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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Sept. 10) - Australian Governor-General Michael Jeffery was conferred the title of "Chief" or Honorary Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu at Admiralty House, Sydney, last Friday.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare bestowed the honor on the governor-general for his "significant contribution" to fostering friendly relations between PNG and Australia.

"The Governor-General’s close association with PNG goes back to the early 1960s. He is truly our wantok [friend]," Sir Michael said.

Sir Michael, who has personally known the Governor-General, said the Australian-PNG relationship runs much deeper than many people realize.

"The people-to-people relations is what best typifies this unique relationship," he said.

Mr. Jeffery said "our relationship goes back 40 years" when he was company commander of the First Battalion of the Pacific Island Regiment based at Moem Barracks. He was also a member of the Eminent Group that recently reviewed the PNG Defence Force.

"Marlena and I have a real love of PNG," he said. He met and married his wife Marlena in PNG. He said during a State visit to PNG in 2005, the reception he and his wife got from the people was "something we will always remember."

The Governor-General traveled to PNG with several ex-servicemen to commemorate the end of the World War II in Wewak and to celebrate PNG’s 30th Independence anniversary.

He and his wife captured the hearts of ordinary Papua New Guineans by their fluency in Tok Pisin and the many friends they still have in the country.

"This award will also serve as a memento of a wonderful and special relationship," he said.

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