I have good memories of the Kieta wharf on Bougainville. My father had me working and driving the forklifts, usually it was copra and cocoa from the plantations as well as general cargo. He also put me on a ship to Wakanai to pick up some logs for export. It was as hot as an oven working on those ships but I enjoyed every moment of it. I just want to say a big hello to my old friend Sean McNamara who lived in Arawa. We were swimming in the Bovo River when a sudden change in weather sent down a huge mud flow from the hills. (This was about 250 metres away and coming down fast!!) We were all very lucky to be alive today. Other good memories included a "decent cup of tea" with the legendary Bob Strong. He was the manager of Toboroi plantation and the transport manager at Rabaul Stevedores, Kieta. http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/a6m3/kieta.html
Here is a picture of some "oldies" who lived on Bougainville in the 1980s. Peter Hallmann was a pioneer and a very good carpenter who lived in Kieta. He made my father some very nice Pacific maple wooden chests. (Made in Bougainville). He was one of the last expats to leave Bougainville when the conflict began in 1989. He is from Brisbane Australia. We last paid him a visit in 1994/95 in Brisbane. He was a bit ruffled because he was chased to Port Moresby by the Papua New Guinea secret service because he stayed on living in Bougainville until 1992/93. He saw some horrible things from both sides of the conflict, as you could imagine. We heard stories of the Police chief on bougainville trashing up the bar at the Kieta Hotel because he needed a drink after hours, and that was in peace time before 1989.
Please checkout my website www.red-running-dog.org. I have many pictures from Bougainville from those good old days!! :-)
Mark L Frankling
P.S. see also here.