - from south of Aropa near Kieta to the Tinputz border north of Wakunai.
The villagers of Rumba and Mongontoro from behind Arawa in the Bovo valley met Terry White's team with thinly veiled hostility and declined to cooperate.
Strangely, the Bougainvilleans' dislike of ‘redskins’, people from the New Guinea mainland, did not cause problems for the other teams even though John Kup-Ogut was from Mount Hagen, Phil Bouraga was from Gabagaba on the coast east of Port Moresby and Arnold Smare had been born in Rabaul of Aitape and Wewak parents.
Perhaps it was because Kup-Ogut and Webb's visit to Konga and the Siwai was a rapid tour by vehicle. In Bouraga's case, his teammate, Ross Allen, had a rhinoceros hide and would not let anybody talk over him.
An uninvolved observer, linguist Conrad Hurd, volunteered a frank assessment of the exercise (16). Allen described him as fluent in Nasioi, intelligent, cool and objective - the perfect 'fly on the wall.'
“Although the silent ones saw a lot of good in what was done and said, they couldn't afford to break up with their social clan. After all, weren't the arguments of the others right [when they said], “The Administration isn't operating in the way it should.
“What is it producing that is concrete? Why can't its emissaries agree and put up a united front? Why so much empty talk? Pie in the sky! A bunch of liars! We can get along just fine without the Administration. This notion that we are beholden to the Administration is untenable.”
And Hurd’s conclusion was telling: “But still, the Administration was and is right. And the people themselves will ultimately be responsible for their destinies.”
Back in the ivory towers, Administrator David Hay told the Territories Minister the government should be doing more to promote unity and Department Secretary Warwick Smith suggested creating a Bougainville committee with representatives from Administration departments, the people, missionaries and the CRA.
Warwick Smith visualised the committee as a public relations vehicle that would defuse criticism and be “a channel for the Administration or the Company to consult the local people on sensitive issues.”
On 20 March 1969, the Administrator publicly announced he had arranged for regular consultations between representatives of CRA and the Bougainville District Advisory Council (DAC.
DAC members were appointed by the Administrator on the recommendation of the District Commissioner. They included prominent indigenous people and representatives from missions and plantations who met quarterly to discuss district affairs and provide advice that was seldom heeded.
In his announcement, Hay listed District Commissioner Ashton as Chairman and Kip McKillop (17) as a member. There were five other expatriate members.(18)
I don’t know where he got his information, but it was out of date. Ashton had been absent for months and wasn’t due back any time soon. McKillop had resigned from the DAC when the Administration decided to acquire (19) his home, Arawa Plantation, for the new town.
One week later on 27 March 1969, as acting District Commissioner, I chaired the 61st meeting of the Bougainville DAC. It was the first attended by observers from CRA. Eleven members turned up, three sent apologies and one didn’t.
The participants (seven Bougainvilleans, two expatriate missionaries and two plantation managers) discussed the proposed resumption of Arawa Plantation and listened carefully to CRA Area Manager Colin Bishop's explanation.
They then voted nine votes to two to oppose the resumption.
The carefully worded resolution put by Madehas Plantation's Jock Lee recommended that “any land resumed by the government for development in the Kieta area be undeveloped land."
If the resolution got past Port Moresby, it did not change either CRA or the government's plans in any way. It gave little credence to the expressed desire to "consult the local people on sensitive issues".
Administrator Hay also considered a protest telegraphed to the Australian Prime Minister by the Planters' Association of New Guinea on 9 April was a token gesture of support for its member, Kip McKillop.
The Prime Minister's response to this and a four-page missive sent later in the day seeking his urgent intervention and a subsequent request for a Commission of Inquiry met with a pointed and non-apologetic response.
Arawa Plantation would provide 998 acres of the 3,500 required for the coastal town and port - and only a tiny proportion of the overall 55,000 acres total.
Almost all of the area was village owned. Some people would lose their land, and some would have to move. The same law applied to everyone.
Kiaps Chris Warrillow, Max Heggen, John Russell-Pell and Gus Schweinfurth showed the people of Arawa, Rorovana and the Pinei River valley the extent and boundaries of the land required.
They were expected to convince landowners to sell the designated areas. It was an impossible task.
The Bougainville people had an inherent reluctance to sell their land and they also were being urged not to part with it by McKillop (20) and his employee Barry Middlemiss.
We had 11 kiaps - two District Officers, three Assistant District Officers and six Patrol Officers enmeshed in CRA activities around Panguna and spread across the island.
When Ashton returned to duty as District Commissioner on 14 April 1969, Hearne continued as Deputy District Commissioner (Bougainville) and I moved to Deputy District Commissioner (Special Duties), a new role that focussed on CRA.
Politician Paul Lapun (21) added to the government’s independence concerns when he chaired a fiery meeting of some 1,200 people at Kieta on 28 April 1969.
Over three hours, 11 speakers condemned the Administration's proposed compulsory acquisition of their land and its use of police to support CRA.
Put to the vote, the meeting resolved: "If the Administration did not change its policies within 14 days, CRA must withdraw from Bougainville."
If required, a follow-up meeting at Buin would pursue Tonepa's call for immediate independence.
District Commissioner Ashton, invited to reply, was heckled and abused.
Later the following week, Commonwealth Film Unit producer John Martin-Jones was standing outside my office eavesdropping on a conversation I was having with the headman from Arawa village, Narug, and his sidekick, Tavora.
Suddenly Ashton thundered down the corridor bellowing in Tok Pisin, "The time for talking is over. Get out! Go home! And don't expect to ride in a government vehicle; you can walk back to Arawa."
After Ashton stomped off, I almost destroyed the telephone handset trying to get the manual exchange to put me through to the Sub-District Office.
I needed someone to find Narug and Tavora, give them my apologies and drive them home.
Recounting the story later, eavesdropper Martin-Jones told me I had my head in my hands as I groaned, "Six months work destroyed in seconds."
A swarm of irate villagers refused to listen to Assistant Administrator Tony Newman’s spiel when he visited Arawa and Rorovana on 5 July. Each time he tried to speak, they howled him down, shouting they would not sell, they would rather die than give up their land.
Paul Lapun was with them, but McKillop was said to be the puppet master.
A few days before I flew to Port Moresby for a meeting with CRA on 8 July, Bishop leaked information that the company intended to enter and take possession of the Rorovana villagers' land on Monday 14 July. I passed the information to headquarters, but Tom Ellis was unconcerned.
Monday morning began with surprising news: the Department of District Administration was to be abolished. Kiaps would be moved to the Administrator's Department and Tom Ellis would be the new departmental head. The previous incumbent, the visionary intellectual David Fenbury, was transferred to a lesser role.
At the 'Administration-only' planning meeting that morning at nine, Newman announced he would lead a delegation to Arawa and Rorovana, make a final appeal to the people and, if they refused to sell their land, start resumption.
Newman and Ellis wanted all the land acquired in one fell swoop. Assistant Administrator (Services) Les Johnson supported my push to give the people more time or to adopt a slower or a more piecemeal approach.
Seven CRA personnel (22) and nine Administration and two Territories representatives sat around the long table in the Administrator's conference room at a joint meeting the next day, Tuesday 8 July.
Ellis and I had to wait until the mid-morning arrival of Don Mentz - Assistant Secretary of the Department of Territories in Canberra - before we reported that the political situation had deteriorated during the month.
Standing in for CRA boss Frank Espie, Project Manager Don (DC) Vernon made the expected announcement that CRA wished to start work on the Rorovana land and developing the Pinei land for an industrial area in six days.
Unusually, he did not demur when told he would have to delay his plans until the end of the month, but he insisted on the company's immediate need for seven acres somewhere in the designated industrial area for a Hastings Deering's workshop.
On Wednesday morning I was ordered back to the Administrator’s conference room for the third day in a row, this time to assist Administrator’s Working Group members, agricultural officer Tom (TW) Langton and lawyer Peter (PC) McKinnon) to prepare a draft telex for the Administrator to send to Canberra.
Five hours later, after Administrator Hay had modified and revised our effort numerous times and expanded it to more than 2,000 words, the teletype lady established a link with her counterpart in Canberra, started typing and away it went.
Hay laid out his plan of action, the justification and the draft of a letter he proposed sending to District Commissioner Ashton.
When the Territories Department responded late next day, I was in an aircraft winging my way back to Bougainville. The message, a string of questions asking me to verify some statistical data, was waiting on my desk when I arrived at Kieta sometime after midday.
It suggested that individuals in Canberra had not listened at meetings, hadn’t read their files and did not know where to look.
What they wanted to know was encyclopaedic: the population of the Kieta area, including Rorovana, Arawa and other locations likely to be involved if there was a flare-up; the number of landholders involved in the port site, industrial area and town – and how many were able-bodied males; the number of police in the area; whether reinforcements were proposed; the maximum number that could be accommodated; whether a substantial number of troops (as a show of force) would be a help or hindrance.
They also wanted to know whether $20 an acre was the price discussed with landowners and, if not, what was contemplated, and what figure had been discussed. They asked if the possibility of leasing had been discussed and whether it was clear that landowners would not sell if the Administration increased the price. And could the Administrator confirm that all landowners at Rorovana and Arawa would still own ample land for gardens and other purposes.
I have placed the final question out of order for emphasis because it amazed me. I had reported Rorovana village’s potential land shortage to the Administrator Hay, Ellis and others at headquarters.
John (JO) Ballard was Assistant Secretary (Political and Legal Affairs) in the Department of Territories in Canberra. He had never been to Bougainville.
Ballard dictated the memo signed by Secretary Warwick Smith criticising the 2,000 word proposal Hay had telexed to Canberra.
In summary, Ballard wrote that the Administrator’s letter to Ashton was misconceived: a commissioned officer of police, not the District Commissioner, was responsible for dealing with riots.
He wrote that the letter to Ashton should be redrafted to reflect both that fact and that the Commissioner of Police would instruct the "commissioned officer in charge to seek the District Commissioner's concurrence (except in a dire emergency) before firearms were used”.
Ballard was also concerned that the Administrator’s telex had not canvassed crowd prevention or the use of roadblocks. Maybe Ballard did not understand that the Bougainville people mainly moved around using bush tracks, beach and foreshore.
Or perhaps he thought Rorovana was suburbia with buildings, formed roads and kerbed footpaths.
It was the same Ballard who had attempted to give me an inappropriate instruction related to crowd control when I was summoned to Canberra in 1967 (see Chapter 24).
In 1968, when the Department of External Territories was reborn, he joined Gerry Gutman as a First Assistant Secretary. Tim Besley, also promoted, was one of the trio who jointly flexed muscles and continually harried and overruled the PNG Administration.
They were supported by Assistant Secretary Don Mentz, whose three-page summary report of his visit to Port Moresby was addressed to the Secretary and copied to Ballard, Besley and four Assistant Secretaries.
The report provided another example of intrusion and oversight from a man who had never visited Panguna or Bougainville. Commenting on the political situation, Mentz wrote:
“Some deterioration. Further delays on entry to land imposed on Company. Personally, I am inclined to feel that Administrator (rather than Administration) is delaying too long in grasping the nettle. May prove counterproductive.
“Arawa Land virtually no progress since last meeting. I cancelled Gregory's planned visit to Bougainville. He is to remain in Port Moresby until end of week and assist the Administration to produce working paper on policy points.
“Paper for discussion in Department next week and possible Administration / Department / Company discussion Melbourne following week.”
And so the telexes continued to fly back and forth. Canberra said the timing of a police action was left to the Administrator’s discretion but should be in accordance with Brigadier Campbell’s advice:
“A frontal attack, i.e., a settlement in one fell swoop would probably not be desirable. Better to defeat the situation by attacking in detail and gathering in individual areas as the need for this actually exists. Should not take over land and leave it lying idle.”
They also queried if the three Bougainvillean Members of the House of Assembly (Paul Lapun, Joseph Lue and Donatus Mola) would be on the charter flight and if the Administrator's Executive Council (AEC) supported the proposal?
The Administrator replied that Lue would be on the aircraft; Lapun and Mola were already at home in Bougainville. The AEC gave full support, but some members wanted more decisive action.
Brigadier Campbell’s advice had been accepted. Deputy Commissioner of Police Brian (BJ) Holloway was being recalled from a recruiting tour in Australia to lead any operation that may ensue. (23)
Newman, the MPs and others (24) flew to Bougainville by charter on Thursday 24 July and the following day met with the Arawa and Rorovana people.
According to reports, Newman offered the landowners $105 an acre plus the value of commercially productive trees. He also told them the land would be resumed if they did not accept the offer.
The Administration would not allow a few people to obstruct the development of the whole of Papua New Guinea, he told them.
If anything, however, the visit and the rhetoric strengthened the people’s opposition.
Holloway arrived in Bougainville two days later and, with the assistance of Ashton and Police Inspector Gascoigne, started planning the resumption exercise.
Over the following days the Deputy Crown Solicitor from Rabaul, Norris Pratt, Patrol Officer Max Heggen and I became involved.
Holloway’s report of the operation, six typewritten pages addressed to the Commissioner of Police and signed and dated 11 August 1969, was reproduced without salutation or signature as Document 307 in the 1,211-page tome, ‘Australia and Papua New Guinea, 1966–1969’, (25) incorrectly described as an unnumbered confidential telex from Hay to Warwick-Smith.
Denoon made a similar error in writing, “Administrator Hay flew to Bougainville on 26 July … Friday 1 August addressed all the police at Loloho.”(26)
On 1 August 1969, Holloway accompanied by District Commissioner Des Ashton, Kieta-based Assistant District Commissioner Neil Grant and Radio Bougainville announcer Sam Bena, led the CRA survey team from Loloho to the Rorovana boundary.
Ashton and Grant wore riot squad helmets, had revolvers in belt holsters and carried gas masks. Ashton also had a loud hailer. Sam Ben lugged a tape recorder. Accompanying them were three Police riot squads (27).
Heggen and I watched from afar - passengers in two small Bell helicopters and too high to see exactly what was going on.
Holloway’s subsequent report detailed what transpired.
A group of Rorovana men and Arawa Plantation employee Barry Middlemiss warned Holloway that nobody, least of all surveyors, was to enter their land.
“I ignored their protests,” wrote Holloway, “and with the surveyors and the three riot squads crossed the boundary.”
The survey team established the first cement marker and the fracas started.
Holloway and a squad of police encircled the survey marker. Supported by about 250 Rorovana villagers, Raphael Bele faced off against the police.
Ashton addressed the villagers with the loud hailer and a group of mainly women tried to pull the cement marker from the ground.
After three or four concerted rushes, with individuals crawling between the legs of the police, they wrestled the marker from the ground and rolled it down the incline.
The women achieved a symbolic victory which focussed world attention on Bougainville. Newspaper articles and photographs told a story of "defiant village women, many bare-breasted and cheered on by about 600 men, wrestling with baton-carrying police for a survey marker.”
After the survey was eventually completed peacefully on Saturday morning, Holloway, Ashton, Grant and three riot squads accompanied by Radio Bougainville announcer Sam Bena escorted a CRA bulldozer team onto Rorovana land just after midday on Monday 4 August.
The bulldozers followed the 25-foot contour line, clearing the undergrowth and leaving as many coconut palms standing as possible. The Rorovana people stayed away, but that night, at a meeting attended by Paul Lapun and Raphael Bele, they decided to fight to prevent further intrusions.
On Tuesday morning, about 65 men and women stood in front of the bulldozers and refused to move.
The police used teargas and the women retired. Sometime later Raphael Bele led his people back to the village. They would fight another day.
Lapun flew to Buka and Buin to garner more support for the battle against the Administration and CRA. On 15 August 1969, he and Bele flew to Australia to seek a High Court injunction.
Warwick Smith made the Australian government’s position clear in a telex to the Administrator:
“It is quite possible that the High Court will dismiss Lapun’s application for an injunction in which case the Government’s position is work must go on, on the Rorovana lands. This is not to be interpreted as to deny the people on the spot the room for manoeuvre, but it does rule out more than short delays without explicit government approval.”
And in another telex, someone in the External Territories Department almost admitted they got it wrong:
“Our previous messages dealing with police role and functions were aimed at ensuring that procedures taken in the case of riot were those set out in the manual subject to the directions of the Commissioner of Police, but they were confined to the riot situation rather than situation of villagers refusing to move off their land in the face of bulldozers. Situation in this case is not clear and would seem to turn on the rights of the lessee against the right of the person who claims right over land…..”
And while all this was going on, the Chairman of Riotinto, Sir Val Duncan, visiting Australia from the United Kingdom, told the press that Bougainville’s Panguna copper mine was the jewel in Rio Tinto Zinc's crown.
Perhaps he should have paid more attention to the 30-minute speech Lapun made to the House of Assembly on 14 June 1969: “It is not good you [CRA] putting your establishment on our place without the approval of the people because we will remove you from it and you will lose your money.”
(1) Born in 1908, Brigadier Edward (EF) Campbell was a Colonel in 2/3rd Field Regiment in World War II. He was transferred to the Psychology Corps in 1945 and became Director of the Australian Army Psychology Service in 1946. Campbell was Clinical Psychologist at the Austin Hospital, Melbourne, from 1967 to 1970.
(2) Dr Alex (AJM) Sinclair was born in 1908 and in the 1950s said to be “the doyen of private psychiatrists in Australia”. During World War II, he served in Egypt, North Africa and New Guinea in the Army Medical Corps. In 1957 he was invited by the Australian government to plan a psychiatric service for Papua New Guinea and after a three-month survey wrote a report on the mental health needs of the people. Over the next five years he travelled frequently to PNG.
(3) Lisle (LR) Newby was a schoolteacher in Australia’s Northern Territory before becoming an officer in Army Intelligence during World War II. He joined the PNG Education Department in 1953 and became the first Director of Information and Extension Services (DIES) in 1963.
(4) Public Service Commission Psychologist Ian (IG) Ord had worked in the Territory for more than seven years. Initially engaged in selecting recruits for the Pacific Islands Regiment, at this time he was a member of both the Public Relations Advisory Committee and the Social Change Committee.
(5) David (DM) Fenbury (formerly Fienberg) had graduated with an Arts degree when he became a Cadet Patrol Officer in September 1937. In World War II he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and landed with the American forces at Aitape in 1942. Fenbury was awarded the Military Cross for guerrilla activities. Serving in PNG after the war, he was appointed Secretary of the Department of the Administrator in 1962 and Secretary of the Department of Social Development and Home Affairs in 1969.
(6) Bill (WG) Sippo had been a kiap since May 1946. In 1969 he was Principal Officer (Community Development) at Department of District Administration headquarters.
(7) District Officer Terry (TW) White had been a kiap since March 1948. He was promoted to the new position of Senior Liaison Officer in the Administrator’s Departmental Liaison Office in November 1967.
(8) Sir Lucas (LJ) Waka, from Bola village in West New Britain, had a distinguished career of public service. First employed as an interpreter, he became an Assistant Patrol Officer in training in March 1964. He was promoted to Assistant Extension Officer in the Department of Information and Extension Services in September 1966 and Assistant Industrial Relations Officer in January 1968. Waka was elected to the House of Assembly in 1977 and was Governor of West New Britain Province from 1995-97. He was bestowed a Knight Bachelor in January 2005.
(9) UK born Harold Hillyard (Jim) Leigh became a manager of the first Administration radio station, Radio Rabaul, in April 1962. He later formally declined a promotion to Producer-Director in the Department of Information and Extension Services in 1963 so he could remain there. He was appointed Chief of the Broadcast Division in May 1968 (subsequently Controller of Broadcasting). He later had a successful career as a television commentator and then director of the National Party in Queensland.
(10) Royce (RA) Webb, a sturdy 185 centimetres in height and aged almost 51 years at this time, had served in the Middle East and New Guinea with the AIF, being mentioned in despatches at Tobruk. As a kiap from 1946, he served at Finschhafen, Goroka and Wewak and was District Inspector/Deputy District Commissioner at headquarters when drafted to the Bougainville unity campaign.
(11) Jack (JC) Baker had been a kiap since September 1951 and was Deputy District Commissioner/Principal Staff Training Officer at headquarters in 1968-69.
(12) I do not know much about John Kup-Ogut other than that his home was near Mount Hagen in the Western Highlands. He was Officer-in-Charge at Ioma in 1969-70. He wrote a couple of candid Patrol Reports.
(13) Ross Allen started his career as a Cadet Patrol Officer in August 1958 and was posted to Ambunti where he worked with John Tierney and me. In later years he worked for District Commissioner Tom Ellis in the Western Highlands.
(14) When Phil Bouraga became a kiap in February 1962, his family name was Bou. Sometime after he completed further training at ASOPA in 1966 he was posted to Maprik, where the family name was recorded as Bouraga. At Maprik he shared a house with John Dagge and was a popular Patrol Officer.
(15) District Officer Peter Barber and Arnold Smare arrived in Bougainville on 21 May 1969.
(16) Personal letter to Ross Allen from Conrad Hurd, Summer Institute of Linguistics, recorded in Allen’s Field Officers Journal.
(17) Kip (R) McKillop was a respected member of the Kieta community. He applied in writing to join the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as a trainee mechanic in December 1940 and served for three years with No 5 Elementary Flying Training School at Narromine. He would return each year to the nearby family property ‘Buddah’ on ‘harvest leave.’ Transferred to No 4 Airfield Construction Squadron in October 1943, he saw service in Dutch New Guinea and was discharged early in March 1945 to return to primary production at ‘Buddah’.
(18) Administrator David Hay listed Reverend Brian Sides (Hutjena), Reverend Father George Fahey (Kieta), Jock (JC) Lee (Madehas Plantation), Sandy (NC) Sandford (Numa Numa Plantation) and Les Watkins (Raua Plantation) as members of the District Advisory Council.
(19) Arawa Plantation was established by German traders Hernsheim and Co in 1912 and taken over by the Australian Custodian of Expropriated Property after World War I, being sold to John Henry (Jack) Ellis in the 1920s. Ellis had served with the 42nd Battalion AIF in World War I and also owned the nearby Tokaian Plantation. McKillop and Salisbury purchased Arawa Plantation in 1952.
(20) We were never told that the Planters Association of New Guinea had cautioned the Australian Prime Minister that McKillop would “resist the loss of his property by every conceivable means”.
(21) Lapun was something of an enigma. Elected to the first House of Assembly in 1964, he was a founding member of the Pangu Party which led PNG into independence. As parliamentary leader until 1968, he helped formulate the party’s platform including its central commitment, "One name–one country–one people regardless of race or language - a unified Papua New Guinea.” In November 1968 Lapun introduced the paradoxical concepts of a National Name bill and a proposal for a Bougainville referendum on its future political status. He came to CRA’s assistance on a number of occasions between 1966 and 1969 even though he opposed the company's plans.
(22) Vernon’s team of six included Area Manager Bishop, barrister Phil Opas QC and Chris (CJ) Normoyle who was on my short course at ASOPA in 1949. Normoyle was provisionally promoted Deputy District Commissioner in December 1964. In December 1965, he moved to Sydney as an Industrial Officer with Qantas Airways and in 1969 became Industrial Superintendent with CRA.
(23) Deputy Commissioner of Police Brian Holloway, formerly a South Australian policeman, joined the Royal Papua and New Guinea Constabulary with the rank of Sub-Inspector in 1948. Holloway was sent to Rabaul to introduce security procedures during the July 1961 riots, was officer-in-charge at Hahalis (Bougainville) in February 1962 and led the police detachment that quelled the 'President LB Johnson' cult riots at Lavongai, New Ireland, in in May 1965. He was awarded the MBE, promoted Commissioner of Police and in 1975 awarded a CBE.
(24) Tony (EA) Newman Assistant Administrator, Sinake Giregire Ministerial Member for Posts and Telegraphs, Toua Kapena Ministerial Member for Labour, Joseph Lue Assistant Ministerial Member for Technical Education, Brere Awol MHA for West Sepik), Julius Chan MHA for Namatanai), Paul Lapun MHA for Bougainville South, Donatus Mola MHA for Bougainville North, Bill (HP Seale) Morobe District Commissioner and Official Member, Don (DS) Grove Director of Lands and Official Member), and five public servants.
(25) ‘Australia and Papua New Guinea, 1966-1969’, Stuart Doran, editor. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2006.
(26) ‘Getting under the skin: the Bougainville copper agreement and the creation of the Panguna mine’, Donald Denoon, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria, 2000.
(27) No 1 Mobile Unit from Port Moresby under the control of Inspector Orm (JRO) Power from Limerick, Ireland, and the Northern Rhodesian Police Force; No 2 Unit from Mount Hagen; No 3 Unit from Barapina in Bougainville under Sub-Inspector Daniel Gire from the Gazelle Peninsula.
Map 1 - Central Bougainville 1969 (Bill Brown)
Pic 1 - Paul Lapun MHA (John Martin-Jones, AFTVS)
Pic 2 – Memo from Acting Director Mac (MCW ) Rich, 15 February 1950 (Bill Brown’s files)
Pic 3 - Kiaps Chris Warrillow, Ross Allen and Phil Bouraga, 1969. Kieta wharf in background (Chris Warrillow)
Pic 4 - Don (DC) Vernon
Pic 5 - Barry Middlemiss
Pic 6 - Looking over the Kieta peninsula towards Arawa, Loloho and Rorovana, 2017 (Skyborne Visions LLC, USA)
Pic 7 - Head and toe scan of Holloway’s report
Pic 8 - Raphael Bele of Rorovana
In Chronicle 31, I neglected to record that Assistant Director Bill (WR) Dishon had vague recollections of his five-month stint as a Patrol Officer on Bougainville before the Japanese invasion in 1942.
Following District Officer Merrylees' contentious decision to evacuate Kieta on 22 January, Dishon sailed with him and thirteen other males to Woodlark Island and then to Port Moresby on the Methodist Mission Society's Auxiliary Schooner "Bilua".
Dishon enlisted on arrival.
Posted by: Bill Brown MBE | 19 April 2022 at 12:28 PM
I enjoyed Chapter 31 of Bill's Chronicle. His attention to detail is amazing, especially after all these years.
By the time it is finished it will be the masterpiece of all time. Congratulations for producing it.
Posted by: Chips Mackellar | 31 December 2021 at 11:22 AM
Very elucidating bit of old news that maybe should have been penned at the time the events took place.
Nevertheless this detailed essay should be read by any of the aspiring leader for an autonomous independent Bougainville to hopefully prevent history repeating itself.
Over to you, Leonard!
Leonard Roka is a prominent Bougainvillean entrepreneur and writer whose books have laid out a future path for independence - KJ
Posted by: Harry Topham | 31 December 2021 at 11:00 AM
I knew John Kup quite well too, Garry.
I met him while doing a land survey in 1968 outside Hagen.
He had been in the army, I believe trained in Australia.
I next met him when he was a commissioner on the 1972 Commission of Enquiry Into Land Matters.
Ross Allen was Assistant District Commissioner in Hagen when I arrived there in 1967.
He later disappeared while sailing a yacht from, I think, South America to Australia and was never found.
It is suspected pirates were to blame.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 31 December 2021 at 07:22 AM
Bill Brown writes that he does not know much about John Kup-Ogut. I would have met John Kup many times in Mt Hagen and knew several of his brothers and sisters as well.
The man referred to as John Kup-Ogut was the son of Jacob Kup and Josefina Rok. The name ‘Ogut’ or ‘Ugits’ was the name of an ancestor who was connected to the Penambi tribe.
John Kup’s father Jacob was one of the first students in the school established by Fr Ross at Wilya, Mt Hagen, circa 1935.
The Kup family lived at Palimrui, near Newtown, Mt Hagen. Akai Kup, Paul and Marcus were all brothers of John Kup. Their father Jacob also had a block of land at Kindeng or Avi.
Bill Brown also refers to an officer named ‘Andrew Smare’ - I wonder if this was not in fact ‘Arnold Smare’ who was a kiap, and who later married Josephine, a sister of John Kup, and whose son Anthony Smare is today well known in business circles in PNG.
Or it could be there were two ‘Smare’ brothers.
Bill also mentions Ross Allen who I remember as a well respected kiap in Mt Hagen. I remember him giving us a very positive talk about Hagen and its people.
Posted by: Garrett Roche | 30 December 2021 at 09:32 PM
Bill was privileged in a way because he had a front row seat from which to observe the machinations going on in the upper echelons of the administration and their interactions with the mandarins in Canberra in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
I'm not sure he would now regard that experience as a privilege, more of a trial perhaps?
In any event his recounting of those experiences is very enlightening for many of us who were out in the sticks and wondering what the hell was going on in Moresby and Canberra as we received yet another incomprehensible or impossible direction from on high in the mail.
Like a lot of old kiaps I can't wait for the next episode.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 30 December 2021 at 08:45 PM
I read your latest chapter with interest. That is a good photo of Ross Allen and Phil Bouraga. I liked Phil.
Phil came to Minj as a cadet when I was there, and we were both presented to Sir Robert Menzies when he visited.
Terry White came to see me in Rabaul in 1973 and conned me into a job with him as Senior Government Liaison Officer with the promise that I would rise to Deputy District Commissioner level in a forthcoming reorganisation.
That never happened. In my opinion, he was a bit of a feather duster. Good to see you are still firing on all six.
Posted by: Jim Fenton | 30 December 2021 at 06:26 PM
Chris, I reckon that those Canberra bureaucrats who are still with us are retired old farts contemplating their navels and gazing at their OBEs.
My thought is that Canberra was pushing the development of a mineral industry to create a self-supporting economy to lessen the impost on the Australian taxpayer.
Working in Moresby just prior to Independence, I can recall a lead article in the Post Courier that one third of the PNG economy at that time was from local production, one third was the Australian government grant and one third was the Bougainville Copper mine.
This indicated why the PNG government has been desperate to retain Bougainville within the nation and the rapid development of Provincial Government as a fob-off to the Bougainville people.
When that failed why not rebadge it using the words 'autonomous region'. Sounds impressive - give that man an OBE.
Posted by: Ross Wilkinson | 30 December 2021 at 11:45 AM
Reading Bill Brown's latest article I was once again struck by Canberra's determination to impose CRA's mine upon the people of Bougainville regardless of their emphatic opposition.
It seems to me that a combination of almost wilful ignorance about Bougainville and PNG generally, combined with complete indifference towards the expressed needs and wishes of its peoples, was the hallmark of attitudes in Canberra.
There was a stubborn refusal to accept any outcome other than the imposition of the mine upon people living far away of whom they knew nothing and cared less.
Of course, given my experience with bureaucracies, I should not really be too surprised.
There are endless examples of remote bureaucrats making decisions in their ivory towers that make no operational sense at all.
To be an effective leader or manager it was often necessary to ignore or otherwise subvert directions from above so as to enable the system to actually work.
Unfortunately, this option was not available to Bill and his colleagues although they certainly tried hard to insert reality and sanity into the conversation.
I wonder if anyone within the Canberra bureaucracy is reading Bill's Chronicle and, perhaps, nodding their head in silent acknowledgement that not a lot may have changed?
Posted by: Chris Overland | 29 December 2021 at 09:53 PM