Down the street – Samarai, PNG

Well as you can see I’ve lapsed once again with getting my images uploaded. I think the secret is to post every two or three days. I’ve now got three other blogs on the go (family history, books and local history) so they’re keeping me pretty busy.

However I’ve also committed to following the 2013 A to Z Challenge. In 2012 I did this on my Family History Across the Seas blog but this year I’m going to post using this blog, Tropical Territory. My response to the series will be all about places in the Top End of Australia (mainly the NT Top End and sometimes northern WA or central Australia, NT) – a travelogue and photologue of some of Australia’s perhaps less well-known places.

In the meantime I’m going back to posting photos of our recent PNG trip. I’ve still got heaps of NT photos but I for one feel like a change. So join me as we walk down what used to be  the main street of Samarai for many years. It could get quite busy with the arrival of cruise ships, freighters and the Catalina flying boats.

When we visited Europe for the first time in the early 1970s, the only people who had any idea where PNG was, were the Greeks, precisely because their ships had come along that route.

Street Samarai1 copy

As you see the main street now looks rather deserted though in fact there’s still an active community on the island. It’s “just” that many of the services have gone.

The Old Steamships store
The Old Steamships store

Mr Cassmob remembers the day when, as a small boy, he heard voices under their house. On inspection he discovered a couple of women from one of the cruise ships happily searching through his family’s shell collection, blissfully unaware that they were trespassing on his family’s property and garden. They enquired in rather staccato English, as if they were talking to the village idiot, how much the shells cost. He decided to sell them and make a bit of pocket money,but you have to wonder about people, don’t you?!

27 Old BP Store1

Burns Philp (BPs) and Steamships Trading Company both had thriving stores on the island and it was from them that our groceries and hardware were shipped, on order, to Alotau. The buildings remain but are essentially unused. The BP store is now being used like a market to see betel nut (buai) and sweet potato.

Although Mr Cassmob worked at these places during his school holidays he was remarkably sanguine about their current state of inactivity.

14 thoughts on “Down the street – Samarai, PNG

    1. Sorry Kristin, for some reason your comment went to spam and I hadn’t noticed. There’s just a tiny little store kind of like a corner store but that’s all that we saw. I’d imagine people go across to Alotau if they need more, or perhaps they mainly grow or catch what they need.

    1. Yes just a little one not unlike a corner store. I guess anything else has to come in from Alotau, in a reversal of how it was originally. I know what you mean about the A to Z (those 26 letters seem like a lot at times) but I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Will have to see how it goes.

  1. Interesting as always… Great thinking to sell the shells, but the attitude of the tourists doesn’t surprise me. We lived on the edge of a lake, and it wasn’t at all unusual to have strangers walk into our yard to use the toilet or help themselves to water from our often low tank. If they’d ask, our parents would have happily said yes, but they weren’t too impressed to see others wander through as if they owned the place, especially as we children were small.

    Good luck with the new challenge.

    1. How interesting to know that people think it’s okay to do that sort of thing…I find it quite bizarre. Of course as you say, if asked, the answer would be yes, but just imagine if someone did it in their yard. Not so sure about my sanity with the new challenge. Will be working to get through Feb as well I think.

    2. We lived year around in a community where lots of people just came for summer or vacations. We were on a lake and people when we first moved there people would come up and fish right off of our beach, even when we were in swimming! One time a man asked if he could swim there. No, he couldn’t. There was a public beach and other deserted cottages. I never understand how people do that. But they seem to feel entitled. It finally stopped when we got some big dogs that would run along the fence barking wildly.

      1. Weird isn’t it? Mind you in Oz, there’s pretty much no such thing as a private beach unlike the US….there’d be a riot! Mind you my daughter’s in-laws have a jetty which they have to pay to repair, insure (incl public liability) etc, yet it’s supposed to be open to everyone. Now that just doesn’t sound fair does it? I’d imagine the dogs would have been a very effective remedy 😉

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