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11 May 2016

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Mr Brown, this is a very interesting story of taim bipo tru...and you have some excellent pictures too of life then. I look forward to reading the next chapter. Thank you tru.

Bill - What a great account of your experiences as a Kiap. Great to see this documented. Not only interesting, but an important part of PNG/Australian history. Looking forward to the following chapters.


As each chapter of Bill’s memoirs unfurls his writing seems, like a flower unfolding, to blossom forth with just the right amount a fact tinged with his inimical whimsical touch of irony makes for pleasant reflection.

In this world we currently inhabit beset with doom and gloom it is refreshing to travel back in time when things were so much simpler remembering of course that the hardship endured by kiap pioneers of those days were overshadowed by the true sense of adventure on offer.

As one of the latter short haul kiaps I certainly feel quite humbled by the achievements of my kiap predecessors. Makes one wonder how many other similar stories of other Kiaps chronicles remain untold?

Can’t wait until I read the next chapter of Bill’s remarkable life in PNG.

Interesting point there Paul.

I haven't been in PNG since late 2014 but even then those Papua New Guineans we once knew were almost impossible to find.

Before that it was only occasionally in the most remote and untouched places that you came across them.

The present people of PNG, with a few notable exceptions and who all seem to write for PNG Attitude, are not the people we knew.

Some of the older Australians who comment on PNG Attitude but haven't been in PNG for a long time don't realise that the country has been taken over by people they wouldn't now recognise.

And I don't mean that in the sense that those older people we knew were nice because they were compliant or Uncle Toms.

Among other things they were honest, happy with their lot in life and mostly friendly and a whole swag of other positive things.

Hear, hear Phil. I had exactly the same thoughts. Still we did what we could in the time we were allowed.

The big regret is that if we were ever able to go back and walk over the old patrol routes we'd probably never leave PNG in both body and soul. Also, the people we knew and worked with are no longer there, or so I'm told.

Beware all you young people. Becoming a 'lapun' sneaks up on you.

You continue to make us 1960s short-haul kiaps jealous Bill. Oh, to have been born in 1938 or earlier instead of 1948.

I’m still in the process of digesting the remarkable saga, A Kiap’s Chronicle, by Bill Brown.

The unfathomable fleeting aspect of time never ceases to intrigue me, more than ever, as old age advances. I was just getting to high school when you started the first two years of a most remarkable adventures life in PNG.

Had you been born just a bit earlier it may not have been your own free will to “have just a look for 6 months at PNG”. Chances would have been that you had to start an unpleasant hike at Ower’s Corner on to the trail to Kokoda.

How different, in so many ways, has the world of today become? Wherever one travels, he or she is constantly connected to the outside world and vice versa.

If I hadn’t had the chance to do things like chasing crocodiles while travelling 500 km up the Fly River without any contact to civilisation, I may, like some youngsters of today, have considered bungee jumping off high bridges, if not wing suit flying from the top of the Matterhorn.

Of course there are many things I would not want to go back to, like making carbon copies on non-electrical typewriters.

First question: Is there more captivating reading about the time following your first years as kiap?

I approve of your not incorrect rubbishing the quality of human memory, but I doubt that you should rightly complain much about suffering from this weakness.

Reflecting on how I always appreciated Bill Brown, it surprised me out of the blue to read in your memoirs that you were once but a little insignificant Cadet Patrol Officer; I always thought that you must have come, seen and stepped into a top position from the word go (that obviously only happened when you came across a beautiful girl named Pamela).

Some names on the well-made geographical maps as well as some of the blokes you described so pointedly rang bells. You weren’t the slightest bit off the mark about the disposition of a Percy Chatterton, who, during my time was running the LMS Mission at Koki.

His particularly peculiar kind of aloofness seems to have cumulated when later in life he wanted to be considered an absolute genuine Papuan. In regard to the sins of the church against Papuan culture, he once quoted: “We were accused to having eaten quite a substantial number of missionaries. That was wrong. We should have eaten the lot.” (Not that I disagree).

In my book Titbits. I wrote that the Manu Manu people brought us by canoe to a plantation in Galley Reach that was run by an Australian. When I read about your activities in Kanosia it hit me: that was the plantation’s name I had forgotten.

Apart from some boobs hanging over the fence of your vegetable garden and the following short question, you complain astonishing little about the hardships of living long periods alone with Stone Age people in most remote places. That made reading about the sad end of your Dalmatian friend all the more heartrending.

I often thought that the job done in PNG by Australia generally, and by many individual Australians in particular, has, along the way and later, never been appropriately commended; by and large, not even by the Papuans themselves.

I find it surprising that no resentment of any kind from those people that did the sweating was ever noticeable to me, not even now as the fruits of much of those sacrificial efforts are sliding down the drain.

I personally find the philosophical assumption helpful that reaching any objective is of less importance than the way to reach the goal, which in my experience hardly ever lasts.

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