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02 October 2007


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I would love to hear more of David McFarlane's experiences and times with the Rose family.

Gerald and Darlene Rose who lived for many years in Nondugl and worked there as missionaries and farmers were my parents-in-law and, yes, my husband Bruce Rose and his brother (the children of the Roses) lived for a long time in Australia, with their parents.

Unfortunately my husband and my parents-in-law have already passed away. However, our six children would love to hear about their dad's and grandparents' time in Nondugl.

We have heard stories about the coffee plantation and the bird of paradise sanctuary, which they loved. I am sure that they did not eat the birds, as they were very keen on protecting the birds.

Anyways, if there is a chance to get in contact with David McFarlane, it would be great. I am happy for my e-mailing details to be passed on to him. (As I never write in such posts, I have no idea if this is the right way to go about it.)

Hi Gabriele - Why don't you contact David directly at, which is the email address I have for him from 2011 - KJ

Please tell me if you know what Massoi bark was, used for trade in much earlier times.

I am sorry but Peter Turner has done a huge disservice to truth and fact.

I commenced a one year term as motor mechanic at Baiyer River in the Western Highlands of TPNG in August 1970 remaining 13 months.

I returned to Australia, married and returned to Baiyer River in June 1972 and worked for the EnGa Cooperative for 13 months (must be my lucky number), then moved to Mt Hagen, where I remained until Christmas of 1985 when I returned to Australia.

Already in August 1970 at Baiyer was a bird sanctuary in a small side valley that leads into the Baiyer Valley called the Trauna Valley.

It was well established and was started by Mr Hallstrom after realising that the conditions at Nondugl were not ideal for the sanctuary. The altitude would have been much higher maybe 4,500ft or more amsl. Baiyer was about 3,500ft amsl.

At the new site there was abundant rain forest and entry was across a suspension bridge with railway sleepers or heavy planks to form the road and tied to the main cables.

I forget who was in charge at the time but there are hopefully people still with us who will remember. I do know that it is no longer in existence as the local people have stolen or removed everything except maybe the concrete pads for the cages.

They are also sadly logging, from the inside out, the rainforest that contained the sanctuary and of all its precious timbers.

Further, the West Irian didiman was an American with a wife and family there. He is a friend of mine and his kids live in Australia. It should give them a good laugh that Pete says they ate the birds, absolute rubbish.

I visited the Nondugl property in 1973 and there were still birds and cages and I have photos of our visit, though it was definitely not on the scale of the Baiyer River sanctuary.

The Rose family at that time did operate it as a coffee plantation.

Hallstrom also brought the New Guinea singing dog to world attention.

In 1956, medical assistant Albert Speer and Officer Jim Sinclair obtained a pair of singing dogs in the Lavanni Valley of the Southern Highlands.

These dogs were sent to Sir Edward Hallstrom who had set up a native animal study centre in Nondugl. He studied them for a time and then sent them to Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

Subsequently, in 1958 the New Guinea singing dog was classified as a distinct species and was named Canis hallstromi (in honor of Sir Edward Hallstrom).

Sir Edward would have been dispirited, too, when he learned the fate of his celebrated Hallstrom Bird Sanctuary, at Nondugl in the Minj District of the Western Highlands Province, overlooking the Wahgi Basin from the southern foothills of the Central Range, about 40 minutes drive into the mountains, off the Highlands Highway, halfway between Kundiawa and Mt. Hagen.

To preserve and protect the local Highlands species, Sir Edward had established the 'bird sanctuary' with the help of Neptune Blood, one of the area's pioneering Kiaps, in the middle of what came to be an extensive coffee plantation.

Whilst birdlife and other fauna are not exactly rare in the Highalnds valleys, every single one of the poor buggers are relentlessly hunted all their lives to satisfy the Highlands folk's penchant for the equivalent of a beaver hat.

It's not hard to understand why Sir Edward was thinking along the lines of a 'sanctuary' rather than an aviary or a zoological garden.

Anyway, when I called in for a look in the early 1970's, it was a gem.

A variety of Bird of Paradise, Goura (Guria) Pigeon ( a protected species about the size of a small turkey, famed for its agressive tendency to attack patrols and end up a very satisfactory main course), and a large collection of possums, karpals, magani, sinake, tweety birds etc were housed in enclosures, cages, aviary cages etc set in an exotic parkland of rare PNG flora of all descriptions, and commercial coffee plantation and processing factory. Truly magnificent.

Years later, after service as a Kiap at Koroba, Komo, Lake Kopiago, Lumi and Aitape, I was at last coralled into a provincial headquarters desk at Kundiawa in Chimbu Province, and it was in this capacity that I received a call from an old mate, Don Morgan, who was then the senior Finance man in Mt Hagen.

He asked me if I knew where Nondugl was and, recieving an affirmative answer, asked me if I minded visting the place and checking out some disturbing rumours.

Sure. Instead of Wednesday afternoon golf with the Chimbu Premier at Minj golf course, immaculately tended by former kiap Peter Van Fleet, manager at the adjacent Tribal Tops Resort Hotel, I'd drive up to Nondugl.

Upon arrival, the change in the place was immediately noticeable. No tweeting, or hooting, no cackling, no barking. Dead silence. Oh, oh!

The rumours were true. The West Irian dude who had been appointed as Manager, had didiman type qualifications, but was also a budding master chef.

Yep, the guy had worked his way through the entire inventory, or should I say menu.

Sori, Sir Edward, it was a good idea that earned international allocades, apparently even from the Melanesian Guide Michelin? Talk about eating your way out of a job.

Our local PNG newspapers reflect allegations that the same sort of things have been going on at the PNG National Museum. I do not doubt it.

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