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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Michael McNeice on the Sepik River with Sava Maksic in 1968

September 19, 2013 at 7:02 am (Commentary, PNG, Sepik River)

Doc17.docx Michael’s trip upriver Doc17.docx Michael’s trip upriver Doc17.docx Michael’s trip upriver

Click on the above to see Michael’s photos.

Michael McNeice NSW said,

September 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm ·

“I would like to make contact with Sava Maksic as I have a lot of photos I would like to share from 1968 on the Sepik.”    Michael McNeice

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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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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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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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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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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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Photos of Angoram & Maprik

April 25, 2013 at 7:34 am (Angoram, Angoram Club, Bryan Martin, Dan Rolfe, Don Bosgard, Don Coffey, Don Westley, Donald Gordon Bosgard, East Sepik District, expatriates, Fr Mike Clerkin, Jim McKinnon, John Pasquarelli, Maprik, Nan Bunting, Papua New Guinea, Peter England, Photos, Sepik River, Steven Westley, Vanessa Westley)


See page:

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Donald Gordon Bosgard, esteemed President of the Angoram Club, makes a point in the photo below!

April 16, 2013 at 1:38 am (Angoram, Angoram Club, Commentary, Don Bosgard, Donald Gordon Bosgard, East Sepik District, expatriates, Pacific war, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River)

Bosgard,the Lucases,Wall -Ang 60s - Copy

Donald Bosgard, Walter Lex, Ella Lucas, David Wall, Glen Lucas, Angoram in the late 1960s                                       ( Photo provided by Ella Lucas and refined by Paul Dennett)

Donald Gordon BOSGARD (27 June 1990, aged 70)

Don joined the PNG Administration immediately he was discharged from the Army after World War II and, besides serving elsewhere, spent many years in the Sepik District, firstly at Wewak and then at Angoram as Senior Clerk with the Department of Native Affairs. It is believed he was at Angoram for some twenty years and remained there assisting with the transition to Independence until his position was localised, retiring in March 1975. Don made many friends during his service in PNG and will be sadly missed by them.

After his retirement Don lived at Rose Bay, NSW, where he was a member of the RSL Club. His funeral was attended by numerous family and friends and a contingent from the Rose Bay RSL Club with its President giving the eulogy. Our Association was represented by Meg England and Pierre Donaldson.

Source: PNGAA, Vale, September 1990

According to Cardinal Newman: “It is almost a definition of a gentleman to say that he is one who never inflicts pain.” If this is so, Donald Gordon Bosgard more than fitted the bill.

It was my privilege to have known Don over a number of years in the Sepik District, and after he retired to Sydney.

To say that Don was of the old school would be an understatement. A dignified and refined man, always impeccably dressed and softly spoken in a clipped Anglo-Australian accent, and to me, he embedded all that was fine and good in a colonial gentleman. Some may have felt that Don was a bit snobbish and they would be slightly correct, but like Warburton, the Somerset Maugham, character, Don may have been a snob, but he was also a gentleman. He never harped on any of his own misfortunes to the discomfort of others.

Don’s father was a Dane who migrated to Australia before the First World War, and he served as a dentist with the Military Expeditionary Force that occupied German New Guinea at the start of the war. His mother came from Anglo-Australian stock with a fine history of officer naval service in the family. Don and his two brothers all served with distinction in WW II. One brother was killed in action in the Territory, and I heard he was even recommended for a VC. Don was at Shaggy Ridge. Peter, his other brother, was also prominent in the RSL in Moresby after the War.

For most of the time Don was in Angoram, he was president of the club, and what a monument to decorum and good manners he was, but more than a monument in his organizational abilities in running and directing club activities. He was an example to young government officers who came to the town.

On a recent visit to Angoram, I was impressed with what one of the local leaders said to me about Don. Eva, who we knew in the old days as Ipa, compared the treasury activities in the town today with their own building, and the number of staff most unfavourably with the excellent work Don did as just one person in a small office.

Don’s abilities were obvious for all to see, but he was content to remain in the clerical side of things. Some might say he lacked ambition, perhaps he did. I do know that a member of the House of Assembly had a mind to recommend him for a civil decoration.

Every afternoon after work, he would adjourn to his residence for a cup of tea, served by his faithful mankimasta, Rastus, and a shower. After which he would go to the club, but prior to leaving, Rastus would be instructed about the evening meal that he was to prepare. Before he actually left he might glance at the Observer. He refused to subscribe to the Post-Courier.

At the club, drinks and conversation would go on until about 8 or 9 o’clock. He was never the worst for liquor, and a lot of common sense was talked about the affairs of the station, and the world in general, while all the time smoking cigarettes. After which he would return to his donga, eat his evening meal, and in due course retire to his virtuous couch.

If he ever availed himself of the pleasures of the night that were on offer in Angoram, no one knew of it. I suspect, that he didn’t, as it was hardly the thing one would do considering what his sister, the old hag (As Don affectionately called her.) would have thought of such behaviour when on his leaves he returned to Rose Bay to stay with her in Sydney.

Don, I don’t know if you realize how much your friends from the old PNG days miss you. I guess by now a lot of them are with you already, but there are quite a few of us still down here.

I can’t say I look forward to joining you up there, but at least knowing you’re there will be some compensation.

Among the expats in Angoram over the years there were many fine and dedicated people, but there was only one aristocrat who I can think of, and he was  Donald Gordon Bosgard.

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