Review by Jim Sinclair OBE.
has not been kindly
treated in the Australian media since achieving independence
in September 1975. The only accounts that Australians usually read in
newspapers or see on television are about crime or corruption. Few
stories are ever told.
there are many
thousands of us who spent the best years of our lives there retain fond
memories of PNG,
and it is undeniable
that it still exercises a spell.
this book, Stuart
Hawthorne has written an affectionate account of his boyhood years in Port
capital city of PNG,
during the two
decades before Independence,
and of his eventual
departure as a young man. The outstanding feature of this well-produced
the more than 400 photographs, in colour and monochrome, that
narrative. Some were taken by the author, others by many contributors,
whom are acknowledged.
selected, and of generally excellent quality: all too often photographs
in books of this type purely because of their historical significance,
certain minimum quality level is really essential if a book is to
has been achieved here. Hawthorne
has also included a
useful selection of brief articles from contemporary PNG
newspapers, which add
to the experience, and maps of the town.
author takes his
reader on a nostalgic journey through the Port
of yesteryear. His
chapter headings tell the story to those who knew the Port
of the 1950s and
1960s: At Home, Weekend Diversions, A Paradise for Kids, Good Sports, Bomana War Cemetery,
A Working Port,
Hanuabada, Hiri Voyages, The Yacht Club, Gemo Island,
the Streets of Port
Moresby, Koki Market, Sogeri Show, and Town and Country, Going Finish.
hardly necessary to make any further comment, the headings say it all.
devotes one chapter
to an attempt to explain why the fortunes of PNG,
have so dramatically
changed since Independence.
This is the least
convincing part of the book, for it is manifestly impossible to do
such a huge and complex subject in a matter of 20 pages. Yet he does
telling points. I am pleased to note that he has given considerable
the late Sir Donald Cleland, Administrator of PNG
during most of the
period covered in this book. I believe that historians of the future
kind to Sir Donald.
is a book that
should find a place in the libraries of all who lived and worked in the
It is lively, well
presented, and of a handy size. I recommend it to all PNG
old-timers, and to
those who want to know a little bit more about the fascinating country
just off the tip of Australia.
know more about PNG:
we administered the
country from Federation to 1975. What happens in PNG
should matter to us.
You can literally almost throw a stone from the northernmost point of
Queensland to the southern shore
How many Australians
Review by Shirley Webb.
an amazing book!
Thoroughly researched and profusely illustrated. I was captivated from
Hawthorne, has sought to record events and images from pre-independence
when post war
optimism and freedom brought a unique quality of life to those living
capital city of Papua
He writes from a
passionate desire to expound and defend the beautiful, peaceful, secure
life we grew up in – in response to criticism of the modern city of Port
as being a dangerous
and filthy place to live, with a corrupt and incompetent government.
empathy with the PNG
particularly evident as he describes the staging of the South Pacific
Games in Port
in 1969. He reaches a
deeper level to look behind the events themselves and shows us another
perspective, which was to bring about significant growth of a national
book is written in
an informal, conversational style which flows easily and makes the
part of the experience. The author uses exposition to present facts as
as possible, while interspersing this with personal recounts. He has
in allowing the reader to interpret the text and photographs in the
their own experiences. The inclusion of detailed maps and press
in understanding and brings memories to life.
chapters to a brief analysis of some of the circumstances that have led
a profound change in lifestyle in Port
His conclusions are
drawn logically from the evidence uncovered by accurate research.
descriptive pictures and accurate in detail this book is a valuable
resource. I highly recommend it to anyone who has grown up in PNG
or has a fascination
with the way things were.