Talara Staff School

Gi'day Readers,
There was a Talara Staff School in the '40s through the  '60s (?) for personnel working for Esso; which seems to have dissolved.
Former students; please write.
Thank you.
Dave J.

The Talara Staff School buildings are now being used by "Colegio Punta Arenas, Talara, Peru", (CPA). 
"Punta Arenas, a campsite that was originally built by American constructors, is located in the northern area of the South American country of Peru, in the city of Talara, Piura.
Punta Arenas was designed to house the supervisors and administrative staff of the International Petroleum Company (IPC), which was later to become BP Oil."
Evidently IPC may have been using Punta Arenas in the 1930's and WAS there in the '40's.  Please reference a Web page or publication about 1930's and '40's life in Punta Arenas - in particular - about the early IPC, Talara Staff School.
Thank you.

Although I don't have information on the school in Talara, I live not far away in Los Organos, which also benefited for many years from the oil companies employment and infrastructure.

I have been wanting to find out more about the history of this area from just before the oil companies up to recent history.

Any kind of info would be helpful.

The oil is still being pumped and there are new wells being drilled all along here. But due partly to lack of management and partly due to depletion, there is just not the work there once was here for the locals.

Oilfields found and being exploited offshore here are another factor, presenting of course some well-known problems.

You might also want to read an article I just posted to this site on working in Peru.

David and Lin Schneider
Los Organos, Peru

Our websites:

[moderated: no advertising for commercial websites, pls]

Thanks for adding your comment Lin and David,
Other than the Wikipedia article referenced
above about the early Punta Arenas (Talara) Gringos
I'm unable to add anything at the moment.
More later.
Dave J.

Classmates Dot Com (CM) offers virtual rendezvous, etc services for former students of American and Canadian schools overseas.  The Talara Staff School has been added to the list.
Overseas schools,
Punta Arenas.
One can add their name to former schools attended without paying for CM Membership. 

Host country citizens are welcome members to US overseas schools in CM.
Intercol Staff School at the "El Rosario" camp.

"Facebook" is another popular "meeting ground".
Facebook keeps any photos posted to do with as they please.
Classmates Dot Com does not do so.
One can add or remove their phots as they please.
And . . .
EVERYONE can add photos to Classmates - even nonpaying members - it's free.  Try it !  You may be surprised by former schoolmates writing - AFTER your face has been posted.  Some may not remember your Face/Name link.

I am one of the admins of the "Talarenoes who lived and worked in Talara, Peru" page on Facebook dedicated to all ex-pats that live in Talara. I am a second generation Talareño who attend the Overseas Section of the Talara Staff School until IPC nationalized in 68. Since 88 there have been bi-annual reunions all over the USA and Canada of the folks that lived in Talara. Feel free to leave any comments or contribution on the Facebook page.


I came across your blog by accident.  As it turns out I lived in this camp from 1956 to 1959.  My father (who is still alive and living in Florida) was the Principal of this school.  His name is Dr. Russell Robbins and spent most of his career at the University of West Florida as the Chairman of the Elementary Education Department.


Russ Robbins, Jr.

Hi All,
I lived in N-10 Punta Arenas, 1948-1960 and attended Talara Staff School 1950-1956. Teachers; Vanderlip, Pye, Webb, Smith. Bradford and Daley were principals.
Mom and Dad gave me the choice of going to Lima or staying in Talara for high school. Well, that was a no-brainer, I chose to stay and attended Colegio Ignacio Merino, a local high school, and a short walking distance from Punta Arenas so I could go surfing (with my Mom’s ironing board.)'and live the vida loca.'
My favorite spot was next to then the general managers’ residence, which eventually became a guest-house for visiting executives.
Who remembers the Tumbes earthquake? The refinery fire, Hemingway at the club’s bar…??


Do you have a sister Marta???

I attended Punta Arenas School from when it opened until August 1952 when we left.  I remember Miss Bradford and Miss Work, my 4th grade teacher.  Prior to Talara, I attended school in Negritos.  In 2002 I returned to Talara and had a great tour of the school which looks very different than the three room school it started out to be.

Bonnie MacKay House
Negritos 1942-1952

Hi Bonnie,

Yes, I do!! -Martha. Then there are my older brothers Carlos and Rafi. My Parents lived in Negritos from 1943-1947, about a year in Planta Baja, and moved to Punta Arenas in 1948.
I remember a swimming contest in Negritos’ swimming pool. Carlos, Martha and Rafi still have their medals from swimming events. We have a B & W photo with Mr. Murray?, the swimming coach, and the rest of the clan, most likely you are there too.
As a toddler in Negritos, my memory is very fuzzy. I remember Mom and Dad cranking the wall-mounted phone to make a call, the golf course mid-way to Talara and a beach nearby.
I remember some of the names from Punta Arenas before you left?, but they are sketchy: Thure Andersen, Peggy Matheson, Godoy, Gorbitz, Travis, Paul Ancel, Tobiason, Michele O’Flynn, David Spence, Hernandez sisters, Russell?, Zapater, Norton, Kaufman….  Lord help me if the other’s whose names I have forgotten read this. Yet, I have their faces and memories engraved in my heart.

Martha married an engineer from Petro-Peru in Lima in 1960, and has a daughter. She resides in Lima and unfortunately, her health is not at par. Carlos and Rafi are retired and living in Los Angeles, Calif.

Hi again:

I'm sure your sister was a playmate in Negritos.  I was born in 1942 and I, along with your sister, was listed in the Negritos Swimming Meet program, April 1946.  She and I were in the beginner's race.  I think that must have meant "inner tube" because I didn't learn to swim until much later.  Tommy Murray was the swimming teacher, along with being Santa Claus at Christmas.  He retired to Fullerton, CA before I learned to swim but I learned to swim from him at age 10 when my parents bought a house there and he lived not far away.  I would love to see that photo you have.

I recognize many of the names you mentioned.  Godoy is Julia Godoy.  I lived in Negritos the entire time 1942-1952.  When the Punta Arenas school opened around 1951 or so, we were bused over there. 

I have attended a few of the reunions and they are pretty interesting but we are all getting "old", even the "kids."



As I write this, I have the best detectives in town, Carlos & Rafi, looking for any pictures that have to do with Negritos. I hope that we still have the ‘Tommy Murray’ pic.

my email is, roloarch[at]

I remember Mr. Murray!  I think he taught every child in Negretos how to swim.  I lived on the upper plateau doors away from Mr. Murray.

Then relocated to Talara and attended school.

Anyone remember Peggy and Roland Defago?  Would they be living in Lima?

Any info on old school mates would be appreciated.

Happy New Year

Sheila higgins

Hi Sheila,

I do remember the last name. I believe Roland and my brother Carlos were friends.
I found this in this:, -hope it helps.
In one of my previous posts I mention a few of the names I remember.


I have had trouble finding this forum again and then connecting.

However i was born in Talara and lived in Negretos until 1945 when my parents relocated to Talara.

I have many fond memories of swimming in our lovely fresh water pool and the old Talara salty pool.

I remember both English clubs including the fire at the Negretos Club which lit up the night skies.  I might have been 5 years of age.

I rememer Mrs. Pye, Miss Bradford, Mr. Wing etc. (Teachers)

I'm hoping i can keep connected and to locate some old friends.  We are getting up in age now.

Best regards to all!

Sheila (Higgins)

The Stedwill family arrived in Talara in 1947 from Barranca Bermeja where my father worked as a chemist at the refinery, a job he continued at the Talara refinery.  We lived first in Planta Alta, second to last house, next door to Captain Davies and his wife Euretta.  He may have piloted boats in and out of the harbour.

Subsequently we moved to Punta Arenas, in N1 at first and then D8.  The Oyangurens, Hanns, Moores, and Parchellos were our closest neighbours, but there were many others I remember from school days there.  Picaro and Panela were our inseparable, lizard-chasing and crab-hole digging daschunds.

We moved to Cartagena, Colombia in 1957 (another refinery laboratory for Dad to manage) and reunited with ex-Talara families, the O'Connells and the McKinneys.

Many memories, many stories of Talara! The school, The Club, the Little Sea Fort, the beaches, the filled-in train tunnel, Cine Grau, La Bodega, el mercado, the picnic grounds, hunting for camarones, eternal blue skies and the Night of the Big Rain, Faucett airline, the tsunami that never arrived, Hemingway's arrival to fish for marlin, and yes the earthquakes.

Speaking of Simone Vanderlip, it was a special surprise to see her and her French-Canadian mother as contestants on a Merv Griffen show ("Play Yor Hunch"?) some years after she retired from teaching.  Can you imagine how many of us she taught to read in Grade 1 with Dick and Jane and Sally?  See Spot run. Run, Spot, run.


Hi Bill,
Glad to se SOMEONE finally use the "Talara Staff School" link.
Hope others will follow suit
long lost friends from Peru and Colombia
and that your family is doing well.

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