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The Die Was Cast - My Journey to New Guinea

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Sohano Ocean View Apartments in Buka Passage

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22 January 2015

In a Savage Land - a movie set in the Trobriands







Some interesting video clips


Taim Bilong Masta


Back in 1983 (or was it 1984?), when I flew into Adelaide from Saudi Arabia to finalise a grain shipment to the Middle East, I took time off to visit the local ABC Bookshop and discovered a couple of dozen cassette tapes of the ABC radio series Taim Bilong Masta, produced by Tim Bowden and first broadcast in 1981.

It was the distillation of 350 hours of tape-recorded interviews with Australians and Papua New Guineans who had been involved with Australia's colonial administration which ended with self government and independence in 1975. The result was a superb 24-program social history, so evocative of a time and place, revealed through a tapestry of voices from those who lived through it. These were first-hand accounts of the pre-war history in the early 1900s, the masta-boi relationships, the gold rush and the exploration of the highlands. In it, Australian men and women who spent so many years living and working in Papua New Guinea before independence in 1975 could be heard again, telling their own stories.

Of course, I bought the whole set and for years after I listened again and again to those tapes until they had worn out.

In more recent years I also found the book based on the radio series and containing 224 pages of informative text with many archival photographs, newspaper clippings and a detailed index but nothing could ever replace those wonderful audio cassettes - until just now when I found them as a downloadable 17-hour audiobook on Amazon's

Of course, I immediately bought it!

Peter Goerman, Webmaster



21 January 2015

Stanley Semery emailed from Port Moresby:



I was surfing through the net for some particular information and came across your site.

I am just curious to know what has happened to the public share ex-BCL workers from PNG have bought.

My father worked in BCL for almost 20 years and we left during the crisis in 1989. Up until now he has never pursue the agenda on his shares and I would like to help him as much out here.

If you could kindly provide some advice/info and direction on this matter will be greatly appreciated."

Unfortunately, I couldn't help Stanley Semery as I know nothing about BCL's share issue to PNG Nationals. What I do know is that BCL shares are still occasionally traded on the Sydney Stock Exchange (latest quote AUS$0.235); however, they don't seem to be listed on the Port Moresby Stock Exchange. If anybody can help Stanley with more information, please email me at riverbend{AT]

Stanley is the OHSE Manager of the PNG Ports Corporation (the former PNG Harbours Board) which made me reflect on how far the country has come and how long ago it was when we built Bougainville Copper as back in those days there was barely a mention of occupational health and safety. I mean, those thousands of Highlanders all proudly wore their safety helmets but hardly any of them had boots, let alone safety boots.