AFTER MORE THAN 13 years in the Territory Situation, in 1976 I decided to head South.
Like many others, my first postings were in the bush after which I steadily worked my way into the larger towns.
While the towns had attractions lacking at patrol posts and stations, there was a price to pay.
The most obvious was the civil violence and breakdown in law and order.
In the bush, whether home or not, I was accustomed to leaving my door unlocked.
Once, zipping along a bush path on the station motorbike, I collided with a man (neither of us was badly hurt) to be surrounded by yelling villagers. But they were venting their ire at the victim who damaged motabaik bilong masta.
In Moresby I would have been beaten up.
In Lae and Moresby my humble dwellings had been broken into a dozen times. Twice when I was home in bed.
At first unnerved, I began to get blasé about all this - as if it were normal.
In a moment of clarity, I knew I could no longer accept as a solution the act of replacing record player and tape deck each time they were stolen – only to provide another tempting target for the thieves.
I concluded I needed to legally get my hands on a gun. So I joined the Moresby pistol club.
I learned to shoot and purchased a .357 Magnum for the right hand and a .22 Browning for the left.
But a new problem emerged, as I reasoned that a couple of hand guns plus ammo in a house would be an even better scoop for the lads of the night.
I went to great lengths to dismantle the guns: hiding a barrel here, a trigger mechanism there, ammo somewhere else.
The two weapons ended up as bits of metal scattered across the house.
As the dispersal of the parts was accompanied by knocking off a cold SP or two, I began to worry about remembering where the bits were.
To compound my paranoia, I realised if I ever had to use a gun, I might not have long to reassemble the scattered parts.
So I started to time myself locating and reassembling and kept practising until I broke the 60-second barrier.
One day, after some cogitation and rumination, I decided I didn't have to live like this and, after checking out the best time to go South, I did so.
The departure was accelerated by one of my last break-ins being investigated eventually by a nice but callow sub-inspector Meremo Goroba who had been a student of mine in Wau just a few years earlier.
So I took my guns South, joined a pistol club in Canberra and never fired a round from either. I sold them six months later.
For many years Bob 'Moose' Davis held the PNG and South Pacific Games hammer throw and shot put records. He has now retired after a distinguished post-PNG career as deputy head of Canberra Grammar junior school