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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Knights of the Realm in PNG

September 25, 2013 at 1:13 am (Commentary, Dreikikir, East Sepik District, Maprik, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Sir Pita Lus)

To say that knights of the realm are thin on the ground in Wewak is not exactly correct. Without too much trouble on any one day in the town, you could run into Sir Hugo, Sir Michael, Sir Pita, and other knights.

In January of this year I saw Sir Pita Lus, but didn’t recognise him, as it had been many years before that I had last seen him.

Sir John Kaputin once wrote this of Sir Pita:

“The former member for Maprik, Sir Pita Lus might have been perceived as vociferous and a loose cannon, but, behind this façade, there was a very serious mind concerned with real issues, expressed in pidgin with lots of humour and punctuated with colourful phrases in English.”

I had encountered Pita many years before in and around Dreikikir, well before he was elected to the House of Assembly. On one occasion he waved down the Land Rover I was travelling in from Maprik to Dreikikir, and in a rather forceful manner seemed to be demanding a lift to Dreikikir. I responded to him by asking, was he asking or telling me to give him a lift? His manner then changed, and he said he was asking. I then said to him: “Get in the back.”

This year while in Wewak in company with Peter Johnson, Peter saw and started talking to Sir Pita. After Pita left I asked Peter: “Who’s that?” I was informed that  was Sir Pita Lus. (Please excuse my conversational grammar!)

Later I was motivated to write to Sir Pita in my rather poor Pidgin, resulting in me not sending the epistle:

16 Janueri, 2013

Dia Sir Pita,

Mi sori tude, mi luk long yu, tasol mi no save pes bilong yu, taim yu tok long Peter Johnson long klostu pos ofis long Wewak.

Bipo mi wok long Malaria Control long Dreikikir, nau mi save long yu wok long Talatala Misin.

Bihain mi ofiso long 1964 Ileksen.

Mi lik tok gude long yupela,

Dave Wall

What I was trying to write in so many words, was that I was sorry not to have recognised him, and that I knew him many years before when I was with Malaria Control in Dreikikir, and he was with the Protestant Mission.  Also, in 1964 I was an electoral officer

Here are just a few thoughts of mine about a knight of the realm, and a former colourful PNG politician.

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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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Bill Babbington, Masta Gol

September 14, 2013 at 1:23 am (Commentary, East Sepik District, expatriates, Papua New Guinea, Territory New Guinea)

Megan Leahy and Bill Babbington at Zenag on the verandah of Mick Leahy’s property in the early 1960s.
(Photos kindly supplied by Richard Leahy)
The recent tragic events on the Black Cat Track – Salamaua/Wau – reminded me of a great friend I had in Maprik in the sixties and seventies, Bill Babbington.

Bill was a remarkable person – a man who put his age up to fight in WW 1, and put his age down to fight in WW II. A plantation manager, gold miner and Department of Mines Officer.

His stories about mining in pre-war New Guinea were a great source of information about those fascinating times. Tales about Errol Flynn and other famous characters of the era he spoke of.

He struck it rich twice and went on fabulous world tours.

When I knew him in Maprik where he was known as Masta Gol, he was respected and liked by the locals. His honesty and expertise in helping them find precious metals was greatly appreciated by them.

I last saw Bill in the early eighties when he was in declining health in an RSL Repatriation Hospital in the Northern Beaches, Sydney. Shortly after this he died, and his sister kindly sent back to me some photos of my children that I had sent him.

To this day, Debbie, my wife, values an opal that Bill polished and prepared himself for her. This gemstone is often commented on by others when Debbie wears it.

I shudder to think of what Bill would have thought of the recent tragic events on a track he knew so well.

Bill Babbington, soldier, planter, miner and gentleman, those of your friends still around miss you!

BABBINGTON, William Benjamin, NGX 192; A/Sgt; 4 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment; Enlisted – 21 July 1941; Embarked for M/E – 1 Nov 1941; Returned ex M/E – 27 Feb 1943; Discharged – 3 Jun 1946; Enlisted – SALAMAUA, NEW GUINEA; Date of Birth – 30 Jan 1902; BORN – LONDON, UK; NOK – FAY, Alice, Mother.

Source: New Guinea Volunteer Rifles Nominal Roll – World War 2


Click on the above to see a letter written by Bill to Debbie.


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Book Review

August 25, 2013 at 8:48 am (Book review, Commentary, David Wall, East Sepik District, Fiction, PNG, Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk, Sepik River)

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Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk – Kindle Edition $2.00

August 25, 2013 at 8:20 am (Book review, East Sepik District, expatriates, Papua New Guinea, Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk)

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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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Beautiful Wewak is being Trashed

June 25, 2013 at 8:53 am (Commentary, Corruption in PNG, East Sepik District, Papua New Guinea, PNG Health, Wewak)


See: Click on Doc14 below


Mosbi Mauswara lived in Wewak for some years.   He was there recently, and he sadly reports:-

The once attractive and leafy tree lined centre of Wewak is being

“trashed”    There is filth everywhere.   Either Health Inspectors are

hibernating, or have been “bought off”

     Young children hawk cheap (and often nasty) Asian goods on the

crowded streets, whilst their employing merchants lurk behind dingy

trade-store counters, with chop-sticks and ill-gotten work permits at

the ready.   Officers of the Labour Department follow the same work

ethic as their health demoting brothers, and do absolutely nothing to

prevent this outrage.

     Youthful pick-pockets abound; policemen do not.   Their station is

some fifty metres away – much too far to walk!

     The town’s new and modern garbage truck “became unserviceable”

a month after delivery – a victim of enthusiastic and 24- hour daily usage.

     In the main street people push and shove their way past other

shoppers; opportunistic bystanders; hundreds of angry and un-serviced

bank clients – many of them on duty public servants; and of course the

ubiquitous tubercular buai spitter.

     But all is not lost, for our local M.P. has just announced a Wewak

 District Road Map 2013-2017…so all this will change in the coming weeks, or will it?

   Sadly whatever happens, the former beautiful avenue of raintrees

 will not be there to watch! 


Mosbi Mauswara

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The sudden death of Kevin Trueman in Port Vila

June 9, 2013 at 6:03 am (Angoram Club, artifacts, East Sepik District, expatriates, Funerals, Kevin Trueman, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River)

Kevin Trueman on the left, late 1960s in the Angoram Club

Kevin Trueman on the left, late 1960s, in the Angoram Club


For those who knew Kevin or knew of him, the news of his sudden death on the night of 7th June, would be received with much sadness.

We all extend to Evelyn, his wife, and family, the deepest condolences!

Readers of this blog are invited to write of their recollections of Kevin.

Some have sent me emails which I’ve taken the liberity of reproducing here in part.

Kevin in anyone’s book was an extraordinary character – once known never forgotten!

Vale Kevin Trueman

Robin Hodgson
12:08 PM (1 hour ago)
to me

Hello Dave and Debbie,

Richard just rang to say that Kevin died suddenly in Port Vila last night after feeling unwell at dinner.  Evelyn is apparently in Australia. Eunice Hanson advised.

Rob & Meg
Jun 8 (1 day ago)
to me, origin.wewak

Thanks for that David.He certainly lived life to the full.

I remember when he was in charge of Sepik Coffee.

Another Sepik character that is for sure.

Kind regards,Rob.

Alan Pretty
11:29 PM (15 hours ago)
to me

Quite a shock & sad to hear. I always had a good relationship with him & remember him fondly.

I remember the last time I saw him. Remy & I had a meal with him & Evelyn in his house in Cremorne (I think – one of those North shore suburbs). It was a splendid evening, some 30 years ago…

He led an amazing life – Vale Kev indeed…

6:29 AM (8 hours ago)
to Don, me

Damn, another man down. Kevin was always larger than his life. A big man with a big heart. He had a good eye for artifacts, too.

Do you have an email address or mailing address for Evelyn?

Maybe in a way he was lucky, like Dieter, dying at the end of a day in a place and time that suited him.

Thanks so much for keeping all of us in touch, even for sad news. Carolyn

Carolyn Leigh Studios

via iPhone


To Evelyn








12:37 PM (2 hours ago)
to me




Jun 8 (1 day ago)
to me


At this stage we do not have an email address for Evelyn.

I encourage those who knew Kevin to make comments.


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