A reunion held in Yamba over the weekend of Friday 25 to Sunday August 27 exceeded the organisers’ expectations – 150 people who had spent time living and/or working in Papua New Guinea savoured old memories and made some new ones, too.
“Friendships were rekindled and memories relived,” says Margaret Anderson.
The reunion was largely held at the Pacific Hotel, where publican Jack McIntosh was reported to have said of the group, made up of 60 to 85 year olds: “By the looks of things, they had an absolute ball; we considered it a pleasure to host the event and they are all more than welcome to return.”
Ms Anderson organised the event with the assistance of Kempsey man, Tom Dixon.
“We had hoped for 100 people in total, but ended up with over 100 on the Friday night and 150 for the Saturday,” she said.
“Sunday breakfast was also a hit, and a fitting end to a very long long-weekend.
“We had people come from as far away as Lae and Port Moresby in PNG, from Cairns in the north to Melbourne in the south; also from Goondiwindi, Bathurst and all places in between.”
Ms Anderson said that the response from the Clarence Valley people, who had been in PNG and had read the “previous article in the Independent was marvellous”.
“Over 16 people had called [as a result], including one gentleman from Grafton who rang to say he was sorry he couldn’t attend but hoped that we had a great time,” she said.
“Out of those who had called, 14 people came along and, whilst they may not have known many people, I think they enjoyed themselves.”
Ms Anderson had high praise for the hotel’s management and staff. “The service they gave us was terrific,” she said.
“Businesses in town were also fantastic, as well, including one motel owner who drove some guests down to a club in her own car so they could get there before lunch was finished.
“Quite a number of comments were also made on the friendliness and helpfulness of the business owners in Yamba.
“Thanks also to the motels and caravan parks who gave out the name tag envelopes for me when guests were checking in, it was such a great help.
“Everyone who had attended commented on how, now they had found Yamba, they wouldn’t leave it too long before they came again.
“Whilst it was evident from the books of memorabilia on display that all had grown older (and supposedly wiser), the stories told grew more outrageous as the evenings went on.”