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24 July 2018


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Some of your readers may remember Gus Botterill who was a Kiap nearly 30 years in PNG before 'new underpants.'

Gus spoke Indonesian having been sent by the army to gather evidence of Japanese war crimes in Ambon, and took trips across the border to visit Dutch and Indonesian counterparts.

In Kiunga during the Dutch handover, he was instructed by Canberra to do an inventory and found that Dutch SVD missionaries had erected buildings on our side of the border. Canberra told him to hand them over to the Australian Church.

TNI did parachute drops of supplies for their newly arriving troops which sometimes landed on the wrong side of the border and Gus handed them back.

But he won't write a book about those 30 years. Not that he can't write, he writes brilliantly and his archival research unearthed many gems.

For anyone interested have a read of his monograph on Sahanna, an Afghan cameleer, sandalwood trader and cattleman who founded Midnight Valley station in the East Kimberley.

Sahanna built the first mosque in Wyndham and when the WA Gov threatened to destroy it, wrote a letter on behalf of all loyal Muslims in the British Empire and Brit army veterans like himself pleading for a reprieve. It was destroyed anyway.

But we could never convince Gus to write about PNG.

We don't do Anonymous here Auld Salt. But Gus was a good fella and deserved this story. Name next time please - KJ

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