|Quoting mariner (Reply 8):|
As often happens, this is acquiring a life of its own. I started looking for just some background detail, but it seems to have expanded far beyond that and Queen Emma may become a project as well.
It is bigger than I had anticipated, it does have a life of its own.
I suppose it began in 1992, when Hallmark flew me from Boston to Madang in Papua New Guinea (at three days notice) to do a crash, two week job.
I'd never been to PNG before, and I loved Madang - or Mad Ang as I think of it - mostly because of the ex-pats. I met several people - Aussies, Brits and various Europeans - who were carving out lives there, and all of them had a story to tell. All had some "unfortunate instance" in their past (usually brushes with the law) and were, in effect, hiding out. At times it was like living in a novel by Joseph Conrad.
I began to wonder if this had always been true, and old-timers told me it was. Almost every ex-pat in PNG, they claimed, was running away form something, especially on the north coast.
So then I wondered if it was true back in the old days of German New Guinea and began to believe it must. The "remoter colonies" were fertile ground for writers - like Conrad, or some of the Somerset Maugham stories.
I became more and more interested in the German colony - so far from home - and the people there, especially the women. Adventurous women pop up in all sorts of unlikely places, such as Jane Digby el Mezreb (who was married to a Bedouin sheikh) or Isabel Eberhardt (who lived as a man and "drowned" in the Mahgreb desert) - or Isabel, Lady Burton (who was just as wild as her more famous husband). So it is no surprise to me that Queen Emma turned up here.
German New Guinea now seems to me to be one of the great, romantic "lost places" and then I began to wonder about Australia's relationship with the colony and with New Guinea generally.
This led me to Australia's later relationship. I had previously written about Kokoda and the Chocolate Soldiers, but I had never touched the Coastwatchers, except for John Murphy's imprisonment in a Japanese concentration camp.
So now I have a three part project - (i) Queen Em, (ii) Australia immediately prior to WW1 and (iii) Australia in WW2 and the Coastwatchers.
I'm going to stick to my plan and work on the middle section first (see Portsea above) because I think it's possible I may need to make another trip to PNG before I can really get the measure of the rest of it.
So - thanks everyone for your help or interest. It's been a blast of a couple of days.
|Quoting Ps76 (Reply 9):|
I think I'm still fluent so if you need anything translated just let me know.
[Edited 2012-07-22 18:59:53]