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" »
Jim Taylor - artwork from Port Moresby Craft Market, 1996 (Pacific Manuscripts Bureau)
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’" »
Extract of the cover of the first issue of Black and White
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" »
Kenyan leader and independence advocate Tom Mboya talks with a school student when visiting PNG in 1964
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" »
Territories Minister Bill Morrison, Michael Somare and Gough Whitlam at a press conference
at Parliament House, Canberra January 1973
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" »
The Regimental Colours return to 2RPIR, Wewak 2013 (Anara Private Archives)
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 at Mascor after his release from prison
"[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" »
Sir Alan Mann, then PNG chief justice, conceded that the words attributed to Cooper were highly improbable
| 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" »
Brian Cooper - Uttered a n opinion that the Australian government of the time was determined to suppress
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" »
Brian Cooper - the man who wanted PNG independence
MORRISET – The man in the photograph is Brian Leonard Cooper; convicted in Papua New Guinea and jailed in Australia for sedition.
His crime? Advocating independence for the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
His fate? Suicide.
Continue reading "The man jailed for urging PNG independence" »
Bousimae, the Binandere chief
| 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" »
Port Moresby town centre, 1960s
ADELAIDE - Rebecca Kuku's article, Growing Up in 60s Port Moresby, describes Port Moresby as I too remember it.
Although colonial Moresby had its problems, it was generally a pleasant and mostly peaceful place to live at that time.
Continue reading "Port Moresby, colonialism and after" »
The view across Koki Market in 1963
| My Land, My Country
PORT MORESBY – My mother, Eka Kama-Haro Kuku, was born at the Port Moresby General Hospital on 13 May 1965 to Kama Haro and Aiha Aee Kama.
This is her story.
Continue reading "Growing up in 60s Port Moresby" »
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
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 Valley - 24,000 years of settlement
| 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" »
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" »