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16 January 2017

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A good yarn Bob. Amazing some of the aviation stories experienced by ex-kiaps, chalkies etc during their years in the Territory.

Glad when anyone writes it for future generations to know about 20th century life in their home areas.

Wikipedia says Balimo airstrip elevation is 30 metres. When I lived in area in 1979-80 it seemed so flat and we would drive past the strip on the way to collect our Pasuwe Ltd trade goods left at Tai Creek on the bank of the Aramia as the water access to Balimo lagoon would rapidly disappear and be unnavigable to Steamies’ coastal boats like MV Ame Rupa etc.

When notified of the cargo being left there a couple of my staff would camp out for few days to keep goods safe as it was a long- perhaps 12km round trip from river to Balimo store.

Recall the huge drains all around the landing area to try and keep it open in the wet. One naughty PWD worker was wanted by irate parents of his temporary girlfriend.

Doing his early morning airstrip inspection, OIC Dick Randolph hid the scared worker at the far end of the strip in one of the then luckily dry drains.

Later he told the Talair pilot of the extra passenger who would rapidly jump into the plane a long way from the watchers in the ‘terminal’ as it waited for permission to take off.

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