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September 2006



After more than a 30-year absence, I’ll be returning to Papua New Guinea in October. This time in luxury aboard MY Orion with my wife Ingrid, who spent time in the Solomon Islands but has never visited PNG. Orion, a 100-passenger vessel, is especially equipped for expedition cruising with Zodiac embarkation platforms for wet landings and a very tight manoeuvring capability which allows it to get close inshore.

The journey begins and ends at Cairns and in between we cruise Milne Bay (Alotau. D’Entrecasteux, Trobriands), the Solomons, Rabaul, Sepik, Madang returning via Tufi and Samarai. In Rabaul I’ll be catching up with my old PNG Broadcasting Commission mate, Sam Piniau (he was chairman when I was cutting my teeth as a broadcasting exec), and visiting the new post-eruption studios of Radio East New Britain. Here I’ll present manager Terry Lombut and his staff with a rare original program guide for the former Radio Rabaul, which commenced broadcasting in 1961.

Satellite communications permitting, I’ll be diarising the voyage on the Internet through regular posts on the ASOPA PEOPLE web log. I’ll also be in email contact, so keep the news and stories flowing for The Mail.


ANDREW HUGHES describes himself as a “(very) mature-aged student”. The 53-year old PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide is also working on a (very) unusual thesis: undertaking research exploring notions of manhood among Australian men who worked in positions of authority with Papua New Guineans.

Andrew wants to interview about 20 men from a variety of careers (patrol officers, missionaries, police, teachers etc). The study is confidential, so nothing said will be reported in a way that identifies individuals, and will be based on people's reminiscences, experiences and attitudes concerning masculinity and ethnic identity.

Andrew hopes the study may reveal personal understandings of black - white frontier relations of the type usually unrecorded in official histories. It may also disclose how masculinity is sensed and measured in relation to other people and so could be of assistance in understanding conflict in inter-cultural situations.

This is a worthwhile project, which has been approved by the University of Adelaide Human Research Ethics Committee as well as by Andrew’s supervisors in the University’s Department of Gender, Work and Social Inquiry.

You can contact Andrew c/o Department of Gender, Work and Social Inquiry, University of Adelaide SA 5005. Telephone (08) 8303 3743 or email him at [email protected]. I’ll be sticking up my hand to assist and I hope qualified male readers will contribute to furthering knowledge about ‘frontier relations’ by doing the same.


MARG WILLINGTON [[email protected]] - After finally remembering Shirley Buffett's married name I spoke with Shirley’s husband. He told me that Shirley had died in 1999 and I thought you’d like to know.


PAM KRUGER [Ulstrup Denmark] – We certainly don’t need rain here. We have just had the third wettest August on record. The farmers would love some sunshine so they can complete the harvest. Everything’s so green you’d think it was Spring. And I’ve never seen so many - or such large - fungi in the 34 years I’ve been here. We had a very hot July for us - high 20s to 30s.

We had planned to do a lot of sailing this Summer but unfortunately have been dogged by motor trouble, so had to cut our planned tour short. Palle is negotiating for a new motor or a renovated motor. It is going to be expensive!

I had lots of problems with the Icelandic pony I bought in January. After three months she decided she didn't like having a rider, so we parted company - literally. After being thrown off several times, I realised my well being was at risk so had to sell her at a loss. I am now in the process of trying to find a more reliable pony.


COLIN HUGGINS [Albion Queensland] – Pam Kruger, Val Rivers and I have birthdays close together: Pam September 5th, me September 6th and Val September 7th. Just prior to going to Papua New Guinea my family gave me a pre-21st birthday party (actually my 20th) and somehow Mother found out that Pam and Val were also birthday girls and that they wouldn't be celebrating with their families. So three cakes appeared. I think it may have been Helen Thompson who gave Mother this news. Pam and Val have never forgotten this, which is rather nice.



1962-63 REUNION: BRISBANE, 12-14 OCTOBER 2007

The Brisbane organising committee has secured highly discounted rates at leading Brisbane hotels, Sofitel and Novotel, adjacent to Central Railway Station in the Brisbane CBD. Early reservations are encouraged as there is a large competing conference.

SOFITEL HOTEL [booking code ASO1007]. Room rates from $195 - $270 per night for single, double or twin. Accommodation at the higher rate includes free breakfast in the Sofitel Club and afternoon canapes and cocktails. Bookings: Jade Thompson at email [email protected] or phone on 07 3835 3535 or 07 3835 4959. Quote the booking code.

NOVOTEL HOTEL [booking code ASOPA 2007]. The room rate is $150 per night for single, double or twin. Bookings: Laura Ousby at email [email protected] or phone on 07 3309 3309. Quote the booking code.

TENTATIVE PROGRAM: Friday 12 October: Meet & Greet: Chez Bar & Bistro at Sofitel. Food around $15. Saturday 13 October: Morning: Golf at Victroia Park Complex. Lunch: Options include River Canteen, Newfarm Park, Regatta Hotel, rail journey to North Brisbane or up the river on ‘The Island’. Official Dinner: Held jointly with the Class of 1960-61 in Sofitel Grand Ballroom. Package at about $94 per person includes three course menu and beverages from a private bar. Sunday 14 October: Lunch: Ferry or walk to Southbank (to be confirmed). Dinner: Bow Thai Restaurant.


LES LYONS [Wattle Grove, Western Australia] - A note to inform people about the Brisbane Reunion Golf Day to be held at the Victoria Park Golf Complex on Saturday 13 October. Victoria Park is the ideal venue for our inaugural Golf Day. Situated just two kilometres from Brisbane’s CBD it is an inner city sanctuary with 18 challenging holes set amongst an abundance of native Australian flora. The Course also has a superb driving rangefor those who fancy a bit of pre-tournament activity.

The complex has ample free parking and a relaxed environment. Transport will be arranged from the Sofitel and Novotel Hotels. The Golf Day is open to all old Asopians from the education fraternity. If there’s interest from ASOPA kiaps arrangements can be made to accommodate these good folks. The Golf Day is scheduled over 9 holes commencing early morning (time to be advised). It is appreciated we would need to finish at the latest by 12.30 pm on the day to enable attendance at other functions.

Golf registration tasters (minimum of 25 people) are offered at minimal cost and include such delights as a sausage sizzle cooked with sautéed BBQ onions, ham and cheese croissants, assortment of muffins served with tea and coffee and a golfers snack pack to take on the course. There’s also an on course refreshment cart (minimum 30 people).

The golf format will be mixed Ambrose 4 ball and prizes will be awarded for various categories.
Cost (for 9 holes): $16 course fee; $17 shared motorised cart (recommended - there are some hills!); $3 pull buggy; $15 club hire; $12 golf registration taster (if required).

All in all the inaugural ASOPA Golf Day has the makings of being a real fun occasion. I would welcome your expression of interest, contact details and any queries you may have at this early stage. Come on board - enjoy the day.

Les Lyons of the organising team can be contacted at [email protected]u or write to him at 48 Johnson Place, Wattle Grove WA 6107.


The organising committee has negotiated excellent accommodation at very favourable rates at Cedar Lake Country Club, Advancetown via Nerang.
Accommodation for two nights in a two-bedroom apartment will cost:

  • exclusive use of 2 bedroom apartment (1 person) - $280
  • exclusive use of 2 bedroom apartment (couple) - $140
  • share 2 bedroom apartment (2 singles) - $140
  • share 2 bedroom apartment (2 couples) - $70

Other costs:

  • catering [2 dinners, 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch] - $130
  • participation services [name badge, room provisions, transport etc] - $70
  • ASOPA gift pack [gift satchel and inclusions, reunion polo shirt] - $40 (this will not apply to partners but non-Asopians can order a polo shirt for $30)

1961-62 Asopians need to make a deposit of $100 per person when confirming attendance and advising preferred accommodation. If you have arranged share accommodation this should also be advised when you forward your deposit. Cheques payable to 61/62 ASOPA REUNION and sent to 61/62 ASOPA REUNION, PO Box 73, New Farm, QLD 4005.

Depending upon numbers, it is the intention to arrange a mini coach and driver to do pick-ups from Coolangatta Airport and Nerang Train Station on the afternoon of Friday 24th August returning on the morning of Sunday 26th August. On average it takes about an hour and a half on the train from Brisbane Airport to Nerang Railway Station. Nerang Station is only about 20 minutes from Cedar Lake Country Club.

If you are flying to Queensland you should investigate flying into Coolangatta as fares are often cheaper and transport is easier to Cedar Lake.

1960-61 REUNION: BRISBANE, 12-14 OCTOBER 2007
The 1960-61 group will hold their first Friday night get together independently but will share the Saturday night ‘Official Dinner’ with the Class of 62-63.



JOE CRAINEAN [Wishart Queensland] - I would like to contact Paul Wells who was an E-Course teacher in the Southern Highlands about 1963-65 at Kibaru Primary T School a few miles out of Mendi on way to Oiyarup Primary T School where I taught from 1964- 65.

COLIN HUGGINS [Albion Queensland] –I’d like to locate the whereabouts of Peter Dibble. He was in the Finschhafen sub-district with me and came on holidays as far as Tokyo with me when I left for the wilds of Canada. I believe he was very successful in real estate after leaving PNG. He was last heard of living at Redcliffe in Queensland.

COLIN HUGGINS [Albion Queensland] – Maria von Trapp was a missionary with the Catholic Church in New Guinea having completed the E-Course in Rabaul. I recall my elder sister, Lynette, a nun who went to the Madang Province in 1969 and was stationed at the Alexishafen Catholic School, mentioning the von Trapp name and this is the person photographed on the E-Course website.

Questions: (1) Is this Maria von Trapp one of the children depicted in the movie The Sound of Music, therefore a daughter of the first Baroness von Trapp? (2) Or is Maria the daughter of the second Baroness von Trapp, the Julie Andrews of the movie? (3) Is there a website to be found where the person in the E-Course photo can be positively identified?

GRAEME O'TOOLE [Darwin, Northern Territory] - The best person to consult over this issue is Noel Ryan [[email protected]] as he was a fellow student of Maria von Trapp. I have forwarded him a copy of your email with a recount which sounds like the opening scene of Macbeth!