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24 November 2012
I was a 2nd year(1988-1989) Electrical apprentice n worked at B58 along with afew other boys. My foreman was Lindsay Swonson, n guys,Lindsay was a good person to work n learn with. I'm sure he will still remember me as I was the youngest of the crew at B58.
My hello n thanku to u guys for getin this site up so we can communicate.
I guess there's a lot of men who were boys back then and now are employed.
Iam not so lucky as I had lost all my belongings during the crisis.
Guys,if there's anyone out there who can help in locating my friends,please don't hesitate to contact me.
Bougainville was the most Beautiful place at that time and I will never forget my experience and the beautiful people I worked with there.
CHEERS n See u guys soon!
Steven Tekwie, Vanimo ,Sandaun PNG
15 November 2012
Take one part sun-soaked, palm-lined beach, add hammock stretched between two palm trees, dash of ice-cold beer,
The peace and tranquility of Ha'apai (in a South Pacific travel poster setting) is an experience not to be missed! If relaxing was an Olympic Games event, this is where you'd come to train! These are the islands where the famous mutiny on the Bounty occurred (could you blame them?), the Port-au-Prince was ransacked, and where Captain James Cook who found Ha'apai to be the perfect place for rest and relaxation and made long stopovers at Nomuka in 1774 and 1777 and Lifuka in 1783, dubbed Tonga "The Friendly Islands."
The low coral islands lined by coconut palms along colourful lagoons and reefs, offer miles of deserted white sandy beaches where you can explore and linger as long as you like. Towering volcanoes can be found here too. In all there are 60 small islands in the Ha'apai Group, 17 of which are inhabited, and all are uniquely special.
The traditional lifestyle of the locals is supported by fishing, agriculture and handicrafts. The friendliest people you can meet are here in Ha'apai. Caesar is to have said, "Let me have men about me that are fat". Well, he would have loved Tonga because the people of Tonga, by and large, are fat. They are proud to be fat. They want to stay fat. If they aren't fat enough by Tongan standards, they want to get fatter. Perhaps that's why "Fakalahi Me'akai" which means "Grow more food", is inscribed on every Tongan coin. And "The Complete Book of Running" would never make the bestseller list in Tonga. The only joggers here are foreigners while bulky Tongans sit in the shade and follow them with uncomprehending stares.
10 November 2012
While at a mine in WA this week I met Denis Rout whose father Allan was on Bougainville in the construction days. There was some sort of civil disturbance and he went missing in the bush for a few months ending up at a mission. Denis was only five at the time but never got the full story about this.If anyone can tell me (and hence Denis) anything about this please let me have your email address and I will contact you directly. I was on Bougainville 1974-87. Many thanks.
9 November 2012
Pulled the pin in 1974, a month before self-government. Not sure you were there when a strike progressed to a riot at Panguna. The Pacific Island Regiment came in and peace was restored (Chimbus bashed the shit out of the troublemakers). It took a week for things to return to normal. During the process of determining who would be flown off the Island, all the natives were transported on cattle trucks to Barclay's compounds in Arawa.
I stayed until my 4 years were up and ended up working for public accountants in Sydney. Struth [sic] was it a culture shock coming back! Worked in George Street, Martin Place. Stuck it out for 18 months then bought a caravan to travel around this wide brown land.
On my sojourn I applied for an accounting role in Darwin working for the pearl cultivating mob (had some bad press recently about diver drowning). They checked out my background, referees etc. and after waiting some two weeks I decided to move on. They were disappointed when I told them I was withdrawing my application - I wasn't. I really could live and work anywhere for a while, however after a month or so realised Darwin was not for me. Would loved to have worked in Karratha - you can literally smell the money splashing around the place (in Perth was offered a role with the Electoral Commission at Karratha). Port Headland - stayed a few days and moved on. Reminiscent of Newcastle some 40 years ago. Had a great time in Kalgoorlie and Boulder - stayed at backpackers working as labourer for a few weeks.
To be honest I have not met many former Bougainville people other than Don Brewer and Brian Reid by chance many years ago - we happened to be at the same restaurant one evening on the Sunshine Coast.
I recognised many names - one bloke, Roy Goldsworthy (Goldfinger) you have a number of photos of, married an Italian bird at Panguna (we went to the wedding - memorable) she could not speak English. Roy would get quite irritable when people tried to speak to her in broken English with a smattering of pidgin. Any idea where he is? Roy said he would never go back to NZ because all his family looked down their noses at her because she was a wog.
Another photo of Debbie Wilson - her brother Garry (a bonzer bloke) and I worked together for some time. He left BCL to become a QANTAS steward. We visited him in Sydney after we went pinis and a couple of years later received a card from Debbie saying he has died.
AFTER years of reporting "there has been no production since 15th May 1989", things may appear to be improving for Bougainville Copper following the election of a new autonomous government last year and recent meetings with the PNG Government discussing the possible resurrection of the massive Panguna copper-gold mine. If you are interested in re-applying for your former position with BCL, please email me now. But hurry as there is STIFF competition for the jobs!!!
7 November 2012
Here's some interesting and amusing reading about the Bougainville Copper Project in the early 70s by somebody who was involved in the construction of Arawa township: 'Bougainville Interlude'.
It's in four parts (click on the header):