Uncomprehending elites put us in danger
Recent Notes 31: Japan’s oppressed minority

Recent Notes 30: Some letters worth keeping


NOOSA – Search engines have improved out of sight, but still trouble penetrating through that first couple of layers of the internet into the rich lode of information that lies beneath. This includes Recent Comments, our popular feedback column, which contains among its near 52,000 items some of the most important, amusing and curious nuggets to be found on the blog.

For example, the following quote is super difficult to track down, even though it exudes a strong sense of drama: “He took me from Nadzab to Gusap, the airstrip my father had taken off from on a mission to Wewak. It was March 11, 1944, and he was never seen again.”

From time to time I republish the longer and more substantial of these comments on our front page, but there are many hundreds more buried away to be found by keen readers or pernickety researchers interested in hidden treasure. Today I’ve tapped a few recent comments I thought were worth those search engines digging up.


Rupageno Benjamin

I see many block owners have other businesses outside of their customary land. They are not focused on abiding by the terms and conditions and meeting the relevant requirements set out by the Department of Lands, Agriculture and Livestock.

I think the block owners should allow the tenants to be permanent residents. The project could be strengthened by the farmers and other settlers contributing and creating a strong association between with the land.

When the agreements were made on the gazetted date, the tenant was able to live permanently on the property. Many blockholders have breached the terms and conditions of this.

If we continue to live on our block permanently the government will see interest in the project strengthen and services and development in the area continue to grow.

Although many people have owned blocks, they still have more land in the village. They have never been permanent residents of their blocks. They were here today and gone tomorrow.

I strongly emphasise that the heads of Lands, Agriculture and Livestock and the Rubber Board need to look at the matter and re-tender all blocks that have been abandoned.


Thomas Vue

I've seen religiously delusional people commenting that relocating PNG’s embassy in the disputed holy land of Jerusalem was the right move. They say this without having regard to human rights, ethnic cleansing and the various atrocities committed by far-right Zionist movements against the Palestinians and Arabs who are the original Semites.

As Tudor Parfitt wrote, these delusions started as Indigenous people all over the world, including the Gogodalas, "used the stratagem of Israelite identity to help them resist being totally subjugated to Western Christian dogma, praxis, and mores." Call it Stockholm Syndrome if you wish.

It's sad that the gullible amongst our impoverished people so easily fall for this blind belief which is associated with a strong right-wing view, bigotry, racism, egocentrism, closed-mindedness and delusion. They love to maintain their ‘comfortable poverty’ and defend their mental captives to death without realising that we are no different from extremists.


Bill Brown

I am not a diarist - immaculate or otherwise. I rely on a collection of personal files: letters, reports and the situation reports I sent from Kieta to Port Moresby weekly from January 1967 and daily from August 1969.

I also have a collection of Field Officers’ Journals and some CRA/BCP material.

As to publishing 'A Kiaps Chronicle', I started drafting it as a book some months ago but then decided to split it into two and concentrate on, for want of a title, 'A Kiaps Chronicle 2 -  Bougainville and Panguna'.

I am well into creating a new structure, rewriting, revising and checking facts and details. I am leaning towards an e-book in PDF format as I would like to include maps and pictures.

I don’t need any prodding, but I would welcome any suggestions from readers for a title.


Ann Speakman

I read this article with interest as my late husband, David Speakman, served as a Kiap from 1957-1969.

We were in Kavieng in 1969 when John Guise got in touch with David. He had known my husband in 1957 and grew friendly with him especially as David made sure he learned Motu while he worked in Papua.

I think it was because of David’s knowledge and that John Guise trusted him that he brought him to fill the job of Assistant Clerk of the House of Assembly. So hear was a true case of John Guise wanting and needing a Kiap who spoke and understood the language of Papua.

My dear husband died in 2009 but we never forgot our years in PNG and I am still interested in the country.


B W Houston
| Mendi, Lake Kutubu, Mendi, Tari, Koroba, Wabag

Phil Fitzpatrick’s story of his emergence as a kiap was very interesting, and we six-month trained E Course teachers had a similar summarily before being summarily terminated in 1974.

This shock was ameliorated somewhat when the Australian government offered us the NEATS scheme in 1975/76 and quite a number benefited from the opportunities the scheme provided.

The late AP (Albert) Baglee was the subject of many criticisms, but he gave raw teaching graduates of the E-Course the responsibility to practice and master what they had been taught at Malaguna in Rabaul.

I was to experience 22 years of employment as a result of NEATS and, later, an external degree.

The Territory of Papua New Guinea was an unforgettable experience and enabled many E-Course teachers opportunities not available to them in Australia.

Now I’m 90 plus years old and never regretted the impulse that caused me to apply to be interviewed for the PNG E-Course.


Lloyd Bunting

The only radio we had in Port Moresby in the 1950s was 9PA (VLT6). It had a children's hour. I remember that one of the shows was Tarzan. As a pre-teenager I cycled around to the ABC radio station at Six Mile waiting for Tarzan to come out after the program. But of course he didn't).

There wasn't much radio security there at that time. Our family was set to fly from Moresby to Honolulu to meet my grandparents. The day before we were due to fly out, several people tried to contact my father about a phone call. Phone calls and telegrams were gtransmitted on an open radio frequency and apparently everyone listened to them. My grandmother had died in San Francisco the day before her departure to meet us in Hawai’i. So we didn't go.

One of the great things in those days was the relationship with the local people. Like other expats, our house had a servants hut (hausboi) nearby where our 'house boy' (as they were called) lived with his wife and son. Today that sounds like exploitation, but I believe it was good because we had a relationship. They had a house on our block, were paid and provided with food and other supplies. His name was Dinda and he came from Daru. His son, Labu, and I got on well - although he did not go to my school, which was the Boroko Coronation Primary School.

My mother (a former RAAF nurse) used to watch the native woman across the street chopping wood. Her axe and body were flying as she chopped away. My mother would mutter: "One of these days...." My mother also tried to encourage the local women to wear bras. But there was nothing more incongruous as a dark skinned woman wearing a large white bra.

In 1961 our group of pre-teen school students flew to the Highlands and walked from Kokoda to one of the rubber plantations. We were welcomed with hospitality at each village.

As kids we learned a lot about relationships:  native adults would talk to us as our own parents would, and we respected native adults as we did expatriate adults. It's a shame, from all reports, that after independence all that seems to have been lost, and Port Moresby is now regarded as a dangerous place to visit.

As a senior executive at the ANZ Bank in Melbourne, I was asked to support an improvement to the security of the staff compound in Port Moresby. The justification included awful stories. Such a shame. Of course, the request was approved immediately.

I have a sad feeling that Port Moresby is past the tipping point for recovery from entrenched corruption and violent crime.


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