Strategic Research Centres

Race against time to capture the "story" of PNG

Wed, 25 May 2011 09:16:00 +1000

Deakin University Senior Research Fellow with the Alfred Deakin Institute Dr Jonathan Ritchie believes Papua New Guinea is running out of time to capture its own story of nationhood.

Dr Ritchie will speak on the issue at Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Research Institute’s symposium on Papua New Guinea this Friday (May 27th).

“Every country has a story that allows people to understand how it ‘became’ a nation,” he said.
“In France and America it is their revolutions, for us its about how the Australian nation emerged from the bloodshed of Gallipoli.  

“Whether we agree with these interpretations or reject them, such stories serve as a convenient shorthand and give us symbols of a past of which many of us feel proud. “

Dr Ritchie said Papua New Guinea was now in the same situation.

“Papua New Guinea now needs its own story of how it became a nation,” he said.

“A national story which encapsulates the great challenges that have been faced and in many cases, overcome, as it reaches its first 50 years as a nation.”

Dr Ritchie said the national story could be built from the many tales of progress and achievement in PNG’s 50 year history.

“However there is real urgency to act,” he said.

“Many of the people involved in the independence era are passing from the scene and it is their  biographies and oral histories which will build the national story.”


Dr Jonathan Ritchie
Dr Jonathan Ritchie
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Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

17th May 2011