Brisbane, QLD

Thursday, January 30, 2014


I had finished my last prac teaching session in Nov,1963 in Lae, in the Territory of Papua/New Guinea. I had passed my final exams with surprisingly good results so I wasn't sent back to Sydney to do more study. Instead I was to start teaching in Pt Moresby in Feb 1964. Other students were sent to other towns , villages or outposts all over the country. I was happy to be in the biggest town and not in an isolated place, others were more adventurous than me.

All the photos have been scanned from 50 year old slides. They are discoloured with scratches, dust and fungus on them.  I have tried to eradicate marks and rectify the magenta and blue hues but not with total success. Bear with me.
Pt Moresby 1963
PT Moresby is on a small peninsula with the ocean on the left and the harbour on the right, The CBD stretches from one side to the other. Today there are highrise buildings and much wider and better roads.

Policeman directing traffic at the main intersection.
 There were no traffic lights in those days. The native policeman is hard to see under the clock in the shade of his stand. You can see his white gloves.

The police station 
A policeman on the right is wearing the traditional navy uniform laplap, a red belt, cap and no shoes.

There were quite a lot of churches and missions operting in TPNG.

Purple Bougainvillaea cascades down the hill
 All the above shots were taken in the main street which stretches from the harbour to Ela Beach across the peninsula.

 My friend Val, was being sent to Daru Island, near the western border with Dutch New Guinea then, now it is part of Indonesia. However, Val's accommodation wasn't ready in Daru so she had to stay in Pt Moresby for a few weeks. Neither was my accommodation sorted, so we were both put into a room to share in the Boroko Hotel. It was a tiny room and I dearly hoped I would have a better place when I actually started teaching. Boroko is an outer suburb of Pt Moresby.
 Boroko Shopping Centre 1963

Photo Charles Betteridge
The children were on end of year, school holidays and the schools were closed. We were told to report to the District Education Office in town. The office was an old building built over the water on stilts, seen here at the end of Ela Beach at low tide.

The District Education Office in the background. photo Charles Betteridge
The District Education Office in 1963. It used to be a hospital and then the Officer's Club during the war.

We walked along the jetty to the office where there was very little for anyone to do because schools were on holidays for 6 weeks. We did a little bit of filing and spent most of our time pretending to be busy. The posts that held up the building over the water came through the floor to the roof. Where they passed through the floor I could see down into the clear water. There were many colourful tropical fish feeding off the seaweed growing on the posts. It was beautiful, like visiting an aquarium. I can remember leaning on the post looking at this exotic scene and thinking to myself........"I'm getting paid to do this." (And we were paid well)
Ela Beach 1963
I thought Ela Beach was an idilic tropical place. The water was crystal clear and palm trees hung lazily over the white sand.

Beer garden of the RSL Club on Ela Beach
We often spent Saturday mornings here.

Cute little children enjoy cooling off 


  1. Diane, it looks like you were given a great town to start your teaching. The scenery is beautiful and I love the beach. Thanks for sharing more of your story. Have a happy day!

  2. Yet again, a quite fascinating post, following your adventures. The scenes in the photographs look surprisingly contemporary given that they were taken 50 years ago.

  3. You have had a very interesting life with lots of adventures!

  4. I so wish I had gotten into photography as early as you did. But I suspect that we did not have enough money to develop rolls of film too frequently.

  5. You were so keen to photograph it all at that time. So clever of you to have those memories in photos.
    The streetviews with the running boy and the policemen give a real image of the past times.
    I think the dia's still look quite well.

  6. I can imagine how much work you have put into scanning these slides and fixing them up. I know it takes hours, but it is worth it. It is such a good record.

  7. Your slides have turned out well, you have done an excellent job fixing them and so many too!
    Well that is wonderful what you experienced when young - good on you.

  8. oh to remembet that youthful enthusiasm. Great shots and how wonderful that you have these ! Such a great trip with you!

  9. Loving the scanned pictures! The little kids and the white gloved policeman and the barefoot one...really gives the idea of what it was like!

  10. Gorgeous place to start teaching life Diane, I think you were VERY adventurous. You write so well it's the next best thing to being there. Loved the policeman walking with no shoes. Now that's very laid back :)

  11. i like the shot of the police station and the beach photos.. and you did a greatjob with the slides. at least you have photos from the 60's, i have none

  12. amazing that they would station you there while school was out of session for so long. but what a way to get acclimated!

  13. It really does sound as if you were going to be teaching in a tropical paradise. I'm sure there was much hard work involved, but that beach is beautiful. You've done a wonderful job with these slides.

  14. Looks like a little paradise where you started to work ! The quality of your photos are amazing after all these years ! I only have black and white photos and very few !

  15. Looks like a beautiful place for a first job.. How much money did you make that first year??? My first teaching job in 1965 included a whopping salary of $4110 a year!!!!! ha

    Your slides are remarkably good to be the age they are.


  16. So interesting that you were allocated the school rather than applying to a school of your choice as happened here. Looks like a wonderful place to begin your teaching career.

  17. Diane, your slides may be 50 years old but they still show amazing detail. I am enjoying your story and looking forward to more. Cheers, have a good weekend.

  18. Congs, for your job and a fantastic place to stay!! have a nice day..

  19. Hello Diane, your story gets more and more interesting. I have just been catching up on the past few posts. It is a bit of a culture shock to see all you ladies in your dresses and hats trekking through the jungle on the way to your picnic a few posts back! We are all so casual these days, thankfully so! I also found your story about your first few days there and the morning you hears about President Kennedy being shot. I guess people all over the world and not just here in the USA still remember where they were when they heard the news. I was in my eight-grade home room class in Carlsbad, California. And you were in the tropics on the other side of the world. Life sure is remarkable.

  20. Strange that it doesn't look that different to when I got there for a year of teaching over 20 years later!! I guess progress doesn't move as fast up there ...

  21. I too loved Ela beach. Have you been back since you went finish. I haven't and often think it would be fun to return.

  22. I love each chapter in your story, how wonderful you were sent to such a nice town.

  23. What a big beautiful new world you were exploring! I can't imagine looking down through the floor to fish in the water.

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