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aussie 05-07-2003 12:20 AM

Memories of past ANZAC Days in Lae by Malum Nalu
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I was quite overwhelmed, after writing on article in the Weekend Magazine last Friday (June 27), at the response from former Lae resident Scott Martin.

The article touched on the apparent lack of respect for our war veterans, as compared to ANZAC Day celebrations in the pre Independence years.

It further went on to say that July 23 – Remembrance Day – is not a day of great national fervor in PNG as compared to the ANZAC days of the past.

aussie 05-07-2003 12:21 AM

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Mr Martin, now a human resource officer with the Townsville Port Authority, was born in Lae in the 1950’s and did all his early schooling there.

He has an amazing collection of photographs of Lae from those glory days of the 1960’s, including those of ANZAC Day in 1967 and 1968.

Seeing the photographs, especially being from Lae, brought tears to my eyes as I reflected on that happy, bygone era.

Mr Martin told me that ANZAC Day in 1967 and 1968 had huge crowds in attendance.

aussie 05-07-2003 12:24 AM

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1968, he said, was particularly big as it commemorated the 25th anniversary of Lae after World War 11.

“I have enjoyed your recent articles on PNG, the Kokoda Trail etc, but the story that moved me the most was the lack of an ANZAC Day in PNG,” Mr Martin told me in an email last week.

“Please note that I have 2 groups of photos:
  • ANZAC Day at the Lae War Cemetery (and marchers coming down Memorial Avenue) taken in 1967 and showing huge crowds in attendance.
  • Parade through Lae in 1968 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Lae after the War (as described by my grandmother on the box of slides). These photos show what may well have been the largest parade in Lae's history, and the enormous crowds that lined the streets.”
Mr Martin had these final words to say about PNG: “Great country, great people, and hopefully a great future.

aussie 05-07-2003 12:26 AM

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“Whilst I do not advocate communism, I always thought that PNG functioned quite well when run by an Administrator (or Governor General or President or whatever you want call them).

“Unfortunately, a few people in Australia and PNG let their egos run riot during the early 1970's, and next thing we know PNG was declared independent.

“If PNG had stayed with Australia, I am sure that there would be plenty of jobs (well more than at present) and ease of movement between our two islands.

“For the unemployed, the sick, the elderly, there would be pensions, training, health care, hospitals.

aussie 05-07-2003 12:27 AM

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“Certainly, it would be an added cost to Australia's economy, but with the combined resources of both PNG and Australia there would be no problems meeting such costs.

“ A working example is the Torres Strait where they enjoy the same benefits as the mainland.

“Admittedly, there is not a lot of industry so unemployment is high, but the unemployed still receive money from the government.

aussie 05-07-2003 12:28 AM

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“PNG is a different case, there is a lot more that can be done throughout the country.... tourism, mining, logging, agriculture, manufacturing, service industries, the list goes on and on.........(I think I had better get off my high horse right now before I get too worked up).

“Talk to you another day.”

Later this month, on July 23, is Remembrance Day.

aussie 05-07-2003 12:29 AM

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On September 16, which is Independence, Lae will mark the 60th anniversary of its recapture from the Japanese in 1943.

aussie 05-07-2003 12:31 AM

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We may not have big marches as those of past ANZAC Days; however, we should take time to reflect on the significance of the occasion.

aussie 05-07-2003 12:32 AM

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Lest we forget!

aussie 05-07-2003 12:33 AM

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Police march along 2nd Street :

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