From the President
Those members present at last year’s AGM may recall that in my remarks I noted that it was my intention, in conjunction with the committee, to introduce some new initiatives to the activities of the PNGAA to attract new members and to retain interest and involvement by existing members. You will also recall that I also spoke about improving our cultural and friendship ties with Papua New Guinea (PNG).
PNGAA Scholarship Fund
Despite the curse of last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns, I am pleased to report that the committee has achieved some of its objectives. Specifically, I am pleased to report that after much evaluation and discussion, the committee has agreed to set up a scholarship fund to support secondary school students in PNG in the pursuit of their secondary education. We will be starting with funding for two students from the West Sepik Province to attend secondary school in Wewak.
To ensure a proper level of governance and to make sure that the scholarship funds will be properly applied, we have been fortunate enough to gain support from Glenda Tekin, formerly a teacher in the Sepik area and also formerly a district schools inspector in PNG. She now lives in Wewak.
We have also identified Wewak Grammar School as providing the best choice for our scholarship students. Our scholarship fees for the two students will be paid directly to the school, who have agreed to provide us with reports on the progress of the students in conjunction with Glenda.
The total cost per student is estimated at approximately A$3,000, which includes boarding fees as most students live in. Fees are usually paid in advance. We have chosen to support students from the Sepik area as students from these provinces have difficulty in paying fees due to the lack of family income and lack of employment opportunities for their parents.
Glenda is well known to the headmaster of Wewak Grammar School and has also assisted a group called the Tony Friend Scholarship Fund, set up in memory of Tony Friend, a former kiap in the Sepik Area. The Tony Friend Fund is currently supporting 15 secondary students plus two nursing students who are studying at the Baptist Church Nursing College in Telefomin.
As soon as we have sorted out the process for awarding the scholarships in conjunction with Glenda, we will finalise arrangements for the first two students.
The committee plans to expand the PNGAA Scholarship Fund in due course once the first two students are in place, providing a very valuable and worthwhile contribution to the education of students in PNG.
Corporate Membership of the PNGAA
The committee has also agreed with plans to actively expand the number of corporate members in the PNGAA. Fees levels have been set and an introductory letter of introduction has been drafted to potential corporate members. We aim to begin rolling out the written invitation in July. The committee would be grateful for any suggestions as to potential corporate members. A copy of the invitation letter is available for interested members.
The committee continues to engage with the Sydney Wantoks with a view to identifying possible areas of joint fund raising and joint events.
I spoke more about these initiatives at the AGM, as well as reported on continuing interaction with Canada Bay Council about establishing a home for the PNGAA at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway site at Concord in Sydney.
In conclusion, let me say that I am always available to chat with any PNGAA member who has a good idea in relation to the continuing development of our Association.
2022 PNGAA AGM
The minutes and reports from the 2022 AGM held on 30 April 2022 are available for members on the PNGAA website at www.pngaa.org/official_business/
The Audited Annual Accounts, for the year ended 31 December 2021, are also included on the website, or members can contact the treasurer by email for a copy on firstname.lastname@example.org
PNGAA New Members
The committee welcomes the following new members:
Tom Adamson, Robin Anders, Janet Cooper, Leah Dunstan, Margaret Emery, Ian Harvey, Doug Hilton, Glen James, Gaynor Kaad, Malum Nalu and Heru Pinkasova
Chris Pearsall, President, PNGAA
Joint Secretaries Join the Committee
Two of our members have recently been appointed as joint secretaries to the PNGAA Management Committee, and following are their personal stories:
I sailed to Rabaul with my mother and sister on the MacDhui in May 1937. There we joined my father, Hume Hill, who had preceded us on the Montoro. He went to a job as a diesel mechanic, but soon transferred to one in WR Carpenter’s freezer.
I have many happy memories of school days at Court Street Primary School and of family life in prewar Rabaul. Our lives were, however, seriously disrupted first by the volcanic eruption and, four years later, by the onset of the war.
In 1941 my father decided to move to Wau to manage the freezer operated there by Greenwood and Laws. My sister Jean and I went to a school there and it was the teacher, Father Glover, who told us of Japan’s entry to the war. The order for evacuation of women and children came within weeks.
My mother, sister and I flew with others, first to Port Moresby and then to Cairns. Then followed the long train journey to Sydney.
Like other eligible men my father stayed on as a member of NGVR. He survived the war but our family did not return to Papua New Guinea.
My school years were spent at Canterbury Domestic School. I met my husband, Vic, in 1950, we married in 1954 and had three beautiful sons. Sadly, we lost our eldest in a road accident in 1982, and my darling Vic died in 2005.
I worked as a secretary, first at a legal firm. As was the custom in those ancient days, I had to leave work when I married. Later I worked as a secretary in two different car dealerships. I stayed for 20 years in the second of these, Toyota of Chullora.
I came to live in Canberra after Vic died and here I joined Senior Citizens and became their secretary for about four years.
My second son, Ian, was interested in Rabaul, so we went there a number of times, the last being when he was initiated into a tribe. I was also the Frangipani Queen that year.
When I heard about the PNGAA, I joined straight away, and now I am secretary! Yes,
I have had a wonderful life.
I spent my childhood in PNG where my father, Fred, was part of the Administration, and I have the happiest of memories of those years. I lived in Goroka, Wewak, Rabaul, Port Moresby and Madang. Miss Baines was my teacher at Court Street Primary in Rabaul, and Mrs Dickson, Mrs Lowenberger and Miss Keating in Port Moresby. All four were excellent teachers.
In 1964 I started boarding school and in September of that year Dad was in a plane crash near Madang, which left him a paraplegic. He was a committee member of PNGAA for many years, and Co-Patron of the Association. Although Dad returned to PNG on a number of occasions, I have not been back.
I was a science teacher for some years before making a career change to administrative and paralegal work in city law practices. I worked at Georg Jensen Silver for over 30 years, working full-time during university vacations, part-time during university terms, during vacations whilst teaching and on alternate Saturdays whilst working in law.
I love travel but my last trip to Europe was with Dad and Mum in 1989 when I took long-service leave and we spent the year abroad.
I love poetry and enjoy listening to classical music and especially attending concerts, gardening, fishing, exploring by walking, cleaning, books—as objects and to read—and am interested in embroidery, architecture, interiors, silver and wine. I also enjoy cooking and study nutrition. I don’t like Facebook, small talk and mediocrity.
Through a childhood spent in PNG, and my very close relationship with my father who loved that country, I have always felt a special affinity for the country and deep affection for its people.
Online Payment Confirmation Reminder
If making an online payment to the PNGAA, please make sure you include the Purpose Code (from the Order Form in the Treasurer’s Corner at the end of this issue) and member number or surname in the transaction description—and also send a confirmation email to: email@example.com
Scholarship Fund for PNG Students
The PNGAA is setting up a scholarship fund to support secondary school students in PNG in the pursuit of their secondary education. As noted in the President’s Report in this issue
we will be starting with funding for two students attending secondary school in Wewak and hoping that, in time, we can extend this to more students. The cost is approximately A$3,000 including boarding fees per student, and the students will be chosen based on lack of family income and lack of employment opportunities for their parents. It will be modelled on the Tony Friend Scholarship Fund which is proving successful.
PNGAA will be accepting donations and funding for this project. We also encourage members to organise fundraising events in their own communities to support the PNGAA in this ‘Supporting PNG School Students’ too.
Following a chance comment, our Western Australia member, Jill Worsley, who has generously supported PNGAA events in Perth, kindly offered to make another quilt as a fundraiser for the PNGAA. This community help for the PNGAA is greatly appreciated as it enables so much
more to be achieved. Coincid-entally the scholarship project occurred about the same time as we received Jill’s offer so it was decided that her beautiful quilt could initiate the fundraising.
Jill describes the making of the quilt thus: ‘This quilt was made in January 2022, while WA was in COVID-19 lock-down and we could not travel outside the state. It is 50-inches square (patch-workers nearly always work in inches). As I’m now over 80, that’s the largest size I can manage with my little domestic sewing machine. Pity about that!
‘The central print is one of Gould’s Bird of Paradise paintings, which was printed for me in Fremantle by our friendly T-shirt printer who, knowing I only sew for charities and other good causes, only charges me for the ink! I use either cotton or poly-cotton—whatever is going to look best. The binding and central back panel are the remainders of a piece I bought on Panasesa Island beach some years ago. Panasesa is one of the Conflict Islands in PNG. Sadly, it is the last of my New Guinea-bought fabrics, so in future I will have to use whatever I can buy locally which at least looks tropical.’
Tickets for this special quilt will be advertised and sold until the PNGAA Christmas Luncheon 2022 in Sydney (see pngaa.org).
The Pacific War: Kokoda 1942
In keeping with our special features in this issue commemorating eighty years since the Kokoda Campaign, the photograph displayed on our front cover is from the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway—a living memorial—and a principal site of commemoration honouring all those who fought for Australia during World War II.
Cheryl Marvell and Andrea Williams hosted a visit there in March, so please see page 7 for all about this—and huge thanks to Cheryl for organising the visit.
‘Trail’ or ’Track’?
Of course, with our front cover featuring the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway, we are now back to the age-old debate about ‘Trail’ or ‘Track’! The Australian War Memorial in the 1990s, and the PNG Government in 1972, officially adopted the name ‘Trail’, and this name appears on the battle honours of those units which served in the campaign. We have been using ‘Trail’ for all our documentation.
However, as the AWM says on their website:
It is clear that both words were used interchangeably during the war, and in a sense both are correct, so it is not possible to give a definitive ruling for one over the other. Rather than quibble over the name, it is far more important to remember the service and sacrifice of those Australians, Papuans, and Japanese who fought and died along it.
Northern NSW Floods Delay March PNG Kundu
We had final files and printer’s proofs of the March 2022 issue of PNG Kundu by 24 February, and completion of printing and mailing was scheduled for early March. Then the floods that impacted much of the Northern Rivers areas of NSW intervened.
By 1 March our printers, Lismore City Printery (LCP), had been inundated and the owner, Shaun McGuiness, initially feared that his business had been destroyed. Unable to get flood insurance he had built a high-level extension to house his printing equipment and, even though the building was well above that of any previous flood, it still went under and his printing presses and all other equipment were ruined.
Your association elected not to start looking for another printer, allowing Shaun time to regroup and to reassess his prospects of continuing. This decision was the correct one. On 17 March we received an email from LCP headed ‘WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS’, and going on to say that ‘despite our physical premises currently being closed as we assess and rebuild, our commitment to providing you with the best printing services continues. We are proud that our doors are open for business. This is because of our resilient team and alliances with others in the industry.’
LCP organised an associate company to produce the March issue and, in spite of a second flood in Lismore on 30 March, it was mailed at the beginning of April—a delay of just three weeks!
Shaun McGuiness’ rapid recovery is a tribute to his dedication and that of his people in the face of great adversity, and we expect that future issues of our journal will continue to go to LCP for printing and postage.
Readers wishing to donate to a Resilient Lismore Fund may do so through the following link: Flood Help Northern Rivers (floodhelpnr.com.au)
John Egerton, PNG Kundu Editor