The Papua New Guinea Association of Australia (PNGAA) is delighted to have as a major sponsor for its inaugural Symposium in September a PNG company that has had very close connections with Australia for 85 years. Oil Search has been very active in stimulating the economic growth of PNG but is now actively engaged in improving the health in the local communities. There is a strong connection between the well-being of the community and the ability to grow economically. Oil Search is playing a critical role in improving the physical health of the people in the villages through it ongoing health care programs. We are very fortunate to have the Managing Director, Mr Peter Botten, to present his programs to us during the coming event.
Further information about the 2014 Centenary Dinner and Symposium can be found here.
[23 July 2014
The PNGAA Symposium is to be held at NSW Parliament House on 17 and 18 September 2014. Updated information is now available here.
[22 May 2014
The 2014 Annual General Meeting was held on 4 May 2014. It approved a change to the PNGAA Consitution to increase the number of Committee members by two. This reflects the increasing activities of the Association.
[22 May 2014
Neville Yun (42) makes history as the first New Guinea Chinese Catholic man to be ordained as a priest in Australia.
He was born in Port Moresby, and went to Australia with his parents in 1975. After a career in I.T. and then in social services, he commenced studies for the priesthood. He was ordained at St Stephen's Catholic Cathedral in Brisbane on 29 November 2013. He is now serving at St Mary's Catholic Parish in Ipswich.
[7 March 2014
The PNGAA Symposium, "From Pacific WW1 battlefield to Pacific Powers", will be held on 17-18 September 2014. Further information is here.
[22 December 2013
Information has been received of the passing of Joe Nitsche on the morning of 22 November 2014. Joe served DASF in the Eastern Highlands from 1957 to 1984. He has been a member of PNGAA for almost 30 years, and spent almost 2 decades as a member of the Committee, including a term as Secretary.
[22 November 2013
The PNGAA and Gum Leaves Productions are co-operating to produce a DVD about the contribution of kiaps in Papua New Guinea, and are seeking contributions from interested people or organisations. Further details are here.
[22 November 2013
Lorna (Whyte) Johnston passed away on 30 September 2013, aged 98 years. She was an outstanding Australian who inspired so many with her courage and joy for life. As an Army nurse Lorna was taken prisoner by the Japanese in January 1942 in Kokopo, East New Britain, PNG, and endured over three years captivity in Japan. A true Australian, Lorna's spirit of forgiveness was heartfelt.
Lorna was a generous supporter of the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial from the start, always remembering those who had been in Rabaul with her. Along with Sister Berenice Twohill, Lorna inspired the ABC telemovie Sisters of War. What a tremendous ambassador for Australia!
Our special thoughts go to her family.
Lorna's funeral will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday 4 October 2013.
More information about her life is in this article from The Aucklander.
[2 October 2013
Tribute to Air Commodore Gordon Henry Steege, DSO, DFC, born 30 October 1917, died 1 September 2013
Gordon Steege was undoubtedly the most outstanding airman of them all. Already a Pilot Officer in the RAAF at the outbreak of World War II, he served as adjutant with 11 Squadron based at Port Moresby until May 1940 and sailed with 3 Squadron to the Middle East. As Flight Lieutenant, he was Wilf Arthur’s flight commander.
In December 1940, flying an antique Glouster Gladiator biplane, he was credited with three confirmed ‘kills’, two ‘probables’ and one enemy aircraft ‘damaged’. In 1941, initially with 3 Squadron, and then as Commanding Officer of 450 Squadron he was credited with another five confirmed ‘kills’ and four ‘damaged’. Returning to Australia in 1942, he was promoted Wing Commander and commanded 73 Wing (three squadrons of Kittyhawks and one each of Spitfires, Beaufighters and Bostons) at Kiriwina, leading the Kittyhawk squadrons in strafing operations. He took the Kittyhawks and Spitfires to the Admiralty Islands in March 1944, where he was awarded a DSO and promoted Group Captain.
He was Director of Operations at RAAF HQ, when he resigned his commission to become a Patrol Officer and was posted to Esa’ala. He attended ASOPA for six months in 1947, was posted to Kairuku, under ADO Kevin Atkinson in January 1948, to Madang and Bogia in late 1948, and to Manus, as ADO, in mid 1950 from where he resigned because of family ill health.
He rejoined the RAAF as a Wing Commander and commanded 77 Squadron in Korea. Promoted Group Captain, he commanded the base at Canberra, was the Australian Military Adviser’s Representative at the Military Planning Office, SEATO HQ, Bangkok, 1959-60 and then, for four years, Director, Joint Service Plans, at RAAF HQ Canberra. After being promoted Air Commodore he commanded RAAF bases in Australia and Malaysia before being appointed Senior Air Staff Officer, RAAF Headquarters, Operational Command: the position he held till retirement.
Gordon, accompanied by his wife Jennifer, returned to New Guinea in 2007, to visit Jeanette Leahy at Zenag, and to revisit his old haunts at Madang and Manus.
He is survived by Jennifer, son Peter and daughter, Diana.
[9 September 2013
The Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice today awarded the Police
Overseas Service Medal to 55 "Kiaps": the former Australian members of the
Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary between 1949 and 1973.
The full text of the Minister's speech is here.
[19 July 2013
The 2013 Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday 28 April. The Acting President's report is available to all readers here. Members can also view the Financial Satements for 2012 and the Minutes of the 2013 AGM.
Congratulations to Sean Dorney, ABC Australia Network's Pacific Correspondent, who recently received the Australian Council for International Development's inaugural ACFID Media Award for his lifetime commitment to reporting on Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
For the past 38 years, Sean's work has involved covering news and events in the Pacific.He spent 20 years living in Papua New Guinea, 17 of those as the ABC's PNG Correspondent. Dorney returned to Australia in 1999 to become the ABC's Pacific Correspondent based in Brisbane, reporting for ABC News, Australia Network and Radio Australia.
"I'm delighted to receive this award because I don't think we as Australians really appreciate the crucial role that so many of our own people play in trying to help foster positive development in our own neighbourhood. The stories need to be told," Dorney said.
ABC Director of News Kate Torney said, 'The magnificent contribution that Sean has made and continues to make with his reporting of stories in the Pacific is unmatched. His commitment to the region and his tireless enthusiasm and work ethic as a video journalist for Australia Network and his reporting for Radio Australia, makes him very deserving of such an award. It is wonderful that Sean has been recognised for his work by the Australian Council for International Development."
The first of Dorney's three postings to Papua New Guinea began in 1974, just before PNG independence. In 1979 he returned to Port Moresby as the ABC correspondent, but was expelled in 1984 by the then Foreign Minister, Rabbie Namaliu following a dispute between the PNG government and the ABC over the screening of an interview with Irian Jayan rebel leader, James Nyaro, by the Four Corners program.
Sean returned to Port Moresby as the ABC's correspondent in 1987 and in 1991 the government of Prime Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu awarded him an MBE for "Services to Broadcasting and Sport". For 18 months in 1991/92 Sean was seconded to the PNG National Broadcasting Commission, as an in-country project manager for an AusAid/ABC assistance project.
In 1997 Sean led the ABC's radio and television coverage of the Sandline mercenary crisis and in 1998 was awarded the Walkley Award for Radio News reporting for his coverage of the tsunami that struck PNG in July 1998.
\Sean returned to Australia in 1999 to take up the job of Pacific Correspondent based in Brisbane. In 2000 he completed a two-part television documentary marking the 25th anniversary of PNG independence and spanning his own quarter of a century involvement with the country.
Sean has covered seven PNG elections, the most recent one this year. As he said at the time, "No matter how much time you spend in Papua New Guinea you can still be baffled by the next development".
Sean has also written two books on Papua New Guinea affairs.
[29 October 2012
The Crocodile Prize is named after Vincent Eri's pioneering 1970 novel The Crocodile. The competition was first run in 2011 when an anthology of the best work was also published. This year the entries have quadrupled and the anthology runs to over 380 pages.
The competition was initiated by PNGAA members Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick.
As a result of the competition the Papua New Guinea Society of Writers, Editors and Publishers (SWEP) was formed. Part of the role of the society will be to take the competition into 2013 and the years beyond.
The first Annual General Meeting of the society was held in Port Moresby on 10 September. A Writers' Forum was run the following day and an awards ceremony and reception were held in the evening at the Australian High Commission.
The guest speaker at the Writers' Forum was Drusilla Modjeska, the author of the recent novel The Mountain, which is set in 1970s Papua New Guinea. Another guest was Bob Cleland, the author of The Big Road about the building of the Highlands Highway and sponsor of the heritage category of the awards.
The awards night was opened and concluded by the Australian High Commissioner, Ian Kemish. The keynote speaker at the awards ceremony was the Hon. Boka Kondra, the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture. The Minister of Education, the Hon. Paru Aihi, also delivered a speech on the night. Among the other distinguished guests was Dame Carol Kidu.
The inaugural President of the society is Amanda Donigi, with Jimmy Drekore as Vice-President, Ruth Moiam as Secretary, Gina Samar as Treasurer and Committee Members David Gonol, Regina Dorum, Steve Ilave and David Kitchnoge.
Award winners received a Crocodile Trophy and a cheque for K5,000. The winners of this year’s awards are as follows.
The winner of the Steamships Prize for Short Stories (Russell Soaba Award) was C V Vada for her story The Fan.
The winner of the PNG Society of Writers, Editors and Publishers Prize for Poetry (John Kasaipwalova Award) was Michael Dom for his sonnet I Met a Pig Farmer the Other Day.
The winner of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Prize for Essays and Journalism (Sean Dorney Award) was Emma Wakpi for her essay The Haunting.
The winner of the Cleland Family Prize for Heritage Writing was Lorraine Basse for her story Barasi—the Manam Way.
The winner of the Ex PNG Chalkies Yokomo Prize for Student Writing was Angeline Low for her short story Going Through the Unimaginable. Student encouragement awards sponsored by AustAsia Pacific Health Services, which also sponsored the Writers' Forum, were given to Axel Rice, Jeremiah Toni and Kayla Reimann.
The winner of the Ok Tedi Mining Prize for Women’s Literature (Dame Carol Kidu Award) was Imelda Yabara for her stort story My Name is Sandy and her poems In Bed with Me and Way Out of Reach.
The British American Tobacco (PNG) Prize for Lifetime Contribution to Literature (Sir Paulias Matane Award) went to Russell Soaba.
Copies of the anthology can be ordered from the SWEP secretary Ruth Moiam at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby ( ). The anthology costs AUD$25.00 plus $6.50 postage.
For anyone interested in Papua New Guinean literature and supporting it into the future the anthology is a very good buy. You will be impressed by the high standard of writing and the uniquely Papua New Guinean flavour that it conveys.
Max Uechtritz has been something of the family historian, seeking out, gathering and piecing together documents, photos, letters and books from around the world about Richard and Phebe Parkinson, his great-grandparents, who exchanged and sold perhaps thousands of artefacts to major museums in America and Europe. He will pass on some of that research to the OAS at the next lecture, at the Australian Museum on Wednesday 12 September. Refreshments at 6.30 for a 7 pm start. PNGAA members are very welcome to attend to this meeting. Please use the William Street entrance.
OAS members $10, non-members $15, students with ID $5.
Bookings essential: Email
, or telephone Robin Hodgson 02 9332 3984
[12 August 2012
Photos from this reunion are available on the Ex-kiap web site.
From ancient to modern times, people of all cultures have worn masks: to hide, have fun, for decoration or protection, to transform themselves or assume different identities, and as part of important religious and funerary rituals.
Spirit Faces, which opened on 11 February 2012 at the Australian Museum in Sydney, takes you through a selection of Melanesian masks from New Guinea, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
Discover the different functions of the masks, their diverse styles and range of materials used for construction, and the stories associated with them.
Some were used in performances for rituals, social events and festivals and commemoration at funerary rites, and there are others whose true meaning we don't yet know.
The exhibition will run until late 2012.
The Queen Mary 2 visited Rabaul on 12 March, and rather dwarfed the town.
A landslide between Nogoloi and Hides 4 Junction, near the main PNG LNG construction site, has smothered two villages, covering much of the settlements in mud.
The tragedy happened in the early hours of the morning as people slept.
Witnesses said the landslide area was about a kilometre long and a few hundred metres wide.
It is understood that everyone living near the road and on the hills got swept away, including two PMV buses packed with passengers travelling back from Komo.
ExxonMobil's Esso Highlands unit said in a statement that the landslide had blocked a key access road and the accident had prompted the US oil giant Exxon Mobil to stop work at its nearby PNG liquefied natural gas project in the Hides and Komo area.
Disaster management teams have moved into the area to assess the damage.
[26 January 2012
Dennis Doyle has recently resigned from the office of President and from the Management Committee to pursue other interests. The PNGAA thanks him for his contribution and wishes him well. In the meantime Andrea Williams has been appointed by the Management Committee of the PNGAA as Chairperson.
Come and join Aurora Expeditions and find out more about our voyages to Papua New Guinea. Our experienced Expedition Staff will provide a great insight to the destination and local attractions, whilst a member of the Rabual and Montevideo Maru Society will speak of the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Battle of Rabaul and Montevideo Maru. Please RSVP to Olivia Dwyer at or call 02 92 52 1033.
Date: 3 November 2011
Special 70th Anniversary Commemorative Voyages are planned for April 2012. There is more information in this brochure.