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December 22, 2014

Christmas 1980 on Bougainville - Recollections from the Blogmaster


While in Brisbane in 1980, MORGAN EQUIPMENT asked me whether I would be interested to return to Bougainville Island. Would I ever! They had problems with their incumbent financial controller and company secretary and wanted me to "clean up" the place and introduce some tight financial and administrative procedures while he was on leave. I flew back to Bougainville just before Christmas - and Shirley joined me shortly afterwards - for the first time since 1974 and it was almost like coming home! I revisited all the old places, Kieta, Arovo Island, Camp 6, and Loloho Beach, however, time did not permit to see Panguna and the minesite again.

The signs of trouble ahead

Loloho, this time with Shirley

Shirley with Kieta in background

Buying local produce

Good ol' Loloho

Gone past the airstrip

Shirley at Kieta

Trying to find my old donga at Camp 6

More of Loloho ...

... which used to be my favourite place ...

... when I lived in Camp 6

Oh for the good ol' days ...

... when we were young and life was oh so simple!

Pigs crossing!!!

Anchors away!

A long and boring Sunday at Kieta

MORGAN EQUIPMENT was a good company and their boss, Roger Brandt, a very pleasant man to work for. Having sorted out a great many of the accumulated problems in the first week or so of my being there, he promptly made me an offer of a permanent position which I said I would seriously consider. He even gave Shirley a job as receptionist for the short two or three weeks we were there. An attractive salary, house and company car and future opportunities with MORGAN EQUIPMENT on any of their other world-wide projects.

Morgans complex at Birimpa

The office entrance

Ready for a day's work

Shirley with company car

The comfortable office

The Monster needed constant attention

Workstation in main office

Shirley tries the computer

Those huge harddisks held a mere 10MB!

The company house

Tasting the fruits of the garden

Outside a company townhouse

Filling up!

Sunday at Arovo Island

Shortly after New Year we flew back to Brisbane where a job offer from Ranger Uranium was already waiting for me. So what did I do? I took the Ranger job. Was it a mistake? Yes, I think so because a couple more years on Bougainville would have been most beneficial to both Shirley and myself. (Funnily enough, when I returned from Saudi Arabia in 1985, MORGAN EQUIPMENT once more offered me the job and I again let the opportunity slip)