Chatterton, Percy. 1974. Day that I have loved: Percy Chatterton’s Papua. Illustrations by Bert Brown. Foreword by Stuart Inder. Sydney: Pacific Publications.

Contents: 1) Hanuabada. Hanuabada is the closest Motu village to Port Moresby. Captain John Moresby had anchored near their in 1973 and later the same year Cook Island pastors and their wives settle at Hanuabada—the next year Rev. W.G. Lawes and wife and young son joined the Cook Islanders. In 1884 the Union Jack was raised at the village and Papua became a British Protectorate. Opposite the village in a near by harbor Port Moresby grew up. The Lieutenant-Governor at the time was Sir Hubert Murray. Chatterton learned Motu and often translated for the government officers. Some early ordinances were that the “natives” had to wear clothes on the upper parts of their bodies. He observed that he wondered if he was doing the right thing in teaching the young people to read and write, particularly when one forged the name of his employer and ended up in jail. VIPs from Government House often visited his school, to which they gave “benign approval” The system of village constables (VCs) was in place, each of whom had a badge and certain services that they rendered. However village councilors eventually took their place. Chatterton says that even in pre-War years “self-government in the church at village level was very real” (28); He notes that when the village men were willing to teach children certain traditional dances, it meant that they no longer took them very seriously themselves.

2) Delena—60 miles NW of POM and across from Yule Island, headquarters of the RC mission of the Sacred Heart.  First contact with the area was in 1846 by a Lieutenant Yule visited Hall Sound after raising the flag on Cape Possession. In 1871 LMS missionary Samuel McFarland visited Yule Island, intending to establish a mission station there with Cook Island pastors. Chalmers later decided on the mainland and over the next 75 years there were only four missionaries there, including Chatterton and his wife who began living there in 1939. From there he established and visited various stations throughout the area. Later the vernacular was allowed in the curriculum for “English had become a cargo cult…it was though [there] were secret words of power” in it (51). In late 1942 signal station was established at Delena and in 1949 the first-ever visit of the Governor-General of Australia took place.

3 Koke—on the outskirts of POM where they established a church and a residence. Chattertons left Delena in 1957 for POM. He notes (82) “Meanwhile the mispronunciations of indigenous names by expatriates goes on apace, all the way from the works supervisor shouting abuse at his labourers, to university dons introducing graduands to the Chancellor on graduation day.” In 1968 LMS was combined with the United Methodist church, but “I myself think that it was a mistake….all too often [it] means that the ‘uniting’ churches agree to use the same words and mean different things by them” (87). Comments on illicit drinking and the use of a ‘kava-like’ brew in the Western District and that “beer is here to stay; and the young nationalists who advocate a return to the Melanesian way of life and clamour for the rejection of customs introduced by white colonialists show no sign of rejecting this one” (89).

4) Politics: Chatterton retired in 1963 but began a political career that lasted for a number of years. He was first elected as a member from the ‘special electorates’, which was for 44 seats for the House of Assembly. Looking back he says “I realize that I expended a great deal of my energy fighting for lost causes” (94). He sponsored the Human Rights bill in 1971, later approved. He was a supporter of Josephine Abaijah, first female representative in the house and left the House for the last time in 1972. Abaijah was for the ‘Papua Besena’ or free Papua movement, wishing to see Australia take over the former British colony

5) The Melanesian Way—refers to the movements of “Paguinean nationalism” (117). The Papuan or Melanesian lifestyle of a subsistence economy has moved to a cash economy. “One of the chief characteristics of traditional Paguinean life was its element of discontinuity” and included activities like planting, harvesting, fishing, religion with its feast-dances, and the like (119). He felt that school children were being “stuffed” with knowledge they don’t want or need and should rather include “self-service schooling” (120). One of his friends said “The Old Testament shows us what we are like; the New Testament shows us what we ought to be like” (122). The Motu Bible was immediately sold out and needed a reprint.

6) View from a Hilltop.—refers to their new home that they moved to in 1972. However, Mrs Chatterton lived only a few months and then had to be cared for in the POM hospital. In March 1972 the UPNG conferred an honorary doctorate on him. He concluded his acceptance by saying: “The happiness we have found among the people of this land is in itself ample rewrd for anything we may have been able to do for them” (127).Index.

This book of personal recollections was written by a veteran London Missionary Society missionary (LMS), educator, and politician. Chatterton (1898-1984) and his wife began their work in “Papua” in 1924 and continued in the country until they died. The LMS was inter-denominational and a missionary outlet for the congregation churches of Britain, Australia and NZ (27). For a biography, see: Other helpful comments that relate to Chatterton are in the essay “Papua: Maybe old Percy was right after all” by Philip Fitzpatrick at:

Chatterton translated the Hiri Bible, wrote a dictionary and a book to help others learn Motu. I don’t think I ever met him but I did work with Bert Brown in the early 1970s. He was then living at Hanuabada at the LMS compound. Bert had a book written about him as well but, as far as I know, it was never published.