In many cases, the expatriate experience in Papua New Guinea had an outcome that the outsider could never have expected: people became emotionally wedded to the country and its people, and continued to feel that attachment for the rest of their lives – even if they never returned to PNG’s shores.
The expatriate experience was also unusual since it frequently placed ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This often had a lifelong influence on those people, who knew that Papua New Guinea had changed them and that they would always define themselves a little differently because of it. These people retain a common bond and understanding.
It is therefore not surprising that many of these people—who would not normally put pen to paper or poise fingers awkwardly over a keyboard—have felt the call to record their experiences. In doing so they have done future generations of Australians and Papua New Guineans a service, because what are revealed are stories and incidents and thoughts that go beyond the official record and beyond the ken of historians.
What is also revealed is the unvarnished reality of the challenges facing men and women who were tasked to do their bit to transform nearly a thousand tribes into a single nation.
The history of the settlement of Papua New Guinea indicates that people first arrived there 40-50,000 years ago when sea levels fell due to an ice age. The island was joined to the Australian continent until about 6,000 years ago, as a result sharing with Australia many species of plants and animals, including marsupials.
The more recent history of European colonisation, nation building and national independence dates back only to the 19th and 20th centuries. It is the latter period that concerns us here, since the outsiders who settled and lived in Papua New Guinea can tell their stories. They are stories of a time that is becoming distant and of a place that has changed. They are stories that needed to be told while they could be told. The PNGAA has published many of them in its journal, Una Voce, and is able to record more here.
It’s a privilege to be part of this association, part of this executive team (committee and sub-committees)—and to be entrusted with this role. I’m in awe of the personal blood, sweat and tears that so many people have put into PNGAA for so long—many in this room. It’s been (and is) the bond, the glue ...
THE PNGAA fills an important role for Australians and Papua New Guineans, whose life has been significantly touched by PNG. Our network of volunteers and the social support it offers are unique and, at this 68th Annual General Meeting, I feel very privileged that we have been part of keeping our Australian/PNG history alive.
Taking you ...
I have been in the job of Archivist of the PNGAA Collection since the end of August 2019.
The lovely Murrough Benson, our Treasurer, took me through the ropes and showed me what was waiting for my attention in the storage unit at Chatswood where the collection is housed at the moment. My first job ...
The people of Bougainville have voted overwhelmingly in favour of becoming independent from Papua New Guinea.
97% of the Bougainville population endorsed the vote promised as part of a 2001 peace agreement to end the devastating civil war in Bougainville.
The Peace Agreement says that the PNG and Bougainville governments will now have to ‘consult’. The ...
Small Steps Along the Way by Paul Oates, independently published, 2019, 241 pages, ISBN: 9781707077939, available from Amazon.com, $AU22.03, including postage
Phil Fitzpatrick recently had the pleasure of editing a new book by Paul Oates about his experiences as a kiap in the formative and crucial years just before independence. He writes:
‘What struck me about Paul’s ...
Following is the eulogy given by Ron Croyden.
My mother, Barbara Croyden, was born in Rabaul, PNG, in 1923 as Szeto Yuk Yoong – the eldest daughter of Thomas Szeto ah Ying and Anne Maria Nui Sin Szeto.
Barbara was born on the 31st December no less. Happy New Year!
The Szeto family grew to 11 children however ...
Vale Jim Toner, formerly of Darwin, Northern Territory. Jim was a regular contributor to our quarterly journal over many years. Everyone looked forward to his friendly humour and laconic style. Jim was a District Office kuskus (clerk) – well known and highly regarded by the Kiaps – and part of a unique era that contributed ...
The NSW Department of Education has paid tribute to a unique group of former teachers who served our country during the Vietnam War period.
(L-R) Christopher Charles, Director, School Operations and Performance, Ken Boston, a former Education director-general and Ken Stevenson, representative of the Teachers’ sub-branch of the NSW RSL, with the honour roll for staff ...
The Pacific Islands Monthly Magazine (PIM) was a brave publication started in The Great Depression that over the following 70 years became the ‘Pacific Bible’.
Now Bob Lawrence, an ABC News Journalist who was among a group of ABC staff seconded to the National Broadcasting Commission of PNG in the 1970s has written a history of ...
This Invitation is extended to all Kiaps, their families and their friends.
It is at the same venue as the previous gatherings.
Where: The Kawana Waters Hotel- located on Nicklin Way, near Kawana Waters Shopping Centre, on the main road between Mooloolaba and Caloundra. A large parking area is available at the hotel.
Date: Sunday 10 November 2019
The colourful butterflies of PNG add to this extraordinary country’s beauty and colour.
This is a rare opportunity to see Bob Gotts’ amazing collection! Bob Gotts went to PNG to teach and spent 60 years collecting butterflies with his family in their spare time.
In 2018 the collection was donated to the Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO.
PNGAA members have a special opportunity to visit the NFSA and experience film footage on Papua New Guinea including sound and still images.
There is a range of fascinating material starting from the 1930s when gold prospectors penetrated the highland areas of central New Guinea with maps and bulky 35 mm camera equipment, through to the ...
When: Friday 6 December 2019, 4pm-7pm
Where: Lynburn, Bomaderry, NSW.
Spend a delightful evening at Lynburn, a beautiful 1890’s house in Bomaderry, near Nowra on the NSW South Coast with drinks, delicious snacks, live music and great company…all for a $20 donation to raise money to help support an aid post in the Western Highlands ...
It’s always a great day as we catch up with friends old and new and share the Christmas spirit, so put it in your diary and gather your friends to come along – see you there!
WHERE: Killara Golf Club, 556 Pacific Highway, Sydney,
Time: 11.30 am to 3.30 pm
PARKING: Plenty of parking at the club; 10 ...
When: Saturday, 23 November, 2019 Time: 11.30 am–3.30 pm
Where: Caulfield RSL, St George’s Road, Elsternwick (Melbourne)
Lunch: Christmas menu – to be confirmed
Payment on day – approx cost: $25–30 pp, plus a $10 cover charge…funds raised go towards cost of room hire for venue and our PNGAA Collection fund. Payment on day.
Merchandise available to purchase: Books, videos, PNGAA tote bag.
When: Friday, 29 November 2019
Time: 11.30 am
Where: Royal Australian Air Force Association Club,Air Force Memorial Estate,
2 Bull Creek Drive, Bull Creek, WA 6149
Everyone is welcome and we are looking forward to meeting people who spent time in Papua New Guinea.
The winner of the raffle for the beautiful quilt (seen in the photo) made by Jill ...
It is wonderful when old friends meet and even more wonderful that we all have PNG in our blood. So Sara Turner and I thought we would have a get together lunch, so we can all just
sit, relax, eat and chat.
When: Monday, 4 November, from 11.30 am
RSVP: By Monday 28 October.
Where: The Royal Motor Yacht ...
Come along and enjoy some Christmas cheer!
When: 14 December 2019
Time: 12 Noon
Where: The Pavilion on Northbourne, 242 Northbourne Avenue, Dickson, ACT, Australia
Cost: $52.78, buffet style with appetiser, main, dessert, tea and coffee
Cash bar available.
Contact: John Reeves E: firstname.lastname@example.org
RSVP: By 6 December 2019
All welcome – anyone with an interest in PNG! Bring along your family ...
The Bragge Collection is a new, exciting and significant donation to the James Cook University Cairns Campus Library and the Cairns Institute. Laurie Bragge’s generous donation has been gifted to JCU to facilitate further research into this diverse and fascinating tropical region and the societies that call it home. Laurie spent more than ...
The Papua New Guinea Association of Australia congratulates Papua New Guinea at this 44th anniversary of Independence.
For both Papua New Guineans and Australians, it is a time to be proud of the achievements of both nations, and it is a time to reconnect Australia’s history in taking Papua New Guinea, our nearest neighbour, to nationhood. ...