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The Die Was Cast - My Journey to New Guinea

The Bougainville Aftermath

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17 December 2018

A message from the webmaster:


It is perhaps not surprising that this blog and the Bougainville website are dying a slow death. However, as the numbers of ex-Bougainville employees are diminishing, it puts an even greater responsibility on those who are left to keep recording those times which were important to us as well as to the island of Bougainville.

An old Bougainville friend from those early days, who stayed until the very end of the construction phase, wrote, "I remember clearing up old files after Bechtel left. There were a couple of box files filled with letters from women, solicitors, lawyers etc., all much of the same theme, so-and-so was believed to be working on the project and was wanted for child support payments, etc. The standard reply clipped under the lid was to the effect that there were over fifty companies working on the project with a total of 10,000 workers, and if the writer would please care to contact the respective company. Of course, they knew that if they dobbed in one guy, they would instantly lose a big percentage of the workforce."


Camp 6 Loloho
Click on image to enter Bougainville Copper Project website

Back then, 'home' was a 9x9ft donga tastefully decorated with PLAYBOY centrefolds of girls waxed to the point of martyrdom, where one's wordly possessions easily fitted into a 2ft-wide metal locker and one's needs for comfort were satisfied by a red plastic chair on the porch.


Life was so simple then; we were so innocent!

Or, at least, some of us were. The old saying that Papua New Guinea attracted three types of men, namely missionaries, moneymakers, and misfits, had to be rewritten for the Bougainville Copper Project to include those running away from their wives, the police, or themselves.

If you have an anecdote to contribute or some old photos, please email me at riverbendnelligen[AT]mail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Goerman
PO Box 233
Batemans Bay NSW 2536
Australia
Email riverbendnelligen[AT]mail.com
Skype riverbend2

8 December 2018

A tour of Panguna in August 2018


 

Click here

 

6 December 2018

What a riot!

<>P>

 

3 December 2018

From the "Post-Courier" one year after Independence

The following images are from the Post-Courier's anniversary edition one year after Indepedence, somewhat worse for wear just like the country itself.

 

On attaining Independence on 16 September 1975, Sir John Guise quotes Lawrence of Arabia as having said, "It is better to let them do it imperfectly, than for you to do it perfectly, for it is their country and their independence, and your time is limited", ... so let's do it our way.

According to Lawrence’s biographer, Jeremy Wilson, these much misquoted lines are probably a corruption of Article 15 of T.E. Lawrence's "27 Articles", published in the Arab Bulletin of August 20 1917 and meant as a guide for British officers fighting alongside Arab tribesmen. The original reads: "Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them."

Lawrence's 27 Articles offered some other good advice. He argued, for example, that "a bad start is hard to atone for", and provided perhaps the soundest recommendation of all by saying, "Cling tight to your sense of humour". Considering what Papua New Guinea has and still is going through, not always an easy thing to do.

 

P.S. Why is PNG's Independence Day on 16 September? Read here.

 

Some old photos:

 

5 September 2018

RIP Brian Darcey


I last met up with Brian Darcey after he had bought himself another boat - see here - which he moored in a marina north of Cairns where I visited him and stayed aboard his floating home for a night of endless reminiscing about the good ol' days in PNG.

I am sad to say that Brian passed away in May 2018 after he had moved into an old people's home in Cairns. RIP Brian!

The following pages are courtesy of UNA VOCE, the journal of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia:

 

 

8 June 2018

PNG Hash House Harriers

 

Click here to open in separate window

 



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