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The Die Was Cast - My Journey to New Guinea

The Bougainville Aftermath

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Sohano Ocean View Apartments in Buka Passage

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19 June 2010

John Mason

A great site Peter.
Gives us all chance to ponder on how lucky we were to have been there, plus it should bring back a plethora of many very happy memories. I was with BCL at Loloho Maintenance from 1978. From memory John (Geo) Gretton was in charge at Loloho, also working there were Joe Gogot (carpentry), Dick Lukosec, Peter Maleckas (electrical), Steve Waller, Brian Smith (refrigeration)....... I went out fishing down by Cottesloe Beach on Smithy's boat just last week........... I got transferred to Coastal Operations for a while working under Joe Stevens still down at Loloho. (saw Joe at a Bougainville reunion albeit many years ago at Kings Park here in Perth........... not sure if they still have them?)
One of the plumbing apprentices at Loloho was Bernard Waketsi who had a huge future ahead of him as a pro rugby player, don't know if he made it or not ? Other locals who come to mind were Valentine, Camilus, Andrew Supin, Mathew Karabus, Paulus Iwokuko ............. hope they are all well and they made it through the troubles that were to follow. I left Bougainville in 1987 when I was fortunate enough to score a job with the nearby Solomon Islands Government based in Honiara, but with frequent travel to the outer islands.
I consider myself very lucky indeed to have spent 9-1/2 magic years on Bougainville followed by an equally fantastic 3-1/2 year spell in the Solomons. Unfortunately those good old days are seemingly long gone by now, the expatriate work-force is becoming a thing of the past. Don't hear too much re what is happening these days to our neighbours in the pacific region, hope everything works out for the best for them long-term.
We relocated back to Perth in 1990, Les Whitcombe from the Panguna tunnel project got me a job on a seismic vessel the MV Mag Creek based out of Darwen. From there I got a fly-in fly-out posting up in Singapore on the oil rigs which was great. I did a year at Edith Cowen Uni, I had a regular sports column in a couple of local newspapers, I wrote for British Football Weekly for several seasons, then I decided to give Real Estate a go. Best move I ever made. I've been with Prime Realty at Joondalup in Perth's northern suburbs for six years now.
Vilma and I have been married almost 20 years, Scotty is 18 (going on 30!), Sean is 17 and awaiting TEE results, Glen at 15 is still at school.
If any ex-Bougainville people in WA need any help re their Real Estate/Investment needs.............. sing out, I'll look after your best interests.
All the best to everyone, regards to all who remember us.
Maso & family