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24 December 2012

Graham Shaw emailed these photos from New Zealand:

Hi Peter

Like many of your contributors I found your site a few months ago and have since been busy converting my slides to digital form. I have included a few of them for your site.

My name is Graham Shaw from Taihape, Central North Island, NZ. Along with my good buddy, John Neustroski (died 7.2.2004) we worked in Panguna from August 1970 until April 1971. I was a Foreman Mechanic in Barclay Bros workshop. Never having worked on a large construction site before it was a bit of a culture shock. While there were some negatives it was overall a great experience.

In the New Year I shall write a blog sharing my experiences, the highs and lows.

I have not recognized any names from your honours roll or blogs (could be my memory). Would love to hear from anyone that was up there with me. I am still in touch with Alex Stewart, Queensland but have not come across anyone else I knew.

Keep up the good work.

Graham Shaw
email Coachmantaihape[AT]


Ken Mills emailed from Mackay:

Landed in Kieta September 1971. Worked as a fitter on haul trucks, then a couple of stints at the Screen house before leaving the Island February 1976. Like many others have commented, the work and lifestyle leave me yearning to see the place again, even knowing that the magic of those years can never be replicated. Names remembered included Lik Lik Lew Higgins, Kiwi Tony Mcdonald, Ted Rogalski, Garry Mills, Badman Stewart and of course John Davo Davison to name a few. Moved on to work for 36 years in underground coal and have settled just south of Mackay. Have browsed this site many times looking for names and people's experiences. One memory was of a crew trip down the coast in an Isuzu manhaul with much liquid refreshment. One person brought to our attention some electric blue butterflies with the statement that one in the hand was worth a lot of dollars and a lot of unsteady hunters evacuated the vehicle seeking the reward. A lot of sore and sorry persons returned to the manhaul with no prize.

Ken Mills


17 December 2012

Chris Jefferies emailed from Canada:

This photo is of one of my crew at camp 6. His name is/was George Halkett and this was taken up the road from Camp 6 in 1970. I don't see his name in the phone book in Melbourne, so---------------? He was 55 then and one of his best buddies was Al K. Haul, so I would hazard a guess that he has been called away to a better place. I just happened to find the picture on the floor behind a dresser I was moving. Maybe George just wanted to be remembered.

12 December 2012

Commercial break



Tom Neale chose to live alone on Suvarov, one of the remotest atolls in the South Pacific Islands, because life there moves at the sort of pace which you feel God must have had in mind originally when He made the sun to keep us warm and provided the fruits of the earth for the taking.

These days you can follow Tom Neale's example by booking into luxurious VILLA MAMANA on tropical Telekivava'u.

9 December 2012

Bill Lane emailed from Emerald:

Hi Peter,

Worked for Hastings Deering as a fitter at Itakara and Panguna in 1972 the returned in 1977 with family until 1980 as workshop supervisor with Hastings Deering. Lived in Arawa and worked at Itakara.

Many fond memories of the people and the place, great job you are doing keeping the records going. Hopefully can get put on list and catch up with some old mates.

Many stories of Bougainville days and later at Ok Tedi as I went from Bougainville to Lae to be there with Hastings for construction phase of OTML, 1980 - 84, will send pictures next round.

We live in Emerald, still have diesel in the blood and living the dream working 7 on 7 off at a Rio coal site here at Clermont with a contactor Emeco International Pty Ltd as a Panel supervisor keeping the big yellow dirt taxis going.

Bougainville was such a great place to work and live, the Hastings Deering/ BCL experience certainly set us up for life and we still have some great contacts from that chapter of our lives.

Jim Walker ( Westrac) was my service manager, Doug Bestwick was branch Manager and Ian Brown was parts manager at this time. I still have a list of people who worked for Hastings during this period.

Jim Brophy, Len Hodder, Barry Smith, Hermann Mayer, Jim Embery, Peter Bawden, George Limberg, Alan Shaw, Buka Mick and Tony Grimwood were BCL blokes I had most contact with.

The late Sven Satre, Matt Long, Col Tweedie, Wally Vrbancic, Peter ( Digger) Wilson, Dennis ( Piggy) Pigram, Keith Hunt, Keith Darch and John Gilluley were some of the Hastings workshop guys there.

Our neighbours the Kennedys( Mick and Jenny and the girls) are still in contact with us every Xmas whilst Dennis OFlanagan ex Hastings and BCL keeps me up to speed with Bougainville news.

Kind regards,
Bill and Dale Lane