Two famous Margarets: visitors to Angoram

July 27, 2011 at 3:25 am (Angoram, Commentary, John Pasquarelli, Margaret Mead, Margaret Olley, Papua New Guinea, Peter Johnson, Sepik River)

While the many visits of Margaret Mead to Angoram, the famous American cultural anthropologist, are well known and legendary, perhaps the one visit in 1968 (I think this was the year.) of Margaret Olley, the famous Australian painter, who died yesterday 26th July, is not so well known.
Peter Johnson in his email to John Pasquarelli poignantly reminds us of Margaret Olley’s visit:

Dear John,
I know you were quite close friends with Margaret, and am sure you are, as I am, saddened by the news today of her death.
I am in your debt for causing me the pleasure of hosting her at Angoram for several weeks, she was a delight to know and a good cook too! I was really a dumb young bloke then, as I wouldn’t sit for her – in too much of a hurry to get to the late lamented Angoram Club.
I never saw her again, but closely missed her on several occasions when she had left notes for me – it was always just too late!
Her biographer wrote about her Angoram stay, “that she stayed in a riverside house with some patrol officer” I took the liberty of writing to her with a bit of a whinge…she sent me a copy of her book with the passage crossed out and “no, I stayed with my friend, Peter Johnson.” Written in, in her own hand. This is now something to treasure!
Just a few thoughts of happier days.

Pete

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