Chapter 38

Another go at Studying: Department of Public Instruction Technical College, George Street and a stint at remodelling the Singer Roadster, malaria attack, new home and neighbour’s death

As I was working in a mechanical field I enrolled to do the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering diploma through the Department of Public Instruction Queensland, Technical Education Branch, and was granted exemption in all but two subjects, Electrical Engineering and Heat Engines which I did at evening lectures at the Technical College, George Street, Brisbane during 1956. So my previous studies were not completely wasted and I was back to evening lectures three to four nights per week.
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Chapter 37

Back to Reality and a technical traineeship with Rheem at Bulimba

It was good to see our families and friends again, but soon we had to get back to reality and suburbia. We were made welcome at my family home in Henry Street and also at Betty’s home, 91 Charlotte Street. We decided to stay temporarily at 91 Charlotte Street where our accommodation was a small flat downstairs; we had a bed-room, small kitchen and shower which suited our needs, especially after the facilities in Kavieng. Here at ‘91’ Betty had the piano and got back to her practice to fulfil that force, or desire, which was driving her; though I did not feel she had missed this part of her life over the past two year, but such natural talent or gifts should not be wasted.
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Chapter 34


In Moresby I was offered a position in Kavieng as Treasury Clerk and accepted this. Betty was happy with this situation and we went to Kavieng, the main town on the tip of New Ireland, aboard the “Soochow”. From my point of view I had given up the job I really liked but would finish my term with the Administration and we were still like a couple of kids absorbed in each other.

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Chapter 32

John the Maverick: Inland patrol with Betty

It was now time to go on patrol on my own. This was to be inland, by launch to Robinson River, then a day’s walk to the village on the banks of a substantial river. Betty said she would like to go as well and the ADO gave his permission. It was sort of unheard of for a CPO to have a wife and to take her on patrol so we took advantage of the opportunity. A few years before this there was a CPO killed at Telefomin in the Highlands making the Administration aware of the dangers which we may confront.

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Chapter 31

First Patrol on trading Canoes

Then it came my turn to go on patrol with the ADO. This was going to be for three weeks up the coast towards Moresby visiting villages between Abau and Hula – about sixty miles to the west of Abau. This trip was to be done by sailing canoe, since most was inshore and shallow water. The canoe was typical of the earlier trading canoes – two hollowed logs secured with outriggers and the mast in the centre with timber slats for decking. The mast was stayed and the sail was a square tarpaulin with a diagonal timber gaff going from the junction of the mast and deck to the uppermost corner. Going about with a change in wind direction was a case of moving the steering oar from one end to the other so fortunately the trade winds were fairly constant in direction. There was a coaming of sorts secured to the log sides to raise the freeboard but the log hulls were not covered over. Any water getting in was bailed out using coconut shells or tins, if they had any.
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