Book reviews: June 2015
Fear Drive My Feet by Peter Ryan
To the uninitiated a career in teaching might seem predictable and perhaps even mundane. In the early 1950s Br Barry Louisson, originally from New Zealand, travelled to Rabaul in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea. His mission work started at St Mary’s central school, Vuvu and in 1955 he was posted to Bundralis on the north coast of Manus. In 1962 he returned to St Mary’s Junior High School, Vuvu, as Headmaster.
One year later he was appointed Principal at St Paul’s Teachers College. His arrival was somewhat unusual and stones were thrown on the roof, there was yelling from students and defiance. Much later, the reaction to the establishment of a student representative council where they believed they were being asked to become ‘spies and servants’ became a major issue. It eventually became the first SRC in TPNG.
Br Barry believed in process and preparation and not just the imposition of ideas. He had much admiration for those dedicated to the teaching of children. He was a key contributor to the Foot Enquiry and the final recommendation that a national teaching service be introduced in the country.
In recognition of his effectiveness within education he was offered the principalship of Goroka Teachers’ College but there were internal difficulties. Instead the Director of Education, Dr Ken McKinnon, provided him with a full scholarship for a year to study at UPNG. Not surprisingly he took over the teaching of one of the units and then wrote a history of education in PNG.
Oscar Tammur, the member for Kokopo in the National Parliament and Minister for Education also unsuccessfully attempted to seduce him into the position of Secretary for the National Department of Education.
There are many wonderful and some scary stories. Returning from Rome via Africa, he was arrested and detained by police in Zambia for taking a photo of a government installation. He was arrested by the British on the Rhodesian side of the border for having spent time in Zambia. At the Johannesburgh airport more trouble ensued and he was pleased when he reached the friendly land of Papua New Guinea.
Then there is the now amusing account of the irate plantation manager who stormed into a leadership conference at Kabaleo that involved both male and female students. Interrupting the proceedings, he claimed that what was being done was contrary to culture and moral principles!
These days he lives in the Brothers’ House at Vunakanau not far from Rabaul where he spends much of his time as an official translator of work for Personality and Human Relations-PNG. Br Barry finds this a very satisfying aspect of his ministry. It enables more and more people through an adult education program to become more responsible for their own growth and development.
Br Barry is not just big physically, he continues to be a magnificent champion for education in Papua New Guinea … little wonder that in just three months 700 copies of his book have been purchased. John Kleinig
Fear Drive My Feet by Peter Ryan
Fear Drive My Feet is Peter Ryan’s enduring account of his time patrolling isolated regions of New Guinea during WWII. Far from his fellow Australians and with Japanese forces closing in around him, the 18-year-old Ryan endured the hardships of the jungle, overcoming loneliness, fatigue and fear with quiet courage. He finds beauty in the rugged mountain landscapes of New Guinea, and admires the charm and resourcefulness of its people.
Rarely out of print in the past four decades, Fear Drive My Feet is a classic memoir of the war in the Pacific, a major work of Australian war literature. For the work he describes in this book, Peter Ryan was awarded the Military Medal and was mentioned in dispatches.
A Game to be Played: The Great War and Australian Football in Sydney by Ian Blackley and Lesley Bryden
A Game to be Played: The Great War and Australian Football in Sydney was launched by Ian Blackley and Lesley Bryden, the son and daughter of Freddie McGargill, a WW1 digger who played Australian Rules in Sydney before and after the war.
The authors identified 198 players who played Australian Rules in Sydney and served in the Great War. Ralph Robertson, Teddy McFadden and Tom Watson served in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force that went to New Guinea at the beginning of WW1 and John Messenger died on the AE1 in September 1914. Patrick Bourke
When Anzac Day Comes Around (100 Years From Gallipoli Poetry Project) by Graeme Lindsay
This book presents the poems of more than 200 Australian and New Zealand poets, selected by Graeme Lindsay to stimulate readers to consider the differing ideas about each nations’ commemoration of military conflicts and the emotions that arise from such events. The poetry is accompanied by more than 120 photographs of war memorials from across Australia and New Zealand.
My poem, Drowning In the Sunshine, about the sinking of the Montevideo Maru in 1942 is included. Patrick Bourke
A History of Contact and Change in the Goroka Valley, Central Highlands of New Guinea, 1934-1949 by Dr Peter Munster, OAM
This is my PhD thesis on the history of the Goroka Valley. It has been published online and I think it is available for our readers. There may be a charge if you are not a Deakin member.
It includes the story of the first Europeans in the Highlands, the Lutheran missionaries (1929) and Mick Leahy and Mick Dwyer (1930). I also attempt to briefly outline of the history of the Goroka Valley people prior to European contact. Many people have asked me for a copy of the thesis and now it is available through Deakin’s internet service. Peter Munster
Scenery and Seismic in Papua New Guinea by Barry Taverner
A collection of photographs, with a little text, taken over almost 20 years. It includes colour photographs of highland and coastal areas, the people of PNG and recent and current seismic field operations.
Previously published as Kill the Tiger, new material has been added to this edition of Operation Rimau, Australia’s heroic and daring commando raid on Singapore.
In the last months of 1944, a group of elite Australian and British commandos was selected for the biggest Allied behind-the-scenes operation of the Pacific War. Their mission: to devastate the enemy’s shipping by destroying the Japanese ships at anchor in Singapore Harbour.
Operation Rimau, Britain’s last throw of the colonial dice in South-East Asia, was intended as a body blow to the Japanese and a signal to the world that she would
Operation Rimau takes us inside the fierce conflict, and tells what really happened to these brave commandos: from the very beginnings of the operation through to their intense and courageous fighting in the South China Seas, and its aftermath. It exposes the sloppy planning behind the raid, names the officers who betrayed and abandoned them in their hour of need, and details the political double-dealing which for so many years hid the real story behind red tape and bureaucratic lies.
For more information about Bob Page and the Gallipoli Veterans on Montevideo Maru refer to this Library article.
Pictorial History of Papua New Guinea by Dianne McInnes