Burleigh Heads Beach, Queensland, Australia

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A BLAST FROM THE PAST-Pt Moresby Judo Club from the 60's.

In 1963 at the ripe old age of 21, I went to TPNG (Territory of Papua New Guinea) to teach there. I joined the Judo Club and made some friends. A few years ago one of the fellows, Charles, started to try and find members of the club in Australia. (Most of us had returned to Australia after TPNG gained independence.) Charles found a few of us and organised a reunion, since then we have had a reunion every year. This year it was held in Stanthorpe, a small town in the Granite Belt ranges, 223km west of Brisbane. Charles sent me some old photos of the club members in the 60's.

Charles is 2nd from left in the back row.

Some of the friends I made were Del, Graham and Charles.

46 years later we meet again. This time Charles had found Michelle a previous junior member of the Pt Moresby Judo Club. Michelle is opposite me.

Graham, me, Penny, Michelle, Charles and Del.
(Don't pick on us oldies or you'll be in for a surprise...who am I kidding)

This is young Michelle (9yrs) in action. Graham observed how tenacious and strong she was and nicknamed her "Tiger". 
 In 1968 she became the junior TPNG champion.  In 1971 she moved to Melbourne and joined Lilydale Club and she became the Victorian state champion in 1975 and was undefeated for 8 years. In 1977 she earned a Black Belt 1st Dan. In 1978 she was selected in the Australian Team and competed for her country for 3 years. In 1979 she was the Australian Champion. Today Michelle is a  teacher, still teaches at  the Lilyvale Judo Club and is a referee for Judo. She now holds a Black Belt 5th Dan. (And her first teachers were Charles and Graham.) She is also a grandmother.

Del throwing Graham

Penny getting sent to the floor.

Charles getting thrown by Denise, Michelle's little sister.

In 1965 Charles went to Japan to train for six weeks, while there he earned his Black Belt 1st Dan. In 1971 he and Penny were  transferred to Lae, where he started another junior and senior club, He was awarded life membership of the Pt Moresby Judo Club and the PNG Judo Federation.

I was only in the club for one year 1964 and obviously didn't have any photos taken. I reached the  Orange Belt level. I especially enjoyed the self defence lessons.


  1. What a group! And what a friendship all these years. They are the best ones.

  2. You are amazing Diane. You enjoy life to its fullest -- and this is wonderful!

  3. Great pictures, Diane.... I think it's great --especially these days---for kids to learn self-defense... It's also a good discipline...

    Glad you were involved with the group--even for a year...


  4. That's too funny, nobody looks like an (ex) Judoka, lol! I never did Judo, but my men did and I had something to watch and laugh about. My son made it to I don't remember what belt I but then switched to something similar, but I forgot the name. Anyway it's martial art.

  5. Diane....It was a wonderful reunion, and great to see the photos from way back. Really, my friends from the TPNG Judo Club from all those years ago are my close friends today, together with their spouses. Life is a great journey as we grow older and the disipline and respect we were taught in those days is still with us in our senior years......Indeed a terrific group.

  6. It's nice that you can keep in touch with friends from long ago, Diane!
    I always wished I took some self defense classes just to be on the safe side.

  7. Amazing - great to catch with friends after so many years.

  8. This is a wonderful story. You must have been over the moon to meet up witj old friends of all those years ago.

  9. Wow, my son went up to Brown belt and doesn't want to continue.

    Where did you teach in PNG? I have a very good friend who went to PNG for a long time, first as a nurse, then as a teacher.

    My husband went last year, so they can talk about PNG.

    My photos of PNG were taken by him.

  10. Another interesting glimpse into your past.

  11. I was looking forward to a photo of you. It's good that you're able to meet up with those friends from the past. Everyone must have been thrilled by Michelle's great success over the years, and I'm sure she's had a positive influence over many young people over the years.