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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.

Founder and Chairman of Islands Memories, Jim Burton Retires

Founder and Chairman of Islands Memories, Jim Burton, support by his wife Joan, retired from organising the monthly meetings at Toowong Library on Friday 7 April 2017 after 10 years.  Jim said that 120 continuous meetings had been held with 104 guest speakers and Jim filling in the other 16 meetings with stories of his ...

Canberra Locals run to help family and sexual violence victims through Femili PNG

Georgina Connery reports: Pounding the pavement in their purple shirts is all good fun but a Canberra group entered in the Australian Running Festival are united by a passion to help Papua New Guinea tackle family and sexual violence. The pacific nation is one of the most dangerous places to be a woman in the world, with ...

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.

75th ANNIVERSARY SERVICE RABAUL and MONTEVIDEO MARU GROUP, PAPUA NEW GUINEA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA Inc

RABAUL on Thursday 22 JUNE 2017 To remember all those lost in the New Guinea islands in 1942 the 75th anniversary service will be held on dusk at the Montevideo Maru and Rabaul 1942-1945 Memorial, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea The PNGAA Rabaul and Montevideo Maru group together with the Rabaul Hotel/Rabaul Historical Society are commemorating this 75th anniversary ...

Rabaul and Montevideo Maru 75th Anniversary Commemorative Service – 1 July 2017 – Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT.

A service to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the fall of the New Guinea islands in early 1942 and the sinking of the Montevideo Maru on 1 July 1942 will be held at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT, on Saturday 1 July starting at 1pm. All welcome – please let your family and friends ...

1 July 2017 – Rabaul and Montevideo Maru 75th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner, Canberra Mercure Hotel

Rabaul and Montevideo Maru 75th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner at Canberra Mercure on 1 July 2017, following 1pm service at Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Time: 6.00pm Venue: Mercure Canberra, Corner of Ainslie and Limestone Ave, Braddon, ACT 2612 COST: $80 for 3 course meal (soup plus alternate serves) PLEASE RSVP as soon as possible and prior to 8 June 2017 It ...

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 ...