Brisbane, QLD

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Christmas Parties Have Started

On Saturday we had an end of year lunch with our ASOPA friends. We are a special group because we are some of the past students from the Australian School of Pacific Administration. (ASOPA). We were studying there to become teachers for the Territory of Papua/New Guinea and the Northern Territory of Australia in the early sixties. We came from all over Australia to ASOPA situated in Sydney. By the time Papua/New Guinea became independent in 1975 most of us had returned to Australia but to all different states. In 2002 exactly 40 years since we were in our first year at ASOPA we had our first reunion. People came from all over the country to Pt Macquarie in NSW for a 3 day reunion. It was great fun trying to recognise one another and catching up with forty years of life. In 2005 we had another reunion in Sydney and visited the old buildings of ASOPA. In 2007 we had another reunion in Brisbane but this time we included all students from the 40's to the 70's (when the school closed). Since then those of us who live in Brisbane continue to meet regularly for lunch.

ASOPA was a collection of ex Army unimpressive buildings but located in a fabulous position on Middle Head jutting into Sydney Harbour.

The buildings are still there but are unoccupied and falling into a bad state of disrepair.

I took this photo in 1962

I took this photo in 2005 when we all returned for a nostalgic visit and we were sad to see the buildings were in a worse state than we were 40 years on.

The sign has changed too. It is good to see that the Harbour Trust are going to restore some of the buildings.

This was the magic view of the harbour in 1962. We used to sit on the lawns in break times and soak up the vista.

In 2005 the view was nearly as good except the trees had grown in the way.

Dennis and Ros were at the lunch.

At ASOPA, Dennis was one of the youngest but one of the few to own a car.

Richard and Josephine were at the lunch.

Richard was posted to a very remote village in the Territory of Papua/New Guinea. (TPNG.)

This was the transport in and out of the village. Josephine was the only white woman for miles. Don't you love the sunnies?

Bill now lives near Melbourne but he flew to Brisbane and joined us for lunch.

Bill enjoys athletics and won gold in the Pacific Games. He recently participated in the Masters' Games in 800 metres hurdles. I think he might be the fittest one of us oldies.

Joseph and Kathryn came to lunch in their green campervan called Kermit. They have just returned from a 7 month trip around Australia.

Joseph grew up in TPNG and returned to teach there as a very young man.

Colin came to lunch. He is single so he borrowed Katherine for this photo.

Here Colin is enjoying one of the many parties we had while at ASOPA. (Dont know why he is still single, we all loved him)

Of course Bill and I never miss a lunch at the Swiss Restaurant. I had a seafood crepe.

My first week teaching in TPNG. I was to stay for 7 years and they were some of the best years of my life.

I must apologise to Henry, who also joined us for lunch but I didn't get a photo of him. Hopefully someone will send me one and I can include him here.


  1. Very intimate encounter, and the comparison with the pictures, very funny.
    Have a nice day.

  2. Oh how wonderful Diane... Love the 'before and after' pictures of you all... What neat memories... Glad you still get together to celebrate each other, and your experiences at that school.

  3. Oh my, diane, what an interesting post. I just loved all the before and now photos. And yes, I LOVED Josephines sunnies. Thanks for sharing this amazing reunion with us. (((Hugs))) Jo PS How do you pronounce TPNG?

  4. Me again, diane! Is Coling Mr Mellow Yellow? (((Hugs))) Jo

  5. Hi Diane, it is great to see your beautiful and interesting reminiscing of times past. You looked so very young for your tasks ahead...and cute! It is so nice to meet up with "old" friends. All my old school colleagues are in SW. A couple of years ago I looked one up in the IN and found out that he died when he was 60. My last reunion was when I was 30!

  6. O h my goodness- these are some amazing photos! Love the "old" versus "new" - everyone looks the same ..well, except for a few gray hairs (or less hair!) Lovely walk down memory lane and I so admire all of you for continuing the tradition of meeting once again :-)

  7. Know the concept, "six degrees of separation"?

    These are the very ramshackle buildings that my father trained in during 1942 before being deployed to Milne Bay as a despatch rider for the AIF. I kid you not. I will go out and search for the post I prepared when I took him back there during 2007 (?) for the first time since the war.

    I'll be back ...

  8. I am confused. I cannot find all the Family History posts that I did during 2007/s008 and even worse, I discover that each of my current blogs only has a 12 month archive.

    I shall have to investigate. I am devastated.

  9. DB

    What an excellent documentary on the old ASOPA site! Remarkable. Certainly was great to gather once again and tell our "Rapidly becoming Taller Tales" of yesteryears.

    Now where are you finding these "old" photos??
    I am starting to get worried!!!!!


  10. What wonderful memories you have, and your girls look just like you in this last photo. Oh my goodness what a skinny little waist you had too.

    Diane, you have such a wonderful legacy of people you have helped to leave behind when you leave this earth. You should be very proud. You are a kind lady.

  11. Jo: TPNG stands for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It was a territoy governed by Australia until 1975 when they were given Independence and it is now known as Papua/New Guinea or P/NG.

  12. Jo: Yes , Colin is Mr Yellow Mellow. Good observation.

  13. Julie: That is six dgrees of separation. I wondered if you knew the buildings, such as they are. I hope they do something nice with them. We asked them if they could make one into a museum of colonial days in the Pacific in memory of all the young people who went into the jungles and tried to bring civilization to them. (Even though it hasn't been too successful)
    Sorry to hear about the missing archives. I hope you can retrieve them. I am trying to copy my Migration to Australia stories onto a hard copy. So I don't lose them.

  14. How wonderful you can all get together. Those must have been interesting times and those are great photos.

  15. Hi Jo

    Yep that is "little ole me".
    Great to know that I now know another "Jo" - my mother is called "Jo" - short for Josephine. Now you get dressed up in yellow and send the picture to Diane for us to view and then you may call yourself Mrs. Yellow Mellow!!! I also looked up your blog - very good.

    The Original Yellow Mellow

  16. Read your comment in both spots, Diane. Never fear: I usually follow up comments if I query something.

    I think that Blogger has a problem or I have a setting incorrect. But I fear the former.

    What I will do, is endeavour to recreate the post that is relevant to your group. The photographs at any rate.

    Once I have managed that, I will send you a link to it. It will probably go up on my Plumbing blog.

  17. very interesting wonderful for you to have get togethers with all your friends from the past and now present....that is a treasure. Alma and Bill....xx

  18. What a wonderful post. I traipsed over from Eileeninmind!
    I shall return!

  19. What a wonderful meeting ! I had to smile when I looked at all of you "before" and "after" ! what a nice place ! I see you were dark haired and you look sooooo young for a teacher, lol !

  20. This was very interesting and extremely delightful! You all have aged very well! I don't kow if I could say that about Terry and I :)

    Also, Colin didn't wear yellow way back when!


  21. Another great post Diane. Loved all the before and after pictures. Very enjoyable read as always.

  22. What fun to catch up after so many years. I lived in PNG in the early 80s ad also loved it.

  23. Thank you heaps for the great 'before & after' photos of these very VIPs. Kathryn

  24. I think it`s fantastic that you all meet up after all these years....
    Loved the mini and just think they are still a popular mode of transport just modified to look a little sportier....

  25. That was some walk down memory lane. It was wonderful that you have comparative pictures. The past and present merge into a good time.

  26. Thank you all for your interest to comment.

  27. I'm not sure how or why, but your posts about the past always evoke such emotion in me. I love how you posted both old and current photos and give us a little story about each. It is so precious that you took those photos all those years ago.

  28. I found this post very interesting. Even though I don't know any of these people, I really loved looking at their "before and after" photos....all that history and life and those stories! How wonderful that you were able to get together and enjoy a luncheon for your 40th anniversary!

  29. Hi Diane, love the picture of "Mellow Yellow" and I have also seen the other pictures of Colin in his terrible shorts!!! I met him in 1987 in Bali at the Melia Bali Sol. He tried to drown me, you will need to speak to him to get the details. What is this about all the girls loving him? Did they need a white cane or a labrador? (only joking) We have now been in touch for 22 yrs and he also asked me to marry him one Christmas over the phone, when he was very drunk! My bet is he can't remember that! best wishes Lisa from the UK

  30. Diane

    Well to reply to my "so-called" wife and my asking her to marry me. I knew she had a vivid imagination but that is not true! I did not! - Lisa couldn't swim a la the Australian crawl! Dog paddling was not on. Anyhow Lisa did survive my attempt to drown her and it was being done in fun ( that's for the information of other blog viewers).

    Anyhow good to see that Lisa has got onto the blog. God help us and you, Diane.

    The person, "Yellow Mellow", who failed at drowning a very good friend of many years ago!

  31. Hi,
    Really great to read the story about ASOPA en view the photographs. I attended ASOPA from 1970/1972;
    We were the last to attend the school before receiving our teaching certificates and go to the Northern Territory. A really wonderful experience which enriched my life.