July 1984  till June 1986


Land Use Planner / Regional Adviser

Transmigration Settlement Planning

Pontianak, West Kalimantan (Borneo)

Joined the Hunting Technical Services (HTS) and Mott MacDonald (MMP) team staffing the advisory group for the World Bank (IBRD) financed Transmigration Settlement Planning project. Regional Advisory Group (RAG) teams were based in the provinces where settlements were being actively surveyed and developed. The Central Advisory Group (CAG) was based in Jakarta with overall control of activities.

Traveled widely throughout the province: usually started by air (Mission Aviation Fellowship), then by river boat or canoe, continued by car or motor bike and almost always ended up walking the last few kilometres to the survey sites or base camp.

Author's Input:

Based in Pontianak, Kalimantan Barat as Regional Advisor with the task of running the RAG (Regional Advisory Group) office and supervising and assisting the consultants undertaking the surveys into areas being considered for settlement.

As Regional Advisor was responsible for:

1.Supervision of two large groups of foreign (Sinotech and CECI, from Taiwan) and local consultants (approximately 50 staff) undertaking surveys and studies for the planning of new areas for transmigration development including the disciplines of:

Soil survey was normally done on rentis lines (rentis tikus) and often involved up to 15 - 20 km of "jungle bashing" in a day - one of the most exhausting activities one can imagine. Sleeping arrangements were in villages where they existed - otherwise a platform was made in the forest and a plastic sheet used to keep off the rain.

2. Assisted with staff training in the field and office. Foreign consultant staff were trained as well as local Indonesian staff.

3. Reviewed and assisted with the consultant's reports. Helped teams re-write reports as and when requirements identified.

4. Liaison with technical, administrative and advisory staff in Jakarta including:

5. Liaisons on a day to day basis with the local (Provincial) Project Officer regarding performance of the Consultants, arranging and participating in site visits and reporting status. Site visits required getting to some of the most parts of Kalimantan Barat and means of transport usually progressed from light aircraft to road then river transport. The final access was either by using motor cycles or walking when paths existed - otherwise use was made of whatever river transport was available.

6. Liaison with provincial and local government departments (Agriculture, Forestry, Transmigration and Planning) for the monitoring and mapping of regional and a local land allocation for nucleus and small-holder estates, areas under and planned for transmigration settlement with existing and planned infrastructure including road alignments etc. Supervised and co-coordinated the production of Provincial Land Allocation Map from the above collected / collated data.

River Transport

Soil Survey Check

Site Visit - Road Status


Lived in Pontianak a city of around 200,000 population, 60% Chinese in origin. Very few expatriates, apart from missionaries, lived in Pontianak. Very little English spoken and essential to speak, at least the basics, of Bahasa Indonesia. Whilst there set up the Pontianak Peat Plank and Pavement Pounders (P5) running group. This group ran 2 - 3 days per week and ran a few longer events from the middle of town to the equator monument. Actively participated in the Race Against Time (Do you remember Bob Geldorf?) series and a large event was put on in Pontianak.  Cycling also a popular passtime as it was easy, no hills, though a bit humid.  In fact used a bike in preference to the Toyota for visiting the consultants' offices.