Baker, John R.

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Baker, John R.

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  • Baker, John

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John Baker worked as a volunteer under the auspices of the British Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) organisation in 1964-1965. He was 18 and 19 at the time and was what was known as a ‘school leaver’ volunteer. John was attached mainly to two District Administrations to work on various local projects. August-November 1964, Baker worked as a teacher at the Geological Department’s survey school in Honiara. Then he transferred to Western District headquarters in Gizo and worked during December 1964 and January 1965 as a surveyor on the Wagina Island Gilbertese resettlement scheme. In February 1965 he transferred to Eastern District headquarters in Kira Kira where he spent six weeks working on local election preparations. He then moved back to Gizo and spent April to August 1965 travelling round, organising the construction of concrete drinking water tanks in various villages in the Roviana and Wana Wana lagoons and subsequently on the island of Ranonnga.

John Baker’s work in Solomon Islands prompted a long-term interest in the Pacific Islands and saw him work as Government Economist in Tonga in 1969-70. He later lived in Fiji and Tonga in 1971, while he undertook research for an ANU PhD on inter-island shipping services in the two countries. In 1976-77, while working in the Australian Government’s aid organisation, he was head of the Pacific Islands Section. Finally, after three years as an Australian Ambassador in Africa John Baker returned to working on the Pacific Islands when in 1991-97 he was Coordinator of the World Bank’s South Pacific Development Management Program. The program ran one-week residential management programs for senior government officials from across the region, with a number of participants later becoming heads of government in their countries.


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