Freestone Pagei 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.


Pagei was opened as a patrol post in 1963 to observe the border with Indonesia. It was hacked out of the jungle and the timber from the trees cut down was used to build the houses and school. As a border post it was classified as secret. Refugees coming across the border were interrogated then returned over the border. Some of their stories were horrific. My house boy could speak their language and thus I found out about some of their stories. I was posted there in 1966.


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

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