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Big Road: a Journey to the Heart of the New Guinea Highlands, 1953-56

Cleland, Bob

Published by 240Red Hill Publishing, 2010
ISBN 10: 0980672023 / ISBN 13: 9780980672022
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Title: Big Road: a Journey to the Heart of the New ...

Publisher: 240Red Hill Publishing

Publication Date: 2010

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition: Fine

Description:

240 pp., illustrations, glossary, bibliography, index. In the Highlands of New Guinea, patrol officers were road-builders and peacekeepers, medical workers and diplomats. Often fresh from university, the patrol officers – also known as ‘kiaps’ – were charged with bringing Pax Australiana (the adopted legal system) to tribes whose first contact with Europeans had been just 20 years before. At least 19 kiaps died in the course of duty – some drowned in rivers, died of disease or perished in volcanic eruptions or plane crashes. Bob Cleland was not only a kiap, he was also the boss’s son. His father, Donald (later Sir Donald) Cleland, was Administrator of Papua Guinea for fifteen years from 1951, so Bob’s trial by fire in New Guinea was particularly intense. But his passion for the Highlands was immediate and enduring. In Big Road, he not only brings to life his experiences as a pioneer and jack-of-all-trades, he also paints a vivid word-picture of the magnificent Highlands themselves. In a distinctively laconic Australian style, Bob describes the challenges and pitfalls that faced him as a cadet patrol officer in 1950s New Guinea. It took quick wits and a steady hand to deal with a film star startled by a ‘genital salute’, arrows fired by angry tribesmen; a pick infested with evil spirits; and the odd bomb disposal. Running throughout Bob Cleland’s memoir is the ‘big road’, the Highlands Highway that was carved out of mountains and mud with shovels, sweat and the help of villagers eager to embrace change. Big Road is a pioneering tale. It evokes the spirit of Kokoda in its picture of the unforgiving jungles, the majesty of the mountains and the mingling of two cultures. Bookseller Inventory # 0980672023EVANS102915

About this title:

Synopsis: In the Highlands of New Guinea, patrol officers were road-builders and peacekeepers, medical workers and diplomats. Often fresh from university, the patrol officers ? also known as ?kiaps? ? were charged with bringing Pax Australiana (the adopted legal system) to tribes whose first contact with Europeans had been just 20 years before. At least 19 kiaps died in the course of duty ? some drowned in rivers, died of disease or perished in volcanic eruptions or plane crashes.

Bob Cleland was not only a kiap, he was also the boss?s son. His father, Donald (later Sir Donald) Cleland, was Administrator of Papua Guinea for fifteen years from 1951, so Bob?s trial by fire in New Guinea was particularly intense. But his passion for the Highlands was immediate and enduring. In Big Road, he not only brings to life his experiences as a pioneer and jack-of-all-trades, he also paints a vivid word-picture of the magnificent Highlands themselves.

In a distinctively laconic Australian style, Bob describes the challenges and pitfalls that faced him as a cadet patrol officer in 1950s New Guinea. It took quick wits and a steady hand to deal with a film star startled by a ?genital salute?, arrows fired by angry tribesmen; a pick infested with evil spirits; and the odd bomb disposal.

Running throughout Bob Cleland?s memoir is the ?big road?, the Highlands Highway that was carved out of mountains and mud with shovels, sweat and the help of villagers eager to embrace change.

Big Road is a pioneering tale. It evokes the spirit of Kokoda in its picture of the unforgiving jungles, the majesty of the mountains and the mingling of two cultures.

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