Bob Blaikie's photographs

(click on images to enlarge)

bbla1949_markham_patrol.jpg bbla1951_kaiapit.jpg bbla1952_dc3_kaiapit.jpg bbla1960_tari.jpg

1st picture: This is a shot of patrol party in a village in the Markham Valley, Morobe District. I was on a patrol accompanying ADO Gus O'Donnell to the headwaters of the Markham River - the Umi and Ufim Rivers in early 1949. We were about to set out from the floor of the valley before going into the mountains. There had been a series of murders and we were on our way to investigate. The area was extremely rough and had had little if any contact.

2nd picture: This is The Residence, Patrol Post, Kaiapit in the Morobe District. Taken some time in late 1951 or maybe in 1952. My dog 'Spot' on the steps.

3rd picture: In 1952 I was P.O. in charge at Kaiapit in the Markham valley, Morobe District. One Saturday afternoon I was informed that a MAL DC3 was flying direct from Port Moresby to pick up some labourers who had been recruited in the Markham. I heard the aircraft approaching and went down to the airstrip to watch it land. It approached towards me and touched down and quite quickly I could see that it was veering off to the right and eventually it went off the strip and ended up as you see it in this photograph. I raced up to the aircraft and could see it was captained by Tom Deagon the MAL Chief Pilot. He was extremely agitated as he did not know what caused the incident or how badly the aircraft was damaged. Turned out that the starboard tyre had gone flat in the air after leaving Port Moresby unknown to the crew. This was what made it veer off the strip. The nose of the DC was barely touching the ground and no damage was done. It was held in the nose down position by the propellers being stuck in the relatively soft soil. The aircraft was empty except for a few bags of mail and PO Jack Erskine who opened the rear door to get out and might have been injured had he got out that way it was so high above the ground. That afternoon a MAL Dove flew from Lae with the chief engineer and others and with a spare DC3 wheel. We left the plane the overnight and next morning threw a rope around the tail and dug the propellers out. We counterbalanced the pull of the rope by stacking people in the cockpit and took them out one by one until a balance was struck and we could pull the plane down safely. After the engineers carefully checked the aircraft I flew back with it to Lae. A bit of a nail biting trip. The photograph is of the co-pilot sticking his head out of the cockpit.

4th picture: This is The Residence, Sub District Office, Tari, Southern Highlands, 1960. I was posted there as ADO Tari from 1960 to 1962.

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