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Your Story and Experiences If you have ever visited Papua New Guinea as a traveller, please tell us about your experience.

 
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  #1  
Old 03-06-2010, 06:50 PM
D cook D cook is offline
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Hotel Cecil Lae

Hi I worked at the Hotel Cecil in lae in 1966 to 1967 as bar manager, Toby Perkins ran the show in those day and he was sadly missed when he passed away, in fact there was close to a riot when they took his name down from over the door. I was wondering if anybody out there can remember the hoovercraft that was built in Lae in 1967 by myself, my brother Bob Cook and a Peter Web who nearly lost a leg when a blade broke off. Also can anybody give me some information about Hospital Hill behind the Cecil, as I am trying to gather information for a book
about those magic days. you can get me on Skype Bumbles 26 ,or
donncarol@bigpond.com
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  #2  
Old 01-07-2010, 01:32 AM
RobHay RobHay is offline
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I was in Lae when the Cecil was pulled down by Lae Builders, I purchased some of the timber to build my haus boi a house just before I transferred out of Lae.

I thought that the hill behind the Cecil was Mt Lunaman (spelling) and was where Heather Mitchell, a pilot with Pacific Helicopters, was murdered.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:13 PM
D cook D cook is offline
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Hi Rob
Must have been a sad day when they pulled down the cecil. In 66 Toby Perkins ran the show and I took over the boy's bar from a John Hickey I was there for a little over a year. In fact I have just finished writing a book about the place. Mt lunaman rings a bell, but I have allways known it as Hospital Hill, because I was told the Japanese were in side it, through out the war years. Regards Don cook Tolga Qld. Hope to hear from you again.
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Old 01-07-2010, 10:44 PM
rowanh rowanh is offline
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Mt Lunaman

The hill was officially Mt Lunaman, but was better known as Hospital Hill. The road running down from the Lae Club was known as Little Namanula after the steep road in Rabaul. See users.tpg.com.au/rowandh for a map. Wendy's 2009 booklet will be useful for DCook to have a look.

I saw RobHay's joke about Johnson & Johnson thermometers. Interestingly, I worked at Cook Campus of Rutgers University (during the 90s), where J&J had their global headquaters. Amazing coincidence there, Hotel Cecil ... J&J. No, I did not test anything rectal!

Rowan Hughes

Last edited by rowanh; 01-07-2010 at 11:15 PM. Reason: extra info
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:05 PM
RobHay RobHay is offline
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I was a member of the Lae Club, but it had re-located to a building in, I think 2nd Street, up stairs. Yes, Mt Lunaman and the Lae escarpment was extensively tunneled by the Japanese, although I have never been in side any of them. If memory serves me correct I recall being told by my Dad, who was there, that the enterance was blown and sealed by the Australian Army at or near the end of the war and declared a war grave site after a Sergeant and a section of men entered to clear it and never came out. He once pointed out to me an area just up from ANGAU Hospital where he recalled there was an enterence...this would have been in the late 60's or real early 70's.

I have been through the tunnels at Salamaua, quite ingenious the construction of them, as you enter from the land side the tunnel swings around in a horse shoe to the left to bring it back towards the surface, this was so you could dig out if the enterance collapsed or was blown, the enterance to the main tunnel was about halfway along the 'horse shoe' and was located just above head height, I only found it because I stumbled on some debris and put my hand up to save myself from falling. There was another enterance/exit on the east side towards the point and was right at sea level and would be under water at high tide.

I used to walk over to the Cecil for a few refreshing Lagers whilst waiting for connecting flights to the Highlands, this was when the airfield was in Lae....after all the RMO did advise me to make sure I kepted the liquids up whilst in the tropics.
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:38 PM
rowanh rowanh is offline
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Hotel Cecil and Flo Stewart

The Hotel Cecil (named after the famous one in London) was originally built about 1933 by Flo Stewart, after she moved down from Wau. She was in PNG from 1907 and died in Lae in 1979. The second Cecil was built in 1952 but was sold out about '56. Flo and her younger daughter remained in Lae. I went to Huon Rd preschool with Peter Bowman her grandson in 1964. See the brief story by Jim Sinclair on the website mentioned above.

The BPs store in PM burned down in June 2009. Flo worked in the store around 1911. (The oldest building in PNG is the Uniting Church in Mary St in PM, dating from about 1890.)

RE: Nadzab (AYNZ) and old Lae airport (AYLA). Nadzab was built in 1943? by AIF engineers. US forces built Gusap further up the valley (see it in Googleearth). The Marsden matting was ripped up in 1954 and a new asphalt/concrete runway was finished in 1955 and also the wooden bridge over the Markham to Bulolo. DCA intended to close Lae airport then and shift it to Nadzab, since Lae was not suitable for DC6s/jets. DC6 ops out of Lae had no safety margin, a dead engine would see the loss of the a/c. Nadzab opened in 1979? and Lae continued until about 1991 for light a/c only. My father was an air traffic controller in Lae (later the Manager in 71) in 64/65. We had an old Mk5 Jaguar and every Sunday dad took us kids out to Nadzab and raced up/down the runway as fast as the Jag would go.

The very first runway was actually on the mainland at Salamaua (originally Samoahaven) after WW1, and Junkers operated to Wau. It was oriented N-S. See Denis Gray's 1940 video of it on the aviation forum. His father must have been wealthy to afford 8mm colour film back then. That's an RAAF Hind. (Puts ths footage between '39 and '41). The Lae runway was built about 1927 and the town was near the sea on the south side. Photos of Amelia Earhart's plane were taken at Guinea Airways where Stewart park is now. The Lae tribe were moved to what is now Eriku, or the R2 area post WW2. The Labu tribe south of the Markham, are still there and are only interrupted by the occasional speed boat in the waterways.

Around 1971/2 there was a SeaBee seaplane flying tourists to Lake Wanum near Nadzab. No road there and very few people knew about the lake. If was supposedly full of crocs. I'm pretty that same SeeBee is now parked outside some pub near Cairns. I did a lot of flying with my father, mostly to out-of-the-way places like Nuguria, Tangar, Buin, Wakunai, etc.

Rowan Hughes

Last edited by rowanh; 04-07-2010 at 05:28 PM. Reason: extra info spelling
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:40 AM
rowanh rowanh is offline
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Mt Lowamung

After reading Scot Martins 2003 post the correct local (Lae Tribe) name is Mt. Lowamung. (Keep in mind that pronunciations in small communities can change a lot in just 20 years.) The Jap 8th Army doctor in Lae, interviewed many years after WW2 insists the bunkers under Lunaman were only ever airraid shelters. He used the old Lutheran hospital at Ampo, on the Butibum road.

All reports about fatalities in the airraid shelters are not true. Extensive searches did not find any human remains.

Scot's booklet is from 1974. Crowley's ad claims 24 years of service, and he started in '50 with a Curtis Robin. It was originally "Stockden and Crowley" but Stockden left a few years later to start Mubo Hire. In 1968 Laurie Crowley flew my dad, mum, and me to the first landing on Tangar (Boang) Island. The runway was built out into the lagoon. Laurie had to do a side skid to stop the plane from hitting trees. A close escape. Lutheran mission "feet" are much shorter than statute feet.

Last edited by rowanh; 04-07-2010 at 03:47 PM. Reason: Extra info
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Old 18-07-2012, 12:18 AM
RobHay RobHay is offline
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Huh!......Whats this to do with the current topic?
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:23 PM
islandboy13 islandboy13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D cook View Post
Hi Rob
Must have been a sad day when they pulled down the cecil. In 66 Toby Perkins ran the show and I took over the boy's bar from a John Hickey I was there for a little over a year. In fact I have just finished writing a book about the place. Mt lunaman rings a bell, but I have allways known it as Hospital Hill, because I was told the Japanese were in side it, through out the war years. Regards Don cook Tolga Qld. Hope to hear from you again.
Yes, Lae used to be a wonderful town in those days. I grew up in my village (Bukawa) not far from Lae in the early sixties. In your book could you please acknowledge the local name of Mt Lunaman or Hospital Hill as "Locwamu". That is its original name in the Gawac language (Lae) before colonisation and Japanese invasion. Perhaps the Japs must have a name for the same Hill, nevertheless, it is appropriate that its original name should be reinstated. My grandfather comes from Butibam village (now inside Lae City) and my mum used to recite this name to me as a symbol of where she originated from when viewing Locwamu from the northeast where I once lived. I am now living in Auckland, NZ.
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:48 PM
mikekennedy mikekennedy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D cook View Post
Hi I worked at the Hotel Cecil in lae in 1966 to 1967 as bar manager, Toby Perkins ran the show in those day and he was sadly missed when he passed away, in fact there was close to a riot when they took his name down from over the door. I was wondering if anybody out there can remember the hoovercraft that was built in Lae in 1967 by myself, my brother Bob Cook and a Peter Web who nearly lost a leg when a blade broke off. Also can anybody give me some information about Hospital Hill behind the Cecil, as I am trying to gather information for a book
about those magic days. you can get me on Skype Bumbles 26 ,or
donncarol@bigpond.com
only information I recall about hospital hill is that it was a Japanese hospital during ww2 and when the allies retook lae they blew up the entrance instead of trying to take it by force I was told by my girlfriend Julie Natera who was born and lived in Chinatown that the japs are still entombed in there and that the entrance was never found due to the rumour that the entrance and tunnels were booby traped
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