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23 July 2010


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Hi Doug,
Great to hear from you.
My name is now Barbara Short but I used to be Barbara Neasmith.
I had tried to locate you a few times, without success.
I'm now back in touch with lots of the old Brandi students on one of their social media groups, the Sepik Region Development Discussion Forum on Facebook.
Brandi has just got a new Mess. The old one rotted away!
If you are interested in joining contact me at
I am in touch with quite a few of the old Brandi teachers too.
Best wishes...

My name is Doug Lillyman. I taught at Brandi from 1968 to 1973. We had two children whilst in Wewak.

These were the best teaching years of my life as I had the opportunity to establish a farm at the school: poultry, pigs, cattle, bees and growing most of the fresh food for the boarders' kitchen.

Dave Keating was the most progressive headmaster I served under. A great experience, great students and a beautiful location. I hope to visit again in the next two years.

It's great to read these comments on what happened at Brandi HS in the 1970s.

We had the good fortune to be there in middle to late 1960s, when Brandi was rapidly taking shape as one of the new high schools. They were some of the best years of our lives.

Our Headmaster was the late great Jeff Keast (1922-90), an unsung hero in PNG secondary school development. He not only helped us grow up, but he was instrumental in establishing the school's enduring reputation.

He was a great talent spotter, knew how to scrounge and effectively apply scarce resources, gave us ample latitude but expected high achievement in return.

We look back on these years fondly as being foundational for our subsequent professional careers. Our years at Brandi were rich and joyful. We made lifelong friends there among both staff and students, many of whom took leading roles in the post-Independence nation.

On reflection, they taught us as much as we ever taught them.

If any of our colleagues of 1967 should read this, best wishes to Alan West, Brian Pell, Ian Macraild, Ron Reisener, Paul Somerville, Stirling Henry, Max Medcalf, Cathy Burrow, Nalden Matautu, Chris Batterham, Adrian Hughes, Eleanor Keneally, Carol Thomas and Ugia Nawia.

And warmest regards to all our former Brandi students, whom we feel privileged to have taught.

Posted by Ian & Margaret Willis and Pieter & Deirdre Degeling.

I recall many a pleasant weekend sojourn during 1966-7 at Brandi where the plywood desk tops made fine boogie boards for body surfing and the camaraderie among teachers and students reflected a wonderful school culture.

My name is Dawn Francis (ne Griffiths) and I was a student in the 1967 trial where graduates intending to teach in PNG spent a couple of days at ASOPA as part of their Dip Ed.

I would like to receive news of students that attended at that time or anyone who taught in Moresby or Goroka in the years 1967-72.

I did a PhD in 1991 focusing on Port Moresby In-Service College. To do this I spent three years at the college following interactions between expat and national staff.

I also returned many times in my years at James Cook University to coordinate many in-service programs for teachers and lecturers on curriculum construction, interpersonal communication and working in groups.

I drafted the modules for the In-Service Home Economics subjects. I truly value my time with PNG people as the best in my life.

You can contact Dawn at

Yes, Brandi High School was built on the old Brandi Plantation, next to the Brandi River.

When I was there 1971-74 there was still plenty of shrapnel in the trunks of the old coconut palms left standing after the war.

There appeared to have been a hospital in one of the narrow valleys behind the girls' dormitories and we were always digging up "medical rubbish".

The school had a fine collection of Japanese helmets, rifles, bombs, shells, old mess tins, water bottles and some guns. There was also an old Japanese searchlight and old anti-aircraft guns.

Sometimes when the students were clearing land for new gardens they would come across an unexploded bomb, usually well embedded in the ground. The students were trained to recognise them and not disturb them.

The bomb disposal squad would then be called in from Moem Army Barracks nearby and, if it was an unexploded live bomb, the whole school would be evacuated behind one of the many hills and the bomb would be blown up.

I believe that Brandi is the same "Brandi Plantation" in Dove Bay near Wewak.

If so how it has changed since the time when I was involved in the landing there in May 1945 to cut off Japs leaving Wewak.

The old plantation was of course ruined by bomb blasts and shell fire and was a bit of a wilderness at that time.

In 1963 I spent a short time teaching at Brandi. They were a great bunch of students.

I was lucky to be given the task of accompanying some of them to their homes on the Sepik River on the Government Trawler 'Rouna Falls'. It was a great experience

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