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09 December 2012


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Re: the doggie photo. It looks like Jill, but she was more black-and-white.

Tok Pisin has a great phrase for lookalikes. It's a "fotocopy".

I'm supposed to be a fotocopy of my Dad.

Maybe should be "fotokopi"?

Michael - good poem.

Ah lahara!

It's also the name of the UPNG summer school, as it coincides with the arrival of the seasonal winds.

Hi Ian, I lived at J-13 in Fort Banner for 15 years. So many memories there.

If I close my eyes now I can see every rectangular brick and curved fibro ceiling, smell the dusty wooden louvres and hear the sliding doors squeaking as if someone's opening the dining up for guests.

Some people mistakenly call it Forth Banner, because it's situated at the end of Fourth Street at the UPNG Waigani campus staff housing area.

Ian, the fact is that Fort Banner became so famous that people referred to the whole Waigani housing campus as Fort Banner.

If you don't believe me then hop on a taxi at Jackson's and say Fort Banner. I bet your betel nuts the driver will take you there with no questions asked.

My family always kept dogs while we were there. I used to go jogging or biking with one of them in tow: Dusty and Nagas were my favourite companions. We had some roaring good times on the housing campus streets.

Fort Banner's still standing, although it's slowly but surely deteriorating. And I hear there are plans now to demolish it and build some new residential blocks.

You're not still up to a bit of architecture are you?

I live in Lae now, where the grass grows from the ground all the way up the trees and parts hang back down on to the roads. I love it here.

Ian, I'm writing a long poem, haikai no renga (Japanese style) about memories of Port Moresby.

Here's a preview in your honour, with my best regards;

Awoken at night;
Stray winds bring dirty smells that
rain washes away.

Daylight is breaking
Over the Waigani Swamps;
Red hills and gum trees.

White curtains billow
Bang! Swoosh, bang! Two doors slam shut;
Enter lahara!

Shaking tree branches;
Shaggy old dogs snap awake
Barking in the wind.

Kids and dogs - gotta love 'em. Rose went out one morning to give Jack and Jill their breakfast.

She came running back into the house "Peter, Peter - come and see, Jack isn't moving!".

And the sad job fell to me to discover that Jack was dead. And Jill was very ill.

They'd eaten something bad the night before and both contracted enteritis.

Young Margaret was devastated and insisted we hold a haus krai for Jack - which we duly did, but not before rushing Jill to the vet (the RSPCA clinic near the underpass - the only vet I knew of in Moresby).

We had to give a substantial bribe to the taxi driver to take a dog in his car. "A dog in my car! No!"

But he did, and they put Jill on a drip and after 2 days she recovered.

Young Margaret was inconsolable. We buried Jack in the garden with due ceremony, where his bones lie to this day.

Margaret put up a small cross atop Jack's grave.

The death of a much-loved pet brings out the humanity in all of us.

Thanks Ian - that is very interesting.

And you are thus responsible for bringing me and my wife together, as she came to stay with some friends at Fort Banner near the market and I went down one night to get buai - and that's how we met!

Onya mate!

The reason for the name 'Fort Banner' was partly in fact a joke.

The brief for the design coz of it's location and problems with break-ins....yes even in the 70's lol, was to build with security in mind.

I designed all the units with high walls. In the centre of the complex was a store (stret pasin stoa.) which need a permit.

So when filling out the application form the University Admin names the location as 'Fort Banner' - and it has stuck ever since.

The other interesting point is that the funding was for 5 high convenant houses - which I was able to convince UPNG that a more suitable project would be to build multiple mid level housing to provide housing for the lower income staff of the uni.

So for the cost of 5 high cost houses we built about 50 units plus a shop.

Yes, I'm responsible for the name (lol).

Ian - are you? Please give us the details.

I often wondered why it was called Fort Banner.

It's not really a Fort, and there's no Banner!

(But I can imagine naming my house Fort Kranz. It needs a fencing update to keep away the marauding hordes of kangaroos which come at night and eat our plants).

PS, re the kangaroos. Rose has sharpened her Hagen stone axe and reckons we can try one for Christmas dinner.

Glad a couple of fun dogs at least enjoyed their stay in 'Fort Banner' (and yes, I'm responsible for the

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