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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