History & colonialism Feed

Kiap nation builders do not need a memorial

When we are gone, the books by Ian Downs, Keith McCarthy, Jim Sinclair and others will continue to tell our story. The archives and libraries around the world record our history. What better memorial could there be?

Census patrol  Pilitu section  Goilala district  1974
Census patrol,  Pilitu section,  Goilala district,  1974

 

BILL BROWN MBE

SYDNEY - I read ‘The Forgotten Australian Patrol Officers’ by Luke Gosling OAM MP and wondered who had misled him and who determined that the majority of kiaps supported a memorial for kiaps.

I am one of the former kiaps who think the memorial concept is a nonsense.

Continue reading "Kiap nation builders do not need a memorial" »


Reluctant kiaps: 'We don't want hero status'

"The kiaps’ role in the bringing to independence of PNG was undoubtedly unique and important and that should bring with it a certain sense of pride, but that is as far as it goes"

Don Kennedy  with his wife Glen  of Mitchells Island  is presented the Australian Federal Police Overseas Service Medal by federal MP David Gillespie
Don Kennedy with his wife Glen is presented the Australian Police Overseas Service Medal by federal MP Dr David Gillespie, the National Party member for the seat of Lyne on the northern coast of New South Wales

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Early this month, the Australian Institute of International Affairs published an article, The Forgotten Australian Patrol Officers’, by Luke Gosling OAM, the Labor member for Solomon in the Northern Territory.

“What the kiaps did for Papua New Guinea is today called nation-building in official jargon,” Gosling wrote.

Continue reading "Reluctant kiaps: 'We don't want hero status'" »


Albanese mission to fix Morrison’s problems

Albanese recognises is Australia needs to embrace the reality of an aspiring China and also enter new arrangements with the USA that can better protect Australia

Capture
Illustration by Global Times

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese has articulated a view of Australia' long term defence requirements that is based upon a pragmatic and realistic assessment of history and current facts.

Albanese does not characterise China as an enemy, nor is he advocating that Australia become a humble supplicant to the USA.

Continue reading "Albanese mission to fix Morrison’s problems" »


Our Pacific heritage is now available online

It’s one thing for Pacific people to know they had their culture taken from them. It’s another thing entirely to not know the artefacts and records of that culture still exist

Chimbu

KATE ROSS
| Trove Partnerships, National Library of Australia

CANBERRA – The Pacific Virtual Museum at the National Library of New Zealand is a remarkable project that brings together Pacific heritage collections from around the world under the masthead of Digital Pasifik.

Digital Pasifik is a website that allows people to discover digitised Pacific collections that are held around the world. You can link to it here.

Continue reading "Our Pacific heritage is now available online" »


Enough! We need to see the end of Empires

"I have been reading history for 60 years now and one of the things I have realised is that the human urge for conquest and the instinct to dominate others transcends geography, ethnicity, language and culture" - Chris Overland

Assyrian Empire (2025-605 BCE)
Assyrian Empire (2025-605 BCE)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The death of Queen Elizabeth II has led to some reflection upon the British Empire and its legacy.

Commentary has ranged from the vile and tasteless to thoughtful consideration upon what is undeniably a very mixed British imperial legacy.

Continue reading "Enough! We need to see the end of Empires" »


Serenade of the Sea

The sea took away my kin not long ago, but the sea is not the enemy. I do not blame the sea, the sea will always serve its purpose

Suang pic

ROBIN-LUKE SUANG

PORT MORESBY - As the Bismarck moonlight shines so  bright, I can recall early memories of being on a canoe with my uncles at night, fishing the pristine waters near our island for crayfish and reef fish.

This was where I was born and where I spent my first few months when isolation was at its greatest.

Continue reading "Serenade of the Sea" »


The tragic legacy of Australian colonialism

Allowing the market to entirely determine the distribution of wealth without the cautious restraining hand of government has hugely exaggerated the economic gap between winners and losers

Annexation of Papua  1885
Annexation of Papua, 1885

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Traditional Melanesian culture was organised in ways that were and are totally at odds with the prevailing capitalist economic system.

I would characterise the traditional way of life as being based upon a system of mutual obligation and communalism, whereby each member of a social group both contributed to the common good of the group and, in turn, received benefits from it.

Continue reading "The tragic legacy of Australian colonialism" »


Tanim tok: government's voice in colonial PNG

This piece was inspired by a conversation between Raymond and his father (‘A policeman remembers….’), who spoke of the venerated role of the colonial tanim tok (interpreter)

Sigimet - kiap with luluais. tultuls  tanim tok and other local officials
Kiaps talk with luluais, tultuls and tanim tok

RAYMOND SIGIMET

DAGUA – Kiaps were government patrol officers within the Australian colonial administration who were tasked to bring control over the 850 tribes of the territories of Papua and New Guinea.

A vital person who patrolled with kiaps in this arduous and sometimes dangerous task was the tanim tok.

Continue reading "Tanim tok: government's voice in colonial PNG" »


A Pacific of small island states is no fantasy

Very few Pacific islands would opt for their current status if offered a choice to return to their pre-colonial lives. This could be more than a post-modern fantasy

Canoe (Pinterest)

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

CAIRNS - If you look at history through a Bougainvillean lens, independence is obvious and non-negotiable.

But the same sentiment applies to practically every other island group in the Pacific region.

Continue reading "A Pacific of small island states is no fantasy" »


A Kiap’s Chronicle: 33 – Development & dislocation

“In mining, hard facts and foresight are important. We are very conscious of the fact that in a few years, Papua and New Guinea may be independent. Soon there may be an indigenous administration – call it a black president if you like"

Brown 09

Arawa headman Narug and other village leaders Monoerung Tavore (wearing glasses) and Kori (in hat) listen as kiap Max Heggen explains the Arawa Agreement under which villagers would forfeit a tract of land to allow a large town to be built to service the Panguna mine. Brown describes Narug as a tough negotiator but "thoughtful and reasonable."

BILL BROWN MBE

THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES – Bougainville District Commissioner Des (DN) Ashton paid the price for obeying orders at Rorovana when the Papua New Guinea Administration removed his authority over Bougainville Copper's areas of operation.

Following Australian Prime Minister John Gorton’s August intervention in the Rorovana confrontation, the Administration committed a special unit of a dozen kiaps to the mining operation.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 33 – Development & dislocation" »


Much of history a far from perfect venture

History is the product of the often imperfect actions of imperfect people, some more so than others. Genuine evil is present too

A Genghis Kan statue in Mongolia
Genghis Khan - the ruthless and feared 13th century Mongol warrior-ruler was feared because of his ruthlessness and passion for  massacre, rapine, destruction and revenge. Genghis Khan statue in Mongolia (G Adventures Inc)


CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I am sure that the Australian takeover of German New Guinea during and in the years following World War I was a far from perfect venture.

But, a reader of The Awkward Takeover of German New Guinea is invited to infer that the German regime was some sort of model of how to apply colonial rule in an orderly, methodical and humane way.

Continue reading "Much of history a far from perfect venture" »


Patronising the ‘Pacific family’ we never had

“The 'family' construct is inappropriate in a context where Australia should be seeking to forge mature, meaningful and equivalent relationships with Pacific Island nations. The whole theme is patronising, inane and quite weird” – Keith Jackson

Morrison pacific

BINOY KAMPMARK
| Pearls & Irritations

MELBOURNE - When will this nonsense on familial connection between Australia and the Pacific end?

In 2018, Australia’s then Pentecostal prime minister, Scott Morrison, drew upon a term that his predecessors had not.

Continue reading "Patronising the ‘Pacific family’ we never had" »


The awkward takeover of German New Guinea

"Perhaps there was a lack of faith in Indigenous authority, a deficit arising from their own Australian attitudes towards native people both at home and in their territories"

The Australian fleet headed by the flagship  HMAS Australia  enters Simpson Harbour Rabaul  12 September 1914 (AWM)
The Australian fleet, headed by the flagship HMAS Australia,  enters Simpson Harbour, Rabaul,  12 September 1914 (AWM)

MARTIN MADEN
| Tok Piksa | Edited extracts from an article

BIELEFELD, GERMANY - At the time of the Australian takeover, the capital of German New Guinea, Rabaul, was described by AL Epstein in his book Matupit as "not so much a town as a tropical garden, dotted about with government offices, business premises, and bungalows.

“The avenues were carefully laid out and planted with Poinciana and Casuarina trees, the latter creating the feeling, as one visitor many years later was to describe it, of looking down the nave of a cathedral half a mile long."

Continue reading "The awkward takeover of German New Guinea" »


Indigenous treaties worth all the problems

Legislation will need to spell out the terms of Indigenous Treaties to ensure consistency with Australia's constitution and laws relating to land and access rights. This is not impossible but is bound to be complex and contentious

Invasion
CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The history of Australian governments in dealing with Australia’s Indigenous peoples is very dismal indeed.

The now departed and unlamented Liberal-National Party government continued this tradition whereby weasel words were deemed an adequate substitute for meaningful action.

Continue reading "Indigenous treaties worth all the problems" »


The unvirtuous circle of SA's Blackfella affairs

The ‘designed to fail’ policies that glisten with promises come to nought in delivery because the Whitefella wants to be able to control, constrain and interfere with the Blackfella’s interests

Police engaging Aboriginal people,1838
New South Wales Mounted Police attack Aboriginal people, Waterloo Creek, 1838

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – I’m currently writing a history of the South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Branch, based in Adelaide, where I was employed between 1974 and 1994.

It’s tentatively called ‘Full Circle’ – the title describing a 20-year trajectory in which the Branch went from virtually nothing to journey through a period of high productivity and public recognition before finally looping back to irrelevance and obscurity, buried in a high rise city building.

Continue reading "The unvirtuous circle of SA's Blackfella affairs" »


Solomons melting pot: The Honiara story

The Solomons both lost and found its way politically and economically. Part of its journey were mismanagement and corruption, and the ‘tension years’, when the nation came to the brink of anarchy

Honiara
Honiara is a corruption of the Malaitan word, nahona`ara, meaning facing the place where the southeast winds meet the land (Jenny Scott)

CLIVE MOORE
| DevPolicy Blog

Honiara: Village-City of Solomon Islands by Clive Moore, ANU Press, May 2022. More information here. ISBN 9781760465070 (online). Download or read the book free online here

BRISBANE - Like most cities, Honiara is bound by its geography, history and culture. In my new book, I explore these relationships and how they have created the city we see today.

Military bases in the Solomon Islands are in the news, although most people seem to have forgotten that Honiara began as a World War II battle ground and military base, initially Japanese and then American.

Continue reading "Solomons melting pot: The Honiara story" »


Revisiting Hahalis: Cult or flawed crusade?

'John Teosin was a complex personality and an enormously deep thinker. He was ahead of his time in many ways. Among the living dead, John Teosin shan’t be forgotten'

Hahalis headline

COMPILED & EDITED BY KEITH JACKSON
| With some useful references from Dr Robin Hide

NOOSA - The John Teosin Highway (aka the Buka ring road) connects villages along the east coast of Buka Island with Bougainville’s commercial and administrative centre, Buka Town.

The ring road plays a vital role in people’s lives as well as moving them from one place to another.

Continue reading "Revisiting Hahalis: Cult or flawed crusade?" »


National Geographic’s long affair with PNG

The National Geographic, always a product of its time, remains an amazing pictorial record of Papua New Guinea over nearly 100 years

Kranz Miramar chilldren Gilliard Nat Geo 1955
E Thomas Gilliard's 'Miramar children' (or were they?) of 1955 (National Geographic)

PETER KRANZ

MORISSET – The photograph above was taken during E Thomas Gilliard's bird hunting expedition to the Papua New Guinea Highlands in 1955.

The story of the expedition, together with many spectacular photographs, was published in National Geographic magazine in the same year under the headline, 'To the Land of the Headhunters'.

Continue reading "National Geographic’s long affair with PNG" »


Port Moresby Harbour is not Fairfax Harbour

A Port Moresby  19th century - from The Colonial Portfolio (The Werner Company  London)
Port Moresby,  19th century - from The Colonial Portfolio (The Werner Company London)

CHRIS WARRILLOW

MELBOURNE - Names often change with time but, after nearly 50 years of independence and 150 years after the arrival of Captain John Moresby, the name of Papua New Guinea’s remains Port Moresby.

Prior the arrival of the first British sailors in 1873, and still today, the traditional inhabitants lived in a few small villages on the harbour shores with many houses built over its waters.

Continue reading "Port Moresby Harbour is not Fairfax Harbour" »


Rabaul, Anzac & memories of war & peace

Anzac - dawn service rabaul
The RSL Cenotaph, a clear sky and a calm morning provided the perfect setting for this year's Anzac Day dawn service in Rabaul 

SUSIE McGRADE

RABAUL – In a year that marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Rabaul, more than 80 people attended Rabaul’s Anzac Day dawn service this year, which was hosted by the Rabaul Historical Society at the RSL Cenotaph.

The battle saw a small Australian overwhelmed by Japanese forces in late 1942 and it became the as the main Japanese naval base for the Solomon Islands and New Guinea campaigns.

Continue reading "Rabaul, Anzac & memories of war & peace" »


Home & away: fragments from an old photo

Turner scan0017
John J Murphy - district commissioner, war hero falsely accused, lexicographer and author

WARREN ‘WAZZA’ TURNER

PORT MACQUARIE, NSW - I was far from a star player when I ran out for Kone Tigers in the early sixties. I really just made up the numbers, so I don’t deserve a star billing.

When the Papua versus New Guinea rugby league teams were selected, I thought I might be an outside chance of maybe making the seconds.

Continue reading "Home & away: fragments from an old photo" »


How PNG rugby league routed racism

Stanley Gene
Stanley Gene blasts through the pack (Love Rugby League)

CLARRIE BURKE

When Dr Clarrie Burke died in January 2019, there was an outpouring of grief in Papua New Guinea and Australia for a man who spent his life “in the service of educating and uplifting others”, as one PNG Attitude reader wrote. This article was published in September 2012 in Una Voce, the journal of the PNG Association of Australia (since renamed Kundu), titled ‘The times they began a’changing’ - KJ

BRISBANE - The time: 3 pm; date: August 14; year: 1960.

Anyone living in or visiting Port Moresby in the hours leading up to that time would have reckoned with the endless unbroken lines of cars and swollen streams of ‘native’* people on foot being directed by traffic police from both sides of Hubert Murray Highway into Lahara Avenue.

Continue reading "How PNG rugby league routed racism" »


Remembering the remarkable John Guise

guise
John Guise - "The first Papuan to make a political mark and a true pioneer of nationhood"

DON WOOLFORD
| AAP Archive | 28 August 2012

SYDNEY - A little-known role of the most remarkable Papuan of his generation should be recalled during the commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the battle of Milne Bay - Japan's first defeat on land in World War II.

John Guise, the first Papuan to make a political impact, didn't mind a bit of boasting, especially if it involved cricket and the unbeaten 253 he once smashed which was, and may still be, a record for Milne Bay first grade.

Continue reading "Remembering the remarkable John Guise" »


A Kiap’s Chronicle: 32 - A prime ministerial intervention

woman resists rorovana
Woman resists police during the confrontation at Rorovana, 1969 (Sydney Sun)

BILL BROWN MBE

THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - On 28 July 1969, Australia’s minister for external territories Charles CE (Ceb) Barnes approved the issue of CRA’s three new Bougainville leases.

The terminology that defined the locations of the areas required was particular.

They were “leases for mining purposes” and the area was “approximately 400 acres of Rorovana land for laydown areas, construction camp and general accommodation …. 194 acres south of Willys Knob for aggregate, and the first section—approximately eight miles—of the east coast road.”

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 32 - A prime ministerial intervention" »


Papuan hope is legacy of long dead Russian

Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe (centre) meets Russian Ambassador to Indonesia  Lyudmila Vorobyeva  Jakarta  Monday (Tribun Manado)
Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe (centre) meets Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobyeva in Jakarta (Tribun Manado)

YAMIN KOGOYA

BRISBANE - Russian president Vladimir Putin has been invited by Papuan governor Lukas Enembe to visit the Indonesian province later this year.

The invitation was extended when Enembe met Russian Ambassador to Indonesia, Lyudmila Vorobyeva, last week and has triggered heated debate in social media.

Speculation is also rife about whether Indonesia — as chair of the G20 group of nations — will invite President Putin to attend the global forum in Bali later this year.

Continue reading "Papuan hope is legacy of long dead Russian" »


Mutiny that saved PNG: Singirok’s new book

Singirok Tensions were high
Singirok had just been sacked and everyone was jumpy when his bodyguard, Corporal Allen, pulled a pistol on a soldier who arrived unexpectedly at Murray Barracks. He said he just wanted food (Andrew Meares)

RAE KATAHA SMART

A Matter of Conscience: Operation Rausim Kwik by Major-General Jerry Singirok, Partridge Publishing, Singapore, February 2022, 636 pages. Available from Amazon: hardcover $100, paperback $72.95 or email Rae Smart here for more information

TEWANTIN QLD – At last the book by Major-General Jerry Singirok on the Bougainville conflict and the Sandline Affair, ‘Operation Rausim Kwik’, has just been released.

Written from the unique perspective of former Army commander Singirok, the book is a no holds barred account of a mutiny.

Continue reading " Mutiny that saved PNG: Singirok’s new book" »


Tribes of Europe readying for war

Russian troops
Russian troops ford a stream at the Battle of Tannenberg in what is now Poland, August 1914. The battle lasted five days and ended in a German victory (Popperfoto)

ROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA, UK - In 1973, Kaiyer Auwin, a fight leader of Milep village in Jiwaka, let me into his inner thoughts.

Kaiyer, who had once carried a spear against early explorer and prospector Jim Taylor, told me he could scarcely believe the benefits that followed the Kiap Administration’s subjugation of everyday inter-clan fighting.

Continue reading "Tribes of Europe readying for war" »


Ulli Beier: A personal recollection

Ulli Beier
Something of a metaphor. Ulli Beier with monkey idling in the shadows on his shoulder

ED BRUMBY

MELBOURNE - It is 52 years since I attended Ulli Beier’s classes in African literature at the University of Papua New Guinea.

Now as then, and like many others, my view of him remains conflicted.

Maebh Long has laid bare, eloquently, his hypocrisy and deceit which, back then, was a matter of considerable gossip, on and off campus.

Continue reading "Ulli Beier: A personal recollection" »


The remarkable Doc Vernon, doctor to the troops

Soldiers of the Australian 39th Battalion  Kokoda campaign  1942 (AWM)
Soldiers of the Australian 39th Battalion,  Kokoda campaign,  1942 (Australian War Memorial)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – After graduating with a BA in history and English literature, Adrian Clack spent six years as a history teacher and school counsellor.

He then served 12 years as a police officer before, in 2017, making his passion for military history a major pursuit.

Since then Adrian has completed 15 crossings of the Kokoda Track as a guide and historian for On Track Expeditions.

Continue reading "The remarkable Doc Vernon, doctor to the troops " »


The amazing, absurd & shocking story of Port Moresby

moresby 1886
The first printed plan of Port Moresby was compiled from surveys made in July and August 1886 by Walter R Guthbertson

THERESA PATTERSON
| From a story originally published in
  the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier

Eda Moresby: Our Moresby by John Brooksbank, K250 each (K200 each for five or more). To Australia: $100 + $15 post. Link Facebook and find Eda Moresby here or email here

PORT MORESBY – ‘Only in PNG!’ People might think this catch-all phrase for our country’s extraordinary quirks is a relatively recent addition to our lexicon.

But if the outrageous stories in John Brooksbank’s new book, ‘Eda Moresby’ (Motu for ‘Our Moresby’), are anything to go by, the expression would have applied way back to before Papua New Guinea existed.

Continue reading "The amazing, absurd & shocking story of Port Moresby" »


Tok Pisin: A language on history's march

Pisin - imageCHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


Narokobi: The man who knew what might have been

Bernard Narokobi when Attorney-General  1991 (Pacific Islands Monthly)
Bernard Narokobi when Attorney-General in 1991. A political and jurisprudential philosopher of great seriousness and stature (Pacific Islands Monthly)

JEAN ZORN

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" »


Capturing the mind: Anatomy of a Papuan genocide

Yamin Kogoya
Yamin Kogoya - "Papuans have been dislocated from the centre of their cultural worldview and placed on the fringes of the grand colonial narrative"

YAMIN KOGOYA

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" »


The saga of Judge Murray's grave

Badihagwa - Murray headstone
Sir Hubert Murray's headstone at Badihagwa Cemetery - a great administrator who preferred to be on patrol rather than in Port Moresby

CHRIS WARRILLOW

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" »


Pax Australiana: A most peaceful colonisation

Contact
First Contact

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


What did Whitlam ever do for us?

Aaa
Gough Whitlam on the day of his government's dismissal on 11 November 1975. He died in October 2014 aged 98

KEITH JACKSON

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?" »


A Kiap’s Chronicle: 31 - Propaganda & confrontation

Brown MapBILL 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" »


Pax Australiana & techniques of pacification

Forster - Roy edwards
Patrol Officer Roy Edwards and police with a group of manacled villagers, Kunimaipa section, Goilala Sub-District, late 1940s (photo previously unpublished)

ROBERT FORSTER

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" »


Can be darn cold up in those mountains

Traditional upland gardens near Wapenamanda
Traditional upland gardens near Wapenamanda

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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" »


My father’s dilemma: when cultures collide

Men of Enga (Joe Herman)
Men of Enga (Joe Herman)

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" »


PNG landfall – the dawn of adventure

CPO induction  Kwikila  1968 (Bob Welsh)
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" »


'Post-colonial Literature' is a stupid title

Michael Dom 2
Michael Dom - "I completely reject 'Post-Colonial Literature' as a valid category for considering Papua Niuginian literary works"

MICHAEL DOM

Fragment I

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" »


Roads to the Future: Early days in Baiyer

 Ukini tribe couple
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 Baiyer court case: A good kiap reflects.

Weaponry PNG modern style
A Tagali warlord presents his Mac58 and M16 at a Hela gun surrender. Technology has made clan warfare much more lethal

JIM MOORE

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." »


Bundaberg issues historic blackbirding apology

Pacific Islanders on a Queensland sugar plantation (State Library of Queensland)
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" »


Builders: The story of Mendi’s Royal Engineers

The Ialibu-Kagua built by 12 CE Works was sealed in 2019
The Ialibu-Kagua road built by 12 CE Works in the 1970s was finally sealed in 2019

KEVIN PAMBA
| 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.

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Roads connect but government can divide

Highlands road at Oiyarip looking toward Mendi
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.

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Thoughts of then, now & cultural variance

Road building  Pindiu  Morobe District  1965 (Frank Haviland)
Road building,  Pindiu,  Morobe District,  1965 (Frank Haviland)

JIM MOORE

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.

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