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Tom Leahy interviewed by Jon Ritchie in the Australians in Papua New Guinea (PNG) 1942-1975 oral history project [sound recording]
Bib ID 4352519
Format AudioAudio, OnlineOnline [sound recording]
Leahy, Tom, 1930-2012, Interviewee
Online Access
Access Conditions Access open for research, personal copies and public use. 
Description 2008 
4 sound files (ca. 327 min.) 

Australians in Papua New Guinea (PNG) 1942-1975 oral history project.


Tom Leahy speaks about his early life and his schooling; travelling to New Guinea to work with his uncle, Mick Leahy at Zenag; his early experiences; learning Tok Pisin; taking a gold mining job and mining techniques; Highlander workers and their work ethic; problems faced by Highlanders with malaria and influenza; dealings with Highlanders at gold mine; his plans to start own mine; relations with local tribes people; observations of cultural differences; looking after the family farm at Zenag and its organisation; making an application for land in Markham Valley, how it was granted, being the first European settler in valley; problems with irrigating land and successful outcomes; the early years on the property, building a house; illnesses experienced; developments in education and health at that time; Arthur Calwell; his role 'hearing court' and the administration of justice; the importance of education and views of local people; observations of developing political and economic understanding and the impact of change; leasing land from local people, sharing the proceeds of harvests; the evolution of local people in understanding business and their understanding of land and its value.

Leahy discusses local government councils; becoming a member of council of Lae University of Technology and work practices; the introduction of and importance of A.B.C. radio in political education; his thoughts on first P.N.G. politicians and their understanding of politics; his approach to campaigning, campaign promises and electioneering; his commencement as member of the House of Assembly; joining the Legislative Council (ie. Administrator's Executive Council); issues facing the country at the time; Bougainville mine and land owners; David Hay; Barry Middlemiss; Leo Morgan; methods used to train and educate Papua New Guinean members; Sinake Giregire; his involvement in the Constitutional Development Committee; Parliamentary and public service integrity bills; Sir Michael Somare; John Guise; Pangu Pati; Gough Whitlam; the timing of P.N.G. Independence; how Australia handled its relationship with P.N.G.; his concerns about exploitation, public servants and entrepreneurs; the failure of contemporary administration and the achievements of Australian administration.


Recorded on April 4, and July 22, 2008 in Qld.

Index/Finding Aid Note Timed summary (6 p.) 
Subjects Leahy, Tom, 1930-2012 -- Interviews.  |  Independence Day (Papua New Guinea)  |  Papua New Guinea -- Politics and government.  |  Papua New Guinea -- Social conditions.  |  Papua New Guinea -- History.
Other authors/contributors Ritchie, Jonathan, 1961-, Interviewer

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Details Collect From
ORAL TRC 5920/10
Copy: Recording
Special Collections Reading Room
ORAL TRC 5920/10 (summary)
Copy: Summary
Special Collections Reading Room

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