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20 August 2011

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!