My Lae City nostalgia: Going back in time

Some of the best you shops were on this stretch (Thor May)

In its glory  days,  Lae was a beautiful city to live in.  Well planned, with a functioning city council and adequate funding,  it  rivaled Port Moresby  as an ideal destination to visit. 

Each suburb  had amenities and services  in close proximity. For instance, the Bumayong,  Igam, Unitech population  didn’t have to go to Top Town.  East Taraka was a main center for people in that part of the City.  East Taraka  had a cinema, a shopping center,  private doctor’s clinic and  a post office. 
There was a BMX bicycle track  along the stretch  between Unitech and Igam where kids hung  out.    

Bali news agent and sports store, current location of the Eight Six shop (Thor May)

Eriku had its own cinema  that played the latest movies every day and night.  On Saturdays, the best movies were played from midday onwards. Of course, there were strict rules for PG-rated and MA-rated  movies and the cinema attendants made sure unaccompanied minors  were removed at the end of a G-rated picture. 

Top Town also had a cinema.  It was a favorite because they sold popcorn as well and it was directly opposite  a line of shops that sold some of the best toys in the country imported directly from Australia.  Of course in those days, the kina was worth about the equivalent of the  Australian Dollar. 

The suburban roads were sealed and well maintained.  Rubbish was collected every week. The  Second Seven cemetery was well kept. The grass kept short and  the graves tended by the council. 
Next to the cemetery, the Telikom College  was one of the primary training institutions  of Papua New Guinea. It was where all the technical experts  in telecommunications  were trained and sent out to keep essential infrastructure running.  It was serious business and  outside of Australia and New Zealand,  Papua New Guinea was a leader in the Pacific in terms of telecommunications development and training. 

St. Mary’s Catholic church is still here (Thor May)

Lae was  called the Garden City, it was a child’s playground with well kept hedges,  flower gardens and neat footpaths wherever you walked.  The Botanical garden was unfenced.  Children  could wander in unaccompanied and enjoy the  ponds filled with fish or learn the names of trees on the metal plates attached to the stems of  trees.  The whole garden was a botanical wonderland of knowledge. 

Lae had two international schools and one International High School.  
It  now seems difficult  to imagine, but a bottle of Coke was 20 toea  and a pie, 50 toea.  Ten kina was a small fortune and if you had K20, you were a tycoon.  Bus fare was 10 toea for school kids.   We preferred to walk home and save money for the cinema on Saturday. 
That was Lae City.  People cared about where they lived and how they lived. 

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