ADELAIDE - The article by Baka Bina, ‘The Taxing Art of Translation’, has recently stimulated much comment and discussion in PNG Attitude.
Accomplished writers like Michael Dom, Daniel Kumbon, Phil Fitzpatrick and others have offered their own insights and perspectives on the problems inherent in translating Tok Pisin into English.
Continue reading "Tok Pisin: A language on history's march" »
Bernard Narokobi when Attorney-General in 1991. A political and jurisprudential philosopher of great seriousness and stature (Pacific Islands Monthly)
NEW YORK - Bernard Narokobi, who died in March 2010 at the age of 72 after a short illness, was a political and jurisprudential philosopher of great seriousness and stature. That makes my memories of his irrepressible irreverence especially sweet.
One such memory: Bernard taking his afternoon nap on the wall to wall carpeting of the Law Reform Commission’s way too elegant offices.
Continue reading "Narokobi: The man who knew what might have been" »
Yamin Kogoya - "Papuans have been dislocated from the centre of their cultural worldview and placed on the fringes of the grand colonial narrative"
CANBERRA - The colonial notion of ‘civilising primitive Papuans’ has distorted Papuan perceptions of the world and themselves.
This distortion began with how New Guinea and its people were described in early colonial literature: unintelligent pygmies, cannibals and pagan savages – people devoid of value.
Not only did this depiction foster a racist outlook but it misrepresented reality as it was experienced and understood by Papuans for thousands of years.
Continue reading "Capturing the mind: Anatomy of a Papuan genocide" »
Sir Hubert Murray's headstone at Badihagwa Cemetery - a great administrator who preferred to be on patrol rather than in Port Moresby
This is an edited version of a story published in Una Voce (now PNG Kundu), the journal of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia, on 16 September 2015
MELBOURNE - My first interest in the old ‘European Cemetery’ at Badihagwa dates back to the late 1980s.
At that time, with my friend and fellow former kiap, Dave Henton, I decided to find the grave of Papua’s former Lieutenant Governor, Sir John Hubert Plunkett (‘Judge’) Murray (1861-1940).
Continue reading "The saga of Judge Murray's grave" »
ADELAIDE - Robert Forster’s recent article on the pacification of the Goilala region set me thinking about why the imposition of Pax Australiana in Papua New Guinea was so strikingly different to the colonial processes followed in South America, Africa and South East Asia.
By way of context, readers need to understand that European imperialism was almost invariably imposed by force, often with catastrophic results for the indigenous population involved.
Continue reading "Pax Australiana: A most peaceful colonisation" »
Gough Whitlam on the day of his government's dismissal on 11 November 1975. He died in October 2014 aged 98
NOOSA – I am, after a short stay in hospital, back home, still feeling a bit poorly – but that is my normal state.
You should also know I’m in something of an intemperate mood.
However, I’m feeling well and agreeable enough to manage this short compilation for readers too young or too senile to recall.
Continue reading "What did Whitlam ever do for us?" »
BILL BROWN MBE
THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - The Bougainville operations of Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia (CRA) had dominated Australian government and Territory Administration thinking from 1964, but that all changed in September 1968.
The trigger was a report by the Australian Broadcasting Commission that broadcast details of a meeting hosted in Port Moresby by two Bougainville members of the House of Assembly, Paul Lapun and Donatus Mola.
Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 31 - Propaganda & confrontation" »
Patrol Officer Roy Edwards and police with a group of manacled villagers, Kunimaipa section, Goilala Sub-District, late 1940s (photo previously unpublished)
NORTHUMBRIA, UK – Roy Edwards was an uncompromising kiap (patrol officer), not fond of paperwork and with his own way of bringing pacification to the warring tribes of Papua New Guinea.
He patrolled the Kunimaipa section of the Goilala region for months on end and was ultimately successful in erasing a traditional payback murder spiral that led to dozens of deaths each year.
The perpetuation of payback was an insurmountable obstacle to securing the wellbeing and progress of the villages.
Continue reading "Pax Australiana & techniques of pacification" »
Traditional upland gardens near Wapenamanda
TUMBY BAY - Like many liklik kiaps (cadet patrol officers), my first couple of patrols in the Papua New Guinea Highlands involved the construction and maintenance of roads.
The idea was to get the young men out amongst the local people so they could quickly learn Tok Pisin and also find out if they could cope with roughing it in the bush.
Continue reading "Can be darn cold up in those mountains" »
Men of Enga (Joe Herman)
SEATTLE - The word arrived quickly that Pambene, a cousin in neighbouring Pumas village in Enga Province, had been assaulted and severely injured by tribesmen over a land dispute.
As expected, my oldest brother Yandapae and two cousins retaliated and forcibly took a large pig from the culprits as compensation.
Continue reading "My father’s dilemma: when cultures collide" »
The Class of '68: Cadet patrol officers induction course at Kwikila (Bob Welsh)
ANDREW LESLIE PHILLIPS
From Assignment Papua New Guinea: 1968-75
Link to more writing in Andrew’s Note Books
NEW YORK - Advertising was not my first career choice. I’d wanted to be a traveller and a journalist. But I couldn’t get a job in journalism because I didn’t have a university degree.
Advertising was my next choice - it was creative and better paid than journalism but I never got to the “better paid” part.
Continue reading "PNG landfall – the dawn of adventure" »
Michael Dom - "I completely reject 'Post-Colonial Literature' as a valid category for considering Papua Niuginian literary works"
LAE - Post-colonial literature is a stupid title. But I do understand the objective of those academics determined to force us writers to accept it.
They see it as a starting point which, while seemingly logical in an historical time frame, provides a false indication of where our personal creativity and the creativity of our people really began.
Continue reading "'Post-colonial Literature' is a stupid title" »
Roche - Ukini tribe couple in Lgeg area circa 1974. The man is wearing a badge ‘Baiyer River Local Government Council – Ward Committee’ (Roche)
FR GARRETT ROCHE
MAYNOOTH - Jim Moore’s article, ‘A Baiyer court case, a good kiap reflects’, brought back some memories and some questions.
The questions simply involved my wondering what specific tribes were involved in the court case Jim presided over, and where in Baiyer the conflict occurred.
Continue reading "Roads to the Future: Early days in Baiyer" »
A Tagali warlord presents his Mac58 and M16 at a Hela gun surrender. Technology has made clan warfare much more lethal
WARRADALE - Among the boxes of stuff in my shed, I dug up a document I had kept because I wanted to prove I had not embellished a story.
The document was a carbon copy of a Local Court case I heard at Baiyer River in the Western Highlands nearly 50 years ago, on 10 December 1971.
Continue reading "A Baiyer court case: A good kiap reflects." »
| Edited extracts
MT HAGEN - It is widely accepted that people have been living on the island of New Guinea for at least 50,000 years BP (before present).
The ancestors of New Guinea Highlanders were among the earliest Papuan language speakers to arrive in the Pacific region.
Continue reading "From where Highlanders emerged" »
Pacific Islander slave labour on a Queensland sugar plantation (State Library of Queensland)
JOHANNA MARIE & STEPHANIE DOOLE
| ABC Wide Bay
BUNDABERG - The stone walls that stretch along Bundaberg's farms are a stark and lasting reminder of the history of slavery in the region, but the community has taken a step forward to begin the healing process.
In an Australian first, Bundaberg's mayor Jack Dempsey is issuing a formal apology to the region's South Sea Islander community for the practice of blackbirding.
Continue reading "Bundaberg issues historic blackbirding apology" »
The Ialibu-Kagua road built by 12 CE Works in the 1970s was finally sealed in 2019
| Harim Tok Tok
MADANG - By the time the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) unit left Mendi in 1999, most parts of the former Southern Highlands Province (Hela was created from its western region in 2012) were connected by basic roads while the more outlying areas had airstrips.
Members of the Australian Army’s engineering corps had been deployed to Mendi in 1970 to run the Provincial Works Division.
Continue reading "Builders: The story of Mendi’s Royal Engineers" »
SYDNEY - I run a media, training and consultancy company called IndigenousX. It is 100% Indigenous owned and staffed.
We work on local, regional, national, and international projects; we run training workshops on anti-racism, digital strategies, and media training.
Continue reading "Identity & parlance: This is who we are" »
Highlands road at Oiyarip looking toward Mendi
FR GARRETT ROCHE SVD
MAYNOOTH, IRELAND - My initial response to Jim Moore’s item, ‘Thoughts of Then, Now & Cultural Variance’, was to try to figure out which road Jim was referring to and what clans were involved.
Then Jim continued to discuss the appropriateness of the Western parliamentary system for an independent Papua New Guinea. So will I.
Between Mt Hagen and Togoba there are at least two roads heading towards Bukapena.
Continue reading "Roads connect but government can divide" »
Road building, Pindiu, Morobe District, 1965 (Frank Haviland)
WARRADALE - In the late 1960s, as a young kiap based at Mt Hagen Sub-District Office, I was assigned to supervise work on a new feeder road.
It led off the Hagen-Togaba main road and heading north towards Bukapena in the Mul Council area, perhaps eight kilometres out of Hagen.
Part of the construction through a small hill had resulted in a cliff 10-15 metres high that had to be reduced to allow the road to be widened using the stock tools of the time - picks and long-handled spades.
Continue reading "Thoughts of then, now & cultural variance" »
In this second extract from ‘Learning to Be a Writer in Papua New Guinea’, Evelyn Ellerman writes of the emergence of student writers at the University of Papua New Guinea from 1967, which led to the development of a home-grown Papua New Guinean literature. Her paper was part of the University of Calgary’s ‘History of Intellectual Culture’ series. Link here to the complete paper - KJ
CALGARY - In the late 1960s, three principal publishing vehicles were associated with the University of Papua New Guinea's Literature Department.
Kovave, an in-house literary journal; Papua Pocket Poets, an in-house poetry series; and a number of externally published collections whose content was gleaned from the journal and the series.
Continue reading "Writing in PNG: Kovave & beyond" »
Ulli Beier - "Drawing upon nearly 15 years of pioneering work in Nigeria, he had some notion of what he wanted to accomplish in PNG"
In this extract from ‘Learning to Be a Writer in Papua New Guinea’, Evelyn Ellerman writes of the establishment of the Literature Department at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1967, which led directly to the development of the first shoots of a home-grown Papua New Guinean literature. Her important paper was written as part of the University of Calgary’s ‘History of Intellectual Culture’ series. Link here to Ellerman’s complete paper - KJ
CALGARY - Since so few Melanesians could read and write, the first admission to UPNG was relatively small: in 1966 only 55 students registered.
Many of these students were required to take a bridging year in order to improve their grasp of English. A handful registered for the literature classes and began to write.
Continue reading "How PNG's first literary blossoming arrived" »
Russel Soaba wrote the first Papua New Guinean novel written specifically for his own countrymen
TUMBY BAY - It wasn’t until 1977 that a Papua New Guinean novel appeared that was targeted at Papua New Guinean readers, Russell Soaba’s Wanpis.
Wanpis (Tok Pisin for a person who is lonely or alone, like an orphan) is about identity and displays an angst that is quintessentially Papua New Guinean.
Continue reading "A brief history of PNG literature, Part 2" »
TUMBY BAY - Papua New Guinea has a rich tradition of oral literature which exists to this day.
Vincent Eri’s work of 1970, The Crocodile, was the first novel by a Papua New Guinean, but it seems likely that the first book written by a Papua New Guinean came from the pen of the New Ireland writer, Ligeremaluoga (also known as Osea).
Continue reading "A brief history of PNG literature, Part 1" »
District Commissioner Bill Brown signs the Arawa land lease documents in 1970 accompanied by Tavora of Arawa, Director of Agriculture Bill Conroy, Conzinc Rio Tinto's Colin Bishop, Narug of Arawa (Department of Information and Extension Services)
| DevPolicy Blog
CANBERRA - Much has been written about the patrol officers, or kiaps, in colonial Papua New Guinea.
That material includes many books by kiaps recording their time in PNG, and by historians and others trying to understand the colonial experience and its impacts on contemporary PNG.
Continue reading "Lessons from a kiap in old Bougainville" »
ADELAIDE - I am sorry that my comments on the pre-independence speculation that Papua New Guinea might become a state of Australia has been interpreted as reflecting a white supremacist outlook, or one of white privilege.
Although I freely admit to being both white and privileged, I certainly don't assume that this confers upon me some special intelligence, wisdom or insight.
Continue reading "White privilege era over; but it’s dying hard" »
ADELAIDE - I agree with Phil Fitzpatrick who observed yesterday that Papua New Guinea should have become a state of Australia.
If this had been done, several predictable things would have happened.
First, there would have been a steady inflow of migrants from the Australian mainland lured by PNG’s almost limitless opportunities in agriculture, mining, energy, tourism and so forth.
Continue reading "What might have been could yet be" »
Landscape around Mt Hagen (Gudmundur Fridriksson)
MOUNT HAGEN - I am pleased to report that we are about to complete the first phase of research on the history of the Western Highlands (including Enga and Jiwaka provinces).
The first phase involves library research, much of which is coming from the archives of the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen.
Continue reading "A history of the Western Highlands" »
Radio Rabaul's Nellie Exon, the first Tolai woman broadcaster
NOOSA - The first government broadcasting station in Papua New Guinea, Radio Rabaul, was opened in a hurry in October 1961.
There were no adequate production, transmission and office facilities – a demonstration that there had been little planning behind the bold decision of the colonial Administration to enter the broadcasting field.
Continue reading "How colonial radio came to PNG" »
Archaeologists at an ancient banana farm, cultivated over 2,000 years ago on Mabuyag Island in the southern Torres Strait
TUMBY BAY - There’s been a curious debate going on for several years among academics about whether Aboriginal people in Australia engaged in agriculture and therefore lived sedentary lives.
The debate was given impetus in 2014 when author Bruce Pascoe published a book, Dark Emu.
Continue reading "Australia’s first people had farming savvy" »
Oala Oala-Rarua while mayor of Port Moresby, 1972
| Australian Dictionary of Biography | Edited
CANBERRA – Oala Oala-Rarua (1934-80) - teacher, trade-union leader, politician and diplomat - was born at Pari village near Port Moresby.
He received his early education in mission village schools before transferring to the Sogeri education centre in 1948 where he was trained, and then employed, as a teacher.
Continue reading "Names of PNG: Oala Oala-Rarua" »
Censored image. The photo of Uiaku schoolgirls was taken by PJ Money in 1908 (Australian Museum)
| Guardian Australia
SYDNEY - Facebook has been accused of “discriminatory and racist” behaviour after it deleted historical photos from a group that publishes archival photos of men and women from Papua New Guinea.
The group, which boasts over 55,000 members, claims photos showing traditional dress or ceremonies were deleted for allegedly containing nudity – but photos showing nudity among white people were not.
Continue reading "‘Racist’ Facebook doesn’t get the picture" »
Camilla Wedgwood taking the arm measurement of a young boy
| Australian Dictionary of Biography | Edited
CANBERRA - Camilla Hildegarde Wedgwood (1901-1955), anthropologist and educationist, was born on 25 March 1901 at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
She was descended from Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795), the master potter.
Aided by her famous name and the financial stability that flowed from the sale of Wedgwood pottery, Camilla was free to express her inherited independence, strong social conscience and streak of individualism.
Continue reading "Names of PNG: Camilla Wedgwood" »
Beach at Henry Reid Bay
| Edited extracts
TOL, EAST NEW BRITAIN - Cultures around the world have different concepts of history and of time.
The historicity of a people or place crystallizes in many forms etched in the environment, landscape, language, stories and material culture. Legends, myths, fairy tales, creation stories or origin stories are just some examples.
Continue reading "Don’t make history a fairy tale" »
Julius Chan brought in the mercenaries, devalued the kina and hated the Ombudsman Commission
| 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?" »
DIANE 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" »
Looking to Loloho and Rorovana from the ridge on Kieta Peninsula (Darryl Robbins)
BILL BROWN MBE
THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - Despite continuous 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" »
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" »
ADELAIDE - Dr De Maria has certainly unleashed some caustic criticism of the Anzac tradition, much of it well deserved.
I would argue, for example, that Paul Keating was right to say that the Kokoda campaign of 1942 was much more deserving of recognition as a seminal military event in our history.
Continue reading "A day to remember that 'war is hell'" »
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" »
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
| 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" »
MV Aveta ready for patrol, c 1970
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 in 1907
| 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" »
| 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" »
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)
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" »
Pauline and Sean Dorney. "This book, even though written by an Australian, is the PNG voice speaking to Australia"
| 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" »
Hoisting the British flag at Port Moresby, 1888
| 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" »
Nikolai Nikolaevich Mikloucho-Maclay
| 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" »
| 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" »
Kavali, Somare, Chan and Guise in 1973 - independence leaders whose idealism was compromised by the realities and opportunities of government
| 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" »