Komuniti, monthly newsletter, Angoram Community Centre

September 8, 2008 at 7:32 am (Bob Mackie, Commentary, David Wall, East Sepik District, Fr Fons Ruijter, Norm Liddle) (, , , , , , , )

Vol. 1 No. 1 January 1973

Angoram- – – then, today, tomorrow     Paul Niaga

Too little is known about the sub- district of Angoram. The expatriates who have lived in Angoram come and go barely leaving notes and records that could go down in the sub- district’s history. As a human interest feature, Komuniti  has interviewed four old-timers who have seen the growth of the town over the last ten years.

Bob Mackie, a labor recruiter in his heyday has seen Angoram in the ’50s; Norm Liddle, a sawmiller and trader has been here in the ’60s; Fr Fons Ruijter, Angoram parish priest and Dave Wall, malaria area supervisor who both came here in the ’60s.

The stories of these men have found their way in the archives of Angoram’s past carried on today and perhaps tomorrow.

Bob Mackie:  In the ’50s, there were no motor boats and motor vehicles. There were only one or two stores which sold brown rice, tin fish and other general merchandise goods. I remember in those days, the locals were not allowed to drink beer. And one of the most prevalent crimes was rape. Other than that, the town was relatively peaceful in the ’50s.

As for racial discrimination, I have not seen any such thing.


Norm Liddle:  I have been here since 1963 and I have not seen many changes take place. Economically, Angoram is still the same. I think the people should be trained and given skills in producing basic products.

I have no opinion on racial problems. I think such problems come from people who teach hatred for each other due to trivial differences.

Political awareness in this country to day is still nil. In the first election, Bill Eichhorn stood as a candidate and lost. If he had campaigned well, he would have won easily. Until now, the people have no idea what elections are all about.


Fr Fons Ruijter:  Angoram has improved a little since the ’60s. The trade stores have improved and increased in number. The public servants’ houses are far better than in those days. The airstrip has been renovated. We in the ’70s have a local government centre now. The artifacts and crocodile industries have now grown to surpass the sawmill industry.

In the ’60s, the majority were working for private enterprises whereas now, most are administration employees. This why I think Angoram has turned into an administrative town in the ’70s. The cream of the town’s income come from there.

There is a higher level of political awareness in the ’70s than in the ’60s. There are more political meetings now where people can watch and listen. Radio stations also hasten political awareness.

After self government, I think race relations will be pretty good in Angoram. Many jobs will be localised leaving just a few Europeans working here. Once self government is achieved, race relations will not be a great problem.

But after self government, Angoram will remain economically the same. Incidentally, I must say that the majority of Angoram  residents living by the river banks will have to move to where the source of income is. To have more prospects of economic growth, the local people I think should take interest in Gavien projects, cultivate the land gradually by growing rice, coffee, coconuts from now and onward.


Dave Wall:  I first came to Angoram in 1965. I have witnessed two House of Assembly elections, five different ADCs, four medical officers, three school headmasters and three old expatriate families who have gone away. Having assisted in the survey of the Land Settlement Scheme in Gavien, I have seen the development of some agricultural blocks in this area. And yet, I don’t think the physical growth of Angoram has been remarkable. It is only by remaining as a government station that Angoram can have bright hopes of prospering. It is only Angoram’s economic viability that will guarantee and insure its future.

As far as political awareness is concerned, I am optimistic that more and more people will participate in government activities. The increase in the Sepik student population is encouraging. One good example of the ability of the Sepik people is Mr Michael Somare who emerged as this country’s chief minister.

If the government will be run by sensible leaders like Mr Somare, the development of Papua New Guinea will be assured.

Deborah Ruiz Wall, Editor / Paul Niaga, Managing Editor / Pius Balai, Pius Kinok, Herman Leni, Reporters/

Catholic Mission, Publisher /    Komuniti is the Angoram newsletter published monthly to disseminate information and encourage discussions on important issues as a public service to the community. The opinions expressed therein are not necessarily of the staff.

See: https://deberigny.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/chief-minister-michael-somare-visits-angoram-feb-1973/#respond

Letter from the District Commissioner

Deborah Ruiz Wall looks at Angoram in 1973



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