Compiled by Keith Jackson
These ASOPA Archives include articles and papers about the history of the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA), milestones in its journey and matters of interest related to its work that might not find a home elsewhere.
"Can anyone find a time in recorded history where Heaven came as close to earth?” - the late Henry Bodman (1939-77), ruminating on his time as a cadet education officer at ASOPA in 1962-63
From the beginning
His name was Alfred Austin Justin Conlon. He was the man who conceived ASOPA.
In 1941, Alf Conlon, third year medical student and bon vivant, was asked to form the Army Education Service to improve the literacy and numeracy of recruits.
The smooth-tongued Conlon had never been in school cadets, still less the Sydney University Regiment, but it didn’t take him long to suss out the Army and convince the new commander-in-chief, General Thomas Blamey, that he needed a research section to tackle major strategic issues, such as what to do if the Japanese invaded.
So in 1942, Conlon was appointed Major (later Colonel) to establish the Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs.
Conlon, then as now, was recognised as a visionary and a formidable tactician. He thrived on intrigue and exuded privileged knowledge. To some he was an arch manipulator, to others a brilliant mind. In reality he was both.
The downside, though, was resentment - created both by his avoidance of established lines of authority and the numerous ranking officers (mostly Lieutenant Colonels) he gathered around him who had never seen active service.
Charles Rowley wrote later: “Alf was a born manipulator, but the thing I don’t remember is Alf Conlon manipulating something in order to bring him personally a distinct material advantage…
“Among officers, none of whom knew him, Alf was probably the most unpopular man in the army. Many people, for instance who’d been in the Middle east, felt that Alf’s method of getting privates with special qualifications and making them majors or colonels in a day wasn’t the right thing to do at all.
"There was a feeling that here was fellow who was manipulating the sacred edifice of the army for his own purposes.”
For administrative convenience, when formed in February 1943, the Directorate was slotted into Military Intelligence. This was short-lived but created a ‘cloak-and-dagger’ aura which clung to the unit and led to later claims that John Kerr, who had been Conlon’s second-in-command, was a war-time intelligence officer and that the CIA was behind the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975.
Conlon’s empire depended both on Blamey’s goodwill and on getting tangible results. The Directorate discovered, for instance, that there were no maps of the Northern Territory adequate for military purposes. ‘Conlon’s heroes’ made good the shortfall, just as they found substitute sources for quinine when Australia’s normal supplies came under Japanese control.
The Directorate prepared reports on Army health and nutrition, battlefield terrain, dietary standards for Papuan carriers and trends in international relations. It provided policy advice on the post-war governance of the Trust Territory of Papua and the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. Conlon had a broad remit; he even anticipated PNG’s independence. Work of enduring value was performed.
At the end of World War II, Conlon pressed for the establishment of a permanent centre to “provide the Australian government with a team of Australians specialising in the training of officers to undertake civil administration in developing countries and provide advice on aspects of development”. The government agreed and in 1945 Colonel JK Murray became the first ‘Chief Instructor’ of the School of Civil Affairs.
Soon after, however, Murray was appointed post-war Administrator of PNG and in 1946 John Kerr emerged as the first Principal of the Australian School of Pacific Administration. Originally located at Duntroon, in May 1947 ASOPA was relocated to a group of Army huts on Middle Head.
On staff were Conlon’s bright young cronies and companions, many of whom he had originally recruited to the Directorate. In addition to Kerr there were anthropologists WEH Stanner, Ian Hogbin, AP Elkin and Camilla Wedgewood, lawyers Julius Stone and Hal Wootten, poets James McAuley and Harold Stewart, banker James Plimsoll, and librarian Ida Leeson.
Kerr returned to the Sydney bar in 1948 to become one of Sydney's leading industrial lawyers and Conlon took over ASOPA. He reportedly spent the next two years as an unhappy and unsuccessful Acting Principal (a position, many years later, I also held for a brief time) until historian Charles Rowley took up the position in November 1950.
One reason for Conlon’s unhappiness may have been that the politicians of the time seemed hell bent on shutting down ASOPA. At the end of World War II, confronting the first of many threats to the School’s existence, John Kerr had written: “The idea [of ASOPA] was opposed, and opposed in influential quarters… We were determined that what had been created should not be destroyed. In this we succeeded.”
Throughout ASOPA’s 27-year history that success had to be earned time and time again.
Conlon, his nephew later told me, had a sure-fire stratagem for getting the politicians off his back. When called to Canberra for discussions, he would load the boot of his car with red wine with which to ply his interrogators.
A successful Principal he may not have been, but he kept ASOPA afloat until Charles Rowley came on the scene. Rowley, who had served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Australian Army in PNG during the war, remained as Principal until 1964, when Jack Mattes succeeded him.
It was not until 1954 that ASOPA began to train Australian teachers for service in PNG and the Northern Territory. For some time the training took place at distant Bathurst Teachers’ College. The training course was eventually transferred to Middle Head in 1958 and trainees were designated ‘Cadet Education Officers’.
Rowley turned out to be a great Principal. Margaret Westwood later wrote: “[He] brought to his principalship an already outstanding record in academic achievement and scholarship together with a wide experience and competence as an educator, administrator and historian.
"These qualities enabled him, during his 13 years as Principal, to establish for ASOPA a reputation for sound scholarship among academic institutions in Australia and overseas. He was able to attract a small but outstandingly able staff.”
These staff continued to be recruited by invitation rather than by formal application and they were expected to engage in research and publication for at least two days a week.
Rowley’s own published work focused on New Guinea (Australians in German New Guinea 1914-21, The Lotus and the Dynamo and The New Guinea Villager) and the Australian Aboriginal (The Destruction of Aboriginal Society, Outcasts in White Australia and The Remote Aborigines) – this trilogy being the first major attempt to assess the history of white and indigenous contact in Australia.
Staff at ASOPA had a great freedom. In some ways, it was a freer institution than the universities and a complete contrast to the narrower vision of Balmain Teachers’ College, which provided teacher training support for ASOPA. When one history lecturer moved from Balmain to Middle Head he referred to the experience as “the transfiguration of Noel Gash: I remember very clearly having the curious feeling that my mind was physically expanding”.
Charles Rowley passionately defended academic freedom against attacks by politicians who wanted more control over what ASOPA taught and published. In 1972, he looked back to his time at the School: “The freedom in teaching was never abrogated, though it was often attacked. This allowed us to retain for a few years those brilliant scholars who were certain, sooner or later, to go on to higher appointments in universities….”
The traditions of research and publication and inviolability of academic freedom persisted throughout the history of ASOPA and a great deal of the credit belongs to Charles Rowley for his tenacity and example. His own personal views on Aboriginal Australia and PNG were sometimes in conflict with government policy, and this personal involvement added steel to his argument as he struggled on behalf of his staff.
In the early 1960s, the Australian Government realised that independence in PNG would come sooner than previously anticipated and ASOPA moved into an intensive period of training young Australians to accelerate the pace of development in its territories.
In its final years, ASOPA introduced training for secondary teachers and more specialised administration courses. There was a major change of focus in 1970 as, with Papua New Guinea independence looming, the Australian Government turned to ASOPA to help correct a serious lack of trained indigenous administrators.
In 1973, the year in which Australia granted self-government to Papua New Guinea, ASOPA became the International Training Institute (ITI) within the Australian Development Assistance Bureau, a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs. ITI provided management training for professionals from developing countries in the Pacific, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
A final shift – and change in name to Centre for Pacific Development and Training - saw the Middle Head campus used as a base for consultants operating in the South Pacific until this role came to an end in 1997.
The history of ASOPA, and its successor institutions, paralleled the changing global political milieu during the 40 years after World War 2. ASOPA began as a school for Australians training for leadership positions in its territories. In middle life, it offered courses to people from developing countries. And finally, it was base for Australians consulting to the developing world.
It was, despite its strange beginnings, truly a grand institution.
Milestones in ASOPA's History
1926 – Prof Radcliffe-Brown arrives at University of Sydney to take up Chair of Anthropology and soon has a dozen scholars in the field in Australia, Papua, New Guinea and the Pacific islands
1927 – First cadet patrol officers arrive at Sydney University under Australian Government scheme in which officers, after a period of practical training in the Australian Territory of Papua and the League of Nations Mandate Territory of New Guinea, are selected each year for further training by the Department of Anthropology. Papua soon abandons the idea but New Guinea continues to send officers and cadets from 1928 to the beginning of World War II
1941 – Alf Conlon joins the Australian Army from his job as Sydney University's manpower officer, selecting or exempting students from military training. The Army Signals Unit constructs the huts on Middle Head that will become the ASOPA campus. They use land cleared for a golf course
1942 – On 11 February civil government in PNG is suspended and the Cadet Patrol Officer training scheme managed by Sydney University ceases. Conlon appointed chairman of Prime Minister John Curtin's Committee on National Morale “which carried some vestige of the authority of the PM, whom Conlon knew”. Conlon, now a Major, appointed to head the Army’s Research Section. John Kerr joins as Assistant Director
1943 - Conlon transferred to the staff of the Army’s commander-in-chief, General Blamey, who reconstitutes Research Section as Directorate of Research. Blamey seeks Conlon’s advice in handling intricate political relationship between the high command and the Federal government. Conlon's propensity for informal contacts, deliberate avoidance of regular channels of communication and command, and neglect of proper procedures and records leads to his activities and the Directorate being regarded with suspicion and dislike by official bodies. “People of irreproachable good faith denounced him as a charlatan. Yet, he remained Blamey's confidant”
1944 - Conlon becomes Director of Research and Civil Affairs: “It had an uneasy relationship with the military”. Army announces Army announces it will establish the School of Civil Affairs under Conlon to train service personnel in colonial administration in PNG. Hon Camilla Wedgwood joins Directorate as an anthropologist: “On army bivouacs in PNG, where she served intermittently in 1944-45, when offered a cigarette by her young cadets her reply was: 'No thanks, I roll my own'”. She died of lung cancer in 1955
1945 - School of Civil Affairs established at Royal Military College Duntroon. Conlon persuades External Territories Minister Eddie Ward to ensure School continues after the war. On the first course staff outnumber students 47-40. Conlon has made many enemies and his influence wanes as war ends and the Directorate is disbanded. He’s promoted to Colonel just before going on the retired list. Kerr is appointed Chief Instructor at the School, which moves to Holsworthy. Meanwhile, the Army Signals Unit buildings on Middle Head that will become the ASOPA campus are used to house Italian internees who are employed as maintenance workers
1946 - Civil government is restored to PNG. Federal Cabinet approves the interim establishment of ASOPA. Colonel John Kerr is demobilised and becomes Principal
1947 – On 12 April Cabinet approves the permanent establishment of ASOPA. PNG Administrator JK Murray tells Eddie Ward (Minister for External Territories) that ASOPA should have a research function otherwise Australia will have nothing more than “mid Victorian colonial administration” in PNG. ASOPA moves to temporary premises in two Quonset huts at George’s Heights and then to Middle Head. Kerr says: “The idea of ASOPA was opposed, and opposed in influential quarters. Attempts were made to bring the whole academic venture to an end”. It is taken for granted that ASOPA’s destiny is to become part of ANU. In December, Eddie Ward visits ASOPA and says the government realises the need for thorough training of all administrative personnel in New Guinea. He says ASOPA is now on a firm footing. Kerr decides to resume practice at the NSW Bar and resigns as Principal. It is likely he smelt defeat over proposed ASOPA legislation that would see it cut off from academia: “[He] lost the will to fight the bureaucracy”
1948 – The first civilians enrol at ASOPA, training for patrol officer and magisterial duties. PNG Administrator Colonel JK Murray addresses the School: “Time is moving faster in New Guinea than the Europeans. Our aim and obligation in native administration is to work ourselves out of a job”. In PNG these liberal views are rewarded with the soubriquet ‘Kanaka Jack’. Conlon is appointed acting Principal for 12 months. “Even [his] staunchest supporters later agreed that this appointment was disastrous. The man who at his best was a creator of big ideas and a ‘hidden persuader’ in getting them acted upon was hopeless as an administrator” Conlon is interested in a permanent position as principal, which he hopes will give him continuing influence over PNG policy. He complains that “the colonial leathernecks who try to tell us that the School is no good at any rate ... do everything in their power to prevent us from getting the necessary authorities to take such reasonable steps as would make the School into something we would all want to see”
1949 – The Papua and New Guinea Act gives ASOPA statutory recognition. Teachers are being orientated at the School. Reg Halligan, Head of the Department of External Territories, reviews ASOPA and criticises its research aspirations, its ambitious educational goals, its cost and its pretensions. He concludes it is a self-serving institution. He writes of ASOPA staff: “Not understandable how so many experts in teaching Territorial Administration were produced in such a short time with no background”. Conlon loses interest and scarcely takes any part in the affairs of the School for the remainder of his term as acting principal, and thus ends any influence he may have exercised in New Guinea affairs. In September Conlon’s principalship ends: “an unsuccessful and unhappy principal of ASOPA”. Wilfred Arthur takes over as acting principal [to be confirmed]
1950 – Minister for Territories, Paul Hasluck, proposes to move ASOPA to Canberra. Nobody hears of this idea again. After Alf Conlon’s forced departure, Harry Maude OBE, long-serving Gilbert and Ellice Islands Administrator, is offered position as ASOPA Principal. He knocks it back and, in November, Charles Rowley gets the job
1951 - ASOPA's pretensions to be a research institution are officially knocked on the head and the School concentrates on training officers to serve in PNG
1952 – ASOPA’s occupation of part of 10 Terminal ends and the campus is relocated to the timber-framed huts of the previous Army Signals Unit camp
1953 - Hasluck gives the PNG Education Department the task of providing a universal primary education within a policy of ‘considered gradualism’
1954 - ASOPA begins to train Australian teachers to assist develop primary education in PNG. Ken McKinnon, later Director of Education, is one of them. Courses are offered to teachers recruited for Special (Aboriginal) Schools in the Northern Territory
1955 – The PNG Administration in Port Moresby rules that English is to be the language of instruction in PNG schools. On 17 May Camilla Wedgwood dies at Royal North Shore Hospital. James McAuley dedicates his poem ‘Winter Nightfall’ to her
1956 - ASOPA cadets begin to train at Bathurst Teachers College: “The provision of courses at Bathurst in 1956 was costly and a heavy drain on the limited academic staff of the School” says the ASOPA Annual Report
1957 - Dr Peter Lawrence begins lecturing in Anthropology at the School. His obituarist later writes: “His first and enduring passion was teaching at ASOPA”
1958 - Bathurst training is abandoned. Balmain Teachers’ College begins providing teacher education services for Cadet Education Officers training at ASOPA. The NSW Education Department agrees to award of the NSW Teacher’s Certificate to ASOPA graduates with three years successful inspection reports. Male ASOPA students are permitted to wear shorts with long socks
1959 - Cadet Education Officers move to Middle Head; 21 students enrolled. First short course (orientation) for teachers seconded from Australian States to teach in PNG1960 - Hasluck’ s policy of universal primary education in PNG has led to 77,000 students enrolling in recognised primary schools and another 112,000 in unregulated mission schools but a UN report on educational advancement suggests Australia is not doing enough to create educational opportunity. Australian press advertisements call for the E [Emergency] Course: a six month, condensed, practically-oriented program conducted in PNG for people qualified to teach only in PNG. 1,600 people apply and 60 are selected. Meanwhile there are 58 students in the CEO's course at ASOPA. Prime Minister Robert Menzies asks State Premiers to support education in PNG and obtains 20-30 seconded teachers a year from the State Education Departments. James McCauley leaves ASOPA to take a position at the University of Tasmania
1961 - Woollahra Colleagues Rugby Union Football Club, “the finest Burke Cup team ever to play for the club”, defeats ASOPA 36-5 in the grand final at Woollahra Oval. Les Peterkin arrives at ASOPA as physical education lecturer
1962 - UN Mission to PNG under chairmanship of Sir Hugh Foot focuses on educational development and urges Australia to disengage from its colonial role in the near future. The revised syllabus for Primary T Schools is published by the Department of Education in Port Moresby. Charles Rowley reflects on ASOPA’s educational philosophy: “Nearly all the students of the early fifties were ex-servicemen. Many had served in ANGAU, which controlled the destinies of New Guineans during the war; it had been concerned mainly with winning the war, and welfare was secondary. Thus in our courses we tried to provoke students to rethink conclusions which they had formed of the proper role of the Australians in New Guinea.” First issue of Vortex magazine is published
1963 - Dutch New Guinea becomes the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya. Australian government perceives that Australia is vulnerable to Indonesian expansion in the Pacific. Second issue of Vortex hits the streets. ASOPA stages a revue, ‘The Natives Are Restless’, at Mosman Town Hall for a two-night season
1964 – Charles Rowley’s principalship ends. Jack Mattes takes over. Report of the Commission on Higher Education in PNG accelerates the establishment of the University of PNG. ASOPA asked to provide junior secondary training instead of primary. Revue ‘If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Eat ‘Em’ at Mosman Town Hall
1965 - Last PNG primary teachers graduate, although ASOPA continues to provide primary teacher training for NT schools
1966 - Largest ever CEO intake for PNG, 89 students in first year. Last long course for PNG Patrol Officers
1967 - PNG Director of Education Ken McKinnon unsuccessfully asks Canberra to reinstate E Course as PNG teacher training cannot keep pace with demand. One-year course commences for PNG senior local government officials
1968 – ASOPA hosts first of two three-month English courses for members of the PNG House of Assembly. ASOPA staff strike in support of NSW Teachers’ Federation, infuriating Balmain Teachers’ College Principal Greenhalgh, who can do nothing
1969 – A fire at ASOPA destroys many documents including all the policy papers up until 1949 and many student records
1970 - WJ (Jock) Weeden, a member of the ASOPA Council, makes recommendations about the future of the School. As a result of his report, the role of ASOPA changes so, instead of training Australian expatriates, it “takes on the new role of training Papua New Guineans as part of the overall program of accelerated training to prepare PNG for self government and independence”. First continuing course designed wholly for Papua New Guineans. Northern Territory primary teachers course extended to three years
1971 - As a result of the Weeden report, ASOPA's emphasis changes from training expatriates to training Papua New Guineans. Cadet Education Officers are to complete their programs but are the last teacher trainees at the School. First year Northern Territory trainees finish their course at Canberra College of Advanced Education. In December, the Mattes principalship ends and John Reynolds takes over
1972 - Teacher training ends and the last CEOs graduate. PNG administrators begin training at the School. Mattes estimates that 1,500 students have passed through ASOPA since 1947 with a maximum of 230 students at any one time. In teacher education, a total of 918 students enrolled, and 715 were certificated. Effectively, ASOPA's role has come to an end
1973 - PNG becomes self-governing. ASOPA is formally disestablished as a responsibility of the Minister for External Territories and statutory recognition under the Papua New Guinea Act in 1949 ceases. The International Training Institute comes into existence and is formally linked to the Australian Development Assistance Agency
1974 – The final group of Northern Territory field officers graduates
1975 - PNG becomes independent
1983 - Jack Mattes completes compiling the laws of PNG
1987 - ITI closes and campus proclaimed as AIDAB Centre for Pacific Development and Training
1997 - Hallstrom Pacific Collection of books and artefacts handed over to the University of New South Wales
1998 - Centre for Pacific Development disestablished
2006 - A forum of the Australian Institute of International Affairs hears a suggestion that re-establishing ASOPA, possibly in Townsville, would better prepare Australians for work in PNG and the Pacific region
2007 – A paper of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says: “An earlier and largely forgotten Australian model in this regard was the Australian School of Pacific Administration... While the ASOPA model is not appropriate to current situations for obvious reasons, it was an innovative and successful response in its time and there is much that we can learn from it. The problems in the so-called arc of instability surrounding our shores are not going to disappear anytime soon. Arguably they will get worse in the immediate future. While as a country we might not be able to claim unique expertise or knowledge in respect of every place where international assistance is required, we surely ought to be able to make this claim in respect of countries with which we are so inextricably bound by reasons of history, geography, sentiment and national interest”
Articles about ASOPA
The links to these articles await restoration
The ASOPA Controversy, IC Campbell
Campbell writes on the bureaucratic high jinks that surrounded ASOPA’s establishment and near disestablishment in the late 1940s. “There was some justification therefore for Halligan's apparently bitter comment in 1949 that the staff was unqualified, that all they knew of PNG was what they had read in books or learnt from association with territory officers. It was, he wrote, ‘not understandable how so many experts in teaching Territorial Administration were produced in such a short time with no background.’
Stanner’s War, Geoff Gray
Dr Geoff Gray documents a fascinating insight into ASOPA’s predecessor, the Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs as it tried to bring about a new deal for a post-war PNG. The main character, Bill Stanner, had hurried home soon after war was declared. He had recently completed his PhD at the London School of Economics. But his views, as they emerged, were in stark opposition to the prevailing mood in DORCA. Gray’s rivetting paper traces the nature of the conflict, the way it played out and the outcome, which favoured, in the end, neither Stanner nor DORCA.
ASOPA Landfall, Dorothy Shineberg
Professor Shineberg, who became Australia’s first Fulbright fellow, tells of her recruitment to and her three tumultuous years at ASOPA from 1947. She later became one of Australia’s outstanding scholars in Pacific history.
ASOPA Chapter 1, Bill Brown
The first chapter of Bill Brown’s New Guinea memoir tells of his coming to ASOPA. Afterwards, Bill rose steadily through the ranks in PNG’s Department of District Administration and was appointed as District Commissioner in Bougainville at a particularly exacting period in the island's affairs.
Looking for a Good Book, Reg Thomson
In February 1949, Reg Thomson arrived at ASOPA to train to teach in PNG. At the time Alf Conlon was Principal and Camilla Wedgwood lectured on anthropology and education. Reg writes of his experiences at the School in a chapter of an unpublished manuscript, ‘Looking For A Good Book’. Reg, pushing 90, lives on the Gold Coast.
The Balmain Years, Cliff Turney and Judy Taylor
In extracts from a book about Balmain Teachers College, which provided the pedagogic component of the ASOPA cadet education officers’ course, the authors reflect on the vast gulf in educational philosophy between the two institutions. ‘ASOPA students were different from Balmain students in many ways. On the whole they were older, more sophisticated and more independent thinkers than the Balmain students.”
25 Years of ASOPA, Geoff Leaver (editor)
Extracts from a magazine produced to mark the demise of ASOPA in 1972. It includes a wealth of material: Vic Parkinson on ASOPA in war and peace; a personal retrospective from outgoing principal Jack Mattes; Margaret Westwood on Charles Rowley; and Ralph Watson’s savage indictment of the Australian government policy that ended ASOPA.
End of A Unique Institution, Bill Goff
In the March 1998 issue of AusAID’s Focus magazine, Bill Goff records that, when the Centre for Pacific Development and Training finally shut its doors at the end of 1997, it was the end of an era that began with ASOPA and continued through the years of the International Training Institute.
Articles about PNG education
The Expatriate Legacy, Joseph Pagelio
PNG’s Secretary for Education reflects on the legacy of expatriate teachers. “You were nation builders… As you worked alongside your PNG colleagues in the education system, and as you involved yourself in the community, you contributed to the building of the independent nation of PNG.”
Pragmatics and Pedagogy, Susan Gelade
A comparison of the ASOPA and E Course teacher training programs comes to the conclusion that the E Course offered much better value for money.
The E Course, Susan Gelade
Gelade’s definitive account of the E Course takes a rather pejorative view of ASOPA teachers in contrast with the Boys Own types who, bearing a curriculum instead of an elephant gun, brought the word to PNG. The article relies a bit too much on the anecdotal experience of E Course teachers, but is a good read.
Yokomo – Literary Icon, Jack Metta
One of PNG’s leading journalists writes of the debate raging in PNG about whether some of literary icons of his school days should receive the country’s highest honour, the Order of Logohu.
Articles about PNG
PNG: How to achieve a change in direction, Paul Oates
Paul Oates is concerned about events and trends in Papua New Guinea and has written a paper describing how these problems manifest themselves and making some recommendations for their alleviation. Paul believes that, if Australia does nothing, PNG will continue on a downhill slope to further poverty and corruption notwithstanding increasing amounts of external aid funds. “If the process of ‘sweeping the dust under the carpet continues,” Paul writes, “then potential to prevent a humanitarian disaster on our doorstep will be lost forever.”
Getting it wrong in PNG, John Fowke
Here’s an article previously published in Quadrant and the PNG National but which richly deserves another airing. John Fowke has devoted his adult life to PNG and relates the story of how Australia is 'getting it wrong', sub-titled ‘a plea for more realism and understanding from Australia’.
Reminiscences of a District Commissioner, Harry West
The long-term President of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia, who first went to PNG as a young Army officer in World War II, reflects on his long relationship with PNG and some of the highlights of career as a field officer.
Story of the PNG Flag, Hal Holman OAM
Hal Holman designed the PNG national crest, has sculpted the busts of each prime minister since Independence and – most controversially – was one of the people involved in the design of the PNG national flag. Here he tells his side of the story.
The Search for Private Dellar, Hal Holman OAM
In World War II Corporal Hal Holman was posted with his unit to the highlands of PNG. In this story he tells of his search in the Bismarck mountains and Ramu valley for one of his comrades who had been cut off during a skirmish. Can they find Dellar? And will he be dead or alive?