Photographic memories

November 30, 2013 at 11:41 pm (Angoram, artifacts, Bob Mackie, Commentary, Deborah Ruiz Wall, Don Bosgard, Dr Jan J Saave, East Sepik District, expatriates, Fr Fons Ruijter, Goya Henry, H.B.G. Larkin, Jim McKinnon, John Bowers, Kami Raymundus, Kevin Trueman, Michael Somare, Papua New Guinea, Paul Dennett, Peter Johnson, Photos, Sepik floods, Somare, Temlett Conibeer, W.M. Hughes)

Don Pybus in Sydney

Don Pybus in Sydney


Dieter with Peter Johnson, Sepik Ironman Competition, 07/06/2009

Dieter with Peter Johnson, Sepik Ironman Competition, 07/06/2009

Greetings from Goya 1968

Greetings from Goya 1968

A.C.T. Marke & John Kelly in the wilds of PNG

A.C.T. Marke & John Kelly in the wilds of PNG

1958 Leeton, contemplates a world trip  1961 Troppo on Kar Kar Island  1963 Driekikir

1958 Leeton, contemplates a world trip 1961 Troppo on Kar Kar Island 1963 Driekikir

Bill Eichhorn, MBE » Bill Eichhorn, successful entrepreneur and politician at home on the Keram River

Bill Eichhorn, successful entrepreneur and politician at home on the Keram River

Dave Wall at Kekten Village

Dave Wall at Kekten Village

William & Rosa Batak, Kekten Village

William & Rosa Batak, Kekten Village


Ralf Stüttgen

Ralf Stüttgen

Sago 3   Sago 2   Sago Memories, thanks to Bob Beeke   Jock   Bob Beeke   Angoram Hotel


kami,Torembi Village

kami,Torembi Village

Dave Wall & Jan Saave, some years after they left PNG

Dave Wall & Jan Saave, some years after they left PNG

Sue Treutlein & Bob Mackie at the Angoram Club

Sue Treutlein & Bob Mackie at the Angoram Club

Sanam Kabasse & Dave Wall

Sanam Kabasse & Dave Wall

Wewak Hospital

Wewak Hospital

Hand-written letter from W.M. Hughes to H.B.G. Larkin 2

Michael Somare, Angoram, 1973

Graeme Jones, Robyn Faulkner, Co-op Manager, Dave Bretherton, Jan Matysek, Clare & Des Hill, Bruce Ross, Pat Bretherton, Ella Lucas, Ronnie Lucas

Graeme Jones, Robyn Faulkner, Co-op Manager, Dave Bretherton, Jan Matysek, Clare & Des Hill, Bruce Ross, Pat Bretherton, Ella Lucas, Ronnie Lucas

outside the church 2

On the left, Eva Waramapi

On the left, Eva Waramapi


  1960sAngoram 1960s

The Rev. John Spender

The Rev. John Spender

David Augustus Wall & John Bowers in Como, early 1980s

David Augustus Wall & John Bowers in Como, early 1980s

Cedric Wyatt, Rick Wyatt, CWyatt - a legend in his own time!

Cedric Wyatt, Rick Wyatt, CWyatt – a legend in his own time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

png3bnew-shots-224new-shots-208paul-david-danAngoram 1960s

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Great things in store for Angoram, and other parts, perhaps?

October 17, 2013 at 7:11 am (Angoram, Commentary, East Sepik Province, Michael Somare, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River)


Sir Michael promises a lot – the big question is will anything eventuate? Only time will tell, but don’t hold your breath!

We should all have faith, hope and charity, but perhaps in this case hope will predominate. One can never tell what might happen!

However, now that the Father of the Nation has stepped foward we have no need to worry too much about comments by Phil Fitzpatrick, and others.


PNG politicians by in large don’t need to worry about the local health and education facilities in their own country, because if they or their families get sick they can always seek treatment overseas, and the appalling local education opportunities don’t really matter to them and their children as expensive schools and universities beckon in foreign parts!

As for saying anything in support of their Melanesian brothers and sisters in the Western part of New Guinea under the brutal genocidal rule of Indonesia; PNG politicians are usually found wanting!

The past Australian Colonial Administration can usually be blamed for all the present ills – I see no merit in this, but one could perhaps argue that post-colonial Australian relations and aid have done little to encourage better government in PNG.

Like the Ancient Mariner of old, Australia has made the whole island of New Guinea an albatross hanging around its neck!

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From the PNG Press!

October 3, 2013 at 5:05 am (Angoram, Commentary, East Sepik Province, Michael Somare, PNG, Press Freedom, Wewak)



(Click on the above links to read these interesting items.)

Two pieces of news from The National Newspaper: One reader described the first as gobbledegook, and the second as a sick joke! .

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A reunion of those who knew Angoram in the old days

September 18, 2013 at 8:53 am (Angoram, Commentary)





Or just make a comment on the blog.

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Ministry of Sex for the Elderly

September 17, 2013 at 4:23 am (Angoram, Commentary, Donald Gordon Bosgard, East Sepik District, Sepik River)

A Tribute to Comrade Stalin

This is a true account of an initiate taken and proposed by the great Stalin when he was still General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on the 17th of May 1952.

He announced that he intended to create a new ministry under the Council of Ministers, and this ministry was to be headed by a comrade who at the time resided in faraway New Guinea in a town on the Sepik River called Angoram.

This new ministry was to be responsible for all sexual activity undertaken by Soviet Citizens over fifty years of age, and was to be called Sex for the Elderly. All successful sexual orgasms by the elderly were to be recorded, and kept in the Ministry of Sex for the Elderly.

You can imagine what an uproar this caused in the Central Committee.

Molotov and Khrushchev respectively asked Stalin, why this new Ministry was necessary?  In their opinion, as Soviet Citizens the elderly did not, and should not indulge in sexual activity.

To this Comrade Stalin responded, by pointing out to them that he himself was an old man, and were they questioning his right to have sex. Their only answer was to recognize the General Secretary’s right.

The discussion then moved to questions about this Comrade in Angoram – who is he?

Stalin pointed out to them that he is a Georgian, and in the early days of the revolution he was always with him. After Lenin died he left the Soviet Union, and under an assumed name studied for a liberal arts degree at Oxford University, specialising in Sexology. After this, he moved to Australia, ending up in PNG on the Sepik River. The name of this gentleman was only given guarded mention, but Stalin assured the Committee that he was well known to Temoshenko, and Bulganin. Also the concept of Socialism in one country was very dear to him.

Because it would be well-nigh impossible for him to proceed to the Soviet Union without direct assistance Stalin directed that a submarine be sent to the mouth of the Sepik River to collect him.

During these discussions Stalin only ever gave the man in question the name, Nikolai.

He informed the Committee that Nikolai had been discreetly informed of his appointment, and gladly accepted it. He was told to proceed to a village called Kopar, at the mouth of the Sepik, and await developments.

To the reader there may be aspects of this tale that appears to be purely fictional, but there is local evidence that supports the validity of this account.

In the early nineteen sixties I spoke to a well- known local identity, Potoman. He was a native of Kambaramba Village, and a domestic servant for a number of expats in Angoram.

He spoke of a Masta Charles, who spent a lot of time in Kambaramba, and then suddenly disappeared after going down river.

Don Bosgard, the President of the Angoram Club from the late fifties to the early seventies, told me there was a character in and around Angoram who was known to the locals as Masta Charles. Don did meet him once or twice, and to him, he seemed to be an Eastern European who spoke English with a slight English accent. Well, he was around, and suddenly was no more to be seen! Don also told me he’d seen a letter from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation dated in the early fifties, asking the Kiap in Angoram to keep his eyes open, as a suspect Soviet agent was in the area.

I can’t get any direct information about the Ministry of Sex for the Elderly in the Soviet Union. We know that Comrade Stalin died in 1953, and perhaps this didn’t give him enough time to fully support Nikolai and the Ministry.

I sometimes wonder if Guy Burgess heard anything of the Ministry of Sex for the Elderly. He and Maclean fled to the Soviet Union in 1951.

As to Nikolai maybe he had an orgasm with an elderly Soviet Citizen, and just passed away.

Lapun Willie, a doktaboi in Angoram, and a native of Kopar Village, at the mouth of the Sepik, told me of many strange things that happened near his village, after a white man arrived there around about the time we are looking at. This man he said suddenly disappeared, and there occurred a number of unusual happenings at the mouth of the river with lights going on and off.

Whatever else happens, it’s important that these historical facts are recorded for posterity.

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A part of me remains in the Sepik forever!

September 16, 2013 at 2:43 am (Angoram, Commentary, East Sepik District, Sepik River)

I recently watched: “An Englishman Abroad  a 1983 BBC television drama film, based on the true story of a chance meeting of an actress, Coral Browne, with Guy Burgess (Alan Bates), a member of the Cambridge spy ring who worked for the Soviet Union whilst with MI6. The production was written by Alan Bennett and directed by John Schlesinger; Browne stars as herself.”

Source: Wikipedia

In this Burgess is portrayed as something like a fish out of water. He is exiled to Moscow, but still remains an Englishman through and through.

For some strange reason, which to me just now is not obvious, I thought of the numbers of former PNG expatriates now living abroad from Papua New Guinea with that country still deeply imbedded in their hearts.

For those of us who went there as young people, the experiences and the people we encountered have remained with us forever.

As a young man of nineteen I worked on a plantation in Papua.

What a strange inexperienced, racist, and rather objectionable individual I was in those days – a person indoctrinated with a Catholic view of sexuality which condoned only one form of sexual activity outside of marriage – the wet dream!

I can remember being rather amazed to learn that some whites had sexual relations with the local woman. One Australian acquaintance explained things to me like this: “Don’t worry about it young chap, they get whiter and whiter the longer you stay here!” I think he thought to himself where to hell I came from.

You, I’m sure, can imagine the stupid way I sought to direct and control the labourers on the plantation – for my troubles I was somewhat sorted out by four of them, and severely bashed up – something I well deserved, but unfortunately they were sent to prison for it.

I must say I did improve after this, and two years travelling around the world did wonders for me! But PNG still beckoned, and I did a stint working on plantations near Rabaul and Madang.

After this I was very fortunate to meet Dr Jan J. Saave, who was head of the Malaria Control Service with the Department of Public Health. Jan was a legend, in his own time, and reams could be written about him. He saw something in me and employed and posted me to the East Sepik District, where I more or less stayed for the rest of my time in PNG.

Probably where I really came into my own was after my posting to Angoram. It was there that I meet and worked with the river people – the Keram and Grass Country people.

In Angoram the expats developed a certain affinity with the local people. The women of Kambaramba Village were often more than welcoming to the single white males there – images of enchanting black bodies still linger in my subconscious. At this stage I didn’t just have to wait for wet dreams!

I do still return to the Sepik, usually each year. It saddens me to see the breakdown of government services in the country. But the old people remain the same, and are still very dear to me.

Guy Burgess, by all accounts, in spite of his supposed treason remained an Englishman at heart. David Wall, in spite of many misdeeds, and some good deeds, remains forever a PNG expat with a love of the country and its people.

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A tribute to the late Kevin Trueman by Peter Johnson

June 27, 2013 at 9:19 am (Angoram, Angoram Club, East Sepik District, East Sepik Province, expatriates, Kevin Trueman, Maprik, Papua New Guinea, Peter Johnson, Sepik River, Vanuatu, Wewak)


Long-time Pacific Islands Identity

(b. Winchester, England 20 September, 1944   d. Port Vila, Vanuatu 7 June, 2013)


Kevin Trueman whose sudden death at Port Vila, Vanuatu, the former New Hebrides Condominium, on the night of 7 June, 2013 surprised and shocked his family and multitude of friends around the South Pacific islands.

Kevin, of English and Irish parentage, was born in the ancient cathedral city of Winchester, Hampshire, England.   His family migrated to Australia whilst Kevin was still in his teens.   After several ordinary jobs he teemed up with Sava Maksic in kangaroo and crocodile hunting ventures.   They sold their crocodile skins to an Armenian reptile skin tanner, Arshak Catchatoor Galstaun, and in 1967 they came, as two young married couples to Angoram, where Galstaun was the new proprietor of England’s Hotel; the ladies managed the hotel and Kevin and Sava shot the Sepik crocodiles. Neither the job not the partnership lasted long, for Kevin was not by nature an employee…he was soon trading, shooting and artefact dealing on his own account travelling the Sepik River in the Heron, a small trawler he bought from  Nils Madsen.

Two lovely daughters, Laena and Justine were born in Wewak, and Kevin’s restless enthusiasm saw him move to Wewak in about 1971 to take advantage of the booming coffee industry around the Maprik area.   Kevin put in 10 and 12 hour working days, and still had time for a hectic social life. He took virtual charge of building the Wewak Yacht Club, was for several years the Commodore, and  subsequently made a life member.

In 1976 he built a steel work-boat Elenjay and sailed her to Honiara and Port Vila, I was privileged to be a crew member on that adventurous voyage – the only other crew was a pot smouldering Kiwi hippy yachtie who neither of us knew! On arrival Kevin was jailed for a day for the illegal landing of an unnamed vessel flying no national flag. The prosecuting Harbour Master later became a good friend and helped Kevin to secure a coastal coxen’s ticket. Kevin succeeded in selling his boat, eventually coming back to New Guinea to buy and sell another after trading around the islands for a while.

An entrepreneur who saw the “big picture”, Kevin, around 1980 invested in an ocean-going freighter, the Bismarck Sea, later expanding with a second. He tramped between Australia, New Guinea, the Philippines and Vietnam, but a serious accident at Palau and difficulties with the waterside workers of evil memory, and “big line” competition caused the closure of this enterprise…he turned his thoughts and attention to the land; in 1983 he bought “Wetlands Station” near Augathella in western Queensland – my sons and I enjoyed a week of the Truemans’ wonderful hospitality there, shooting, eating and with my sons joining the girls at School of the Air lessons.

Around 1990 Kevin was asked to return to Wewak to manage a recovery of the troubled Sepik Producers Coffee Association, a native owned, but now badly run cooperative. He accepted this almost thankless task with the full backing of the then prime minister, Sir Michael Somare. He established a most capable  management team of Evelyn, Herman Baumann; Geoff Payne and Dieter Idzikowsky.  Kevin had an inclusive style which made his efforts popular with his New Guinean shareholders and customers, and after a campaign against the “rice and tin fish” Asian competition (as Kevin called it), the business started to boom. He expanded into wholesale and retail sales of hardware and whitegoods and commercial vehicle repair. Again wanting to be completely his own boss he eventually resigned and returned to Australia…but not for long!

Kevin and Evelyn accepted jobs in Honiara, BSIP with Kevin managing a large hardware business and Evelyn a soap factory…goodness! They settled down just in time to experience the horror of the unrest in the Solomons which eventually resulted in the establishment of the RAMSI peacekeeping force.

In 2006 Kevin made what was to be his last island relocation as he moved from the troubled Solomons back to Vanuatu and established himself as a respected businessman, restaurateur, and political commentator. A true Island Entrepreneur of the “old school,” Kevin will lie in Pango cemetery, Port Vila, a fitting last resting place to be fondly remembered as a generous, vital outgoing personality of warmth and almost boyish enthusiasm for the numerous projects and ventures he pursued.

Kevin, a loving husband and father leaves a widow, Evelyn Avis, daughters Laena, Justine, and Alexandra, four grand-children and an army of friends across much of Oceania.

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Floods along the Sepik River

May 23, 2013 at 7:24 am (Angoram, Chu Leong, East Sepik District, East Sepik Province, Fr Mihalic, Norm Liddle, Papua New Guinea, Peter Johnson, PNG Health, Sara David, Sepik floods, Vivien Liddle)


Recently I accessed Sara David’s blog:

Sara is an Australian midwife, and she is doing wonderful work helping and training Sepik River women in all aspects of birthing and child care.

One of her main trainees is Vivien Liddle of Kambaramba Village. In the old days when I lived in Angoram I knew Vivien’s father, Norm.

Vivien managed to get in touch with Sara in Australia and tell her about a terrible flood they were having now in the Sepik River area. This reminded me of the 1973 floods as reported in the above article in the Post-Courier.

I can imagine the difficulties this would be creating for the people, particularly the young mothers.

A look at Sara David’s blog is strongly recommended.

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The Wisdom of Tei Abal

May 22, 2013 at 5:39 am (Andrew Peacock, Angoram, Australian Politics, Bill Morrison, Commentary, Deborah Ruiz Wall, Gough Whitlam, Indepentence for PNG, Papua New Guinea, Sir Tei Abel, Wally Lussick)

Wisdom of T. A.

This piece in the Post-Courier, December 1, 1973 is based on an interview with Tei Abal, Leader of the Opposition.

The interview was in Melanesian Pidgin.

Tei Abal was a man with very little formal education, but a man who knew his own people well.

Looking back, I imagine the names of Andrew Peacock, Bill Morrison, and last, but certainly not least, Gough Whitlam, these people readily come to mind, as Australian politicans who were more than ready to push PNG to independence. This is without mentioning locals like Michael Somare and John Guise.

Wally Lussick in 1973 was Tei Abal’s private secretary and advisor, and in my book knew far more about PNG and its people than any of the above named Australian politicians.

Deborah Ruiz Wall, a newly arrived Filipino in PNG was Mr Abal’s press secretary and research officer. She was not by anyone at the time considered a conservative, having been active in the student protest movement in Manila and very anti Marcos. But she fully agreed with her boss that PNG was not ready for independence, and should not be pushed into it.

The people of PNG were not asked. Had they been asked in a referendum, I’m sure that the vote would have gone strongly against early independence.

The shame of the whole thing is: the wisdom of Tei Abal was not heeded in the corridors of power!

With the wisdom of hindsight, and given the mess PNG is now in the question could be raised again: was the country ready for independence?

I’d like to conduct a survey in the Town of Angoram and put this to the people there.

It’s probably little comfort to you now Tei, wherever you are in the afterlife, but you were right, and Whitlam was wrong!


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Mankimasta extraordinaire, friend, gentleman – Kami Raymundus of Torembi Village

May 10, 2013 at 1:25 am (Angoram, Commentary, East Sepik District, Kami Raymundus, Maprik, Wewak)

Dave & Kami, Dreikikir, 1963

Dave & Kami, Dreikikir, 1963

kami,Torembi Village

kami,Torembi Village

Kami with his children in Torembi, late 1970s

Kami with his children in Torembi, late 1970s

“… I have never known finer gentlemen than some well-born Malays whom I am proud to call my friends.”

Thus spoke Warburton, one of Somerset Maugham’s characters in his story: The Outstation.

Replace ‘well-born Malays’ with Sepiks and the above reflects exactly my thoughts.

In a story of mine: The phone rings!, tells of the reappearance of my late brother, James, in a dream. He talks to me of the afterlife and he mentions: “Oh, I almost forgot to tell that your houseboy, Kami, from Papua New Guinea wondered how you were. He was telling me he had received a lot of credit for the thousands of cups of tea he had made for you. Anyhow, he’s doing well now. But he is a bit worried about his family in Torembi, a village in the Sepik.”

For some time my wife, Deborah, has been saying to me that most of the stories I write about PNG always seem to predominantly feature expats. In many of my narratives, I perhaps, come through unapologetically as a colonial. I hope I’m a little more than just that. I was once referred to as a terrible lefty, so maybe there’s a little more to me than just a colonial!

Then again, I can hear my readers saying, that’s what you are. There you are writing about your mankimasta, if that’s not colonial, I don’t know what is!

Fr Mihalic in his Dictionary defines mankimasta A European’s personal boy, a valet. Whatever the impression I’ve given of myself in the past I hope the respect and regard I have for Kami somehow redeems the reputation I may have in the minds of some.

I suspect Kami would have been born in Torembi Village during the war, and baptised after the close of hostilities and the reestablishment of the Catholic Mission in the area. His baptismal name, Raymundus, the Latin version of Raymond, indicates he was probably christened by a missionary from Europe.

He had very little formal education, maybe one or two years in primary school. In spite of this he had some rudimentary skills in reading and writing. He had a very logical mind and he was excellent in fixing things around the house.

I clearly remember first employing him in 1962 in his village. At the time, I was stationed at Maprik, and I was on a routine Malaria Service patrol and let it be known that I wanted  to find a mankimasta. Shortly after Kami presented himself. At first I thought he looked rather disheveled and I favoured another applicant, but fortunately the other fellow decided he didn’t want the job, and I was left with Kami.

So Kami for a pittance came to work for me, and stayed over ten years with me giving excellent service, and I hope in time becoming my friend.

From what I can remember it was a seven days a week job for Kami, cooking and cleaning for me. One of his specialties was what I called donkers, which were really fried scones.

He was with me in Maprik, Dreikikir, Wewak and Angoram, and I’m sure he knew more about me than I knew myself.

He had the most admirable of dispositions and I can never remember him once losing his cool. After some years he decided he wanted to get married and he had a young woman in mind from Torembi, Anna – Meri bilong ples kisim save long skul. What this meant was that Anna came from Torembi and she had a few years of primary school. Anna and Kami were duly married according to village custom, and all seemed fine for some time. They had healthy children. Unfortunately in time Anna developed some mental problems and poor Kami had some trying times with her.

I remember one incident in 1973 in Angoram. This was shortly after I myself was married to my wife, Deborah. Anna appeared in our house with a bush knife chasing Kami. I was away at this time. Over the whole event, Kami was more concerned with the safety of Deborah, and he secured her away in a closed bedroom, and then he gently dealt with Anna and disarmed her. After this he talked with Deborah and asked her to explain to me what had happened and to tell me that he would have to take Anna back to Torembi. Deborah was most impressed with his wisdom and approach. She said to me at the time that Kami might be uneducated but he was certainly very intelligent!

Later in 1973 Deborah got a position in Moresby as Press Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Assembly. I was also posted to Moresby.

The last time I saw Kami was in 1978 in Torembi when I made a return visit to the Sepik. Anna was still in the terminology of the place longlong!

In the 1980s, I had a letter from a priest in Torembi in answer to one from me enquiring about Kami, telling me that Kami was suffering from severe asthma and breathing problems. Shortly after this he died.

One of the few pleasures Kami had in life was his love of smoking. I suspect that Kami died from lung cancer.

If by any chance some of Kami’s children or relations should read this, I would love to hear from them.

In life we all meet various people of various qualities – some great and some poor and others nothing much at all. To me, Kami was a man of great qualities, and to him, I have an unending debt of gratitude.

Kami, farewell and thank you!



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