Papua New Guinea Independence: 16 September 1975
Australia relinquished its colonial administration of PNG at the earliest practical opportunity in accordance with the wishes of the United Nations.
No political uprising or general discontent preceeded this transition.
One of the many ceremonies to mark the occasion was conducted at Finschhafen. There were very few dry eyes, either brown or blue, as the Australian flag was lowered for the final time and replaced with that of the independent nation of Papua Niugini.
Delving into my past to prepare this series of recollections has not been a process entirely free of emotion, because those of us who were fortunate enough to work so closely, and for so many years, with village people in New Guinea inevitably formed deep connections with them and their country.
So many of my co-workers and friends who featured in these stories and photographs are no longer with us, so it is for them and their descendants that I have written this series.
I was sent from Australia to "teach" Papua Niuginians.
In the final analysis it was they who taught me one thousand times more.
Especially the tolerant, happy and hospitable people of the Mape, Upper Dedua, Mongi, Kua and Bulum areas of Morobe Province who took me in and treated me as one of their own, and who showed me a societal model so vastly different from mine.
Their sustainable model. Their caring and co-operative society.
Their way of life where family and close community are central to everyday life.
Australia can hold it's head high for the work it did in bringing PNG to Independent nationhood with such a high degree of unity, prosperity and peace.
History will be the judge of how Papua Niugini managed the opportunites we presented to it on the 16th September 1975.
To mark the conclusion of this series I now wish to kick up my ageing wrinkly heels with my very favourite kind of PNG music.
A bamboo band…..stacks of bamboo tubes, the ends of which are rhythmically and toe-tappingly flogged with rubber thongs, or if that phrase conjures up a somewhat interesting proposition for my American friends, rubber flip-flops.
I hope you too will enjoy it even though they appear to be cheating in this clip by using some PVC pipe instead of bamboo.
Thank you to everyone who has shared my little stroll down memory lane.