A speck of coral in mid-Pacific just thirty miles from the equator...Nauru, home of nearly?
A speck of coral in mid-Pacific just thirty miles from the equator...Nauru, home of nearly five thousand people dependent on the phosphate industry. Every two weeks an ore ship from Australia anchors within feet of the coral reef.
These gigantic cantilever loading units can dump twelve thousand tons of phosphate into a ship's hold within five hours... The older unit still bears the scars of the Japanese occupation during World War Two... Each cantilever has a pipe system for the intake of water brought by the ore ships as ballast. Nauru has no fresh water and its rainfall is unreliable.
Lack of water is only one problem... With twenty eight of these excavators working six days a week, the phosphate supply will run out in thirty years. When the phosphate -- or decomposed marine life -- is dug out, only coral pinnacles up to fifty feet high are left. One third of the island already is useless land like this. Nauru's Head Chief, Hammer DeRoburt speaks to an A.B.C. reporter, Noel Norton.
Happiness....an elusive commodity...Although Nauru is a palmfringed coral atoll only twelve miles is circumstance, it is no tropic island paradise. But the Nauruans are happy here. They have a basic wage of nearly ten pounds a week, pay no taxes, and education, medical, dental and hospital services are free.
The Nauruans are much more sophisticated than most Pacific peoples. The are literate and Christian. Half the population is under the age of fifteen, so Sunday Schools are crowded. Apart from the Roman Catholic Mission, the island has its won established church, the Nauruan Protestant Church started by the London Missionary Society.
The Minister of the church is a Nauruan, Mr. Amran -- who works alongside a South Australian missionary Mr. Rex Matthews.
Fishing helps the island menu. Gilbert and Ellice islanders - employed as labourers on the phosphate diggings, prefer canoe fishing but the Nauruans use outboard motors to get past the reef. The big tuna weighs fifty pounds, but he's no record for Quodina who's considered the best fisherman on the island.
Regular entertainment for the workers takes the form of a Batere* of dancing session.
Each island group has its own dance. Typical of the Gilbertese is the Tirere or two-stick dance.