The untold story behind ‘MAGI HIGHWAY’ in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea.
Joe Polonsky, The Man Who Built Magi Highway in Central Province, Papua New Guinea
By Joe Polonsky Jnr
The Highway my father built from 1972 to 1975 in Central Province, PNG. Old Joe Polonsky, as the locals of Magi Highway knew him as, 'Taubada Joe'.
Now in those days, a Contract was just a simple HANDSHAKE and HONESTY to fulfil the contract.
My old man's Contract was to walk through the thick jungles and to build the highway to link Kupiano to Kwikila and also from Aroma Turnoff near Matairuka to the whole Aroma Villages.
My old man kept his handshake agreement as a true, loyal contractor. However, before the handshake agreement was made, they brought in surveyors from Australia but all failed in their survey of the thick jungle as they hit rugged terrains, high mountains and swamps which was going to cost them a lot of money to build the highway.
So my father was approached as he had his small logging and construction business and had a good reputation of keeping promises and getting the job done. So my father, took to his next task, was to walk and build the highway.
My Father was not an Engineer but like what they say, as a BUSH MECHANIC, You see, you learn and you do!
Old Taubada Joe kept his word, started walking and building the road. In the few years it took him building the road, it costed him a lot of money, a lot of hard work, a lot of time camping in the jungles and a lot of machines which broke down and still yet sit there near the highway today as you read this.
I was born in 1974 and my mother took care of me in a Caravan my father had, situated near Lebagoro Village around the sharp bend near 2 coconut trees that still stand there today. My Father also built so many sub-roads along the Rigo and Abau Districts, right up to Amau and Gadaguina and so many other places to name, it is not funny!
But anyways, after completion of the so called Magi Highway which my father built and named, man seriously I feel and I know that my old man is my true hero as this Highway he walked and built is one of the National Highways out of Port Moresby which are the famous Hiritano Highway and the Famous Magi Highway but the sad thing is, my old man lost heaps and was never paid a Toea.
If anybody wants to rename the so called Magi Highway including the Prime Minister, either you leave it as what my Father named it of Magi Highway or in memory of old Joe Polonsky, name it Polonsky Highway.
My father was never recognized for his achievements for building one of our national highways.
MY OLD MAN, MY HERO!