It was a Saturday morning, the day jobs were advertised in the Sydney Morning Herald. I scanned the ‘Positions Vacant’ and spotted ‘Wanted for Rabaul, book-keeper with Island Merchants, apply with written application today…’
‘Where is Rabaul?’ I asked Frank. ‘It’s the capital of New Guinea, I think,’ he said.
So began Ted Fulton’s lifelong love affair with Papua New Guinea, where he would spend most of the next forty years of his life as a gold miner, soldier and plantation owner. Arriving in Rabaul in his early twenties, he soon learnt that if he wanted to make his fortune, a job as a book keeper was not for him. After working a variety of jobs he eventually became a gold miner, before the second world war interrupted.
As a soldier, Ted fought in the middle east before returning to Papua New Guinea, where he was deployed behind enemy lines. When the war finished, he settled briefly back in Australia, before taking his wife and first child back to Rabaul, where he became a successful planter.
For any one with an interest in the Pacific and especially Papua New Guinea, this is a detailed account, told in a no-nonsense first person voice. Fulton is matter of fact about his recollections of the hardships of war and of life in remote jungle areas, leaving the reader to interpret some of the emotions those experienced must have engendered.
A wonderful insight into one man’s life and to the events of the times.
No Turning Back, by E. T. W. Fulton
Pandanus Books, 2005