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Duff, Paul: Papua New Guinea (c.1949)


This silent colour 8mm home movie footage was filmed by Paul Duff during his years working for the Australian Petroleum Company in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The footage depicts the work of the company and the work-related life of some of the Australians living there. It also includes scenes of villages and missions near where the company worked.

Curator’s notes

Paul Duff moved to PNG in the late 1940s where he was employed by the APC. He lived there for 12 years until the company abandoned its oil and gas exploration in 1960. Duff’s camera meanders over the landscape of PNG and briefly includes scenes of his domestic life, but mostly it is a survey of Duff’s work for the APC. For those not interested in oil exploration or mining in the region, this nearly three-hour compilation of footage may appear incredibly dull. However, the individuality of home movies comes precisely from the distinctive perspectives of their makers. This is a unique record of Australia’s interests in the natural resources of our Asia-Pacific neighbours, decades away from the finding of vast reserves of oil in the 1980s.