Where does this come from?

April 30, 2008 at 6:18 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )



A very interesting piece, the origins of which would be worth investigating. Does anyone out there have any ideas? One collects and does not always remember from where. If you have thoughts on this artifact please comment.

Keep accessing this blog as I intend to upload photos of a priceless collection of Sepik artifacts in the near future.

Don’t be afraid to make comments!

The correct answer or best comment gets a copy of Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk!


Permalink 1 Comment

Shield (Awyu: Papua New Guinea)

April 29, 2008 at 11:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Papua New Guinea)

Shield (Awyu: Papua New Guinea),
originally uploaded by peterjr1961.

An interesting piece, some artifact fanciers might like to comment. I’m trying to place the name: Awyu.

Permalink Leave a Comment

In praise of Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk

April 28, 2008 at 1:46 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )



As a former ASAG Officer I was privileged to live in PNG for over twenty years. I lived in this strange, beautiful land in Taim Bilong Masta. In those slowly declining years of Australian involvement in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea; those transition years leading to premature independence, the time proudly referred to by politicians as: PNG Lukim Nau or Black Masta Olgeta. The view about the untimeliness of independence depends on your assessment of the economy and the political situation when it took place. The point I am simply making is:  I was living in PNG roughly in the same period that the novel by David Wall was set in. Perhaps this fact gives me a certain kinship with the book in knowing the location settings and the type of characters he describes.


This novel by David Wall portrays a topnotch collection of sketches, psychologically impressive, masterfully collated and skillfully presented. The life stories of expatriates from many parts of the world in the administration and in private enterprise are described as they cope successfully or otherwise with living in PNG. In a land where over 700 languages are spoken they communicated with the indigenous as best they could in Pidgin English. One can criticize them and disagree with the attitudes of many expatriates, who are the characters in this novel, while understanding some of their motivations.


Some of the criticism of this novel centres on the attitudes of the characters and too strongly tends to identify the author with these same attitudes. I myself would not endorse all that went on in the PNG of old, however, all criticism should be impartial and not couched in poorly disguised envy.



As one of his admiring readers I sincerely hope that David Wall will continue writing more earthy fiction about far away places. Perhaps a big request but one I know he can fulfill and I extend to him my thanks and as they would say in Port Moresby: Bamahuta turagu (Goodbye my friend).




Frank Sibl

26th April, 2008

Permalink Leave a Comment

Two Male Ancestor Figure (Asmat: Papua New Guinea)

April 25, 2008 at 2:18 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Is the Asmat in PNG? Your comments are welcome! Don’t be frightened to type something in!

Permalink 2 Comments

Anzac Day in Angoram

April 25, 2008 at 12:21 am (Fiction) (, , , , )




A great day to get ‘as pissed as a parrot’ and play two-up!             Bluey Jones



A number of Angoram residents needed little excuse to wipe themselves out with booze but Anzac Day seemed to make this state something of a patriotic duty. There were still a fair number of returned servicemen among the expatriates, and the locals boasted a number of decorated people who had served with allies during the Second World War. This created a sense of bonhomie between the races. It did not mean that many locals were asked to the expatriates’ club for drinks, but at the newly formed Ex-Service Club all races were welcomed on Anzac Day.



The day started with a march around the town led by the local constabulary with Harry Payne taking the salute, and the last post played by a policeman. After the ceremony the expatriate ex-diggers proceeded to the New Guineans’ Ex-Service Club to which they had donated ten cartons of beer.



Allen Warburton, wearing his campaign medals and ribbons, was seen speaking to Pius Naiga, who was wearing his Military Medal. Pius had distinguished himself under fire by single-handedly taking out a Japanese machine-gun post during the famous battle of Shaggy Ridge. It transpired that Allen had also been at Shaggy Ridge and this probably explained why Allen always treated Pius with extreme courtesy. If Pius had dealings with the Sub-District Office, Allen in his capacity as Sub-District Clerk was always most helpful. He also employed Pius’s son and his wife as domestics.



The camaraderie of old soldiers caused Allen to forget any racial prejudice that may have been part of his personality when dealing with other New Guineans. But to be fair to Allen, his attitude towards, in his term, “the natives” ran far deeper than mere prejudice. He was courteous towards everyone, but he considered Anglo-Saxons a superior race and the legitimate rulers of native people. For Allen, being a white man carried the obligation of noblesse oblige. He may have been a racist but he was also a gentleman.



Pius Naiga gave a speech in Pidgin:


Gutpela samting long Masta Warburton, na ol arapela man bung wantaim bilong mipela. Taim bilong pait, Japan liak rausim ol Australia mi helpim ami bilong Australia

Nogut Australia lusim Nu Gini, Australia mama papa bilong mipela.

Tenkyu tru, em tasol!

It is good that Master Warburton and others are here with us.

During the War when the Japanese wanted to drive the Australians out, I helped the Australian Army. It would not be good if Australia leaves New Guinea, as Australia is our mother and father. Thank you sincerely, that is all.


Allen answered:


Ol Australia save wok bilong Nu Gini man long taim bilong pait. Taim soldia bagarap Nu Gini man karim long haus sik, nau helpim planti man.

Lik lik tok tasol, tenkyu tru

All Australians know about how New Guineans helped wounded soldiers and carried them to the hospitals during the War. This was truly very good service. This is only a short talk, but thank you!


Allen proposed a toast to the Queen: Salut long Kwin Salute the Queen.



The whites then proceeded to the club where a two-up game was in full swing. Jim Andrews, the primary school teacher, a Korean War Veteran, was well charged up and in exceptional form. Hundreds of dollars were changing hands. Geoff Sheppard seemed to be on a winning streak and even Fr Bert Brill was in the club looking on. Bill Clayton was in the corner drinking a beer after winning two hundred dollars and was in earnest conversation with Elizabeth Beven, a beautiful mixed-race girl on a visit from Wewak and staying with Carlos Ruiz’s family.



Sam Bell said to James Ward: “Bill wants to be careful over there, she’s gaol bait.”



The question of the age of the girls and women who formed a connection with some of the more licentious, intemperate expatriates at Angoram was a perennial topic of discussion. There had been something of a scandal some years before when an old reprobate had been furtively flown out of the town to avoid legal charges associated with underage girls.


James said to Sam: “Half his luck, she looks old enough to me.”



Any discussion of this nature would have been considered inappropriate: Anzac Day was for present and past diggers, to be celebrated with soldierly talk, two-up and booze. In the words of Des Murray, European Medical Assistant and returned soldier: “Mate, on this day we don’t breach the protocol.” If the protocol dictated two-up, booze and reminiscences of comradeship, the day fully lived up to it in the sanctified confines of the club.



It may have been something of a patriotic duty that caused Elizabeth Beven and Bill Clayton to leave sometime before the festivities concluded at the club, but by the look in their eyes they had other concerns.



The following morning Des Murray showed signs of a gigantic hangover and was full of praise for the dignified way things had gone. He concluded that any illness he might now feel was “due to the eating of green bananas.”



Bill Clayton by his look the next morning obviously had no trouble with green bananas. In fact he had a bounce in his step and a glint in his eye and Elizabeth Beven looked as beautiful as ever, as Bill saw her off on the plane to Wewak.



Harry Payne looked none the worse for wear and he informed Allen Warburton that he was pleased with the way things had gone: “Law and order was maintained and the flag was clearly shown to the locals.” Warburton responded with a nod and a grunt. Warburton considered Payne a pain in the neck, though he would never say it.



The big news in the office was the expected arrival of John MacGregor on transfer from Dreikikir. He was to be second in command to Payne on special duties in the area of political education. Payne said: “I ran into MacGregor in the Gulf District and if he thinks he’s going to be running his own show, he’s got another thought coming.”


“From what I hear, Jock MacGregor is a thorough gentleman,” responded Warburton.



“When I want your opinion I’ll ask for it.” Payne snapped. Warburton realised that the office atmosphere was charged and ready for business as usual.


Excerpt from Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk


Permalink Leave a Comment

Riverview Old Boys 1948-1954 Nostalgia Luncheon 22/04/08

April 24, 2008 at 5:04 am (Commentary) (, , , )

Fr Andy Bullen at Mass reminded us of the importance of place and associated memories. The chapel we were all in now would be such a place for all of us. Some perhaps were even married in this very place after leaving school.

The meeting up of old boys from Jesuit institutions inevitably brings up reminiscences and sometimes rather exaggerated public speeches about the excellence of the old schools. The splendour of a Jesuit education in developing boys spiritually and intellectually has a little bit of truth about it but it’s a little like the statement that all Jesuits are intellectuals. Some are and some aren’t.

In the years I spent at Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview (1950-54), I would say that the school was academically and pedagogically rather poor. The school did produce a few high flyers in the classics and sciences but it did very little in drawing out the potential in intelligent boys who were not coping with the mechanics of numbers and letters in the classroom. As teachers, the staff were a mixed bag. Usually the brighter streamed classes were given the better teachers. There was no library where the inquiring boy could independently research anything. If a boy was religious with an inquisitive disposition, Religious Knowledge classes could lead to lively theological and philosophical discussions but the legalism of Catholicism of the time created barriers stifling meaningful and consequential conclusions. But I suspect that the Jesuits allowed a greater degree of discussion with an element of common sense than for instance the Christian Brothers would ever allow in their schools. I can’t remember that anything much was done to develop any theatrical talents that the boys may have had and debating was largely left to the academic high flyers. In 1954, I remember giving a talk in a Sodality meeting defending the Protestant position on matters religion. Bill Craven who became the Dux of the school, after I finished speaking, turned to me and said: “If Fr Jones had heard you, you would be in the school debating team.”

When I left school I certainly would not have been considered one of its successful sons. I said to a fellow old boy, I neither got my sporting colours or passed the leaving. I rowed in the Eight for three weeks and then was replaced. The coach of the First four once said to our crew: “Everyone knows that Yogi should be in the Eight.” My nickname was Yogi. But the fact remained that I was not in the Eight. I played three competition games in the First Fifteen, you needed to play four to get your colours. I was a reserve in the Senior Athletic Team and in the Leaving, I only passed three subjects. I also mentioned that all this prepared me well in fitting into the Australian inclination to glorify failure.

In old age looking back on my school failures, I would put most of them on being racked with religious scruples which stifled any common sense that I may have had.

The reader by this time would probably think that my thoughts about Riverview are largely negative. Surprise, surprise! This is not the case at all.

I don’t always know exactly why but I have a great deal of affection for the old place. Psychologically it was a first-class place. I can’t remember too much bullying, you certainly were not pushed around too much by the staff, perhaps this was a fault. But I suppose with the saintly Fr John Casey running the School, it could not really be anything else. What a wonderful man ‘Butch’ Connolly was, our 1st Division Prefect for most of the time, incidentally, our Religious Knowledge teacher for two years, a class that I topped. A brilliant teacher, a pity I didn’t have him in secular subjects. ‘OGPU’ Jones, raconteur, larger-than-life character and Rowing Master is unforgettable! Fr Pat Sullivan and Fr John Doyle as spiritual advisers did their best to resolve my religious scruples. Fr Frank Wallace, I always felt, was concerned about the poor academic standards in the school.

My admiration for the School must have continued as I sent my two boys there. I must admit that they have mixed feelings about the place but as they grow older, I’m sure they will more favourably view their time there.

At the gathering it was marvelous to catch up with old friends, Mark Gooden and John Dunford to mention two. John reminded me about our cox in the 2nd Four, Bill Coyle.

The women present on the day seemed to enjoy it.

The Committee arranging the day did a splendid job and at a mundane level I certainly appreciated that there were no up-front charges for the luncheon.

Old OGPU crossed the Rubicon figuratively speaking many times uttering, Iacta alea est, the die is cast, and I was so pleased that on this day I crossed the Lane Cove River to attend a memorable day at Riverview.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Does betelnut kill?

April 17, 2008 at 11:32 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Does betelnut kill?

Betelnut, bilinat, buai

Does betelnut kill? Please leave a comment about this.

Permalink 9 Comments

Progressive and reactionary mix, do opposites attract?

April 17, 2008 at 5:26 am (Fiction, Short Story) (, , , , , , )

Rachael and Andrew Mason resided in an inner city Sydney suburb and to all intents and purposes lived in matrimonal bliss to the wonderment of Rachael’s many friends.

Rachael was at the forefront of most progressive social issues from saving the Aborigines to saving the whales. Andrew on the other hand spent most of his time, since retirement from paid employment, in front of his computer or walking around the house muttering about: “the spirituality of indigenous” and the “power of Islam”. To the superficial observer this might be interpreted to mean that Andrew in some ways identified with Aborigines and Muslims in Australian society. An impression that would be contradictory, to say the least. Andrew’s only real exposure to Aborigines had been to inner city types mainly around Redfern. For the most part he considered these to be anything but spiritual. The only hunters and gatherers among them that he could see were those lurking around Redfern Station intent on snatching bags from unsuspecting passersby or poor ravished individuals begging for “spare change”. As regards Muslims he did not know too many apart from the young Lebanese Australians he saw misbehaving on the trains. On a philosophical level he considered Islam a rather misinformed theological and spiritual way of life that if unchecked could undermine Western Christian values. Of things historical and political he whole heartily agreed with George MacDonald Fraser that the British Empire was “the greatest thing that ever happened to an undeserving world”.

Rachael practically gave up on trying to change Andrew’s views, however, she did point out to him the family values of Aboriginal people and the beauty of Islamic art but this was only occasionally as it lead to futile arguments. Instead she got on with her life of involvement, fighting for various causes. Her social action in the fields of indigenous and multicultural affairs and in battles for social justice in general were recognized by the Australian Government with the award of the Order of Australia Medal.

Rachael and Andrew remained practising Catholics. In later life Andrew still attended Mass on Sundays and kept to most of the rules. He often asked himself if he still believed in it all. Certainly questions of transubstantiation became meaningless for him in later life but he still occasionally went to confession and usually confessed sins of illicit sexual desire, not of action, as there no longer remained much physical sexual ability in him. He did often say that Catholicism had ruined his sex life. For the last years of his married life to Rachael the marriage bed had been given up. They both seemed content enough with this. Andrew liked to say that in his own bed he could fart with impunity. Rachael’s religious practice did not put much faith in doctrine but she strongly related a love of God to a love of humankind.

In his seventies Andrew developed a chronic heart condition. His health became so bad that he was rushed to hospital for bypass surgery. Unfortunately he expired on the operating table.

Rachael was quite devasted with Andrew’s sudden death but she was cheered up with the provisions of Andrew’s will: Andrew had left the bulk of his estate to her but he had also left money so that the services of an Aboriginal elder and an Islamic iman could be employed at his funeral. He said he wanted the Aboriginal elder to perform a smoking ceremony and the iman to read Muslim prayers for the dead.

Rachael found that she had no trouble getting an elder but it proved impossible to get an iman. Apparently, “in the Quran, God prohibits all believers from offering prayers for disbelievers or idol worshippers regardless of whether they are dead or alive.” She suspected that Andrew would have known this and his request would have appealed to his sense of humour.

Rachael arranged a traditional Catholic funeral with the smoking ceremony and to replace the Muslim prayers she insisted that only sausages, mash and green peas with sao biscuits and tea be served at the wake. Andrew, she thought, would have liked this as food had always been a bone of contention in their marriage. She always liked exotic garlic and ginger laced food while Andrew’s liking was for tradional Aussie/English food.

In a sense the last laugh was with Rachael and Andrew would have liked that!

Permalink 1 Comment

Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk analyzed anonymously!

April 15, 2008 at 2:12 am (Commentary) ()

Critical reviews of your novel point out your mistakes so you can learn. All novels receive a variety of reviews.

There are terrible paintings by people who are raving mad, yet are seen as very valuable: Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles, Lucian Freud’s After Cezanne and Brett Whiteley’s works are only good as firewood. Peter Carey’s books are unreadable and disgusting and Richard Flanagan writes offensive rubbish.

Your novel: Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk  To what readship is it addressed? If to PNG expatriates, then why the Pidgin translation? If aimed at the general population your detail of Dr Marek Karski visiting Angoram, for example, would have left them puzzled. Karski visited, drank and worked without visible effect, remarked on the English gentle race and operated on a dying woman very successfully, now the reader will say, so what?

You cannot have leads going nowhere e.g., James Ward’s son goes to Riverview. The reader waits for something to come from this. What happened to him at St Ignatius? If nothing happened, why mention it?

Every novel must tell a story from the very first page. The reader must be interested enough to keep reading.

The drawings are poor and old hat: who did them? We all know haus tambarans, birds of paradise and colourful highlanders. What about a taipan, butterfly or beetle?

The title is wrong too, the lay reader may think it is a novel from Chad or some other African country. I don’t know if there is anything ‘proud’ about a cassowary, that is not Wall speak.

The last thing you need is people not being constructive in their opinions. I could go on for hours!

My work has a lot of faults but I have learnt from that.

Permalink 4 Comments

Memorial figure (uli) Papua New Guinea 19th century CE

April 13, 2008 at 12:29 am (Uncategorized) ()

.Memorial figure (uli) Papua new Guinea 19th century CE

What part of PNG does this come from? I found this picture on the net. Is there anyone out there who can tell me something about it? I must confess it does not look too PNG to me! Click on the photo for more information.

Permalink 4 Comments

Next page »

%d bloggers like this: