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Cannibals, Crocodiles and Cassowaries Reviews

​I have just finished reading "Cannibals, Crocodiles and Cassowaries" by Ross Lockyer - a Forest Ranger in the Jungles of Papua New Guinea from 1967 - 1973. He writes a great story based on personal experiences and face to face contact with this, mainly primitive, native community. Ross speaks the local language and became an expert in the Forestry and Logging Industry. I found it hard to put the book down and every page is a good read. Rex Barnaby, Kerikeri.


Set in Papua New Guinea prior to self-government and independence. Crime was minimal, a single man's life was free and easy. Ross and I were two Kiwis amongst a "sea" of Aussies, so naturally socialised together. This is why I participated in many of Ross's adventures. He tells it as it happened. I shared in many of his adventures, including the scary episodes at sea, with storms and sharks that he recounts and confirm their veracity. Ross has depicted his adventures up there very well. A thoroughly enjoyable read of true events, to which I know he could have added many more interesting episodes! Jim Riley, Hamilton.

A thoroughly enjoyable read written in a warm intimate kiwi style (often humourous) that really draws you in to Ross’s experiences. At times I felt like I was there with him facing the myriad of challenges, joys, hardships and fun of a kiwi bushman's life in late 60’s PNG. What’s so great about this story is that it’s equal part personal experience, PNG people & culture, environment and nature and Ross’s work life in forestry. It’s told from the kiwi bloke adventurer perspective in language that’s easily relatable - although very informative, it doesn’t come off as academic ‘study’ of PNG. On the contrary it strikes a great blend of personal recounts, observation and information based on the context of the events. This is an inspiring tale, especially in a modern age where we’re overly tempted to take the easy route and live vicariously through digital domains such as social media - this will light a spark in every youngster to get out there and LIVE!. Brent Strathdee-Pehi


An easy read about the amazing adventures of a young New Zealand forestry manager in the Papuan New Guinean jungle. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories about Ross' many adventures and the descriptions of the primitive lives lead by the native people. Once I started reading I found that it was a book that was hard to put down and the easy narrative used by Ross makes it suitable for all ages. I can't wait for his next publication. Alan Morton


Reading this made me feel more than a little envious of Ross. While I was doing a miserable daily commute on the London underground to work in a dingy office, he was off in the wilds of PNG doing all the things adventurous young men dream of. From dynamiting tree stumps to visiting tropical atolls, lunching with cannibals to hunting crocodiles and piloting small aircraft to remote jungle, and a host of other exotic escapades, he had more interesting experiences in a week than I had in years. It wasn't all madcap frivolity - he also helped save lives and created a collection of local artifacts that he donated to a NZ museum - but youthful high spirits pervade the narrative. Ross writes with enthusiasm, wit, and impressive recall. Plenty of good yarns and a cast of colourful characters make this easy reading, but at the same time it's a history of a world now past that few foreigners ever experienced. Martin Bayliss


A fascinating insight into primitive life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea as encountered in the 1960’s by a very adventurous young New Zealander. His experiences, many of which are hair raising, are recounted in a matter of fact style that invites the reader to hasten on to see what happens in the next chapter. A very good read with appeal to all ages ensuring that his next three books soon to be published will be eagerly awaited. Ernest Watson


A most enjoyable read. Ross's ability to have immersed himself in the land and culture of remote areas of Papua New Guinea, during his early working years there, have now resulted in this fascinating and informative book. A true life adventure written in an easy relaxed style. Maire Coyte

Just finished this ripping yarn about also sorts of adventures/misadventures the author got himself into. Easy writing style makes this a page turner. Required reading for all those who yearn for a boys own adventure. Howard Smith

Cannibals Crocodiles and Cassowaries, written by Ross Lockyer, is set in New Guinea prior to Independence. It is a true account of his adventures in the country. Ross's recall of events of the time is amazing and he is able to tell his story with humour and hold the reader's attention. Having learned the local pidgin language, he is able to communicate with the people of the region. I was fascinated with the tales of the wildlife in this remote part of the world. The cassowary that frightened Helen, a 17 year old travelling companion. The snakes that were ever present in the bush, but usually were inconspicuous. Deadly death adders that accounted for the deaths of local people foraging, or simply passing by, these hidden serpents. Ross gives a description of life in Papua New Guinea prior to Independence. His views of what happened after independence have largely come to fruition. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Tim Damerell, Tutukaka, Northland Book Review

Cannibals, Crocodiles and Cassowaries

This is Scott from First, let me congratulate on the perfect 4/4 rating that your book earned from our professional review team. Our reviewers are very tough. Most books we review do not get a full 4/4 rating. So you have achieved something genuinely impressive. You should definitely be proud.  ​Are you interested in travelling the world? Are you interested in ethnology and history? Have you ever wondered what life is like in the deep forests of Papua New Guinea (PNG)? If your answer to all these questions is yes, then get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. Ross Lockyer details his adventures in PNG between the years 1967 to 1973 in this book Cannibals, Crocodiles and Cassowaries. Few have had as much adventure in their lives as Ross experienced in a space of only about 5 years. Ross is from New Zealand and he goes to work in PNG whilst he is still fresh from Forestry School. He details his interactions with the locals which went as far as attending secret initiation ceremonies and acquiring historical artefacts. Ross shares some near-death experiences too.

Ross starts by giving some historical background on PNG before his arrival on the scene. He does a good job of describing the structure of the society and the culture at the time he arrived in PNG. His stories are interesting and sometimes humorous. The chapters can even be read as stand-alone stories as they focus on a particular area of interest. The language is clean and the stories are easy to follow. The author also makes use of words from the local language whose meanings he explains. There are no erotic scenes. The author writes in the first person, thus the reader experiences PNG from his point of view.

The story that I found to be most enjoyable was the one in the chapter titled “The Ancient Mystery of the Segaya Rock Paintings.” The author details his journey with friends and locals to see the Segaya Rock Paintings. They took with them a 17 year old girl named Helen, who got frightened by a mouruk on their way to the paintings. The author’s description of the whole event was humorous. One of the statements reads, “This mouruk was evidently a tame bird that belonged to the villagers, and it was totally fascinated by Helen and all the noise she was making.” Such thinly veiled humour made the book enjoyable to read.

My least favourite part of the book was the chapter on “The Dreaded Death Adder.” This chapter details some unfortunate incidences where mostly the local women were bitten by this deadly snake, some dying as a result. The author then goes to explain how he and others likewise used the “third man rule” to keep safe in the jungle. This rule meant that the “boss man”, the white man, would always walk behind two native workers in single file so that if the deadly snake was close to their path, the most likely to be attacked would be the two men in the lead. Even though the author did not have any incidences involving his men, I felt that this showed complete disregard for other people’s lives since these men were not even aware of the role that they were supposed to play.

I only found one grammatical error in the whole book, suggesting that it was professionally edited. I enjoyed the stories. The author piqued my interest to find out more about the history and current affairs of PNG. This book is suitable for readers of all ages who enjoy history and adventure. Younger readers would need the parents to read to them. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. - **** Scott.

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