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The Die Was Cast - My Journey to New Guinea

The Bougainville Aftermath

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15 January 2020

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

Well, I was still single and too young to have done a runner from home. To me, Bougainville was home and it came in the shape of 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

13 January 2020

"Civilisation" has caught up with PNG

 

12 January 2020

These old footages should bring back memories to those who came to the Territory in the 50s and 60s:

#32

#33

#34

#35

#36

#37

#38

#39

#40

#42

#43

#44




 

A Happy New Year from burnt-out Australia!

 

11 January 2020

Cycling around Arawa


 

A Tour of Panguna in 2018


 

5 January 2020

Rabaul's Volcanic Eruption (1937)

To stay alive, this blog is undergoing a slow transformation from being a voice for those who built the mighty Bougainville Copper Project in the early 70s to a general collection of 'New Guineana'. Why? Well, many of those who worked on the project are already dead or - if past performances are anything to go by - in the process of drinking themselves to death. Some others who could still write can't because they never learned how - and you better believe it because as a tax agent in Camp 6 and later in Camp 1 I also became something of a scribe for those who wanted to communicate with their wives and sweethearts but couldn't. They came to me to read out their letters to them or to pen their replies - and I believe I kept many out of mischief by toning down their replies by several degrees! Anyway, here we go with another piece of 'New Guineana':

Click on image to enlarge

 

Rabaul - A Study in Black and White

To stay alive, this blog is undergoing a slow transformation from being a voice for those who built the mighty Bougainville Copper Project in the early 70s to a general collection of 'New Guineana'. Why? Well, many of those who worked on the project are already dead or - if past performances are anything to go by - in the process of drinking themselves to death. Some others who could still write can't because they never learned how - and you better believe it because as a tax agent in Camp 6 and later in Camp 1 I also became something of a scribe for those who wanted to communicate with their wives and sweethearts but couldn't. They came to me to read out their letters to them or to pen their replies - and I believe I kept many out of mischief by toning down their replies by several degrees! Anyway, here we go with another piece of 'New Guineana':

Click on image to enlarge

 



3 January 2020

The Dragon to the North

To stay alive, this blog is undergoing a slow transformation from being a voice for those who built the mighty Bougainville Copper Project in the early 70s to a general collection of 'New Guineana'. Why? Well, many of those who worked on the project are already dead or - if past performances are anything to go by - in the process of drinking themselves to death. Some others who could still write can't because they never learned how - and you better believe it because as a tax agent in Camp 6 and later in Camp 1 I also became something of a scribe for those who wanted to communicate with their wives and sweethearts but couldn't. They came to me to read out their letters to them or to pen their replies - and I believe I kept many out of mischief by toning down their replies by several degrees! Anyway, here we go with another piece of 'New Guineana':

Click on image to enlarge