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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.

Book: Small Steps Along the Way by Paul Oates

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 ...

Vale Barbara Croyden

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. Mum was born on the 31st December no less.  Happy New Year! The Szeto family grew to 11 children however ...

Vale Jim Toner (6 November 2019)

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. One of our well known and highly regarded Kiaps – and part of a unique era that contributed so much to the Australian development of ...

PNG ‘Chalkies’ Honoured by NSW Department of Education

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 ...

New book: “A Short history of the Pacific Islands Monthly Magazine”

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 ...

Reunion for Kiaps and friends – Kawana Waters, Queensland – Sunday 10 November 2019

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 Time: ...

Bob Gotts’ Butterfly Collection – 25 November 2019, Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO, Canberra

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. Where: ...

See footage on PNG! National Film & Sound Archives, Canberra – Friday 22 November 2019

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 ...

Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Fund raiser in support of an aid post in Western Highlands Province

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 ...

PNGAA 2019 Sydney Christmas Luncheon – Sunday 1 December 2019

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 ...

PNGAA Christmas Luncheon, Melbourne – 23 November 2019

All welcome. 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. Parking: ...

PNGAA Perth – Christmas Luncheon – 29 November 2019

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 ...

Let’s have a catch up …PNGAA Lunch, Newcastle – 4 November 2019

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 ...

Christmas Luncheon Canberra, ACT, 14 December 2019

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. Free parking. Contact: John Reeves E: neradaq@gmail.com RSVP: By 6 December 2019 All welcome – anyone with an interest in PNG! Bring along your family ...

The Bragge Collection and ‘History of the Sepik’ – now at James Cook University

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 ...

PNGAA congratulates PNG on its 44th anniversary of Independence

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. ...

Transcript from the Press Conference held by Prime Minister Scott Morrison with Prime Minister James Marape on 22 July 2019

Prime MInister Scott Morrisson has welcomed Prime Minister Marape, his Ministerial delegation and his delegation of Governors from Papua New Guinea to Australia for Guest of Government status. Papua New Guinea is the first country to visit this Australian government under this status. The transcript from the Press Conference held by Prime Minister Scott Morrison ...

PNG National Remembrance Day – 23 July

Today is National Remembrance Day in Papua New Guinea and a time to reflect on all those PNG citizens who lost their lives in the service of their country. July 23 is National Remembrance Day in Papua New Guinea. It is a memorial day observed to honor PNG soldiers and officers who lost their lived during ...

Vale Richard Hill

A service for Richard Christopher Hill 28 January 1936 – 30 June 2019 will be held at 10.30 on Tuesday 9 July 2019 at 202 Eumundi-Noosa Rd, Noosaville QLD 4566 With refreshments to follow at the Verrierdale Community Hall, QLD 4562

Montevideo Maru – Australia’s Greatest Maritime Disaster

Few Australians know this story – but all should. Seventy-seven years ago today 1053 civilians and Australian troops were about to begin their last tragic journey from Rabaul, the capital of Australian-mandated New Guinea. They were crammed onto a Japanese ‘Hell Ship’, the Montevideo Maru, for transport to Hainan as slave labour. The ship left Rabaul ...