Freestone May River 1964/75 – Photos from Trevor Freestone

Trevor Freestone was an Education Officer in Papua New Guinea from 1964 to 1975. His postings included Ambunti in the East Sepik District, Pagei in the Sandaun (West Sepik) Province and postings at Bena bena and Watabung in the Eastern Highlands Province. Trevor completed the 5th “E” Course in 1963. His initial two year posting was to the Ambunti Primary School located on the Sepik River. Still in the Sepik he then spent two years at Pagei PS which is on the Indonesia border. From there he was posted to the Sigerehe Primary school at Bena Bena (Eastern Highlands District). After a year he was transferred to Watabung Primary school where he stayed until the end of 1974.

After a stint in the Department of Education HQ he left PNG in early 1975 but returned to help celebrate PNG Independence Celebrations in Goroka where he did the pyrotechnics for them. Trevor returned to Watabung in 2008 where the community changed the name of their school to the “Trevor Freestone Primary School, Watabung” in order to acknowledge the work that he did for their school and community.


In 1963 the May River area was restricted due to very little contact being made with the people. Cannibalism still occurred and all visits were made with police escorts. I asked for permission and as the outpost at May River needed some supplies I was given permission to take supplies to May River. I was given a police escort and an interpreter. These photos are the result of this visit. In 1965 restrictions were relaxed a little and I returned without a police escort. I had strict instructions to visit only villages on the river and not to venture up any of the tributaries.


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

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