Footy jumper mystery at Moem Barracks

by Greg Smith, Moem Barracks 1969-70

Any ex-student of Melbourne High School (MHS) would easily recognize the School’s maroon-coloured footy jumper with the school’s motif, the head of a unicorn, on the left breast. It was therefore quite surprising in 1970 to see one of the indigenous players in the Moem Barracks Aussie Rules footy team wearing an old Melbourne High jumper (see maroon jumper in photo 1 below; and in photo 2, front row, second from left).

Throughout the Nasho period, Chalkies played Aussie Rules and other sports for Army teams around TPNG. Three of the 1969-70 Moem Chalkies played in the 1970 premiership team- Gavin Sheahan, Heinz Roedder and myself. I have always been curious about how Leonard, one of the indigenous players, acquired that jumper.

Now the mystery seems to have been solved! Through the Nashos website (www.nashospng.com) I discovered that a former MHS school mate, Keith Oxenbould, was a Nasho at Moem in the year before me, 1968-69. In the RAEME Corps, Keith probably left his MHS footy jumper at Moem Barracks.

For the record, I know of at least four 1962 Year 12 MHS students who performed their National Service in TPNG during 1968-70. Apart from Keith and myself at Moem, there were two ex MHS Chalkies who served at Igam Barracks, Lae – Les Rowe (School Captain 1962) and the late Geoff Peters.
My beautiful picture

Photo 1. Players with Premiership Shield
See Leonard wearing the maroon MHS jumper.
My beautiful picture

Photo 2. 1970 Premiership Team
Back row (L to R): Gavin Sheahan, Tengu, Touva, Milhalus, Greg Smith, John Brown
Middle row: Warap, Luviana, Heinz Roedder, Graeme Adnams, Moses, Tuharus, Buga
Front row: unknown soldier, Leonard, Suala, Kom, Tiomoa, Benno

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