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20 April 2012

Richard Salisbury emailed:

Hello Peter,

Just reading some of the wonderful stories about Bougainville where I grew up in the late 1950's early 60's.

My father Fred, was Kip McKillop's partner in Arawa Plantation, and dad would regularly take me up there from Sydney.

The butterflies seemed SO HUGE when I was a kid.

And the fantastic orchids - some of which, actually hundreds - ended up at our house in Sydney.

Dad would attach them to the gum trees, and they thrived - and giant staghorns too.

I'm strangely drawn back there in my mind of late....

Anyhow, well done on your initiative to keep the memories alive.

All the best

Richard Salisbury
email admin[AT]

3 April 2012

Gordon Wadsworth emailed:

Hi Peter

I worked for Tarave Wholesalers which later became Arawa Enterprises Ltd from 1978 to 1985 and acquired a coffee table style book of B&W photos covering the mine development from exploration until about 1980. If you have not seen it before it certainly fills in many blanks as it includes the road construction, delivery of the machinery, port development etc. Plus somewhere I have the VHS tape that was made to show to potential employees what to expect when they arrived. If of interest drop me a reply and I’ll locate them for you.

Like yourself, Bougainville has many special memories and I still maintain contact with friends from that era including the former owner of Inus Plantation who made many of our staff welcome visitors. To read that nationals were employed in slave like conditions is a total distortion of the place and it is sad to think that this has not been strongly refuted by those who lived there and shared with nationals a special place spoilt by greed and misunderstandings of what economically it could achieve for the local population.

I was employed when Maurie Pears was GM. Paul Wells had just commenced as well and I was the Special Projects Accountant required to commission the SHEILA accounting package on the Data General computer becoming PNG’s first on-line warehouse in doing so. Your pictures of Arawa now were upsetting to say the least. Our son was born at Arawa in ’79. I’ll do a biography later of some of our workmates etc for the honour role as enjoyed the contributions from many of your existing honour roll authors despite its focus on BCL staff. Chris Van Gessel lives in NZ now and has entered the priesthood for the Catholic church and there are many others whom I can add a little about. I’ll post you the induction tape if you forward an address as I don’t have necessary gear to upload it to YouTube. Seems the book I advised about is in the possession of another contributor also so may not be so rare after all. Will scan some of my photos and slides to see what I can add later as well.

Gordon Wadsworth
email wadzygc[AT]

Wade Green emailed:


My name is Wade Green and like Sue I was a child when my family was on Bougainville.

We moved there from Broken Hill in 1972 when I was 3 my dad (Dave Green) worked for BCL in the Pink Palace as an accountant. My family is Mum Helen, brothers - Travis, Brodie, Aaron (born on Bougainville) and Joshua (also born on Bougainville). My grandfather Charles Francis Gardner (Frank) worked in the mine at Panguna and moved to Bougainville with his wife Molly and two daughters Dana and Jodie.

I have many memories of Bougainville such as playing with Jamie Brophy and Sues brother Mac (what we called him), swimming in the Bovo, traveling by bus up the narrow windy road to Panguna amateur swimming club and singing songs the whole way, waking up after the earthquake to find the contents of the pantry on the floor, walking to school barefoot, laying paper trails with mum for the hash house harriers (not sure of the name), the all night parties mum and dad used to have, finding the shell casing and giving it to Sue to use for her school project, the strange guy on Loloho beach who used to stuff seaweed down his speedo then swim out into the ocean and eat the seaweed, walking up into the local village and through the crops, seeing the locals as they had always lived, throwing stones at pigs and being chased by bush knife wielding locals (not proud), dad driving all over the road on the way up to Panguna just to scare us kids (it worked, just ask my shrink;->), dad driving over toads/frogs as we listened to them pop, dreaming about ice cream spiders, holidays on the Gold Coast, Christmas parties at the Sports and Social club and Golf (country) Club, getting my fingers stuck in the old Merry go round at the Country Club during a movie night, eating salty plumbs, getting boils, being stung by wasps, watching from the Bovo bridge as mums best bed spread (that disappeared off the clothes line months before) floated downstream, the girl from Canada who had chicken pox, great big black acid spitting centipedes, running down the road in front of the wall of rain as is rolled down from the mountains, surfing down the street after the rain, the smell of the rain, catching hermit crabs on Loloho, when the queen came for independence day....and so many more..

Great site, great to read other stories/memories from Bougainville.

email wadesipad[AT]

P.S. Amendment to above: grandfathers name was not Charles Francis Gardner it is Thomas Francis Gardner (aka Frank).