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


If something on this blog doesn't work, please contact the janitor
Alternatively, contact the Helpdesk

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