Melanesian Wantok Showcase – Art and Music


Melanesian Wantok Showcase

Limited edition prints, paintings and bliums, a collection of art at the Redlands performance Art Centre, Queensland.

I am proud to announce that a collection of my artwork (art, textiles and pencil drawing) will be in a community art exhibition to celebrate the Melanesian Wantok Showcase. This exhibition opens in the Redland Performing Art Centre in Cleveland tomorrow. The music concert and will be on September 17, featuring musicians from Papua New Guinea and other Melanesian countries.

Contemporary Textile Art – Papua New Guinea

J.K.Leahy Textile. A contemporary interpretation of the traditional tapa cloth printed on cotton. 2017.

Kalem – Warrior Woman fashion. Designed by J.K.Leahy. A selection of leather handbags and silk dresses on exhibition with natural fibre woven bags in Wantok Melanesian Showcase. Redland Performing Art Centre, Queensland.

Pen and Ink Drawings – Dr Pomasiu Lawes

This is the first time ever artist Dr Pomasiu Lawes will be showing his pen and ink drawings. This blog will feature some of these artwork and stories that accompany each one, in the near future.

 

A taste of Melanesia in Cleveland

Head along to Redland Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) for a night of Melanesian music and culture when WANTOK Musik performs on Sunday 17 September, on the weekend of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Independence. This showcase celebration is a partnership in community cultural development with the Quandamooka Festival and is an exciting opportunity to experience a coming together of Quandamooka and Melanesian communities, artists and musicians.

The evening will feature a fabulous line-up of contemporary and traditional Melanesian musicians.  George Telek from PNG will headline the concert, bringing his signature blend of contemporary and traditional Melanesian rhythms to the RPAC stage. Telek will be joined by Charles Maimarosia from the Solomon Islands who will astound you with his talent on the pan pipes, Tio from Vanuatu with his amazing vocals, ukulele, guitar and violin skills, and Ben Hakalitz from PNG who will bring 30 years of musical experience and amazing technique on the drums to the night of celebration. They will be joined by a number of other musicians from PNG and West Papua, for an amazing night of indigenous music and culture.

There will also be the opportunity to enjoy some Melanesian food on the RPAC Piazza, and browse the art and craft display in the Concert Hall Foyer, to complete your night of Melanesian indulgence. This art and craft display curated by PNG artist/curator Joycelin Leahy in partnership with RPAC’s Elaine Seeto will be open to the public throughout the month of September, to give you more opportunity to enjoy the pieces on display. The exhibition opens tomorrow (September 4).

Don’t miss this coming together of Melanesian, Quandamooka and wider Redland communities at RPAC Sunday 17 September at 6.30pm.  Tickets are $30 and can be booked via www.rpac.com.au or by calling the RPAC Box Office on 3829 8131 (booking fees are $4.10 by phone and $5 online per transaction).

31 thoughts on “Melanesian Wantok Showcase – Art and Music”

  1. My apologies for taking so long in getting back to you on Frank Alcorta’s story. I printed it out to read, but then got caught up in preparing for Hurricane Irma who appears to want to take over Florida.
    Thank is one incredible story!! I am so glad you took the time to get it to me! He will surely be in my thoughts on the dates mentioned and i will definitely be on the lookout for those books mentioned – I do want to know more about this man.
    By coincidence, I recently picked up a book called :Murdoch’s World” but haven’t read it yet. I’m curious to find out if Alcorta is mentioned in it. If he isn’t, it’s their loss.
    Thank you once again!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You can put it here in the comments. I moderate the comments to use it as an email. I can easily delete it after I read it/copy and paste it/or print it. I would very much like to read it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s long. Written by a friend of mine, Rob Parer. It has chopped off the article and pictures unfortunately. Here is what is left.
        The Battle of Long Tan is remembered each year in Australia on 18th August.

        Am going to Post something about Frank Alcorta on Facebook “ Aitape “ as have 2,400 members mostly in PNG & lots of them are ex students of Aitape High School where Frank taught in 1972/3.About the only service for the people of PNG that has improved is the mobile phone coverage.The people of Aitape now have no air service nor shipping service.Even 8 years ago there were six flights a week by 10 seater aircraft and regular shipping service for cargo & separate passenger ferry.So no newspapers nor safe mail delivery.Tragic,but they are so nice as just accept things & even vote in the same members of Parliament.Hard to understand isn’t it ?.

        TO POST on ‘ AITAPE “.
        Not many Aitape people knew that one of the teachers at Aitape High School in 1972/3 was an Australian War Hero.He was Frank Alcorta, with his wife Arantxa & two little girls and he never mentioned to me that he had been recommended for a Victoria Cross in the Vietnam War 1966.Then at the end of the school year 1973 he told me he was going to trek right across PNG from Vanimo to Daru.He wrote a book “ A Trip to the Stone Age “ about his lone expedition across PNG.” The first solo expedition across PNG “.He was an accomplished author & went on to write more books in various fields.And he was the Press Secretary to the Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Everingham. He went on to become Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd senior political correspondent for NT.It was many years later when I heard that Arantxa had died that I was able to find him & we caught up again by email.It was then I looked up his 6 RAR Battalion’s Newsletter & saw all about his amazing war record.He was described as “ A legendary veteran of the Battle of Long Tan “ with two operations by the Australian Army in Iraq named after him.
        One of the most well-known Australian engagements of the Vietnam War was the Battle of Long Tan,18 August 1966.It is remembered each year on 18th August.The battle saw the action of 108 Anzacs against a Viet Cong (North Vietnamese) force estimated between 2,500 and 3,000.
        The Battle of Long Tan and the Vietnam War | australia.gov.au
        http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/battle-of-long-tan
        I posted this in 2013 on Keith Jackson & Friends PNG Attitude when Frank was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.

        The many splendid lives of the legendary Frank Alcorta

        ROB PARER

        27 January 2013

        Frank Alcorta OAMYESTERDAY’S AUSTRALIA DAY AWARDS made amends for the long overdue recognition of a great Australian.

        Francis Xavier (Frank) Alcorta has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to veterans and their families and to journalism.

        I write this tribute to Frank in the hope that the Australian public may learn about this unique man, who I first came to know and respect when he was teaching at Aitape High School in the West Sepik in 1973-74.

        It is very difficult to do justice to Frank’s life as it has been so diverse. In each facet he has reached seemingly impossible goals.

        When I first met him, Frank had arrived in Australia without much English or money from the Basque region of Spain. He cut cane and worked in the outback, fought in Vietnam and then ended up in PNG.

        His modesty meant that he never told me about his exploits in Vietnam; I only discovered years later when I found articles from his Battalion newsletter.

        I was astounded when I read his war record and saw that his company commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mollison, had recommended him for a Victoria Cross.

        Lt Col Mollison wrote:

        Frank on the way back from VietnamFrank Alcorta is the bravest man I have ever met. It was a privilege to have served with him and it is a monumental miscarriage of justice that he was not the recipient of several bravery awards. Cumulatively, his bravery deeds warranted a VC but all he got was an MID. Two things mitigated against Frank Alcorta being suitably recognised.

        The first is that I was no longer commander of A Coy and the second was that, when we attempted to submit commendations towards the end of our tour, we were told not to bother as the whole ―quota for the Task Force had been awarded to soldiers in other units.

        The same thing happened again after the Battle of Bribie in February 1967 and after a few other battles and contacts. He was awarded a Mention in Despatches during Operation Vaucluse in September 1966 while acting platoon commander 2 Platoon, 6th battalion RAR.

        Frank first went to PNG as a patrol officer (Kiap) but he decided to take to teaching, becoming a high school teacher at Aitape.

        In 1974 Frank made his unique, epic and unaided lone crossing of PNG. Much lesser stunts in PNG have captured the attention of the world, made people famous and led to books being written about them.

        After returning to Australia, he obtained degrees and became a lecturer at Charles Darwin University.

        A Trip to the Stone AgeAfter his academic role, Frank carved out an outstanding new career as a journalist for Rupert Murdoch’s Northern Territory News and found the time to write some excellent books, He also became known as one of the Territory’s great characters.

        Frank’s books include Explore Australia’s Northern Territory (now in its sixth edition), The Darwin Rebellion (documenting the rise of labour movement in northern Australia), Australia’s Frontline: the Northern Terrritory’s War and A Trip To The Stone Age, the fascinating account of his arduous expedition across PNG in 1973-74.

        He retains outstanding loyalty and love for his adopted country, Australia

        Keith Jackson & Friends PNG Attitude.

        COMMENT by Rob Parer 11 Nov 2016

        ABC News TUE NOV 08 2016.Battle of Long Tan soldiers ‘finally’ awarded bravery medals 50 years on.

        http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-08/battle-of-long-tan-soldiers-awarded-bravery-medals-50-years-on/8005708?pfmredir=sm

        So typical of Francis Xavier Alcorta OAM,MG not to let me know he was to be presented his MG in Canberra from the GG.The Medal for Gallantry has only had 56 awarded since it was introduced.
        He had warned me many times that he didn’t want any more stuff from his past brought up again.I had organised his amazing life story to be portrayed in ” Australian Story ” but by the look of it will have to wait until he falls off the perch,which by the toughness of this guy will be many years after I have gone.

        “Ten Australian soldiers have been recognised for their bravery more than 50 years after they fought in the Vietnam War’s Battle of Long Tan.

        On 18 August, 1966, members of D Company, who were outnumbered 20 to one, fought against the odds to defeat the Viet Cong.

        About 245 Viet Cong were killed in the rubber plantation and 18 Australians were killed and more were wounded.

        But for half a century many of the men received no official recognition of their courage, despite sustained campaigning for recognition.

        Presenting them with their bravery awards, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove told them they were brave, dedicated and professional.”

        Posted by: Rob Parer | 11 November 2016.

        13 August 2016
        After 50 years the legendary Frank Alcorta is to receive gallantry award.
        Frank AlcortaROBERT PARER CMG MBE

        THREE years ago Francis Xavier (Frank) Alcorta was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to veterans and their families and to journalism.

        But this week it was announced that he was to be awarded a long overdue national honour for what was an episode of extraordinary bravery in a lifetime of astonishing achievement.

        The Australian Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal released its recommendations for gallantry awards for 11 soldiers who fought in the epic Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam 50 years ago next Thursday. Frank was one of them.

        “There were three recommendations for a Medal of Gallantry – one for a deceased digger – and I am pleased as punch to inform you that I was one of them,” Frank told me.

        I first came to know and respect Frank when he was teaching at Aitape High School in the West Sepik in 1973-74.

        It is very difficult to do justice to Frank’s life as it has been so diverse. In each facet he has reached seemingly impossible goals.

        When I first met him, Frank had arrived in Australia without much English or money from the Basque region of Spain. He cut cane and worked in the outback, fought in Vietnam and then ended up in PNG.

        His modesty meant that he never told me about his exploits in Vietnam; I only discovered years later when I found articles from his battalion newsletter.

        I was astounded when I read his war record and saw that his company commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mollison, had recommended him for a Victoria Cross.

        Lt Col Mollison wrote:

        Frank Alcorta is the bravest man I have ever met. It was a privilege to have served with him and it is a monumental miscarriage of justice that he was not the recipient of several bravery awards.

        Cumulatively, his bravery deeds warranted a VC but all he got was an MID. Two things mitigated against Frank Alcorta being suitably recognised.

        The first is that I was no longer commander of A Coy and the second was that, when we attempted to submit commendations towards the end of our tour, we were told not to bother as the whole ―quota for the Task Force had been awarded to soldiers in other units.

        The same thing happened again after the Battle of Bribie in February 1967 and after a few other battles and contacts. He was awarded a Mention in Despatches during Operation Vaucluse in September 1966 while acting platoon commander 2 Platoon, 6th battalion RAR.

        Frank first went to PNG as a patrol officer (kiap) at Saidor,but he decided to take to teaching, becoming a high school teacher at Aitape.

        In 1974 Frank made a unique, epic and unaided lone crossing of PNG. Much lesser stunts in PNG have captured the attention of the world, made people famous and led to books being written about them.

        After returning to Australia, he obtained degrees and became a lecturer at Charles Darwin University.

        ” For about ten years I was senior lecturer and head of faculty in the Darwin Community College (now Charles Darwin University) before Rupert Murdoch seduced me into founding the Sunday Territorian together with a wonderful editor, Gary Shipway. I spent the next nine or ten years writing for the NT News, Sunday Territorian and The Australian “.

        After his academic role, Frank carved out an outstanding new career as a journalist for Northern Territory News and found the time to write some excellent books, He also became known as one of the Territory’s great characters.

        And now Frank and 10 of his comrades, after a long and frustrating campaign by their commanding officer Lt Col Harry Smith have been recognised for their heroism at the Battle of Long Tan, where – on 18 August 1966 in a Vietnamese rubber plantation – a small force of just over 100 Australian troops engaged and fought off a superior force of between 2,500 and 3,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers.

        Now Frank has been awarded the Medal for Gallantry, surely a crowning achievement on a life of such achievement and purpose.

        PHOTO taken at Harvey Bay when Rob Parer caught up with Frank after 40 years – He had not seen him since he left Aitape High School to walk across PNG from Vanimo to Daru.From there he went to Darwin & I had no idea what happened to him. Photo.Rob Parer,Lourdes ( Frank’s wife )& Frank.

        Battle of Long Tan soldiers ‘ finally ‘ awarded bravery medals 50 years on.NOV 08 2016

        Australian soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War’s Battle of Long Tan stand with Government General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
        PHOTOSoldiers, or their family members, accepted their bravery awards at Government House in Canberra.
        ABC NEWS: JESSE DORSETT

        https://blogs.crikey.com.au/northern/2016/11/07/remembrance-day-2016-northern-territory-perspective-speech-luke-gosling-member-solomon/

        Remembrance Day 2016 from a Northern Territory perspective. Speech by Luke Gosling, Member for Solomon NT.

        For years many Territorians were unaware of this side of Frank Alcorta, but they knew of his courage as a journalist who helped set up Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Territorian in 1986 and as a fighter for returned servicemen. In 2013 Frank received an OAM for his services to veterans and their families as well as to journalism.

        Share to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to LinkedIShare to Google+on/
        This is a slightly expanded version of the speech given by Luke Gosling, Member for Solomon to the House of Representatives, on Monday 7 November 2016.

        Mr Speaker, I thank the Member for Kingston for moving this Remembrance Day motion.Mr Speaker, I speak today as someone that has lost mates who died while serving and also as a son of a Vietnam veteran and as the grandson of a WWII veteran. Remembrance Day is an important opportunity to remember those who have gone before us.This week the Northern Territory will have great pride as one of our best known Vietnam vets, Frank Alcorta, is acknowledged for his role in the Battle of Long Tan.Frank was instrumental in getting the national Vietnam Veteran’s Day commemorated on the 18th of August each year which is the anniversary of the Battle. A ceremony at Government House tomorrow will see the long belated acknowledgement of the courage of the men of the 6 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment during the Battle of Long Tan. Frank was with Alfa Company travelling in Armored Personnel Carriers dispatched to assist D Company when it suddenly found itself in the midst of a couple of hundred Viet Cong. He was the only man sitting on top of an APC. He rolled off the vehicle and in an amazing act of bravery charged the enemy.Although Mentioned in Dispatches, his courage is finally being recognised with the Medal of Gallantry. I send my heartfelt congratulations to Frank and the other members of A Company who are in Canberra to receive well-deserved honours.

        For years many Territorians were unaware of this side of Frank Alcorta, but they knew of his courage as a journalist who helped set up Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Territorian in 1986 and as a fighter for returned servicemen. In 2013 Frank received an OAM for his services to veterans and their families as well as to journalism.On the walls in my Parliament House office is a famous photo taken in 1969 at the site of the Long Tan battle where a cross was raised in dedication to the 18 Australians who fell there. That photo was taken by journalist Don Hook, the father of Captain James Hook, himself a journalist currently based in the Middle East with the Australian Army. James is a Territorian who worked with Frank Alcorta on the Sunday Territorian along with NT News editor Jim Bowditch who served with Z Special Unit in WWII.

        Jim, a well-known lefty as Frank called him, was also a fighter for workers’ rights. In his life time he was awarded a Military Medal for bravery as well as two Walkley Awards. These interwoven lives and histories is part of what I love about the Northern Territory; the stories, the strength of character, people who made the Top End.

        Frank Alcorta told me he believes very strongly in the history of this great country which over the past 100 years has largely been shaped by the ANZAC tradition and its associated values – in Frank’s words, by “mateship, sacrifice, duty, love of country and a profound belief in freedom and democracy which makes us such an enviable society.”

        Mr Speaker, on Remembrance Day we honour those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

        This week we are also finally honour the bravery of D Company and men like Frank Alcorta.

        Mr Speaker, Remembrance Day is a time to remember the fallen, it is also a time to remember those left behind, the families and the children. In 2003 Frank Alcorta lost his dear wife of 40 years to cancer and, in his words, fell into despair.

        But on November 11th, Remembrance Day of that year 2003, a bunch of old mates, former Vietnam Veterans unbeknown to Frank travelled from Sunshine Coast of Qld to Bicheno a fishing village in Tasmania where Frank had taken Arantxa to care for her until she died.As Frank was at the Cenotaph they silently joined him & what a wonderful tribute to their old mate.The visit was organised by an old Regimental Sergeant Major and a great mate of Frank’s, Ross Smith OAM. These former comrades in arms helped Frank and, as he puts it, “ Restored a little sanity in my otherwise befuddled brain and heart.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I have made a copy. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to print this all out for me and sending it. I will read it shortly and come back to make a comment.
        Have a wonderful weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

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