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16 September 2016

PNG's Independence Day 16 September


It was in the dying days of 1974 when I received an urgent telegram from TOTAL - Compagnie Française des Pétroles to fly to what was then Burma to take up a new position as chief accountant in their exploration office in Rangoon.

I was at the time living in Papua New Guinea which was heading towards independence the following year. When the then Chief Minister Michael Somare - soon to be Sir Michael and Prime Minister of the independent country - heard of my impending departure, he expressed his regrets that I wouldn't be there for this momentous occasion. "However," he said, "the least we can do is make our Independence Day the same as your birthday."

And so it came to pass that my birthday and Papua New Guinea's Independence Day are celebrated on the same day each year.


P.S. Of course, if you believe this, you'll probably spend the rest of your life doing a convincing impression of a cabbage! ☺



1 September 2016

First Contact

Watch the original upload on YouTube here


"First Contact" is a 1983 documentary by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson which recounts the discovery of a flourishing native population in the interior highlands of New Guinea in 1930 in what had been thought to be an uninhabited area.

It is based on the book of the same name by the same authors. Inhabitants of the region and surviving members of the Leahy brothers' gold prospecting party recount their astonishment at this unforeseen meeting.

The film includes still photographs taken by a member of the expedition and contemporary footage of the island's terrain. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.