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Kerenga Kua & lip ti no swit

Kerenga_Kua
Kerenga Kua - spoke about an embarrassing experience with a cup of tea during his high school days

DUNCAN GABI

LAE - Kerenga Kua, Papua New Guinea’s petroleum and energy minister, has occupied senior political positions since he was first elected as the member for Sinasina-Yongamugl in Simbu Province in 2012.

My story, though, is about his student days at Aiyura National High School as told by the man himself in 2014.

Continue reading "Kerenga Kua & lip ti no swit" »


Mi tu Kumul blong Morobe

Lae (Thor May)
Lae back in Henry's youth - a safe and pleasant town, unlike today

HENRY MOKONO
Graun Blong Mi (My Land)

PORT MORESBY - I am originally a highlander from Simbu who, like many others from the New Guinea Islands, Sepik, Papua and a few from the upper highlands provinces, migrated to Lae back then and call Lae home. I grew up in Lae from the 1970s to 1990s.

My greatest memories in life come from growing up in Lae City. Later in life I called myself ‘Simbu blo Morobe’, because Lae will always be closer to my heart.

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Dominica Are & her Prized Possessions

Dominica’s book 'Prized Possessions'HAZEL KUTKUE
| Sipikriva Girl Blog | Photographs by Dominica Are

'Prized Possessions: A Collection of Poetry’by Dominica Are, paperback, 132 pages. Independently published, March 2020. ISBN-13 979-8622956454. Available here from Amazon for $US8.73

BRAUN - Poetry makes for beautiful literature.

Sipikriva Girl, despite not entirely embracing poetry, had the opportunity to speak to 34-year old writer, poet and accountant, Dominica Are, who recently published her first collection of poetry, Prized Possessions.

Hailing from the highlands of Papua New Guinea, Dominica works full time as an accountant with PNG Coffee Exports Ltd in Goroka.

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A signature in the sand

Sir-mek
First graduates of the University of Papua New Guinea, 1970

ANDREW MOUTU
| Ples Singsing | Edited

PORT MORESBY - The boy grew up in the village of Kukipi, and at the right age he was enrolled at its small primary school.

There were no blackboards, no chalk and no desks where the children could sit, so the school and the village had to be innovative and work within the constraints.

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A tribute to the brilliant Sir Mek

Sir mek
Sir Mekere Morauta - Argued deficit financing is necessary for serious growth. The world caught up with him this year

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - In school, economics wasn’t really my thing. At the end of one semester, the girl who became my partner got the highest grade and I nailed the bottom of the list.

But years later, the great journalist John Eggins said I had to venture into the realm of business and economics, because I had “the flair for it.”

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The gift of literacy & the story of Tony

Tony Heffernan
Tony Heffernan - "My father was terribly upset over the accident and never stopped blaming himself. My sister told me it was the only time she had ever seen Dad cry"

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Our first grandson was born while we were living in Hervey Bay in Queensland. His other grandparents, who belong to a small Lutheran congregation nearby in Maryborough, organised his christening there.

The Lutheran pastor was an American who had been a missionary in Papua New Guinea. I was still scooting back and forth from Australia to PNG doing social mapping, so we had a common interest.

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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.

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Wayne & the power of friendship

Gary  Wayne and friends
Gary, Wayne and friends - "We are all fortunate to know good people and have great friendships. They are precious gifts. Until we no longer have them"

GARY JUFFA

ORO - Some years ago - in the mid-eighties, I was this skinny kid growing up in Arawa on Bougainville.

I had a great friend at school, Wayne Grieshaber. I met him the day I entered Bovo Primary School.

I’d just transferred from Kokoda, where I spent three years schooling and living with my grandmother on our small cocoa plantation. No electricity and a hefty dose of challenge and difficulty.

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Viewing life with love, courage & hope

Evah and sarah
Evah and Sarah

EVAH KUAMIN

Hi olgeta, this is an excerpt from my unpublished book. I am seeking sponsors to help me publish the book and spread the message about children with special needs. If you or know anyone who can assist me, please let me know - EK

I’m trying to find Evah’s email. If you can help, let me know in the Comment section - KJ

MADANG - When everything is going well and then suddenly life decides to take its toll on you, you lose your footing, your mind and all hell breaks loose.

The worst is the pain a mother feels seeing her own child succumb to illness and suffer.

Continue reading "Viewing life with love, courage & hope" »


A farewell to eminent communicators

David Robie
Prof David Robie - a Pacific islands communications icon and innovator

CROSBIE (CROZ) WALSH
| Croz Walsh’s Blog | Edited

WHITBY, NEW ZEALAND – The highlights of a symposium at the Pacific Media Centre of the Auckland University of Technology last week were the numerous accolades paid to PMC director Professor David Robie and Del Abcede, who are retiring at the end of the year.

David has lived in the Pacific, been involved in Pacific human rights and media freedom issues and taught journalism to Pacific Islanders and others for 40 years. He will be a hard man to replace.

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A remarkable journo calls it a day

Mungo MacCallum  1979 (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mungo MacCallum, 1979 (Sydney Morning Herald)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Under the headline ‘That’s all she wrote’, one of my favourite journalists, Mungo MacCallum, announced today his inability to keep writing for the press. Very sad news.

“I never thought I’d say it,” Mungo wrote, “but I can no longer go on working. It takes all my effort to breathe and I’m not managing that too well. And now my mind is getting wobbly – hard to think, let alone concentrate.

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The story of Warrant Officer Yauwiga DCM

Lt Cdr Pryce-Jones  presents Loyal Services Medal to Sergeant Major Yauwiga
Lieutenant Commander Pryce-Jones of the Naval Intelligence Division responsible for Coastwatcher operations, presents the Loyal Services Medal to Sergeant Yauwiga,  Guadalcanal, October 1943

KEITH JACKSON

With thanks to Joe Herman in the USA who suggested this story to mark US Veterans Day in which we pay tribute to all Papua New Guineans who have served in war and those from other countries who have fought in PNG. This article is based on writings by Steven Winduo, Steve Rusbridge, Phil Fitzpatrick, Dennis Burns, the Australian War Memorial and the PNG Post-Courier.

NOOSA – When Paul Yauwiga Wankunale, known as Yauwiga, from Kusaun village in the Kubalia area of the East Sepik Province came into view, he immediately presented himself as an unusual man.

“He was the only famous Papua New Guinean fuzzy wuzzy angel with a blue eye,” wrote academic and author Steven Winduo.

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Joe Biden’s deep connection with PNG

Joe_Biden
Joe Biden - his uncle Ambrose was killed when his aircraft was shot down in PNG in World War II and his body never found

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – United States’ president-elect Joe Biden is well acquainted with Papua New Guinea – two of his uncles fought there in World War II and one was killed, his body never found.

“Australia looked to America, and a generation of Americans - including two of my uncles - responded,” Biden said during a visit to Australia as US vice president in 2016.

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Finding Mac: Search brought us together

Search party
One of the many search parties looking for Maclarence

MARY TERRIETTE ASEARI
| Academia Nomad

A student from the University of Papua New Guinea is reported missing. A week goes by and he is not found. Students conduct one of the biggest searches the city has seen. Mary Terriette Aseari is a third year student at the university.

PORT MORESBY - Maclarence Akua - a 22-year old third-year student, a good friend and a course mate of mine at the University of Papua New Guinea - had been missing for almost a week.

Mac is of mixed East Sepik and Bougainville parentage but grew up in Kimbe.

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An adventurous and rich life – John Philip Fowke

John Fowke
John Fowke

ANNA FOWKE

BRISBANE - My father was a big man, a tall man, a loud man, a funny man. A man with many moods, many strengths, and the usual amount of weaknesses.

He asked me to officiate at his funeral party, and so that means here I am, struggling to express my thoughts about a life lived, a rich, adventurous life.

As I collated my thoughts in the days following his death, I was struck by how many people loved and respected my father, but also how many different people he was to others.

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My father’s last moments on this earth

CHARLENE DINIPAMI NII
Charlene Dinipami Nii - Francis was very  ill, but insisted on making the tortuous trip to witness his father's burial

CHARLENE NII

KUNDIAWA - It was on Wednesday 1 April that bad news came to Francis in his hospital bed in Kundiawa.

It was early in the morning when the phone rang. The caller was his cousin Duma Paulus from Diani village.

In broken tones, Duma told Francis that his father, the chief, Nicholas Tura Duma, had passed away.

Continue reading "My father’s last moments on this earth" »


Fred Kaad: 100 years of courage & achievement

Brown 11 Brown Kaad
Bill Brown MBE and Fred Kaad OBE - two outstanding figures in the late colonial history of Papua New Guinea, Sydney, 2018 - KJ

BILL BROWN

SYDNEY - Fred Kaad is an inspiration. And this day, 12 September 2020, marks a notable anniversary for this remarkable man.

We salute his wonderful achievements, his steadfastness and courage and his contribution to all our lives and to the lives of so many others.

This is a tribute of respect and admiration for Fred Kaad on his 100th birthday.

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Yeah, I know I’m getting on, but….

Phil Fitzpatrick recentPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - We’ve only got one pharmacy in Tumby Bay. I believe it’s been in the same family since it began.

The grandfather passed it on to the father and now the father has just passed it on to the daughter.

I was in there the other day collecting some diabetic gear: a box of needles for my disposable syringes; a couple of packets of test strips for my glucose testing gizmo; and my blood pressure tablets.

Continue reading "Yeah, I know I’m getting on, but…." »


The story of Francis Nii’s last project

Kin Francis bushfire rally
An ailing Francis Nii leads the big bushfire rally for Australia from his wheelchair in Kundiawa. He saw the huge funds raised from this poor province as a token of the close relationship between the two countries

MATHIAS KIN

KUNDIAWA - My friend Francis Nii rang me on a Friday afternoon in early January to say he wanted to meet me about something that had been bothering him.

He briefly told me over the phone that it was about the terrible Australian bushfires and that he was surprised the Papua New Guinea government and other organisations were not doing anything about it.

Continue reading "The story of Francis Nii’s last project" »


Two extraordinary PNG politicians

Iambakey
Sir Iambakey Okuk - the famed Simbu politician who died prematurely and is not a prisoner of the Vatican as the mythology would have it

ARTHUR WILLIAMS

CARDIFF – There are two significant moments in Papua New Guinea’s political history that I will never forget.

The first was when Lavongai’s bikman Walla Gukguk was persuaded by Wally Lussick and Goroka MP Sinake Giregire to stand for the Kavieng open electorate in 1977.

With huge support from the followers of Lavongai’s TIA (Tutukuval Isukal Association - ‘Stand Up Together and Plant’) and the main island’s TFA (Tutorme Farmers Association) Walla easily beat his opponents.

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Paul Kiap in need & a friend indeed

Paul Kurai with Assumtha and his boys in Australia
Paul Kurai with Assumtha and his boys in Australia

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - An obvious sign of embarrassment and guilt appeared on Paul Kiap Kurai’s face as he recalled how in Mt Hagen 27 years ago he had been blindly betting on horse races and, over a three-year period, lost all his savings.

“They said I was a good gambler,” Paul said. “The one who bet on the right horse and always won.

“I thought they were telling me the truth and kept playing.”

Continue reading "Paul Kiap in need & a friend indeed" »


O’Neill's K15m Sydney home; sells another for K30m

Chateau Pete
O'Neill's new Sydney pad, the architect John Amory-designed residence in Warrawee, Sydney

LUCY MACKEN
| Sydney Morning Herald | Edited

SYDNEY - The wife of Papua New Guinea’s former prime minister Peter O’Neill, Lynda Babao, has bought a K15 million house on Sydney’s upper north shore just months after a Point Piper residence that was previously home to their son was sold on the quiet K30 million.

The Point Piper duplex was linked to PNG’s former first family in May last year just days before O’Neill stepped down from the top job following weeks of high-level defections from the ruling party.

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A letter to my dear friend Francis Nii

Francis and Daniel in Brisbane  2016
Francis and Daniel in Brisbane, 2016

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - Francis, I met you through your writing in 1985 in Ondobondo and later PNG Writer at the University of Papua New Guinea. But we never physically met.

Later I met you through your writing and comments in PNG Attitude.

I never imagined you sat in a wheelchair until I met you in Simbu in 2015 during the Crocodile Prize presentations.

Continue reading "A letter to my dear friend Francis Nii" »


Unfinished journey: Francis Nii & the struggle for PNG literature

Francis NiiBEN JACKSON
| First published in PNG Attitude, 3 July 2019

….If no one supports me
I alone will carry you

Until you smile and say
Papa, thank you I am healed

Then my heart will be at peace
My soul will rest….
                  - Francis Nii (2016)

PORT MORESBY - The twisted metal of a motor vehicle accident in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands nearly brought Francis Nii’s story to a dramatic end.

The crash, at the start of 1999, left him forever paralysed from the waist down and brought his promising career as an economist and financial adviser to a sudden halt.

Continue reading "Unfinished journey: Francis Nii & the struggle for PNG literature" »


Some of the wise sayings of Francis Nii

Francis Nii at Sir Joseph Nombri Hospital  Kundiawa  2014KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - In the late Francis Nii’s  many articles for PNG Attitude and in his books are hundreds of aphorisms and wise thoughts.

Here are just a few I’ve quickly gathered.

”Keep hoping and keep searching with patience and you shall find the answer”

“Every wickedness has a cost. At the ripe time the perpetrator will each pay his price”

“One can escape from the court of justice through cunning and false device but the court of conscience is inescapable and sometimes the justice meted is fatal”

“The rural grass roots are survivors. They know how to survive in the harshest conditions and difficult moments. They will still survive whatever the situation”

“Keep dreaming and keep writing. A man with no dream has no purpose in life”

“This is Papua New Guinea, the land where corruption is a way of life”

“When political heroes of today are gone tomorrow and forgotten forever, writers will live on beyond the grave - and that's the beauty about writing even though there is no money in it”

“Literary excellence is the key to unlocking the hidden treasures of life. A nation without literature is a people with lost identity”

BushfireFrancis’s final project – February 2020

From his hospital bed and in his wheelchair Francis was a creative force and a meticulous planner and organiser.

When terrible bushfires devoured eastern Australia last summer, Francis decided to repay Australia’s long history of assisting Papua New Guinea by asking the Simbu people to raise K400,000.

“The great news is that I set the target at K400,000, which everybody thought was impossible. But now we have surpassed that.

“We will be presenting a check of K425,000 to the national government-sanctioned fundraising PNG Heart for Australia Bushfire Appeal.”


The story of a highlands politician

Paul Kurai
Paul Kurai (left) with Daniel Ezikiel at Loniu Evagelical Church in Manus. Daniel served in Enga in the 1970s as a teacher and Paul presented him with K5,000 as a sign of his gratitude

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - Paul Kiap Kurai was only 24 when in 1982 he nominated to contest the Wabag Open seat against Sir Tei Abal, a distinguished leader and one of Papua New Guinea’s founding fathers.

He knew he was no match for the experience and status of Sir Tei, who had served four consecutive terms in parliament.

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Radio Days: Political pressure & public resistance

Radio Days - Gareth & me
As new communications minister Gareth Evans wanted to give the ABC a shake-up. That never happened in history without a major brawl

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1988 – After my first go at the ABC in 1966-69, I spent the best part of four years in the organisation the second time around between 1985 and 1988.

They were years full of incident, drama, stress, occasional misadventure and gritty management. I rarely had so much joy in a job and never so much fear.

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Radio Days: The Canberra connection

Radio Days - Ken  Geoffrey  Wendy
ABC chairman Ken Myer, managing director Geoffrey Whitehead and deputy chair Wendy McCarthy, 1985

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1987 – Australia’s centre of government and ‘bush capital’, Canberra, looms large in the life of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, both because 90% of the its money comes from there and because the government of the day appoints the ABC chairman and board.

Furthermore, federal politicians tend to have a proprietary view of the ABC. And, to give this an edge, right wing politicians have a belief, neatly expressed by my onetime business associate and Liberal Party heavyweight Grahame Morris, that the ABC is a manifestation of “my enemy talking to my friends”.

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Radio Days: The ascent of David Hill

Radio Days - David good portrait
David Hill - an exhilarating and exhausting man to be around. He left the ABC, where he was Chairman then CEO from 1986-95, much better than when he found it

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1986 – In mid-August 1986, I had just got back to my desk after what I considered a well-earned week’s break in Bali when I was called into managing director Geoffrey Whitehead’s office, on the twelfth floor of Broadcast House overlooking Hyde Park.

Geoffrey had just returned from Canberra with new ABC chairman David Hill, in his first week in the job, and Geoffrey was looking worried.

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Radio Days: Return to the ABC

Radio Days - journalKEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1985 – I first began to keep a journal in 1973 during my last months in Bougainville. Over the next 15 years I was faithful to it except for the period at 2SER-FM when my days were too long and crowded and my fidelity lapsed.

In the beginning, it was a work diary and was consequently terse and utilitarian.

But it soon became something else, more descriptive and observational - a record not just of decisions and commitments but of issues and adventures, important people and conversations, significant insights, and articulations of my own feelings.

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Radio Days: Back to ASOPA

ITI aerial
The olive roofs of ITI, the tennis court at the rear was owned by the army, whose commando base was in the green-roofed buildings to the left

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1983-84 – In 1973, with Papua New Guinea having achieved self-government as its final step on the way to independence, the old colonial training institute, the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA), was reconceived and rebadged.

Early in 1974, as the International Training Institute (ITI), it accepted its first trainee middle managers from developing countries. It was a 180 degree shift from its colonial roots.

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Radio Days: A dash at politics

ALP hawkie
Despite John Pilger's assertion in A Secret Country, Bob Hawke and I were never mates (in the ALP sense), but we had some interesting encounters in the 1980s. I think in this pic the Silver Bodgie was having a go at the state of my hair

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1983 – When my family and I returned to Australia in 1979 and moved to live at Clareville on Sydney’s northern beaches, one of my first priorities outside work was to join the Narrabeen-Pittwater branch of the Australian Labor Party.

I’d been a member of the ALP for eight years, having joined in strange circumstances in 1971, but had never been part of a branch.

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A wind of change in Maramuni

Dr Lino Tom MP meets the people of Maramuni
Dr Lino Tom MP meets the people of remote Maramuni

SIMON DAVIDSON

KOKOPO - Maramuni, a poorly developed region in Enga Province, is experiencing the wind of change as a new road project, initiated by national government minister Dr Lino Tom, takes shape.

The Maramuni local level government is located 250 kilometres north-west of Wabag, the provincial capital.

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Radio Days: Broadway follies

2SER chalk radio headKEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1981-82 – Vulgarity, offence and obscenity have cherished places in the folklore of broadcasting and all broadcasters have their favourite story of how they said something inadvertently odious or incredibly stupid while the microphone was live and thousands of people listening in.

A colleague of mine, the manager of Radio Rabaul, Paul Cox, given the job of broadcast director of the royal tour of Papua New Guinea in early 1974, was one broadcaster who experienced the fallout from inadvertence.

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Soldier without a weapon

Chaplain Kakeni
Chaplain Norman Kakeni issuing a bible to a soldier before deployment to Daru

ALEXANDER NARA

PORT MORESBY - Chaplaincy is an intense and profoundly rewarding experience and chaplains play a distinctive role in the military setting.

They are strategically assigned to all military establishments and wherever there are military members, including in combat zones.

Chaplains tender to the spiritual well-being of soldiers regardless of religious background, provide confidential counselling and help personnel meet challenges in areas like religious education, ethics and morale.

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Radio Days: Hello Sydney!

Keith-jackson-2ser- 1979
Keith Jackson in the main studio of the just completed 2SER-FM, August 1979

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1979 – Sue and the kids had returned to Australia in January while I wrapped up my Maldives consultancy for UNESCO.

I was counting on getting a job in Sydney.

I’d been told by my onetime ABC colleague In Papua New Guinea, Andrew Greig, that an educational radio station, to be known as 2SER-FM, had been licenced for the city and the two universities that held the licence were looking for a manager to get it going.

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Radio Days: The cultural conundrum

IM & AM
The PNG Independence Medal sits beside my Order of Australia (AM) in a box at home. To me they're poignant reminders of a career now left behind but which was always exciting and sometimes terrifying

KEITH JACKSON

MALDIVE ISLANDS 1978-79 – In mid-1978 I was sitting at my desk in the downstairs office of my home, White Waves, the spray from the waves pounding on the nearby reef corroding the light fittings, when a large manila envelope arrived in the morning post.

It was addressed to ‘Mr K Jackson BA’ and was festooned with Papua New Guinea stamps. Like much of the mail we received in Malé it had a battered and soiled appearance that suggested it had travelled for many months in a dirty sack in the hold of a slow ship.

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Radio Days: Journeys by sea

Busy Male harbour with Malship freighter in background
The busy boat harbour at Malé, with a Malships freighter anchored in the lagoon.  The hub for small boats from more than 200 populated islands

KEITH JACKSON

MALDIVE ISLANDS 1978 – I grew up in the NSW coastal town of Nowra on the banks of the Shoalhaven River where, from a young age, I became familiar with sailing and the sea, sometimes accompanying fishermen on stomach churning early morning exploits beyond sight of land.

But nothing prepared me for the Maldives archipelago where, even for a picnic lunch, you had to travel by dhoni and the completion of any serious work around the country necessitated a sea voyage.

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A soldier’ story

Bren gun carrier fitted with Bren light machine gun and Vickers .303 sub-machine gun (Digger History)
Bren gun carrier fitted with Bren light machine gun and Vickers .303 sub-machine gun (Digger History)

ROSS WILKINSON

MELBOURNE - Recently I have been involved in a project with a Papua New Guinean colleague to investigate the service history of some ex-servicemen buried at Port Moresby’s 9 Mile Cemetery.

During the course of this project, the history of one of the names evoked memories of my own father’s service in World War II.

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Radio Days: Landfall in the Maldives

Mrs StevensKEITH JACKSON

MALDIVE ISLANDS 1977 – First came the telegram from UNESCO in Paris then the letter from a Mrs Stevens concerning the vexed subject of toilet paper.

I was sitting on the verandah of our house on the Bundarra Road 20 kilometres from Armidale when I spotted the Australia Post motorbike slowly skid off the main road below and grumble up our long dusty drive.

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Radio Days: An Australian foothold

2ARM - press clipsKEITH JACKSON

ARMIDALE 1976-77 – In May 1976, I had no sooner proffered my resignation from the National Broadcasting Commission than an advertisement appeared in The Australian newspaper for a ‘station coordinator’ of 2ARM-FM Armidale.

This was an embryonic community based radio station with a board of directors, a programming collective, $10,000 in the bank, but no staff, no programs and a six month deadline to get on air.

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Radio Days: Fights between whitemen

Graduates assembled
I graduated from the University of PNG on 1 August 1975, six weeks before independence day

KEITH JACKSON

“The NBC in the first decade of its existence was a model developing world broadcaster. It was one of the first PNG bodies to be totally localised and it had an outstanding record of performance in a remarkable number of communications fields” - Editorial, The National, 2 November 2004

PORT MORESBY 1975-76 – Even for us who were in Papua New Guinea at the time, it’s easy to forget that – while we knew independence was on the way – the precise date was announced just three months before the momentous day.

For many expatriate public servants, including the seconded ABC managers in the National Broadcasting Commission, the date was irrelevant. They had already received letters thanking them for their services and a one-way ticket home.

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Radio Days: Building a corporation

NBC 5 year plan
Abstract from the cover of the NBC's first five-year plan. The primary task of the new commission was to blend two radio services into one and build a network worthy of a newly independent nation

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY 1973-74 – As I returned to Port Moresby in October 1973 after six months developing an educational radio operation in Java, life in Papua New Guinea was in upheaval.

The rush towards independence was well and truly on and the impacts were tangible as many expatriate public servants readied themselves for imminent redundancy.

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Radio Days: Brink of secession

Somare cuts trip - head
Thursday 11 January 1973 was a tough day for chief minister Michael Somare - helicoptered out of Panguna when felt to be under threat only to be confronted by an angry protest in Kieta

KEITH JACKSON

BOUGAINVILLE 1970-73 – Bougainville is a magnificent gem of an island; and its people are warm and generous in that customary Melanesian way.

Kieta, which had become the Bougainville district headquarters just before I arrived in late 1970, was an idyllic seaport nestling on the side of a steep ridge; its deep harbour protected from the ocean by Pokpok Island.

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Radio Days: Blood on the streets

Rabaulmuseum
I was surprised, when visiting Rabaul Museum in 2006, to come across a small display marking Gough Whitlam's visit to the town in 1970. It featured my words, an adaptation of which you can read here

KEITH JACKSON

RABAUL, 1970 – When I arrived in Rabaul with Sue and two-year old Simon in late January 1970, I soon discovered the most hated man in the Gazelle Peninsula was not one of the leaders of the feared Mataungan Association.

It was not the anti-colonial John Kaputin, who, despite his acclaimed prowess at rugby league, had offended the colony by marrying an Australian woman.

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Radio Days: Journey into management

Leigh HH 'Jim'
Jim Leigh with trainee broadcasters. He had a deep-seated dislike of the ABC but was instrumental in constructing 18 government radio stations across the length and breadth of PNG

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY, 1969 – For some minutes my eyes remained fixed on the newspaper advertisement.

Placed under the logo of the Department of Information and Extension Services, it sought three assistant managers for government broadcasting stations in rural areas of Papua New Guinea.

The colonial Administration, fed up with the ABC dragging its feet on extending its own PNG services throughout the Australian territory, was building its own radio stations and looking to recruit expatriate managers.

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Dr John Gunther: PNG’s colonial 'driving force'

John_Gunther
Sir John Gunther - "Easily the strongest single driving force in the PNG Administration”(Sir Paul Hasluck)

HANK NELSON
| Australian Dictionary of Biography | Edited extracts

CANBERRA - Sir John Thomson Gunther (1910-84), medical practitioner, public servant and vice-chancellor, was born on 2 October 1910 in Sydney.

He studied medicine at the University of Sydney, graduating in 1935. His mother had been one of the early women medical graduates there.

Gunther represented Sydney in inter-university boxing and rugby. After a year’s residency at Sydney Hospital, he applied to be medical officer with Lever’s Pacific Plantations Ltd and, working out of Gavutu and Tulagi in the Solomon Islands, he travelled widely to over 30 of Lever’s properties including to Milne Bay.

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