Book reviews: June 2006

  1. Madang by James Sinclair
  2. Making Black Harvest by Bob Connolly 2005 and Making Black Harvest (3 CD set) Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson
  3. Highlands Trilogy – Complete Collection (3 DVD set)
  4. Police Forces of the World by William Hall Watson 2006
  5. One Step Further, Volume 3, Book C-E, Those whose gallantry was rewarded with the George Cross by Marion Hebblethwaite 2006
  6. Angels of Kokoda by David Mulligan
  7. Attenborough in Paradise and Other Personal Voyages (2 DVD set)

Madang by James Sinclair
ISBN 9980-9976-8-0 450 pp, published by DWU Press 2006 with a foreword by Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of PNG. Cost AU$120 or PNGK250 plus postage (to major towns within PNG K25.50; from PNG to Australia AU$21 or K48) 450pp, illustrations, index. Please contact Wenona Leyson on mail(“mtsmanager”,”tmpsgnc?mo”,-2,””) or Sir Peter Barter or write or phone him at PO Box 707, Madang, PNG, Tel: (675) 852 2766 Fax: (675) 852 3543.

This book is a treasure trove, and for some it will also be a trip down memory lane. First impressions are of a beautiful publication. On both the dust jacket and the hard cover is an artwork by Larry Santana, one of PNG’s best-known artists. Born in 1962 in the Ramu River valley, he now lives and works in Madang. The book is ‘coffee-table’ size (30cm x 22cm), with glossy paper and many excellent photographs, both colour and black & white. It was produced and published by Divine Word University (DWU) Press, Madang.

The book covers the period from the arrival of Baron Nikolai Mikloucho-Maclay on the shores of Astrolabe Bay in 1871, to early 2004. The author has chosen his material with great care and skill – the bibliography is enormous. The book is divided into six parts. The earlier parts give a very readable account of German settlement, of the WWI take-over by the Australian military and the two decades of Australian administration between World Wars I and II when missionaries, planters/traders, and the Government all pursued their various aims. It describes the reactions of the local people as their land was being lost to coconut plantations and the problems facing the newcomers always living with the threat of malaria. In his note at the beginning of the fourth part, ‘The Pacific War’, the author said his aim was to give an account of the war as it affected the Madang District. He drew on the personal recollections of some of those who were on the scene – the result is a fascinating account of how ordinary people found themselves in extraordinary situations and how they coped.

Part Five, which covers the years from the departure of the Japanese until Independence, contains the following chapters: ‘The ANGAU Administration’; ‘1946-1950, Reconstruction Begins’; ‘Bates Years’; ‘The Golden Era’; ‘Decline, and Recovery’; ‘The Rush to Independence’. The ‘decline’ covered the town’s loss of business to Lae after years spent trying to obtain a direct road link to the Highlands; the subsequent ‘recovery’ described the establishment of several valuable businesses and an increase in tourism. There are the names and details of countless individuals, organisations and associations which all contributed to the sense of community that existed in Madang. The final part gives an overview of the last thirty years – this is especially interesting as many of us lost touch with day-to-day affairs at around the time of Independence.

There is a wealth of information in these pages – on health and education, missionaries, sports, the challenges of uncontrolled areas, air transport, agriculture, local government, the plantations, Ramu Sugar, the work of people like Sir Peter Barter, the Middletons of KarKar and Dr Braun of Yagaum, the Chinese community, cargo cult, eruptions, earthquakes, and much, much more. Closer attention to proof reading as well as the inclusion of a more detailed map of the area, would have enhanced this worthy publication. You can dip into this book, or read it from cover to cover – whichever way, you will be richly rewarded.
Reviewed by Marie Clifton-Bassett

Making Black Harvest by Bob Connolly 2005
ISBN 0 7333 1574 7 Paperback 307pp – published by ABC Books and available from ABC Shops, RRP $32.95

This book was written over a decade after the film Black Harvest was made and released. The author relies heavily on the notes prepared during the making of the film by Robin Anderson, his wife and fellow film maker. These notes were rediscovered when the author was cleaning out his home after his wife died at an early age. The book explains a lot about how much effort it took to make the film and how much support and resources are required to make a documentary of this nature. This is current world history in the making.

This book gives finality to the trilogy of films that Bob and Robin produced (First Contact 1983, Joe Leahy’s Neighbours 1989 and Black Harvest 1992) and explains in detail what happened to the central characters. To any person who has knowledge of the Melanesian way of life, the book is a fascinating retreat back into where PNG has now returned to -Tribal life. As the author says in the final chapter, he has only to close his eyes and see all his old friends again. How many of us close our eyes and smell the rainforest, hear the rushing rivers and the gentle, little lapping waves at the edge of turquoise blue lagoons and see our old friends again? I commend this book to those of you who do and to those of you who would like to.
Reviewed by Paul Oates

Making Black Harvest (3 CD set) Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson
Released 2005 – 240 minutes, RRP$34.95. Available from ABC Shops.
Through a series of radio interviews, introduced by Tim Bowden, Connolly recounts the devastating effects that blind ambition, warfare, destruction and grief have on human beings and how they managed to record 60 hours of footage as well as deal with the moral dilemma of documenting an unfolding disaster that overwhelmed the Ganiga tribespeople they were living amongst.

Highlands Trilogy – Complete Collection (3 DVD set)
Released 2005 – 350 minutes, $60.95. Now out of print.
From two of Australia’s most distinguished filmmakers, Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson, this DVD Box Set features three critically acclaimed documentaries. Set in the PNG Highlands and shot over ten years, First Contact (1983), followed by Joe Leahy’s Neighbours (1989) and Black Harvest (1992) have won 30 national and international awards, including an Academy Award nomination for First Contact. All three won the Grand Prix at France’s prestigious Festival Cinema du Reel, and AFI awards for Best Documentary.

Police Forces of the World by William Hall Watson 2006
ISBN 1-9210-0563-7, 441 pp, Zeuss Publications, soft cover, incl illustrations RRP $39.95 Available from selected bookshops and Zeus Publications: PO Box 2554, Burleigh MDC, QLD, 4220 (street address: Waterway Wonderland Shopping Centre, 64 Karbunya Street, Mermaid Waters, QLD 4218), PH: 07 55 755141 or purchase online:

Police Forces of the World is a comprehensive history of police evolution, from ancient times through to the development of modern day forces. Details of 226 services in 67 modern countries have been included, recording their histories, ranks, badges, insignia, operational structure and geographical demographics. A four page section on the Royal PNG Constabulary includes two RPNGC badge illustrations. The Foreword, Preface and Introduction can be read on the website.

One Step Further, Volume 3, Book C-E, Those whose gallantry was rewarded with the George Cross by Marion Hebblethwaite 2006
ISBN 0954691741, 160 pp, published by Chameleon HH Publishing Ltd, laminated soft cover, full colour throughout, 226 photos/illustrations/figures on artgloss paper, Cumulative index from Vol 1, Cost: £14.00 plus postage to Australia £6.50 airmail, postage to UK £2.50; available at: or write to: The Quarry House, East End, Witney, OX29 6QA, UK, PH: 44 1993 880223 Can be paid for by international electronic transfer (Bank details on request) or UK cheque (payable to: Chameleon HH Publishing) – No Credit card facilities.

This book contains comprehensive entries for all 40 George Cross holders whose names begin with the letters C-E. Of particular note is the section on Jack
Emanuel on whom there are eight pages with pictures and contributions from his son and daughter as well as Robert Blaikie and Maxwell Hayes.
Background and lists of Sources are given for each person under their entry and it is the most comprehensive overall coverage of George Crosses to date. Books A and B still available. All books are limited editions of 500 copies each. Signed copies are only available through the website or by direct contact.

(Volume 4 of the Series, One Step Further, is also out now. It contains entries for all George Crosses whose names begin with F-G plus all 5 GCs awarded to PoWs in Hong Kong. ISBN 095469175x)

Angels of Kokoda By David Mulligan
ISBN 0 7344 0849, published by Thomas C. Lothian Pty Ltd 2006, with a foreword by the Governor-General, His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC (Ret’d), 208 pp, softcover, b & w illus, $17.95 from your local bookstore.

The author of this book was dismayed to learn that younger Australians know very little if anything about the great WWII battles along the Kokoda Track and in PNG generally, and decided he must do something about it. The result is Angels of Kokoda, a young-adult ‘factional’ novel, but one of interest to a wider audience. The book was launched at Victoria Barracks, Sydney, by General Peter Cosgrove (Ret’d). We hope to have a review ready for the next issue, perhaps written by someone from the younger age group as this should complement the Governor-General’s overview.

Attenborough in Paradise and Other Personal Voyages (2 DVD set) $30.95 available from the ABC/BBC.
Of particular interest to the “Kiap” fraternity is the episode titled ‘A Blank on the Map’. David Attenborough joins a ‘first contact’ patrol led by Kiap Laurie Bragge into the Sepik hinterland. This episode is the usual BBC documentary and lasts just under an hour. Another delightful documentary, also of particular interest to our readers, is the episode on the Birds of Paradise.

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