National Geographic : 1949 Dec
Sheep Airlift in New Guinea 5351 n\ed ilw&l tfrlill (allnera (lix A New Guinea Highlander, Half-dressed in Knitted Bark, Guards His Future Wool Suit If Europe's cave-dwelling Cro-Magnon Man could have been resurrected and dropped into the Battle of the Bulge, he would have faced an experience not much more remarkable than that of Kurup, the stalwart New Guinea shepherd, who pierces his nose with sticks and drapes his shoulders with bandoleers of sea shells. Kurup, a member of the Papuan race, was born like Cro-Magnon Man into an age of stone implements. His known world, warm by day but cold by night, is Wahgi Valley, a 5,200-foot plateau in New Guinea's central highlands. There his forefathers, using wooden digging tools, developed a primitive agricultural civilization. Their society treated wives fairly, children indulgently, and enemy warriors chivalrously. Like civilized men, they abhorred cannibalism. In 1933 four Australian explorers discovered Kurup's happy valley; they were welcomed as long-lost ghosts. Missionaries came next, hoping to make over Kurup's way of life. Then World War II arrived with its strange horses, roaring airplanes, and terrifying cannon. Kurup barely became acquainted with Australians and Americans before he was made unpleasantly aware of Japanese, who bombed radar installations in his Shangri La. Antiaircraft shells rent the sky; B-17's crashed flaming into mountains. In those days Ned Blood, an Australian officer, led a retreating band of scouts into Wahgi Valley. As he surveyed the rolling highlands, green with unproductive grass, he envisioned fields filled with fat livestock. When peace returned. Mr. Blood persuaded an Australian philanthropist to help him realize his dream. To give the natives wool and mutton, the two men arranged to have Australian sheep flown into the valley. Their aim was not only to raise Stone Age man's standard of living, but to confirm him in his rights to the land against the day when white settlers would pour in with tractors and gang plows. Kurup, if they had their wish, would not go the way of many American Indians.