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11 December 2011

Lindsay Riddick emailed:


I am not one of those in Bougainville in the 1970s – 80s. I arrived in Arawa in 2010 on a volunteer assignment. One of my “extra” personal challenges is researching the history of Tunuru Mission, I plan to publish a small book late in 2012 detailing this story.

I understand the present church was built in 1987-88 and that a significant part of the construction was done by mine workers who were on strike/locked out for 2-3 months. I would dearly like to hear from anybody involved with that construction.

Similarly I would like to hear from anybody with memories of Tunuru church and mission activities over the mining period.

A final request to Urs Christen. You have a great photo of Tunuru from the air on page 10 of this site. I would like to use this in the book, please contact me regarding possible use.

Lindsay Riddick

Iain MacPherson emailed from Western Australia:

I worked for Buin Earthmoving 1976 t0 1979.
I would love to on the list and include my e-mail.


Iain MacPherson
80 Beenyup Rd
Byford W.A. 6122
Ph 9525 1668
Mob 0412 165 069

Sean Byrne emailed from the Gold Coast:

Hi there,

Really liked coming across your site. I was there twice during the building of the mine. First time for Brambles and second time for Johns and Waygood. I think it would be around 1971 ish. My location is now Gold Coast, Queensland

Sean Byrne

10 December 2011

Merv Nightingale emailed from Londonderry in N.S.W.:

Merv Nightingale, my boss on the Bougainville Island contract with the Camp Catering Services Group almost forty years ago, sent me this message:

"Oh I thought that I better let you know that I have been working my way through your various blogs and am both amazed and impressed by your ability to produce such items. I must admit to also being very impressed with your obvious computer skills and your excellent command of the English language. If all else fails you would have no trouble in switching to journalism such is your ability ... I was fascinated by the blog on the Islands, but still have not come accross the old camp office. Brings back a lot of memories, but looking at the areas and the people, I am glad that things turned out the way that they did as I think that it would have proven to be a disaster had we all stayed. Hope all are well down there, and while I think of it, you look well in your photos and obviously the area agrees with you. Best wishes, Merv Nightingale"

Thank you, Merv, but of course you were always most flattering of my abilities, as testified by the glowing reference you gave me when I left Bougainville to take up the position of Financial Controller in Camp Catering Services' head office in Sydney. This reference, together with some fifty other similarly glowing ones, is now slowly yellowing around the edges and fading away just as I am.

Click on image to enlarge

And here's a photo of the old office, Merv:

Warehouses and office of Camp Catering Services at Panguna


1 December 2011

Colin Burns snail-mailed from Belowra:

"Gut de Masta Peter,

Mi laik sekan yu - nem bilong mi Masta Col Burns, mi bin wok long Bougainville namel 1969 - 1972 ..."
, and he continues to write in Pidgin English for a whole page.

I am sure Col would like to hear from other ex-Bougies but he's not an easy man to contact as he lives in dinosaur-country far away from an internet connection.

You can write to him at

Colin Burns
via Nerrigundah NSW 2545

or phone him on (02) 44779306.

I guess you could also visit him but let me warn you: Nerrigundah is in a remote location. We went there several years ago and I wrote this webpage about it.

If you're not from the South Coast of New South Wales (and even if you are), you'd probably never heard of Nerrigundah, let alone Belowra which is another 35 km beyond Nerrigundah and even farther out in the sticks.

24 November 2011

John Standen emailed from Brisbane:

Hello Peter

I did know you but you may not have known me, John Standen or better known as (Blossom), I would like to go on the Honour Roll, if possible.

I arrived on Bougainville in August 1971 as a Plant Fitter, first stop Loloho Dongas, and sat in that old red chair, started in B10 and worked all over the place or wherever needed or tolerated, got married while there to (Sniff) had children, they went to school in Arrawa, left in 1989.

Everything happened so fast, they were the best years, I do have many photos, and there are some of yours that I would like to acquire also, it was only the other night I was looking at that copper coin that we got on the start of production, I was wondering how many people still have them?

We are now living in Brisbane north.

Cheers and Beers

14 November 2011

Deanne Holmes emailed from the USA:

I stumbled across your website this evening and even noticed my dad had posted, Paul Holmes,

We lived in both Arawa and Panguna during our 3.5 years there, 1978 - 1981.

My sister and I both attended Bovo Primary School and also International School in Panguna My brother attended Boarding school in brisbane and i also did our 3rd year there St Peter's Lutheran College.

I remember one of my teachers well, Mr Hayden, who took us on a billeted trip to highlands in New Guinea.

I also remember the Brophy's, Kastener's, Groom's and Grant's. They were all in Panguna during our time there, I'm positive there are many other people I'd remember if i saw their names. My Mum, Jan Holmes worked a lot with the social club in Panguna and also at tech College, She use to cut peoples hair (a lot of the single guys with no wives etc)and also draw family's portraits etc for people..Tragically, she passed away in 2007, Dad is still going strong, still in the industry and lives in central NSW.

Arovo Island was magical, I have never forgotten the color of the ocean there, it was so beautiful, also all the treks into jungle looking for orchards with our parents, and playing in the Bovo river and swimming.. I miss so many things about Bougainville, Hot Bread Anyone? I still think it was the best bread on earth :)

The earth tremors, and playing in the rain, I saw star wars for the first time there at the Panguna Social Club, and ate my first ever star wars icy pop there too, haha how strange to remember such things,

The people were friendly, and going to Loloho beach for holidays, spending a week in the cabins, it was so fantastic, a real paradise.

I also miss Fred (affectionately we called him uncle) and also Blue and Marty who managed/owned plantations and I have the best memories of going up there and spending time game fishing, relaxing and enjoying the plantation lifestyles, the houses were immaculate and amazing, and I've never forgotten the first trip up there in our suzuki 4wd.. We owned 3 dogs while there, Bastie who passed away before we left, Boxer who was the best watch dog ever and Natasha a golden cocker, who had puppies thanks to Fog (another golden cocker) from down the street in Panguna. I think the Horns owned him.

Its been a long time, but i will always hold dear and treasured memories of Bougainville, and i am very blessed to have been one of the children who got to spend some of their childhood growing up in paradise.

Thanks for the website it brought back a lot of great memories, I live in the USA now so it also gave me a chance to share some of those memories and my childhood with my newer and extended family here.

Deanne L Holmes

25 October 2011

Penny Spalek (née Rampling) emailed from Miriam Vale in Queensland:

Just found your site and some of the names are familiar. I arrived in Bougainville as a new wife in Feb/March of 1971 (not long out from the UK). We lived in married quarters in Panguna until Arawa was completed. Finally a house after nearly a year in a donga!! My son Dirk was born at Arawa Hospital on the 17 October 1972. Great timing, yes?

As so many people have said on your website it was a magical place and remembered fondly. Yes lots of parties and drinking but then no telly/DVD’s. I just recently had contact with Katrina Bartlett amazed that she remembered us. Ian White was best man at our wedding and I remember his brother David and his wife Jenny with fond memories.

We moved back to Australia in July 1974 and ended up in Darwin, not the best place to be on 24/12/1974. Sadly as a result the marriage broke down. I am now remarried and we coming up to our 23rd wedding anniversary on 1/11. Enjoying a great life in Queensland and have just bought a house in Miriam Vale about 72 kilometres south of Gladstone and looking forward to renovating the old place. Feel free to contact me if you remember us and would love to see photos as the ones we had were destroyed in Cyclone Darwin.

Thanks again for the site.

Penny SPALEK (nee Rampling)

1 October 2011

Just Bougainville - just click:

21 September 2011

I've got the BCL Blues ...


Hi. I was on Bougainville with BCL in 1986-87....and loved it. The BCL Blues was written to capture and celebrate as much of that experience as possible. Kent Quigley brought recording gear down to the Yacht Club on August 28th 1987 and we recorded it. Here is that recording, set to a selection of Bougainville pics that hopefully captures the atmosphere and feelings of the time.


A short and shaky blast from the past ... a drive to Kieta Sailing and Cruising Club...1986.


Alan Smith

16 September 2011

Carmen Letton emailed:

Hi there,

I was trying to look up someone from PNG to see if there is any internet news of them and accidentally came across your website. It was great to read some of the stories and to look at the photos.

I lived and worked at the Lihir Gold Mine for six years (2000-2005 inc.) where I was the Chief Engineer in the Mine. During my time in PNG I worked with many people who had spent time at Bouganville, all having wonderful memories of the time and the place. Many of the Papua New Guineans that I worked with in the mine were trained and gained their experience with/at BCL and they were an amazing team of workers with diverse and very high levels of skills/competence.

Some of the people that I knew and worked with are Ian and Jenny White, Colin Vale, Thomas Tomputu, Steve Beno (Tom and Steve worked in the mine as operator Supervisors and they are the best that there were) and there are many others who tell stories of the wonderful place it was but equally they tell of the horror of the uprising and the emergency evacuation from Bouganville when “the crisis” hit.

Thomas Tomputu brought me some photos of the mine as it is today, in about 2004, and I was amazed to see that the haul roads are still in near-perfect condition and the pit still looks great (no collapse or failures anywhere to be seen). All of the facilities and equipment are burnt, salvaged or just “gone into the ground” but there is still evidence of the magnificent place it once was. Thomas lives in a village at the top of where the pit is, so I asked him if I could go on field break with him and get him to take me to have a look. He said….”NO WAY, you are a mining engineer. They will shoot you”. The wounds are still raw. I would love to be part of a team that goes back in there to have another go at Bougainville. There are some wonderful examples of how to successfully integrate mining into a local traditional community in a sustainable fashion. (Lihir Gold Mine and the Anitua Story is one of those where local landowners, under the tutorship of Colin Vale (Ex-Bougainville), have made an enormous success of the opportunities afforded out of mining.)

Once again, lovely to read your stories. I too loved my time in PNG and would go back there to live permanently if I could but with kids in high school and plenty happening here at home in Brisbane, my place is here for the time being.

Bye for now.

Carmen Letton
T: + 61 7 32061496
M: +61 437 795 876

15 September 2011

Annette Embery emailed from Canada:

When we left Bougainville after twenty plus years in Panguna,we decided to settle in Canada and purchased a very busy,17 unit motel on a large lake in Rocky Mountain country, British Columbia.

One daughter, Caroline and her husband, Terry now manage Kaslo Motel and thus Bougainville Lodge was created,a log home in the woods overlooking Kootenay Lake,a tranquil B&B where wantoks are especially welcome.

Check out both places on the website for the motel and for Bougainville Lodge,

Lukim yupela behain,
Annette Embery

3 September 2011

Michele Sare emailed from Montana:

Hi - thanks for your website! My brother and I snorkeled most days, watched Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid sitting on a fallen coconut tree - in the rain - because the projectionist wanted to see it too in what had been a coconut plantation. We lived in Arawa in '71-2 - just a string of houses. My dad, Del Sare, was a construction boss w/ Bechtel. He arrived in '69 over a year ahead of our family. I remember the squishy crunching of all the frogs on the roads at night under the tires of the little blue Toyota truck. The commissary grew from a small shop to a large metal bldg., the hospital w/ purple doors was completed, but empty for lack of medical personnel, a tennis court sat next to the fuselage of a B52,Tony Dianamighty (I have no idea if that was his real name) - a dynamite expert working on the road to Kieta - taught Mike & I how to eat spaghetti 'properly', there was a couple next to us form England - he had been an organist at Westminster, I worked for Les Cosh - the dentist across the 'street' and down 2 houses from us - making amalgam with too much mercury (I thought it stuck together better...sorry if I poisoned any of you), and the only other folks I recall were the Bowlings and a young Aussie couple w/ 2 adorable little kids. We went to Arovo Island - what a great adventure! I fell against the boat's exhaust pipe - 3rd degree burns - so skin grafts in Towoomba when I went there for my senior yr. of high school. I remember Joe Tac Long's store in Kieta, a small clinic that sat up on the hill - above Joe's - with a screen door to their little surgery, and when the big new Kieta grocery went in...lobster for $5 USD and Cowuna (sp.??) who cut our grass w/ a machete. There had been a 'jungle' market just past our houses where we would get the best ever oranges with green peel and little banana leaf packets of roasted nuts of some sort. One week my dad's crew had no jobs lined-up, so he had them build a palm drive beginning and ending nowhere - just outside of what was the 'town' of Arawa. I have fond memories of when the first Euclids arrived - dad was so excited - my brother and I went with him to see the new earth movers w/ the mammoth tires. Those pioneers are dad, Del Sare, passed away in 2005...he had built dams in Afghanistan, roads and ports in Borneo, Peru, Venezuela, Greenland and Saudi Arabia...our home movies and our family's friends were of a breed of adventurous men and women who took on tremendous challenge and hardship - and gave people like me a magnificent life...and as w/ so many, Bougainvillitis is indeed a welcome affliction! Thanks for for the place to remember...
Michele Sare..Montana

20 August 2011

John Esling emailed:

Hi Peter,
I’m trying to locate a few of the old faces from Bougainville 1968. I’ve seen some of the photos on your site, but they don’t reproduce all that well. I am trying to locate anyone who may remember and have taken any pics of the concert we put on at the Pan Flat Canteen for Miss PNG 1968. We made up a troupe of cancan dancers under the guidance of one of the wives, to whom my boys referred as ‘raba susu’ because of her padded bra!! She was a relatively petite blond school teacher, married either to the HR officer or one of the accounting staff – but can’t remember any names.
I have finally found Barry Rees, a best mate of mine at the time, and he has sent me a few slides which I will be digitizing shortly.
Cheers for now,

John Esling - 1968 Assistant Surveyor to Gunther Froemel

Wendy Rigney emailed:

Gary Rigney at centre of photograph; next to him in blue shirt Kerry Bond


I would like to have my father's name listed. He was Gary Rigney, and he was the workshop manager for CCS & SHRM, responsible for all of the maintenance of the transport fleet and catering operations. I am his daughter Wendy, email wendyrigney59[AT]

We came home to Melbourne in 1976. Dad worked on Bougainville from 1970 -1977 (?) He unfortunately passed away in 1989, aged 50. He was a friendly person and would help anyone who needed it; he was also a gentleman who unfortunately died too young. Any memories you have of dad, I would love to hear them anytime.

He enjoyed photography and had his own dark room in Panguna and developed his own photos. He won the top prize at an exhibition with this photo of a little Bougainville girl, Louisa Kariko, cuddling with my sister Karen.


Karen Rigney and Louisa Kariko


Karen and l went over to Port Moresby in 2011 and stayed in Louisa's village of Hanuabada for ten days. It was a fantastic time and they are very poor but the way they group together as family and help each other is amazing. They couldn't do enough for us, looking after us and of course laugh at us at times because there were rats the size of cats, but according to them they are pets, we were living in houses in the ocean; sounds like a resort l know but far from it! They don't even have a rubbish removal truck; the rubbish goes in the ocean. It's terrible the way they have to live.

The wooden bridge you walked on had so many holes and broken pieces that l was sure l was going to fall into the water but they showed us where to step. All l wanted to do was go and buy some wood to fix this bridge so that they could walk on it with safety. Louisa's house happened to be the last house which was at least 1km out on the water, l think it took me 15 minutes or more to get there, but looking back now l would do it all again. We will always stay in contact with them, they are part of our family!


Phil Billerwell emailed:


I had forwarded to me yesterday, a copy of an email to you advising that I was the first Manager of Arovo Island.

I was in fact the assistant Manager of the Gateway in Moresby at the time and I went to Arovo for a short period as relief Manager in 1972.

In the photo on 'Arovo Island' on your website, I only recognise one person. The person on the (miss Legs) and the man sitting at the bar COULD BE? Tony and Romley Uren, who at that time were the Managers of the Davara in Kieta. Not sure about this though.

I had a friend who worked at Panguna, a Richard Russell, now deceased....I don't know what years he was there, but later he got a job flying in PNG, and in about 1984/5 he was flying BN2s had a fatal crash somewhere in the Highlands.

I don't think I can help with anything else, but please feel free to contact me if you think I can.

Best Regards
Phil Billerwell

P.S. I think there is a bit missing from this apologies....don't know how it got deleted.....
The only face I know is the Person standing on the right side of the bar and it is Wally Smith. Wally was the first manager of Arovo and this would have been in 1971/2 when they were still doing some development of the resort.

Maurie Thwaite emailed:

Seen you site

Just to let you know , i worked in Bougainville from late 1971 to 1974 employed by Hastings Deering , now live in Darwin

Maurie Thwaite

Werner Seifert emailed:

Hi Peter, habe schon bemerkt, das Du nicht daheim warst. Bei mir war vor kurzem Alf Bird aus Townsville, zusammen mit seiner Frau auf Besuch. Leider nur zwei Tage, aber wir haben uns alte Dias angeschaut und in vergangenen Tagen auf Bougo geschwelgt. Ohne Deine Site hätte er mich nicht gefunden und wir haben Dir mehrmals in Deiner Abwesenheit dafüt gedankt. Keep it up Peter.

Cheers Werner Seifert

Paul Hoskins emailed:

Hi Peter,

My name is Paul Hoskins & my Hash Name / Alias was 'Silver' A lot of the later people from 89 onwards never knew my real name.

I arrived on Bougainville on 07/09/79 and worked in 3 separate areas

Sept 79 to June 82
I worked in the Pit Lube Bay as the Oil Analysis Foreman reporting to Harry Rehtla.

July 82 to Jan 84
I worked with Mahuta Kariko in a 2 person Security Task force responsible for the coordination of security improvements to BCL's Housing facilities and Security system, coordinated between BCL Security, the North Solomon's Provincial Government and the Papua New Guinea Police Force. This was the result of an incident to a Power Station worker's wife. Mahuta and I reported directly to Vic McCartin (GM Commercial). I was nicknamed the Sheriff of Arawa.

Jan 84 to nov 84
I worked as a Systems & Procedures Officer, responsible for the design and implementation of the computerised Towns' Administration & Maintenance System for BCL's Towns' Department. The Towns Dept was created as a direct result of the Security Task force implementation and I reported to the Manager Mike Smith (ret Lt. Colonel & previous BCL Supply Dept Mgr).

I left the island in 84 and commenced working in the BCL Brisbane Office reporting to Owen Sykes assisting in the development & implementation of BCL Computing systems.
Between Feb 87 to Sept 89 I went back to Bougainville 10 times, implementing
computer systems.

My last visit back was September 89 and I was dubbed "The Supreme Optimist" as I was going back to assist Willy Streeter compile the IT Department's 5 Year Plan. Landing at Aropa there was a battle going on at Aropa Plantation and Horst (Allman) can down in the chopper and took me up to Panguna.

After 3 weeks myself, Geoff Bruce (ex BCL Auditor, deceased), Brian Bennett and others were evacuated from Arawa in a PMV to the Wakunai grass airstrip and flown to Port Moresby in a chartered Dash 7. We overnighted in Moresby and dined with Bob Cornelius, related to him our thoughts of the current Bougainville situation, and flew back to Brisbane.

In viewing your website I saw the names of many friends from the past. In January 1990 I went to Jakarta and joined KPC, along with many of the names in your honour roll.

Paul Hoskins

15 August 2011

Carol Allen emailed:

Hi, My name is carol allen and my husband is jerry allen, he was the manager of the tire facility and I was the bougainville copper photographer we were on the island from 1974 to 1981 and loved every minute ofthat time, we have never lived anywhere where the comraderiie wqas so great and we miss everyone and the island, weare now retired and have moved back home after several years in the dominican republic and two more in Florida and two in bangkok thailand all wonderful places but not like bougainville. a fond hello to all we knew and all who knew us. I am a rel novice on the computer and have been unable to post anything on your sit so will you post this for me. email is carolallen560@gmail .com. thanks, carol

Bill Loughlin emailed from New Guinea:


Bill. Loughlin here I was in Bougainville from 1979 to 1984 with my wife Pamela, our last child was born in Arawa hospital. We still regard our four years on Bougainville as some of the best years of our life.

I worked in several sections of BCL starting off in the mine workshop then down to the power station and finishing of in the crushing department. In Bougainville we enjoyed a very special social life with great parties, great fishing, great surfing, great boating with the kids and most of all great friends. Pam also had a very special time with her friends from the church.

At the moment I’m working in Oktedi and enjoying my job here, I get do some exciting and dangerous work and again enjoying the much slower social life to what we had in Bougainville. I’ve been visiting other parts of PNG surfing with my son and I’m a very keen photographer & love photographing the people the landscape.

Some of the x Bougainville people might remember me as the Boomtown Rat yes I was a young party lad over there but now slowed down heaps, age yes it catches up with all of us. Pam and myself have three wonderful grandson and we live on the NSW Central coast just north of Sydney

Well to everyone who’s spent time on Bougainville all I can say is what a very special place, special people and I’m planning to get back there in 2012 for a visit.

Kind Regards
Bill. Loughlin
Team Leader Engineering & Construction Mill, Mine
Ok Tedi Mining Limited
PO Box 1, Tabubil, Western Province
Papua New Guinea
( +675 649 3578

Ê +675 649 3916

6 July 2011

New guesthouse at Sohano

Urs Christen's son Ralph is building a guest house on Sohano island in the Buka passage (Bougainville). Ralph also has a bakery which bakes between 1200-2000 loaves of bread a day.

Peter Trattner who stayed there right through the crisis is also working for Ralph. Peter used to be the mechanical foreman for Arawa town council and is married in Buka.

Freddie has just come back from there and has taken the photos shown below. The people in the boat are Freddie and his wife Elizabeth and the guy facing the camera is Peter Trattner!

If you want more information on this new guesthouse or want to book into it to dream your "Bougainville Dreams", email Ralph at Sohano on

4 July 2011

Bougainville on SBS



I'm the Online Producer for the Dateline current affairs program on SBS TV in Australia. We've just run a story on the Panguna mine in Bougainville, and new claims over Rio Tinto's involvement in the war.

I know it's a subject you're interested in, so I thought you might be interested in seeing it. You can watch it on our website.

We're keen for as many people to see the story as possible, so please also feel free to post it on your facebook, twitter or website, and pass the link on to anyone else who may be interested.

Thanks in advance for your help. Regards,

Andrew Sainsbury
Online Producer
SBS Dateline

From James Fleming:

I lived in kieta from 73 to 74 and then moved to arawa till 77,miss these years and would love to revisit them with like minded living in melbourne now with my family and they are curious,because i always spoke so fondly of these times. we would love to get in contact and reminisce.


From Patsy Moppett


Stumbling across your website I recall that my father, Graham Ross Dalitz, was once involved in the Project. He flew a helicopter (Bell - VH UTJ) for Helicopter Utilities P/L at the time, ferrying geologists around. His pilot log book lists that he was there in 1965 from 20 April to 12 August. Places he lists include Kieta, Barapina, Aropa River, Tonalei, Wakunai, Sesivi, Jaba and Paguna Rivers, Torokina, Buin, and Bhoku.

He took many slide photographs over the years, but as yet I have found none which relate to the time, although I know I have seen some.

My father is currently dying of cancer and is really beyond giving us any further information, unfortunately. Just thought you may want to add his name to the list of previous workers up there.

His daughter,

Kind regards,

Patsy Moppett

From John Esling:

Hi there,

I was up at Panguna for most of 1968. As one of the CRA surveyors under Gunther Froemell.

At the time I was 24/25 and spent most of my time setting out drilling sites and doing topographical surveys.

We established the geodetic control survey on the hills surrounding Panguna and established azimuth control by carrying out Astronomical observations from control points above the old playing field.

I do remember a couple of names;
Barry ? – a geologist about the same age as me.
? Williams, from Auckland who was related to the Corbans family – I think his work was more office orientated.
Bill ? An Aussie surveyor who spent most of his time in the Adit on alignment surveys. He paired up with one of the nurses whom we referred to as YapYap, because of her rather raucous voice!!

We did put on a concert in the wet canteen for a visit by Miss PNG 1968 and six of us performed the cancan in grass skirts. Our dance teacher was a blonde school teacher to whom my boys referred as ‘raba susu’ because of her padded bras!! She was married to ‘wan bikpela cuscus’ – either in HR or accounting I think?
I used to spend most evenings with the group of drillers that were always seated at the first or second table nearest to the road side of the bar. We used to play bowls almost every evening until a couple of weeks before I left the project in December 1968.

We stopped playing bowls as a sign of respect after one of the drillers was killed as he and his mate were making there way back to Panguna during one of those heavy rainstorms after their week away deep in the bush. The young man, only 28, was knocked down by a rotting branch and pinned down in the riverbed for only a minute, but that was time enough for the poor bugger to drown. His 56 year old mate tried mouth to mouth to no avail – had to leave him there and walk out to get a recovery team. They had been working as a team for almost ten years – and had a beautiful close bond – like a father and son.

My first responsibility on arriving in Brisbane was to visit his sister and reassure her that he had not suffered an agonizing death, but that the whole event had passed in a matter of seconds, as he had probably already been unconscious even before hitting the ground.

If there are any formal records available I would dearly like to find his name again. And that of his drilling mate too.

On the matter of bowls – it took me a long time to beat one of the older bowlers. But I finally did succeed one night in October by coming back on the final bowl from two down to three up. Only after that win did he let on that he had been a former Queensland Bowls Champion!!

There were so many memories and, after starting to write six years ago, I have only just completed the first chapter of my memories of that year.
Unfortunately, in the course of so many house moves over the last 43 years any and all the slides that I took whilst there have all been lost. So I would love to be able to upload anything available from that period if you have anything that might refresh my memory.

John Esling – another Maus Gras

From John Tuxworth


I worked in the pit on a one year contract and came back for a two year contract.Mid to late seventies. Glorious place, wonderful locals and special workmates. Loved every minute.

1 July 2011

Absolute waterfront property near Batemans Bay for sale

You have to live somewhere - it may as well be Paradise!

Our 7-acre-plus property "Riverbend" with almost 400 metres of absolute waterfront near Batemans Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales is for sale. For more information go to

It's the sort of property that is usually passed down the family as there are fewer than a handful on the Clyde River. I have been here for 18 years and for me it's time to move on - regrettably! - as we plan to live for part of the year in Kalimantan (Borneo) in Indonesia which makes it impossible to also maintain such a large property this far south.

The price - for those who can afford it - is very realistic as nearby unimproved waterfront blocks just 1500 square metres in size and with as little as 19 metres of waterfront have recently sold for $750,000. A renovated fishing shack on 1700 square metres of land just a few metres up the lane sold six months ago for $950,000.

By contrast, "Riverbend" which consists of eight separate titles and comprises approx. 29,200 square metres - or more than 7 acres - (see map), is on sale for $2 million, lock, stock and barrel! For those who feel a little financially challenged, I can even offer very substantial vendor's finance on below-bank finance terms.

If you're interested, contact me by email to


8 May 2011

WANTED: Michelle & Kevin Gill

Does anyone know the whereabouts of Michelle & Kevin Gill? Please email me at

WANTED: Keith Jenner

Urs Christen is looking for his old mate Keith Jenner - see picture - who worked for Morgan Equipment. If anyone knows his whereabouts, please email me at .

2 April 2011

Vince and Inger and Maria Gozalbez

Hello from Inger and Maria Gozalbez

We recently found this site and were delighted to read about the news from Bougainville, and the memories and personal comments from members of the Bougainville Copper community.

Vince Gozalbez joined a contractor in Bougainville late 1969 and Maria and I joined him early 1970 to stay for approximately 6 months which turned into 6 years! Vince was employed by BCL at the end of 1970 and worked in the Panguna workshop as a head of heavy equipment mechanical engineering, until we left in May 1976.
We first lived in Camp 5 (also known as Nairovi). We later moved up to Panguna, before finally settling in Arawa in 1971 opposite the Bovo school, where Maria was a pupil. I started the Boutique Bougainville (high fashion!) together with Pam Coale and moved the business to Arawa centre when the shops were built.
Vince was an eager sailor and active in the Kieta Sailing & Cruising Club from the start. He was also a keen member of the Arawa Hash House Harriers, and a Founder Member of Hash House Harriers, Bougainville Island.

We have many fond memories of our time in Bougainville - a beautiful island and surroundings which we were fotunate to explore with sailing friends. I now live in Sweden, and Maria in England.
We remember Pam and Bob Coale
Fred and Gretchen Brost
Trevor and Melody Schultz, and many, many more.
Would love to hear from you all from that time in Bougainville.

Harry Baxter

I was delighted to find your Bougainville site. Didn' find my name on the Honour Roll tho'.

I believe I was the 7th Bechtel employee to arrive on the Island back in 1969. By the time I left in 1972 I was the longest serving.
I was made redundant after having a beer with a senior American Bechtel project manager called Ray Bradfield, up in Panguna when he declared that he was the longest serving employee........I had to tell him that I had arrived 2 weeks before him.................He didn't like that one little bit. Funny that!

I was, at the beginning employed as a draftsman, later as a Civil Field Engineer (More money!)

Three days after my arrival the then Project Manager Jim Barnett along with a surveyor, the Aussie District Commissioner, myself, a PNG Police Inspector and approx 130 armed Riot Police went in and took Loloho plantation from the Rorovana villagers. It was quite a day.

After that I was given the job of designing the layout of both the expatriate and indigenious camps at Loloho.
Each day I would leave my Police escort under a canoe tree and trudge to and fro through the acres of bracken fern and coconut trees, getting a feel for how I could best use the area for a 1000 man expatriate camp and a 1700 indigenious camp.

The project manager Jim Barnett told me to cut down/bulldoze around 2000 trees. I really didnt like the idea of destroying this beautiful area. So, in between the time when Jim died tragically in Panguna from a Brain Haemorage and the arrival of the new Project Manager, I cut down only 60 trees to make way for roads. Dongas were being installed and there was no turning back.

One particular day when I went further than usual around the headland towards Rorovana village, I heard voices coming from the beach. I really wanted to meet the Rorovanans so I kept walking through the trees until I was well past them, then got on to the beach and walked back towards them.

There were three adults sitting on the sand with a bunch of pickininies playing on the edge of the bush. The adults consisted of two young men about my age and one lapun.
As I came abreast of them, I asked could I speak with them? One of them who later turned out to be a firm friend as time went by ,was
Willie Bele.
Sitting with them I tried to explain that I would deal with their land as carefully as possible and that if I didnt do the job then someone who would no be so carefull might come along. I also told them my name.
Willie was thoughtfull and silent for a moment before saying " We already know who you are and It's alright......we wont kill you"
I was pretty grateful. All the time they were watching me and I had never once seen them.

Bougainville was for me the greatest experience of my life.................Many stories...........

I returned in 1977 on holiday and again a few times during their conflict with PNG around 1990. I entered illegally from the Solomons.
At that time I took a lot of video footage which was aired on Channel 9 A Current Affair featuring Yana Went and ABC 7.30 report.

The Channel 9 footage featured the Armoured Vehicles which the BRA and myself built up in the Pit Mine Workshop. Now a story!

I am now living in western Australia and still have contact with the people of Bougainville.

I hope this reaches you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards