Can you help reconnect a lost colonial tie?
02 October 2022
The whole business of reconnection between Australians and Papua New Guineans from the colonial era is an interesting side issue that often goes on in the comments section of PNG Attitude and the ExKiap website
TUMBY BAY - My wife and I spent nine years living at Hervey Bay in Queensland before we moved back to South Australia a few years ago.
Lovely weather but Queensland doesn’t have any decent newspapers so we read the Sydney Morning Herald instead.
That’s when I first came across columnist Richard Glover. Not as biting as John Birmingham or Mike Carlton but pleasantly amusing and weird enough to hold my interest.
So when I came across a copy of his 2015 memoir, Flesh Wounds (ABC Books), I decided to give it a go.
I’m an avid reader of memoirs, biographies and autobiographies, especially those written by writers.
A lot of them have a general theme that explores their relationships with their parents and Glover is no different.
Most of them only have one weird parent, usually the mother, but Glover was blessed with two.
His mother was obsessed with class and social climbing, as she tried to hide her working class origins.
His father was an alcoholic, unable to cope with life.
All very sad.
They were both English, but they did have an interesting connection to Papua New Guinea.
Glover’s father, Ted, and his wife, Bunty, spent 12 years in PNG in the 1950s and early 1960s.
They helped to establish the South Pacific Post, one of the precursors that, in 1966, evolved into the present PNG Post-Courier.
Richard, like many expatriate kids of the time, was looked after by Papuan servants, Danota and Gogo, with whom he developed an affectionate relationship.
In his quest to understand that part of his life, on several occasions Richard endeavoured to reconnect with Danota and Gogo,but without success.
The whole business of reconnection between Australians and Papua New Guineans from the colonial era is an interesting side issue that often goes on in the comments section of PNG Attitude and the ExKiap website.
I reconnected with the family of my late haus kuk, Kure Whan, through PNG Attitude and now correspond with his grandchildren by email.
This made me wonder whether it would still be possible to track down Glover’s connection from way back in the 1950s.
There are a couple of photographs in the book.
Danota and Gogo look distinctly Papuan. Maybe locals from Hanuabada or one of the other Motu villages, or perhaps from down the coast, and maybe as far as Suau.
It would be interesting to see if any PNG Attitude readers recognise them.
Leave a Comment below if you do.
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