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For decades Bandar has helped local archaeologists who made the trek there.
For the past four winters he has also acted as foreman for the Australian and Indonesian team - led by Professor Mike Morwood, of the University of New England (UNE), that discovered the new human species - organising villagers to help them dig for fossils each year.
They knew pottery had been left scattered on the Kimberley coastline by Indonesian seafarers who came between 17 to collect sea cucumbers.
It set them wondering whether ancient humans might have used the same currents and sea routes to travel south.
"He would walk around wondering what was under his feet," says Hobbs.
Morwood was able to find some scientific papers the priest had published in obscure Dutch and German journals that outlined his discovery of stone tools and an extinct type of elephant known as a stegodon in a valley called the Soa Basin.
The one-metre-tall female, aged about 30, lived about 18,000 years ago.
The Australian end of the hobbit story began a decade ago in the Kimberleys in Western Australia.
Morwood and Hobbs were on a dig together when conversation turned to the big questions about our continent: when, why and how did the first people arrive in Australia 50,000 or so years ago.
To get to the cave it takes a slow, four-hour climb in a good car along the narrow, twisting road from the west coast of the predominantly Catholic island to the closest hill town, Ruteng.
Top: A villager inspects a cave at Liang Tana near the cave of Liang Bua where the hobbit bones were found.