Three families, seeking new lives of adventure and fulfilling careers, look for a paradise and find it in Papua New Guinea, experiencing the best and worst of times
HANS VON CHRISMAR
Papua and New Guinea Life Stories by Hans von Chrismar, edited by Rita Spence. Windmill Publishing, 2022, 246 pages. ISBN-10. 0645522007. Purchase here from Amazon: Paperback $77.04. Kindle $9.99
SYDNEY – ‘Life Stories’ traces the lives of three families that came to the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea: a Chinese family, a Dutch family and a British family.
It describes the traumatic effects of the Japanese occupation, which isolated the Chinese family for three years on a small island off the coast of Wewak.
The family fled to Port Moresby and worked in the construction industry, building roads and airstrips in places like Misima and Bougainville.
The British family, disillusioned with their lives and careers in Peterborough, United Kingdom, looked for a paradise.
They found it in Papua New Guinea, working in education and experiencing the best and worst of times.
The result is a fascinating book about Papua New Guinea at a time that was exciting and full of challenges.
The families adapted to life in PNG and learned to tackle development in a uniquely Papua New Guinean way.
There is also a intriguing diversion into cultural aspects of the Asmat people in Dutch New Guinea and a detailed analysis of Michael Rockefeller's disappearance in 1961.
All the stories are set against a historical background and the attitudes and situations surrounding the three families at the time.
Hans von Chrismar lived and worked as an indent agent in PNG from 1969 to 1974. He returned in 2006-07 working for an international aid organisation