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CHALKIES

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      RAAEC Badge

‘Chalkies’ is the informal name given to members of the Royal Australian Army Educational Corps. The term here refers specifically to teachers who were conscripted into the Army during the Vietnam years to teach in Papua New Guinea. After basic training and additional Corps training or experience, they were sent to educate the soldiers based in Port Moresby (Taurama Barracks, Goldie River Training Depot and Murray Barracks) Lae (Igam Barracks) and Wewak (Moem Barracks). Most served between 12 and 18 months in PNG.

Today, these teacher/soldiers have met together to tell the story of their time in Papua New Guinea. On this site, the stories and photos of their time in the Army will be told.


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ANZAC DAY Peter Darmody

They do not know

Darryl R Dymock

They do not know,
those who came after,
how the bugle call sounded
and the men went away;
when ration cards sold
in back streets of the city
and meat cost as much
as a decent week’s pay.
They do not know,
the punters and brokers,
how we bet on the future
with our wounded and dead;
not knowing if lovers
would ever come back,
not knowing if there were
more dark days ahead.
They do not know,
those with buds in their ears,
we listened to rumours
of invasion to come;
how we lived with anxiety,
with gossip and blackouts,
and ran for the shelters
but refused to succumb.
They do not know,
those planning grand houses,
that there was a time
we had hopes and dreams too;
but our visions were clouded
by tears for the dying;
the best we could pray was
we’d all see it through.
They do not know,
those reaping high salaries,
how we once had sweet fun
on minimal pay
in the arms of young soldiers
at dances and parties
knowing the foe
was just islands away.
They do not know,
those who came after,
of that unreal existence
when nothing was sure,
or why we still yearn
for missed fun and laughter:
those who grew up
when the world was at war.


Chalkies honoured by New South Wales Education Department

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Dr Ken Boston, Ken Stevenson and Christopher Charles – Director, School Operations and Performance

The New South Wales Education Department unveiled an Honour Board at the Australian Army Infantry Museum (AAIM), Singleton on the 16th October, 2019. The Honour Board commemorates the service of NSW conscript teachers in Papua New Guinea during 1966-74. Some 40 Chalkies, as part of their annual reunion, were present for the unveiling. The Honour Board will be hung alongside other Honour Boards in its Parramatta office.

There were two articles published to recognise this event and copies of both articles are now on our website. One was in the Singleton Argus newspaper and can be viewed here.
The other was on the NSW Education website and can be viewed here.

The Chalkies role in PNG to be added to the PIR Exhibition

In April this year, Maj Gen Hori Howard recommended that the story of the Chalkies role in PNG be added to the PIR Exhibition at the Australian Army Infantry Museum (AAIM), Singleton. General Howard was the instigator of the PIR Exhibit, which opened some 6 years ago.
General Howard then recruited the support of Major Don Graham in obtaining the approval of the Curator at AAIM to proceed with the project.
Approvals being granted, Garry Screen and Steve Beveridge were nominated to liaise with John Land, the Curator of AAIM.
Recently, we met with John Land, plus Paul Mitrovich from the Australian Army History Unit to clarify the requirements for the display, scheduled to be officially opened 16 October 2019.
To make this happen, we need your support!
The Museum would like us to provide memorabilia which illustrates:
– Our role in PNG, by way of teaching materials, curriculum documents, test papers, etc. These are the higher priority.
– Photos of the civic patrols undertaken by various centres.
– Photographs illustrating teaching activities, classroom photos, excursions, etc.
– Photos illustrating social/sporting interactions with PIR soldiers.
Timeframe: tight! We need to get material to the AAIM Curator by 31 July 2019.
If you have anything which you think may contribute to our story in PNG, please contact us! Even a photo will be great, but we would like to hear from you. We need photos to tell a story. They need to be documented with names, dates and places.
The material you provide can be as a donation, or if you prefer a loan to the Museum – and duly noted as such.
Please give us a call before you send anything! No matter how small an item may be, please send us a photo. If you’re going to send a photo, please make sure they focus on our role – the Chalkies!
Please note: carvings, kill-sticks, stone axes, etc. or photos of a personal nature will not be accepted by the Museum.
Garry and Steve
sugaz.screen@gmail.com steve.b@internode.on.net

 CHALKIES PUBLICATION now available
Chalkies cover FINAL Aug To view details including purchase information, click https://www.nashospng.com/the-chalkies-educating-an-army-for-independence

Comment from Neville Browne regarding WO1 Frederick Wilson

I thought that readers would be interested to know that WO1 Frederick Alexander Wilson will be placed on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial on 11 November 2014.

He will be in the section known as the Roll of Honour Operational Service panel “Papua New Guinea, 1947 -1975″

This has been confirmed to me by the AWM. Another eleven men will also be added.

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Plaque at the Australian War Memorial commemorating those soldiers who died in TPNG including WO1 Wilson

Former members of the RAAEC who served in TPNG during their National Service 1966-72 have joined with like-minded former soldiers, to record the history of those times, highlighting the events in PNG that occurred in parallel with the Vietnam War. In the process of collecting the history and meeting up with former colleagues both locally and in PNG, a recent photographic collection has been made. This mainly centres on reunions, trips to PNG, ANZAC marches, military lunches and Corps visits connected with the RAAEC and PNG.
The primary purpose of these functions is to record and preserve the history of the 1966-73 eras. A secondary object is to meet up with like-minded people whose lives were changed by the National Service Ballot, which in our case, was probably for the better. A pictorial history on Facebook documents our most recent efforts in this matter.https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nashos-PNG/353510488016281If you HAVE a Facebook account, ‘liking’ this facebook page means any updates will appear in your timeline.

New statistics about membership are listed below

CHALKIE LOCATIONS IN PNG 1966 – 1973

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Port Moresby – Murray Barracks, Taurama Barracks and Goldie River
Lae – Igam Barracks
Wewak – Moem Barracks and Vanimo

Summary of MEMBERSHIP as at October 2012, August 2013, November 2015 and December 2017

As part of our endeavours to find as many National Servicemen who served in Papua New Guinea during 1966 to 1972, we have a spreadsheet that contains a list of names of those we have found as well as many names given to us by National Servicemen who we are still trying to contact. In all, there were 254 (Oct 12), 299 (Aug 13), 377 (Nov 15) and 355 (Dec 17) names in our list of which we appear to have contact with 117 (Oct 12), 160 (Aug 13), 208 (Nov 15) and 228 (Dec 17).
The following statistics are fairly rubbery in that much of the data is incomplete and contains details from both lists (contacted and uncontacted National Servicemen) but still gives us an indication of where we are at in our quest.

Barracks where we served
  Oct 12 Aug 13 Nov 15 Dec 17
Goldie 29 35 49 49
Igam 12 23 48 41
Moem 31 55 74 72
Murray 68 89 104 94
Taurama 49 55 65 53
Others 0 0 6 6
State of Enlistment
  Oct 12 Aug 13 Nov 15 Dec 17
NSW 63 82 114 112
QLD 36 47 57 52
SA 11 19 29 27
VIC 53 77 112 94
WA 20 31 35 35
TAS 0 3 5 4
First year of contact with PNG
  Oct 12 Aug 13 Nov 15 Dec 17
1965 1 1 1 1
1966 21 26 30 29
1967 24 38 53 51
1968 16 28 52 50
1969 36 44 56 54
1970 31 37 56 54
1971 9 31 49 54
1972 9 12 31 30

5 Comments

  1. Thanks to all the Chalkies who have registered with Nasho Fair Go. We’re going to work our backsides off to get reparation for the two years that conscription took from us. Please spread the word. We also need relatives and friends as Supporters. Cheers. Geoff

  2. I served as a NASHO chalkie in Murray Barracks during 1971-72. I worked as the secretary to the Director of Army Education (acting warrant officer). Would love to be keep in the loop about any info communication etc. I only now found this web site and FB page.

  3. Thank you for the stories. My dad was in the army and retired in 2000. Things were better then when I was growing up in Moem, Goldie and Igam.

    • I was in Madang PNGVR and posted to Murray Bks, and was on Exercises in Igam Bks, and Weapons training at Goldie River. We also began a weekend exercise from Goldie to the KOKODA Track… 2 days and we only climbed and descended 1 mountain! (and back of course!)

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