by Frank Cordingley
I have great pleasure in writing this article to launch the new ‘Chalkies’ website http://www.NashosPNG.com.
At our annual get together in October 2011, discussion centred around how we could make the existence of our group visible to the hundreds of Australian National Servicemen who served their time in Papua New Guinea. The obvious answer was the development of a web site and it was clear to everyone that I was the logical person to make it happen since I had been writing software for nearly 40 years in a professional capacity.
Yes, I have written web pages, but they were always in a controlled environment behind a secure firewall away from harmful viruses and spammers and the hosting hardware was controlled by others. My expertise centred on the development of sites that referenced databases holding millions of sensitive records mainly dealing with patient care. This would be my first venture into a public website of this nature.
Fortunately, I have staff at work who have already hosted public websites. Using their expertise and guidance, the Chalkies group now have a website hosted by a recognised web-hosting company using software of international standing that does all the underlying plumbing for the site. This enables me to concentrate on how the website looks and how the content is added. Problems such as security from hackers, spammers and viruses have become a non-event. I wanted a site that I could pass control to others, if necessary, and know they could quickly gain the expertise required to manage the site. I believe we have such a site.
The purpose of the website is many-fold:
- Increased visibility for the group of Chalkies.
- A platform where our stories can be told and enjoyed by ourselves and others.
- Highlighting the reasons why the Army in Papua New Guinea needed educators prior to independence.
- Recognition of the influence that people such as Brigadier Hunter (deceased) and RSM Wilson (deceased), among others, had on our young lives.
- A mechanism where other ex-National Servicemen can contact and join our group as well as a means of telling their stories.
- Highlighting the importance of this time in the history of the Royal Australian Army Educational Corps.
The articles and photographs on the site are added under the guidance of our three editors Ian Ogston, Greg Ivey and Terry Edwinsmith. Most of the articles have already appeared in the Armi Wantoks Journals and these journals have been added unchanged where they were in electronic form.
Further articles will be added as they become available.
I trust everyone will enjoy the site www.NashosPNG.com. As webmaster to the site, I encourage you to join us and share your story as part of this website.
Personally, some of the articles have helped to clarify the reasons why we were sent to PNG. I thought at the time that it was a mistake in that we were creating an elite force in the army compared to the other two arms of government – the police and the civil administration. I now realise that we were indeed influencing, for the better, the future direction of our nearest neighbour. History shows we played a small but significant part in ensuring the nation remained under a civil administration. When reading my article and others like it, you get the impression that it was a very enjoyable time for us and a pivotal period in our lives. This is in direct contrast to those that went to Vietnam. (I have seen too many National Servicemen who are Vietnam veterans whose lives have been changed for the worse as a result of their experiences during that period.)
Please enjoy and contribute to your website.