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B4's Yarns Stories/Yarns from the past.....or yesteryear

 
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  #1  
Old 20-01-2008, 02:51 PM
Charles B Charles B is offline
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Life in PNG

HI, my name is Charles Betteridge and I was a resident of PNG for thirty years from April 1960 to April 1990. I worked for the Burns Philp Automotive group (which became Ela Motors in July 1969), in all those years.

I was in POM from April 1960 to April 1968 and again from 1987 to 1990, all other years spent in various locations with BP's/Ela Motors. I was in Madang 1968 and 1969, Lae 1969 to 1973, Kieta 1973 to 1974, Wewak 1974 to 1979, Mount Hagen 1979 to 1983, Lae 1983 to 1987, POM from 1987 to 1990 then returned to Australia to settle in the village of Modanville 10km north of Lismore in northern NSW. I did consultancy work for the BP/Toyota Group from 1993 to 2003 and visited PNG eleven times, Solomon Islands three times, Fiji nine times, Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga once each during those ten years.

When I was in POM between 1960 and 1968 I played hockey with the Paga Hockey Club, I also umpired both mens and womens hockey games at the P&T oval in Boroko, I joined the Judo Club in the year it started (1962) and was made a life member in 1968. I was one of its senior instructors from 1964 and I was the first person ever from PNG to train in the Headquarters of Judo, the Kodokan in Tokyo, for three months in 1965 gaining my Black Belt 1st Dan there.

There used to be a group of six of us from the Judo Club who all owned motor scooters and we, with our friends, would go "scootering" up to Sogeri, the Brown River, Taurama Beach and many other places on weekends, (it was quite safe to do it back then). What terrific days they were.

I was also the projectionist at the Papuan Theatre in POM from 1961 to early 1965 and no doubt showed a lot of films that a lot of members in this forum may have seen. I certainly remember the Drive-In Theatre at Wards Strip too.

I met my future wife in POM in 1966, she had come up from Sydney as a stenographer with the department of the Administrator on the 6/6/66. We got married in the old Catholic Church near Ela Beach on Saturday 4th November 1967. Our one and only daughter was born in the Wewak General Hospital on October 4th 1975 (just 18 days after PNG got its Independence). We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on the 4th November 2007 here in Modanville.

While we were living in Wewak I researched the wartime history of PNG, mainly of Wewak. I managed to visit many of the battle sites and I have photos of the surrender of the Japanese Armed Forces at Cape Wom near Wewak on 13th September 1945 plus many other photos to do with the Second World War in the Sepik Province.

I was a keen cinemaphotographer from 1970 when I got my very first Hanimex Super-8 movie camera and this continued on until around 1985. During that time I took over 30,000 feet of Super-8 movie film and I have some very rare footage from those days in PNG. My "rarest" films would be the Queen's visit to Kieta in February 1974 in the Royal Yacht Brittania, Wewak's Independence celebrations in September 1975 in which Prince Charles visited Wewak during that time, I recorded to cassette tape the Declaration of Independence by the then Govenor General Elect, Sir John Guise, at one-minute past midnight on 16th September 1975, and I also filmed PNG's 10th Anniversary of Independence celebrations held in Lae in September 1985. There are lots of other "events" in my Super-8 collection.

There are many other items I could talk about of my PNG days but there is always one thing that will stick with me in all my life and that is the many wonderful Papua New Guinean people I met and made friends with in those thirty years.

My last visit to PNG was between January and March 2003 and I was very saddened to see how much all the places I knew have detiorated so much.

Charles.
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2008, 05:23 PM
Boyana Boyana is offline
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It is nice when somebody remeber us in positive way!
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:45 AM
malone63 malone63 is offline
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Hi Charles

Good to hear from someone that back to those years. My son's doing a Short Story "Biography" on his grandfather, of course my dad.

It just so happened you mentioned Burns Philp/PDC , I remembered speaking to my mom ( Sandra ) the other day regarding dad's life and she did mention these firms he worked for.

This could be far from the mark but dad's name was Wan Koong Wing nickenamed "Winkie". Apparently when he left Rabaul he may have worked with Burns Philp as a motor mechanic although I remember BP as a supermarket at Boroko.

I remember dad working at PDC in Moresby, he had a good friend some italian bloke who was missing a finger or two...you wouldn't have known these guys would you?

cheers

Malcolm Wan
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:33 PM
Charles B Charles B is offline
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Reply to your message.

Thank you for your kind comments. Re your father, unfortunately I did not know him. You said he joined BP's in Rabaul as a mechanic. I wasn't stationed in Rabaul during the 30 years I was with Burns Philp's Automotive division. From memory only Port Moresby, Lae and Rabaul were the only BP branches that had workshops "attached" to them, all other centres where an automotive branch was were privately owned and they acted as sub-agents for BP's. It was in 1969 when Burns Philp's Automotive Division seperated from the the main arm of BP's and became Ela Motors then Ela Motors eventually brought out all the sub-agents.

I was parts manager in Port Moresby until 1968 with BP's then I was transferred to Madang branch.

I do remember a guy coming in from PDC in POM to buy some spare parts from time to time and I always remembered those two fingers missing but I cannot recall his name. I wish you luck in your quest.

Regards,
Charles
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:38 PM
wiz310 wiz310 is offline
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G;day charles. does the name Steve Madden ring a bell with you?
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Old 15-05-2009, 12:04 PM
John Burke John Burke is offline
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John Burke

Charles,
I just came across your submission of January 2008 concerning your time in PNG. I worked in PNG for the Dept posts and telegraphs, as a communications officer, from Feb 1965 to Dec 1970. 12 months in Lae and 5 years in MtHagen. I am interested in your photos of the surrender in Wewak of the Japanese forces. I know this is a long shot, after so much time has past.
Yours Sincerely.

John
burke000@optusnet.com.au
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:41 PM
punawon punawon is offline
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Hi Did you know Graham Gilmore?
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Old 24-04-2010, 10:27 PM
gleny gleny is offline
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Punawon

Hi Punawon, yes I knew Graham Gilmore, and all the family. My teen age boy friend was Butch Mc Evoy and he took me by the hand to the then Madang Pub to meet his Grandmother, Flo Gilmore. She was a real personality in Madang. Later I met all the rest of the family too. Flo had a great sense of humour. A young Italian arrived in Madang and Flo asked him his name.. Julio Comencinni says he..o thats too hard says Flo, I´ll call you Charlie..and so he was known from then on. Charlie "Comeandseeme" was a good friend of my Dad, Roy Köhnke and they were firm members of the Madang Club. Charlie was such a firm member that his wife Avandra took his bed and deposited it at the front door to the club and told he that he may as well sleep there, he spent so much of his life in the club! Does anybody else remember this.?

Last edited by gleny; 24-04-2010 at 10:33 PM. Reason: add text
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Old 28-05-2010, 02:22 PM
punawon punawon is offline
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Hi Gleny

Hi Gleny, this is Ali and I am also Punawon. I love the story about Flo and "Charlie".
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:43 AM
gerry h gerry h is offline
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Madang Club

Quote:
Originally Posted by gleny View Post
Hi Punawon, yes I knew Graham Gilmore, and all the family. My teen age boy friend was Butch Mc Evoy and he took me by the hand to the then Madang Pub to meet his Grandmother, Flo Gilmore. She was a real personality in Madang. Later I met all the rest of the family too. Flo had a great sense of humour. A young Italian arrived in Madang and Flo asked him his name.. Julio Comencinni says he..o thats too hard says Flo, I´ll call you Charlie..and so he was known from then on. Charlie "Comeandseeme" was a good friend of my Dad, Roy Köhnke and they were firm members of the Madang Club. Charlie was such a firm member that his wife Avandra took his bed and deposited it at the front door to the club and told he that he may as well sleep there, he spent so much of his life in the club! Does anybody else remember this.?
I was in the club when Charlie had his pillows, bedcover and mattress thrown through the Madang Club window. Charlie had just returned from Australia 40 minutes before hand. Certainly interrupted our darts for a minute but no one spilt their middies.
I am Gerry Hegedus and I lived in PNG from 1968 to 1974 working with the Customs and Immigration Dept. I was in Port Moresby, Rabaul, Kieta and Madang.
I was a member of the madang Apex Club and names that may be remembered were Bernie Eastwood (P&T), Bill Angleton (P&T), Graham Rose (WR Carpenter),Gary McKeown (Customs).
I played darts at the Madang Club with the team Interflights captained by Bill Greig with Mike Carvosso, Norm Leet, Ina Leet and Alan Atkinson.
My last position in Madang was Acting Collector of Customs and amongst my staff were John Goad(Son of Jack Goad Coatswatchers WW2), Ruth Pitkanen, Jan Barter (married to now Sir Peter). Eddie Leonard and his bubbly wife Liz (Kavieng girl) was the previous Collector of Customs.
I handed over the Office to Paul Lockie a PNG local who to me was the future of PNG and what my job had all been about.
PNG had such a rich and diverse culture and it amazed me that some of the expats never got out of their enclaves to really see and experience the real PNG.
Charlie was a real character amongst many characters that have graced the history pages of PNG.
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