First House of Assembly Election Day at Yassip Catholic Mission 1964

April 1, 2008 at 11:50 pm (Commentary, East Sepik District) ()

First House of Assembly Election Day at Yassip Catholic Mission 1964
This photo is rather historical for what it depicts and the memories it conjures up for me. Yassip was in the area under the control of the Dreikikir Patrol Post. In 1964 the Patrol Officer at Dreikikir was Jock McIntyre, a storybook Scotsman both large in stature and personality and the priest at Yassip was Fr Jünemann, a Hanoverian rather small in size but more than large in his spiritual qualities: humble, charming and devout. According to Dr Shelley Durham, who spoke German with a Bavarian accent, Fr Jünemann’s accent was of the most refined high German variety.

Initially, Jock because of his Presbyterian background was a little ambivalent about the prospect of meeting Fr Jünemann when he was contemplating a patrol to the Kombi census division, the division where Yassip was. But on meeting,  these two charming, urbane and admirable individuals got on famously, particularly after the good Father produced a bottle of altar wine.

There’s no doubt PNG threw up some extraordinary people the like of which I suspect we’ll not see again.

The extraordinary historical event in the picture is the villagers taking part in the democratic process of selecting a member of the first House of Assembly. From memory on this occasion it was Pita Lus who became the member for Dreikikir.  I don’t think Pita Lus was the candidate of choice for the Kombi people. But there we see the beginnings of the processes of democratic nation building.

(Click on SVD MISSIONARY WITH FRIENDS — Source: Sent by the Word —  This shows a photo of Fr Jünemann with friends at Timbunke, 1987.)

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1 Comment

  1. deberigny said,

    ‘In 1964 the Patrol Officer at Dreikikir was Jock McIntyre, a storybook Scotsman both large in stature and personality and the priest at Yassip was Fr Jünemann, a Hanoverian rather small in size but more than large in his spiritual qualities: humble, charming and devout.’

    Good! now correct – ‘stature’ – Not ‘statue’, as before!!

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