Aboutness Statement – 1935-1936 – Kerema Gulf District

Revised ‘aboutness’ statement:

This volume focused on inspections; villages, roads, fences, and general infrastructure.  Patrol Officers took regular census of men, women, children, and infants; while cataloging marriage, death, general health and disease information.  Minute information regarding family bonus, wages and payments (including other than money payments), building and bridge construction, carriers employed, police taken on patrol, canoe and boat transportation matters were included throughout the volume.  Lastly, regular correspondence was kept between government/administration and the Patrol Officers on the patrols, which discussed legal, law, and court matters for natives.

There were twelve Patrol Reports for Kerema – Gulf District, between the period of 1935 to 1936, with accession number 496, and the volume number was 14.  The reports were led by four Officers Conducting Patrol:  Patrol Officer [D.F.M., and D.PM. —a/ARM] Rutledge, of which I suppose is the P.O.’s rank structure, was the most predominant P.O. within this volume.  Following was: J.R. Horan, H.S. O’Mallery, and R.A. Vivian—[RM].  The reports were rather similar in nature throughout the volume.  In the earlier portion of the volume, the P.O.’s noted that they were reporting for duty and taking charge of the Police Camp—in which, they would note condition of patrol path and validity of the Officer in charge within the camp.  The P.O. often set out to either purchase land or collect tax from the Natives.  Additionally, on each patrol, the P.O. would verify the condition and report inspection on the fencing, houses, Rest House, and general plot overview.  Moreover, the patrol would conduct census, hold court for Native Matters (including murders, often bringing alleged criminals to Kerema), payment of family bonuses, Native labor inspections, and note conditions of infrastructure and areas that need improvement.  Reports included few maps, statistics and hand written notes, but reports were riddled with bits of minute data, such as: animals throughout the land, fish found within the rivers, and overland info including density of forest and rough elevation of path points.


In my aboutness statement above, I found it rather difficult to examine over a hundred pages of documents and condense the information into fewer sentences without removing data points which I believe are relevant to the archive.  I found it most useful to first thoroughly examine the information for all minute data points, and then translate this into a much more condensed forum to then redact what proved to be repeated or irrelevant.

As others have stated, it was important for me to remain objective in my research, but critical in my examination.  I felt it was increasingly less complicated, and more effective, to utilize OCR and key terminology throughout my analysis—as this made the process seem streamlined, and much more clear and concise as a final product.  As a final note, I opted to not duplicate the caps-lock text for village people and regional names, as I felt the data would be similarly readable and searchable from here out.  I look forward to reading my fellow classmates findings and discussing how our reports are both similar and dissimilar.

PNG Patrol Report: Gulf District, Kerema, 1935-1936


3 Comments Add yours

  1. JIA LI says:

    Agreed, i also found it hard to read through all the patrol reports, especially when they are not properly formatted and presented. Anyway, I am so gald to see you organise your aboutness statement well and provide us the valuable imformation of your research.

  2. Lea Kolesky says:

    Based on your aboutness statement, our set of reports sound similar! I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the difficulty of condensing all of the information. I would love to be able to account for all of the interesting and hyper-specific details, but I have to remind myself that generalization is not always a bad thing, especially in contexts like this. I’m really excited to read through your assigned volume this week, as I think it will be interesting to see how much or how little actually changed in the region between 1935 and 1937.

  3. Rachel Hicks says:

    Hi Scott, I found it interesting how you included the patrol officers’ ranks. This could be something you explore more in your final analysis if you think it is interesting and relevant.

    Your aboutness statement is still a little long. Your current statement includes lots of good summaries, which is still important. In addition, could you highlight what it is about in 2-4 sentences?

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