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14 December 2012


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We know that Bob Hope, Gary Cooper, Phyllis Brooks and Una Merkel performed in New Guinea.

I reckon a history of concert parties in WW2 PNG would be interesting. And what about the Aussie contingent?

Yeah I know, I better get searching.

Peter - Not sure about Bing, but his "On the Road" co-star, Bob Hope was at Dregerhafen and left his initials and a message carved into one of the old tables.

Bob and company performed in what was in my days the old covered basketball court come theatre hall.

Yes Bing was a bass/baritone, but his crooning style could lead him to some pretty high notes.

By the way I've heard rumours that Bing performed in New Guinea for the troops during the war in one of the USO field concerts, but can find little evidence for this.

Anyone know more?

PS. And can anyone explain this? "Bing Crosby. Classic American Voices: The Gospel Comes to New Guinea".,,2671650-5852308,00.html

Dogs and bagpipes - really Paul, thank God I left Pindiu on the day of your arrival.

I had no idea that you were of Scottish or Irish heritage.
Anyhow back to that dog.

My first, but not last dog in PNG I inherited from a Kiap going finish.

I was at Dregerhafen and Ricky would go walkabout back to Finschhafen.

This upset the good people of the Administration who would dispatch the now not supremo dog back to me.

Then I was moved to Gagidu ( Finschhafen) and poor Ricky was in a mental state. He was at the bottom of the chain,
so decided that Dregerhafen was safer.

He was again periodically dispatched back to me from the irate teaching fraternity, with orders to "please keep your Ricky at home".

So a decision had to be made. And under cover of darkness, I got a gun from a Croation fellow. I just wounded poor Ricky; my Croatian friend, did the rest.

A proper burial was arranged, the attendance was amazing.

Now, looking carefully, this singing dog has a great resemblance to Ricky.

I had this feeling he would come back to haunt me.

Phil, odd that if Brown Bobby was a tenor, he should like the old groaner. Bing was a baritone if I remember correctly.

Paul - My neighbour in PNG was given a drum set for Christmas one year.

We couldn't escape the ear-shattering 'boom boom tish' sounds as he endlessly practised, trying to get somewhat close to the beat.

It was made worse by setting Jill off howling. She was no singing dog, maybe a hip-hop/crash mondo dog, mediated by the drummer occasionally taking to some Purple Sticky Punch.

They could have jumped a few lessons by listening to the local kundu drummers.

But he ended up in a band!

I guess bugle playing is somewhat akin to bagpipes. I happen to like both but I understand there are people who for some unaccountable reason don’t like either. I took both to PNG however my first OIC disliked both. I gave up on the bagpipes and took up ukulele playing.

I’ve still got my bugle however and occasionally it gets taken down from the bookshelf where it sits alongside other ’memorabilia’, dusted off and nostalgically ‘blown’. It gets a reaction too as the green tree frogs mistake it for an opponent’s mating call and start a confounded croaking in the downpipes.

I ended up with one of the well known basset hounds of Rabaul, whose name was Copra.

I took him with me to Manggai on New Ireland and when I'd go for a walk in the forest off he would go following some scent or other.

You'd hear him baying, a form of singing, from miles away, and I would walk home thinking "I've lost him now". But he'd smell his way back home.

After I left he was a well known dog in Kavieng and mated with lots of the locals so I guess there are some interesting singing dogs in Kavieng too.

Brown Bobby was a tenor. He was partial to Bing Crosby and could carry a tune quite well.

It's a long hike from Ialibu to Telefomin so he must have been buggered by the time he got there.

But I have to ask - what on earth were you doing with a bugle.

We had one at Olsobip but I locked it in the safe after the first early morning cacophony and it stayed there until I left.

Shortly thereafter I did away with the up/down flag business in the morning too.

Phil, my dog Tiger could howl in perfect pitch. If I’d play a note on my bugle, he’d howl the note in sympathy.

While he was only half PNG Wild Dog the attribute of ‘singing’ was obviously genetic and had been passed on via the bitch I had bought from a villager.

Perhaps PNG's famous singing dogs could become a real export earner?

That's Brown Bobby, I'd recognise him anywhere.

He jumped out of the back of the truck on the Ialibu road chasing a bushpig and we haven't seen him since.

He's looking pretty fit. Obviously singing pays better than being a security dog.

If you see him again tell him that Black Bobby misses him and his food bowl and blanket are waiting for him.

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