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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.

‘Headhunt Revisited with Brush, Canvas & Camera’ documentary screening 27 July 2018 NFSA

Australian Premiere Screening Where: Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra, ACT When: 27 July 2018 at 6pm Tickets: $10 Book at: https://www.nfsa.gov.au/events/headhunt-revisited-brush-canvas-and-camera The documentary film, Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas and Camera is about Caroline Mytinger and the power of art to span oceans and decades. In 1926, Caroline Mytinger and her friend, Margaret Warner, set out on ...

Connecting Papua New Guinea and Australia through the Arts – Lowy Institute 13 June 2018

The arts have unique potential to connect people and inspire new interest in a place and its traditions. There are thousands of years of indigenous history and culture in Australia and Papua New Guinea. A workshop, Connecting Papua New Guinea and Australia through the Arts, was held on 13 June 2018 at the Lowy Institute, Sydney. ...

PNGAA congratulates Barry Francis KIRBY AO, Susan McGrade OBE, Charlie Lynn OAM and Greg Anderson OBE for their awards in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018.

Charlie Lynn OAM For service to the people and Parliament of New South Wales Australia Susan McGrade OBE For service to commerce and the community of Rabaul PNG Greg Anderson OBE – PNG For service to the community and commerce in the mining and petroleum sectors PNG Barry Francis KIRBY AO For distinguished service to Australia-Papua New Guinea relations through the development and delivery of ...

76th Anniversary – Fall of New Guinea Islands and Montevideo Maru

  76th Anniversary – Fall of New Guinea Islands and the Montevideo Maru Last Post Ceremony, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT All welcome Date: 30 June 2018 Time: 4.40pm Place: Australian War Memorial, Pool of Reflection On 30 June 2018 the fall of the New Guinea Islands and the sinking of the Montevideo Maru will be commemorated at the moving Last Post ...

Narara family proudly flying the PNG flag

In February 2018 Nigel Narara checked out on the Airbus A330 aircraft as a captain. As a commander he is now flying on both the A330 and A320 under the mixed-fleet flying programme with Etihad Airways. Nigel moved to the UAE as a seven year old when his father, Granger Narara, began flying ...

The Reckoning

Thirty years ago, an acclaimed series of documentaries by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson introduced the world to an isolated tribe in Papua New Guinea. What happened when the cameras left? In 2016 Bob returned… https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-reckoning-180968082/#Cox8dKh8eVpzGqV7.03 With thanks to the Smithsonian Magazine.

Helpim Wantok Project

Our fundraising goal is nearly there, but not quite, and we need your support with some more donations to achieve this. For several months now many of you know that the PNGAA has been raising funds to tranship a donation of good quality used tables and chairs to educational institutions in PNG on an “as ...

AE1 – Found at Last!

AE1 – Found at Last! The PNGAA congratulates Rear Admiral Peter Briggs and his team on the Fugro Survey for the successful expedition and huge achievement in locating AE1. The disappearance of AE1 was the first loss for the Royal Australian Navy and the first Allied submarine loss in World War I; a significant tragedy felt by ...

How and When New Guinea was Won – and the Loss of AE1 By GPO HH Kemsley

First published in Una Voce, journal of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia Inc, June 2009 page 46 – with thanks to Jim Kemsley These extracts were taken from the diary of Petty Officer Kemsley who was in Rabaul during the capture of the wireless station at Bitapaka and who took part in a search ...

Coastwatcher talk, Brisbane

A wonderful collaboration between PNGAA, NGVR/PNGVR Ex members Association and the NSAAQ saw close to 140 people attend the talk today by Philip Selth OAM on Coastwatchers JJ Murphy, Jack Read and Paul Mason. We appreciated Philip travelling to Brisbane and sharing his research (all primary sources) and anecdotes with us. Those attending enjoyed a delicious ...

75th Anniversary Montevideo Maru, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

On 22 June 1942, 75 years ago, 1053 Australians boarded a Japanese hellship, Montevideo Maru, in Rabaul, the capital of the Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea, and on 1 July 1942 every one of those men died when an allied submarine torpedoed the unmarked prison ship off the coast of the Philippines. It is the ...

Helpim Wantok Project

PNGAA “Helpim Wantok” Project – UTS Furniture Donation   By Steven Gagau – Project Coordinator Please help – Donate Now By October 2017 the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) will have approximately 350 student tables and 750 chairs surplus to requirement after it receives its new supply of classroom furniture. Through an agreement with the PNG Consulate in Sydney, ...

75th ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL SERVICE TO REMEMBER AUSTRALIA’S WORST MARITIME DISASTER

The unmarked Japanese prison ship Montevideo Maru was sunk by an American submarine off the Philippines on July 1, 1942 and more than 1,000 Australian soldiers and civilians perished. It remains Australia’s worst – and least known – maritime disaster.  Seventy five years on, hundreds of relatives will converge on Canberra to attend a commemorative service and dinner.  The ...

PNGAA/RMvM Book ‘When the War Came: New Guinea Islands 1942’

This book is a collection of personal stories, memories and reflections that enhance the history of civilians and soldiers living in Rabaul, Kavieng and the New Guinea islands at the outbreak of World War II, who suffered a fate that is seldom acknowledged— when the Japanese bombed, and subsequently invaded Rabaul, the capital of New Guinea, ...

PNGAA invites you to hear Philip Selth OAM speak on the Coastwatchers – JJ Murphy, Jack Read and Paul Mason

  Philip Selth OAM, the retired Executive Director of the New South Wales Bar Association and retired CEO of the Australian Bar Association, came across the former New Guinea Patrol officer captain John Joseph Murphy during his writing of a biography of Eric Miller QC. Miller QC represented Murphy when court martialled on charges of treacherously ...

22 June and 1 July 2017 – 75th Anniversary WWII Rabaul and New Guinea Islands

On 22 June 1942, nearly 75 years ago, 1053 Australians boarded a Japanese hellship in Rabaul, the capital of the Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea, and on 1 July 1942 every one of those men died when an allied submarine torpedoed the unmarked prison ship off the coast of the Philippines. It is the only ...

PNG/Australia community mourns Lavah Watts – ‘so precious to so many’

Our thoughts are with Graham Watts and his family on the loss of his wife Lavah. Lavah Watts died on Sunday 4 June 2017, succumbing to injuries she suffered after being crushed by a palm tree in Cairns four days earlier. Mrs Watts was the Darwin Accommodation Services team senior supervisor for Helping ...

75th Anniversary RMvM Dinner and accommodation Canberra

The 75th Anniversary Dinner at the Hotel Mercure Canberra is currently at capacity, waitlist only available. We are discussing whether we may be able to extend into another room. The Hotel Mercure in Canberra has filled its accommodation for 30 June/1 July however the Novotel Canberra, 65 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra, is offering accommodation for guests travelling ...

Founder and Chairman of Islands Memories, Jim Burton Retires

Founder and Chairman of Islands Memories, Jim Burton, support by his wife Joan, retired from organising the monthly meetings at Toowong Library on Friday 7 April 2017 after 10 years.  Jim said that 120 continuous meetings had been held with 104 guest speakers and Jim filling in the other 16 meetings with stories of his ...

Canberra Locals run to help family and sexual violence victims through Femili PNG

Georgina Connery reports: Pounding the pavement in their purple shirts is all good fun but a Canberra group entered in the Australian Running Festival are united by a passion to help Papua New Guinea tackle family and sexual violence. The pacific nation is one of the most dangerous places to be a woman in the world, with ...