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September 17, 2012

Mike Edwards emailed:

G’day,
I spent two years on Bougainville through 1970- 71-72 and have very fond memories of the place.
I worked for Morgan Equipment, they were located out from Arawa on the Panguna road. Morgan Equipment were a great company to work for and in later years I worked for them back here in Australia.
I arrived with three other mates out of Perth on the island aboard an F27 Focker Friendship from Port Moresby, late afternoon pissing down with rain (what else) and sticky as a glue pot. Have to admit first impressions not good, all rain, clouds, mist and mud, mud everywhere. First night we stayed at a mates girlfriends place, she worked for Com Works and had a house right on the beach just out of Kieta, on the way to the Yacht Club, think it was called Happy Valley or something like that. The mood improved somewhat after a few San Migs and SP Browns and I woke up the next glorious morning looking out the window at Puk Puk Island. Still remember that sight, just magic. Lived up in Panguna for a while, Kaurong Haus, excuse the spelling, it’s been a long time, then down to Loloho. A while with married friends (the previously mentioned mate and his girlfriend now married) in a company flat in Toniva, not far from the Davara Hotel. I remember picking paw paw from the balcony, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and that was breakfast. Geez the good old Davara, again, many good nights and afternoons spent there. Ended up with a bunch of us single blokes living in a house in Arawa. Worked hard, played harder (a lot younger then of course, the body could handle it). Met a lot of great people both expats and locals.
Some of the best diving in the world just about anywhere on or off the coast. Morgan Equipment had a company boat and they bought a compressor for charging our SCUBA tanks, like I said great company, looked after us well. Spent many happy nights out on Arovo Island, managed to miss the ferry back to Kieta a few times. But what the hell that didn’t make me Robinson Crusoe.
The more I write the more memories come flooding back, won’t bore you with more so all the best.
Regards,
Mike Edwards
Email: medwards[AT]cjd.com.au