Art Dealer in the Last Unknown Ron Perry and New Guinea Art by Carolyn Leigh and Ron Perry

March 15, 2011 at 4:06 am (Papua New Guinea) (, , )

Only US $35 + US $15 postage to Australia (With the value of the Aussie $ a very good deal!)

Art Dealer in the Last Unknown

Art Dealer in the Last Unknown is a narrative and visual experience down memory lane for those who know Ron Perry, New Guinea and many of the people mentioned in the book.  To see the mighty Sepik River again and to be introduced into the rich cultural heritage of the region and how Ron was able to access it and collect amazing examples of Sepik art is a telling tale of enterprise and adventure. Names of legendary characters pop up throughout the account: Peter and Meg England, Bob Mackie, Chu Leong, Freddie Eichhorn, Neils and Mary Madsen, Jim McKinnon, Fr John O’Toole, Margaret Mead, Peter Johnson, John Pasquarelli, Ludwig Somare, Michael Somare, Don Bosgard (mistakenly spelt ‘Bosquard’), Ron and Ella Lucas, Johnny Young, Daniel Guren and many others. All these names conjure up in my mind numerous untold stories. To be introduced to Ron’s former wife, Barbara, again reminds me of what she once said to me at their house in Abbottsford, Sydney, the morning after Ron and I had been on a lively drinking day and evening session: “David, if Ron ever develops cirrhosis of the liver, it’s you I’m going to sue.”  I didn’t know the story about Bob Mackie unknowingly peeing on ‘the Pork Pie King of England’, who incidentally was , if I recall correctly, Norm Ferris, but I always understood it was Doug Newton, but perhaps it was both of them. The profusion of place names like Angoram, Amboin, Dreikikir, Maprik, Wewak.Yangoru and Tobacco Road cannot fail to captivate the local and expat reader. 

And for those who are entering the unknown for the first time, a thrilling and informative experience awaits them. 

The photos in the book are excellent and numerous. 

This is a piece of work that is informed by the variety of Ron Perry’s experiences and enriched with the artistry and presentation of Carolyn Leigh. 

It is highly recommended to all old New Guinea hands and to those of a curious, artistic and adventurous turn of mind.

Permalink 3 Comments

“Search for Mrs Right”

December 9, 2010 at 4:14 am (Fiction, Love on the Run, Papua New Guinea) (, , , , , , )

THE EXAMINER, Saturday, December 4, 2010

Permalink 4 Comments

Harry Brown

May 22, 2010 at 6:17 am (Uncategorized) (, )




Rating 8/10

Violent and avenging but revealing and meaningful, Michael Caine as Harry Brown in the same genre as Burt Lancaster playing Valdez dispensers a brand of justice.

Film review – Harry Brown

Published: May 25, 2010

Since Michael Winner directed Charles Bronson in the 1974 Death Wish and it became the archetypal urban vigilante film, it is very difficult to review this kind of film.

On the one hand, one must deplore an individual taking the law into his or her own hands and executing in the streets those who have committed crimes that have eluded official justice.  We are not executioners.

On the other hand, the atrocities committed by thugs who have no compunction on ordinary citizens do, as the scriptures say, call out for vengeance. 

Michael Caine is very effective as Harry, whose wife dies after a long illness, and David Bradley as Len, his friend and chess partner at the local pub who is harrassed by the thugs and is not going to take it any more.

Harry was a marine in Ulster but has left that in the past.  However, his disgust at the behaviour of the unrepentant men and the drug-dealing scum of London sends him back to his weapons and his going on a confrontation and killing spree.

The police are limited by their abilities and what they can actually do in the face of lawyers’ advice to criminals, lack of evidence and police work on more important issues than the deaths of old age pensioners. 

It was Peter Finch’s character in Networkwho got people to yell out from their homes, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more”. That’s what happens in vigilante films like Harry Brown – Peter Malone, Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

Starring Michael Caine, David Bradley, Sean Harris, Emily Mortimer and Charles Creed-Mills. Directed by Daniel Barber
Rated MA 15+ (strong violence, drug use, sexual references and coarse language). 103 mins.


Permalink Leave a Comment

Professor Hank Nelson comments

April 18, 2010 at 5:20 am (Angoram, David Wall, expatriates, Love on the Run, Pacific war, Papua New Guinea, Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk, Temlett Conibeer) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Letter from Professor Hank Nelson

I was so grateful to receive the above from Hank Nelson. The now late Professor Hank Nelson was a wonderful man and great academic.


Permalink 2 Comments

Love in a Hot Climate by A.C.T. Marke

March 8, 2010 at 8:14 am (expatriates, Papua New Guinea, Somerset) (, , , , , , , )

A.C.T. Marke, what a fine figure of a man!

A.C.T. Marke & John Kelly in the wilds of PNG
Marke, in a reflective mood, before the publication of LOVE ON THE RUN and LOVE IN A HOT CLIMATE
“Will Temlett Conibeer never learn?”

Andy Marke does it a again with his latest novel,  Love in a Hot Climate.

Extensive reviews and commentaries will follow. You are urged to get a copy before supplies run out.


Love in a Hot Climate

Available from Frogmouth Press

PO Box 90, Ainslie ACT 2602

Mobile: 0428833212

$30 a copy posted to you

Hot off the press!



Review by Maurice Thibaux

Andrew Marke’s second book, Love in a Hot Climate, comes at the right time with the screening of the documentary on the Kokoda campaign on the ABC for ANZAC day to remind us that New Guinea was once part of the Empire and Australia. Even though Marke’s second book is again meant as a light-hearted account of the sexual adventures of a malaria eradication officer in New Guinea in the 60s, the jungle assumes a foreboding presence over the proceedings. His hero is still looking for the woman of his dream and the jungle is more part of his strategy here than just a backdrop to his hi-jinx amorous quest. 

This book may be highly entertaining for those ex Territorians who want to relive the good ol’ days, it is not a travelogue for those who are seeking exotic sensations in a wild location. They may miss the jokes altogether. The jungle of New Guinea is treated with as much familiarity as the fells of Cornwall in the early chapters of the two books, where his character starts his journey. The atmosphere is set at a brisk pace. “Tough if you don’t get it, seems to say Marke, this is not a romantic novel”. 

When you are reminded of the gruelling trek Australian soldiers had to endure on the Kokoda trail, you get a hint of the harrowing experience it would have been for one (amongst many) of our hero’s young English female companion who ends up for several days and nights in her underwear in the middle of this jungle in one of the most memorable episode in the book, after their Land Rover is swamped by a swollen river. 

And yet, the hero and the young lady spend several days and nights, soaked to the bone in tropical rain, discussing Victorian literature and other such pressing matters, while waiting for the odd passing native, Ariel-like, to bring them some fresh supplies from a village that we never discover. This requires a fair suspension of disbelief or perhaps a highly developed sense of humour, of which only the English have the secret. The book is indeed subtitled “Further exciting and very funny adventures of Temlett etc.”. I wonder. I would have called it The Tempest no.2, since the Shakespearian analogy is uncanny with Temlett as Prospero running the show and weaving his magic and a cast of colourful characters very similar to old Bill’s . 

Unlike the first book, which got me cracking up at times, this book did not produce such mirth. It made me smile but not in the same way, but, as in the previous book, there are moments of pathos and even tragedy. Sure there are a few crazy characters in the stories, such as, French, Marcel, who keeps murdering the English language with near fatal consequences, or, German, Erik, who has very set views on women and proper behaviour, which he cannot reconcile with the sexual revolution of the 60s, or, Aussie, David Ware who keeps coming up with the most inventive ways of making money. 

Literary references and Latin quotations abound and sound as fantastic in this book as Pink Floyd’s music in the film, The Valley, by Barbet Schroeder about a lost paradise deep in the New Guinea highlands. The places where Marke takes us with Temlett do feel like that: a lost paradise of earthly pleasures that regularly turn to disaster. Nature vs nurture but, this time, it seems that nature won. Sorry Bill.

Despite the almost unbelievable situations in which his hero puts himself, Marke keeps us hoping that, this time, he will reach marital bliss with one after another curvaceous creature. Oh, yes, I forgot: this book is definitely not for women, who will loathe it with a vengeance. You are warned! I repeat: this is not a romantic novel, quite the contrary. A mixture of religious inhibitions and traditional Victorian morality and good manners seem to prevent him from achieving his marital plans.Nevertheless, again in this book, there is a lovely story at the end about a child that is quite sad and moving. But perhaps, this is what is so endearing about his character and the writer: the chase is certainly exciting and the women an essential ingredient, but it seems to be the child who is the real purpose. He may have inadvertently discovered the meaning of life or a new literary form. In a way Marke has revived the Victorian novel in the context of the sexual revolution. 

I read it twice because I could not think of anything better to read (I finished Les Miserables in between – thanks for reminding me). It left me gasping at some blunt statements, but it is so full of details and references of all kinds, except about what you would expect: the jungle and the natives. Occasionally we are reminded that they are around when he mentions briefly: “they had bidden goodbye to the Councillor and villagers and were off”. Ah! I almost forgot we were in PNG.


Permalink 17 Comments

Novel idea takes off

November 21, 2008 at 4:57 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Novel idea takes off

Permalink Leave a Comment

Kapiak Tree by Anna Chu

November 19, 2008 at 2:03 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Kapiak Tree by Anna Chu MaskiMedia PO Box 757, Ravenshoe, QLD 4888 Phone:    07 40…   Email:  Cost: AU$24.50 plus p&p AU$3.50 within Australia

Anna Chu’s little book: Kapiak tree: memories of Papua New Guinea is just that, a capably conjured up story of how life was actually lived in the towns and outstations in pre-independence and early post-independence Papua New Guinea, from the perspective of a mixed race woman. Her account impelled me to read the book from cover to cover without putting it down.

    At first I could not explain why I liked it so much. Objectively some might say it is not particularly well written with thoughts meandering in and out throughout and facts and events seasoning the storytelling unexceptionally. But this is the very essence that makes the book so charming: the respect Anna has for her father, Chu Leong, and her love for her mother are interspersed with honest accounts of relationships with men, and interesting descriptions about food and life in general in PNG.

    I know that Anna’s book is a true and honest account of PNG life as I also lived in some of the places she describes, and for anyone wanting to know how things really were in, say, the Sepik, this captivating little tale is highly recommended.

    Included in the book are a number of interesting and historical photographs.





Permalink Leave a Comment

Genre and Classification

September 3, 2008 at 1:47 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

.Genre and classification   French Letters and the English Canon by Mark Daniel  (Timewell Press 2007)


Two brilliant works of literature have recently hit the market: Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk and Love on the Run. Both are said to be works of fiction but are they? Do they go to the fiction or non-fiction part of a collection? Should a reviewer give them an artistic or intellectual complexion by naming them among other great roman à clef novels? To help me answer this I have referred to the above excellent work by Mark Daniel.

   Could it be we are dealing with boring didactic novels that are more like those of a roman a these classification? In Sepik Blu… the protagonist is James Ward and in Love on the… we have Temlett Conibeer. Both characters are anything but boring. James, tortured by religious scruples and sexual desires  wants to get a bit but still go to heaven. Temlett is not beyond getting a bit but what he really wants is a wife. In both cases their ends or purposes in life are left in the lap of the gods. Whether they knew it or not both were Aristotelean and Thomistic in their teleological life aspirations and because these aspirations are left somewhat up in the air: James’ flight to heaven is unknown and Temlett does not seem to get a wife, we might think that both tales are ones of hopelessness. However, both James and Temlett are on a life journey and as Stevenson said: “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive…”

   Love on the Run has something of a roman fleuve about it but it’s not really about a family. The same applies to Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk. Both books are certainly not of the roman policier  variety. So back we are left with the old roman à clef.

   The PNG setting of both books adds to their exotic flavour.

   Whatever you might think of these books and of James Ward and Temlett Conibeer and it is probably all French to you, anyhow. I only hope, if they are real, that in their life activities they always practised safe sex and used a French Letter or several. Maybe on second thoughts it’s all Greek to you!

Permalink 1 Comment

Masta Bob Lives On In La Vallée (1972)

August 28, 2008 at 3:25 am (Commentary) (, , , , , , , , )

Bob Mackie appears with the beautiful Bulle Ogier playing Viviane in the film: La Vallée. On location, haus tambaran, Angoram,1972. It was said of Bob that as an actor he was “a natural”.


Plot summary for
Vallée, La (1972)

“Viviane, a French Consul’s wife, is in New Guinea to find exotic feathers for export to Paris. She encounters four European travelers who are en route to “La Vallée”: The Valley, high in the Guinean mountains, is shown on maps as ‘Obscured by Clouds’ and is beyond their previous experiences. Viviane joins their trek to find rare feathers and soon becomes entwined in their journey. Their extended stay with the Mapuga tribe brings a denouement between western and indigenous values before their final quest toward the ‘Valley of the Gods’.” Written by Neal Wells {}

Permalink 4 Comments

“Love on the Run” reviewed by Maurice Thibaux

August 1, 2008 at 12:29 pm (Commentary) (, , , , , , , )

Comments on “Love on the Run” by Andrew Marke  Available from: Frogmouth Press, 187 Low Head Road, Low Head Tas 7253  $25 or $30 Posted
Having worked in Papua New-Guinea at the time of independence, I was curious to read this new book about this place and time, apart from the teaser about “a remedy for sex and romance”. The title and cover of the book hinted at a series of romantic encounters and promised to be quite exciting. Not surprisingly it starts as an account of an English expatriate’s life taking us from a farm in Somerset to the Falklands and Papua New-Guinea. The link to these remote and exotic locations is love, but it turned out to be definitely on the run. As soon as we hit PNG, love virtually disappears from the scene and we are immersed in the lonely life of a malaria eradication officer trekking through the Highlands. Having been to Goroko and Mount Hagen in the early 1970s, I was very keen to revisit this strange place, which I had enjoyed only too briefly, and read this vivid account of daily life amongst these tribes from another age in this most extraordinary landscape of snow peaks under the equator. But I kept looking back at the cover, which promised love and romance, of which there was precious little except for the reason for travelling – perhaps to escape or to forget. I felt a bit cheated, although I did not mind it that much since the story was quite exciting but not exactly as I had anticipated. Right from the first line, the book is very lively and the author has an uncanny sense of humour and ability to write gripping dialogues and short and sharp descriptions. Every detail is genuine in substance and in feelings. It never dwells on the missed opportunity or mistake and keeps taking us towards new sensations and adventures.
But midway through the book, after a delightful but too short episode back in England, the pace suddenly lifts when the hero decides to try his luck in mainland Australia to find a wife with a vengeance. The first part of the book was just the premises to his quest for sex and romance, which would have been meaningless without some understanding of loneliness in  these remote parts of the world, where alcohol is often the only consolation concentrating around the expats club. The author takes us through a whirlwind search for the elusive woman of his dreams. Each episode is more fascinating than the previous one and the hero seems to have endlessly imaginative and ingenious ways to meet women, although he sometimes gets more than he bargains for, leading to many hilarious situations. But, at other times, it is very moving. When he takes the young girl Molly on a trip to Tasmania where his new posting takes him, there is hope that he would eventually find happiness with the mother. She does reappear later, as we approached the end of the book, but the story takes a different twist and sees him back in PNG for another weird episode where the book leaves us gasping for volume two.
The first part of the book is substantially different from the second part and the two don’t seem to connect fully to the point where, as soon as I had finished, I started reading it again to catch up on the bits I had missed. The hints are there but it is easy to miss them, the book being so rich in images and sensations, especially for anyone who  has ventured in these parts of the world or has emotional connection to them. It is easy to let one’s imagination run wild. 
This book should be a candidate for the Miles Franklin Prize. It is rare to see a book that takes us around the world from England to the Falklands, PNG before decolonisation, Queensland, Tasmania and Capital Territory and expresses so well the solitude of expatriates stranded between their British culture and the void of their adopted colonies at the end of an era and all the way to Australia. A rare and delightful book that can be recommended unreservedly. Can’t wait for the sequel.
Maurice Thibaux

Permalink 1 Comment

Next page »

%d bloggers like this: