New Guinean Experience - Photos

photos - documents - statistics

click for full size jpg imageBiangai village – possibly Winima.


click for full size jpg imagePatrol wending its way along the creek in Snake River area, possibly in connection with Jensen’s railway survey.


click for full size jpg imageHarry Downing with New Guinean police and villagers, Snake River, Buangs.


click for full size jpg imageBuang villagers waiting to trade with Europeans.


click for full size jpg imageParamount Luluai Tol, Mapos 1956. Twenty years earlier, Cadet Patrol Officer Ian Downs described Tol in a Patrol Report in the following terms: “His appearance is unprepossessing. Small in stature, dirty, and furtive, he immediately creates a bad impression. He evades work wherever possible and pursues his passion for accumulating wealth with considerable success. He is the personification of the insular minded Buang; an individualist. Withal, his wits are quicker than the average, his courage considerable and his influence extends to every family in the Buang… No outstanding case of neglect of duty could be found. The faults in his work are mostly associated with his habit of not doing anything until he is told to, and then in a way which will cause him the least inconvenience. A polygamist, he is unpopular with every mission teacher in the area. A revivalist of old customs, he is disliked by finished-time boys who take pride in their sophistication… There is at present no outstanding personality in the Buangs apart from Tol.”


click for full size jpg imageThe miner Hellmuth Baum c. 1930, whose murder in April 1931 precipitated three patrols, several arrests and the decimation of three villages. See pages 135-138 of my book.


click for full size jpg imageKukukuku believed at the time to be Baum’s murderers, surrounded by native police after their arrest by District Officer Eric Feldt near Baum’s camp. They were taken back to Bulolo by plane, thence by pinnace to Salamaua where they were jailed. Of the six, one died in Salamaua and five escaped. Two were never recaptured, two were recaptured in Wau and one was caught by Buang villagers, who tortured him before handing him over to District staff. (The carriers killed along with Baum were Buang men.)


click for full size jpg imageBridge, possibly over Watut River.


click for full size jpg imageReady for singsing, Bulolo.


click for full size jpg imageEach year, on Christmas Day, there was a sing-sing at Bulolo on the airstrip and another at Wau. These weren't just for the entertainment of Europeans. Groups from Madang, the Sepik, Salamaua, Lae, Finschhafen, Ramu and the Tolai from Rabaul would dance to kundu drums for hours. Those from the Sepik and Rabaul were the best...


click for full size jpg imageThe dancing would go on from early morning till well into the night, each group in a circle about 30 feet in diameter. By the end there was not a blade of grass. They were rewarded with a bag of rice and some cans of meat. While the big sing-sings were at Christmas, some groups would hold their own sing-sings spontaneously during the year. -- Tom Lega.


click for full size jpg imageMore information on the significance of singsings in New Guinea culture is provided in footnote 24 on page 251 of my book.