K is for Konedobu

AtoZ2019KThis 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.

Verbal jungle drums beat…

We’re on leave overseas

When the rumours hit town

My job is gone when I return

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Flying over Gerehu in 2012 -it had grown enormously.

I am a temp after all.

We’re on the move again

Goroka to Gerehu[i]

Life in Moresby – the “big smoke”.

From Education offices in Konedobu

He wields his purple audit pen

On inspections country-wide

His “been there” knowledge

Kerema sunrise fm Peter

An audit trip and a beautiful sunrise in Kieta.

Makes his peers nervous.

On the home-front life goes on

But why do things always break –

Or the children get sick –

The minute he leaves town?

Sequential chicken pox anyone?

Later I join the family ranks

Judy Holland Lekei dunno and Pauleen Education Subsidies team POM 1975in Education at Konedobu.

Full time employment

The start of my career.

Judy Holland in the Educ Subsidies Office not paperless 1975

The Subsidies team and office, Konedobu c1974/75. I wonder where the other team members might be now.

Quonset huts and old buildings

Corral the compound

Files crowd the walls

Subsidies for school kids

In Australia or overseas

Fees and fares

I come to know every surname and school.

My first boss leaves and a new one arrives

Our friendship leads to another K place

As she leaves for Kathmandu and we visit.

One day a Papuan Brown[ii] slithers among the files

 

Staff leap on the desk and I end a phone call

Pauleen and Rach at Paga Hill POM 1977

From Paga Hill looking west towards Konedobu (behind the first hill), Hanuabada village and the back road to Gerehu.

Sorry, we have a snake, I’ll call you back later

Far away there’s indifference to our plight.

Driving home the back way past the villages and squatter’s camps

The raskols[iii] block the road….

With two small children in the car

It’s a case of hold your nerve.

A new identity all my own

And a turning point

No longer “just” his wife

or Les’s daughter-in-law

CASS Les and Kaye PNG Post Courier 19 Sept 1972 p17

Progressive dinner for CWA birthday (1972, September 19). Papua New Guinea Post-Courier (Port Moresby : 1969 – 1981), p. 17. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article251033983 I’d love to know what my mother-in-law served for entrees as she was a good cook.

Albeit temporary staff for ever

Just like his mother…

What’s a decade or two of work

For women who are married?

Forever a “Mrs” not just a misis[iv].

K is also for Kavieng where my in-laws lived (and sent us cray tails as treats), or Kainantu, Kabiufa, Killerton, Kerema or Kieta.

Tok Pisin:

Kiap – a government patrol officer

kaikai – food

kaikaim – eat

kainkain – all sorts of …

kina – PNG’s currency but also shells used for currency previously.

kakaruk – chicken

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[i] Then a new suburb of Port Moresby, out past the University. Now known for gang trouble.

[ii] A potentially deadly snake…not one you want to have to look for in an office full of files.

[iii] A euphemistic word meaning raskals but really more like gang members.

[iv] A European woman, not necessarily a wife.

 

Jackson’s Airport

AtoZ2019JThis 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.

The dry plain of Jackson’s airstrip

Bounded by the ocean

And the encircling hills.

On my first arrival

P1170161

One of my first tasks as a married woman was to get an entry permit to the Territory of Papua New Guinea.

Heat slams my body,

Unfamiliar faces

Ground crew in sulus[i]

TAA written vertically,

Walk across the tarmac

Towards my new life.

A year later a new baby

Makes her arrival there

The start of her own adventurous life.

Travelling to Brisbane

Small children to see maternal grandparents

Visiting other family and friends

Louisa with grandparents Norman and Joan Kunkel Kelvin Grove 1971

Visiting my parents in Brisbane. Dad making silly faces at eldest daughter.

On leave or for work

Jackson’s is always part of the story.

Louisa and Rach airport BNE 1974

These two were already experienced flyers.

Friday nights in pay week

His week’s audit trip over

We slalom to Jackson’s round drunks

Car doors firmly locked.

Weekend flying lessons at the Aero Club

Circuits and bumps/landings

Heart pounds as we practice stalls

Sharing the sky with experienced pilots

All controlled by the Jackson’s Tower, “over”

The Grumman Tiger’s turn

May follow Air Nuigini’s 747.

Les and Kaye Cass going finish late 1976 with Louisa and Rach

A group photo of Jackson’s was part of the life experience. The kids farewelling their paternal grandparents as they went finish.

Greeting and farewelling

Jackson’s is our common denominator

The saddest is “going finish”[ii]

Most we see again, there or here

Until our turn comes

Leaving our hearts behind in PNG

For our new adventure “back home”.

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Returning to Jackson’s on holidays in 2012.

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[i] A sulu is a type of tailored laplap.

[ii] “Going finish”  was the term used for when people left Papua New Guinea permanently, usually to live in Australia, which wasn’t quite home any more.

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.

Family654

© 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

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

 

Skylarking in the army

Sepia Saturday 245This week’s Sepia Saturday 245 is all about men larking about, perhaps with a wee drop of whisky in the background.

army group1My images today date from a serious aspect of our nation’s history, World War II, but it’s also obvious the men weren’t on the front line and were having a fine time larking around. This series of photos is from my aunt’s photo album which I inherited. Her husband, Pat Farraher, was a cook with the Army during the War and I wrote about the serious side of his story back on Sepia Saturday 180.Pat Farraher 4

In the photos Pat and his mates are having a play stoush, doing the seemingly-inevitable rabbit ears behind a mate and generally having a light moment or two with or without the wee dram. I don’t know whether the photos were taken at Enoggera barracks in Brisbane or somewhere in Papua New Guinea, but my guess would be the former except in the final photo. Seriously, would you trust these men with the nation’s security?Army mate

I wonder how other Sepians have responded to this challenge? Do their photos reveal lurking, posing, drinking or sharing?army friends

 

This photograph has the following names on the reverse: Ned Eteell, Slim Hope, and Percy Holt. My guess is this photo is in  PNG.

This photograph has the following names on the reverse: Ned Eteell, Slim Hope, and Percy Holt. My guess is this photo is in PNG.

 

Anniversary of Battle of Milne Bay

This week is the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Milne Bay.  Far less known to the average Aussie than Kokoda in the annals of our military history, it was a vitally important victory against the Japanese Forces.

This is the approximate location at which the Japanese landed: very difficult to get a good photo when bouncing along in a banana boat.

This is the approximate location at which the Japanese landed: very difficult to get a good photo when bouncing along in a banana boat.

You can read what I wrote about it for last Remembrance Day, not long after we returned from visiting Milne Bay, as well as the memorial stained glass windows in the Catholic church.

This excellent link provides an interactive map of the battle field, and progress of the battle itself.

Facebook fans might be interested in liking the Milne Bay Memorial Library and Research Centre.

Milne Bay Province is on the south-eastern corner of Papua New Guinea. Image from Google Earth.

Milne Bay Province is on the south-eastern corner of Papua New Guinea. Image from Google Earth.

An army marches on its stomach

Sepia Sat 180It seems that my uncle Pat Farraher is determined to have his moment in the Sepia Saturday sun. Pat appeared back in Sepia Saturday 166 and today’s topic is tailor-made for him.

The World War II nominal roll only gives bare details but it lists Patrick Joseph Farraher enlisting on 15 September 1942 in Enoggera, Brisbane at the age of 34. He was attached to the 4th Field Bakery (AASC) as a private. His next of kin was my Aunty Mary.

Among my aunt’s estate were some old family photos including some of Uncle Pat’s military service, including those mentioned above. Today we start moving into the field and the Australian War Memorial’s photographic collection places Pat’s photos in context. I knew he’d served in Papua New Guinea, and immediately recognised some of Pat’s place photos from his time there, but knew nothing about these service photos of his.

It may be this is field training prior to departing to Papua New Guinea -it looks like Australian scrub in the background.

It may be this is field training prior to departing to Papua New Guinea -it looks like Australian scrub in the background. Photograph from Pat Farraher collection.

The cook "train" -you can see this photo links with the one above.

The cook “train” -you can see this photo links with the one above. Photo from Pat Farraher collection.

I could see this was an Army Dukw (amphibious vehicle) photographed, I suspect, at Enoggera army camp by Uncle Pat but what relevance did it have?

Perhaps they were heading off to the ship to PNG.

Perhaps they were heading off to the ship to PNG. Photograph from Pat Farraher collection.

But the AWM website makes it clearer in its caption for this photo: A FIELD BAKERY BEING ESTABLISHED ON THE NORTHERN BANK OF THE BUMI RIVER. THIS PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS MEMBERS OF THE 4TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD BAKERY PLACING SHEER LEGS IN POSITION ON TWO “DUKWs” PREPARATORY TO UNLOADING THE BAKERS OVENS.

Photograph 61074 from the AWM Collection, taken in the Finchhafen area of PNG.

Photograph 61074 from the AWM Collection, taken in the Finchhafen area of PNG. Image in the public domain. Men from the 4th Field Bakery.

Armies need food as well as ammunition so the army bakers were kept busy making bread, rolls, meat pies and who knows what else. I don’t suppose that with people being shot at, any concerns for health regulations went out the window. I was lucky to find so many great photos of the 4th Field Bakery in the AWM collections.

Image 061258 AWM. 4th Field Bakery men preparing bread rolls.

Image 061258 AWM. 4th Field Bakery men preparing bread rolls. Image out of copyright.

In a hot and humid region, working in the bakehouse must have been incredible sweaty work though they were probably well-served by their bush-materials bake house. In the bigger scheme of things I guess the Diggers probably didn’t care too much about a salty addition to their bread rolls.

The AWM states on one picture “with improvised ovens and huts and the help of native boys, the men of the 2/4th Field Bakery baked thousands of bread rolls each day to supply the Division”.

Some bakers from the 4th Field Bakery heading back to quarters after a busy day’s work. The contrast between the featured image today and the men in this image is amusing, I think. No wonder the British officers complained about the casualness of Australian soldiers during WWI.

AWM Image 061613 of the 4th Field Bakery men leaving the bush materials bakehouse at Dumpu in the Ramu Valley, PNG.

AWM Image 061613 of the 4th Field Bakery men leaving the bush materials bakehouse at Dumpu in the Ramu Valley, PNG. Image out of copyright and in the public domain.

Fab Feb Photo Collage Festival: Day 26 Going Finish

4 x 7UP collageGoing Finish was a pivotal point in the life of those who had worked in the administration of Papua New Guinea. Some of the old-timers left prior to Independence, as did those who were convinced “we’d all be ruined”. Others remained for a number of years after Independence. Some left as their jobs became handed over to Papua New Guineans as they gained the skills and competencies for their newly formed country. Others left before then, knowing that otherwise they might never leave the ties were so strong.

Kaye and Les going finish

So the ritual of going finish was a significant cultural event. As nearly all those who left the country permanently departed through Port Moresby, where were living by then, we have many photos of groups of people going finish. This photo is an important one for our family, showing Mr Cassmob’s family leaving PNG after 23 years. Never ones to wear their emotions on their sleeves, they look quite calm but I imagine that inside they were feeling very sad.

One of our going finish parties.

One of our going finish parties.

A few years later we would join the trek to the south where we learned to be Australians in our own country all over again. Strangely we have no photos of our departure though it’s likely our friends have one, so I must put out a query on that. What we do have though is this picture of one of our many farewells, this one by our gang of Gerehuligans (Gerehu was the suburb where we lived). As we flew out of Jackson’s airport I know I had tears in my eyes, mitigated only by the champagne handed to us, and the camera lending some emotional distance.

 I’m going to leave you with a special poem written for Mr Cassmob’s parents when they left Milne Bay (but not going finish). Written by the local teachers it’s a very touching tribute.

Kaye and Les farewell Milne Bay

Fab Feb imageFamily Hx writing challengeThis post is part of the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing Challenge.

Fab Feb Photo Collage Festival: Day 25 Behind Independence

4 x 7UP collageThe theme of this collage was the events and experiences of my first 28 years so how could I not include a photo which related to the Independence of Papua New Guinea. Regular readers will have read other posts on this topic here so for this story I needed a different angle. It occurred to me that while I’ve talked about the celebratory events, I haven’t actually talked about what it meant on a day to day level.

As with any celebration, there was a certain amount of waiting around on 15 Swept 1975. The high school kids were in colourful costumes and some were wearing traditional dress.

As with any celebration, there was a certain amount of waiting around on 15 Sept 1975. The high school kids were in colourful costumes and some were wearing traditional dress.

I asked Mr Cassmob for his thoughts on this last night and to an extent we were surprised at how little practical difference it made to our lives: we went to the same workplaces, we got our pay in the same bank account (even though the bank’s name had been rebadged), we did the same social things and lived in the same government house. For sure the structures and legislation underpinning all of this had changed, and there were more brown faces than white at the top level, but that didn’t bother us as it had been an emerging trend throughout out our then-short careers. We were neither senior enough to be displaced from our positions, nor were in positions which gave us any real power. We just kept on doing our jobs to the best of our ability.

Prince Charles arrives for the flag lowering ceremony.

Prince Charles arrives for the flag lowering ceremony.

There were some changes to consider at work: the need to consider the implications of a changed currency, from the dollar to the kina or vice versa, on the payment of school subsidies (Pauleen), or the practicalities of helping to establish the diplomatic training corps program at the Administrative College (Peter).

The Australian flag was lowered formally for the last time "with respect".

The Australian flag was lowered formally for the last time “with respect”.

After I moved from Education to Finance I suppose I was involved in minor administrative ways with the new bank Board structures as well as some organisation for visiting delegations from the International Monetary Fund which came to assess PNG’s financial status. We worked with local colleagues who were developing their skills and experience preparing for more senior roles within the public service over the years to come. Working in Finance was the only time I ever got to use the theory I’d learned in my economics degree.

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

The Police Band looked very smart in their sulus/lap laps with Bird of Paradise emblem. Independence Hill 16 September 1975.

Many Australians did leave after either self-government or Independence. Some of the more colonial types couldn’t handle the relinquishing of power to those whom they’d once had power over. Others, like Peter’s father, left because their jobs were superseded or had been localised. Over the years between self-government and Independence one of the employment trends was the departure of these Australians and the increased reliance on recruitment from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Philippines.

From the Prince to the Bishop and the warrior, everyone was in their finery.

From the Prince to the Bishop and the warrior, everyone was in their finery.

We were pleased to stay for another few years and in the end decided to relocate to Australia so we could re-start our careers there before time got away from us. We were also determined our children would not go to boarding school.  Although there were jobs for us in PNG and we loved being there, it was time to go despite our sadness. We had contemplated taking out citizenship but decided against it. Peter had already been challenged that he wasn’t a Papua New Guinean by some over-eager student, to which Peter simply replied “I’ve lived here longer than you’ve been alive”. And so the next stage of our lives began, back in our country of birth, but forever changed by our experiences in that amazing, challenging and exciting country, PNG.

Michael Somare arrives at the Catholic Cathedral near Ela Beach for the church service.

Michael Somare arrives at the Catholic Cathedral near Ela Beach for the church service.

It’s appropriate that the collage photo I chose for today was one of Michael Somare walking towards the Catholic Cathedral near Ela Beach for an Independence service. Lots of dignitaries were there from Prince Charles to Australia’s Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam and former Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock.  Apart from being the inaugural Prime Minister Somare was one of a select group of men who were chosen to fill the most senior roles in the country. Among the public service heading departments were Mekere Morauta (Finance), Charles Lepani, Rabbie Namaliu and Tony Siagaru, the commonly named “Gang of Four”, two of whom we worked for either closely or indirectly.

Fab Feb imageFamily Hx writing challengeThis post is part of the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing Challenge.