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19 June 2010

Diane Soul

Dear Peter,

I spent 7¼ years on Bougainville (mid 1975 - October 1982). I moved into the single girls’ quarters (G Block) in mid ’75 spending the first two years working in B36 for Maurie Pears, Ron Kay and Treasury.

In ’77 I took over Secretarial Training at the Mine Training College where I spent a very happy five years. As well as training I looked after some aspects of the girls’ welfare which I really enjoyed. I was able to leave the island three or four times a year for recruiting trips and meetings- the best of both worlds!

Many of “my girls” were Bougainvillean and I hate to think what may have happened to them. It’s hard to watch footage of the island now -it really is the stuff of my nightmares. I keep in touch with some of my close friends from those days - Colleen and Ian Wood, Phil and Jenny Quigley, Liz Abbott (now McQueen) in Sydney, Bob Hutton in Adelaide, Frances Cohn in Geelong, Russ and Remi Wilson in Brisbane and Geoff and Sylvia Westwood in England. Ian and Jenny White were on Lihir until quite recently - I’m not sure whether they are still there, now that they are grandparents!!

I don’t know the criteria for your “Role of Honour” - Christine Smart (who was at one time the artist at the Mine Training College) died in a car accident involving my car in 1983. Sue Kinman went to Bougainville as a single girl, was married to Shan Rochford for a short time and later found real happiness as Mrs. Sue Wilson. She died of cancer after a long and brave struggle. Now I feel really depressed.

I have lots of photos (more of people than buildings) but don’t have a scanner. I’ll go through them and see what I can find. Bob Hutton is hoping to make the reunion next year and I hope to meet him there.

How long have you had this site? - what a great idea!
Best wishes,
Diane Soul