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January 14, 2017

A message from the webmaster:

It is perhaps not surprising that this blog and the Bougainville website are dying a slow death. However, as the numbers of ex-Bougainville employees are diminishing, it puts an even greater responsibility on those who are left to keep recording those times which were important to us as well as to the island of Bougainville.

An old Bougainville friend from those early days, who stayed until the very end of the construction phase, wrote, "I remember clearing up old files after Bechtel left. There were a couple of box files filled with letters from women, solicitors, lawyers etc., all much of the same theme, so-and-so was believed to be working on the project and was wanted for child support payments, etc. The standard reply clipped under the lid was to the effect that there were over fifty companies working on the project with a total of 10,000 workers, and if the writer would please care to contact the respective company. Of course, they knew that if they dobbed in one guy, they would instantly lose a big percentage of the workforce."


Camp 6 Loloho
Click on image to enter Bougainville Copper Project website

Back then, 'home' was a 9x9ft donga tastefully decorated with PLAYBOY centrefolds of girls waxed to the point of martyrdom, where one's wordly possessions easily fitted into a 2ft-wide metal locker and one's needs for comfort were satisfied by a red plastic chair on the porch.


Life was so simple then; we were so innocent!

Or, at least, some of us were. The old saying that Papua New Guinea attracted three types of men, namely missionaries, moneymakers, and misfits, had to be rewritten for the Bougainville Copper Project to include those running away from their wives, the police, or themselves.

If you have an anecdote to contribute or some old photos, please email me at riverbendnelligen[AT]mail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Goerman
PO Box 233
Batemans Bay NSW 2536
Australia
Email riverbendnelligen[AT]mail.com
Skype riverbend2

January 13, 2017

John Hewitt emailed from the U.K.:

Hi Peter

I've recently been watching a Sky Discovery programme called "The Legend of Croc Gold" - see here -, which covers the exploits of a group of Alaskan gold miners who have been dredging the Queens River bed for alluvial gold. If you have seen it, you will have seen the difficulties they encountered, including large crocs lurking about the riverbanks.

They were using a 6"dredge, with a diver in a croc proof cage, sucking up the riverbed and sluicing it over a set of riffles. They did find gold, some quite large nuggets, or pickers as they called them, because they could pick them out with their fingers.

They were aiming to dredge an ounce an hour, but only averaged about 0.7ounce/hour, but they were intending to go back again to set up a bigger operation. The Queens River is north east of Loloho, and the gold deposits are not that far from Mt Bagana, which is no doubt where the gold originated.

There were also a few clips of Arawa as it is now, with odd clips showing the war.

Glad to see the blog is still going. I'm a member of a Facebook Group called Opencast and Quarrying, and have posted a few of my photos, and extracts from old copies of "the Concentrator" which are always well received.

Do you mind if I post some extracts from the blog? I'm sure they will be appreciated, and as the mining industry is a brotherhood, there must be other ex BCPL employees reading the Facebook page, so there may be some more contributors.

Hope to hear from you soon
Kind regards
John Hewitt
Maintenance Controller, Crushing, 1973/74
Now living near Sheffield, England
email jhewitt19[AT]hotmail.com

 

January 2, 2017

Blood and Treasure


 

January 1, 2017

For Tomorrow 1966


 

December 31, 2016

A British Movietone clip


 

December 23, 2016

Des Hudson emailed from Fairfield

(that's Fairfield, Connecticut, not Fairfield, Sydney)

He emailed these photos:

 

In Bechtel's Loloho office filling in time between tea breaks

Driving without a licence

After he had smashed that one up ...

... he went back to driving a more conventional model - note his safety boots, though

 

He started with Bechtel in 1970 and then joined Camp Catering Services - which became S.H.R.M. - in late 1972 and stayed until 1976.

His reasons for staying that long were the low court fees at the Arawa Tennis Club and the free Arnott's Scotch Finger biscuits.

During a trip to the Mt Hagen Show he became interested in girls but first had to get chummy with the in-laws ...

 

 

... who covered him in pig's fat, put some feathers on his head, and gave him this choice of two:

 

 

You may have noticed that in the first photo he wears a goldwatch whereas in the second photo he is bare-armed (as well as -arsed).

It's known as the bride price which was negotiated on the basis of 'get one for the price of two and get the second one for free'.

He was able to keep the price down (his watch was a cheap SEIKO) by doing a trade-in - see below:

Nancy Williams from Canada

 

P.S. After leaving Bougainville, Des worked for eleven years in Saudi Arabia and was then transferred to the Saudi company's office in New York where he worked for the next 28 years before retiring at the end of 2015.

 

December 22, 2016

Some bedtime reading

Courtesy of Roy 'Goldfinger' Goldsworthy, here's a whole pile of old Bougainville Copper Concentrates magazines. Enjoy!



Click here to open above magazine in separate window

 

Click here to open Issue No 7 April 1972

Click here to open Issue No 9 May 1972

Click here to open Issue No 11 June 1972

Click here to open Issue No 13 July 1972

Click here to open Issue No 15 August 1972

Click here to open Issue No 17 September 1972

Click here to open Issue No 18 September 1972

Click here to open Issue No 19 October 1972

Click here to open Issue No 20 October 1972

Click here to open Issue No 21 November 1972

Click here to open Issue No 22 November 1972

Click here to open Issue No 23 December 1972

Click here to open Issue No 5 March 1973

Click here to open Issue No 6 March 1973

Click here to open Issue No 7 April 1973

Click here to open Issue No 8 April 1973

Click here to open Issue No 10 May 1973

Click here to open Issue No 11 June 1973

Click here to open Issue No 12 June 1973

Click here to open Issue No 13 July 1973

Click here to open Issue No 14 July 1973

Click here to open Issue No 15 August 1973

Click here to open Issue No 17 September 1973

Click here to open Issue No 18 September 1973

Click here to open Issue No 19 October 1973

Click here to open Issue No 20 October 1973

Click here to open Issue No 21 October 1973

Click here to open Issue No 22 November 1973

Click here to open Issue No 23 November 1973

Click here to open Issue No 24 December 1973


 

1973 BCL Brochure

 


Click here to open brochure in separate window

 

December 20, 2016

Some more footage


 

BOUGAINVILLE "OUR ISLAND, OUR FIGHT" IS A POWERFUL DOCUMENTARY ABOUT AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE TAKING UP ARMS FOR INDEPENDENCE TO PROTECT THEIR CULTURE AND STOP THE ECOLOGICAL DEVASTATION OF THEIR LANDS. THIS MULTI-AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY IS ABOUT ONE OF THE LAST WARS FOR INDEPENDENCE, ACROSS BORDERS IT SMUGGLES US INTO THE WORLD OF THIS BESIEGED PEOPLE. CUT OFF FROM ALL HUMANITARIAN AID AND INVISIBLE TO WESTERN MEDIA, THEIR ONLY RESOURCE IS THEIR RESOLVE TO FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE IN AN ATTEMPT TO PRESERVE THEIR CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT. THIS IS THE ONLY DOCUMENTARY OF THE LONGEST WAR IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC. A WAR WHICH KILLED 20 000 PEOPLE JUST TWO HOURS FROM AUSTRALIA.