Recent notes

An important primary source on the history of Papua and New Guinea is now online

I was surprised and pleased today to discover that a new title has been added to the already impressive collection of digitized Australian newspapers on Trove. Papuan Times, a self-described “paper for Papuans” that was produced by graduates of the school at Kwato mission in Papua from 1948 to about 1957. Issues from 1951 to […]

Sorcery and stereotypes in Guardian reporting on Papua New Guinea

On January 4, the Guardian published an article by Australian journalist Helen Davidson on assaults in Togoba, Papua New Guinea against people accused of using sorcery to kill a man who died of malaria. She followed this up on January 10 with another report on an attack on the chief justice of PNG and his […]

Questions for Q&A on Monday

I asked to be in the audience of the ABC panel discussion show Q&A. The guests will be two politicians (a Victorian senator and a federal shadow minister), author Rachel Botsman (who writes on the “sharing economy”), an “expert” on “Islamic extremism,” and… Jane Goodall (!). I got a seat, too. So, naturally, I submitted […]

Unamai: A hot ticket in Rabaul, New Guinea, 1951

An announcement of a string band concert at Unamai Restaurant in Rabaul, 1951 In the January 13, 1951 issue of Rabaul News, a small item appeared at the top of page 4, in the Village News section. It read: UNAMAI RESTAURANT (HAUS KAIKAI) Baai (Nodup) String Band – baimbai oli pilai gita TUDEI LONG NAIT! […]

Looking up from Pwapwata, Normanby Island, Papua New Guinea

A view of Menumenu mountain and points east from Pwapwata, in Kurada, Normanby Island (Milne Bay Province), Papua New Guinea Between November 14 and 16, 2006, I took some of my last remaining rolls of film and my Pentax K1000 camera to capture the landscapes of Auhelawa on Normanby Island. One of the places I […]

Fieldwork photos from Normanby Island, eleven years later

Opa Haimanu, a member and lay preacher in the Sowala United Church, leaves the church building after the Sunday tapwalolo (worship) service on November 12, 2006. My first trip to Papua New Guinea was in 2004. On that trip, I ended up in Kurada on Normanby Island in Milne Bay Province and stayed for seven […]

Pei bilong sosopen: An article from Lae Garamut, 1948

Another of the postwar education department newsletters in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea was Lae Garamut. It published mainly announcements and instructions from local colonial officials in Pidgin, but like Rabaul News and others, aspired to be a newspaper for indigenous people, and invited readers to submit their own articles.  In 1948, the […]