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13 May 2011


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I agree with Gelab Piak, this is a most extraordinary story, and I spent 20 years in the RAAEC! I am stretching my memory, but can only recall being told about the RAAEC members who went to Vietnam.

I have a dear friend who was a civilian teacher in Port Moresby in the late 70s who also spent 20 years in RAAEC and I don't recall him mentioning this. And to think there were some 300 teachers who served in PNG!

I know that the influence of the RAAEC and the Australian Army Education Service has been quite profound, but little known, although this does take the cake on both accounts.

I have no doubt there are many records about PNG in the RAAEC historical records held by the Corps, but I certainly missed them. Well done for letting all know about this unique part of the history of the RAAEC.

I wish to make a correction to the last item that I wrote on the 22/5/11 (age hath wearied me!). The article appeared in the Brisbane Telegraph of 4/7/1967, not the South Pacific Post I originally claimed.

The original comment has also been corrected - KJ

I have recently been sent a newspaper cutting from the Brisbane Telegraph of 4/7/1967. It read:

"National service Sergeants, from left, JG of Dutton Park, FC of Currumbin Beach, and KS, of Red Hill speak with Brigadier IM Hunter, Commander of Papua-New Guinea Command, after arriving in Port Moresby.

"They are in New Guinea as Education instructors to assist in the program to advance the standard of education of the Pacific Island soldiers."

Yes, Gelab, it is a largely unknown story even within the Australian Army today.

As a Chalkie, I (and many others) accepted the challenge of teaching the PIR soldiers about Australian democracy as well as literacy and numeracy to promote their leadership skills.

There is growing knowledge about Chalkies' contribution in Australian education circles and now PNG Attitude is helping to spread the story through PNG.

This is the most extraordinary story I've ever read. I am touched to learn where the roots of my countries democracy came from. It is so amazing it should be written down in the history books.

Soldiers being the teachers when so much of the time soldiers are related to war and conflict . Thank you ADF, or essentially RAAEC, and the soldiers for this gesture, only God knows the reward that awaits you.

This story is the extraordinary life of an ordinary soldier, where in the world would you find soldiers as educators, teaching basic democracy to a people or race.

PNG and Australia have mysterious links. It's with wonderment that one marvels at how the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels helped the Aussie soldiers.

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