Flashback: 50 years ago today first fly’n’build in SPD

Can you believe it's been 50 years since the first official Division sponsored fly and build trip in the Pacific?

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The Ramaga team. Photo taken in January 1967.

On this day, December 21, exactly 50 years ago (1966) a group of some 35 plus young people from Australia and New Zealand left Sydney on a flight to Papua New Guinea. It was the first South Pacific Division* sponsored fly’n’build project. The team helped to build a school at Ramaga in Milne Bay Province, PNG.

“The five-week project was a great success,” said Aaron Jeffries, who posted this reminisce on his Facebook page. “It was also the beginning of an exciting venture that has been multiplied many times in Papua New Guinea, the Pacific and countries outside of our Division, giving young people an opportunity to serve and experience their first taste of mission service.”

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DC3 flight from Port Moresby to Gurney, Milne Bay Province. Side-saddle seating, no insulation or A/C and unpressurised.
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Pastor Clem Christian keeping out of the sun.
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Our tender ready to take us from the ship to the shore with Harold Edwards, Ken Read, Greg Parr and John Morris.
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Gurney Airstrip.
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Sabbath afternoon walk with Pastors George Rollo and Clem Christian.
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The local concreting team. There was no sand at Ramaga. All the sand was dug and bagged at Gesila Island then brought on the mission ship to Ramaga.
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Gesila Island.
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The gravel team taking a well-deserved break—with Myska Zemljich and Nyron Chick.
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One of the beaches on Gesila Island.
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The local workers having morning tea.
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Mrs Howell with the camp outdoor oven.
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Reg Morgan testing his strength!
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The New Zealand painting team.
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Pastor George Rollo saying goodbye as we left Gesila Island.
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Mission ship Vinaritokae. It was a two and-a-half hour cruise from Gurney to Ramaga in Milne Bay.
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“The completed project as we sailed back to Gurney to catch our plane to Port Moresby. The school building is on the left and the two dormitories, with shower blocks and toilets, and the kitchen are on the right.”—Aaron Jeffries

*Note: Story above refers to the South Pacific Division, but the current SPD was at the time of this mission trip called the Australasian Division.

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