Picturesque Waterfront Cottage available for permanent rental - click here

The Die Was Cast - My Journey to New Guinea

The Bougainville Aftermath

Want to share a house in Bali? Click here!

Sohano Ocean View Apartments in Buka Passage

70 years of PIM are now available on the internet - click here


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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