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Today's quote:

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Why I am not rich!

The address says it all: PO Box 187, Rabaul, New Guinea

Remember the Poseidon boom in Australia in the late 1960s when some nickel stocks experienced spectacular increases in price? The best-known, Poseidon, rose from $1.85 on 26 September 1969 to its high of $280 on 10 January 1970. Some years later it went off the board. Its shares were worthless.

In 1969 I'd just come back from South West Africa, rejoined the ANZ Bank in Canberra and then gone to Papua New Guinea to escape the hand-to-mouth existence of a banking career. I was totally ignorant of the Poseidon boom but my new colleagues in the chartered accounting firm of Hancock, Woodward & Neill in Rabaul talked of nothing else - when they weren't drinking which was most of the time!

PO Box 12, Kieta, Bougainville, New Guinea

First out of sympathy and then as a convert, I spent what little money I earned on VAM and Kambalda shares which, after I had bought them at several dollars each, went down to just a few cents and then to nothing.

Are those early years called the formative years because during that time one forms one's financial base? Well, my shiny VAM and Kambalda share certificates weren't even pliable and absorbent enough for the most obvious use, which is perhaps why I still have a few of them today. As the saying goes: I started out with nothing and I still got most of it.



P.S. A certain fellow-accountant, whose name shall remain an omnibus, for the first time in almost fifty years told me that he, too, had 'almost' made his fortune in Australian mining companies. I mean, there he was, sitting directly opposite me for a whole year dunking his Iced Vovos in tepid cups of tea while I was diligently tearing contractors' claims to pieces, and he never let on once. He could have just sold Poseidon for $280 and he wouldn't have let on! He never wore his heart on his sleeve - mainly because he didn't have one - but this is really one for the book.

Mind you, while he didn't get rich playing the share market, he did at least become famous and the local Council have just erected a yellow sign displaying his family's coat-of-arms outside his ancestral home:

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