Latest Publications

Andrew Fyfe & Jill Bolton (2015) Relationships between String Bag Craft
Distributions, Language and Geographical Distance in the Upper Sepik and Border Mountains of
Papua New Guinea, Australian Geographer 46:2: 235-253

Previous publications resulting from statistical analysis of USCNGP data are:

Fyfe, A. (2009) ‘Exploring spatial relationships between material culture and language in
the upper Sepik and Central New Guinea’, Oceania 79:121–61.

Fyfe, A. & Bolton, J. (2011) ‘An analysis of arrow and string bag craft variability in the
upper Sepik and central New Guinea’, Oceania 81:259–79.

See also:

Roberts, Christopher. (2014)  Music of the Star Mountains: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Composition of Songs in Central New Guinea. With accompanying compact disc. IPNGS: Boroko. PNG Kina 50.00 + shipping costs.  Send your order to Don Niles by email to This is the cheapest, but people will either have to raise a cheque in PGK, AUD, or USD, or transfer the funds directly to the IPNGS bank account.

Order Music of the Star Mountains from US sites, price is USD 79.99:

Thomas Slone ( in the US can give buyers a 10% discount on the USD price if they order direct from him.

Vale Professor Graeme Hugo

It is with sadness and a considerable sense of loss that we report the death of Professor Hugo 20 January 2015 in Adelaide after a short illness. Graeme graduated from the University of Adelaide with an honours degree in geography and a Diploma of Education and set off backpacking in South-east Asia, during which he joined a boatload of illegal immigrants between Malaysia and Indonesia to gather ethnographic information first hand.

Returning to Adelaide, he did his Masters degree at Flinders University then moved to Canberra where he completed his PhD at the Australian National University in 1975. He returned to Adelaide as a lecturer, rising to Reader, in Geography at Flinders University. In 1991 he was appointed Director of the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, and later of the National Centre for Social Applications of Geographical Information Systems, in which capacity he took on the leadership role of the Upper Sepik-Central New Guinea Project in 2004 and supervision of the associated doctoral candidate, Andrew Fyfe.

Graeme’s output was prodigious: 400 books, book chapters and journal papers; at his death he was supervisor of over a dozen PhD students. His most widely acclaimed work was the Atlas of the Australian People, 3700 pages of socio-economic analysis set out State by State using the statistics from the 1986 Australian Census. He was the recipient of the Australian Research Council Fellowship in 2002 and 2009 and was awarded the Order of Australia in 2012. He worked with the United Nations, the International Labor Office, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and the World Bank, as well as playing a leading advisory role in many Australian organisations. He was frequently on an airplane going somewhere to manage a project, attend a conference or provide advice. Despite all this he remained a keen follower of football and cricket, played tennis and gave attention to his family without stint.

During the progress of the Upper Sepik-Central New Guinea Project 2004-2010, when I had occasion to see him, he was barely visible behind ever-changing piles of paper on his desk. I marveled at how he kept track of all the many and various projects and his responsibilities for his students. He always enquired after the health of my wife, whom he had never met. He was that sort of person, a humble and caring man not affected by his own achievements or the accolades of others. His memorial service was attended by several hundred people; members of his family, and friends, spoke movingly of their loss. It was a pleasure to work with him.

Cultural Development of Mathematical Ideas

Geoffrey Saxe's Cultural Development of Mathematical Ideas website provides video and visual supports for a forthcoming book, the Cultural development of mathematical ideas: Papua New Guinea studies (publication date: June, 2012, Cambridge University Press.) The book presents insights into relations between culture and cognition using the Oksapmin world as an illustrative case. On the pages of the Geoffrey's website, you will find clips that show people’s displays of the Oksapmin 27-body part count system, and their use of the system to solve arithmetic problems and to communicate about currency values. Also posted are photographs and video of daily life. The material was collected while Geoffrey was visiting Oksapmin communities in 1978, 1980, and 2001.

Visit the website at

Latest updates

Go to 'Photographs', then 'find us on Flickr' for 300 images of people, places and things in the study area. Go to 'Dataset' to view c.2500 objects recorded from collections around the world (remaining 7500 will be uploaded progressively). Go to 'Papers' for Thurnwald and Rodoni in the Upper Sepik 1914 and Slit Gongs of the Sepik and Madang Provinces.

Visit to access Andrew Fyfe's doctoral dissertationGender, mobility and population history: exploring material culture distributions in the Upper Sepik, and Central New Guinea, University of Adelaide 2008.

Publications: Barry Craig published 'Sorcery Divination among the Abau of the Idam Valley, Upper Sepik, Papua New Guinea', Journal of Ritual Studies 22,2: 37-51 (2008). Andrew Fyfe has published three papers on results of statistical analysis of data from the USCNG Project: 'Exploring Spatial Relationships between Material Culture and Language in the Upper Sepik and Central New Guinea', Oceania 79: 121-161 (2009); and, with Jill Bolton, 'An Analysis of Arrow and String Bag Craft Variability in the Upper Sepik and Central New Guinea', Oceania 81: 259-279 (2011) and 'Relationships between String Bag Craft Distributions, Language and Geographical Distance in the Upper Sepik and Border Mountains of Papua New Guinea', Australian Geographer 46:2: 235-253 (2015).

During July to December 2012, while based at the South Australian Museum, Fulbright scholar Dr Christopher Roberts prepared a publication on Music of the Star Mountains. This had been published in Taiwan in 1996 in Mandarin Chinese. The English language version has been edited and published in the Apwitihire Studies in Papua New Guinea Musics by Dr Don Niles, Senior Ethnomusicologist at the Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies (2014). Publication was funded by Ok Tedi Mining Ltd. This book fulfills Christopher's commitment to Gesok of Bultem to preserve a record of songs for future generations of Wopkaimin. Original fieldwork was funded by Bechtel in 1982.

Christopher also transcribed 35 of over seventy songs recorded by Barry Craig among the Abau and Amto of the Upper Sepik in 1973. These songs were digitised by Dr Sebastian Tomczak of the Elder School of Music, University of Adelaide. Copies of the songs on discs have been sent to two tertiary-educated Abau men, Isaac Suafia and Erick Kowa, to pass on to relatives in the villages to obtain further information about the words of the songs. We are seeking funding to expand this initiative into a project that will result in publication of all the songs recorded in 1973 as cultural heritage of these peoples.