New Farm Park, Brisbane

Monday, January 27, 2014

LAST DAYS IN LAE

In Nov 1963, I spent two weeks in Lae, P/NG doing the last session of practice teaching for my teaching course. I was with a small group of girls. Some boys went to Rabaul and others went to Pt Moresby to finish their prac teaching. After this we would all be sent out to our teaching posts to start real work. We would have to say goodbye to the friends we had made at college (Australian School Of Pacific Administration).
Besides prac teaching we did a lot of observing of how schools operated there. We were all accommodated at the Hotel Cecil and we were transported to schools in a variety of vehicles.

We passed a Lutheran Mission on the way to visit some different types of schools.


We arrived at the first school just as they were having morning assembly.It was already very hot.


We drove out of Lae into the countryside and crossed over the wide Markham River. The water was low this day but it becomes a surging torrent when it rains.

The bridge was a timber construction and it was very long and bumpy.

We arrived at a small bush school. It was a hot day as every day is so I think the smoke is from the cook house. Some of the girls have scarves on to stop their hair blowing about in the back of the ute. 

Inside the children were working quietly . The classroom had a dirt floor and half a wall. Often parents would come and hang over the wall to join in the lessons.

In the playground, our lecturer tries to encourage a little Prep student to put on his pants.


We were taken to a traditional village to see how the children lived. Here there is woman carrying a load with a some pigs following her. She may be going to feed them. The wealth of a family was ascertained by the number of pigs they owned. Brides would be bought with pigs. Their houses are made from grass thatch.

Helen and me.
We stopped for lunch by a cool creek. We waded through the clear cool stream and kept the sun off by using huge leaves that were growing nearby.  Helen was one of my best friends at college. She was on a scholarship from the Lutheran Church. She was going to teach at a mission in the highlands. I never saw her again. Unfortunately, she had passed away by the time we had our first reunion in 2002.

We stopped by another school on the way back to Lae.
This one had a concrete floor and a more substantial wall.
From the school yard we could see the afternoon storm clouds rolling down the mountains ready to drop torrential, tropical rain. This was a regular occurrence most afternoons. The plane was lucky to be landing before the storm hit. We also arrived back at the hotel before getting wet. Not that it mattered getting wet. It cooled you down and you soon dried out.

The main street in Lae 1963
Soon I would be leaving my friends and winging my way to another adventure on my own.

20 comments:

  1. I suppose Papua New Guinea was well documented at the time, complete with photos, but yours capture a certain time and are frankly quite brilliant. I look forward to more.

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  2. I love the leaf umbrellas and the little guy minus his pants. very sad she did not make it to your reunion. you are really lucky to have all these photos to document your life and remember all about it.

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  3. Such memories. You must be enjoying reliving that time again.

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  4. just amazing to see these remote villages and schools.

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  5. It's so easy to lose touch with old friends.. I have since moving to Australia which is a shame. It really is fun to share these memories with you Diane and as I've said before the photos are brilliant.

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  6. How different was your youth to mine ! The first black person I saw in my life was when I was 19 and went to business school ! It was the daughter of a diplomat.

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  7. Diane, I have completely enjoyed your posts about your time in PNG, amazing memories and gorgeous images.

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  8. Diane, thank you for sharing your younger years. I think the prac teaching was really interesting and in a very different culture. The buying of a bride with pigs is just amazing to me. Wonderful memories and photos! Enjoy your week!

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  9. Another wonderful post of your time in PNG. Have you ever been back or if you haven't, thought of going back to see what it's like now?

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  10. Those schools are so different from what we are used to here, it must had been a wonderful experience. Your photos are amazing

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  11. This is a marvelous experience. I'm glad you have these photos to share with us.

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  12. I look forward to each gripping episode of this story.

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  13. Some of the best days of your life up there :)

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  14. So interesting to read your story.

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  15. You took such meaningful photos even "back then," Diane. They add so much to your story, and I'm sure to your memory as you write. You mention a reunion--I hope you will be writing about the doings of the members of your group that we have come to know through your story. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  16. Fantastic that you have so many photos of this period. I am struggling to sort mine, so many are ones of just me and a horse!!! Have a good day Diane.

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  17. What an amazing experience ! I love the leaf umbrellas. :-) Can't wait to hear more about your years of teaching in PNG.

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  18. Another world ... I remember when head-scarves were very IN !! after spending a fortune getting our hair washed and set there was no-way we would let the wind mess it up.

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  19. It is so wonderful that your chronicled your life with photos, Diane. They really do tell a story. Do you think conditions have improved in the NP/G schools by now? The students looked very eager to learn!

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