True stories Feed

Cannibals: US embassy won't apologise

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

Cannibals
Image from YouTube


PORT MORESBY - Following President Joe Biden’s claims that his uncle Bosie was eaten by cannibals in Papua New Guinea, the US embassy in the national capital issued a statement without an apology.

Thousands of people in PNG had taken to social media calling for an apology but it looks like there won’t be one - and here’s why.

Continue reading "Cannibals: US embassy won't apologise" »


Joe Biden's cannibal tale puzzles PNGns

REBECCA RATCLIFFE & BETHANIE HARRIMAN
| The Guardian | Extract

Aircraft

SYDNEY – President Joe Biden’s suggestion that his uncle may have been eaten by cannibals in Papua New Guinea during World War II has been met with a mixture of bemusement and criticism in the country.

Biden spoke about his uncle, Second Lieutenant Ambrose J Finnegan Jr, while campaigning in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, describing how ‘Uncle Bosie’ had flown single engine planes on reconnaissance flights during the war.

Continue reading "Joe Biden's cannibal tale puzzles PNGns" »


Joe Biden's cannibal tale puzzles PNGns

REBECCA RATCLIFFE & BETHANIE HARRIMAN
| The Guardian | Extract

Aircraft

SYDNEY – President Joe Biden’s suggestion that his uncle may have been eaten by cannibals in Papua New Guinea during World War II has been met with a mixture of bemusement and criticism in the country.

Biden spoke about his uncle, Second Lieutenant Ambrose J Finnegan Jr, while campaigning in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, describing how ‘Uncle Bosie’ had flown single engine planes on reconnaissance flights during the war.

Continue reading "Joe Biden's cannibal tale puzzles PNGns" »


An exciting trip by car

ANCIE SCHINDLER
| A 1953 memoir in the possession of Ancie's son, Dr Ivan Schindler

Track image

ROSEWOOD, QLD - The road from The Highlands to the Markham Valley floor had become a reality. A road, did I say, more like a track, which wound down the steep mountain sides to the flat Markham Valley.

The only Europeans to have travelled it as yet were the ADO (Acting District Officer) Kainantu and the PO (Patrol Officer) Rupert Haviland, who was in charge of the labour cutting out the track.

Continue reading "An exciting trip by car" »


On board, and overboard, in the Coral Sea

STEVE LANGLEY

Erskineville

NEW ENGLAND NSW - In the late 1950's and again in the early 1960's, I twice signed as a ship steward on TSMV Bulolo (TSMV being an abbreviation of Twin Screw Motor Vessel).

It was a most enjoyable ship to work on, with its exciting itinerary travelling from Sydney to Brisbane then across the Coral Sea and around the Pacific island ports of Port Moresby, Madang, Samarai, Lae and Rabaul, back to Moresby and Brisbane and then its home berth at Burns Philp Wharf in Sydney Harbour. It was a round trip of about two weeks.

Continue reading "On board, and overboard, in the Coral Sea" »


What for this curse of PNG paperwork?

JOSEPH TUAN VIET CAO
| DevPolicyBlog

Paperwork

BOMANA - After saying morning mass one day, I was preparing my breakfast when a couple from Laloki Village dropped by. The man, in his forties, told me his problem.

He is a member of Nasfund, the national superannuation fund, and eligible to withdraw money. So he needs to fill in a form and it is required that I, as his parish priest, confirm the information with my signature and parish seal.

Continue reading "What for this curse of PNG paperwork?" »


Is this really the Australia you want

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Here in Noosa, just like the rest of Australia, we’re in the middle of referendum politics, where the vitriol has reached boiling point and exceeds even the hyper-toxicity that prevails around local government elections here in Australia’s premier seaside resort apart from Tumby Bay.

Continue reading "Is this really the Australia you want" »


The ABC & me: a story of respect & rebellion

Keith Boug News
In the Bougainville News, 1970, when the ABC was 38 and I was 25

KEITH JACKSON

I wrote this last year and, feeling it both unfinished and too personal, decided not to publish. It’s still unfinished … but life is too short, and long ago I learned not to waste content

NOOSA – The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, desperate for respect, in 2022 marked its 90th year of broadcasting.

There is nothing really special about 90 except it’s a big number. For we humans, as distinct from many of the organisations we temporarily occupy, 90 is the start of really old age but no telegram from the King. The ABC, however, after being pummelled by conservative governments for a decade, needed a celebration. It needed some better news, even if it had to provide its own.

Continue reading "The ABC & me: a story of respect & rebellion" »


Recent Notes 21: My new pacemaker friend

Keith with pacemaker
Shoulda been dead!  Keith and scar, behind which is the pacemaker device that allows two chambers of the heart to connect to each other electrically

A week ago I was pretty much packed and ready to go on a short holiday with Ingrid, who had been working too hard in her  voluntary positions as Vice-President and Secretary of the Tewantin-Noosa Country Women’s Association and in the demanding role of Secretary of the Noosa Chamber of Commerce. Ingrid had earned a break and naturally I always prefer to be with her wherever she may roam.

Last Wednesday morning, a week before flying to Barcelona, I awoke as stunned as a mullet after a final sleep segment of 4½ hours. This duration was so unusual I immediately reached for my blood pressure monitor which showed I was cruising along at 130/60 with a heart rate a comfortable 68 beats a minute. Nothing wrong there. That the ME/CFS was giving me a bit of stick was not unusual and my cognition was good. So, despite the underlying discomfort, I was feeling buoyant. Some mornings the ME leaves me literally bewildered and speechless.

However, as the day progressed, I did begin to feel quite ill. The ME was still a 3, which I designate as moderate but at a level where I need to scale back activity to avoid the dreaded ‘crash’.  In the early afternoon the sick feeling worsened. My heart was palpitating and I was rather dizzy. It was only mid-afternoon - when I began to puff hard walking up stairs that normally don’t test me - that I realised something was not just amiss but badly amiss.

Continue reading "Recent Notes 21: My new pacemaker friend" »


Labor & me: a political affair to remember

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - In March 2021, Phil Fitzpatrick sent me an unexpected and somewhat surprising email: ‘Just out of curiosity, what made you run in the federal election back then?

Phil went on to explain:

I’ve often wondered what motivates politicians to run for office.

‘I have trouble believing that they are somehow inspired by some deeply held sense of duty or purpose. Nowadays it just seems like part of a career path.

Continue reading "Labor & me: a political affair to remember" »


The desperate & deadly streets of Moresby

“I'm afraid to live in this country. Police officers and army men think they're above the law and that they can get away with so many things. Corruption runs rampant in these streets” - Kaliop Ingirin Tomai

Least livable
Port Moresby is considered to be one of the world's least livable cities

BOMAI DOO *

PORT MORESBY – I am still on probation in my job and the pay is really not enough to live on. I spend half of it on bus fares to get to and from work.

But who am I to complain or quit my job when so many accounting graduates from the universities are roaming the streets doing nothing.

Continue reading "The desperate & deadly streets of Moresby" »


The King & Duncan & the mangroves of Boera

It was then the team leader informed us of the royal visit to Papua New Guinea, including a trip to Boera village. The Prince of Wales would officially launch our mangrove conservation project

Prince Charles plants the mangrove seedling at Boera village
Prince Charles plants the mangrove seedling at Boera village during his visit of 2012

DUNCAN GABI

WEWAK – On this morning in 2012, I stood inside the greenhouse surrounded by mangrove seedlings and in a state of high anxiety.

Soon I heard distant singing and the beating of kundu drums followed by cheering.

Continue reading "The King & Duncan & the mangroves of Boera" »


Give the raskol a tenner & watch him grow

These are youths who sleep in the drains beside the Courts, at Yakapilin Market and in various dirty shanties around Port Moresby

10kina

JORDAN DEAN

PORT MORESBY - Whilst others were painting their faces on Independence Day, I spent my day at Jack Pidik Park.

I had been invited to give a little speech at the Human Development Institute graduation ceremony. So, what is significant about that?

Continue reading "Give the raskol a tenner & watch him grow" »


Thoughts on the brutal death of a vagrant rat

I do not want to take a life; I’m not a barbarian or a savage. I was not cut out for taking a life. Rats, do not put me in such a situation. Maybe I should join the Jain religion

Gabi dead rat

DUNCAN GABI

WEWAK - A few days ago, I set a rat glue trap to catch the pests who had invaded our home and established squatter settlements in the walls and ceiling.

Some of the rascals would walk around the house like they had a property title.

Continue reading "Thoughts on the brutal death of a vagrant rat" »


How to catch a croc in five quite easy steps

Wanem kain mit?” I asked. What sort of meat? 
Bai you kisim sampla han, olsem.” Then you get an arm.
Bai mi nap kisim displa han lo we a?” Where do I get an arm!

Oates- pukpukPAUL OATES

CLEVELAND QLD - When stationed at Sialum in Morobe Province many years ago, I asked Councillor Zorika from Gitua whether there were any crocodiles in his area.

I was intending to do some fly fishing for Jungle Perch along the local rivers and thought it prudent to do some background research.

Continue reading "How to catch a croc in five quite easy steps" »


8 days of rain & a some bizarre musical chairs

My call alerted the authorities to my existence as a primary trained teacher in a secondary trained position. This triggered a rather drastic chain reaction

Tapini airstrip c 1967 (Bob Grieve)
Tapini grass airstrip, c 1967 (Bob Grieve)

IAN ROBERTSON

BRISBANE – The Tapini airstrip featured as an oddity during my service in Papua New Guinea.

This has begun in 1959 after I had completed the two-year Cadet Education Officer’s certificate course at the Australian School of Pacific Administration in 1958.

Continue reading "8 days of rain & a some bizarre musical chairs" »


Bongbong wins on a myth as history wanes

A bongbong
Philippines new president Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr was an indulged youth whose excesses came at the expense of the ordinary people of the Philippines who suffered under his father's ruthless rule

MARTIN HADLOW

SAMFORD VALLEY, QLD -The result of this week's presidential election in the Philippines are a reminder of the adage that ‘those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’.

With the son of the former dictator and looter of the nation’s resources, Ferdinand Marcos Sr, winning the presidency in a landslide this week, the wheel of history turns and brings to mind the worst excesses of the past.

Continue reading "Bongbong wins on a myth as history wanes" »


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" »


Never in PNG: Noosa's pignorant decision

A Daphne Clarkson and Lenny the pig
Daphne Clarkson and Lenny the blind pig

MEG BOLTON & JESSICA LAMB
| ABC Sunshine Coast

MAROOCHYDORE, QLD - Cooroy woman Daphne Clarkson has been given one more week to find a new home for her emotional support companion pig, Lenny.

Ms Clarkson, who has anxiety and a sensory processing disorder, said she did not know how she would cope without her companion animal.

"Being without him isn't really an option, to be truthful," Ms Clarkson said.

Continue reading "Never in PNG: Noosa's pignorant decision" »


The great ‘My Aged Care’ package scam

A my-aged-care Simon Kneebone
Illustration by Simon Kneebone

GARRY LUHRS

“I always like to firm up vinaigrettes with some facts” – Garry Luhrs

The email came with a tantalising opener, “Hi Keith - I would like this scandal to be advertised far and wide.” In my business, it doesn’t come more pulse-racing than that. The missive came from former kiap and forever humourist Garry Luhrs, but it had a serious message. “This misappropriation of aged care funds is right across the board. Every provider appears to have front trotters and snouts in the trough. They seem to be creaming up to 70% of the funds as administrative expenses. This requires a Royal Commission. Any assistance that you can provide will be greatly appreciated.” So folks, if after reading Garry’s revelations you find you’ve had a similar experience, just drop him an email or a note in the Comments section and make sure Garry adds your case to the growing list - KJ

WUNDOWIE, WA - Greetings and salutations, survivors of the great PNG experiment who are still on the perch!

Lend me your eyes and ears. I am in search of volunteers who would like to be recruited to accompany me on my last patrol.

Like Don Quixote I have picked up my drooping old lance and am setting out on this last epic patrol to tilt once more at the windmills of an uncaring bureaucracy.

Continue reading "The great ‘My Aged Care’ package scam" »


New Guinea, 1965: Machines, men & landing places

Omkolai 2
Final approach, Omkolai, 1960s (PNGAA)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – This photograph and the one below emerged on Facebook not so long ago.

They brought back many memories of a time now long gone in a place dear to our hearts.

Omkolai airstrip is about 20 km south of Kundiawa. It doesn’t sound that far now. But the road from Kundiawa – precipitous and riven with landslides – always made it seem much, much further than that. Still does, I hear.

Continue reading "New Guinea, 1965: Machines, men & landing places" »


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" »


Graduating to illiteracy? Just not on

Justin Olam - rugby league champion (nrl.com)
Justin Olam - rugby league champion (nrl.com)

JUSTIN KUNDALIN

KANDEP, ENGA – Papua New Guinea is a developing country doing everything it can to catch up with the Western world.

In my view, easily the greatest Western influence in shaping PNG has been education; although other transformational forces, such as building a minerals-based economy, have been crucial.

Continue reading "Graduating to illiteracy? Just not on" »


Escape from Mariupol: '21 days changed everyone'

theatre
The Mariupol theatre, with its vivid red roof, was packed with 1,300 people taking refuge and presented the softest of targets

SVITLANA ZLENKO
| Translation by Roman Sheremeta

Last Tuesday, Svitlana Zlenko fled the besieged eastern Ukraine city of Mariupol with her young son. After finding safety, she used Twitter to share this account of life under siege. Dr Roman Sheremeta is an associate professor of economics at Case Western Reserve University at Cleveland, Ohio, in the USA. He prefaced this translation with a warning: “The faint-hearted should not read this” - KJ

SOMEWHERE IN UKRAINE - We collected snow, warmed it on a campfire and cooked macaroni. My family was in the bomb shelter of High School No 2.

Continue reading "Escape from Mariupol: '21 days changed everyone'" »


Solved: Mystery of the Ialibu pioneers

Capture
Ialibu 1972

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In April 2019, Raymond Sigimet shared his father’s memories of being a policeman in the kiap system in the early years of Papua New Guinea’s independence.

The article, A Policeman Remembers, included two photographs, the first of four members of the disciplined forces (army, police and corrective services) posing in their uniforms for Paul Oates at his Morobe outpost.

The other, reprised here, of a group of expatriate men based in Ialibu, posing in the fashion of 19th century pioneers.

Continue reading "Solved: Mystery of the Ialibu pioneers" »


On the trail of The Phantom's PNG exploits

Use of Tok Pisin established The Phantom as a PNG superstar (Mark Eby)
The production of as Tok Pisin comic book reinforced The Phantom as a PNG superstar (Mark Eby)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - From time to time Slim Kaikai drops me a note from somewhere in Papua New Guinea and we have a brief email swap until the next couple of years pass.

In January Slim sent me his usual “just a quick wan”, asking would I know “where to get a hold of any phantom comics in pidgin”.

Continue reading "On the trail of The Phantom's PNG exploits" »


Down south on long leave, Sydney, 1964

Jag
"“I’ve got just the one for you,” Filshie said. “It’s a red XK120 Jaguar convertible. Goes like the clappers” (Rob Barclay)

ROB BARCLAY
| Memoir | Edited extract

ADELAIDE - After six years’ service in the Territory, I had six months long leave, which I decided to spend in Melbourne and Sydney.

In neither place were there receptive females on holiday, so securing companions would be an ongoing problem.

I had discussed this difficulty with two fellow patrol officers due to attend the long course at ASOPA [Australian School of Pacific Administration] after their own leave.

Continue reading "Down south on long leave, Sydney, 1964" »


From humble street camera to tool for justice

A Kodak Instamatic 104 such as Busa's father might have used as a 1970s street photographer
A Kodak Instamatic 104 such as Busa's father might have used as a 1970s street photographer

BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

PORT MORESBY – It was only recently that I discovered my father was once a street photographer.

Back in the 1970s, he and some village friends took up the activity as a form of employment, to earn money, to put food on the table.

This was well before modern digital cameras and smart phones made photography simple and ever-present.

Continue reading "From humble street camera to tool for justice" »


Fred Wilson: The boomerang boy of 1PIR

graves
The Taurama Cemetery as Terry Edwinsmith found it in 2011 before it was revamped

TERRY EDWINSMITH

Boomerang Boy by David Wilson,‏ Take A Leaf Publications, October 2021. Available: Kindle (Amazon Australia) $11.99; Paperback (Waterstones, UK) £20

BRISBANE - The book, 'Boomerang Boy', tells the compelling story of Taurama Barracks Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) Frederick Alexander (Fred) Wilson.

This remarkable soldier died suddenly while serving with 1PIR on 27 March 1968 aged 43.

Continue reading "Fred Wilson: The boomerang boy of 1PIR" »


Adieu Harry: May ONGU travel with you

HARRY ROACH

Harry Roach died this afternoon bringing to an end an illustrious career as a Papua New Guinea kiap, a Cooroy property salesman and a Noosa shire councillor. He was known wherever he went as a can-do man, a thoroughgoing professional, a solid citizen and an inveterate prankster. Life with Harry could be eye-popping, hair-raising and mind-blowing, but the saga of ONGU was perhaps his greatest accomplishment – a true tour de farce - KJ

AITAPE - There was very little to occupy the ever-enquiring minds of the people who lived and worked in the many and varied outstations of the Sepik District in the mid 1960's.

And so it was with those who filled the various government and private occupations on the small Aitape outstation at the time.

Continue reading "Adieu Harry: May ONGU travel with you" »


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" »


How Stewy Brown beat the Dog Act

I am what i am
'I Am What I Am' - Stewy Brown was a serial drunk and on the verge of deportation from  colonial PNG when Bob Parer asked the Policemaster to give him one last chance

ROB PARER

BRISBANE – One of the unusual colonial laws of Papua New Guinea when it was an Australian territory was the so-called Dog Act.

Under the Dog Act a magistrate could order that people with an alcohol problem could have their name and photograph posted at all local hotels and clubs for a year.

During that time any premises that served that person alcohol would be fined.

Continue reading "How Stewy Brown beat the Dog Act" »


Involuntary voyagers await repatriation

Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni (Denyse Ealedona)
Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni now have to get the paperwork out of the way after 29 days lost at sea (Photo - Denyse Ealedona)

JARED KOLI
| Solomon Islands broadcasting Corporation

PORT MORESBY - Two Solomon Islands' men missing for 29 days until rescued off the coast of East New Britain 10 days ago are now in Port Moresby awaiting repatriation.

Mary Walenenea, second secretary with the Solomon Islands high commission in Papua New Guinea, said the men, Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni, are staying at the embassy.

Continue reading "Involuntary voyagers await repatriation" »


The wreckage they left behind

Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park in South Australia. Phil Fitzpatrick found this country more to his liking than a city teeming with consultants

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - After leaving Papua New Guinea I went to work for the South Australian Museum in a new unit responsible for Aboriginal heritage legislation.

There were less than a dozen of us and shortly after I arrived we were shifted from the museum to a warehouse with attached offices out in the suburbs.

It was a decidedly casual arrangement and on most days when I wasn’t doing fieldwork I turned up at the office in shorts and tee shirt.

Continue reading "The wreckage they left behind" »


Fahim Dashty - pioneer of Afghan press freedom

Hand-compiling the Kabul Weekly newspaper (Martin Hadlow)
Hand-compiling the Kabul Weekly newspaper (Martin Hadlow)

MARTIN HADLOW

SAMFORD VALLEY – Not long ago in PNG Attitude, this photograph was published alongside my article, ‘Taliban had time & are not so benign’.

It shows the Kabul Weekly newspaper being compiled by hand.

The newspaper was established by an extraordinary journalist, Fahim Dashty. And this is his story.

Continue reading "Fahim Dashty - pioneer of Afghan press freedom" »


The peerless, resilient Massey Ferguson

Tractor flambe
Paul Oates' Massey Ferguson after the fire

PAUL OATES

Phil Fitzpatrick recently paid tribute in these columns to the incomparable durability of the Massey Ferguson tractor.  In this piece, extracted from his memoir, ‘Phascogales and Other Tales’, former kiap Papua New Guinea kiap Paul Oates recalls his own experience with this wonderfully resilient machine. By the way, Paul's book available here from Amazon - KJ

Continue reading "The peerless, resilient Massey Ferguson" »


The saga of the mighty Fergie 135

Mf135
Not ours at Kiunga, but an old Massey Ferguson 135 put out to pasture

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - It was 1969 at Kiunga on the Fly River and we were unloading MV Pipi Gari, named after Steamship Trading Company’s first Papuan skipper.

It was the dry season and the river was very low, but the skipper had been able to steer the vessel across the rock bar eight kilometres downstream and motor to the station.

Continue reading "The saga of the mighty Fergie 135" »


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." »


The man who was told he wasn't Australian

Troy Lee
After a five-year legal battle against the Department of Home Affairs Troy Lee has his passport again. His life was wrecked by a callous act of bureaucratic stupidity 

STEFAN ARMBRUSTER
| SBS News | If you have a similar story, contact Stefan: [email protected]

BRISBANE - Almost five years ago Troyrone (Troy) Zen Lee did what thousands of Australians do every day: applied to renew his passport.

What he did not expect to be told in 2016 was that he was not Australian.

Born in pre-independence Papua New Guinea, Troy fell victim to the Department of Home Affairs' stubborn misinterpretation of the Citizenship Act.

Continue reading "The man who was told he wasn't Australian" »


It was the Aussies who drove PNG to drink

Arthur Williams
Arthur Williams - "The American Bishop of Kavieng asked me to ring the Convent and invite two of the Sisters to join us to play Rummy"

ARTHUR WILLIAMS

CARDIFF - Phil Fitzpatrick often writes about subjects that capture what many of us ex-New Guinea types think about now we have more time on our hands having left behind the daily commute to work.

His Power, Hedonism & the Best Years of Our Lives’ was one such essay.

During the latter part of my 30 years in Papua New Guinea, I often felt that the life of expats who were off duty influenced the local people.

Continue reading "It was the Aussies who drove PNG to drink" »


Great NG airship expedition that never happened

Thumbs_luftschiff_order_card
Postcard printed in 1913 to pre-order of the Pf2, Mk1 and never-produced Mk20 stamps. Only known copy in existence

PETER KRANZ

MORRISET – It is an historical oddity more like an absurdist Monty Python sketch than reality, but it is true.

In 1913, Germany, Britain and Holland, all colonial powers sharing New Guinea, began planning a joint expedition to the giant island.

Continue reading "Great NG airship expedition that never happened" »


The day I gave the bad news to Kela Smith

Mal Kela Smith
Malcolm Kela Smith (PNGi). "Mal's response was furious and littered with profanities. Needless to say, my relationship with him ended acrimoniously"

WILL MUSKENS
| Ex Kiap Website | Edited

BARDON, QLD - The people who live along the Sepik River, who depend upon it for their livelihoods, are facing the fight of a lifetime.

The Chinese-owned Guangdong Rising through its subsidiary, PanAust, is seeking approval from the Papua New Guinea government to establish the Frieda River copper and gold mine.

Continue reading "The day I gave the bad news to Kela Smith" »


Annie’s story: Escape from abuse

Annie at Vision City -
Annie at Vision City - “Archie was only 12 and still needed me, but he gave me the courage to escape from my abusive husband”

DANIEL KUMBON

PORT MORESBY – Archie Iso Kundal loves his mother very much but, as a small child, was frequently distressed to see his abusive father, Ismael, habitually beat her.

The two small boys would often see their mother lock herself in a room and cry while nursing her wounds.

So one day Archie told his mother to escape, return to her people at Kerema and not come back to Wabag until he and his brother Victor were old enough to defend her.

Continue reading "Annie’s story: Escape from abuse" »


The big yellow excavator

Buk Bilong Pikinini students
Students from the Buk Bilong Pikinini School worried that their home has been removed by the developer.

BETTY WAKIA
| Ples Singsing | Edited

I interviewed some of the students who went to Buk Bilong Pikinini School on the ATS hillside. This is one of their stories. The girl’s name has been changed - BW

PORT MORESBY - It was a bright sunny day and Mekeme was reading a book at the Buk Bilong Pikinini School on the hillside of the ATS settlement.

As she sat on the school veranda, she saw a big yellow excavator come slowly down the hill towards her house.

Continue reading "The big yellow excavator" »


Into the backblocks with the sorcerers

SangumaBILL CORDEN
| New English Review | Edited extract

Link here to read more of Bill Corden’s writing

VANCOUVER – It’s 1993. My older brother, Ron, had ended up in a remote village in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

He was the manager of a town called Goroka. How he got there is a story that would take too long to tell, but suffice to say he's completely immersed in the culture.

Continue reading "Into the backblocks with the sorcerers" »