“A novel and a biography: Two new books by David Wall”

December 15, 2013 at 6:43 am (Angoram Club, artifacts, Book review, Commentary, David Wall, expatriates, Fiction, Jim Wall, Jim Wall An Australian Life, Papua New Guinea, Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk)

See:   http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2013/08/a-novel-and-a-biography-two-new-books-by-david-wall.html

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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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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.

See: http://www.smh.com.au/national/trek-to-pngs-heart-of-darkness-20130913-2tq51.html


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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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A tribute to Laurie Crowley by Richard Leahy

June 20, 2013 at 4:58 am (Australian Aviation, Aviation in PNG, expatriates, Laurie Crowley, Papua New Guinea, Tribute)

June 13, 2013

Dear Dave,

Laurie Crowley passed away yesterday at the age of 93 in the Highlands of NSW.

I am sure that Laurie will be recognised as being the most significant Light Aircraft Air Charter Operator so far in the history of PNG Aviation.

Laurie was an aircraft mechanic (fitter) in the RAAF (I think) during the war, and learned to fly soon after hostilities ended.

In early 1950 Laurie with another pilot, Ray Stockden, started up Crowley Stockden Airways at Lae. They began with Tiger Moths, and from there followed a fascinating assortment of aircraft which included Avro Ansons, a Curtiss Robin, a Piper L-5 Stinson, Piper Apache, and later Piper Aztecs and, of course, Cessna 170s, Cessna 205s, and I think, later a Cessna 206.  Laurie had an Aero Commander and a Helio Courier in his fleet for a time as well.

At some stage Laurie took over Ray Stockden’s share, and the company became Crowley Airways. Sometime in the 1960s Laurie decided to develop a helicopter operation as well, and I think, at one time fielded up to six Choppers, a Bell 47 G-5, Bell G-47 3B1s, and Bell Jet Ranger 206s.

Laurie eventually sold out the entire operation during the mid-1970s, and  moved to New South Wales with his family.

A little known fact, and I would include the members of Laurie’s family in this statement as well, is that during 1959 I would spend about one hour each and every week with Laurie in a camp hut at my family’s cattle station at Baiune, which was between Mumeng and Bulolo.

DASF were endeavouring to eradicate a cattle tick problem that we had at Baiune, and once a week they would charter Laurie and his Cessna 170 to take the stock inspector, at that time Neville Robinson, in to spray our cows for tick.

I would walk into the property at dawn on the designated days (one and a half hours walk each way) to ensure that the cattle had been yarded for the spraying operation.

After Laurie brought Neville in to the airstrip, I would leave the spraying  to him, and our lads and I, would spend the hour the spraying took with Laurie, asking him endless questions about every aspect of flying in PNG.

I can say without any fear of contradiction, that I learnt more from Laurie during that year than I ever learnt from a text book or from a flying school. I was only seventeen at the time, and although Laurie always had a book to read, each and every time he saw me walking over he would close the book, and very gracefully put up with my endless questions.

Later that year I would go on to take out a Private Flying Licence, and about three years later a Commercial Licence.

Laurie operated both fixed and rotary wing aircraft for around twenty- five years. No paying passenger was ever killed flying in a Crowley Aircraft whilst Laurie was at the helm.

I would like to pass on my condolences to Laurie’s family, and I’m greatly saddened by the passing of one of aviation’s greats.


Richard Leahy.


See: http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2013/08/laurie-crowley-dies-at-93-pioneering-png-aviator.html#comments

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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

See: http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2013/09/tribute-to-kevin-trueman-a-real-islands-entrepreneur.html#comments

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.

See: http://www.dailypost.vu/content/kevin-trueman-loveable-larrikin-who-lived-life-fullest

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Successful Asians in PNG – A subject of hot debate!

May 25, 2013 at 11:26 pm (Commentary, Corruption in PNG, Deborah Ruiz Wall, expatriates, Papua New Guinea)

Post-Courier, 22 May, 2013

Post-Courier, 22 May, 2013




Deborah Ruiz Wall made the following comment:

‘GLOBALIZATION has arrived. ‘Free market’ reigns. A free-fall for local cultural livelihoods is the result. What self-determination is possible for poor countries to have control over their economies?

‘Today, governments are less able to protect their people. A quick solution undertaken by many to address their economic management burden seems to be to privatise essential public utilities to enable them to balance their budgets.  In the face of transnational corporations that have the facility to transfer their assets from one country to another, nation-states have become dinosaurs. Global control by powerful corporations reign. What’s happening in PNG is a microcosm of this growing phenomenon.
‘In Australia, for example, corruption over the behaviour of a former NSW government Minister in relation to mining approvals has been investigated by ICAC. Not a rare untypical situation these days. Cases of conflict of interests in public-private partnerships are on the increase — as disclosed by investigative journalists. The powerlessness of ordinary citizens is crystal clear.
‘In regard to the perception of Asians taking over, I remember a fact finding mission went to Manila in 1995 to investigate the controversy over the sex tourism industry.
‘Some bars and hotels supposedly “owned” by local entrepreneurs were in fact owned by Westerners. The “owners”, as it turned out, were used as a “front” by Australian or New Zealand businessmen who married Filipino women to enable them to run their businesses under their wives’ names. Foreigners were not permitted to own local business ventures unless they took up Filipino citizenship.
So my point is: money corrupts. Corruption does not discriminate between race and culture.’
This is an issue that could really get out of hand. It’s obvious that there are many in PNG who have concerns in this area.
I can only hope the debate does not degenerate into a mindless race issue.
Let’s say you got rid of all the Asians with small businesses in the country, would the locals be able to fill the vacuum with their own small businesses?

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An addition to the family

May 23, 2013 at 3:24 am (Commentary, David Wall, Deborah Ruiz Wall, East Sepik District, expatriates, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River)

Deborah Ruiz Wall  4

The glorious days and nights of early marriage – Andrei conceived while on patrol in the wilds of the Sepik.

Unfortunately as a family we didn’t return to PNG, much to the disappointment of my dear wife!

My experience of PNG is that it giveth and taketh away – perhaps more giveth than taketh!

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Lunch at Dreikikir, East Sepik District, Papua New Guinea

May 16, 2013 at 4:29 am (Commentary, David Wall, Dr Jan J Saave, Dreikikir, East Sepik District, expatriates, Fr John O'Toole, Jock McIntyre, Kami Raymundus, malaria control, Maprik, Papua New Guinea, PNG Health, Robert Desowitz, Salata Village, Wally Trueman or Truman)

A luncheon party in my spacious bush material house, with remarkable guests, some fifty years ago at Dreikikir Patrol Post.

The fare was not remarkable, but more than adequate given the time and place.

Baked beef served cold with potatoes in dressing and lettuce, washed down with a good supply of Victoria Bitter. There was an ample supply of bread and butter. The main course was followed with tropical fruits and coffee.

A good part of this food was flown in by Catholic Mission planes once a week, on a landing strip that was rather famous in having a church at one end, and a hospital at the other – given the shape and nature of the strip, physical and spiritual succour were more than needed!

In attendance serving the guests were two memorable house boys: Kami and Kitahi.

See: http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2013/05/kami-raymundus-of-torembi-mankimasta-and-friend.html#more

The guest of honour was Professor Robert S. Desowitz, then with the University of Singapore as Chair of Medical Parasitology. He was an authority in his field and subsequently he became world famous.

See: http://www.ajtmh.org/content/78/6/849.short

Professor Desowitz

Professor Desowitz was a congenial and appreciative guest, and he was accompanied by Dr Jan J. Saave.

Desowitz and Saave came up from a village called Salata, some distance away towards Maprik where they were involved in research into immunity factors in malaria.

See: https://deberigny.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/dr-jan-j-saave-medico-extraordinaire-malariologist-maestro-mentor-linguist-and-officer-of-the-british-empire/#respond

Another guest was Father John O’Toole, who lived in the Catholic Mission Station at the end of the airstrip. O’Toole was a Bostonian and a man of impressive qualities.

See: https://deberigny.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/some-svd-members-i-knew-in-png/

Another guest, Jock McIntyre was the patrol officer in-charge at Dreikikir Patrol Post. Jock loved a social gathering and a drink.

See: http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2012/09/jock-mcintyre-kiap-adventurer-formidable-companion.html#comments

With the others was Wally Truman or Trueman. Wally was the primary school teacher stationed at Dreikikir. He was a very obliging man, and an excellent teacher. At the lunch, Wally did a lot assisting with the catering. He was to see out his term teaching in PNG, and the last I heard of him was that he married and settled in Queensland, where, as far as I know, he continued teaching. His whereabouts now are unknown to me.

During the lunch a lively conversation was carried on. The Professor and Fr O’Toole got on very well being fellow Americans.

Dr Saave referred to the camping site in Salata Village as the Salata Hilton, and Professor Desowitz sat with an amused look smoking his pipe.

As the afternoon progressed, Dr Saave excused himself to check on the patients in the hospital and to lend assistance if it were needed.

Things about Dreikikir were fairly quiet on this day as it was a Sunday.

Looking back it was a privilege for me to have been the host to such a distinguished group, and a sobering thought for me that it is I who is probably the only one still alive, that is if Wally is no longer here on earth.

See: http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2013/03/my-story-from-greenhorn-planter-to-a-true-man-of-png-david-wall-on-a-colonial-life-and-beyond.html#comments

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