Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Postcards from Daulo Pass


Coming back to Goroka and Eastern Highlands province last Saturday was for legendary kiap (patrol officer) Bob Cleland, like arriving at a place he’d never quite left.
 Cleland was feted like royalty the moment he stepped onto the tarmac in Goroka – the Land of Eternal Spring – on which he first set foot on 59 years ago in 1953.
Asaro mudmen and other Eastern Highlands dancers welcomed him back to Goroka, and he was greeted by senior provincial government officials including outgoing provincial administrator MunareUyassi, as blind children from the Mt Sion School for the Blind outside Goroka sang that famous and movingGoroka anthem “Welcome to Goroka”.
As “Welcome to Goroka, the land of Nokondi, from Daulo Pass across to Kassam Pass…” reverberated through the perennial springtime climate, one could almost feel the majestic mountains surrounding Goroka rise in salute to this great man.
The irony is that he helped to build roads over both the Daulo and Kassam passes.
Cleland, now aged 81, was clearly overwhelmed by the welcome.
After lunch at the Bird of Paradise Hotel, we took a drive along the Highlands Highway to the summit of Daulo Pass, which Cleland supervised building of as a 22-year-old kiapin 1953.
All along the way, from Goroka through the great Asaro Valley and the ascent to Daulo Pass, he pointed out places of interest and recalled memories of another day from more than 50 years ago.
At the summit of Daulo Pass, he checked out old landmarks, pointed out landmark sections of the road, and gazed down at the magnificent panorama of the Asaro Valley.
The Goroka policemen who provided us escort couldn’t help but listen spellbound as Cleland told them about how he supervised the building of the stretch from Asaro Bridge through Daulo Pass and on to Watabung using local labour.
Enjoy the pictures of our visit to Daulo Pass:
Looking down to the great Asaro Valley from Daulo Pass last Saturday.All Pictures@MALUM NALU

Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all, the world thy hand has made...

Take my breath away

The panorama from Daulo Pass last Saturday that took my breath away. This is truly God's country! Why are we messing things up for ourselves?

Bob Cleland checking out the road he built in 1953.

The road that Bob built!

Our police mate keeps watch

"This land is your land, this land is my land." Bob Cleland admires the panorama of the great Asaro Valley from the top of Daulo Pass.

Bob Cleland, me and our police escort on Daulo Pass. I truly like like I was the prime minister of PNG with our special police escort!

Postcard from Daulo Pass of Bob Cleland and me last Saturday. I really enjoyed the trip and have a great story to write, with great pictures. Thank you to Tom Soles, Gideon Samuel and the Goroka show committee for making this trip possible. Thank you to everyone in Goroka and Eastern Highlands for supporting us. That's why Bob and I both call Goroka and Eastern Highlands "home", because that's where our hearts are!



Our vehicle and a police escort on Daulo Pass

Part of the road on Daulo Pass

Goroka policemen listen spellbound to Bob Cleland, who supervised building of the Asaro-Watabung section of the Highlands Highway in 1953, on top of Daulo Pass last Saturday.

A view from Daulo Pass last Saturday.

I always enjoy the Daulo Pass drive.

The long and winding road.

I'm running out of superlatives to describe this scene!


View from Daulo Pass last Saturday evening.

Mordern communication is there right on top of Daulo Pass.

Evening traffic on Daulo Pass last Saturday evening.

Right on the summit of Daulo Pass, Eastern Highlands, there are transmission towers, so while there last Saturday, I was able to transmit immediately to Facebook on my laptop.

It's good to be back home again...Bob Cleland on the summit of Daulo Pass last Saturday

This is Bob Cleland and me on the freezing cold summit of Daulo Pass, Eastern Highlands, last Saturday afternoon.The legendary former kiap, Highlands Highway builder and writer, 81, supervised building of the Daulo stretch between Asaro and Watabung in 1953, as a 23-year-old kiap. Cleland's book Big Road describes the initial construction by hand, in 1953 and 1954, of the Daulo section of the road, which runs over the 2,478m Daulo Pass and which gives access westward to the great Waghi Valley. The big road was neither designed nor built by engineers but by patrol officers, or kiaps, with local villagers using only picks, shovels and thousands of hours of backbreaking labour. Bob Cleland was also involved in the first Goroka Show in 1956 and designed the Eastern Highlands provincial flag. He was given a hero's welcome when we arrived in Goroka last Saturday.

Roundhouse on the summit of Daulo Pass with its well-fed sentinel.

A hamlet right on the freezing-cold summit of Daulo Pass last Saturday.

View from Daulo Pas towards Watabung and Chimbu province last Saturday evening.

Roundhouse and the summit of Daulo Pass with two VIPs.

Flowers of Daulo Pass. These sell for K5 each and are meant to be fitted on your bumper.

Flower power on Daulo Pass.

PMV bus heading towards Goroka from Mt Hagen.

Bob Cleland meets an old timer on Daulo Pass who still remembers him.

The 'Flower Children' of Daulo Pass are part of this iconic part of PNG. I didn't see that many last Saturday, just this little girl on the summit of the pass.

Highlands Highway on the summit of Daulo Pass last Saturday evening.

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