Imagine Independence

independence-day-1975-2

The raising of the flag ceremony on Independence Hill. Our two cherubs are outlined.

This series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.

Imagine if you will a country with spectacular, awe-inspiring scenery from fierce mountain ranges clothed in almost impenetrable jungle to deep aquamarine seas with an abundance of tropical fish.

Imagine a country with hundreds of tribal groups, over 800 languages and specific cultures.

Imagine the potential for clashes between those tribal groups, the payback and potential for inter-clan fighting, and the translation of traditional sorcery into the recent horrors of witch-burning.

Imagine the variety of costumes and sounds when thousands of warriors come together from diverse places for a sing-sing, or music and dance. Where even other clans and tribal groups look on astonished at what they’re seeing.

Imagine being present when this diverse and challenging country gained Independence on 16 September 1975…No longer the Territory of Papua New Guinea, henceforth to be the nation of Papua New Guinea.

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Prince Charles arrives for the flag lowering ceremony.

The presence of Prince Charles and dignitaries from PNG and Australia.

The gathering of tribes and sing-sings to celebrate.

The solemn and respectful lowering of the Australian flag at Hubert Murray Stadium.

The high school students in colourful costumes on Independence Hill

PNG flag

The raising of the national flag – a gold bird of paradise on red and

The Southern Cross on a night sky of black.

The sound of aircraft at the fly-over.

Profound memories.

You can read the original story along this theme here and about out Independence experiences here and here.

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The Police Band looked very smart in their sulus/lap laps with Bird of Paradise emblem at Independence Hill

Tok Pisin

independs – Independence

insait – inside

inap – enough

i no

 

Highlands Warriors

AtoZ2019HThis series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.

Massed warriors gather

in the Goroka showground

Highland tribes with spears, arrows and axes

Highland warrior

© P Cass 1972

Feathers, beads, and arse gras[i]

Pig grease and smoke blend together

Chanel No 5 it’s not

But it is unforgettable even down the years.

Massive sing-sings with dense crowds

Dance with black mud to their ankles

Rhythmic chanting and ululations

The symphony of kundus[ii] of all sizes.

Goroka sing sing Wahgi men

Wahgi warriors wear a type of woven “skirt” and headdress. Pearl shell necklaces show wealth having been traded with coastal tribes. © P Cass 1972.

Wahgis with long skirts

beat time with their axe-heads

Goroka show

it is hard to tell if his skirt is made of tapa, cloth or woven. Around his neck he wears the skin of a cus-cus or possum. © P Cass 1972

Huli Wigmen, Mudmen from Asaro

Fire-pot men from Fore

Watabung women -beads from Job’s tears.

Thousands in one space lead to

Intertribal confrontation

Deployment of tear gas

Fences are trampled as the crowds disperse.

Our children take it all in

The covert threats absorbed

Released in screams and hysterics

At a Maori welcome in Rotorua.

GKA show firepot men

The firepot men at Goroka Show. P Cass 1972.

Tok Pisin

hamamas tru – enjoy

hambak – annoy or humbug

han bilong diwai – branch of tree

harim – listen

kiap i kam long village

Re-enacting the labour line bringing the kiap to a village. © P Cass 1972.

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© P Cass 1972

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[i] A bunch of leaves stuck into a type of belt which covers a man’s backside (or front).

[ii] A kundu is a drum

Going to Goroka

AtoZ2019GBe in Goroka next week” they said

Sure, no problem!” Hah!

A baby, a mother cat, five kittens

Public Works packing crates

Crazy packing and cleaning

Cat and kittens to the high school

Only a small grey kitten to join us

Guilty consciences for decades.

North Goroka AR20

Our first house in North Goroka – an AR20 design.

Turns out the choice for the District Inspector of Education

Was a chair, executive

Or a new District Clerk

On such whims do life events turn…

nth Goroka village back fence

The village at the back of our yard.

Daughter 2 could have been a Morobe Miss

Not a little Gehuka[i].

Reconnecting with friends

Making new ones

Overwhelmed by facilities

From trade stores to Steamies and BPs[ii]

Boggle-eyed we were, but Harrods they were not! Ehwah!

Mountains replace coastal jungles

Refreshing cool nights and jumpers prevail

The perfect climate at 5000+ feet near the equator.

Goroka Girls1

Young girls in Goroka in traditional dress.

A new home – another government issued AR20

A village behind the back fence

A squatters’ camp nearby

Laundry downstairs

A packing crate for a playpen.

Behind me a voice says

Missus mi laik wok”

Jump three feet…”no gat”.

Sunday drives to Kabiufa

The SevenDe[iii] mission farm and high school

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The local scenery was spectacular. Kabiufa’s vegetable farm?

Baby caulis, broccoli and fresh vegies – such a treat.

A foam esky to the in-laws in coastal Kavieng

Returns with cray tails in exchange

Bringing popularity with our friends…

Crayfish curry and mah-jong evenings.

Louisa in basket and Pedro Nth Goroka 1972

Daughter 1 and the grey kitten – a family tradition of baby photos in laundry baskets.

PNG’s Self-government is heralded by

Crashing bin lids and tooting car horns

Fears averted – this is not African independence.

A new house near the hospital

Brings the whop of helicopter blades

Ferrying a wounded warrior with a spear sticking out.

Daughter goes “walkabout”

Our hearts pound with fear – we’re on a local PMV[iv] route

Found! “Em I orait masta[v]. Yes, thankfully.

A resident “visitor” while on leave

Peruses our underwear and clothes and

Leaves “souvenirs” in the bathroom

A sense of invasion.

Many adventures come to a close after three years….

Next stop, “be in Gerehu next week”.

Rach christening Goroka

Our little Gehuka’s christening at home in Goroka. Paisley was quite the fashion.

Tok Pisin:

giaman – to lie or trick, false, a joke

guria – an earthquake – we had our share in Goroka

glas bilong lukluk – mirror

gumi – inner tube (of tyre)

going finish” – leaving PNG for good. Always a sad time.

—————————-

[i] The local clan of the Goroka district.

[ii] Steamies was Steamships and BPs the local name for Burns Philp.

[iii] Seventh Day Adventist mission and high school.

[iv] A PMV is a Public Motor Vehicle – kind of a basic, very crowded bus aka truck.

[v] “It’s okay boss”.

 

 

Meet the Speaker: Dr Richard Reid

Richard-REID-225x300In the coming weeks Ambassadors for the Waves in Time 2019 conference will be introducing you to the speakers. You’ll get to learn a little about them, their expertise and what they will be sharing at the conference.

Today we have keynote speaker, Dr Richard Reid, who is an expert in Irish and military research.

I wonder if you could tell us a little about your background?  Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation?

If I’m anything I’m an ‘historian’, Level 2. I say that because there are so many brilliant academics and historical writers around that I certainly don’t see myself as at Level 1, although over the years I’ve added my tuppence worth. My background since I began participating in the ‘history game’ has been as a high school English/History teacher, museum educator, museum historian, museum curator and as the historical public face for a federal government department, Veterans’ Affairs. If I had to classify myself I’d say I have worked mainly as something called a ‘public historian’, in my case someone who has always been on the public purse and producing, in the main, material for a general rather than an academic audience.    

What do you love most about genealogy/family history/history/heraldry?

What is a ‘family historian’? Not sure I’m primarily one of those although I certainly admire people who’ve spent a great deal of time uncovering the documentary evidence for the experiences of their family over, in some instances, hundreds of years.  I have learnt a huge amount from family historians about the past and I’m very grateful for that. I am interested in the history of my own family where I can sense it intersecting with broader historical events and movements in society, and I’m fortunate that my father put together a small collection of family material way back in the 1940s which I’m now getting a great deal of fun out of cataloguing and interpreting.

Have you attended a History Queensland Conference in previous years?

To be honest I can’t remember but I feel sure I have!

How do you think your topic/s will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference?

Very hard to answer a question like that. Years ago, one of my university lecturers stressed to me that you can always learn ‘something’ even from the most boring and banal of presenters. So, I hope my audience on the day manage to pick up one or two relevant thoughts or facts from what I’m talking about.

Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?

Not really. I’m someone who enjoys serendipitous meanderings in historical collections. Over the years I’ve managed to learn more from the question ‘what have you got about vast topic ‘A’ and let me wander through it’ than specific questions about specific events. Rather than looking for the needle in the haystack I would rather play around in the haystack, and I’ve uncovered all sorts of interesting stuff that way. Sometimes it has even related, quite by chance, to my own family! That’s not particularly good advice to a family historian who wants a far more specific reason to spend time with a particular collection, but it has served me well.

What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for you personally and for others attending?

Back to what I said earlier … you can always learn something even from the most unlikely individual. Moreover, family historians often know a great deal more about great sources of material than historians who spend a lot of time weighing up and discussing interpretations and questions. That’s not a criticism of the academics. It’s horses for courses and at conferences like this I’ve met people who have assisted me greatly in my own research. It’s also a good feeling to know that people find some value in what you have to say and the way in which you say it. Age and increasing irrelevance stare us all in the face and it’s nice to be asked to present.

If you could pick one new project to do, what would it be? (Assuming no funding issues)

That is a tough one as I’ve already got a lot of ideas for books/articles on topics which I know, given my age, I’ll never complete. So, you have to become increasing ruthless with your time simply to get something written. That said, if I had unlimited funds, and could step away from everything else after my current writing project, I think I’d love to do the definitive book on transportation from Ireland to Australia 1788 to 1868. There is still a mountain of fantastic archival material back in Ireland to process and evaluate before we can really say more comprehensively what Irish transportation was about, who was liable to be transported, how typical these unfortunates were of what might be called the Irish criminal class (we still delight to see them more as ‘victims’ than ‘criminals’ and  we need to decide who were indeed ‘victims’), how the Irish legal system actually operated in relation to transportation, who had a sentence commuted as a result of a petition against being transported and why, how typical transportees where of those who went through the courts in Ireland … and a hundred other questions.

As you can see from Richard’s responses, he will provide a different approach to our research and challenge us to think critically about what we find…his talks certainly won’t be “boring or banal”. I’m definitely looking forward to it. Thanks Richard for sharing your story.

If you haven’t already registered for Waves in Time 2019, remember the clock is ticking. Even if you can’t join us for the whole conference perhaps you’d like to learn more by visiting the Friday fare. Check the program out here, and register here.

Disclaimer: As a Waves in Time Ambassador I receive a free registration in return for promoting the conference in various social media forums and on my blog.

Waves rego close

 

 

Meet the Speaker: Stephanie Ryan

Stephanie-RYAN-1-225x300In the coming weeks Ambassadors for the Waves in Time 2019 conference will be introducing you to the speakers. You’ll get to learn a little about them, their expertise and what they will be sharing at the conference.

Today’s featured speaker is Stephanie Ryan from the State Library of Queensland.

I wonder if you could tell us a little about your background?  Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation?  

I have been a librarian specialising in family history at the State Library for 23 years.

What do you love most about genealogy/family history/history/heraldry? 

The challenge of resolving a mystery and the opportunity to assist people find something of value to them.

Have you attended a History Queensland Conference in previous years?

The last two conferences.

How do you think your topic/s will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference?

The options for finding ‘lost’ 1860s’ immigrants may assist those who have been continually frustrated in their search during this period.

Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?

Explain what you really want to know, what you have checked and with what result. Do not just ask for a resource; there may be better ways to do it.
It lessens the risk of being told what you already know.

What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for you personally and for others attending?

Great to catch up with friends. Wonderful opportunity to update knowledge.

If you could pick one new project to do, what would it be? (Assuming no funding issues)

Digitisation of newspapers (all parts) up to the present and publicly available.

Thanks Stephanie for sharing your story. I know I’m looking forward to learning more from about the “lost” 1860s immigrants as I have a few I’d like to find. I’m sure we all join her in wishing every single newspaper could be digitised.

If you haven’t already registered for Waves in Time 2019, remember the clock is ticking. Even if you can’t join us for the whole conference perhaps you’d like to learn more by visiting the Friday fare. Check the program out here, and register here.

Disclaimer: As a Waves in Time Ambassador I receive a free registration in return for promoting the conference in various social media forums and on my blog.

SLQ Sponsor

 

F is for Flying in PNG

This series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.

My second flight ever is Brisbane to MoresbyAtoZ2019F

Leaving family and friends, and me, in tears

Days later the little Piaggio took us to my new home

An airstrip, a bush materials “terminal” aka hut.

A few months later

The sound of aircraft in the clouds

Searching for the missing Piper Aztec

Nine people dead, my husband there at take-off – the last to see them.

Gurney airstrip 1970s

Gurney airstrip in the 1970s.

Landing in Losuia with 5 minutes fuel

That confounded 100 metre hill

Lurking among the clouds.

Limited roads, mountainous terrain

Flying is like catching an urban bus

But with an element of Russian roulette.

TAA, Patair, Talair, MAF, Air Nuigini

183 Gurney airport

Not the bush material hut that we once knew. P Cass 2012

Piaggio, Fokkers, Twin Otters, Cessnas

Single engine, twin engines

Visual navigation

“There are no old, bold pilots”…

Submitting the statistics of the Talair fleet

Sometimes includes one less plane.

Mountain airstrips falling away

Clouds wreathe the mountains

Family624

You can imagine the hazards for pilots and their passengers.

Green skies, torrential rains

Tourists travel in stunned amazement.

Three near misses on one work trip

My husband decides he’ll leave that job.

 

My aircraft one-upsmanship on him

A charter on a Bristol Freighter, Goroka to Moresby

Counterbalanced by youthful flights on Catalinas and his audit flights.

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Flying into Kundiawa, Chimbu.

Circuits and bumps in the Grumman Tiger

Watching the new 747 take off

A lumbering sight on the tarmac

A pelican when taking off

The pilot makes it look easy.

Landing at Jackson’s

The plane hurtles past the terminal

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A RAAF Hercules in Goroka, bringing food relief to the Highlands during a famine. P Cass c1973.

Locals on board “hit the brakes”

We turn on the dirt, just off the runway

Lucky, since the next thing is a road.

Going finish – our final flight

Leaving PNG “forever”

Tears averted through the camera lens.

So many aerial views. So many memories.

Family616

A TAA Twin Otter at Gurney airstrip. The Catholic clergy from Hagita gathered under the wing.

Tok Pisin

Fly a plane – ranim balus

Balus – a plane

Pailat – pilot

An old Territory (of PNG) yarn:

Pailat tok long kirap “mi pusim ol baten, na ensin I kirap, mi legoim brek, na balus i ran i go, i ran i go, na pren bilong mi ia I singaut “Sitmi” mi pulim dispela diwai na balus I go antap”.

Rough translation: Pilot says, at take off, “I push the buttons, the engine starts, I release the brake then the plane runs up the runway, the co-pilot says “XXX” and I pull the stick and we take off”.

For those with an interest in flying in Papua New Guinea, this You Tube video talks about the social impact of the introduction of aircraft. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja0iMVgiAT4

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Marawaka Airstrip.

 

Ela Beach Excursions

AtoZ2019EThis series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.

Four years in (Port) Moresby

Ela Beach excursions as a family

A weekend drive to check the mail

A few hours on the beach with the kids

Sometimes a picnic, sometimes sandcastles or a swim

peter Louisa Rach picnic Ela Beach 1974

The blue heeler in the back of the car

Excitement measured by her fragrance

And the velocity of her tail.

Sunday mornings an added bonus

The Police Band playing a range of tunes

Weekday lunchtimes watching volley ball matches.

Simple, relaxing, happy family times.

Police Band Ela Beach

Tok Pisin:

Em nau – great! fantastic

Em – a universal pronoun – he/she/it

Em i inap – that’s enough

Em tasol – that’s all

D is for Daulo Pass

AtoZ2019DThis series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.

Daytrips from Goroka in our first car, the yellow Datsun

Roads in the Highlands limited, daytrip opportunities few

Often up the narrow twisting road to Daulo Pass

Cliffs on one side, mountain drops on the other

Trucks choosing the middle path require

Steady nerves to hold your own path.

Kaye and Louisa and Pauleen Daulo Pass PNG 1972

Taking the in-laws up Daulo – the road twisting in the background. Sorry about the shortness of my skirt Kaye…yes, culturally inappropriate.

Higher than Mt Kosciuszko at 2474m (8117ft)

Vastly different in geography

Pauleen and Louisa picnic past Daulo 1971

Picnic at Chuave – the other side of Daulo Pass. Young mum with chubba bubba discovering grass.

Family and friends visiting were given the “grand tour”.

Returning one day we were confronted by

Warriors with spears, arrows and axes

Luckily they were on a mission for payback

Not interested in us….whew!

Tok Pisin

Diwai – timber

Didiman – government agricultural officer

Kid’s rhymes

What kind of work does the didiman do, the pig says oink and the cow says moo.

or my husband’s version which he thinks is a Gerehu Primary School variation from our kids…

What kind of work does the didiman do, the horse says quack and the  pig says moo.

Colonials and Clubs

AtoZ2019CThis series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.

A colony administered by Australia

Bequeathed by the United Nations

Colonial administrators

Shorts and long socks de rigeur

Public servants dispersed through the country

They said “go” and you went

Alotau aerial with houses

An early 1970s aerial view of Alotau highlighting our three houses. Another two in Goroka and only one in Moresby.

A new town, new house, new friends

Separate social structures

Bank johnnies, military, private enterprise

Rarely the twain shall meet.

Cameron Club introduction

Movies and a “greenie” on a Friday night

Dash up Red Hill in the back of the government ute

Get the coffee made before midnight…

Power’s off until 6am

Wake on Saturday to the sound of Dylan

Carrying along the plateau from a mate’s house.

Cathay Club – Sundays in Moresby

The echo of squash balls

Lots of laughs and

Red faces from the heat.

Straight to the pool to

Teach the kids to swim.

69 Cameron Club

The Cameron Club promoting everyone’s favourite tipple. SP beer comes in green or brown bottles. Photo taken P Cass 2014.

The clack of the mahjong tiles

The fierceness of that game.

Time for an afternoon nap

Or prepare for a dinner party

Long dresses, multiple courses, duty free spirits.

Aviat Club for special dinners

Lobster tails for $5 – delish.

Tok Pisin

There are no words which start with the letter C in Pidgin so here’s some reverse words.

Careful of crocodiles – lukautim long pukpuk

Church – haus lotu

Child – pikinini

 

Of Buai and Boroko

AtoZ2019BThis series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.

Dark faces with bright red mouths

Sitting on the footpath, chatting in Pidgin or Motu

Feels like they’re staring, so unfamiliar

Confronting to a newcomer at first.

Mass is not the same when kneeling among the buai spit

Blood red globs on the cement floor

Saturday night the cinema, Sunday morning the church.

Moresby betel nut nr Boroko edit low

Betel nut sellers Port Moresby © P Cass

Going shopping takes on a new flavour

The ladies (meris) sit on the ground at Boroko

Bags of buai and lime beside them to sell

Red on the footpath, red on their lips.

Santa arrives Boroko East preschool Xmas 1977

Santa arrives by fire engine at Boroko East Pre-School in Port Moresby.

Boroko for childcare, pre-school and primary school

Santa on a fire engine

International days at Boroko East school

Children of all colours and ethnicities

Camphorwood chests and desks, designer shoes (for some)

Swiss chocolates for Easter and the doctor’s surgery

The city’s single traffic light – which often goes out

On weekends we fetch our Aussie papers

Freshly and expensively delivered from Down South

Staying in touch with our other home.

bilum

A couple of our family’s bilums.

Explanatory note: Boroko is a suburb of Port Moresby, capital of PNG. A hub for shopping, restaurants and government housing for public servants.

Pidgin:

Buai – betel nut which when mixed with lime give people a high and turn their mouths red.

Balus – an aircraft. Papua New Guinea’s very limited road network and challenging terrain means that the aircraft is necessary and dominant – and sometimes dangerous.

Bilum – a string bag used for carrying anything from sweet potato to babies. The handle goes on the head, across the forehead and the body of the bag lies down the woman’s back (and yes, it’s always a woman when carrying a load).