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November 7, 2013

Mike Cleary, one of the Panguna Bank Jonnies from 1973-1975, emailed from Sydney:

I was one of the Bank Jonnies at the Commbank (became PNG bank while I was there) in Panguna. We lived in Camp 1 until late 73 when we got moved down to Camp 6 at Loloho, and then later on to a building that the Bank purchased near Arawa Hospital.

Panguna was rough, but I loved it. We used to frequent the Cricket Club, but also the Wet Mess at Camp 1, and sometimes the Karoona? Tavern, not to mention a few 'movies' at the Chopper pad.

The boss in my time was Rex Mulligan, who lived down at Arawa with his wife and 3 kids. Others there then were Ron White, Vince O'Brien, Renzo Lusa (Rinso), Don Armstrong. Peter Doolan had left a few months before, though I did know him from years earlier. Some of the names that I see here ring bells.

Loloho was like a holiday camp, Wet mess under the coconut trees (a nut fell one day, missed us by inches!!), lay on the beach etc. Arawa was..well...somewhere to sleep.

The daily drive up the mountain to work was always interesting, the return was hairy....esp with a few drinks on board, careful you don't run over someone at Birempa? (Camp 5) too.

Would be good to see the place up and running again one day, can always hope.

I stayed with the Commbank in various areas, and retired in 2010. These days I split my time between Sydney and Taiwan, where my partner originates from.

Mike Cleary
michael.cleary1952[AT]gmail.com