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12 February 2013


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Colin - being a bush boy, I arrived at Dreger with nil swimming skills.

But I didn't need swimmers and other safety gear to learn the art.

We went down to Dreger wharf one afternoon after school and some idiot gave me a gentle nudge from behind while I was looking into the sea from the edge of the jetty.

I fell in and literally had to sink or swim - and I swam.

Rest, as they say, is history.

Well thank you John for your kinds words of support.
The Pindiu Lawn Tennis comps. come and go, like dust into the dustbins, but they were fun. After all what else could we do to amuse ourselves in those days?

Worked 5 days of the week, the kiaps and agric. fellows were not so lucky, they had field operations to attend to, but by God when they got back they enjoyed themselves, and why not?

Those based in Port Moresby lived in a different World.

Radio Australia if you were lucky. Southern papers a week late. Not too good when trying to have a bet on fields at Flemington, Randwick etc, with the Lae bookie! All a hit and miss affair, trying to get via Radio ABC the fields on a Friday night - two of us taking turns to get the names, me the evens and the other the odd numbers. Quite often we ended up with the same horse names. Fun eh?

Still Jack Smith, the mayor of Finschhafen, and our outside contact with the "Sked" and I had a good period of betting with the "illegal" bookmakers, and they paid up.

The Hurrells of Wau and people like Jack Smith who were WW2 veterans, Jack Smith was with the RAF in the UK were the great people of TPNG as it was then. Of course there were many more like these blokes, not the "Johnny Comes later" varieties.

I have careful noted David Kitchnoge's memories of his 4 years at Dregerhaffen, then a high school. Swimming around to the off shore islands. I wonder what Dregerhaffen school looks like now?

1964/1969. It was the old US built place of the WW2 era, new so-called brick buildings were placed there. The students still slept in the old hospital buildings. The toilets were pit things over the first lagoon.

Finally, and KJ must admit I was a good swimmer and surfer in my youthful days, the ASOPA swimming male relay was far too good in competitions for the other Sydney colleges. We lapped the fools. Much applause.

Now back to David K and his exploits. In 1964 I decided that all kids, some I suspect as old as I was, would learn to swim.

So into Lae I went on a PLANE, yep in those days Finsch did have planes DC3's on the "Lae-Rabaul" milk run as it was called flying.

Now David, being a swimmer, I decided all my class would learn to swim. So into Lae I went and at some shop I purchased 35 pairs of swimmers - all RED - budgie smugglers as worn by the Hon. Tony Abbott.
Swim these kids from the highlands learnt - the Aussie - Murray Rose freestyle.

Two fellows, students, one I recall was called Yalu, from a coastal village, about my age!!!. I decided we would swim around two islands.

This we did, outside the reefs, battered and bruised we may have been but we did it. Took seemingly ages and scary - shark bait.

I think and now look at photos of small outposts, what has improved since Independence 1975?

Hospitals, Education, Roads and the list goes on. C'mon somebody PLEASE tell me.

Thanks Keith and the great commentators of PNG Attitude.

I believe the number of readers and visitors to the site will exceed the given fingers.

Guys keep up with the great job.

Keith - Maybe we could have a brief indication of viewership numbers over the last year or so to see if the criticisms by John and Colin are justified.

Google Analytics reports that readership increased from an average of nearly 800 unique visitors a day to over 1,300 (+62%) between January 2012 and January 2013. This did not count repeat visits from the same readers in the course of a day which takes total daily readership to 1,500-1,800, although it has been as high as 4,000+ when an issue is running hot - KJ

Keith - thanks for designating me as an honorary Melanesian! I regard that with true pride.

But the fruitpickers are in NW Victoria (not SW NSW).

Fixed! - KJ

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