A career with a challenge
Do you have initiative, courage and imagination? Do you want a career with a challenge as a cadet patrol officer in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea (TPNG)? Between 1949 and 1974, some 2000 young Australian men said, ‘Yes!’
The Australian Government was flooded with applications from ex-servicemen, long-time residents of TPNG and boys who had grown up on films and novels such as Leslie Rees’ Danger Patrol: A Young Patrol Officer’s Adventures in New Guinea.
Most applicants who made it through the rigorous selection process were trained at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) in Sydney. Before graduating as patrol officers, cadets spent months in the field under the watchful eyes of veteran officers, known as ‘kiaps’.
A career as a patrol officer in what was then Australian territory promised adventure, autonomy and the opportunity to make a difference. In the field, kiaps juggled the multiple roles of ambassador, policeman, judge, administrator, explorer, farmer, engineer and anthropologist.
Away for weeks at a time, kiaps patrolled vast areas on foot with the help of an indigenous police force. Surviving patrol reports detail attempts to introduce Australian law and governance, observations of customs and languages, mapping and census reports.
Were you one of the people who answered the kiap call? Or were you in TPNG before independence? Help us to identify the people and places in our TPNG photographs by visiting our Flickr site.
This year, Papua New Guinea celebrates the 35th anniversary of independence from Australia.