Information Please

I am looking for information on a Lieut. Kevin L Smith who was possibly on army service in PNG in East New Britain.

After being discharged at the end of the war, he apparently travelled throughout East New Britain and New Ireland and collected a number of artefacts which he brought to Australia.

Do any PNGAA members have any information about Smith or know of objects in private or public collections that can be attributed to him? If you do, please contact me at the following email: jdm@burrinja.org.au 
Thanks for your help. Kind regards,

JD Mittmann
Curator & Manager of Collections
Burrinja Cultural Centre

NRAA Research Project

Amateur historians of the National Rifle Association of Australia (NRAA) are undertaking a research project in an attempt to document the broad history of long-range rifle shooting in PNG.

The first mention found of a Rifle Club in PNG was in 1908 with the formation of the Port Moresby Rifle Club as shown in the Australian Commonwealth Gazette of 16 May 1908. This would mean that rifle clubs in PNG were being formed under the same regulations as in Australia (PNG being a territory overseen by Australia).

A competition held in 1909 was reported in The Telegraph (Brisbane) in April 1909. We found a newspaper advertisement from 1916 looking to reform the Port Moresby Rifle Club but whether this was a result of closing down during WWI or not is unknown. 

The rifle clubs we know about in PNG were in Madang, Rabaul, Lae, Kokopo, Bulolo, and Bogia.

The trigger that initiated this research project was the recent discovery that John Brooker (member of the NSW Yorkshire Rifle Club) had won the 1972 Territory Queen’s Prize hosted by the Port Moresby Rifle Club at their Hohola Range near Port Moresby.

When the PNG Territory Queen’s Prize was originally instituted is not clear. The 1972 prize was indicated in the newspaper as the 5th Territory Queen’s Prize, however, an article in the Papua New Guinea Post Courier in September of 1969 tells us that Robert (Bob) Stewart had won the 1969 prize, his ‘second’ after winning it previously in 1960. It may not have initially been an annual competition with articles in following years from 1970 suggesting it may have been held annually from 1969. Bob Stewart was also a Silver Medallist for PNG at the 1966 Empire/Commonwealth Games in Jamaica.

We are also uncertain when the PNG Territory Queen’s Prize ceased to be held, with no newspaper articles evident after John Brooker’s 1972 win.

Any information your readers can share to assist this project on long-range rifle shooting in PNG will be gratefully received and can be emailed to me at brucescott@tmrc.com.au

Thank you,

Bruce Scott

Finding Shelley

I’ve recently subscribed to your online publications to try and track down some information that I feel one of your members might be able to help me with.

My grandfather, whom I unfortunately never was able to meet, was Judson Linsley Gressitt, and my mother is Ellyn Brown (Gressitt). We were talking recently about her experiences living in PNG in the 1960s.

My mother mentioned a good friend she made; a girl who lived with Peter Shanahan who she assumed had been either his or a relative’s daughter, whom he was raising. All the information my mother can recall is that her first name was Shelley (spelling may be incorrect), and assumed her last name to be Shanahan but this was simply due to the fact that she lived with Peter.

The only other information we have is that we assume ‘Shelley’ to have been born close to the year 1952, and that soon after my mother departed PNG for the last time, Shelley may have been sent to a boarding school, possibly in Switzerland.

I am greatly enjoying reading your publications and hope that possibly someone can shed some light on the whereabouts of this Shelley, as my mother remembers her quite fondly.

People can reach me through my email: keeter@discoverydrilling.com
Thank you very much for your time and don’t hesitate to reach out!

Keeter Brown

The Carlaws of Taskul

Karen (White) Wilson’s letter (PNG Kundu, March 2024) brought back some memories of Taskul.

My parents were Seventh-Day Adventist missionaries and in 1949 we went to Mussau, in the St Matthias Group, north of New Hanover and New Ireland, for three years. Every time we came down to Kavieng, we would call into Taskul to see the Carlaws – Ray, and Flo, and their family. Ray was a registered nurse who was the liklik dokta for New Hanover. I used to watch him as he treated the local people, often sewing up wounds.

He had a ‘surgery’ in a small, open-sided, haus win. In it, he would be his own anaesthetist and surgeon, by himself! I remember watching him do a skin graft from a lady’s hip onto a tropical ulcer that wasn’t healing, and another time, an appendectomy.

On one visit, Flo told us a story: something was taking her newly-hatched chickens and she determined to do something about it. Taking a torch, shovel, and a chair, she went into the chook pen at dusk and waited.

Much later, Flo heard a noise and switched on the torch, seeing quite a large snake which promptly headed back out of the hole in the netting that it had come in through. Flo was determined that the snake was not going to get away after she had gone to so much effort to catch the thief, so she grabbed its tail and pulled.

The snake immediately tried not to be pulled back. In the ensuing wrestling match in which Flo was trying to hold the snake, hold the torch, and grab the shovel, she dropped the torch, which promptly went out.

Determined not to let the snake go, and working on the theory that while ever the snake was pulling one way and Flo the other, then the snake was not turning around to attack her. With the snake’s tail in one hand, Flo was desperately feeling around for the torch and when she found it she tried to switch it back on but with no success.

Ray was away touring the villages on New Hanover, so Flo was calling out for some of the staff to come and assist but no one came. Flo spent six hours until daylight, holding that snake’s tail when a staff member arrived and dispatched the snake with the shovel! What a lady.

Warren Martin


Worked for Burns Philp in Popondetta and Port Moresby from 1980 through 1987

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