The PNGAA Annual General Meeting and Lunch on Sunday, 5 May 2024, was a happy, friendly, successful day for PNGAA.

The guest speaker was Joanne Sharpe, the Director for Justice and Strategy for Papua New Guinea within Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

She recently co-led consultations and drafting of the new Australia-PNG Development Partnership Plan 2024–2029, supports our policing, law and justice partnerships, and is leading the coordination for celebrations of PNG’s 50th anniversary.

Joanne has worked in international development for 20 years with DFAT, the World Bank and UNDP, with postings to Jakarta and Bangkok.

She holds an MA in International Development from the University of Sussex.

Kylie Adams-Collier’s spontaneous a cappella renditions of the two nations’ anthems was very moving. Those present also enjoyed hearing about Rod and Sandy Miller’s recent trip to PNG.

All documents related to the Annual General Meeting are in the Members’ Only area of the PNGAA website at

Scholarship Update from Glenda Giles

The scholarship money is now with the schools and I am in the process of sending their book packs to them (left). Now that the money has been received at the schools, the two school principals are working on sending some photos of the students and more detailed information.

I haven’t visited Anguganak lately, but I see Anguganak people here in town when they travel in and out of Wewak by truck. The road is often flooded and a bit dangerous because of hold-ups.

MAF flies there from time to time, but they are facing difficulties because of a country-wide fuel shortage due to the lack of funds in PNG Treasury to meet its foreign exchange commitments. This impacts on importers who can’t pay their overseas suppliers.

PNGAA Scholarship Fund Representative, Wewak

PNGAA New Members

The committee welcomes the following new members: Keeter Brown, Zarah de la Cruz, Dennis Donovan, Helen Eastburn Gowdie, Rosalie Everest, Alexandra Frost, Dave Miller, Ken Mulligan, Chris Naden, Garth Powys, John Prowse & Wendy Smith.


If you are interested in the history, adventure and stories of Papua New Guinea, and those who helped build the nation, then any of the items in our store will be a great addition to your library or a unique gift for any occasion. Details are on:

Also on the site you can renew your membership, introduce new members and make a donation.

Positions Vacant

The PNGAA Management Committee has two vacancies which need urgent attention. These two positions must be filled to ensure that the PNGAA operations can be sustained—they are President & Events Co-Ordinator.

The President’s role includes:

  • Chairing meetings of the Association and its management committee.
  • Being passionate about the significance of the Association and its unique role in the Australian-PNG relationship.
  • Engaging with both members and external parties whilst showing leadership and belief in the Association.

The President will be:

  • Proactive and enjoy speaking with members, someone respected by the Association and associated networks and able to work independently while also supporting the team.

Events Co-Ordinator/General Committee:

  • The Events Co-Ordinator enjoys getting together with others and initiates and manages social events for the PNGAA, including the AGM and Sydney Christmas Lunch, and represents other PNGAA state groups/organisations on the committee.
  • Having computer skills, organisational and networking skills supported with positive phone and written communication will make this job a breeze.

The PNGAA will only remain vital when fresh ideas and activities support our much-loved journal and website.

If you have any thoughts,

please contact:

Andrea ( / Mobile: 0409 031 889) or

Kylee ( / Mobile: 0405 334 501)

as soon as possible.


Christine Leonard—

As I put my feet under the editor’s desk I keep bumping into the big shoes John Egerton  left behind. Thank you, John, for your encouragement and for being available whenever I’ve had a query.

There’s a long legacy of editors giving their all to the PNGAA journals, be it the Una Voce or PNG Kundu. Having been a PNGAA member for some years, I fully appreciate the sense of ‘family’ and connectedness we members bring to the association, and that we carry in our hearts and minds a special place for Papua New Guinea. Not only is PNG the country of my birth, it is the place of eternal rest for my parents and uncle, a country I shall return in the foreseeable future.

The stories and articles that members and others have generously contributed serve as a valuable addition to the growing body of knowledge associated with PNG and Australia’s history with its nearest neighbour. Considering the cost of a digital membership, individuals and scholars exploring PNG’s social history, significant events, and/or specific topics, can access an extraordinary library.

In the months leading up to this issue, I became aware that some members would like to read a few more contemporary stories in the PNG Kundu. No matter what the topic is, we want articles to be well-informed, and grounded in fair reporting, so I plan to reach out to Papua New Guinean writers and individuals closely connected to PNG from a range of fields to submit an article on a topic that best fits their expertise and background.

Having said this, the mainstay of content for the PNG Kundu comes from association members; so, if you have a story sitting in the bottom drawer, shake the dust off and drop me a line, please.

Tenkyu tru

73rd Annual General Meeting  –  5 May 2024
Annual Report

Thank you and a warm welcome to all those who attended the 2024 Annual General Meeting, especially to Mr Ponabe Yuwa, Consul-General for Papua New Guinea, and Ms Joanne Sharpe, who is the Director for Justice and Strategy for Papua New Guinea within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and who is leading the co-ordination for celebrations of PNG’s 50th anniversary. 

Also noting Mr Phil Ainsworth, President of the NGVR & PNGVR Ex-Members Association, and Mr Steven Gagau, President of the Sydney Wantok Association  – both PNGAA Management Committee members too.

I’d especially like to welcome and introduce you to our new Secretary – Kylee Andersen – who has come over from Perth. In October Kylee responded to a plea for administrative assistance on the Committee and we are delighted she has joined us. Kylee recognised the need for the Association to have Deductible Gift Recipient status as well as charity status with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission and has jumped in to start these challenging processes. Both her professional and volunteering experience is valuable on the Management Committee, assisting in many areas.

Phil AInsworth, Joanne Sharpe, Mark Lynch, Roy Ranney, Ross Johnson, Andrea Williams

Steven Gagau, Joanne Sharpe, Ponabe Yuwa

Kylee Andersen, Jane Rybarz, Paul Munro

Kylie Adams-Collier, Max Uechtritz, Cheryl Marvell








Phil Ainsworth, Joanne Sharpe, Mark Lynch, Roy Ranney, Ross Johnston, Andrea Williams

It is good to see our former president, Chris Pearsall, here today with his wife, Louise, after stepping back last year. We’re grateful to Chris for his efforts on the committee, particularly with initiating the PNGAA Scholarship Fund.

In December, John Egerton advised that he needed to relinquish the role of PNG Kundu Editor after the March 2024 issue. John has edited fourteen issues of PNGAA’s magnificent journal, with Production Manager, Jeannette Gilligan. PNGAA is incredibly grateful to John’s passion, skill and endless efforts resulting in a highly acclaimed international journal, regularly passed around and receiving praise. His insights on the committee are regularly sought and valuable. We also acknowledge all the lovely comments that regularly come in about the journal. John has done an outstanding job for which we are truly grateful, and we thank him.

Happily, we were delighted to announce that Christine Leonard (née Wall) has taken on the editor’s role for the Association. Christine had hoped to be here today from Brisbane but had a long-standing commitment.

Another new member of PNGAA’s extended volunteers is Jane Rybarz, who has kindly taken on the Public Officer’s role. Born in PNG, Jane’s professional accounting experience has already been of great help regarding walking through the Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) challenges.

Kieran Nelson

Sadly, Kieran Nelson, who was PNGAA’s mainstay on social media, and the Brisbane connection with the SE QLD PNG diaspora, passed away in February 2024, and is greatly missed.

In February this year members were delighted to hear PNG Prime Minister, James Marape, make the first historic speech by a Pacific Leader to the Australian Parliament.

This recognition of Australia’s close connection with PNG was appreciated.

In the 2023 year, the PNGAA has been actively engaged in promoting cultural exchange, fostering connections, and supporting its members throughout the year. Here are some highlights of our activities: 

Scholarship Initiative & Finance

Students from Anguganak Junior High

Sponsorship of six students from West Sepik Province began in 2023 with fees and textbooks. One student pulled out of the program at the end of 2023 and has been replaced with a new student earlier this year. We have also heard there is a new headmistress at Anguganak in 2024.

School fees were not set by the PNG National Education Board until the start of the 2024 academic year. Once these were announced PNGAA decided to extend the school sponsorship to a further three (3) Grade 9 students from Oksapmin Secondary School in the Telefomin District in the Sandaun Province.

We thank all members and friends who have made donations to assist PNGAA in achieving this help for the students. We look forward to your further support so that we can continue to assist and broaden the education of selected PNG secondary school students.

Members might consider holding even a small fundraising event themselves, liaising with our secretary, Kylee Andersen.

In Perth, Jill Worsley has made several quilts which have been donated to events and resulted in successful fundraising.

In June 2023 the Gold Coast PNG Club, under President Greg Pike CSM, kindly supported PNGAA’s Scholarship Fund with a generous $4,000 donation from a major fundraising event. This support was greatly appreciated.

PNGAA Treasurer, Murrough Benson, meticulously looks after PNGAA’s finances with support from other committee members.

We thank Murrough for his diligence and cautious approach.

PNGAA Luncheons

The Management Committee is grateful to our event co-ordinators around the states—Linda Cavanaugh Manning, with assistance from Robyn Petricevic, Kylee Andersen, Peter Ryan and Kieran Nelson (dec’d), Belinda Macartney, Chris Warrillow and Deryck Thompson—all of whom arrange wonderful gatherings so that members and friends can meet and share a meal, whilst recounting stories that only those who share our interest can do.

It doesn’t matter where you lived in PNG, or even if you didn’t, there is always a connection and something to chat about. The gatherings are always greatly enjoyed, and I encourage you to attend!

Lunches were held in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Cairns.

If you think you can hold a gathering in your area, please keep in touch with our admin—Kylee Andersen—and remember that photos for the journal and members area of the website are always welcome, as is support for PNGAA fundraising projects.

A reminder here, also, that PNGAA currently urgently needs an Event Co-ordinator in the Sydney area. Notices are in each journal with contact details.


PNGAA group at the Bilas Exhibition

PNGAA members continue to work on projects that promote the rich culture and connection between Australia and PNG. One of these is Steven Gagau, a PNGAA committee member, who was instrumental in the magnificent ‘Bilas Exhibition’ at the Australian Museum, and who continues to work on projects featuring PNG and the Pacific connection.

Steven Gagau, Kalolaine Fainu and Max Uechtritz were involved with the Tidal Kin Exhibition at the Chau Chak Wing Museum, University of Sydney, which opened on 7 October 2023.

Rabaul & Montevideo Maru

PNGAA group at the Bilas Exhibition

Following the successful discovery of the Montevideo Maru a year ago, PNGAA committee members, Max Uechtritz and Andrea Williams, attended dinners held in Oslo, with the King of Norway, and Canberra, with the Australian Prime Minister, to acknowledge the wonderful achievement.

Despite Tokua Airport being semi-dug up for maintenance this year, 38 people had a successful trip to Rabaul to commemorate Anzac Day this year.




Membership and Community Engagement 

After three years it was agreed to increase PNGAA membership fees by ten per cent. In the current environment of rapidly escalating costs everywhere, this seems very reasonable. We thank Roy Ranney who spent considerable time migrating the website subscribers to the new rates.

With increasing scam emails, a reminder that members need to be vigilant and check the email addresses – ‘if in doubt, throw it out’.

PNG Kundu

The journal is a breath-taking glimpse of both contemporary information and life before PNG gained independence from Australia. With so many Papua New Guineans born since Independence, and now around 50 years of age, they have little knowledge of what life and developing PNG was like before Independence. The Australian era in PNG is almost forgotten. PNG Kundu ensures that the relationship between Australia and PNG is remembered and continues.

Your contributions with items of interest are important in so many ways, and so is membership in this important Association. Please help our association to grow by encouraging members to join, to contribute both stories and items of interest, and to engage with and assist the committee.

As mentioned earlier, we are hearing many comments expressing pleasure at the varied stories and information contained within each issue of this quarterly journal, and the very professional presentation. The journal is shared with family and friends over and over—and it is exciting to hear it is so well-loved by our members and wider PNG/Australian friends.

Our committee is proud of the enormous effort put in by our editors, John Egerton and now Chris Leonard, proofreaders, Murrough Benson and Andrea Williams, and our Production Manager, Jeannette Gilligan, to ensure it is enjoyed by you. Jeannette has contributed greatly to the quality of PNG Kundu and her impact in every way is immeasurable. Thank you, Jeannette.

Following the journal publication there is always the uploading onto the website – another big job. Thank you to Jeannette Gilligan and Roy Ranney for organising and making it digitally available.

PNGAA Website

This is an extraordinary resource. The members’ area houses journals back to 1978, photo galleries and electronic books. In 2023 we were asked if some photos could be used for a large new exhibition on WWII and its legacies at the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port Moresby.

In supporting exhibitions we hope, too, that the PNGAA and its work are highlighted to those who have not heard of the Association.

There has been work on the website photo galleries and also a search reference for the Vales on the website with thanks to Roy Ranney, Claire van Bakel (who assists Roy generally, behind the scenes on the PNGAA website) and Will Muskens. In November, PNGAA doubled the capacity of the website (which also enhanced performance).

PNGAA Collection

One objective of the PNGAA is ‘to encourage the preservation of documents, historical and cultural material related to PNG, including the production and recording of oral and written histories’. Significant artefacts, patrol reports, maps, books, diaries, photos and movies have been donated by many various members and friends—kiaps, lawyers, medicos, midwives, didiman, planters, pilots, teachers, anthropologists, missionaries, mechanics, academia, etc.

This list is not exhaustive, but all items are carefully curated by Cheryl Marvell and collected and often transported by various members of the committee.

Members will know that a major and urgent goal for the PNGAA is to showcase the PNGAA Collection which is continually growing. This collection would complement a cultural centre where both Australians and international visitors could learn more about the Pacific, PNG and its Australian connection, and there is electronic availability.

A major sponsor is necessary to establish and to maintain a venture of this nature. The PNGAA needs all possible support to make this happen.

Future Projects

The old ASOPA building at Middle Head, Mosman

The PNGAA continues to advocate for recognition of Australia’s past role in PNG, for Australia taking PNG to a peaceful independence, and the close relationship with the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA), at Middle Head, Sydney.

Following the 2023 AGM, Paul Munro AM delivered several copies of the PNGAA submission responding to the Harbour Trust’s Draft Master Plan to its Middle Head office. This was followed up with postal and electronic delivery. The Harbour Trust received 209 submissions which were reviewed for use in creating yet another revised draft master plan!  Frustratingly, it simply appears to be a continuing evolving circle of draft management plans. Clearly the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT) is driven to achieve commercial independence.

The proposed Australian Pacific Community and Cultural Centre is viewed as an educational resource and cultural centre located in Australia to educate Australians about our past and contemporary roles in PNG and to support all Pacific communities. Significantly, an interactive centre of collaboration between Australian and Pacific communities would strengthen understanding and relationships. It is greatly needed.

PNGAA believes that the values and principles that guided the ASOPA experience and which assisted PNG development, should be preserved, celebrated, and fostered to bring about better relationships between Australia and its nearest neighbours.

The radio station at Bita Paka in 1914

With PNG’s 50th anniversary of independence rapidly approaching in 2025, taking a nation, PNG, to a peaceful independence is something to be proud of and to celebrate. PNGAA hopes members will bear this in mind as they share special memories encouraging Australians to know this history and how it sustains our relationship now.

PNGAA believes that permanent recognition of Australia’s role in PNG would, ideally, be part of Australia’s education system, alongside acknowledgement in an Australian Pacific Community and Cultural Centre.

On 11 September 2024 it will be the 110th anniversary of Australia’s first military action suffering its first WWI casualties when Australia took the then German-controlled Bita Paka radio station on New Britain.

Advocacy and Legacy 

PNGAA thanks all volunteers on the Management Committee and the wider working groups. Whilst there is a lot of expertise on the Management Committee, the PNGAA urgently needs to fill two important voluntary roles – President and Events Co-ordinator (Sydney Area Environs).

Our Association is unique, and its main goal is to strengthen the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea. The only way an amazing association like ours succeeds is through the passionate, proactive, dedicated and generous efforts of its volunteers! Being flexible and a team player is vital. Please put your hand up!

As we move forward, the PNGAA remains committed to fostering connections, supporting our members, and promoting cultural understanding between Papua New Guinea and Australia. We appreciate the active participation of our members and look forward to another productive year. Thank you for your continued support.

Andrea Williams


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

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