The PNG National Gamefishing Titles were held in Rabaul during Easter 2008 making a good excuse for my husband, Laurie, and I to visit and catch up with old friends - those who still lived there and others who had also returned for the Titles.

The National Titles are held in Rabaul once every few years - sharing with Pt Moresby, Lae and Madang, with Alotau proposed to join in in the future.

Matupit was mesmerizing as it continually roared and erupted whilst we were there but we also visited the New Guinea Club which now houses a wonderful collection of historic memorabilia collated by the Rabaul Historical Society. We ventured up to Namanula, then over the Nordup Road to Tavui (Sub Base) where my father’s family home was located before WWII. On to Bitapaka War Cemetery, still a very beautiful and peaceful space to reflect on the tragedies touching Rabaul’s history.

Finally Kokopo and the Ralum Club with the golf course and Queen Emma’s steps nearby, Vunapope Mission, the market, and the Kokopo War Museum (well worth a visit).

A highlight of our visit was a Bainings firedance - the fire crackled whilst the dancers responded to the crescendos of the singers and their continual beat.

I had visited Rabaul in 2005 but, for Laurie, this was his first visit in over 20 years and it was great to be back!’

Andrea Williams (née Coote)

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