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ORGANISATION - From the Minutes:
The inaugural meeting of the PNGPA was held at Gusap, along with a small carnival, on 21st July 1974. Those present were - B & B Jephcott, R Simmons, N Challis, Bob Ward, DJ Leahy, J Leahy, C Jurd, P Best, E Black, J Robertson, L Bell, D Haig, W Fullarton, B Duffield, W Johnstone, G Dickfos, N Latimer, N Bromley, Drs. Morton and Miller, Waubi, Binglei.
Bruce Jephcott was elected President, Bob Simmons - Secretary, and Marg. Challis - Treasurer. Fees were set at $5 for Players and $2 for non-playing members. The first official carnival was to be held in Lae on 24-25 August 1974.
The first Australian to assist was Peter Eaton from Queensland. While on business, he attended a gathering at Yonki, at which he advised he would organise a team to come from Queensland to come to PNG. He also suggested that a PNG team be invited to play at Warwick and the Gold Coast in May/June 1976. We would be flying high as the Gold Coast was hosting the Australian National Titles.
At the AGM for 1975 held at Arona in June, the members took a more serious interest in the executive, nominating several for each position. The result of the voting; Bruce Jephcott as President, Alison Best as Secretary and Marg Challis as Treasurer. Zone Vice-Presidents were elected. They were, Lae - Cliff Jurd, Markham/Ramu - Phil Best, Goroka - Dan Leahy, and Mt. Hagen - Jim Wellwood. A later Committee meeting decided to send a team to the National Titles, also Delegates to the First International Conference. The Association would sponsor the best National player, and Dumpu Pastoral Company would sponsor two of its players. The National Titles were held in Goroka. The rotation of carnivals between the three major Clubs was in place. PNG polocrosse was well established.
From 1976 onwards, the Annual General Meetings became more formal. Discussion included insurance, affiliation with the Australian Polocrosse Association, and later with the International Polocrosse Association, international tours and visiting teams. Bruce Jephcott became a Vice- President of the IPA, along with Peter Taylor (New Zealand, David Campbell (Rhodesia) and John Hulley (South Africa). Bruce resigned as President of NGPA in 1977 with Bruce Duffield taking his place. Aileen Leahy was a very efficient Secretary from 1976-79. The position of Secretary and Treasurer were combined.
Fund raising for various tours, along with uniforms, travel arrangements, billeting and entertainment for visitors led to long discussions as PNG sent teams overseas almost annually, and teams from overseas frequently visited PNG. The first team to visit us was from Queensland, and in 1976 we were the venue for the first Australian team to go overseas. The Australian President Max Walters became our first official visiting umpire coach for the National Titles at Dumpu in 1977 at which eleven teams played. At an executive meeting at Dumpu, Max Walters apologised for the horses lent to our team in Queensland in 1976. The long saga of horses for visiting teams was not solved for many years. We provided the best available, everyone lending their best horses.
From a happy one or two hour meeting over a drink, and one page of Minutes, the AGM and even Committee meetings, took nearly a day and many pages of minutes. As more C and D Grade, Lady and Junior Players joined the game, the organising of carnivals and the National Titles became more complex. Fund raising for overseas tours became a subject for serious discussion. The raffling of a utility and gambling nights were important sources of funds.
In 1977 and 1978, the Constitution was discussed, at too much length. It was revised to suit the larger Association.
Madang Horse Club started to play polocrosse. Bob Simmons and Arthur Jones decided to give them some coaching. Arthur stayed overnight at Dumpu. After re-fueling his Range Rover, he backed quickly down the drive with the door open. The door was soon propped up in a tree. A visit to the Dumpu workshop restored the door to the vehicle, and somewhat delayed, the intrepid coaches proceeded to Madang. Jock Nelson became the Madang councillor and most enthusiastic player, but the Madang Club was short-lived.
The 1978 season was disrupted by an outbreak of cattle tick in the lower Markham Valley. Quarantine measures prevented horses and of course cattle from leaving or entering the area. Lae was unable to hold carnivals or take their horses to other carnivals. Ramu and Goroka players lending horses to the Lae polocrosse players solved the latter. We also managed to find enough horses for a visiting Northern Territory team to play in the National Titles. They won the B Grade, and the trophy disappeared to the N.T.