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19 June 2010

Graeme Wellington

Hello Peter

What a nostalgic moment to find your site. It brought back so many memories. So many memories of the people and characters from the early days.

I grew up on Sohano and later my parents went to Kieta. So naturally when I needed a job after my first year at Uni I wandered around the bay to Kobuan to see what was on offer for a bright young lad whose only real skill at the time was a fluent grasp of tok pisin.

I started working on the project in late 1966 when it was still CRA Exploration. I was based at Kobuan for a couple of months working on training (then under Don Pearce's area of responsibility) but was soon moved to run Barapinang Camp when Ray Katt (spelling probably wrong) didn't come back from a field break to Rabaul. I then moved to Pan Flat when the main office was established up there. At the end of 67 I went back to Uni in Brisbane for a year, and started back on the project later that year.

In 1970 I married Gillian Mann who was working at the Panguna Haus Sik (met her on Sohano a couple of years earlier). We have two boys, both born at Arawa.

I spent all of my time up there in personnel department, first with Basil Turner and Des Bowlay, later under Chris Normoyle and then Ken Edwards. Towards the end of the time I was working for Paul Quodling , and when he became GM, John Trezise and then Pat Gilles took over the division.

About the same time the country and the social climate were undergoing dramatic changes (for the worse, alas), job satisfaction was dwindling, there was no career path etc. etc. and I reasoned I had to move to Australia. The move was extremely emotional as I was leaving the place that I had always considered "home". I have never since had such an emotional attachment to any place, and it's probably made worse by the fact that you can never turn the clock back to the way it was.

We left in November 78 and settled in Western Australia (Gillian's home state), got employed by a major mineral processor, worked up the corporate ladder to the top level and then had the revelation that there was too much bullshit there. Left that mob in 91 and started my own business which Gill and I still operate.

We don't get to see many ex Bougainville people, as we are 2 hours south of Perth. Davo (John Davidson) dropped in a couple of times on visits from Brisbane, we've had Gerry Clark (Mine Geology) visit a couple of times, once with Mary. Peter and Jenny Searle (Coffey & Hollingworth, then BCL Mine Geology) spent a couple of nights with us on a visit from UK. Richard and Val Rummery (Powerhouse) live up the road a bit in the hills behind here. Ian Worth (Mining Engineering) and family called in a couple of times, we keep in touch with the Jorritsmas (Mine Maintenance) and occasionally run across Les and Margaret Lyons .

I've got quite a lot of early Bougainville photos which might be of interest. I'll scan some over the next few weeks and email them to you.

To check out one of our latest activities, see www.hypercube.com.au

Best regards
Graeme Wellington