Sunday, February 17, 2008


I don't plan ahead by looking at TV program guides. A friend asked me if I had recorded an ABC program called 'Land of the Morning Star' which was shown at 2.15am a couple of days ago. I was sorry that I hadn't since I was in Papua New Guinea in 1962 when Netherlands New Guinea was being threatened by Sukarno and his considerable military power.

I decided to see if anyone on the MacIntosh Users Group had recorded it and fortunately one group member had and he made it available to me through a link to an ftp server. It was about 650mb and on our slow broadband connection took a few hours to download. Nevertheless, it was well worth it. I have seen parts of this film before, but all together it was a potted history of the events of the Indonesian takeover and subsequent violent squashing of the West Papuan Independence movement.

Indonesia has since flooded the place with 'Trans Migration' Indonesians who have been given land.

I was in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea in 1961 when things were hotting up between Indonesia and the Dutch. In Rabaul harbour there was a Dutch freighter with two DC3s wrapped in plastic on the deck bound for Netherlands New Guinea. I did wonder at the time why they didn't just fly them there.

In 1962 when the 'invasion' was complete the Australian Administration was concerned that smallpox could make its way across the border to PNG. Fortunately it didn't because villagers rejected immunisation. They thought that the inoculation scar was an Australian mark which would make them targets in any Indonesian invasion of PNG.

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