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July 2006



JOE CRAINEAN [Wishart QLD] - I write on the big day of the ‘Knot Tying Ceremony’, as it has been so succinctly referred to. Relatives and friends arrived from far and near to witness and celebrate the nuptials. Musicians and florists honed their skills and plied their trades and dressmakers lined their pockets. Jewellers rubbed their hands. Our local club white clothed its tables in preparation. And the cake cookers did their best. Our pastor perfected his presentation. God's own country warmed its weather in anticipation and looked forward expectantly and lovingly. We thank you for your well wishes.

Congratulations on The Mail number 100 hitting cyberspace. You have performed a sterling service to furthering the cause. No, establishing ASOPA in the consciousness of the Australian public.

HENRY BODMAN [Fig Tree Pocket QLD] – Janelle and I are just back from the Royal Wedding of Joseph and Kathryn, and what an event it turned out to be. I don't know about you but weddings get to me with their earnest, bushy tailed, optimistic hopes for the future. This one was no different though, with the combined wedding experience of the two main players, it would be easier to expect a long-term outcome.

Joe and Kathryn met on the Internet and their relationship is a recommendation to this method of meeting. The service was classy with all of the modern audio and visual technology and it was immaculately tuned and coordinated. The church was pleasantly modern but with the dignity one would hope of buildings established for religious purposes. A perfect Brisbane sunny winter's day (26ºC) capped it off and all we needed were the players and the fanfares.

Joe worked the church as only Joe can before his slim and curvy bride walked down the aisle on her son's arm - with grandchildren involved in all sorts of ways in the ceremony. Joe's son was his witness.

When we knew the teenaged Joe he was a bright eyed, harmless little feller in short trousers and there was little to prepare us for the smoothie he would become. This ceremony was designed to leave all female bosoms heaving with his words of undying love and devotion generously scattered throughout. His great ASOPA training came to the fore in his most expressive reading of two quite well known readings from the scriptures. Joe was in his element and the twinkling eyes and the grin splitting his Amish beard embraced everyone in the church - largish three figure attendance - and I have to say that I yearned for real happiness for Joe and Kathryn. (I didn't join in the lovely hymns because I was doing what Moose used to do in front of a sad movie on TV in the 60's.)

The musicians were fabulous with keyboards, organs, pianos, violas, vocal solos and a harp doing its bit to ensure a memorable, very swish event. At the reception I sat with Joe's sister Julia and Rotarian hubby Richard and started to learn a lot more about our Joe. He has three sisters and a brother - who else knew that? Also on our table were friends of Joe's parents, whose kids thought the sun shone out of all sorts of exciting places in Joe's anatomy because he would take them through the bush and up the creek pointing out all sorts of exciting minutiae. There is serious reason to believe that Joe has been and is a very good teacher.

However, as came out in the speeches (and per my table companions), it turns out that this is Joe's third move into matrimony. Who knew that? The very interesting and civilised side of this news was the presence of most of wife No 2's family at the wedding and reception. They certainly made Joe out to be Mr Good Guy as the microphone moved among the guests.

RICHARD JONES [Bendigo VIC] - Sincere congratulations on reaching the 100 issue milestone with The Mail. It's a significant achievement to get to 100 editions of any publication, no matter whether electronic or hard copy. You have been the conduit for the rest of us being able to stay in touch and that's a considerable achievement. And where would the reunion arrangements be without The Mail to let all of us know, and stay informed, about the latest developments. Well done, Keithie, and keep the pinkies poised above the keyboard for many a long year yet.

COL BOOTH [Port Macquarie NSW] - Our household nearly stops at the end of each month waiting for The Mail. I don’t think anyone had even the faintest idea of how much enjoyment would be derived from such a simple concept of a newsletter. I know that our group seems to have formed such a nice bond without judgement or competition, with total acceptance of who each is or has become, and a mutual respect. Something or one thing has been a common thread from the first moments of the regathering - The Mail, as it has become. I hope you have derived as much enjoyment and satisfaction from producing it as Wendy and I have had from receiving it!

Henry, I hope you are sitting while reading this, as I would not like to be responsible for you injuring yourself whilst collapsing to the floor. Masta Kit is nearly on the way to being a conservative. Yes, a dreaded Lib. A Costello/Howard man. He now drinks red and has almost abandoned chardonnay!

I had the pleasure of enjoying lunch with our young mate at The Oaks, Neutral Bay, a few weeks ago. I rang and suggested acoffee with our man of words, and he suggested lunch. I agreed politely, knowing that it was a working day. I duly arrived at his office, was shown around and introduced and whisked off across the road to The Oaks. About three hours later, and after about four bottles of red – yes, R E D, Masta Kit, Bob Lawrence, a mate from work, and I decided it was time say farewell. The great man has at last developed one of the great tastes in life, and knows how to pick a good one. A really nice lunch, Masta Kit, and I was very relaxed on the ferry back to the city.

Wendy and I will be in Brisbane on Thursday 3 August. We are picking up son Nigel who is returning pinis from the Solomons late that afternoon, so no doubt we will spend the evening with him. He will be a few days in paradise with us before heading to Canberra where he starts work on counter terrorism. So we would love to have lunch with anyone who is around and about in the city on that day. Will have to avoid the red as I have to drive to the Brisbane Airport later in the afternoon. My phone is 0418 419 111.

Em tasol tok bilong mipella. Ol samting istap gut long paradise. Lukim iu bihain.

DIANE BOHLEN [Daisy Hill QLD] – Wow, 100 Mails! What a great effort you have made to keep us all in touch with the goings on of the 62/63 CEO's and to provide other PNG stories of interest. It is sad to see we haven't been contributing as much as in the early days of The Mail. Hopefully some of us will be jogged into writing rather than let The Mail fizzle.

Congratulations to Joe Crainean on finding a new mate. Hope you will both be happy enjoying your senior years together.

Well done to Colin Huggins for the great effort he has put into organising Event 3. I'm already looking forward to it. Unfortunately I missed Peter and Margaret's visit to Brisbane as we were living it up at Peppers Salt Resort with my daughter and son in-law while they were on a three-week visit from London. Now I'm also going to miss the Royal visit of Wendy and Col as I'll be back at work on that day.

Last May we went on our 11th annual wine trek. This time we visited the flourishing Mudgee wine region. We flew to Sydney with 28 other keen winos and then went by coach to Bathurst where we did a guided tour of the Mount Panorama circuit and museum. (It’s a worry when you see old cars in a museum that you remember driving.) Then we went onto Mudgee where we spent a few days visiting wineries, tasting and eating and having fun. We also visited the historic village of Gulgong. On the way back to Sydney we stayed at Lillianfels in the Blue Mountains and had our farewell dinner before we all do it again next year. We had fun in the mountains walking and riding the skyways.

In September some of the wine tour group including us are off to Spain and Portugal to taste their wares and see the sights. We also hope to see my ex PO brother in London and spend some time on the Riviera with our daughter. (Now you know why I haven't retired yet. I work and then take chunks of long service leave to spend it all.) Bill has retired but supplements his pension by doing mechanical drawings for air-conditioning companies.

JUSTINE FINTER [Mapleton QLD] - It certainly was a pleasant surprise for you, Ingrid and Libby to visit us. Sorry it was a bit rushed as I am still getting used to having to care for our four year old grandson. Some say he keeps us young but I have to disagree. My old bones really cannot keep up with so much physical and mental activity.

Congratulations on the 100th issue of The Mail. You have done a great job getting and keeping so many people keep in touch after so many years. Through this Mail I would like to offer my best wishes to Joe and his new wife. I am sorry for not participating in the ongoing activities Colin Huggins and Henry have been involved with but I find looking after a four year old very demanding. I ran into Barry Flannery a couple of times at the shopping centre and he suggested we should do a swap of grandsons to find out who really is the 'high energy, high maintenance' child! I do get a bit of a break when the little one is at Kindy for a few hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Checking on my emails is less frequent. Sorry for not keeping up. Do hope to catch up with some of the activities whenever I can. It was pleasing to hear of Howard's return to good health and wish it continues. Once again, thank you for putting so much time and effort in keeping us all in touch.

BARRY FLANNERY [Nambour QLD] - A belated thank you for your wonderful effort with the ASOPA newsletter. I would have written sooner but I have only recently returned from the ‘Land of Smiles’. Looking forward to seeing you at the Brisbane reunion or sooner if you are up here on the Sunshine Coast.



COLIN HUGGINS [Albion QLD] - First congratulations on the 100th issue of The Mail. One just looks at numbers and when people such as His Grace brings this to one's attention it just hits you like "Oh my God!” No doubt a labour of love.

I am delighted with the Novotel cost of $150 per room per night when you consider Peter and Margaret Lewis paid over $240 for their room on the Thursday and Monday night when they stayed a week ago. Got a glowing thank you report from Peter and Margaret on their visit. Looking forward to another trek when Keith is with us in August. I'll soon be able to do these treks blindfolded!

PETER LEWIS [Windella Downs NSW] - A short note to say how impressed we were on our recent trip to Brisbane with the work being done by the Queensland Chapter. On present indications the 2007 meeting should be most impressive. We stayed at the Novotel, which is one of the preferred hotels, finding the service and rooms excellent, with beds that are heaven! The hotel is well situated with easy access by lift or escalators from Central Station to street level. Our train trip in from the airport was efficient costing $22 return per person with an open date return. Taxis cost about $30 so are more economical for two or more people.

All members of the chapter need a pat on the back, well done Henry and Colin. There are plenty of eating places to choose from in the Central CBD. We breakfasted at a nearby food court for approx $10 each morning. Colin walked our feet off looking at venues and harbour views. A most enjoyable time was had by Margaret and I and we certainly look forward to a well organised weekend in 2007.



NEIL HARVEY (ASOPA 1963-64) [Wangaratta VIC] - I've recently come across and read a copy of a book called 'Meeting the Challenge', which you contributed to. Reading about those days and of some guys that I knew (Henry Bodman and Bill Welbourne) had me reminiscing and making contact with Clarrie and Gail Burke.

They put me on to Henry, who's given me your email address and told me that you publish The Mail, which is all about PNG, and suggested that I ask to be put on the mailing list. So that's what I'm doing.

After 29 years of primary school teaching (five in PNG), I'm now in the Christian ministry, being the minister of the Presbyterian regional parish of Wangaratta (which takes in Yarrawonga, Wangaratta and Myrtleford). Looking forward to lots of memories being revived.

PENNY BRITTAIN - I am trying to locate ASOPA files, transcripts, whatever. I was at College 1966-67 doing science but I don't have a record of the subjects I did. I have decided to try and finish my Dip Ed and reregister but have been informed by QCT that I must have a transcript of the subjects I did so they can see what else I must study. I have tried quite a few places by email for any ASOPA files but so far have not got anywhere.

I am now hoping you can help me and know where I might be able to get my transcripts or at least who I can contact. I was told all these files were kept but finding who or where they are is another matter. My maiden name was Winser and I would really appreciate any help at this stage.

I’ve informed Penny that, when ASOPA/ITI shut down, the files were transferred to what is now AusAID in Canberra. I have had no subsequent success in engaging the bureaucrats about the present whereabouts of these documents. It is possible, however, that they have been transferred to the Commonwealth Archives.

JUDY DUGGAN - You may be interested in these references to Dregerhafen I found recently on a PNG website, under the heading 'Tours In and Around Lae'. They were undated but appear to be fairly recent.

Just ten minutes walk from Buki Wharf, overlooking the beautiful Dregerhafen Harbour and its chain of islands, is the Dregerhafen High School Lodge. The backpacker facilities include 4 rooms with fans and one with air conditioning. Rooms are suitable for 2-3 people. Communal facilities are provided and the lounge room has a television set with the EMTV (local) channel only. Visitors should bring their own food, as all cooking facilities are provided. The school vehicle can be arranged to take visitors to Gagidu Station and the popular Butaweng Falls for a cool swim and local boats can also be arranged for a tour of Tami Island and Malasiga. [Contact: P.O Box 126 Finschhafen, Morobe Province. Phone / Fax: 474 7050]

HELEN AVENELL [[email protected]] - I'm writing to you about ASOPA and some research I am currently working on. I am investigating the role of Scots in New Guinea from earliest contact until 1975 Independence and am interested in any possible connections or information that you or your members may have with past members with a Scottish link.

I am currently based in Scotland but do have a strong PNG link through my husband who grew up in New Guinea and whose family still live and work in Rabaul. My interest in the role of Scots in New Guinea stemmed from my first visit to the country in 1998.

I'm not sure how/whether you may be able to help, perhaps it would be possible to post a request on the ASOPA site or in a bulletin. I will be in Australia for three months from August and will be working on my research then.

I would be delighted to hear from you with any suggestions or advice and look forward to hearing from you soon.