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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]