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In many cases, the expatriate experience in Papua New Guinea had an outcome that the outsider could never have expected: people became emotionally wedded to the country and its people, and continued to feel that attachment for the rest of their lives – even if they never returned to PNG’s shores.

The expatriate experience was also unusual since it frequently placed ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This often had a lifelong influence on those people, who knew that Papua New Guinea had changed them and that they would always define themselves a little differently because of it. These people retain a common bond and understanding.

It is therefore not surprising that many of these people—who would not normally put pen to paper or poise fingers awkwardly over a keyboard—have felt the call to record their experiences. In doing so they have done future generations of Australians and Papua New Guineans a service, because what are revealed are stories and incidents and thoughts that go beyond the official record and beyond the ken of historians.

What is also revealed is the unvarnished reality of the challenges facing men and women who were tasked to do their bit to transform nearly a thousand tribes into a single nation.

The history of the settlement of Papua New Guinea indicates that people first arrived there 40-50,000 years ago when sea levels fell due to an ice age. The island was joined to the Australian continent until about 6,000 years ago, as a result sharing with Australia many species of plants and animals, including marsupials.

The more recent history of European colonisation, nation building and national independence dates back only to the 19th and 20th centuries. It is the latter period that concerns us here, since the outsiders who settled and lived in Papua New Guinea can tell their stories. They are stories of a time that is becoming distant and of a place that has changed. They are stories that needed to be told while they could be told. The PNGAA has published many of them in its journal, Una Voce, and is able to record more here.

Retrospective on Ivan Champion

Ivan Champion’s grandson, Ross, has put together a retrospective on his grandfather who first went to PNG in 1898, aged 18 years. Some of the photos in this wonderful collection are up to 95 years old. “>Retrospective on Ivan Champion

Pacific Islands Monthly – digitised by the NLA and now in Trove!

The National Library has recently completed the digitisation of the entire run of the Pacific Islands Monthly magazine and all of the issues can be browsed or the text fully searched on Trove.

PNG Barramundis defeated ACT XI in Prime Minister’s curtain raiser

The HEBOU PNG Barramundis defeated ACT XI in a last ball thriller by three (3) runs in the Prime Minister’s XI curtain raiser at Manuka Oval, Canberra, yesterday, Thursday 15 February. This followed a win at Blacktown when the HEBOU PNG Barramundis defeated the New South Wales (NSW) XI by four (4) wickets in another close ...

PNG XI curtain-raiser to Prime Minister’s XI’s clash with Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval, Canberra, 15 February 2017

The ACT has named a 12-man squad to take on a PNG XI as curtain-raiser to the Prime Minister’s XI’s clash with Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval on February 15. Cricket ACT launched its PNG scholarship program in November 2016. Eastlake fast bowler Nosaina Pokana is one of six PNG imports playing in Cricket ACT’s first grade competition and ...

Aviation photographs

Dennis Gray’s contribution is a compilation of photographs taken by his Uncle, Bill Gray (circa 1935-41), his father, Charles Gray (circa 1940-41), and himself during 1969-73. It is a wonderful collection of aviation history in PNG, combined with a cross section depicting living in PNG during these periods. (Sponsor’s comment : These are exactly the pictorial archives that we ...

The Kiaps Compendium – Part 2: World War II

Operational overview | Papua Infantry Battalion | New Guinea Volunteer Rifles | Ian Downs OBE | The last Papua Gazette | ANGAU | Peter Ryan MM | Coastwatchers | Ian Skinner MC | Les Williams MC | Jack Read | ANGAU to civil administration | Recollections of ANGAU On 14 February 1942 Civil government was suspended ...

The Kiaps Compendium – Part 1: The end of an era

The outside men | Ivan Francis Champion, OBE| Louis James (Jim) O’Malley | Patrol Into Yesterday | Jack Hides, Son of Papua James Sinclair, Una Voce No 1, March 1992 The death of Jim Leahy on 25 November 1991 removed from the scene the last survivor of the Australian explorers of the 1920s and 1930s, who ...

The Kiaps Compendium – Part 6: Profiles of career Kiaps

Desmond Clifton-Basset | Michael Foley | William James Johnston | Frederick Peter Christian Kaad, OBE | Douglas John Parrish | Peter Sheekey | Royce Arthur Webb, MBE | Harry West Desmond Clifton-Bassett Des was born in England and came to Australia at 10 years of age. He lived with his family until 1941 when he went into ...

The Kiaps Compendium – Part 5: And then it was all over

The end of another era Through the eyes of a Kiap, Bill Johnston By 1975, kiaps like me were becoming a dying breed. These men had brought the country to the stage of law and order, introduced cash cropping, Co-operative Societies, Local Government Councils and encouraged some of the older leaders to become politicians. The men, who ...

The Kiaps Compendium – Part 4: Netherlands New Guinea

In 1958 Harry West served as the first Australian Liaison Officer in Netherlands New Guinea, based in what was then Hollandia, but he ended by doing much travelling because at that time the Indonesians were still fighting the Dutch, and their paratroops were trying to get a foothold in the country, so Harry’s was a ...

The Kiaps Compendium – Part 3 Provisional Administration

ASOPA | District Services | Kiaps | Culture contact | Telefolmin | Des Clifton-Basset | Lyn Clark | Tribal warfare | Unusual incidents On 30 October a Provisional Civil Administration was restored to Papua and part of New Guinea, not then occupied by the Japanese, under the New Guinea Provisional Administration Act 1945. The Act made ...

Tribute to Lorna (Whyte) Johnston: Andre Heuber

This tribute to Lorna was written by Andre Hueber, on the occasion of Lorna returning to Japan to receive an official apology from the Japanese government.  It was originally printed in The Aucklander newspaper of 1 December 2011. Lorna (Whyte) Johnston and Sister Berenice Twohill, 1997 Almost 70 years ago Lorna Johnston’s life ...

Tribute to Lorna Johnston: John Schindler

I feel it a great honor to be asked to write this tribute to Lorna Johnston. I am writing this as both a Producer of the documentary The Tragedy of the Montevideo Maru,and also on a personal basis. I met Lorna in a professional role initially when we interviewed her in ...

Tribute to Merle Wall, MBE

Merle, an admired mentor and friend to the people of Bougainville and a great supporter of her church and family, died on 5 September 2013, aged 85 years.  Merle was born on 23 March 1928, the second youngest of the four ...

Waste not: Denis Compston

I was manager of Potsdam Plantation for four years in the early 60s and no doubt a few readers of Una Voce will have read some of my short stories of plantation life. otsdam is half way between Madang and Wewak with Bogia being the nearest hospital and administration station. I was only ...

Early days flying in New Guinea: William John Robins

William John Robins passed away on 08 November 2012, aged 99 years. This article was scheduled for inclusion in the June 2013 Una Voce, but was inadvertently deleted from the final print edition. The article is printed with the kind permission of his family. [Editor In 1937 two jobs came available and ...

Fifty years of Toyota in PNG: Charles Betteridge

Penny and I were recently invited up to Port Moresby by Toyota Tsusho in Brisbane to attend the 50th Anniversary of Toyota in PNG. We flew up from Brisbane on Sunday 22 September to Port Moresby, the main day/night was on Monday 23 and we flew back the next day (Tuesday ...

The brigade that never really was: Norm Furness

My story begins about June 1940 when many young men, including myself, enlisted in the AIF to fight the war against the German Army overseas. We that enlisted in Victoria mainly went through depots like the Caulfield Race Course, then transferred to training camps at places like Balcombe, Bendigo, Shepparton, ...

Waste not: Denis Compston

I was manager of Potsdam Plantation for four years in the early 60s and no doubt a few readers of Una Voce will have read some of my short stories of plantation life. otsdam is half way between Madang and Wewak with Bogia being the nearest hospital and administration station. I was only ...

Tribute to Florence May Cohen: Julie Cohen

BodyFlorence was born in Taralga on 5 June 1926 and died in Cairns on 18 September 2013: my birthday. Unusually, her timing was dreadful and my birthday will never be the same again. Florence was the youngest of nine children. Her father died when she was only four months old. Life was not ...