Matupi eruption, June 1941, Surrender leaflet, January 1942

March 31, 2010 at 5:05 am (Pacific war, Papua New Guinea, Rabaul) (, , , , )

Matupi eruption, Rabaul, June 1941

Leaflet dropped over Rabaul & Kokopo

Explanation of leaflet by R.K.Walls, AIF Sgt in New Britain at the time

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Jan J. Saave

March 27, 2010 at 5:08 am (expatriates, malaria control, Papua New Guinea, PNG, PNG Health) (, , , , , , , , )

Dr Jan SAAVE, OBE (4 October 2006, aged 86 years)

From early post Pacific War to beyond Independence Jan was a government Medical Officer in PNG and for many years directed the Malaria Eradication Program. Harry West

Source: PNGAA Obituaries

Dave Wall catches up with his former boss

In 1999 & 2000, Dave Wall, met up again, with his much admired, and former boss, Dr Jan J. Saave, Medico extraordinaire, Malariologist, Maestro, Mentor, Linguist,  and Officer of the British Empire. The years they served together, in Papua New Guinea, enhanced the respect Dave had for Jan, and in their meetings in Sydney, so well captured in the above photos, we see clearly the deference and respect shown by Dave towards Jan.

Jim Van Der Kamp said,

April 1, 2010 at 2:39 am

The first Malariologist in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea was Dr.Peters who insisted that he be given sufficient funds to run a Malaria Eradication Programme being extremely expensive but limited in time. He was denied this and told to run a Control Programme, cheaper but unlimited in time. Peters resigned and Dr Jan J Saave who was a surgeon in Rabaul, took up the post under the condition that he would not be interferred with. This was approved and more or less gave him a free go as how to run his Mal-Con programme. One great disadvantage was that he was not permitted to recruit European staff overseas which left him with only being able to recruit Europeans already in the Terrtory. Dr. Peters by the way became Professor Peters of the Department of Parasitology at the Liverpool University, U.K.
Dr Saave took on his new position with great enthusiasm. He was a very hard worker. He soon became known for his extarordinairy word choices and abbreviations. I remember: WAF, Walking About Fever, CBF, Confirmed to Bed Fever. DDD, Drug Distributin Day, amongst many more. On his visits he would give his field officers a notebook full of assignments, and he must have known that it was virtually impossible to complete all these tasks in the given time. However, he never commented if a task was not fulfilled. Off duty he was a great lover of good food and liked his cold beer, in scooners. When he was promoted, the programme was never the same, never so exciting and colourful. Dr Saave would never say, E.g: “Now listen Jim” but it was always: “My dear friend” with his index finger up. He made a lot of friends but unfortunately it was inevitable to have made enemies as well.
I always remained grateful to him for having recruited me in January 1965 in Port Moresby. I was only 24 years old.

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Bob Becke’s photos from the Western District and the East Sepik District

March 22, 2010 at 5:37 am (Angoram, Papua New Guinea) (, , , )

Jock McIntyre & Bob Becke, Western District, PNG, 1960

Bob Becke with May & Harry Marchant, Two called to the bar at the Angoram Club, Jim McKinnon, Esther & Jim Stevens

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Postcard, 1970

March 22, 2010 at 4:36 am (Angoram, Papua New Guinea) (, , )

Angoram Hotel Sepik. Houseboat and powered canoes for guided tours along the mighty Sepik River. Angoram, Sepik District, New Guinea Photo Uwe Steinward (C) GNG 70

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The passing of a great, good and honest PNG leader

March 18, 2010 at 12:52 am (Papua New Guinea, Wewak) (, , , , , )

Bernard Narokobi

It was with sadness that I heard of the death of Bernard, a good and great man. My wife, Deborah, when she was press secretary to the leader of the opposition in 1973-4 and I were in a flat next to a flat occupied by Bernard and his family in Port Moresby.

I can’t claim to have known Bernard well but everything I heard of him was good. He was a good friend of  mutual friends, Peter Kimmins and Fr John O’Toole.

Bernard Narokobi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Papua New Guinea

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Papua New Guinea


Bernard Narokobi (born 1936 or 1937, died March 2010[1]) was a Papua New Guinean politician andphilosopher. He was serving as the Papua New Guinean High Commissioner to New Zealand prior to his death. Between 1987 and 1997 he represented his Wewak Open Electorate as a Member in the Papua New Guinea’s National Parliament. During his time as a Member of Parliament (MP), he served as the Minister for Justice (1988-1992) in the government led by the then Prime Minister Rabbie Namaliu; Agriculture Minister (1992-1994) under the leadership of Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan led government; and Opposition Leader between 1998 and 2002 until he lost his seat to the current Wewak MP Kimson Kare during the elections in 2002. He was displaced as a minister in the Chan government for failing to vote in favour of constitutional reforms in the provincial system of government.

In April 2009, The Guardian described him as one of Papua New Guinea’s “living national icons”, along withMichael Somare and Mal Michael.[2]

[edit]Background and family life

Bernard Narokobi was born in 1937 in his native Wautogik village to his father Anton (Kukum) Narokobi and mother Maria Mokoi and was the second eldest of five siblings. His siblings were Veronica, Apolonia, Caroline and Camillus. Camillus his younger and only brother is intending to stand for the Wewak Open seat. Camillus is also a lawyer in his own right at the family law firm, Narokobi Lawyers.[citation needed]

Bernard was a widower, having lost his wife Regina to breast cancer in 2007. He had 7 children: Vergil, Daniel, Anna, Justina, Ottonia, Benedine and Regina (twins). Bernard’s son Vergil is also a lawyer and after completing a bachelors degree in law with honours at the University of Papua New Guinea, he went on to do his Masters in law at Cambridge University. His daughter Anna has also recently completed her degree in law in Australia.

His father Anton was taught by pioneer Catholic missionaries and became one of the early catechists who served the people of Boiken and Dagua villages through teaching the Catholic faith. Bernard Narokobi started primary education at the Dagua Catholic Mission and then went to Brandi High School in Wewak, East Sepik Province where he was taught by Michael Somare who latter became the first Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. From Brandi High School he went on to matriculate at the then Kerevat Senior High School in East New Britain Provincebefore going off to Australia where he undertook a degree in law at the University of Sydney in the 1960s. Bernard was amongst the first few Papua New Guineans to receive education abroad. In those days, preparations were underway for Papua New Guinea to gain political independence from Australia. Soon after completing his law degree, Bernard Narokobi was recruited to become the Permanent Consultant to the Constitutional Planning Committee that was chaired by his former teacher Michael Somare. Bernard Narokobi thus had a personal hand in the writing of what became the Constitution when Papua New Guinea gained independence in 1975.

Bernard died in March 2010 after a brief illness. Prime Minister Michael Somare paid tribute to him as “a humble man who dedicated his life to the development of a legal regime that incorporates Melanesian values”.[3]

[edit]Political career

After PNG gained independence, Bernard Narokobi held several jobs including serving as the legal advisor to the provincial government in his home province, East Sepik, he also worked as a private lawyer, a lecturer in law at the University of Papua New Guinea and had a stint as an acting judge in the Papua New Guinea National and Supreme Courts. He has published a number of papers and articles which are scattered in various journals and several books including The Melanesian WayLife and Leadership in Melanesia and Lo Bilong Yumi Yet and a short book of fiction entitled Two Seasons.

Bernard Narokobi aligned with a team of like minded Papua New Guineans to start their Melanesian Alliance Party. The original founders of this Party include John Momis, John Kaputin and Moi Avei. John Momis was the Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Planning Committee which recruited Bernard Narokobi as their Permanent Consultant. Bernard Narokobi became actively involved in politics when he decided to contest the national elections in 1982 where he ran an unusuccessful campaign against his former teacher Michael Somare for the East Sepik Regional Seat. Learning from his failed election in 1982, Bernard Narokobi entered Parliament in 1987 after toppling Tony Bais in the Wewak Open Electorate. He enjoyed three terms as the Member for Wewak and was defeated in the 2002 elections. As a lawyer and thinker, Bernard Narokobi was a firm believer in human rights, a staunch advocate of Melanesian philosophy and identity, and he supported strongly the call for a free and independent West Papua. He was also a devout and a highly respected member of the Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea.[4]


  1. ^ “Former PNG Parliamentary Speaker, Bernard Narakobi, dies”, Radio New Zealand International, March 11, 2010
  2. ^ “Country profile: Papua New Guinea”The Guardian, April 23, 2009
  3. ^ “PM pays tribute to Narokobi”The National
  4. ^ Ton Otto, Nicholas Thomas (1997), Narratives Of Nation In The South PacificRoutledgeISBN 9057020858

2. Extract from Bernard Narokobi’s “The Melanesian Way”

3. Extract from Utula Samana’s “Papua New Guinea: Which Way?” re. Narokobi’s influence

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Love in a Hot Climate by A.C.T. Marke

March 8, 2010 at 8:14 am (expatriates, Papua New Guinea, Somerset) (, , , , , , , )

A.C.T. Marke, what a fine figure of a man!

A.C.T. Marke & John Kelly in the wilds of PNG
Marke, in a reflective mood, before the publication of LOVE ON THE RUN and LOVE IN A HOT CLIMATE
“Will Temlett Conibeer never learn?”

Andy Marke does it a again with his latest novel,  Love in a Hot Climate.

Extensive reviews and commentaries will follow. You are urged to get a copy before supplies run out.


Love in a Hot Climate

Available from Frogmouth Press

PO Box 90, Ainslie ACT 2602

Mobile: 0428833212

$30 a copy posted to you

Hot off the press!



Review by Maurice Thibaux

Andrew Marke’s second book, Love in a Hot Climate, comes at the right time with the screening of the documentary on the Kokoda campaign on the ABC for ANZAC day to remind us that New Guinea was once part of the Empire and Australia. Even though Marke’s second book is again meant as a light-hearted account of the sexual adventures of a malaria eradication officer in New Guinea in the 60s, the jungle assumes a foreboding presence over the proceedings. His hero is still looking for the woman of his dream and the jungle is more part of his strategy here than just a backdrop to his hi-jinx amorous quest. 

This book may be highly entertaining for those ex Territorians who want to relive the good ol’ days, it is not a travelogue for those who are seeking exotic sensations in a wild location. They may miss the jokes altogether. The jungle of New Guinea is treated with as much familiarity as the fells of Cornwall in the early chapters of the two books, where his character starts his journey. The atmosphere is set at a brisk pace. “Tough if you don’t get it, seems to say Marke, this is not a romantic novel”. 

When you are reminded of the gruelling trek Australian soldiers had to endure on the Kokoda trail, you get a hint of the harrowing experience it would have been for one (amongst many) of our hero’s young English female companion who ends up for several days and nights in her underwear in the middle of this jungle in one of the most memorable episode in the book, after their Land Rover is swamped by a swollen river. 

And yet, the hero and the young lady spend several days and nights, soaked to the bone in tropical rain, discussing Victorian literature and other such pressing matters, while waiting for the odd passing native, Ariel-like, to bring them some fresh supplies from a village that we never discover. This requires a fair suspension of disbelief or perhaps a highly developed sense of humour, of which only the English have the secret. The book is indeed subtitled “Further exciting and very funny adventures of Temlett etc.”. I wonder. I would have called it The Tempest no.2, since the Shakespearian analogy is uncanny with Temlett as Prospero running the show and weaving his magic and a cast of colourful characters very similar to old Bill’s . 

Unlike the first book, which got me cracking up at times, this book did not produce such mirth. It made me smile but not in the same way, but, as in the previous book, there are moments of pathos and even tragedy. Sure there are a few crazy characters in the stories, such as, French, Marcel, who keeps murdering the English language with near fatal consequences, or, German, Erik, who has very set views on women and proper behaviour, which he cannot reconcile with the sexual revolution of the 60s, or, Aussie, David Ware who keeps coming up with the most inventive ways of making money. 

Literary references and Latin quotations abound and sound as fantastic in this book as Pink Floyd’s music in the film, The Valley, by Barbet Schroeder about a lost paradise deep in the New Guinea highlands. The places where Marke takes us with Temlett do feel like that: a lost paradise of earthly pleasures that regularly turn to disaster. Nature vs nurture but, this time, it seems that nature won. Sorry Bill.

Despite the almost unbelievable situations in which his hero puts himself, Marke keeps us hoping that, this time, he will reach marital bliss with one after another curvaceous creature. Oh, yes, I forgot: this book is definitely not for women, who will loathe it with a vengeance. You are warned! I repeat: this is not a romantic novel, quite the contrary. A mixture of religious inhibitions and traditional Victorian morality and good manners seem to prevent him from achieving his marital plans.Nevertheless, again in this book, there is a lovely story at the end about a child that is quite sad and moving. But perhaps, this is what is so endearing about his character and the writer: the chase is certainly exciting and the women an essential ingredient, but it seems to be the child who is the real purpose. He may have inadvertently discovered the meaning of life or a new literary form. In a way Marke has revived the Victorian novel in the context of the sexual revolution. 

I read it twice because I could not think of anything better to read (I finished Les Miserables in between – thanks for reminding me). It left me gasping at some blunt statements, but it is so full of details and references of all kinds, except about what you would expect: the jungle and the natives. Occasionally we are reminded that they are around when he mentions briefly: “they had bidden goodbye to the Councillor and villagers and were off”. Ah! I almost forgot we were in PNG.


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Angoram Hotel

March 1, 2010 at 2:29 am (Angoram, PNG) (, , , )

Postcard, Angoram Hotel

Angoram Hotel, 1969

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What a tragedy!

March 1, 2010 at 1:42 am (PNG) (, , )

Logging ‘destroying PNG’: Ex-missionary

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Published Date: March 1, 2010

Logging ‘destroying PNG’: Ex-missionary thumbnail

Environmental vandalism by loggers in Papua New Guinea is destroying the nation and its people, according to former Australian missionary, Br Jim Coucher.

Br Coucher worked in and near Vanimo on the north-west coast of PNG for 43 years until five years ago. The Age reports. Just returned from his first visit since, he was utterly horrified at the changes, he said, the speed of destruction caused by logging and corruption, and the plight of the local people.

”I don’t think anyone has an idea of the extent of logging, and I don’t think anything can be done,” Br Coucher said. He does not want his religious order identified for fear of reprisals against members still working in Papua New Guinea.

A PNG landowner now living in Australia said that loggers came on to his land without consultation or compensation, and stockpiled logs there. The landowner, a sub-clan chief, said loggers destroyed a creek that had provided fish for his villagers.

”Malnutrition is rampant. It is horrible to see young mothers who are skin and bone. There is no sanitation, no running water – it is a time bomb,” the landowner said. ”They are logging Vanimo to its death.”

Br Coucher said the villagers were worse off than 20 years ago, because the logging companies and the government don’t put anything back.

Soldiers and police guard the logging camps under corrupt arrangements, prostitution and AIDS had become rife, and people could not support their families, he said. Logging practices by Malaysian companies in PNG have long been of international concern, but Br Coucher said matters were much worse in Vanimo and Sandaun Province because it was so remote.

”At first they welcome the loggers because they think it might mean money, but in fact they get very little out of it. The loggers don’t do any replanting or clearing up at all … and they give no benefits to the people. They use bulldozers to drag the logs, which creates all sorts of problems with erosion.”

In all the years the loggers had been in Sandaun there had been no development, Br Coucher said, except for some work by AusAid on a hospital and putting bitumen on the road.


Rampant logging ‘destroying PNG’ (The Age)


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