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September 17, 2012

Graeme Hore emailed from Victoria:

Hi Peter
I was given a link to your site and found that it revived memories of the place. I used to work for Minenco, a CRA Group engineering company that were involved with Concentrator expansions. I worked on No.9 to 15 mills and associated Crushing, Screening and Fine Ore Storage and Flotation facilities. I went up there first in 1974 as a young 23 year old draftsman, which turned out to be a life changing experience. Bougainville projects comprised a large piece of experience that I still draw on today. I loved the frontier lifestyle and rugged country. Most opportunities we took off to places like Buin, Buka and the Mortlock islands. I recall we used to go to camp 1 to see a movie in a large converted warehouse, and if it rained you couldn’t hear much. Then it was a race back to Panguna afterwards. We used to go to stay at Loloho camp in the recreation part of the camp on a Saturday afternoon and stay until Sunday, but spend sometime at the Coastal club and see a movie or one at the camp under a tin roof. I also recall a Chinese resteraunt at Kobuan Bay, the Davara Hotel at Kieta, Arovo Island and many places that we frequented. Buin was also a great place to visit for a weekend. Roger Porteous ran a guest house/trade store there and there was good fishing and the country club you could visit. Kangu beach and Kahili mission were also worth a visit if you were into WW2 left overs. I never did see Yamamoto’s plane, but there were two shot down and the one people were taken to was not the one that carried him. Going there and returning mean’t dropping in on Kiwi’s roadside camp to say gidday and share a cold beer. He and his crew were constantly looking after the Buin road from the mine. My house is scattered with Bougainville memorabilia from Buka Baskets to a coconut stripping stool. I would love to catch up with nationals I worked with in the later part of my stays there, but they could be anywhere now. Some people I worked there with, some were long termers and others were locals . Paul Pearcey, Bob Dean, Collin Street, Tony Pearce, John Bobbermien, Barney Clifford, John Siwani (from Buka), Paul Bakoi (from Buin), Bob Ginnigin (Manus or Karkar? Island), Usibius Omi (from Buin), (the late) John Jones and (the late) Frank Charlie from B60 Concentrator Engineering office. I often wonder where are they now.
I have many slides taken over the years there and even some super-8 movie that I occasionally show the kids, but I read of Susan Coyle’s recent visit and have been contemplating doing the same thing. I will keep an eye on your website for updates. Kind regards
Graeme Hore
Lara. Victoria.
Phone: (03) 5282 1866
graeme.hore[AT]bigpond.com