Michael Waterhouse has done a great service to Australia and Papua New Guinea by rescuing a fascinating period of Australian and PNG history for present and future generations of both countries…This is a largely forgotten period of Australia’s history, but it is an amazing story… This splendidly illustrated book represents a staggering amount of painstaking research.
– John Farquharson, Canberra Times [Click here for review in full]
…fills in some of the crucial historical setting, underlining the rapidity but also the geographic and sectoral narrowness of development in earlier years in PNG, while highlighting the roles of extraordinary Australians in that process, mostly for the better but inevitably also sometimes for the worse…. It’s a start to learn how much a part of our own story, our own national adventure, is so intimately linked with that of our former colony and closest neighbour.
– Rowan Callick, The Australian
In a superb combination of meticulous research, broad understanding and clear writing, Michael Waterhouse offers us a tour de force… Splendidly illustrated, and supported by a wealth of helpful references and a first-rate index…
– Peter Ryan (Editor, PNG Encyclopaedia), Una Voce
To anyone who cares about the history of Australia’s twentieth-century stewardship of PNG, Not a Poor man’s Field is a welcome addition… In attention to detail, its scholarship is exemplary, as are its maps and some 160 period photographs.
– Chris Ashton, Quadrant
It isn’t often that one can successfully judge a book by its appearance but the reviewer can confidently state that the promise of excellence associated with the magnificent illustration on the dust cover proved correct, for what is revealed is a fascinating story…this is a beautifully presented publication and the many high quality and interesting photographs are alone reason to purchase and own this book.
– Mel Davies, Editor, Journal of Australasian Mining History
This book provides a welcome and complete chronicle of a very significant part of Papua New Guinean and Australian mining history … an excellent and readable volume.
– Tom Hunter, The AusIMM Bulletin
This is a truly magnificent book… The research involved and the splendid photographic coverage of the people, the environment and the area at that time provides not only a triumph of historical recording but a most interesting read.
– Geoff Hutton, Gold Coast PNG Club
Michael Waterhouse’s desire to know more about his grandfather’s activities on the goldfields of New Guinea has delivered a fascinating and often sobering story about the administration, the mining industry and the people involved, both European and indigenous…This is an excellent work and the author’s style is highly readable.
– Vicki Eldridge, Descent (Journal of the Society of Australian Genealogists)
Academic Reviews and Commentaries
This is a work of serious scholarship. Waterhouse has consulted an extraordinary range of primary materials… and has managed to encompass an impressive range of perspectives on the history of the Morobe goldfields... This book is much more than a history of a colonial industry… The strength of the book is the scope of its social history... Waterhouse goes beyond the evocative stories of everyday life and critically explores the social milieu, the towns that emerged as the industry flourished and the attitudes that shaped social relations.
– Martha Macintyre (Associate Professor, University of Melbourne), Pacific Affairs (forthcoming, December 2011)
Engagingly written, exhaustively researched, and beautifully illustrated, Waterhouse’s book provides a valuable insight into a time and place that offered mixed opportunities for adventurous New Guineans and Europeans seeking fortune far from home in the Morobe goldfields.
– Anthony Yates (University of Queensland), Journal of Pacific History
We are fortunate that Michael Waterhouse’s interest in his grandfather’s story inspired this sustained effort of scholarship. It is a wonderful book, rich in insights into the human condition. I commend it especially to Australians and Papua New Guineans seeking to understand some important and little known parts of their countries’ stories.
– Professor Ross Garnaut
With broad and exacting research, clear prose and a perspective that includes battling prospectors, international companies, government officers, black labourers and villagers, Michael Waterhouse has turned extraordinary events into fine history.
– Hank Nelson (Emeritus Professor, Division of Pacific and Asian History, ANU)