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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.

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 ...

Retrospective on Ivan Champion

Ivan Champion’s grandson, Ross, has put together a retrospective on his grandfather who first went to PNG in 1898, aged 18 years. Some of the photos in this wonderful collection are up to 95 years old. “>Retrospective on Ivan Champion

Pacific Islands Monthly – digitised by the NLA and now in Trove!

The National Library has recently completed the digitisation of the entire run of the Pacific Islands Monthly magazine and all of the issues can be browsed or the text fully searched on Trove.

75th Anniversary Service RABAUL and MONTEVIDEO MARU Group, Papua New Guinea Association of Australia Inc

RABAUL on Thursday 22 JUNE 2017 To remember all those lost in the New Guinea islands in 1942 the 75th anniversary service will be held on dusk at the Montevideo Maru and Rabaul 1942-1945 Memorial, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea The PNGAA Rabaul and Montevideo Maru group together with the Rabaul Hotel/Rabaul Historical Society are commemorating this 75th anniversary ...

Rabaul and Montevideo Maru 75th Anniversary Commemorative Service – 1 July 2017 – Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT.

A service to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the fall of the New Guinea islands in early 1942 and the sinking of the Montevideo Maru on 1 July 1942 will be held at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT, on Saturday 1 July starting at 1pm. This will be followed by a dinner at the ...

1 July 2017 – Rabaul and Montevideo Maru 75th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner, Canberra Mercure Hotel

Rabaul and Montevideo Maru 75th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner at Canberra Mercure on 1 July 2017, following 1pm service at Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Time: 6.00pm Venue: Mercure Canberra, Corner of Ainslie and Limestone Ave, Braddon, ACT 2612 COST: $80 for 3 course meal (soup plus alternate serves) PLEASE RSVP as soon as possible and prior to 8 June 2017 It ...

PNG Barramundis defeated ACT XI in Prime Minister’s curtain raiser

The HEBOU PNG Barramundis defeated ACT XI in a last ball thriller by three (3) runs in the Prime Minister’s XI curtain raiser at Manuka Oval, Canberra, yesterday, Thursday 15 February. This followed a win at Blacktown when the HEBOU PNG Barramundis defeated the New South Wales (NSW) XI by four (4) wickets in another close ...

PNG XI curtain-raiser to Prime Minister’s XI’s clash with Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval, Canberra, 15 February 2017

The ACT has named a 12-man squad to take on a PNG XI as curtain-raiser to the Prime Minister’s XI’s clash with Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval on February 15. Cricket ACT launched its PNG scholarship program in November 2016. Eastlake fast bowler Nosaina Pokana is one of six PNG imports playing in Cricket ACT’s first grade competition and ...

Aviation photographs

Dennis Gray’s contribution is a compilation of photographs taken by his Uncle, Bill Gray (circa 1935-41), his father, Charles Gray (circa 1940-41), and himself during 1969-73. It is a wonderful collection of aviation history in PNG, combined with a cross section depicting living in PNG during these periods. (Sponsor’s comment : These are exactly the pictorial archives that we ...

The Kiaps Compendium – Part 2: World War II

Operational overview | Papua Infantry Battalion | New Guinea Volunteer Rifles | Ian Downs OBE | The last Papua Gazette | ANGAU | Peter Ryan MM | Coastwatchers | Ian Skinner MC | Les Williams MC | Jack Read | ANGAU to civil administration | Recollections of ANGAU On 14 February 1942 Civil government was suspended ...