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« First flight to Tadji: The airstrip’ll be finished when you get there | Main | A wartime patrol through the New Guinea highlands »

25 April 2014


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I lived on Manus Island in the 1950s when my father was in the Australian Navy.

I remember the Japanese war criminals well, because we would always be supplied with fresh vegetables by them.

None of the children fully understood, the what, where and why these men were there until we were much older, but as children, oblivious to all, we formed childhood friendships with those who spoke English.

When our time was up, and we were due to come back to Australia, my sister and I were given an array of departing gifts, some personal rice spoons, carved boxes and lamp bases in traditional Japanese design.

We still have them, and they are treasured not for the fact they were given by men who perpetrated some horrendous acts against humanity, but more because it was a moment in time in history.

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