Graham Syphers 3/3
Old New Guinea Photographs, Part Three.
TPNG. Prior to Independence 1975.
In my personal reminiscences in the article, Old New Guinea Photographs, Part Two, I said this was the final part. Anyone who has drank beer with a Territorian (the New Guinea or the Northern type) knows that the last one is not necessarily so. So, by popular demand, with many nostalgia buffs coming out of the woodwork, here is Part Three. No. 3 is not so personal. These lapun (old) TPNG buffs are from all walks of life. Kiaps, nurses, pilots, flight hostesses, aircraft engineers, former plantation owners, bag snatchers (some now airline managers), school teachers, ex missionaries, miners, crocodile shooters and various business people.
Being accused of living in the past is pekpek bilong bulmakau. This sentiment is from those who were not there. Being proud of one’s achievements, of working hard, enjoying life in a wild and beautiful country known as the Land of the Unexpected, being part of adventures, meeting great characters, observing history, seeing unusual sights aplenty, experiencing danger, helping the natives advance into the 20th century, appreciating their differences and general good nature – was a unique experience – not easily forgotten.
Even dealing with the thieves (stilman) and the more serious criminals (raskols) was something that most expatriates took in their stride (with some ingenious innovations and remedies). Raskols have now upped the ante to include armed robbery and frequent murder.
I have been encouraged by the response of many TPNG expatriates who were aviators, some that I have not seen for 45 years (there are no good-byes in flying). They recalled their TPNG time with sincere appreciation, flying around the highlands and islands in foul weather, being allowed an amazing amount of freedom to do what is best, with common sense – at such a young age. They all loved the old TPNG days. They furnished me with some of their old coloured slides and Kodachrome photographs to use. I greatly appreciate this courtesy. Their names appear on the credits, the rest are my own photos. Some of these old time bush pilots now have a lot of flight time in Boeing 747s and many are retired. They still fondly remember their TPNG Cessna 185 days.
So, from one (of the many) who has had the privilege and pleasure of flying some wonderful characters from TPNG’s history around the skies of Papua and New Guinea – one who has frightened the best and highest ranking – I ask you to enjoy another trip back to taim bipor. For those not in the loop, this means Time before Independence.