Interview with Phil Bradley

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JT  How do you feel Papuans think of wrecks and their place in their country's history?


PB   Most of the Papuans and New Guineans I met have an understanding of the significance of the wrecks, but it is rare that they see much beyond that. Generally the wrecks are allowed to grow over with vegetation and when I mention it may be worth keeping them in good condition, they are generally uninterested.

However the more people who see them and hire local guides, the more they may start to realise their value. The bigger problem may be the government who on the face of it appear to want to have some of the wrecks restored such as the A-20 Boston, but you just know that a few years after they get their hands on it again it will be a wreck again or vandalised.

But one is always open to surprise - only last week I read of a Jap tank near Rabaul being moved by road contractors and the local government insisting it be put back in it�s original location.

There is also talk of having Yamamoto�s Betty bomber covered over with a shelter to help preserve it. But the tropical atmosphere will ultimately consume everything. I stepped inside a Betty on Ballalae and had my foot go through the floor- the metal was paper thin - it hardly scratched my leg.

Yamamoto's Seat from G4M1 Betty
(formally) displayed at PNG Museum


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