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Do you know about Fr Alfonse Mayerhoffer


NOOSA - PNG Attitude contributor Greg Bablis is back in Scotland completing his PhD, and needs some assistance from readers.

He’s seeking information on Fr Alfonse Mayerhoffer, a German Catholic priest who was stationed on Lamengi Plateau in the Baining area of East New Britain before and during World War II.

If you know anything of Fr Mayerhoffer, you can contact Greg through the Comments link below or email him here.

Fr Mayerhoffer established the first Catholic mission station near Raigel and he provided support for Australian soldiers escaping from the Japanese invasion of Rabaul in early 1942.

He guided them to what is now known as the Lark Force Track, which runs from the Warongoi River in the north to Wide Bay in the south.

Fr Mayerhoffer died during the war and is buried at Lamengi.

“I’m hoping some people might have heard or read about him and could give me any leads,” Greg Bablis tells me.

“He discovered a new species of butterfly in the Baining area, which is named Mayheroferi, after him.”

Greg’s not sure Mayheroferi is the right spelling, and he’s also looking for a picture of the butterfly.

He’s now back at St Andrew’s University, northeast of Edinburgh, after more than two years of fieldwork in East New Britain and Milne Bay.

“I’m doing my thesis write-up now - last leg of this journey,” he writes. 

His thesis supervisor is Dr Adam Reed, who in 1994-95 conducted research in the maximum-security Bomana prison just outside Port Moresby

Dr Reed was interested in issues around cultures of incarceration, including the differences between colonial and postcolonial governance.

St. Andrews is a seaside town, best known for its many golf courses.

But the social anthropology department at the University is also known for its world-leading research.

If you can provide Greg with any information about Fr Alfonse Mayerhoffer or the butterfly, no matter how small, contact him through the Comments link below or email him here.


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Geoff Hancock

The grave of P A Mayrhofer, 1905-1943, is in Vunapope cemetery.

This article has photos of the butterfly Delias mayrhoferi:

Thanks Geoff, I'm sure you have made Greg's day - KJ

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