Lest We Forget

My mother tells me my grandfather was one of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

That’s all I know of the story so far, apart from what is in the Australian War Memorial Records, and written by the army or historians.

There is so much history that could have been written but might forever be lost.

So we search for fragments in the often faded memories of those relatives who spoke to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

Must we then imagine their stories from these spoken fragments, public records, and photographs, where so many faces seem to be from the village of my grandfather.

Will some historians who want written records, and identify verification from the photographs, discount our hand-me-down fragments and pieced together tales?

I am touched when a friend of mine says her grandfather was an Australian on that trails.

Maybe our grandfathers met each other.

We will never now.

Malolo was a Fuzzy Wuzzy angel.

He was my bubu (grandfather)

Lest we Forget.


For more information

https://www.awm.gov.au (photographs in the public domain)






Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels


Many a mother in Australia
when the busy day is done
Sends a prayer to the Almighty
for the keeping of her son
Asking that an angel guide him
and bring him safely back
Now we see those prayers are answered
on the Owen Stanley Track

For they haven’t any halos
only holes slashed in their ears
And their faces worked by tattoos
with scratch pins in their hair
Bringing back the badly wounded
just as steady as a horse
Using leaves to keep the rain off
and as gentle as a nurse

Slow and careful in the bad places
on the awful mountain track
The look upon their faces
would make you think Christ was black
Not a move to hurt the wounded
as they treat him like a saint
It’s a picture worth recording
that an artist’s yet to paint

Many a lad will see his mother
and husbands see their wives
Just because the fuzzy wuzzy
carried them to save their lives
From mortar bombs and machine gun fire
or chance surprise attacks
To the safety and the care of doctors
at the bottom of the track

May the mothers of Australia
when they offer up a prayer
Mention those impromptu angels
with their fuzzy wuzzy hair.

By Bert Beros

Can be found at http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/asfaras/angels.html


Yarning with Bubu

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This is my youngest son’s interview with his Bubu (grandparent)


Hello Bubu.  I am doing a project about my family history.
Can you help?

What do you want to know about your project?

I am studying my family tree for school
And we have your father and mother’s name.

I can only go back as far as my grandmother.  I am doing some research on this.

Ok then what is her name?

My grandfather on my mother’s side name was Ako Gope I think, and my father’s side was Oake Apepe.
My grandmother was Fala Ekelakoa but my
Father’s side I don’t remember.
But I think it was Wagua.

Do you have photos that you could send me?

No dear sorry
I don’t have any photos at all of my grand parents
Oh wait, we do have one of my Dad.

I am looking through photos that Mark  Mosco and anthropoloist took.
Mark might be the best person to ask.

What are your siblings names, and do you know their dates of birth.

I don’t have their birthday dates because all of the records got destroyed when the mission house got burnt down.

My big sister’s name was Mary Gope.
My brother’s name was Paul Apepe.
My little sister’s name is Dorother Pinofaeoa.


Now I remember my grandmother’s name on my father’s side. Her name was Pinofaeoa Wagua.
My little brother’s name is Bonaventure Aua.
But he calls himself Peter.
Your great grand father’s name was Petro Malolo.
I have their children’s names but I lost the list so I have to ask family to send me the list again.

All the old people are dead now so it will be very hard for me to do my family tree research but I will try.

I  have to do some cultural background research from all of my family culture. I might need some artifacts..

Your mum has a head dress photo and grass skirts.

Does the family have a totem?

The Bird of paradise is our clan’s totem.
Black Salmon is another.
The pattern that Salmon makes on the rock going up Akaifu River is one of the patterns we use to colour the grass skirts in our clan.
Red is the main colour in our clan.
Woven arm and leg bands are worn by women and men
Fresh flowers and ferns are worn on the bodies.

Is it a specific bird of paradise?

Yes, it is Ragiana
The red bird of paradise on my FB page on Uncle Bill’s engraved stone.

What is the tribe’s name?

Maipa Fakai.

The artifacts that I have are a synthetic string bag, a Papua New Guinean flag, a shirt that you gave Dad with all the PNG flags on it.

We might have two grass skirts but we are still looking for them and we might have a picture of your village.

Do the Mekeo people have a flag?

No but someone is working on it

 Thanks Bubu

Learning Culture


Bubu teaching her granddaughters to dance with the help of her daughter in law.

This was a special family night that doesn’t happen very often as we live so far away.

This was 2010, in Tasmania.

Bubu takes great pride in teaching dance and beading.

I will write more about this night another time, perhaps as a poem or some prose.

My youngest son’s yarn with Bubu is on its way so you can find out more about her.