16 February 2009

Papua New Guinea

In 1967, shortly after arriving in Brisbane, Australia, I started work with an American Air Conditioning Company. A few months later, they sent me for a 3-week project to Port Moresby in the then Territory of Papua & New Guinea. These 3 weeks extended and extended. I met my wife Diane up there and we got married in Port Moresby. I ended up staying 3 years.  During my time up there I travelled extensively for the company throughout the country and with my trusty 16mm film camera was able to capture quite a lot of cultural events, of which I'd like to share a few with you here.

This first clip I shot at the Cultural Centre in Port Moresby in 1968. Various folk groups were performing for passengers off a cruise ship.

We had a project at the Australian Navy Base on Manus Island where we employed a couple of local lads to help us with the installation. On Sunday, one of the boys asked us if we wanted some coconuts. They proceed in climbing coconut palms without any mechanical help or harness they simply 'walked' up the tree and picked some coconuts which they cut loose. Interesting how they opened the coconuts once they were back on the ground.

In 1968, we hopped on a charter plane from Port Moresby to Goroka to see the famous Goroka Show which is held every 2 years alternating with Mount Hagen. During this weekend Festival, villagers from all around New Guinea congregate on the the oval and perform their traditional dances and music in their traditional costumes. It is a most colourful display and of course I had my movie camera with me.

After Diane and I got married in 1969, we decided to return back to Australia to set up home. But we both fondly remember our years in this amazing country.


  1. Great post. Considering that you took those movies with a 16 mm camera 40 years ago and have converted them to digital, the quality and colour is not bad. It was an exciting time wasn'r it?

  2. Thanks for posting those amazing movies for us Bill. A great slice of life in PNG in the sixties. Funnily enough just before I visited here I also posted about my time in a very traditional part of the Pacific - bit more recent than yours but still special.

  3. Cosidering that you took those movies on 16 mm film 40 years ago they still look good. Gret post using videos.

  4. Overwhelming and an unique experience, thank you for making this footage available

  5. Wow what an exotic experience!!!! Were you ever scared? The movies are great! We both love the music too! Very clever Dad!

    I remember having movie nights when we were little kids, and being amazed at the super 8 footage. And now here it is just like that! technology is amazing right!


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