Alberta Doiko - Oral History interview recorded on 12 May 2016 at Pusahambo, Northern Province, PNG


Mrs Alberta Doiko recounts what her parents told her about the destruction of food gardens and the threat of rape for women during the war.



Warning: This site contains stories of war. Some of these interviews may include detailed and graphic descriptions of events and experiences that may be disturbing for some individuals.

[VS] This is an interview with Alberta Doiko, it is the 12 of May 2016.
During the War, in 1942, I wasn't born that time, that year, but my parents told me all about the War. They tell the stories about the War. Like, in good moon light, we sit around, our parents make fire, and we sit around the fire, and then the parents started telling about the War.
And the one thing I picked up from my parents was talking about the War, telling us, and I picked up one thing bad about it. I was sad about it, because my parents settled in one place, a hiding place, and then when Japanese came and met them they had to move to another place, hiding place. So, I was upset about that and my parents, my father and mother used to tell me that the War was not good. War came, at that time, and destroyed everything.
Even though, maybe our young women, and some [others], they shot them. Natives, they shot them—the Japanese [did], not Australian, but Japanese. That time Japanese destroy also food gardens. When our parents go to the garden, Japanese come and meet them, they leave the things they want to collect from the garden, they leave them there and they run away. That's from the garden, but sometimes when they are hiding, staying and hiding in the bush, big forest, and when the war plane comes, our parents they used to run away and hide under the big tree. The big tree is the trunk, they hide under the trunks, or sometimes they hide in the caves. So that's what my parents and told me
And another thing is, my daddy was the big labour boss, cargo carrier boss. He used to take the cargo carriers down to Buna, and then take them up when they load the cargo, he used to take them, escort them, up to Kokoda, Isurava, on an on until, my daddy got an accident from the Isurava Hill. That was a rainy day, and the mountain was slippery, so my daddy escort the cargo carriers up to the Isurava mountain, and then he slipped off and my daddy got accident from his knee. His name is Noel Doiko. He was the war carrier boss that time. And thank you, that's all I know.
[VS] Can you tell me about your mother?
Ahhh, yes, that time my mother was a young girl. Also, sorry, my father too, was a young man, that time.
[VS] They were not married?
They were not married, that time, that year, 1942. So, my mother was with her parents, and my father with his parents. So after the war, OK, they came back and they settled, and my father found my mum. They got married and I am here, I am speaking to you. I am speaking about the War, I am talking about the War what my parents told me. So, I don't know, but what my parents told me, yes, I am telling you today.
[VS] What did your mother tell you about what it was like for her as a young woman?
Oh, she used to get scared about Japanese. They did all nasty things, to the young girls, to the young women. Like, taking them away and raping them, or like that. So, most of the young girls they get scared of that Japanese and they stick together, you see, that's what mummy told me. They stick together when they hear Japanese plane, they go and hide, ha ha ha, and when they feel hungry, they stay in the hiding place, and my grandfather my grandmother, only themselves go to the garden and get the harvest the kai kai [food] and bring it back to the hiding place. And that's how they go, how they survive during that time.
And also they didn't cook their food in the day time, but they cooked the food in the night time. They hide the, hide the flames with the bush leaves, and they cooked under the shelter, because the Japanese plane might see the fire flames and then, they say, they [might] pick on Australia, or they might drop the bomb. So they used to hide themselves, and they cooked the food for themselves in the night.
[VS] Thank you.

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“Alberta Doiko - Oral History interview recorded on 12 May 2016 at Pusahambo, Northern Province, PNG,” Voices from the War, accessed May 30, 2024,