Title Picture

Currumbin Beach, South East Queensland.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

CATCH UP IN KAVIENG

The next hop in our tour of Papua/New Guinea in 1967 was from Manus Is. to Kavieng, the main centre on the island of New Ireland. My brother, David, was the District Officer there and I was looking forward to catching up with him and his wife, Ann, and my little nephew, Michael.

 Coming into land at Kavieng.

 The scenery was so typically tropical island views.

The view from my brother's house overlooking the wharf.

 The sun was very bright and hot. My friend, Joan and my sister in law, Ann with Michael and his friend outside the Local Government Council building. Unfortunately, I never took a photo of my brother. (What was I thinking?)

This is the school where Ann taught.

Joan and I had a few wonderful days here. My brother was working during the day but Ann took us around the island. Then it was time to return to the airstrip for the next hop over to Rabaul on New Britain Island. Michael and his friend came to say goodbye. Michael is now in his fifties and lives in St Lucia in the West Indies.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A TROPICAL ISLE WITH A DARK SIDE

Continuing my last post where I was remembering my trip around New Guinea with my friend, Joan,  in 1967. We flew from Pt Moresby to Mt Hagen in the mountains then over to the north coast to Wewak for a few days. Then we flew to Lorngau on Manus Is. A beautiful Tropical Island not far from the equator. See map on previous post.
 We were met by Wes, Joan's brother, who worked on the island as a teacher. Later he married a local girl from an important family on the island. He was accepted well into the family and he was well respected in the community. He left teaching to help the people of the island set up a cooperative to sell coconuts and other produce. He made PNG his home. He also developed a tourist business and motel in Lorengau. In 1975 when PNG gained independence his wife became a member of parliament so Wes and his wife and three children moved to Pt Moresby. During this time they became aware of corruption among some members of parliament. Wes and his wife wanted to expose the corruption. Sadly Wes was murdered before this happened. Needless to say Joan and his family were devastated.
We were taken around the island, it was beautiful.

We stayed in Wes's little house called a one man donga. He bunked in with a friend while we were there. This was the view from his house. I remember his door wouldn't close properly but he said not to worry there is no crime on the island everyone is safe. That was in 1967 how things have changed now. 
Last year, the PNG government agreed to have an Australian detention centre on Manus Is. to house illegal immigrants who have tried to enter Australia on people smuggling boats from Indonesia. Recently there was a riot at the centre and one person was killed by the guards.

Joan outside the Post Office, a left over building from WW2. There was a big Naval Base on the island .

The Manus people had quite big ocean going canoes or lakatois. It was an idyllic scene way back in those days. Soon it was time for us to board a plane again for Kavieng on New Ireland Island, where my brother lived.

Friday, September 12, 2014

PARADISE IN THE PAST

(Another post in the series 'My Story'.) 
By 1967 I had worked for three years in Papua/New Guinea. I was no longer on a bond and I could return to work in Australia. However, I was having so much fun up there. I had found lots of friends and a boyfriend so I returned to continue teaching in Pt Moresby.
During the first term school break my friend, Joan and I planned a trip around New Guinea. We were teaching colleagues and we are still friends today, 47 years later. We both had brothers working in New Guinea (we lived in Pt Moresby, Papua) so we decided to visit them. Joan's brother, Wes, lived in Lorengau, Manus Island and my brother, David, lived in Kavieng, New Ireland. 
We bought a plane ticket to take us from Pt Moresby to Mt Hagen, Wewak, Larengau, Kavieng and Rabaul. When we arrived at the airport there was much excitement as we were booked onto the inaugural flight of the Fokker Friendship into Mt Hagen. The airstrip there had been made longer so that bigger planes could land. (Not that a FF is a very big plane)
 When we arrived the valley was full of cloud and we had to circle for some time waiting for it to clear. At last we could see the ground and we descended into the valley surrounded by high mountains. All the towns people had come to the airport to see the "big" plane. The pilot banked the plane on its side and circled the airport skimming the mountain sides and then gave a wing waggle to the crowd before finally landing. I must admit I was a tad nervous with the aerobatic celebration.
 We didn't stay in My Hagen long before we were winging our way over the mountain tops to Wewak on the northern coast of New Guinea mainland. We could see the mighty Sepik River winding its way to the sea.

 We were met by friends of a friend who had offered to put us up for a few nights and show us around Wewak. The beaches were lovely with white sands and tropical seas.

 A magic place for a picnic in the shade.  It was a tropical paradise except you had to look out for crocodiles and snakes.

The local people fishing with a big net.

Joan and I (in front) walked along the river edge using a banana leaf for shade.














I was impressed with the height and thickness of the trees, which were all covered in vines. The jungle came right down to the river's edge.
I was wrong about this building earlier. It is a church not a mens house.

We were lucky enough to arrive in this nearby village when they were having a 'sing-sing' (traditional celebration). It wasn't for the tourists' benefit as there weren't any there except us with our friends who lived in the town of Wewak. The head dresses were amazing. They were  made from Bird of Paradise feathers. Their grass skirts were also thick and colourful.
(See more by clicking the label 'My Story' or going to the links on my side bar.)