“Osmar White was not only one of the finest correspondents of the Second World War but also a visionary writer and philosopher of courage and conviction” : – Phillip Knightley, author of  First Casualty.

Osmar White was born in New Zealand in 1909, and worked in Sydney in the late 1920s before moving to South East Asia and China, where he wrote features and short stories for Australian and American papers. Around 1934 he returned to New Zealand, and then joined the Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial in 1937. He enlisted in the AIF in 1941, but was ‘manpowered’ out by Sir Keith Murdoch who said ‘Oh we don’t want you rushing around with a pack on your back, you’ll fight the war with your pen, dear boy’.

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Osmar White, Tiergarten, Berlin – July 1945 (Photo Osmar White)

Arriving in Port Moresby in June 1942, White set off with Damien Parer on an epic journey up the Bulldog Track to report and photograph Kanga Force, 2/5th commandos fighting the Japanese around Salamaua and Wau, near Lae. This trek was the basis of White’s great book of the New Guinea, Green Armour. ‘Until all forests end, it will still grow and decay … under the spilled loads of heaven.’

osmar NG 1942

Osmar White, New Guinea 1942 (Photo Osmar White)

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