Chapter 30

Resourcing Abau

The wharf was a timber structure built by Works Department. Everything for the island had to come by ship and coastal traders were used. There were fairly regular visits by the ‘K’ boats which collected copra from the plantations along the coast. The copra was bagged and man-handled onto the boat and into its hold. There was accommodation for two or four people and the native passengers stayed on deck and slept under awnings. These were shallow draft timber boats, probably fifty foot long, the Kari and the Kone being two of them. They would cover the Papuan coast. Where there was no wharf facility the bagged copra was loaded onto canoe catamarans and taken to the boat. The catamarans consisted of two hollowed out logs lashed to a timber deck and either were sailed or paddled. The ‘Doma’ was a larger steel coastal vessel also on the regular run. There were Government trawlers occasionally calling in and the Seventh Day Adventists had a mission launch, a converted Fairmile from the war days. Most vessels stopped overnight at Dedele Point inside the reef and would only come to Abau if there was a reason to do so. The station launch ‘Minnatonka’ was a timber carvel hull about thirty foot long and shallow-draft with a Lister diesel. It was sound, very basic and looked after by two ‘boat boys’ and it was kept moored alongside the jetty. This vessel operated inside the reef and was used to transport District Officers.
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Chapter 29

Daily Routine on Abau

Office procedures were many and varied. The hours were from 8a.m. to 12 mid-day then 1.00p.m. to 4.30p.m. Radio schedules to Moresby Radio were at 10.15a.m. and 1.40p.m. These included meteorological information, wind speed, direction, rain, cloud cover, barometric pressure as well as telegrams cables or radiograms. The set used was an AWA – 3BZ transmitter and tuner. I still remember the procedure…Moresby Radio, Moresby Radio, Moresby Radio, this is ABAU, ABAU, ABAU…go ahead ABAU etc., Then there was the general business, treasury instructions and returns, stores, inventories and returns, Commonwealth Bank, payment of native wages and other returns. The district store had a good supply of tinned meat, rice, sugar, tea, salt, flour and this was supplemented by purchasing from the local villages fish, fruit and vegetables through the District Office for distribution to native employees, police, prisoners and the hospital.
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Chapter 27

Island Prison: Abau

The island of Abau was also the prison for the district with a varying number of inmates. There was no lock-up as such, but prisoners were kept in their barracks at night and during the day were allocated work, such as grass cutting, gardening or whatever was needed. Most were in prison for riotous behaviour or other misdemeanours, but there were a couple in for murder or unlawful killing and there was no danger from these.

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