Title Picture

Lamington National Park, South East Queensland.

Friday, February 7, 2014


In 1964 I had just started a new career. I was working for the Australian Government, teaching in the Territory of Papua/New Guinea. I was posted to Pt Moresby and I lived in a hotel until hostel accommodation was found for me. I was looking forward to having my own place. 

 One weekend I was invited to look over a survey ship which had docked at the wharf.
(Once again I have been scanning 50 year old coloured slides and sometimes I just can't get back the original colours)
From the wharf I could see where I lived. It was Touaguba Hostel on Touaguba Hill overlooking the harbour. In the red loop you can see the buildings. I lived in the block at the far left.

It was a windy steep hill to climb up to the hostel. You can see one of the blocks sloping down the the hill. I made friends with Jan when I lived there and we are still in touch after 50 years. She let me use her photo from her website here, where you can see more. She also has a super memory and is helping me write these posts via emails as she lives in Adelaide in South Australia.
There were three accommodation blocks nestled into the side of the hill following the lie of the land. The views were spectacular. Here we are looking down the harbour inland.

Looking back we see over the wharf to the sea.

This is the bottom half of my block. There were 10 rooms for ten girls. There was a  kicthen, laundry and bathroom to share. We hardly used the kitchen because there was a dining room where we had our meals provided. The government provided the accommodation and meals. There was a fourth block below ours. So there were 40 single girls living there altogether.

I used to watch the Catalina plane land and take off from the water and admire the tropical plants. The paw paws were hanging outside the window and there were banana trees and many colourful leafed plants.

There were often beautiful sunsets over the harbour. Sometimes pink  and.......
sometimes orange. I loved the way the water changed colour too.

There wasn't a lot of places to go after work in the evenings. I didn't like to frequent hotels and it wasn't sensible for women to go out by themselves at night. So just for fun some of the girls would climb on the roof of our block and sit there watching the sunsets and chatting. I obviously took my camera and played around.

In the wet season we had a tropical down pour every afternoon. Sometimes you could see it coming like a wall of water.

It would thunder down on the metal roof. (We didn't stay on the roof at these times). It was so noisy we couldn't hear each other talking. However, we devised a great way to cool off by standing under the open gutters. It was always hot and steamy in Papua/ New Guinea all year long.

It felt like I was on a vacation not here working. 

The staff who worked in the kitchen and dining room. They spoke Motu which was a lingua franca for Papuans as there were many local languages. On the northern New Guinea side of the island the lingua franca was Pidgin English.


  1. Oh Diane you have such a fascinating life I love reading about it and for 50 year old photos they are pretty good. Vacation not working just what a job should feel like. Hug B

  2. I am just loving all of these stories, and what a view you had from your apartment!

  3. i like the two shots that show the bottom half, pretty cool place for 40 girls to live. that is mind boggling the thought of 40 girls all in one building.

  4. i can just imagine 40 single ladies living there. what stories...

  5. The photos of your block and the harbour and pier are great.

  6. What a fun place to live, I enjoyed this series of photos. Love the silhouette on the roof. You did have a gorgeous view! Great post, Diane!
    Have a happy weekend!

  7. 'A Room With a View' is an understatement. You had gorgeous views from this hotel. I really like the experimentation you did with your camera while on the roof watching the sunset. All of the photos are wonderful.

  8. Lovely view Diane.
    Great memories once again, and an adventure as well.
    I too lived with a lot of girls when I trained, it was fun and we each had our own room. Those were the days :)
    Thanks for sharing yours.

  9. Back in those days hostels were a common thing. I really enjoyed hostel life.

  10. Can imagine it felt like vacation, everything is new and exciting.

  11. What a great view from the roof and perfect for photographing those spectacular sunsets.

  12. This whole series needs to be published as a book then made into a movie. Love it.

  13. I happen to think the photos are bloody great even if they are 50yrs old. It really does sound like a wonderful experience, I know nothing about PNG and find these posts really interesting

  14. All fascinating Diane and I enjoyed the photos. A question, how do you convert the photos from slide to photo on your computer

  15. When I see all these beautiful pictures still so nice and colorful as if you had taken them yesterday, I so much regret that at that time I didn't like photography and all the slides my father had done I have thrown away when he died in 1997 ! I hadn't even looked at them !

  16. What a fascinating life you have had, and I am so glad you had a great camera 50 years ago - fabulous xxx

  17. It looks like it could be paradise, Diane! What wonderful adventures you had in your life!

  18. this is wonderful!
    i'm just loving all of these stories. such wonderful old photographs you shared. i really enjoyed your post.

    big hugs~

  19. I'm with the others Diane, it's such a treat to join you on this trip down memory lane, am enjoying it immensley.

  20. The colours are so much part of the period. This series is such a fascinating introduction to New Guinea and your life there.

  21. and what a view. Great spot.


  22. I'm catching up on your posts. You really had a beautiful view! Hot and steamy all the time would be rough.


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