Biographical entry: Sipisong, Nathan


Nathan Sipisong was from Hanong village in the Siwai area on Bougainville. He attended a village school before travelling down the coast to Buin, in south Bougainville, to Kihili Mission Station. By 1939, he had progressed through all education levels and was sent to Munda for training as a Methodist pastor. He was based there when the war began, and when the Japanese arrived, the missionaries and students retreated to the centre of the island. Soon after, Nathan and his colleague Simon Donguhoring joined the coastwatchers (q.v.), and they were flown to Australian Naval Headquarters on Guadalcanal. There they were taught basic military skills, and then boarded a destroyer for Tulagi Harbour and the submarine base there. After further training, on 24 October 1943 they were taken by submarine to Torokina (Empress Augusta Bay) on Bougainville as a forward party for the American invasion on 1 November 1943. After this, Nathan Sipisong and Nathan Kiha worked in the ANGAU (Australia, New Zealand Administrative Unit) hospital near the Catholic Mission station at Morotona until the end of the war. Nathan remained at the hospital until 1947, and then returned to the Siwai region to complete pastoral work there. In 1960, when Mendi, Tari and Nipa in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands were being opened up to mission work, Nathan was one of the first missionaries to go there. (Bruce 2002b)

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  • Bruce, Audry, 'Nathan Sipisong: A Courageous Pastor, Teacher and Missionary', in Alan Leadley (ed.), Ever Widening Circles: Stories of Some Influential Methodist Leaders in Solomon Islands and Bougainville/Buka, Wesley Historical Society (New Zealand), Auckland, 2002b, pp. 61-64. Details