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Old 02-12-2002, 08:20 PM
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Lae Memories - Blast from the past - story by Scott Martin & Malum Nalu !

Anyone who grew up in Lae in the pre – Independence years of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s will tell you what a nice place it was.

Lae, in those halcyon days, was a well – organized multi – racial town with a large expatriate community.

Many of those expatriate children who were either born or raised in Lae, fondly recall – with nostalgia – those good old days.

They had their start in Lae and later moved on to Australia, USA, Germany, or other countries in the world.

However, the common denominator is that all have Lae close to heart, and are very sentimental about this.



Aerial view looking over the old Lae Airstrip :
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Old 02-12-2002, 08:23 PM
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I recently stumbled upon a well – hit website, Rob’s PNG Links Dreambook, in which former PNG residents reminisce about their happy childhood days here.

Lae, needless to say, was well mentioned especially by those who attended the Coronation and Bulae primary schools.

Coronation School Badge :

“Have gone through all my files and managed to find a few things from my seven years - 1964 to 1970: Prep to Grade 6 - at Lae (Coronation) Primary.”

“I don't think there would be too many left in circulation,”Mr Martin said.

One of the pictures is the school badge from the early 1960's (refer to picture).
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Old 02-12-2002, 08:26 PM
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I posted a note on this website, asking for contribution from former Lae residents about Lae in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

Scott Martin, now a Human Resources Officer with the Townsville Port Authority in Townsville, Queensland, emerged from the mists of time with some amazing photographs and anecdotes about growing up in Lae.

“I was born in Lae in 1958 and lived there until 1974 when the family moved to Moresby,”Mr Martin said.

“ Left PNG in 1978 and have never been back.

“Father was employed by the Department of Civil Aviation from the early 1950's until he retired to Brisbane in 1983.”

Photograph: Lonely coconut tree overlooking the waters at the end of the old Lae airstrip :
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Old 02-12-2002, 08:31 PM
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Mr Martin sent me reminisces and pictures – an amazing blast from the past – of his seven years at Coronation Primary School from 1964 to 1970.

“I also have in my possession hundreds of slides of PNG dating back to about 1958 when my Grandmother permanently moved to Lae, just in time for my birth,” he said.

“ I inherited the slides when she passed away approximately 10 years ago.

“My parents also have hundreds and hundreds of slides and pictures covering their time in PNG - early 1950's to 1983.

Coronation Primary School Grade 4 - Class of 1968 :

Another picture is Mr Martin’s Grade 4 Class of 1968 (refer to picture).

“I am second from the left in the front row,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I do not have a proper listing of the names, and don't want to embarrass anyone by trying to guess the few names I cannot remember.

“I will point out one student, Tony Darcy, who is standing in the back left of the photo.

“Rugby Union fans will remember Tony from the 1980's when he was a regular representative for Australia in the Front Row.

“I believe Tony now coaches in Ireland.”
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Old 02-12-2002, 08:41 PM
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Another picture is the school rugby league team of 1970 leaving the field after playing Bulae (refer to picture).

“This particular game was played at the main rugby league grounds at the sea end of the original airstrip and would have been the curtain raiser to an important 'A' Grade Club game, New Guinea Trials or Papua versus New Guinea,”Mr Martin said.

“Unfortunately, I cannot remember.

“We very rarely got to play at the main grounds.

“Normal interschool matches were played Saturday mornings at Bugandi High School.

“I will also point out that Coronation Drive were the first school to have their own jerseys - white with a red vee.

“All the other schools used jerseys supplied by Bugandi High.”

Coronation Rugby League Team of 1970. “I was Captain and Halfback - far right seen here tucking in my jersey. :
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Old 02-12-2002, 08:55 PM
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Another picture is Mr Martin’s Prep Class of 1964 (refer to picture).

“I am fourth from the right in the top row,” he said.



"The names of these students are:


“Top Row: Teacher Mrs Stock
  • Victor Wong
  • Greg Warren
  • Martin Arenas
  • Rodney Timperley
  • Scott Martin
  • Mark Connell
  • Keith Drew
  • Tim Murphy

“Third Row:
  • Ian Luckett
  • Larry Hayes
  • Janette Homan
  • Joanne Kent
  • Jeanine Wirt
  • Mavis Tsang
  • Derek Wong

“Second Row:
  • Agnes English
  • Hilary McKay
  • Karen Milburn
  • Linda Chan
  • Katy Shephard
  • Melvin Chan

“Front Row:
  • Joanne Dela Cruz
  • Susan Tam
  • Lois Chee
  • Patrica Chan
  • Denise Peck (Holding onto the sign)

“At least 15 of the above students continued through to Grade 6 at Lae Primary, myself included.”


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Old 02-12-2002, 09:15 PM
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Mr Martin, after all these years, still feels an attachment for Lae and has been in touch with Coronation School

“I have also been in contact with my beloved old primary school, and have supplied a few memories and pictures,” he said.

“Teachers I recall are Mrs Stock from Prep and Grade 1, Mrs Stephens from Grade 2, Mrs Murray from Grade 3 and Mrs Sue Hall - nee Noblett - from my final year in Grade 6.

“Mrs Hall had grown up in Lae and had also attended Lae Primary.

“The principal for most of my time at Lae Primary was Miss Pat O'Brian.

“My family knew Miss O'Brian very well, and for many years Miss O'Brian and my Grandmother Mary Bracken, who worked at the Lae Police Station for almost 20 years, shared a ‘donga’ on Half Street, looking out over the Huon Gulf.

“Visits to see Grandmother were always painful as it also meant we had to see the school principal, yuk! I believe Miss O'Brian passed away in Australia many years ago.

“One final memory: during my Grade 6 year – 1970 - a new school was built at what was known as Chinatown, around past Voco Point.
“I think this new school was called Huonville.

Voco Point - Lae :
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Old 02-12-2002, 09:18 PM
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“Unfortunately, all Lae students were settled into their respective schools and no one wanted to relocate.

“The Education Department then decided to split Lae into three parts, and if you resided in a certain area, you had to go to a certain school.

“My family was then living at the end of Cassia Crescent, near what was referred to as the ‘Roundwater’, and this area was assigned to Bulae Primary.

Roundwater Lae, taken October, 2002 :

When I was growing up in Lae there were two distinct lakes, seperated by a narrow channel, across the road from the showgrounds. They were commonly referred to as the "Roundwater". During the period 1969 to 1974 (when I was 11 to 16 years of age) my family lived on the other side of the lakes at the end of Cassia Crescent.

Back then the area was a tropical jungle with numerous walking tracks throughout. A large freshwater spring was in the middle that formed a small pond that then flowed into the lakes. The council later cleared the area so that the lakes were visible from our front stairs.

Word was that the lakes were old quarries used to source material when the original airstrip in the middle of town was built during the war.

As kids we practically lived at the "Roundwater"; swimming, fishing, diving for clams, hunting ducks and jumping of a cliff face into one of the lakes.

Before I left Lae in 1974 the lakes had become totally overgrown with a water weed and were no fun to swim in. Dangerous too no doubt.

I later heard that the lakes had been filled in. It appears that was not the case.
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Old 02-12-2002, 09:20 PM
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“My two younger brothers thus shifted from Coronation Drive to Bulae.

“As for Grade 6 students, it was deemed too traumatic to shift in the final year of primary school so we were allowed to stay.

“So each morning, I would walk to school via the Botanical Gardens, the War Cemetery, and then down Coronation Drive to school.

“As you can imagine, those areas had a lot of distractions for a young boy so I was never on time.

“Walking home took even longer.”

“I do hope this information is of interest, and of some use to the school's history.

“If I find any other pieces of memorabilia I will let you know.”

What a blast from the past !

Lae War Cemetery - next to the Botantical Gardens in Lae :
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Old 02-12-2002, 09:25 PM
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If you have enjoyed this article and photographs, why not click on the following thread :

CLICK HERE



We also have many more photographs and stories on Lae, if you are interested, click on the 'Search' button top right hand corner and type in Morobe followed by 'Perform Search'.

Lae Golf Club :
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