Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A CHERISED ISLAND MEMORY RETOLD MANY TIMES...BOTHVERBALLY AND BY THE WRITTEN WORD.....



 
Cape Richards, Hinchinbrook Island...the resort's restaurant/bar/pool area was up behind the trees fringing the beach; and my little house was atop the cape, beyond those rocks,  The guest cabins were further along to the left of the pic above.
Two views of the Cardwell jetty
Macushla...on Hinchinbrook Island
Two views of Mount Bowen on Hinchinbrook Island.  Mount Bowen is Queensland's third highest mountain


To my mind, the months of April, May and June are among the best times to be in the tropical areas of North Queensland.  

Skies of azure abound, unblemished by clouds other than perhaps flimsy wisps of almost transparent gossamer. An ocean so calm it looks like a floor constructed of glass gently laps the shore.

On one glorious day as described I flew by light aircraft, a four-seater Beaver, to the mouth of the Hull River, north of Tully. We flew low over the Family Group of Islands, which includes Bedarra and Dunk Islands. The pristine sandy ocean bed, clearly visible below appeared to have about six inches of water covering it, so crystal-clear was the sea.  The depth was an illusion, but because of the clarity of the vision one could be easily fooled into believing.

It was in April, whether by coincidence, luck, fate or a bit of each, a group of guests arrived to the island by the Grumman Mallard seaplane.  

Before they’d embarked on their individual adventure, they were strangers to each other, except for one couple Tim and Suzy - who weren't really a 'couple'. They were good friends; perhaps friends with benefits.  I knew not and cared not.  Like with the others, they were, of course, strangers to me when they first set foot on the punt transporting them from the seaplane to the island; a situation soon to be rectified.

Gaby, a thirty-something, career-driven lass from Sydney alighted first, looking a little stressed from being out of her normal comfort zone.

Tim and Suzy themselves eagerly stepped into the punt with no outward signs of trepidation.  

Gingerly, a tall, timid-looking fellow named Dennis was the last to exit the seaplane.

Nervously, he stepped into the punt, with the help my guiding arm.  He set himself apart from the rest of us, not joining in the light chit-chat.

His initial behaviour was to be his wont for the next couple days and nights we discovered...until, that is, combined, we broke his resolve!

Gaby, Tim, Suzy and I hit it off immediately.  Together we were a force to be reckoned with....it was better, Dennis learned, to have the force with you!

After the 'greet-and-meet' out on the deck surrounding the pool - something I did with all guests upon their arrival, whether by boat or seaplane - the new guests were escorted to their respective cabins.

After the arrival of this interesting-looking and sounding group, every cabin was occupied, making a total of about 32 guests from memory.

At that time, when I managed the resort, we advertised “maximum population – 30”. 

There were only 15 cabins, each privately hidden among the lush foliage along the beachfront.  The cabins could hold four persons, but in the majority of instances, the resort was the choice of couples.

Later, after my time on the island the accommodation facilities increased, doubling in number.   

Nowadays, after cyclone devastation and other sad factors, the resort no longer exists; but my memories do.

To recap, the resort at Cape Richards on Hinchinbrook Island covered only 22 acres of the total 245 square miles of the island. The rest of the island was a national park in care of the National Parks and Wildlife Department.  It is now all national park.

After the “greet and meet” ended, I didn't set eyes upon the new group of 'islanders' until pre-dinner drinks around the bar on the evening of their arrival.

After mingling with the guests at the bar as I did every evening, I joined my new guests at their table for dinner, at their bidding.

Dennis, dressed in a vibrant lime-green shirt, however, set himself apart from everyone else, choosing to sit alone at a table in a corner.

This was not to be, in my opinion.  I treated all my resort guests as if they were guests in my own home...the restaurant was my dining room.   My staff acted accordingly.

Having approached Dennis at his table, I coerced and cajoled at length, finally breaking down his reserve.  Somewhat reluctantly, but knowing he was beaten, and there was no escape hatch, Dennis joined the rest of the newcomers – and me.

Well, that was the beginning of a most wonderful, fun-filled, insane, crazy week!

Tim, a journalist with a well-respected financial magazine in this country at the time, the "The Bulletin" (the magazine closed its printing presses for the final time in January, 2008), was highly intelligent, gentle, quiet and extremely humorous.

Suzy, who worked in advertising, from memory, was as bright as the shiniest button, a little avant-garde.   Actually, a wee bit more that 'a little'. She dressed accordingly – with Bohemian flair.  Both she and Tim were from Melbourne.

Gaby, the stressed career girl soon shed her 'city' worries, and quickly settled into the island spirit.  Gaby was from Sydney.

Dennis, who had just turned 40, was also from Melbourne.  He was very shy, and, in the early stages, seemingly without humour.  Studious, silent unless urged to utter a word or two, he sat amongst our motley crew of degenerates, (which included me) feeling trapped, no doubt, not knowing which way to look.

Unsuccessfully, he tried to escape our evil clutches every day and night!

Dennis, as I learned during the course of his stay, was using his holiday on the island as a time to reflect, and to consider his future. He had been offered a post at Oxford University.

Sun-filled, warm, not hot days and balmy, playful nights followed. Dennis tried his utmost to distance himself from the 'group' but none of us would allow this to happen.    
We were going to drag him out of himself if it was the last thing we did!

After our first night of hilarity, he sat at another table with other guests, trying to remain invisible! How could he? His lime-green shirt let him down every time! He lived in that shirt!

We came to the conclusion it was the only shirt he had brought with him. Perhaps he believed in travelling light.  It was obviously his favourite shirt because wherever he went the shirt was sure to follow!

By his third night, he realised he couldn't fight us any longer.  He gave in, virtually waving a white flag (or lime green shirt), and rejoined our madcap activities.

It was the best thing that could have happened to the 40 year-old bachelor. We certainly opened up his vistas...freed his mind to a land of opportunities!

I always mingled with my guests, but never to the extent with which I did with that particular group.

We’d 'clicked' for whatever reason.  Our personalities, views on life; our senses of humour; our characters, regardless of variances, melded.

We were not dissimilar to the "Famous Five" out of Enid Blyton books, but much more wicked – and a few years older!

Once Dennis learned how to relax, he let his guard down more than he ever had done in his past.   He went with the 'flow' and discovered he enjoyed himself as he never believed he could.

The lime-green shirt went wherever he went. I'm sure he slept in it.

One day while he was out swimming in the ocean ofh Orchid Beach, the resort’s main beach, Suzy, Gaby and I grabbed the opportunity.  We stole the notorious shirt.  With it clasped in our hands, we scurried away like thieves in the night, out of sight.  We hid the damn thing, much to his despair!  I hid it among the t-shirts and sarongs on sale in the little resort shop adjoining my office.

It was Thursday afternoon around four-fifteen. I was in my office attending to some paperwork, when the lime-green shirt-clad Dennis, appeared at the door.

"Come on!" He said.

"Where?"  I replied.

"I'm taking you out in the canoe!" He spluttered excitedly.

"The canoe! I've never been in a canoe in my life! Have you?" I laughed. "I can't...I've got work to do!"

"No...I've never been in a canoe, either...but today is the day! Come on! 'No' is not an answer I will accept!"

"Oh! My God! What am I letting myself into!" I exclaimed as he dragged me bodily from my office.

Down to the little beach beside the jetty we went with much gaiety, with me, protesting, laughing all the way.

At that point in my life, I had never before rowed anything, let alone paddled a canoe!

Like Pocahontas and Hiawatha off the two of us went, unstably!

Dennis was like a person driven, driven by some inner demon of a hidden, long-forgotten sense of the ridiculous.

We talked. We laughed and we giggled like two school kids.

When he was paddling one way, I paddled the other.  We were never in synch. Somehow, even with our lack of expertise at paddling, we soon approached the bend leading towards Macushla Beach, both of us drenched from tears of laughter and from sea water!

"We have to turn around and go back, Dennis! I've got to race home to shower and change for the restaurant!" 

The sun had begun its descent in the west, beyond the mountains behind Cardwell on the mainland.

As we struggled on our return trip, Johnno, my barman was standing at the end of the jetty in the distance. He spotted us. I called out to him to come to the rescue.   Both Dennis and I could row no further.  We were weak from laughter.

Jumping into the island boat, “Lady”, the yellow Abalone, (my staff had named the boat "Lady of the Island" in my honour), Johnno came to our rescue like a knight of days of yore.

Johnno towed us back to the jetty, making our return journey much quicker than if we’d been left to our own devices...thank goodness! It was a fun finale to our equally fun, spontaneous excursion!

Our water-logged adventure was the main topic of conversation over dinner that evening.

Dennis' time on the island came to an end on a Friday. He planned leaving the island in the afternoon by the “Reef Venture”, the powered catamaran.  Once on the mainland he intended jumping aboard a Greyhound coach at Cardwell, en route further north to spend a couple of days in Cairns, before heading back home to Melbourne.

He was the focus of our attention on his final night. Gaby, Suzy, Tim and I threatened the four of us would book into an adjoining room at the hotel in which he’d be staying at Cairns.

 How dare he escape from the 'group'!  Flee the nest!  Our motto was “all for one and one for all!”   No copyright fees rendered.

One could tell by the look on his face he wasn't sure whether to believe us or not.  We weren't going to let him escape our clutches easily, or without a battle.

As planned, Dennis left the following afternoon, among much joviality, mingled with some sadness.

Dennis was a changed person to the one who had arrived a few days earlier. His decision about his future had been made during the crazy fun and games; and, also during his quiet walks, lost in his own thoughts, along the beach or through the rainforest to adjacent beaches.

He decided to accept the Oxford University posting.  

To my surprise, when I arrived back at my office after farewelling Dennis, on my desk was a parcel wrapped in paper, addressed to me. Upon opening it, I let out a loud laugh.

It was the infamous lime-green shirt! Dennis had bequeathed it to me!

When Suzy, Tim and Gaby arrived at the bar that evening for “Happy Hour” I called them into my office.  I’d devised a crazy plan; they had to play their parts in it.

I knew which hotel Dennis would be staying in, in Cairns. I also knew the time of his arrival. I gathered my gang of villians around the phone and made a call!

Dennis answered the phone in his hotel room.  

In unison, we shouted..."Open your door, Dennis! We're right outside! We couldn't do without you! We miss you already! We've come up to join you!"

For a moment or two, there was silence from his end of the phone. 

To this day, I'm still certain his heart stopped beating for a couple of minutes...unsure if it was true or not!  It wasn’t even April Fool’s Day...but we got him for a couple of minutes.  Then we all broke out laughing, him included.

The week had drawn to a close. Saturday morning raised its ugly head all too soon. 

Tim, Suzy and Gaby, my new, crazy, kindred spirits were leaving on the 1pm seaplane back to mainland 'sanity'.

Forlornly they wandered down to the restaurant. I was in my office feeling similar emotions. It was crazy. We'd only known each other for a week, but we had shared such wonderful, fun, happy, slightly insane times.

I never invited guests to my little island home – my sanctuary (only twice did I do so...the other time was one night I had Derryn Hinch, Jacki Weaver and Jacki's son, Dylan to dinner during the week they stayed on Hinchinbrook)....my little dwelling on the island was my private haven...my escape.  I protected my privacy.

However, that morning, it seemed the right thing to do. I invited my 'partners-in-crime' to my home for coffee as there was time before the plane's arrival and their departure. We certainly were a maudlin mob. All the laughter we'd shared the past week had evaporated.

Tears were shed, not only by us girls. I noticed moisture glistening in Tim's eyes, too. Never will I be convinced he had something in his eye, as he claimed.

The farewells were sad, but mingled with the sadness were glorious, happy memories of a time well spent.

Suzy, as she stepped from the jetty into the punt (normally, I joined the guests in the punt, but this day, purposely, I didn't) that was to take them to the seaplane, turned her face up towards me, and said...."There is something waiting for you when you get back to your house...have a look out on the deck."

With those words, she smiled and waved. I waited at the end of the jetty until the seaplane lifted out of the water to commence its flight over the island, south to Townsville.

Feeling despondent, I strolled slowly back to my house, thoughts of the past week sifting through my mind.

I walked out on my deck as instructed by Suzy, and there, hanging on a fine thread from a beam on the deck overlooking the ocean was a crystal. It sparkled brilliantly in the sunshine, reflecting the sun's glittering rays upon the sapphire sea out front.

Final tears flowed, then a wistful mellow contentment settled throughout my being. 

That week, full of unexpected surprises, has remained firmly entrenched in my file of "fond memories". I'm sure the others feel the same way, even though we have since lost contact with each other, except for Suzy and me.  We still keep in contact to this day.

I did, however, re-connect with each one of them, during my trips to Sydney and Melbourne after their visit. I had dinner in Melbourne with Dennis the week before he left for England and his tenure at Oxford.

As a finale to this lengthy tale....I was aware that Dennis, when he left Cairns, was boarding another Greyhound Coach south to Townsville airport for his flight back to Melbourne.  

Always the clown and prankster, I organised with Bonnie, a friend in Cardwell, who was also the wife of the skipper of the “Reef Venture”; she handled all Greyhound coach bookings etc., from their Cardwell office, to purchase some lime-green poster-board.  

I asked her to print on the bright cardboard, in very large, black letters "Come Back, Dennis! The Island Misses You!"  

My further request was for her, when she saw the Greyhound coach coming along the highway, to race out onto the highway waving the banner.

Bonnie was happy to oblige.

You guessed it...as the coach, filled with passengers, came along the highway - as it approached the Cardwell town centre, which is bordered on one side by the ocean - Bonnie stepped out in front of the laden bus, waving the banner!

Her crazed actions caused quite a stir, together with lots of excitement and laughter.

Dennis did enjoy the special treatment...it was his moment in the sun!

A most memorable, cherished vignette...

PS....I still have the crystal Suzy gave me...it has pride of place on my bedside table.... 

All picture courtesy of and credit to Jan Blackshaw

Saturday, December 30, 2017

BRING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH HAPPINESS, LOVE AND GOODWILL...LET COMPASSIONATE HUMANITY AND GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT LINGER THROUGHOUT 2018 AND BEYOND...









'Tis the 31st December, 2017 as I write...New Year’s Eve.....surely no reminder of this fact is required, though.

My last day of 2017 began at a fraction past midnight, and then I went to sleep.  About five or so hours later I awoke to a brand new day...the last day of 2017. 

Where did the other 364 days disappear to, I wonder?   I dragged out the second last day of the year as long as was possible.  I will probably do similar on this final day of the year.   I want to stretch it out as far as I possibly can!    

Sometimes, I wonder why the need to do so takes hold...but Life is like that, and one must remind one’s self not to take it for granted.

I won’t be out partying; I won’t be in partying, either, but I will see the New Year in....without fail, I always do.  But, who knows?  I don’t even know!   I may get into party mode this evening...and party along with just me and my two furry mates, Remy and Shama.  I’ll go with the flow and the mood, come what may.

At times, I get weary – weary of all the madness that goes on, not only in our country, but throughout the world.   Disgusted and angered by the stupidity of some; the ignorance others. 

Often I fall down the “rabbit hole”.  I’ve found myself wallowing around in the darkness these past few days.  Alice and the rabbit didn’t join me, but my two rascals comforted me.  I felt like disappearing from the world and humanity, so I did, in a way, by flying low beneath the radar wearing my hermit suit.

On the other hand, I also want to savour every precious moment.  Once a moment is gone, it can never be regained.  Time trudges on unforgiving, sometimes cruelly...other times kindly.

Life is a paradox....it asks many questions of one.  I'm yet to find all the right answers. I never will, but it sure as hell is interesting, intriguing and inspiring trying to discover the solutions to the elusive riddles.

Over the past few days I’d been trying, unsuccessfully it appeared, to make a dent in my Christmas ham.  

Shortly after I bounded out of bed this morning I solved the excess ham on the bone problem.

Presently, a huge pot of pea and ham soup is simmering away on my stove top.   It’s so thick I’m sure I will be able to walk across it once the cooking process has come to an end! 

A storm passed over during the wee small hours of this morning.  Thunder, lightning and some rain disturbed the early peace.  More storms have been predicted for later this afternoon, and/or early evening. 

For now, though, a light, gentle, balmy breeze interrupts the sleep of the leaves upon the trees. They're not protesting too much. The caress of its soft, gossamer breaths of air is a soothing lullaby. The humidity is still as thick and steamy as my pea and ham soup. 

Am I mad making soup in this heat?  Yes, I suppose I am!  There is no point my trying to disguise the fact. I know I can’t fool you lot!  

However, a big pot of steaming pea and ham soup after the Christmas madness has come and gone is a tradition in many households, including my own.   

What else is one supposed to do with all the left over ham?   I sure am sick of ham and salad.  Without complaint (not any of which you will hear, anyway) I will slurp my way through bowls of thick soup...once it’s cooked and ready...today and tomorrow.  There is more than enough so, naturally, I will freeze a stack of it, too!  I could start a soup kitchen with the amount I’ve made!

All is not lost, not even my mind!  Christmas cake, fruit mince tarts, chocolates, liquorice allsorts, ice cream and other goodies are still waiting in the wings.  I’ve not yet depleted those supplies, either. 

It will be so long between visits to the supermarket, I’ll have to re-introduce myself when I finally do step through its doors (opened doors, that is.  I’m not one for walking through glass)!

In truth, though, I did do a quick trip to IGA on Friday to replenish my fresh fruit supplies, as well as more milk for me, and fresh meat for my furry mates.  Remy and Shama have freshly-chopped beef each day for their evening meal.  I would have a riot on my hands, if their beefy needs weren't met...daily!

Thank you for following my blog over the past 12 months...and for your welcome comments.  

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year...I hope 2018 treats you and your loved ones with kindness.  I hope 2018 is a great year...worldwide...

A HAPPY, PROSPEROUS, HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL....




Thursday, December 28, 2017

REST IN PEACE....HAVALA LAULA....THE LAST FUZZY WUZZY ANGEL....






Pictured above...the last Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel, who had sadly passedaway....Havala Laula...RIP Dear Man





One particular image from the conflict, shot by war photographer George Silk, is immortalised in history - it is the sight of a Guinean villager kindly leading a blinded Australian soldier to safety, both of them barefoot (pictured)




Following on from my Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea posts of a couple of months ago...this sad story shown here below  has just hit our news bulletins...

May we never forget the special Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels....



Thank you......

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5216955/Last-Kokoda-Fuzzy-Wuzzy-Angel-Havala-Laula-dies-aged-92.html



The last of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels: Final hero Papua New Guinean tribesman who came to Australian soldiers' aid during WWII dies aged 92

  • Havala Laula, the last Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel of Kokoda, died on Christmas Eve aged 92 in his remote village
  • He was one of hundreds of tribesman who ferried wounded Australian soldiers to safety on the Kokoda Track
  • Mr Laula was just 15 when Japanese troops invaded, destroying his village and killing his brother
  • In February he visited Australia for the first time to commemorate the campaign's 75th anniversary
  • There he met a war veteran whose life he likely saved when the young officer became sick in the jungle 
The last Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel has died in Papua New Guinea, 75 years after he ferried wounded Australian soldiers to safety in World War II.

Havala Laula died on Christmas Eve aged 92 in the remote village of Kagi on the Kokoda Track, where some of the war's bloodiest battles were fought.

The tribesman was just 15 when Japanese troops landed in Papua New Guinea in 1942 and tried to fight their way south along the track towards the capital Port Morseby to attack Australia.
Havala Laula, 92, the last Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel died in his remote village on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, 75 years after he ferried wounded Australian soldiers to safety in WWII

Mr Laula (pictured meeting Governor General Peter Cosgrove while laying at wreath at an Anzac Day dawn service in Port Moresby) was just 15 when Japanese troops invaded PNG and tried to fight their way along the track

Later in life Mr Laula became a tour guide for Australians making the pilgrimage along the track

After his brother Sabana was killed and his village destroyed, he joined hundreds of others helping the Australians repel the rampaging invaders.

Mr Laula carried sick and wounded servicemen on his back or stretchers away from the battlefield, often under fire, to where they could be evacuated home.

He remembered wrapping leaves around their wounds along with other bush remedies, and shading them from the harsh sun with banana leaves.
T
hey also brought food, water, and ammunition along the track to the front lines.

Mr Laula visited Australia for the first time in February for the campaign's 75th anniversary and met Kokoda veteran Alan 'Kanga' Moore.

In an emotional reunion, Lieutenant Moore said he believed Mr Laula carried him out after he contracted malaria, dengue fever, hookworm, dysentery, and hepatitis. 

'I am old, you are old — we meet for the last time,' Mr Laula told the ABC after the then-21-year-old credited Papua New Guinea natives with his survival.

He also spoke of witnessing one of the last massacres of the war, as Japanese soldiers slaughtered many Papua New Guinea people who helped the enemy

Later in life Mr Laula became a tour guide for Australians making the pilgrimage along the track.

'Friendship between Australians and Papua New Guinea must live on in all generations to come,' he said in a PNG Tourism Board video earlier this year.

'When we die, our children and their children's children must keep that bond forever, until the end of time.'
Mr Laula (R) visited Australia for the first time in February for the campaign's 75th anniversary and met Kokoda veteran Alan 'Kanga' Moore (L) whose life he likely saved when the young officer became sick in the jungle

Tribesmen like Mr Laula transformed into the unexpected heroes of the Pacific War of 1942 after saving hundreds of wounded troops as the rampaging Japanese army fought their way through the jungle

Tributes from Australian veterans and tour operators poured into social media upon news of Mr Laula's death, saying Australia owed him a great debt.

'This inspirational man will be missed by so many in Papua New Guinea and Australia. His legacy will be remembered by all that walked the Kokoda Track,' his former employer No Roads Expeditions said.

The service of Mr Laula and his fellow tribesmen was captured in extraordinary black-and-white photos from the war.
The indigenous saviours nursed and carried soldiers to safety, and in one iconic case a villager was even photographed leading a blinded Australian man away from danger

Their compassion and care of the casualties earned them admiration and respect from the Australian troops, who nicknamed these men their 'Fuzzy Wuzzy' angels.

The native islanders offered soldiers a brief, shining ray of humanity in an otherwise cruel and barbaric war zone.
One Australian soldier described what the sympathetic locals did for his country's troops.

'They carried stretchers over seemingly impassable barriers, with the patient reasonably comfortable.

The care they give to the patient is magnificent,' he said.

'If night finds the stretcher still on the track, they will find a level spot and build a shelter over the patient. They will make him as comfortable as possible fetch him water and feed him if food is available, regardless of their own needs.'

Moving black-and-white pictures show the kind Guineans heaving severely wounded men through rough terrain, using their local knowledge to get the allied soldiers to safety
Their compassion and care of the casualties earned them admiration and respect from the Australian troops, who nicknamed these men their 'Fuzzy Wuzzy' angels
The native islanders offered soldiers a brief, shining ray of humanity in an otherwise cruel and barbaric war zone

One Australian soldier described what the sympathetic locals did for his country's troops. He said: 'They carried stretchers over seemingly impassable barriers, with the patient reasonably comfortable.

The care they give to the patient is magnificent'

'They sleep four each side of the stretcher and if the patient moves or requires any attention during the night, this is given instantly. These were the deeds of the "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels" - for us!'

Raphael Oimbari was a local labourer, not part of the medical team. He found 23-year-old Private George Whittington lying blinded in the terrain during fighting around Buna in December of 1942.

A Japanese sniper had shot Whittington just above his left eye, leaving him temporarily blind.

The native islanders offered kindness and help to the troops who worked to defend Port Moresby from the Japanese army


Oimbari led the soldier back to safety, in a selfless act. Touchingly, the two families stayed in contact, even after Whittington died of disease several months later.

The fighting in Papua New Guinea in the latter half of 1942 was an attempt by the Japanese to capture Port Moresby, the Guinan capital. It was part of a campaign to cut Australia off from its allies in World War.

The Japanese made massive gains on the Pacific Island but ran out of supplies before capturing Port Moresby.

However, the Australians were still unable to defeat the Japanese who were far better equipped for the ensuing fight in them thick jungles of New Guinea.During the war in Papua New Guinea, the local population who were sympathetic to the Australian troops would assist where they could.

Papuans living in the villages along the Kokoda Track prior to the Second World War (1939 - 45) lived a wholly traditional existence. Their only previous contact with the modern world had come with the occasional visits of Australian Government patrol officers. They knew nothing of the war or the nature of modern warfare, until it came crashing into their villages in July 1942. 

Notably they would help in transporting stores and equipment over the rough terrain. A close relationship and bonds of friendship developed between these local men and the Australians, particularly when the sick and wounded required transporting back to field aid stations.

It is a well accepted fact that many men would have died where they fell in Papua New Guinea had it not been for these men who became affectionately known as the 'Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.'

Whilst recovering from his wounds, George later died as a result of contracting scrub typhus on 12 Feb 1943.

Australia had been presenting commemorative medals to family members of the villagers in recognition of their service to Australian Servicemen during World War Two.
The fighting in Papua New Guinea in the latter half of 1942 was an attempt by the Japanese to capture Port Moresby, the Guinan capital

However, the Australians were still unable to defeat the Japanese who were far better equipped for the ensuing fight in them thick jungles of New Guinea

Major General Vasey of the Australian Army presents medals at a ceremony to thank New Guineans for the invaluable service they provided for Aussie troops, March 1943