History Feed

A record explained, or rationalised?

Chan
Julius Chan brought in the mercenaries, devalued the kina and hated the Ombudsman Commission

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

Sir Julius Chan: Playing the Game: Life and Politics in Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY – As MP for Namatanai, Julius Chan was one of the founding fathers of Papua New Guinea, twice serving as prime minister (1980– 82 and 1994-97) and currently governor of New Ireland Province.

Unlike Michael Somare in ‘Sana’, who focused much on the principles and traditions that underpinned his statesmanship, ‘Playing the Game’ admits from the outset that it is a book about politics.

Continue reading "A record explained, or rationalised?" »


Sana: The making of a great man

SanaDIANE HIRIMA & MINETTA KAKARERE
Academia Nomad | Edited

Michael Somare: Sana, An Autobiography

PORT MORESBY - Sana was first published in 1975, the year of Papua New Guinea’s independence. It traces Sir Michael Somare life from childhood to politics and his leading PNG to nationhood.

Sana (peacemaker) is a metaphor for a life lived both in upholding and fulfilling traditional obligations and enabling the transformation to modernity.

Continue reading "Sana: The making of a great man" »


A Kiap’s Chronicle: 30 - Tightening the screw

Looking to Loloho and Rorovana from the ridge on Kieta peninsula (Darryl Robbins)
Looking to Loloho and Rorovana from the ridge on Kieta Peninsula (Darryl Robbins)

BILL BROWN MBE

THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - Despite continuing protests from the community, mining giant Conzinc Rio Tinto of Australia (CRA) remained intent on securing Pakia village and the surrounding land for its town.

The Pakia area had most of the things CRA wanted: gently sloping land, a pleasant aspect, cool nights and, most importantly, a short drive to what would be the mine.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 30 - Tightening the screw" »


If we’re family, remember what we share

Morrison marape
Scott Morrison and James Marape. Morrison talks of PNG as “family” and the Pacific as “our patch” 

PATRICIA A O'BRIEN
| The Conversation

CANBERRA – Australian prime minister Scott Morrison is fond of describing Papua New Guinea as ‘family’. He did so recently when announcing Australia’s assistance with PNG’s Covid-19 outbreak.

The urgent support for PNG in the form of vaccines, testing kits, medical personnel and training was “in Australia’s interests”, Morrison said, because it threatens the health of Australians, “but equally our PNG family who are so dear to us”.

Continue reading "If we’re family, remember what we share" »


Anzac must honour values of peace, not war

Gold diggersPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – For the past month or so, the Returned Services League (RSL) has saturated us with television commercials drumming up interest in today’s Anzac Day celebrations (now cancelled in Perth because of Covid).

That Anzac Day has been turned into a lucrative money-making industry for many organisations, including the RSL, couldn’t be made any clearer.

Continue reading "Anzac must honour values of peace, not war" »


The Anzac myth & our ignored frontier wars

Map showing locations of Australia’s colonial massacres
This map shows more than 500 locations where colonial forces or individuals massacred Australia's Indigenous people. Australia has never come to terms with the Frontier Wars than continued for about 140 years

JOHN MENADUE
| Pearls & Irritations

SYDNEY - Conservatives and militarists want us to cling to a disastrous imperial war. They encourage us to focus on how our soldiers fought to avoid the central issue of why we fought.

We fought in World War I for Britain’s imperial interests not our own. The AIF was the ‘Australian Imperial Force’. It could not be clearer.

Continue reading "The Anzac myth & our ignored frontier wars" »


Patrolling not all mountains: Messing about in boats

MV Aveta ready for patrol  c1970
MV Aveta ready for patrol, c 1970

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – As a newly minted Assistant Patrol Officer in 1969, I was assigned to Kerema in Gulf Province, seen by new kiaps as a fate worse than death - perhaps exceeded only by a posting to Western Province.

Old hands confidently expected that junior kiaps posted to the Gulf would flee back to Australia, unable to cope with living in the estuarine delta, full of pukpuks and binatangs.

Continue reading "Patrolling not all mountains: Messing about in boats" »


Charles Monckton – the trigger happy colonialist

Charles Monckton  1907
Charles Monckton in 1907

BRADLEY GEWA
| Academia Nomad

Charles Monckton: Some Experiences of a New Guinea Resident Magistrate

PORT MORESBY –Charles Arthur Whitmore Monckton (1873-1936) first arrived in the protectorate of British New Guinea (later known as Papua) in 1895 having been recruited from New Zealand as a magistrate.

Upon Monckton’s arrival, Lieutenant-Governor Sir William MacGregor was unable to employ him.

Continue reading "Charles Monckton – the trigger happy colonialist" »


Another time, but not all has changed

TrobriandsMICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

Ted Wolfers: Race Relations and Colonial Rule in Papua New Guinea
Link here for details of how you can buy the book

PORT MORESBY - Ted Wolfers’ groundbreaking book, Race Relations and Colonial Rule in Papua New Guinea, was republished in 2016, 40 years after the first edition appeared in 1975.

Ted Wolfers wrote the substance of much of this book whilst he was in PNG between 1961 and 1971.

Continue reading "Another time, but not all has changed" »


Musing on the death of Prince Philip

Brittania in Kieta Harbour  Prince Philip on board   April 1971 (Terence Spencer)
Brittania in Kieta Harbour with Prince Philip on board,   April 1971. It is anchored behind a freighter waiting to dock at Kieta wharf (right) (Terence Spencer)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Early on the morning of Wednesday 17 March 1971, the black-hulled royal yacht HMY Brittania slipped slowly into Kieta harbour through the narrow main channel abeam of Pok Pok Island.

On board was Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, visiting for a two night stay on Bougainville after a voyage through the Panama Canal and the Pacific islands and on to the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

Continue reading "Musing on the death of Prince Philip" »


Review: Sean Dorney’s book is full of insight

Pauline and Sean Dorney
Pauline and Sean Dorney. "This book, even though written by an Australian, is the PNG voice speaking to Australia"

TANYA ZERIGA-ALONE
| Academia Nomad

The death of Michael Somare on 26 February renewed interest in the Papua New Guinea about its own history. To advance this mood, Academia Nomad invited reviews of books about PNG – KJ

Sean Dorney: The Embarrassed Colonialist
Link here to details of how you can buy the book

PORT MORESBY – This 140- page book was published in 2016 by Penguin Books for the Lowy Institute in Australia.

The book is short and easy reading but its eight chapters are packed with much insight about the Australia-Papua New Guinea relationship.

Continue reading "Review: Sean Dorney’s book is full of insight" »


The colony Australia tries to forget

Hoisting the British flag at Port Moresby
Hoisting the British flag at Port Moresby, 1888

ALLAN PATIENCE
| Pearls & Irritations

MELBOURNE - Australia’s ham-handed history of colonialism, in what today is the independent state of Papua New Guinea, began in 1883 when Queensland pre-emptively annexed the southeastern corner (Papua) of the great island of New Guinea in the name of the British Crown. (The British were not amused).

Late in the nineteenth century, the Australian colonies were fearful that Germany (Britain’s rival) was about to colonise the entirety of eastern New Guinea, posing (so they imagined) a threat to Queensland’s northern reaches.

Continue reading "The colony Australia tries to forget" »


Review: The diaries of Mikloucho-Maclay

Miklouho–Maclay
Nikolai Nikolaevich Mikloucho-Maclay

BRADLEY GEWA
| Academia Nomad | Edited

Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare’s death on 26 February created renewed interest in a neglected subject – the history of Papua New Guinea. Many people called for this to be taught at all levels of education.

To advance this idea, Academia Nomad invited readers to submit reviews of books about PNG in nominated categories. This review by Bradley Gewa was submitted in the category ‘Racism and Colonialism’ – KJ

Continue reading "Review: The diaries of Mikloucho-Maclay" »


Looking back at a look back & a look forward

WonemANDREW CONNELLY
| Oceania vol 85 no 1, March 2015

Australians in Papua New Guinea:1960–1975. Edited by Ceridwen Spark, Seumas Spark and Christina Twomey, University of Queensland Press, 2014.

CANBERRA - This volume is a collection of invited essays by, and interviews with, 17 people, Australian and Papua New Guinean, with firsthand experience of the final decade and a half of Australian rule leading up to national independence in 1975.

This period saw Papua New Guinea move with dizzying speed from a late-colonial society, with all the paradoxes of humanism, racism, and paternalism that appellation suggests, to an independent nation full of promise and hope.

Continue reading "Looking back at a look back & a look forward" »


The death of Somare & the descent of PNG

Early leaders
Kavali, Somare, Chan and Guise in 1973 - independence leaders whose idealism was compromised by the realities and opportunities of government

ALLAN PATIENCE
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations

Published as 'On the death of PNG’s first MP, Sir Michael Somare'

MELBOURNE - The death of Sir Michael Somare, first prime minister of Papua New Guinea, has occasioned an outpouring of national grief and heartfelt obituaries for ‘the Father of the Nation’, ‘the Chief’.

That he was, and remains, widely respected, even loved, across the country is beyond dispute.

Continue reading "The death of Somare & the descent of PNG" »


Of white supremacists & the ‘kanakamen’

Painting of Jim Taylor  Port Moresby Craft Market  1996 (Pacific Manuscripts Bureau)
Jim Taylor - artwork from Port Moresby Craft Market,  1996 (Pacific Manuscripts Bureau)

ROBERT FORSTER

The Sky Travellers by Bill Gammage, Melbourne University Press (1994). ISBN 9780522848274. 348 pages. Paperback $49.99

NORTHUMBRIA, UK - A re-examination of Professor Bill Gammage’s book, The Sky Travellers, published by Melbourne University Press in 1994, is timely.

It is especially relevant now given that many Papua New Guineans want to know more about their early colonial history and the attitudes of those who made it.

Continue reading "Of white supremacists & the ‘kanakamen’" »


Black & White magazine: a reflection

B&W No 1
Extract of the cover of the first issue of Black and White

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In November 1966 I was transferred from my school in the bush to Port Moresby to edit the School Paper.

At 22, I felt it was my big break. An opportunity that put me on the doorstep of journalism.

It was far from a major newspaper; but it was paid, full-time writing job.

Continue reading "Black & White magazine: a reflection" »


Tom Mboya, Paulus Arek & PNG independence

Tom Mboya in PNG 1964
Kenyan leader and independence advocate Tom Mboya talks with a school student when visiting PNG in 1964

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – In 1971, between 4 January and 19 February, Paulus Arek took his Select Committee on Constitutional Development on a fact finding tour to gauge the feelings of Papua New Guineans about self-government and independence.

Arek, the MP for Ijivitari, was first elected in 1968 and was also Minister for Information (1972-73) and the first president of the Federation of PNG Workers' Associations.

Continue reading "Tom Mboya, Paulus Arek & PNG independence" »


Sir Michael: The loss of a giant

Morrison Somare Whitlam 1973
Territories Minister Bill Morrison, Michael Somare and Gough Whitlam at a press conference at Parliament House, Canberra January 1973

BEN JACKSON

NOOSA - English scientist Isaac Newton admitted that, if he “had seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”, was a reflection that we all benefit from the work of great people who came before us.

Last month, one such person was lost to the world.

Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare was a giant of Papua New Guinea and, indeed, the world because of his significance to the decolonisation movement.

Continue reading "Sir Michael: The loss of a giant" »


Sir Michael & the secret of the Colours

Colours
The Regimental Colours return to 2RPIR, Wewak 2013 (Anara Private Archives)

ALEXANDER NARA

PORT MORESBY - From among the countless stories about Sir Michael Somare comes this one, about a secret.

It originated from near the tip of Cape Moem peninsula in Wewak, East Sepik Province.

This part of the Sepik coastline is home to the PNG Defence Force’s 2nd Royal Pacific Islands Regiment (2RPIR), the sister battalion to the Taurama-based 1RPIR in Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Sir Michael & the secret of the Colours" »


Brian Cooper’s conviction was a fit-up

Cooper at Sydney Airport after release from prison
Brian Cooper at Mascor after his release from prison

CHRIS OVERLAND

"[Brian] Cooper wasn't the only one espousing such messages in Papua New Guinea before independence, especially after the UPNG was established. In most cases the local kiap or the district commissioner would have a quiet word with them and tell them to tone it down and that would be the end of the matter" – Phil Fitzpatrick

ADELAIDE - I think that Phil is right. At worst, Mr Cooper was guilty of tokim mauswara tasol or, as my children would have said, ‘dribbling shit’.

Why then Australian prime minister Robert Menzies decided to single him out as an 'enemy of the people' is hard to fathom.

Continue reading "Brian Cooper’s conviction was a fit-up" »


The trials of Brian Leonard Cooper

Sir alan mann
Sir Alan Mann, then PNG chief justice, conceded that the words attributed to Cooper were highly improbable

MICHAEL HEAD
| University of Western Sydney | Extract

SYDNEY - In January 1961, when [Brian Leonard] Cooper landed in Port Moresby for his trial, a large police contingent awaited his arrival at the airport.

Media publicity ensured that the courtroom was full of spectators.

The Crown prosecutor opened by telling the territorial Chief Justice, Alan Mann, that Cooper had demonstrated “prior motivation” to commit a criminal act.

Continue reading "The trials of Brian Leonard Cooper" »


When orthodoxy seeks to strangle dissent

Cooper
Brian Cooper - Uttered a n opinion that the Australian government of the time was determined to suppress

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – The story of Brian Leonard Cooper is a very sad story indeed.

The early sixties in Australia were a period in which there was developing a simmering pent up desire for significant socio-economic change.

Continue reading "When orthodoxy seeks to strangle dissent" »


Bousimae, the chief who resisted colonisation

Waide - Bousimae  the Binandere chief
Bousimae, the Binandere chief

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - Papua New Guinea is a collection of nations, each with its own rich history.

Much of that history has been lost and much needs to be told.

The stories need to be told not in the context of the 200 years of colonialism, but from the perspective of our elders and based on 60,000 years of unwritten precolonial history.

Continue reading "Bousimae, the chief who resisted colonisation" »


‘Victory Song’ dedicated to a kiap wantok

John Gordon Kirby  Melbourne 2019
John Gordon-Kirkby was a kiap in Enga when he encountered Daniel Kumbon as a boy. After connecting on the internet in recent years, they have formed a great friendship

DANIEL KUMBON

PORT MORESBY - Early this morning, I received a ‘thank you’ note from one of the kiaps (patrol officers) John Gordon-Kirkby, now aged 84, who had served in Enga Province up to the time of Papua New Guinea’s independence in 1975.

A few days ago, John asked me to send him a dedication note with my signature on it so he could stick it somewhere in my new book, ‘Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter’, which he had just ordered.

Continue reading "‘Victory Song’ dedicated to a kiap wantok" »


Chimbu peoples uneven & constant rise

Chimbu Valley
Chimbu Valley - 24,000 years of settlement

MATHIAS KIN
| Republished in an edited form from ‘Not always easy, not always nice, but look where we are’, PNG Attitude, July 2018

KUNDIAWA - From the north coast our ancestors climbed into the mountains arriving here in Chimbu more than 24,000 years ago.

Organised in small groups, they freely roamed the vast forests of the time, living by hunting and gathering.

Continue reading "Chimbu peoples uneven & constant rise" »


Calamity of the mountain in the mist

Approaching Mt Lamington after the explosion 1951 (Fred Kleckham - PNGAA)
A small group of government officers approach Mt Lamington after the 1951 eruption (Fred Kleckham - PNGAA)

FRED KLECKHAM & MARJORIE KLECKHAM
| Library of the PNG Association of Australia

Fred Kleckham - The last surviving expat remembers

BRISBANE - 21 January 2021 commemorates the 70th anniversary of the eruption of Mount Lamington, near Popondetta in Papua New Guinea’s Northern Province.

Mt Lamington was probably the most destructive volcano to human life in modern history, taking the lives of an estimated 4,000 people.

Continue reading "Calamity of the mountain in the mist" »


Mt Lamington: Remembering the 4,000

Mt Lamington in eruption
At the time heavily forested. Mt Lamington was not believed to be a volcano until shortly before it exploded

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

POPONDETTA - It’s early morning at Hohorita village, a few kilometers outside Popondetta town.

Organisers of the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Mt Lamington eruption on 21 January 1951 are putting the final touches to preparations as they wait for the guests to arrive.

Continue reading "Mt Lamington: Remembering the 4,000" »


The indispensable manki masta

Kure Whan at Balimo in 1972
Manki masta Kure Whan at Balimo, 1972

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - When writing about their experiences in Papua New Guinea, many old kiaps mention the special relationship they enjoyed with members of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

Very often they highlight the sense of teamwork enjoyed with the policemen under their command – those wise old sergeant majors and sergeants get special praise.

Continue reading "The indispensable manki masta" »


1997 – That turbulent and defining year

(Waide) PNG was witnessing a law and order breakdown
1997 was a dangerous year in PNG, but it ended  more positively with Sir Mekere Morauta  at the helm

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - In the first quarter of 1997, word came out that the government of Sir Julius Chan was in talks with a British security contractor, Tim Spicer, to bring in South African mercenaries to end the Bougainville civil war that had been running for eight years.

The protracted conflict had seen the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) withdraw from Bougainville, depleted, demoralised and badly in need of rebuilding.

Continue reading "1997 – That turbulent and defining year" »


Morauta’s masterclass in economic reform

Mek
Sir Mekere Morauta - brought Papua New Guinea back from the brink of economic disaster

MATTHEW MORRIS
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Following independence, the Papua New Guinea economy fared relatively well. From 1980 to 1994 it grew at an average of 4% a year.

It was a bumpy ride though, with peaks and troughs in growth, notably the closure of the Panguna mine in 1989 and the start of the Kutubu oil project in 1992.

Continue reading "Morauta’s masterclass in economic reform" »


Rose Kekedo’s string of firsts

Rose kekedo
Dame Rose Kekedo

CATHY KEIMELO
| Ples Singsing | Edited

Dame Rose Kekedo by Eric Johns, pamphlet, Famous People of PNG series, 27 pages. Pearson & Longman Publisher, South Melbourne, Australia, 1 January 2002, ISBN-10: 0733933300. Available on Amazon for US$39.99 at this link

WAIGANI – This is a short biography of Dame Rose Violet Kekedo (1942-2005), the first Papua New Guinean first woman to venture into fields and roles that had been traditionally reserved for men.

Like her mother, Dame Mary Kekedo, she was knighted for her services to the government and people of PNG before and after independence.

Continue reading "Rose Kekedo’s string of firsts" »


A Kiap’s Chronicle: 29 - 'CRA, you're unwelcome'

Brown - Pic 1 - MV Craestar moored at KIeta (Peter Steele)
MV Craestar alongside the small ships’ wharf at Kieta circa 1965 (Peter  Steele)

BILL BROWN MBE

THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - On 24 July 1968, Craestar (1), Conzinc Rio Tinto's (CRA) research vessel, motored into Kieta harbour.

None of the onlookers were excited, even though Craestar had a helicopter sitting on a landing pad over the stern.

The townsfolk had seen it all before. CRA had been using the vessel's helicopter to move drilling gear around Panguna in 1965.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 29 - 'CRA, you're unwelcome'" »


Now a video record of an historic moment

Uechtritz
Alfred Max Parkinson Uechtritz shows his delight at receiving the first English translation of Dreissig Jahre in Der Südsee (Thirty Years in the South Seas) in 1999

MAX UECHTRITZ

SYDNEY - "Without Richard and Phebe Parkinson, we would be strangers in our own land."

These words were spoken by the wonderful Papua New Guinean historian Gideon Kakabin in our first conversation and formed the basis for our enduring friendship and shared passion for history.

My Danish great grandfather Richard Parkinson published his famed tome Thirty Years in the South Seas in 1907.

Continue reading "Now a video record of an historic moment" »


Ageing kiaps worry about their legacy

Bob Cleland
Many ex-kiaps maintain a close relationship with PNG. Here Bob Cleland looks out over the Asaro Valley from the Daulo Pass. Bob was instrumental in building this challenging stretch of the Highlands Highway in the early 1950s

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - It began about 10 years ago when a group of ex-kiaps sought to have their services in pre-independent Papua New Guinea formally recognised.

The end result was a reluctant awarding of a Police Overseas Service Medal by the Australian government for those interested in applying for it. It was a fancy piece of tin to keep the old chaps quiet.

The award failed to recognise the kiaps’ primary function as change and development agents and concentrated solely on their police role, which in many cases was minimal.

Continue reading "Ageing kiaps worry about their legacy" »


Time of tension: Revisiting Kerry Dillon’s ‘Chronicle’

Kerry Dillon
Kerry Dillon today - his perceptive chronicle of a time in PNG as independence loomed is well worth reading

KEITH JACKSON

The Chronicle of a Young Lawyer by Kerry Dillon, Hybrid Publishers, August 2020, 384pp. ISBN: 9781925736410, $35. Available from Booktopia & all good bookstores, www.hybridpublishers.com.au and as an ebook from Amazon, Kobo, Google Books and Apple iBookstore

NOOSA – In case you missed it, or on the off chance you want to know more, in this piece I’m revisiting Kerry Dillon’s memoir, ‘The Chronicle of a Young Lawyer’.

After publishing a brief review of the book in PNG Attitude in August, I exchanged a number of emails with Kerry, mainly on the subject of Rabaul in 1969-70 when his and my paths crossed during the tense days of the Mataungan Association’s challenge to the colonial Administration.

Continue reading "Time of tension: Revisiting Kerry Dillon’s ‘Chronicle’" »


From tragic first contact to now

Daniel & Paul
Author Daniel Kumbon and the subject of his latest book, Paul Kiap Kurai with the vista of Enga below them

DANIEL KUMBON

This is the Introduction from a new book by Daniel Kumbon which will come off the presses in a few weeks’ time. It tells of three generations of a prominent Enga family over a period of 90 years, from first contact with waitman gold prospectors in 1930 to the present day. The book features the prominent Enga businessman Paul Kiap Kurai who carries with him the knowledge that tradition is not something of the past but part of the spirit that carries his people forward into the future - KJ

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Papua New Guinea patrol reports

Sir Peter Scratchley in Papua
In the early 1880s, Sir Peter Scratchley was sent to Papua to manage the affairs of this latest addition to British imperial interests. And so began the important practice of compiling patrol reports

FACT SHEET
| National Archives of Australia

CANBERRA - Papua New Guinea's patrol reports had their beginnings in 1885 and are credited to Sir Peter Henry Scratchley who, as well as establishing Port Moresby as the seat of government and administration of British New Guinea, also developed a plan for administration and land policy.

The administration plan involved establishing government stations along the coast. These were staffed by a government officer, whose tasks included establishing contact and developing friendly relations with the inhabitants of the area.

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea patrol reports" »


Patrolling the Maramuni with Graham Hardy

Aerial view of the new Maramuni road
Aerial view of the new Maramuni road

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - Graham Hardy was posted to Wabag as a cadet patrol officer in 1954 and has recalled that period in an enthralling book, ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’, and in other writing, including a September 2015 article in Una Voce, the newsletter of the PNG Association of Australia.

It is clear that he, like former kiap and magistrate Chips Mackellar, developed a special affection for the people of Enga and related areas of the Papua New Guinea highlands.

Continue reading "Patrolling the Maramuni with Graham Hardy" »


The first outsiders into Enga

Akmana gold prospecting field party  1930
Members of the Akmana gold prospecting field party and local villagers. The party were the first outsiders into Enga in 1929

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG – The field party of the Akmana Gold Prospecting Company were the first Europeans to set foot in what is now Enga Province.

The Akmana prospectors, trekking south from the Sepik, had penetrated the Maramuni area and into the Wabag district four years before the ill-fated Leahy brothers’ expedition of 1934.

Michael Leahy’s diary stated that 15 tribespeople were killed and an equal number injured in a bloody encounter at Tole village and five more were killed as the Leahy party retreated back to Mt Hagen.

Continue reading "The first outsiders into Enga" »


The papers being sorted; the drawers emptied

Kiaps 1960
Newly recruited kiaps having completed their training in Port Moresby observe a march past by police in the early 1960s

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - In an article a few days ago about Francis Nii and the effort to memorialise his contribution to Papua New Guinean literature, Keith Jackson reiterated an earlier comment that “this is likely to be PNG Attitude’s last big project. It was always going to happen that Phil Fitzpatrick and I would age and gradually run out of steam. Well, that point is arriving”.

I can wholly endorse that observation, no matter how hard I try to build up a head of steam about lots of things these days it seems to inevitably dissipate in ineffectual little puffs from all the leaks in the rusty old boiler.

Continue reading "The papers being sorted; the drawers emptied" »


There’s no escape from our changing world

ChangeROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA, UK - It does no good to pretend that late 19th and early 20th century Papua New Guinea with its stone based technology and scattered and perpetually warring tribes could have lain forever undisturbed by the relentless impetus of the world.

Any discussion of Australia’s presence in PNG should not begin with whether it had any right to be there, but with what might have happened if a potentially harsher Japanese or Indonesian administration had taken over the country before it became independent.

Continue reading "There’s no escape from our changing world" »


Guise & Kerr – the Whitlam connection

Ind Day
Prince Charles speaks at PNG's independence day. Sir John Guise (left) and Sir John Kerr (centre) themselves had an interesting private talk the night before

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - There’s an interesting conversation currently taking place in the Australian media following the release of letters exchanged between Queen Elizabeth II and Sir John Kerr, the former Australian governor general who dismissed the Whitlam government in 1975.

The release of the 211 ‘palace letters’ from the Australian Archives follows a protracted effort by historian Jenny Hocking who wanted to know what role the queen might have played in the dismissal of an Australian prime minister.

Continue reading "Guise & Kerr – the Whitlam connection" »


How PNG escaped colonialism’s worst

Kiaps
The Australian colonial Administration's basic position was that PNG people should be brought under the rule of law as humanely and non-violently as possible

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Phil Fitzpatrick is right to equate racism with economic oppression, as they clearly go hand in hand.

You do not need to be a Marxist to understand that neo-liberal capitalism relies upon the ability to exploit labour in order to flourish.

The basic theory underpinning capitalism as outlined by Adam Smith is that if each person is free to pursue his or her own economic best interests so the total economy must inevitably grow.

Continue reading "How PNG escaped colonialism’s worst" »


The finding of Ok Tedi

Ok-tedi-aerial-2
"Young came to have more profound impact on the Wopkaimin than any previous colonial administrative or army patrol. He made ethnographic observations but more importantly recorded that the streams seemed to contain copper deposits"

COL YOUNG

EX KIAP WEBSITE - I have often meant to write of my 24 day patrol to the Star Mountains (Wopkaimin) in August and September of 1966 and the finding of copper sulphate presence in that remote north western corner of the then Western District.

There has been some confusion as to who first discovered evidence of copper leading to the Ok Tedi venture, hence this article.

Continue reading "The finding of Ok Tedi" »