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31 July 2012

Nick Murphy emailed from the U.K.:

Hi Peter,

I emailed via your website but have also tried directly to ask do you know of anyone who has a copy of the film "Bougainville Copper 1979"? It was a promotional video, probably aimed at investors in the company. A film crew came in to do it. As I recall it has good footage of the mine, island etc. Be good to see a copy on U-tube!

Mine Training College, about 1985
left to right: Back Row - Trevor Davison, Stuart Burns, Tapia ? Oripa ? Ron Corbin, Bob Woodward; Front Row – Alan Westcott, Nick Murphy, Steve Oliver, Judy ? Kevin Hughes, Paul Widdon.

email nick_murphy1948[AT]

30 July 2012

Music from Bougainville

Ian Louth emailed from Christies Beach in South Australia:

I spent a year on Bougainville in 1978 when I was a 24 year old boilermaker doing maintainence in the concentrator at Panguna and living in that fabulous Panguna apartment block for single guys two in a room. I can honestly say that the experience was a milestone in my life and probably set completely my attitude to the way mining is conducted in the third world. Flying in from Pt Moresby and seeing the grey smuge that was once the mouth of the Jaba River for I dont know how far out to sea then viewing the hole excavated in the island was certainly an eye opener. I however will never forget the stunning beauty above and below the water on the other side of the island and the way the Bougainvilleans conducted themselves. Running with Panguna HHH did me a lot of good also.

I was a keen diver in those days and when I realised where I was had my gear sent out from Australia . A group of us from Panguna ; Kevin Hart being the only name I remember out of about five of us worked on the out of order BSUC boat and got it going. We then had every Sunday off and went diving. Dont ask me about refurbishing of concentrator cells with an oxy torch and arc welder but ask me about the time on the big wreck when we had 200 feet visbility and the boat was floating in the sky 110 feet in the sky above us.

A couple of years ago when I got into song writing I though that my feelings about my time on Bougainville should be expressed. I wrote the song by simply tying real memories together. A lot of the imagery is about the place itself as well as the diving we did there.I perform this song at folk clubs and venues and it always touches someone in the audience to the point of talking about it to me afterwards.
I sympathised with Bougainville landowners and the BRA cause at the time of the conflict and while others may differ my view is that money to shareholders does not come at any price. The song is attached if anyone is interested.

email ilouth[AT]




Bougainville Blue © Ian Louth

( On 2nd in D

C Am F G
Palm trees bleached coral , a dugout canoe
C Am G C
Paddled on flat sea , Bougainville Blue
Calm clear waters , splashed colours onto
C Am G C
Deepest of shades, Bougainville Blue
White wake behind us , reef islands in view
C Am G C
Splitting the water, of Bougainville Blue
Deep under neath , hiding from view
C Am G C
Ghosts of the past , Bougainville Blue
Ships of an old war , our boat flying too
C Am G C
Across the sky , of Bougainville Blue
We dug a hole in the island , copper and gold for you
C Am G C
Poisoned the Jaba River , Bougainville Blue
Francis mined the pylons , took back power when they blew
C Am G C
Crippled the mine , closed for all time , Bougainville Blue
Strong proud people , mi lukim you
C Am G C
Keepers of an island , Bougainville Blue
Memories forever , of a place I once knew
C Am G C
Home of the butterfly , the Bougainville blue
The deep green forests, the wet dripping bamboo
C Am G C
The slow moving fluttering, of a Bougainville Blue


For a live recording, click here.

18 July 2012

Panguna Mine 2008

In early 2008 the ESBC (European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper / ) sent a cameraman to the island of Bougainville to take pictures of the abandoned Panguna mine which was once one of the world's hugest open pit mines. It closed down in May 1989 due to terrorist attacks.

Part 1

Part 2

17 July 2012

16 July 2012

Message from Graeme Wellington

Hi Peter

A friend pointed me to the message on your blog from Rob Davies.

I thought that I should update the email on my contact on the Bougainville Copper Project site. I'll try to do an update to the words there too. A fair bit has happened since I wrote that. My wife was diagnosed with widespread terminal cancer in late 2008 and died 14 weeks later Jan 2009.

Sold my business to nurse her. Went and did some volunteer work in PNG.

Semi retired now, do a bit of work for a friend's maintenence business to keep myself busy and in contact with the world.

Hope all is going well with you.

My email is now



14 July 2012

FINALLY! The BCL Induction Video


I hope it brings back many memories - and don't forget to share it with friends!

Here's a comment from somebody who was there:

"What a bloody shock when you arrived and found out that they had lied :-) Interesting that there was not a bloody thing on that whole video that put me in mind of what the place was actually like, good, bad or ugly. In fairness, they did mention that if you thought, as a family, that you were going to have the good life, think again.
Interesting though and thanks for your efforts, Pete."

Click here to tell your friends!


6 July 2012

Dave Hartley emailed from the U.K.:

Hi and Good Morning UK time.

I came across your website a few months ago after trying to re-establish and contact some Kiwi friends whom I meet but lost contact with, when working on Bougainville for Hornibrook construction from 1969 to 1971.

I have many good memories and photos of the very early days on the island as one of the few Poms on the island at that time, including our old office on the water's edge complete with a giant swordfish caught for supper hanging from the balcony rail. All in the days before Bechtel officially arrived portside. We all worked for a great guy called John Carpenter whose son was tragically killed after I left. Would you be interested in my recollections/memories plus pictures? I would be more than happy to share them with all your site members. And maybe it will help me reconnect with those missing friends.

With Kind regards
Dave Hartley

[Reply from Webmaster: Go ahead, Dave, any photos and memories are always highly appreciated. You must have been at Loloho and Camp 6 at about the same time I was there. You guys had an office right on the water's edge and your office staff used to take a dip into the water straight out of the backdoor. Your accountant was a Filipino who later did time at Berrima Jail near Port Moresby when he was found out to have done the 'salami trick', slicing chunks of dollars off employees' tax deductions on their Group Certificates and adding the total to his own, thus getting himself a huge tax refund. I think he got too greedy and the Tax Commissioner became a bit suspicious when his certificate showed tax deductions close to his total gross pay ☺ Here's a little flashback for you: Happiness is a red plastic chair ]

Email received from John Davidson:


Hi All

The 2012 Reunion has come and gone. We will be into 2013 before we know it.

We tried something new this year. Bob Hutton visited us from Adelaide and brought with him all of his magic music machines and electronics. It was quite a production and Bob and our key facilitator, James Fraser-Byass (what a dynamo is James) prepared, operated and transported the sound gear. Bob presented a brilliant collection of well known songs from across the years. We were also regaled by Floyd Griffiths with his wonderful tenor voice and his limitless supply of stories.

We then had the good fortune to be treated to non-scheduled performances from Alan Smith and Pat Beston. Alan entertained us with Bougainville Blues (how does he remember all of those lines !) and Pat concluded the entertainment for the day with a passionate rendition of Danny Boy. Pat is supremely confident and comfortable with the microphone. He could not wait to get hold of it. He might have a job at next year’s event, something to look forward to.

We enjoyed the best possible weather. For some of us the effort to attend is becoming, physically, quite challenging. We so much appreciate the continued attendance of Ken and Mariele Hooper. For the first time we enjoyed the company of B16 legend, Pedro Saavedra, his daughter, Clara and the extended family. Pedro has two fine young grandsons who we can`t wait to get onto the JDA books. Pedro is well into his 80`s. He was delighted to spend time with old workmates including Errol Ryan, John Barnham and all the way from Perth, Ted Rogalski.

It was lovely to see Merle and Christine Wall. Thank you Merle for making such an effort to come along. Once again there were several first timers and many who travelled interstate. Also from Perth came Kaz Kloda, Ted Adams, Fran Leo and Judy Smith.

At every gathering we have people attending for the first time and on this occasion it was no different, Brian Bennett was there from Indonesia, Greg Rashford, just returned from Kuching, Vic and Sally Rogers and Harry (Ken`s baby brother) and Litia Nelson. Also visiting us (with Russ Gill from Cairns) was the former Arawa Police Supt, Mike Bell. My Chrissie worked for Mike at the Station in the early 70`s. It was good to have Chrissie handy. It is the only way that I could be sure of regular meals.

John McLeod and Roger Kapu were also down from Cairns. Gisela Hanssen has become one of our regulars. Gisela is about to join Bert on a yacht on the Adriatic. My blood is far too thin for such an adventure.

Perhaps the most consistent of our attendees from outside Brisbane, up from Sydney, is Stephanie Ross. Stephanie, you must have a massive photo collection from our reunions. If we can "limit the bytes" down to the minimum we will consider the circulation of some of this material. Stephanie may shock us one of these years by bringing along Barclay.

Also John and Shirley Mowatt have found a BCL phone book that goes back to the "dark ages". We would like to increase our readership from this document but it is a big job and for the time being we are fresh out of time. In this office we receive tremendous support from Maureen and James and Valerie has also been helping with the list and the mail outs. If anybody else is living close by and has time to spare then please give us a call. Sara helps out when she visits each year from Melbourne for some of the winter months.

Alana, thank you so much for bringing along Paul. We want you to bring along Marshall next year. We just won`t tell him about Ditchie attending. I will never forget the conversation that took place in Sally`s paddock between Ditchie and Marshall so many years ago. Thank you Sally for making the journey all the way from Grafton. The newly retired Mr Ray is looking well. He was seen speaking with Gwen and Billie Koch. At least his lips were moving so we can only presume that he was telling lies. (I pinched this line from our dear old mate, Danny McGrath) After many years working in Asia, Mike and Liz Crowe came along. We must convince Liz to attend a safe driving course. We were most concerned for the safety of some of the less nimble attendees.

As well as Bob Hutton, South Australia was represented by the Evansons, Colin and Eunice. Gavin and Sandy Comber were also there from somewhere in the cold country, further south.

While we are in "thank you mode" we should mention the Cybulski`s, Rhonda and George, who back in the early to mid-90`s, were the key networkers who worked to ensure our day out would endure. In fact without George and Rhonda i doubt that our fraternity would have made it to 2 years - it is now heading towards 22 years.

The Wilson`s had several house guests including Diane Soul from Melbourne. Both Ravenscroft families were represented from Melbourne and Port Macquarrie.

The former Loloho fraternity was well represented with Stephanie, Bill De Board, Roger Smitheram, the Gowans, the Vickers and Michelle Rigby. Chris is commuting to Tabubil. Chaddy was down from Cairns and on his customary impeccable behaviour. I don`t think that he offended too many people. His face was unmarked, usually a good indication.

There were several next generation Bougainville Brats in attendance. The Ryans were there in force. Alex Cybulski was another. I found myself speaking with a fine young man who turned out to be the son of Bob Sampson. I have misplaced this name, Bob, can you please help me here. David and Karyn Rosenthal (nee Simon) were others. We are delighted to advise that Karyn has recently joined the "A" Team.

I have not mentioned above many of the locals. Some that spring to mind are the Nagels - Marty and Lisa, Mick Hamer, Chris Hatherley, Valerie Garside, John and Anne, Peter and Shirley, Rob and Diane Slee, Peter Bennett, the PNG Vice Consul - Paul Nerau, Wendy and Ross Colvin, Derek Gorst, Robbie Brown, Fred and Marilyn Simon, Theresa Neville, Graham and Julie Talbot, Fergus Keane, Keith Sherwood, Blue and Vera Rodwell, Rae and Lisa Smart and Horst Allman, another champion attendee. There were many others. Jill has not been well so Derek was obliged to make the long return journey to Bellbowrie early afternoon. Keep your chin up, Jill. Mick remonstrated with Chrissie about some terrible mistake / choice that she made some 35 years ago !!!!!!

A few of our stalwarts were missing this year including Grumpy, Phil and Gunther, Urs (Freddie`s passing may have impacted here) and Peter Zilmer. Peter recently made it to the finals in the Queensland Masters Squash Tournament in Caboolture. Who should he see there, still playing at the highest standard, but Ross Tilby. Rolly and Marie Cornell were other regulars not to arrive this year.

Chrissie and I have been on a short holiday. Along the way we stayed with wonderful friends from our Arawa days, Susie and Sean James. Devon was rather damp but it did not stop us from enjoying our holiday. I spoke to the Rev John and Sarah Ewington. John has recently concluded a term of 15 years as the resident minister at the parish of Appledore, just around the corner from the James`. Sarah said that they maintain contact with many ex-Bougies including the Pattersons, Gwyn and Andy, the Jacksons, our Valerie and many others. Sarah said that Peter Gittens has been unwell. We hope that Peter recovers quickly.

I apologize to those who I have failed to mention here. James delegated to me the simple task of taking down some of the names but I have stuffed up again. On the positive side, the nametags were a great success. Rolly has been telling us to do this for many years.

Don`t forget the Melbourne reunion, see details here:

SUNDAY 5TH AUGUST 4.30 – 8.30pm



RSVP 29TH JULY Di Stewart 03 9584 8220 – stewies[AT]

Stay close


Message to Graeme Wellington:

Rob Davies of dfe_01[AT] has been trying to send this photo from their last year at boarding school - Rugby trip to NSW and ACT 1966 - to Graeme Wellington at graeme[AT] but his email doesn't seem to exist any longer.

If you know of Graeme's whereabouts, perhaps you could pass it on to him?