Wednesday, 11 June 2008


One's first solo flight...first storm at sea... first love affair... first ?. are all destined to lie deep in one's memory, never to be forgotten, but a first book is up there with all of the above. So it was with me today after hearing "Congratulations. You are now a published author" from my patient and ever helpful publisher, Diane Andrews who can be contacted at

Readers seeking a historically accurate and detailed account of what has become known as The Bougainville Conflict won't find it in Bougainville Blue. It's an allegory, a story based on what happened on Bougainville, when an avalanche of men and machinery descended on an island still recovering from being fought over by the armies of East and West in World War Two.

I was there as the clash between Bougainville and the Western World and its material values grew ever more violent. Others who were also there for the short, unhappy life of one of the biggest copper and gold mines ever built, may draw comparisons with the actual conflict which engulfed the island and its people during this time; but it was not my intention to depict actual individuals or historic events in the novel, and I have not done so.

Bougainville still lies in ruins with the hard-pressed and dysfunctional government of Papua New Guinea still unable to bring itself to accept the unwavering wish of the people of Bougainville to govern and control their island. Until this is accepted, and real control over the land and its mineral wealth is given to the people; to coin a phrase; the blue on Bougainville will continue.



A novel based on some of the events which occurred on this isolated tropical island after the arrival of thousands of strangers and an avalanche of heavy machinery.

Australian expatriate planter Richard Robinson and his wife Ruth lose their plantation after its forced resumption to build a new mining town.

Josip Nugui, the first of his people to go to Australia for an education; law student turned insurgent who tries to stop the mine and succeeds, at the cost of his own life.

Rod Burgoyne; American geologist and mine manager faces opposition led by Nugui which grows into armed rebellion.

Governments in New Guinea and Australia fail to cope with the industrial onslaught on one of the last almost untouched islands in the South Pacific.

Not a detailed historical account of what happened, and to whom, this is a work of fiction based on some of the actual events seen at first hand by the author when the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and the government of newly independent Papua New Guinea fought each other to a standstill; one of the biggest mines of its kind in the world was closed forever, and black and white alike were caught up in a whirlwind of anger and bloodshed which very nearly resulted in the permanent disintegration of the newborn nation of Papua New Guinea.


  1. Congratulations Brian! I've purchased my copy and told a couple of my Mortlock brothers in Madang. So I might be back for more copies. Hope the book sells well.


  2. I highly recommend "Bougainville Blue". It is well worth finding a copy and reading.

  3. I've finally got around to reading your book, Brian. A true-to-life account and the factual background is much appreciated. Indeed, as I read I had trouble distinguishing between fact and fiction. A great resource. Well done!

  4. Thanks Warwick and mauswara. The book is starting to sell. I'm getting quite a few emails from ex Bougainvilleans whose memories of that time when we were all there watching it happen have been triggered by something I wrote


  5. very interesting what you say about PNG