PNGAA Update

PNGAA Update

As well as organising PNGAA events, members of the Management Committee continue to network on your behalf, attending a wide range of events and activities, encouraging new members and possible partnerships to keep our association vital and viable. Featured here are reports from the committee, other news of interest and a welcome to new members.


  • PNG KUNDU, December 2021


President’s Report

As I sit to write this report, I am reminded that this year marks the seventieth anniversary of the formation of the Retired Officers Association of Papua and New Guinea (ROAPNG), the forerunner of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia.

The Retired Officers Association was initially founded to represent the interests of those civil servants who had lived and worked in Papua New Guinea (PNG) prior to Independence. Of special concern to the early members was the maintenance of superannuation benefits, and to ensure that retired officers from PNG had an effective communication channel, given that the PNG superannuation scheme was not, at that time, part of the Commonwealth public service superannuation scheme. 

In addition to superannuation benefits, the Retired Officers Association provided a point of contact for the ex-PNG civil servants, producing a quarterly newsletter and arranging some events including the annual luncheon, which was held in Sydney. I personally remember that this function was a highlight of the year for many retired officers, including my father who joined in 1972 after his retirement from PNG, as it provided a welcome opportunity to catch up with former colleagues.

My father commenced his public service career in 1946 working for Colonel JK Murray, the first administrator appointed after the re-establishment of civilian administration after World War II. His first proper house was one of the ‘paper’ houses constructed of a wooden frame and walls of sisal paper, which provided a cheap and efficient way of providing low-cost accommodation to deal with the growing number of expatriates that went to Papua New Guinea in the early years after the war.

Members may recall that in my last report, I mentioned my desire to start looking for ways in which the PNGAA could increase its relevance and to interact more with Papua New Guineans to further build on the special relationship that exists between the two countries. 

The committee has discussed some initiatives in this regard but unfortunately COVID-19 and the lockdowns in NSW have made any progress very difficult. I am hopeful that we will be able to resume some of the planned initiatives in the New Year.

On a final note, I recently listened to a podcast produced by the Lowy Institute in which Richard Marles, Deputy Leader of the Federal Opposition, discussed ‘Why the Pacific Matters for Australia and How Australia Can Play a More Active Role’. Not unexpectedly, the subject of Papua New Guinea formed a good part of the discussion, with the bottom line being that Australia really does need to become more involved in the Pacific as a whole, including PNG. Hopefully, some of the initiatives the PNGAA committee is considering can help in this regard by playing a small part. After all, given the accumulated experience and expertise of its members, the PNGAA is well placed to take a role.

Let us all hope that 2022 will be a better year for everybody and I wish all PNGAA members a Happy Christmas and a peaceful and ‘normal’ New Year.

Chris Pearsall


PNGAA New Members

The committee welcomes the following new members: Robin Cooke, Neville Crane, Ian Duncan, Roger Gyles, Tom Hayller, Roy Hogarth, Alexandra McCosker, Allan Orava, Catherine Ryan and Joan Winter. 


From the Editor

It is now a year and four issues of PNG Kundu since, with some trepidation, I took on the task of editing your journal. It has been challenging but rewarding too. The stories that come to me about your experiences in Papua New Guinea are always exciting to open, read and prepare for publication. The variety of your experiences and your story telling is what makes the journal of such interest to you all, and I urge you to continue telling these stories. All illustrate in some way the contributions we made to PNG’s nation building.

It is always good to get your responses to our stories. A good example in the December 2021 issue is the article from Laura Zimmer-Tamakoshi and her comments on the fire people of Imuri who were on the front cover of the September issue.

Along with our feature about the Rabaul volcano eruption in 1994, the December journal has a story from another Papua New Guinean—Karolaine Fainu, our new committee member and a resident of Lae, is the author of ‘Goroka’s Lovely Loos’. I hope to be able to include more stories from writers in PNG in future issues. 

My editor’s task has been made easier by the support of many people. I am grateful for the help in proofreading given by Murrough Benson, Andrea Williams, Russell Wade, Paul Johnson, Chris Warrillow and Peter Rogers. I appreciate, too, the helpful advice offered by my predecessor, Andrea and Jeannette Gilligan, our production manager.

The COVID-19 pandemic, now in full spate in Victoria and New South Wales, has probably stopped members in those states meeting and socialising for much of the remainder of this year. Where it is possible to meet, do so safely, please enjoy that privilege and send reports of those gatherings to PNG Kundu

Happy Christmas everyone.

John Egerton



PNGAA’s new publication, Land of the Unexpected, covers many of the different facets of Papua New Guinea—including a complex overview, public services, flora, fauna and the environment, industries, art, culture, sport, the diverse history and some of those who helped to shape the nation—and, as Kieran Nelson says ‘give you some great Christmas reading’!

When the War Came: New Guinea Islands 1942, published by the PNGAA to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Rabaul and the sinking of Montevideo Maru, will also make a good gift or addition to your library.

Next year will be the 80th Anniversary, with special events to be held in Canberra. Please see the next issue, our website and social media for more information.

More details are available about these and other items for sale in the PNGAA Store on our website at and through the Treasurer’s Corner Membership & Order Form at the back of each issue.

If you wish to renew your membership, have a friend or family member who wishes to join, order one of the publications and DVDs available, or book for a PNGAA function, then please use this form. 


  • PNG KUNDU, September 2021


President’s Report

I write as the newly-elected President of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia (PNGAA), following the recent Annual General Meeting at the Hornsby RSL Club on 1 May 2021. 

The PNGAA is a long-established organisation that provides a common ground for all those interested in Papua New Guinea. Starting out its existence as the Retired Officers’ Association, the PNGAA’s initial role was to represent the interests of those who had been civil servants in the former Australian administration, prior to Independence. 

With the achievement of self-government and later Independence, the Association transformed itself to the PNGAA we know today and broadened its scope to appeal to anybody who had an interest in Papua New Guinea.

Once again, the PNGAA is somewhat at the cross roads and one of my objectives as President is to work with the new committee to examine the Association’s role and its place in both Australia and PNG. We need to make sure that it stays relevant and continues to perform its major role in fostering the relationship between both countries. 

While the past, especially Australia’s contribution to the development of Papua New Guinea should never be forgotten, the PNGAA now needs to look towards the future to see where it best fits in fulfilling its role of promoting the development of a warm bilateral relationship between both countries.

Papua New Guinea faces many challenges and, as I mentioned at the AGM, the country provided an interesting and varied life to those of us who were born there, or who worked there for some period of our lives, and I would like to think that the PNGAA through its members could become more active in supporting PNG and further extending the hand of friendship, wherever that is possible.

I will be discussing some new initiatives in this regard with the Committee and, hopefully, developing some action plans. Of course, it’s not just up to the Committee and I urge any PNGAA member to get involved in any way they can, and to feel free to share ideas with the Committee to further consider. 

Members are always free to contact me or other committee members at any time.

If you have a friend or family member who wishes to join the PNGAA, please use the Treasurer’s Corner Membership & Order Form, at the back of each issue.

Kind regards to all.



PNGAA New Members

The PNGAA Committee welcomes the following new members: Kalo Fainu, Francois Gastine, Rebecca Grant, Richard Knight, Jane Rybarz, Chris Sharples, Leonard Smith, Lloyd Taylor & Hans von Chrismar.


Celebrating Forty-Six Years of Independence

Papua New Guinea achieved its independence on 16 September 1975, when the new PNG flag was raised. Depending on health restrictions, this day will be celebrated throughout the country. 

We, the members of the PNGAA, in reflecting on the past forty-six years, can be justifiably proud of our past and continuing contributions to the Independent Nation of Papua New Guinea.


Welcome to New PNGAA Committee Member

Kalolaine Fainu is a content creator, a Pasifika storyteller of Tongan/Australian heritage and is the founding director of Pasifika Film Fest. 

After many years of developing a platform for Pacific creatives to have their films shared with audiences on the big screen across the region, Kalo has stepped back into the production side of storytelling. This creative journey has seen her spend the past eighteen months exploring her ancestral ties in Papua New Guinea, where she now spends most of her time.

Her creative skill set has opened doors for further explor-ation and reporting across PNG, which has led her to producing work for CARE International and a number of other international aid organisations and media corporations. Kalo’s interest, however, has always been connecting with people at a grassroots level.

Details of her education, training and achievements can be found at the website:


PNGAA New Members

The PNGAA Committee welcomes the following new members: Kalo Fainu, Francois Gastine, Rebecca Grant, Richard Knight, Jane Rybarz, Chris Sharples, Leonard Smith, Lloyd Taylor & Hans von Chrismar.

If you have a friend or family member who wishes to join the PNGAA, please use the Treasurer’s Corner Membership & Order Form, at the back of each issue.


The PNGAA wishes to thank those Management Committee members who retired at the 2021 AGM—Sara Turner, Steven Gagau and Yana Di Pietro

Each of these dedicated and skilled volunteers gave their time generously to bringing our PNG/Australian community together. They have organised an enormous variety of events where members and friends have heard the experiences of others, telling stories of work, friendship and adventure in PNG. 

Through these events funds have also been raised to support the work of the Association—both with the ongoing costs of supporting the PNGAA Collection and in building up an appropriate amount where the PNGAA can contribute to projects needing assistance in PNG.

Sara’s creative talents meant that many enjoyable events were held in the Sydney area, whilst also supporting our regional coordinators and, together with Steven Gagau, initiating links with the Sydney Wantok community. Sara ensured that CWA’s focus year on PNG was the best focus year the CWA ever had! Sara initiated the wonderful ‘PNG Tales’ series of talks and anyone who attends knows they are not to be missed. PNGAA is grateful for the support from Sara’s husband, Roger Turner, and to her family, especially sisters Jane Turner and Lisa Bleijie.

Sara, along with Steven Gagau, also former President of the Sydney Wantok Association, both joined the PNGAA Management Committee in 2015 and worked tirelessly bringing PNG and Pacific groups together so that a joint community sharing educational, cultural and resource knowledge can become a reality. This remains a work in progress and all assistance continues to be welcomed. Steven provided valuable assistance to the Management Committee over a number of areas.

Yana joined the PNGAA Committee in 2017 and enthusiastically organised two annual luncheon events in Victoria, which were popularly attended and greatly enjoyed. Many friendships were formed between Australians and Papua New Guineans living in Victoria. 

Yana was supported and inspired by a core working group including Chris Warrillow, Peter Milburn, Geraldine Tyler, with assistance from Louise and Vince Garetto, Scott Adams and the late Roy Andrews. Yana also undertook the task of increasing PNGAA’s social media presence by initiating, developing and managing PNGAA’s LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram social media.

PNGAA values the tremendous contribution, including the friendship and leadership, that Sara, Steven and Yana have given to the Association and looks forward to their ongoing involvement. 



Last Pack ‘n Post!


n the past the packing and posting out of our journal, PNG Kundu, has been handled by a happy group of volunteers, four times a year, in the spacious surrounds of the Chatswood Bowling Club. This last time, on 27 May 2021, the labelling and the packing and posting were done on the same day rather than on two days, as had been done previously. 

Everyone was busy but, as well, there was plenty of time for chat and morning tea/lunch. It has always been an enjoyable gathering. Ros and John Godlee have been organising the coffee and tea and have our grateful thanks! Various people have brought delicious plates of savoury and sweet kai.

Following the completion of each journal by the Editor, John Egerton, and the Production Designer, Jeannette Gilligan, Roy Ranney and Murrough Benson have organised the day, ensuring the labels have been printed into the required destinations and affixed to envelopes, the journals delivered on time for the pack, ensuring the morning flows smoothly, the empty boxes are dealt with and the journals get to the bulk post office. This job has occurred four times a year for at least the past forty-three years. With Murrough no longer in Sydney and Roy often overseas the packing and posting will now be outsourced to the newly-appointed printer.

The good news is that the Chatswood Bowling Club is happy for the PNGAA to come together every quarter so those morning tea gatherings will continue. See the Events Diary for the next one!

Those present for the final pack event were Roy Ranney, Andrea Williams, John Egerton, Cheryl Marvell, Nigel & Ulick Wong, Alan Pierce, Richard Seeto, Warren Martin, Paul Munro, Mauricio Biscocho, John & Ros Godlee, Graham Cowley, 

Sara Turner, Peter Stace and Oscar Oberholzer.

There have been many others involved over the years and we acknowledge their contribution. Some from recent years we remember are: Frank van Kolck, Frank Haviland, Margaret Dunlop, Paul Dennett, Ross Johnson, Jacky Lawes, Margaret Komarek, 

Ron Patton, Russell Wade, Pam Cowley Virtue, Dianne Guy, Bev Melrose, Judy Waterer, Jerry Lattin, Alan and Connie Anderson.

Others from further back are Joan Stobo, Marie Clifton-Bassett, Pam Foley and Joe Nitsche (both gone but not forgotten).



  • PNG KUNDU, June 2021


President’s Report

COVID Has Not Been Kind to This Fine Association. Yes, there are really positive things happening behind the scenes, especially in collections. The gathering and storing of historical objects and artefacts, documents and photographs that chronicle the extraordinary shared relationship of PNG and Australia continues.

However, to explain my COVID reference: COVID restrictions have stopped our growth. Stopped us even replenishing our membership. The virus put a stop to many plans by the committee to hold events, which we felt would grow and diversify our membership. And, therefore, our relevance, our survival.

We had grand plans to stage big shared events … with Sydney Wantoks for example. In the form of barbecues, preferably mumus, music and perhaps even a Pacific battle of the bands. Events to bring the generations together. Have some fun … while at the same time growing awareness of what we do and why.

If not for COVID, we would also have held an historic meeting in Port Moresby. There are so many people in PNG itself with strong Australian connections: an Australian parent, an Australian schooling, Australian friends or just an interest in our country, our relationship, the region and the world. They just do not know enough about the PNGAA. As you all know, face-to-face is the vital communication currency in PNG. But we could not—and cannot—travel there.

You’ve heard me time and again refer to the need for this association to evolve and become more involved and entwined with the current PNG—while still honouring the past. Forgive me for repeating a quote from John F Kennedy:

History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.

As I’ve said before: We (all) need to urgently and actively engage and recruit our daughters and sons and our grandchildren. We need to pass the baton of history as it rushes into the future. We need to evolve and grow PNGAA, so that a proud history is not lost, and it becomes the basis for new history being created each and every day.

We also owe it to the former custodians of this proud association for their years and decades of selfless, volunteer work. We need to make sure the joint PNG–Australia history remains a part of the narrative of both countries.

This week, I sadly and reluctantly informed the committee that I would step down. My relentless—and growing —professional workload with Kundu Productions means I can no longer give the time they and the association deserve. 

However, I have promised my ongoing support. I really want to help make the Port Moresby event happen. And I pledge to do that. I will continue writing about and making films on PNG. I will always be a supporter and advocate of this association. I look forward to returning to the committee one day.

Concluding, I want to thank everyone on the committee for their selfless dedication, especially in these difficult times.



From the Incoming President

The PNGAA relies on the voluntary efforts of its members to fulfil the roles of executive and general committee positions, and without the dedicated contributions of all committee members, the PNGAA would not exist. 

At the recent AGM, held on Saturday, 1 May, there were committee positions unfilled due to lack of nominations. These gaps in our ranks leave serious holes in the team and, unless filled, will hamper our ability to drive new alliances, new initiatives and to continue to promote and expand the PNGAA. 

I would urge any financial member who believes that they can contribute to the growth of our Association, to consider joining the committee and contributing to the future success of the PNGAA.

If you would like to clarify what is involved or to discuss any aspect of the committee’s work, please feel free to contact me as follows:

Chris Pearsall: Mob.: 0410 530 502—E:


Your involvement and participation will be warmly welcomed.



PNGAA New Members

The PNGAA Committee welcomes the following new members: Marie Andrews, Pascale Bonnemere, Bennie Clarke, Louise Darmody, David Doolan, Rhonda Forrest, Bill Fry, William Gill, Paul Greblo, Jan Grose, Karo Haltmeier, LeeAnne Katsaris, Robert Keown, Wayne Larcombe, Neil & Takie Murray, Bob Teerink, Don Walker & Jack Wall. 


Events Co-ordinator’s Report, 2021

I began in this role to give back in some way to Papua New Guinea (PNG). To be a part of the PNGAA Committee was an opportunity to achieve this aim. However, knowing some of the members but, most particularly, the president of the day, Andrea Williams from Court Street Primary A School, Rabaul—it wasn’t too difficult.

Andrea has been the most marvellous support in learning the role, and has had to cope with me and all my peculiarities. All the Committee members have assisted my growth into the role in one way or another. 

A special thanks goes to Murrough and Joy Benson for their practical and continuous support at all events. I don’t think people realise just how much time and dedication is involved in all that the Committee does for PNGAA. 

A warm and sincere thanks to all of you during my time as Events Co-ordinator.

My huge thank you to all the Area Events Co-ordinators, for continuing or commencing in their roles during my time. The decentralising idea has been important in providing events closer to home for many of our members.

It has been a joy to get to find friends of old, meet new friends, know a little bit more about you and be of service to you all. Wishing you all health and continued togetherness in the Spirit of PNG.



Book Donation for PNGAA Collection

The author, Mary Mennis, has generously provided a copy of her book, The Babau of Rabaul: Tolai Fish Traps of Papua New Guinea, for addition to the PNGAA Collection.

The book is a detailed and well-illustrated account of the traditional fishing methods of the Tolai people of New Britain. Collectively this system is known as babau. It includes descriptions of its components—the bamboo traps, nets and the platforms from which these were launched to gather a certain fish, urup. Originally these were all made from materials gathered in the bush and assembled at a special site, matanoi, near the beach.

The first descriptions of babau were by George Brown, the missionary who came to the area in 1975. Further descriptions of babau were recorded and photographs taken by Richard Parkinson, a planter and brother- in-law of Queen Emma. 

Brian Mennis, who was Assistant Surveyor General of TPNG at the time, made a detailed study of the traditional fishing practice in 1973 and many of his photographs are included in this book (his Vale was published in Una Voce, December 2018). 

The current adaptations of the system, especially as a consequence of 1994’s volcanic eruption, were examined by Mary Mennis who re-visited Rabaul in 2019 and had a series of interviews with Tolai people arranged by Tiolam Wawaga.

Published by: UPNG Press Port Moresby—Cost: $35.00

Available from: Mary Mennis, MBE

Lalong Enterprises, 25 Riesling St,

Carseldine, 4034 QLD


PNGAA New Members

The PNGAA Committee welcomes the following new members: Marie Andrews, Pascale Bonnemere, Bennie Clarke, Louise Darmody, David Doolan, Rhonda Forrest, Bill Fry, William Gill, Paul Greblo, Jan Grose, Karo Haltmeier, LeeAnne Katsaris, Robert Keown, Wayne Larcombe, Neil & Takie Murray, Bob Teerink, Don Walker & Jack Wall. 


Farewell to a Great British Institution

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, husband of Queen Elizabeth II—Papua New Guinea’s Head of State, died on 9 April 2021, at age ninety-nine. He was the longest-serving consort in British history.

He was born in Corfu, Greece on 10 June 1921—his father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, and his mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and elder sister of Lord Louis Mountbatten. Reared chiefly in Great Britain, Philip was educated at Gordonstoun School, Scotland, and at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. From January 1940 to the end of World War II, he served with the Royal Navy in combat in the Mediterranean and the Pacific.

He met his distant cousin, Princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of King George VI, when she was thirteen and they married eight years later in Westminster Abbey in 1947. The couple went on to have four children—Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Philip continued on active service with the Royal Navy, until Elizabeth’s accession to the throne in 1952, from which time he shared her official and public life. 

But he devoted many hours to supporting British institutions and was a passionate advocate for the environment. His outstanding legacy, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which he founded in 1956, honours achievements of young people around the world, and he remained actively engaged in the Award’s activities until the end.

However, his outspoken views, the public expression of which he sometimes found hard to resist, occasionally embarrassed a monarchy trying to put aside its traditional image. But, if it bothered Queen Elizabeth, she never let on—Philip was her closest companion and confidant and one of the last links to her life before the throne.

The Duke of Edinburgh, always a great friend to Papua New Guinea, visited in 1956 and 1971, accompanied the Queen on royal visits in 1974, and again in 1977 during her Silver Jubilee tour, when they travelled to Port Moresby, Popondetta and Alotau. They visited again in October 1982.

He was awarded the Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu in Papua New Guinea in 2005, and announced his retirement from public duties in 2017.

On behalf of our members, the PNGAA extends our deepest sympathies and condolences to Her Majesty and the Royal Family.

Susie McGrade, from Rabaul Hotel, was in London at the time and laid flowers outside Buckingham Palace. 

She wrote on Facebook: I carried Rabaul on my shoulders, because I think he really did care for the Commonwealth and his friends in the Pacific! 


Land of the Unexpected

Papua New Guinea is a land of tremendous contrasts—of smiling people, mad keen rugby players and followers, complex cultural dynamics and displays, singing that is out of this world, scenery that is gobsmackingly stunning, incredible artefacts, opportunities for adventurous activities and delicious tropical fruits—all in a terrain that is carved by steep slopes and jagged peaks of mountain ranges, interspersed by fertile valleys and over a dozen active volcanoes—and in a country that is Australia’s nearest neighbour, four kilometres away and only a few footsteps from our doors. 

PNGAA’s new publication, Land of the Unexpected, with 100 large-format pages and over 200 colour photographs, covers many of the different facets of this amazing country—including a complex overview, public services, flora, fauna and the environment, industries, art, culture, sport, the diverse history, and some of those who helped to shape the country.

It also recognises Australia’s important role in developing Papua New Guinea to become an independent nation—an achievement of which both countries should be proud. We hope this new publication excites and entices you to learn more about this unique country, which truly is the ‘Land of the Unexpected’, and sales proceeds will be dedicated to fundraising for a special PNGAA program in the upcoming year.

To learn how you can purchase the book—$30.00 per copy, plus $7.00 postage within Australia (overseas extra)—please turn to the Treasurer’s Corner Order Form at the end of each issue or visit the PNGAA Store on this website at


  • PNG KUNDU, March 2021


President’s Report

The PNGAA is mourning the loss of both our beloved co-patrons within two months.

Only a week before Christmas, Major General Michael Jeffery, AC, GCL, CVO, MC (Ret’d) passed away and then, on 9 February, Fred Kaad, OBE died five months after he celebrated his 100th birthday.

Our association was privileged to have two such distinguished patrons and exemplars of the passionate and enduring bond between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Extensive tributes can be read at the front of this issue and on our website but, again, the collective hearts of the PNGAA family go out to the families of Major General Jeffrey and Mr Kaad.

Both gentlemen were proud of their roles with us and kept a close eye on our activities and progress, especially during what was a strange, disconcerting and sometimes awful 2020.

The past twelve months somehow, incredibly, was also a year of quiet achievement and building … our story, our collection and our development.

In 2020 our journal began a new life as PNG Kundu. It now has a new editor in John Egerton, who already has received plaudits all round. Others, like Andrea Williams and Jeannette Gilligan, have sweated ‘blood and tears’ to keep the journal going. Most will never know the arduous and demanding task of putting out such a publication.

A very special event was held at the Australian War Memorial to mark the 75th anniversary of Japanese surrender at Rabaul. Chief of Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, AO, DSC, was among the many dignitaries and made the keynote address. It was heartening that the military/political establishment added its weight. It hasn’t always been thus. Andrea Williams responded graciously on behalf of the PNGAA. It was truly a landmark occasion for us.

I have spoken before on the continuing importance of recording our history and telling our shared stories of PNG and Australia. In that sense it has been a fabulous year for our collection, with the energy, passion and stewardship of Cheryl Marvell (see her report on the following pages). It’s been a year of unearthing of treasure troves, artefacts, documents, books, letters, photos, films and manuscripts.

Donations include the Sepik collection of Richard Lornie and the collection of Geoff Burfoot. Our historical mandate, of course, is not just about Australians but of the Papua New Guineans who paved the way to Independence. We are privileged to have an extraordinary repository of such information and history.

Only recently we received a 1964 document listing the history—German and Australian—of every single administrative centre in PNG. This is unique.

Cheryl also came across an historical treasure in an envelope in a book donated by the Conroy family. It contained a manuscript by famous war correspondent and ABC journalist, Frank Legg, titled Island Dunkirk, Fall of Rabaul. It added considerably to our collective understanding of this under-reported event. 

Another story unlocked was of Jock Laird, an old-timer who spent four months plying the waters around New Britain and New Ireland—defying the might of the Japanese Imperial Navy—to rescue groups of Australian civilians and soldiers. 

The PNGAA collection is of national and international significance and we will explore ways to leverage donations or collaborate to catalogue and digitise items to make the collection available and accessible to the wider public.

Through PNG Kundu, we continue to tell the stories, not just of Australians, but also of Papua New Guineans in Australia and internationally. These achievers and role models include Dr Yalinu Poya, the trailblazing chemistry research graduate of the University of Glasgow. She has won many awards in Europe and was named the ‘Face of Plutonium’ on the Periodic Table for young chemists.

Yalinu was inspired as an eleven-year-old by former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who has reached out to congratulate the young woman from Lae and seek a personal meeting.

The PNGAA committee has voted to extend honorary membership to Dr Poya and we’re delighted she has accepted.

We have also told stories of others like Benson Saulo, the first Australia indigenous/PNG person to be appointed a Consul General for Australia (in Dallas, USA).

We have chronicled the achievements of the Kama siblings. Dr Shera Kama was the first endodontic specialist in PNG and her brother Dr Bal Kama wrote an award-winning thesis at the ANU. He was a Commonwealth Young Person of the Year. Their Kama Foundation is empowering villages by funding health, education and development.

Featured in the September issue of PNG Kundu was Bill Brown’s tribute to our late patron, Fred Kaad, OBE, celebrating his 100th birthday. It was a staggering portrayal of an amazing life. Fred’s century should be an ‘Australian Story’ episode, if not a movie!

I am of the firm belief that telling the contemporary stories as well as those of the past help the association to continue to evolve.

On behalf of PNGAA I also pay tribute and thank outgoing committee members in 2021. Sara Turner for her unstinting service organising our events—juggling, herding the committee and members—and Steven Gagau, the former president for his invaluable and considered input on all levels and subjects. Steven has been, and remains, a critical touchstone for the committee on the cultures and customs of PNG.

So, despite the challenges of COVID, we should all be proud of what the association achieved in 2020. 

Max Uechtritz 


Vale to Our Patrons: 

Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd) and Frederick Kaad, OBE

It is with deep sadness that we advise that PNGAA Patron, Major General the Honourable Philip Michael Jeffery, AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd) passed away peacefully at home on 18 December 2020.

General Jeffery had been Co-Patron of the PNGAA since 2003, the same year he was appointed the 24th Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (2005–08). Prior to this, General Jeffery was Western Australia’s Governor and before that, a senior officer of the Australian Defence Force. In 2005 General Jeffery was awarded the Honorary Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (GCL) by Papua New Guinea.

General Jeffrey had two stints in PNG. He served as company Commander of 1 Pacific Islands Regiment from 1966–69 and, following a tour of duty in the Vietnam War during which he was awarded the Military Cross, he became the last Australian Commanding Officer of 2 PIR in Wewak in 1974/5.

He supported the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia as a patron and at various events. His fondness for PNG was palpable and, at any event, he would be delighted to participate in a chat highlighting some of those great memories and occasionally reverting to Tok Pisin, which he happily remembered too.

We were delighted that he not only remembered his days in Papua New Guinea, but that he remembered them with enormous fondness and continuing interest. General Jeffery was a keen reader of our quarterly journal, PNG Kundu, which he enjoyed receiving and reading throughout.

He was kind and generous with his time and we greatly appreciated his support as Patron. Highlights included the 2014 PNGAA Anzac Commemorative Symposium where General Jeffery gave the Opening Address at the NSW Parliament House, being a special guest and supporter at various ‘Rabaul & Montevideo Maru’ events and his interest with our ongoing project for a Pacific community centre which he firmly supported.

Heartfelt thoughts go to Gaynor Kaad, to her sisters Amanda and Deborah and to the family of our long serving Patron, Frederick Peter Christian Kaad OBE, who passed away on 9 February 2021. 

The Papua New Guinea Association of Australia salutes Fred, a former District Commissioner/Kiap, film star and respected lecturer at the Australian School of Pacific Administration in Mosman (Sydney) who turned 100 last year.  

During WWII Fred served with the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) in PNG. Seventy years ago Fred, as Assistant District Officer in charge, led the team engaged in rescue, rehabilitation, resettlement and area development following the Mt Lamington volcano eruption. Fred was active in the early days of athletics in PNG and the South Pacific, becoming President of the Amateur Athletic Union of PNG and Captain of the PNG athletics team at the Commonwealth Games held in Perth in 1962. The Boy Scouts Association in PNG also benefited from Fred’s involvement. As Secretary to the Select Committee on Political Development in PNG Fred was involved with the introduction of the first House of Assembly of Papua New Guinea in 1964. 

Fred’s close involvement with the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia, and its predecessor, began in 1972 and continued until his passing.  Fred served as Honorary Secretary and Editor until 1989, continuing on the PNGAA management committee for many years. In 2001, together with Roma Bates, Fred was appointed our PNGAA Patron ‘in recognition of distinguished service to the community, to Papua New Guinea, and in particular to our Association’. 

Despite incredible injuries sustained in an aircraft crash in PNG, Fred was always cheerful, spreading happiness and encouragement, and constantly inspiring those around him.

Further information about Fred Kaad is in the September 2020 issue of our quarterly journal, PNG Kundu, and more tributes to our patrons are on our website:

General Jeffery and Fred Kaad were outstanding Australians, and the PNGAA is greatly privileged to have had them as patrons.



Sydney Wantok Assoc. President, Steven Gagau, Stands Down

In a speech to the We Are All Sydney (WAAS) Community Leadership Graduation program on 1 December 2020, Steven Gagau announced his retirement as president of the Sydney Wantok Association, and the election of Roxanne Pouru to this position. 

Both Steven and Roxanne had been participants in the WAAS program and he thanked the program sponsors and provider organisations for their support in helping to achieve the Association’s objective of empowering younger members to assume responsibility for its management.

Further details of the program may be found at the following link:


Archivist’s Report

It has been a busy year for the collection—getting it all into one place. Thank you to Steve Burns, who was the archivist before me. He stored a lot of the collection at his home, but we have now been able to free up his storage space by adding that material to the main collection.

Recently Peter Bunting donated more artefacts from his personal collection. The piece illustrated above (one of four similar pieces donated) is from a canoe. These carvings and other donations from his collection have been a great boost for our collection. Thank you, Peter.

If you have items you would care to donate, or you would like to contribute towards the digitisation of items already in the collection, please contact me at or 0438 636 132.



PNGAA New Members

The PNGAA Committee welcomes the following new members: 

Mr Edmund Bailey, Ms Anna Borzi, Mr Michael Cassell, Mr Henry Egerton, Mr Adam Elliott, Mr David Fuller, Mr Dick Glover, Mr Ian Gornall, Mr Denis Holland, Mr Paul Irvin, Mr Shane McLeod, Dr Colin Pain, Mr Peter Paterson, Mr Kevin Rigg, Mr Graham Robinson, Mr Richard Seeto, Mr George Sellar, Ms Sue Smales, Mr John Stace, Mrs Eau Suve, Mrs Claire van Bakel, Mr & Mrs Tim & Denise Watkins.


  • PNG KUNDU, December 2020


President’s Report

Symbolism. Sweeping, sober reflection and emotion.

Even quiet pride.

These all coursed through a very special and historic event for our association at the Australian War Memorial on 6 September. It was a commemoration organised by the PNGAA for the 75th Anniversary of the signing of Surrender of Japanese Forces at Rabaul in 1945.

Distinguished guests including the AWM director, Matt Anderson, and the Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, AO, DSC, paid respects at the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial in the grounds of the national institution in Canberra.

It was fitting in so many ways.

The Japanese surrender ceremony in 1945 was aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Glory nestled just off the Rabaul coast—in the same waters and route where a massive Imperial Japanese invasion force had landed on 23 January 1942. 

It was also the passage through which the ill-fated Montevideo Maru left Rabaul harbour carrying 1,053 Australian men and boys, who would perish when the prison ship was sunk off the Philippines on 1 July 1942. From Rabaul, too, Japanese assault forces had left for Kokoda, Buna and other battles. Then after Australia’s bloodiest and costliest campaign of WWII, the New Guinea struggle was over and Rabaul was handed back to the Allies.

Japanese Lieutenant General Hitoshi Imamura signed the instrument of surrender. It was accepted by Lieutenant General VAH Sturdee, general officer commanding First Army.

Rabaul was so long forgotten or ignored in our national narrative that it was both heartening and appropriate that our most senior soldier made the key address (see his speech in ‘Memorial News’). And it was an eloquent one by General Campbell. His final words resonated powerfully with our members.

‘We must not forget historical occasions such as the coming to peace in Rabaul. The friendship between Australia and Papua New Guinea has only strengthened through our remembrance. And we must not forget the significance of memorials like this one. They offer us this moment to reflect on what it has cost for our society to remain open, and free, and in service of our communities and families while respecting our common humanity. Something that has come at such great a cost is truly invaluable. It should not be forgotten. We must forever cherish it.’

Wreaths were laid by members on behalf of the PNGAA, the 2nd/22nd Battalion/Lark Force Association and the NGVR/PNGVR Ex-Members Association.

It was appropriate as well that PNGAA’s Andrea Williams gave the thank you address. Andrea lost her grandfather on the Montevideo Maru and was instrumental in forming the committee in its name, and establishing a memorial for the victims of our greatest maritime disaster.

Travel commitments made my attendance impossible, but I was delighted that our extended family was represented by my cousins Dorothea and Carol Schultze, whose grandmother perished in a Japanese prison camp along with my great-grandmother and another relative.

On a current and more celebratory note, PNGAA is thrilled with a wonderful accomplishment of our former events co-ordinator, Julianne Ross Allcorn. Julianne was announced as the winner of the Trustees’ Watercolour Prize 2020 for her painting, ‘Mollitium 2’ in the Wynne Art Prize at the NSW Art Gallery. The Wynne Prize is awarded annually for ‘the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours or for the best example of figure sculpture by Australian artists’ (see her painting in ‘Art & Book Reviews’).

Your committee is pleased also to welcome the new Editor for PNG Kundu, John Egerton, who has a long and passionate connection with PNG, and we know he will continue the fine tradition of our journal.

Max Uechtritz 


Welcome to Our New Editor: John Egerton 

John has been assisting with the December 2020 issue of PNG Kundu, and will take over as Editor for future issues.

John began work as veterinary officer with Department of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries in 1956, providing services to owners of livestock and companion animals.  Following a course at the University of London in 1960–61, he became OIC of the Central Veterinary Laboratory at Kila Kila, Port Moresby. In this role he organised veterinary diagnostic services for the Territory’s veterinary service. John also investigated anthrax in pigs and, with colleagues from the health department, found the cause of pig bel, the fatal disease which often followed traditional feasts on pig meat.

John and Margaret and his family lived in Boroko at the corner of Lahara Avenue and Huala Place. The Anthonys were neighbours and the Marvells lived nearby. His daughter, Lee, went to East Boroko Primary and daughter, Jenny, was born in the European Hospital, Port Moresby, in 1959. Son, Jack, was born five months after their return South. 

In September 1964 John joined the CSIRO in Sydney as a research scientist. In 1972 he was appointed to the chair of veterinary medicine at University of Sydney, retiring from that in 2000. Since then he has continued to write and edit articles and a book on veterinary research history. John now lives in Drummoyne, Sydney.

Many thanks to our 2020 Editor, Andrea Williams, for steering PNG Kundu through a difficult year. Her exceptional knowledge, dedication and experience have been invaluable—as always. 


Thanks to You All

It’s been an absolute privilege and pleasure to work during 2020 with our Production Designer, Jeannette Gilligan, to ensure that the four issues of our newly-branded journal, PNG Kundu, arrive in your letter boxes and inboxes this year. Thank you, Jeannette, for an amazing year! 

And to the proofreaders (especially Eagle-Eyes Benson and Wade) who assist with the final copy, to the Management Committee, including Chris Warrillow and Phil Ainsworth, for their support in so many areas, those who help with the website and post, and to the members of this wonderful association who have ensured our journal is packed with anecdotes, stories, letters and news—I have greatly enjoyed having this involvement with you. 

I wish John Egerton many happy days in his role as Editor. Every member has a story about PNG, so please continue to share them in PNG Kundu

Andrea Williams 


Free Digital Collection for PNGAA Members

In response to requests from members, we have introduced a new section on our website—PNGAA e-books 

Amongst many others, members will be able to view or download digital versions of David Montgomery’s A Didiman’s Diary—published as a series of articles in Una Voce, and Bill Brown’s A Kiap’s Chronicle—originally published online. 

Why don’t you check it out and remember that, over time, we will be adding many more publications our members will be able to download at: www.pngaa/org/e-books/


PNGAA New Members

The PNGAA Committee welcomes the following new members: Karen Aisbett, Graham Aveling, Nicholas Brown, Anne-Maree Driver, Malcolm Dunjey, Hilary Euscher, Lance Govan, Lisa Hilli, Debra Humbley, Dyanne Jackson, Robert Jacobsen, Jeff Kinch, Lilianne Joku Kramer, Peter Laming, Joanne Martin-Blakey, Peter Meissner, Natalie Moxham, Russell Mumme, John Reid, Dennis Robbemond, Dorothea (‘Doff’) Schultze, Carolina (‘Carol’) Schultze and Elsi Wolff.


Accolades for Fred Kaad

We thought we would share some tributes to Fred Kaad, OBE that have flowed in on email, Facebook and the PNGAA website on Fred’s 100th birthday in September 2020.

Ruby Rich, OAM, of Dubbo, would like to pass on her congratulations and warmest good wishes to Fred Kaad, OBE, for his 100th. Ruby writes in an email to Patrick Bourke ‘his contributions to education and society over a long period are deserving of special recognition’

From the PNGAA Facebook:

Ian Frape: It makes me feel humble to have, with others, carried this esteemed Australian up the stairs in to lecture rooms at ASOPA. He had a wonderful understanding and forgiving nature for those of us who, in our youth, indulged in beverages without counter lunches at the Mosman Hotel and felt an urge to rest our weary eyes.

Paul Hopper: A wonderful man!!!!

Jane Hopper Cush: Happiest of birthdays, Freddie. 

Joan Colman: Very best wishes to Fred Kaad, OBE from the Colman family.

Rob Hicks: Congratulations on a good life Freddy Kaad. Shirley Hicks, widow of your old mate, Ted, sends her regards.

Margaret Kimmorley: Happy 100th Mr Kaad—have a wonderful day.

Rebecca Hopper: Happy birthday Freddie—congratulations on reaching a century! 

Arthur Smedley: Best wishes Fred and congratulations on reaching this important milestone.

Paul Munro: Another top score Fred, with Gaynor still at the crease with you! 

Jan Ross: Happiest of birthdays Fred, 100! Congratulations!

Sylvia Spring: Congratulations Freddy—Happy 100th birthday. What a milestone—what a man!! Love from Sylvia and Jeff Kelly and Josh and Bella.

John Pain: Very best wishes, Fred. You interviewed me in Adelaide and subsequently I became a patrol officer in the Highlands. I have many wonderful memories of my time in PNG, wonderful people. Best regards.

Elizabeth O’Brien: Happy Birthday Mr Kaad!

Anna & Peter Bettels: Congratulations from the Rolfe family!

Karl Kramer: Have a nice time on your birthday, Fred. My family and I remember the great things you did for our country, PNG. God Bless.

Sue Spencer: Best wishes Fred from the Pulsford family

Kat Glasson: Congratulations

From the PNGAA website:

Anne Peters: An excellent article about an extraordinary man. My parents were friends of Fred and June Kaad back in the early 1950s in New Ireland. Fred and June were very gracious and kind hosts to me when their daughter Gaynor and I both started at boarding school in 1964. 

I will always recall their kindness to a little girl from New Ireland who had never even been to Australia until I started at boarding school! 

I would like to add that Gaynor Kaad is an extraordinary and remarkable woman, whose devotion to her father has undoubtedly allowed him to achieve this remarkable birthday. I am honoured to count Gaynor Kaad among my friends.

Jane: Freddie Kaad is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever known! (And one of the nicest.) From reading this article I discovered many early accomplishments that—due to his modesty—I’d known nothing about. I, too, met him by attending boarding school with his daughter, and join with Anne in my admiration and affection for Gaynor.


CWA–PNG International Study Year Competition Judging

In February 2020, to complete the year of focus on PNG, Lyn Braico from the CWA asked the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia to help them judge their NSW competition entries. Every country they study has a competition at the end to review and imbed in their membership what they have learnt during the year. 

Association members who judged sections were Steven Marvell, Sara Turner and Cheryl Marvell.

Despite the challenges of COVID we could contribute, and all judges commented on how much they enjoyed seeing the detail and high quality of work presented. 

The final NSW CWA Conference of the year is normally held in Dubbo and includes the prize giving and display of the handcrafted items made for the competition. 

As the conference had to be cancelled the CWA gathered some judges from the PNG Women’s Association of NSW—Lani Drosd (President), Jane Hickson (Secretary), Bernie Clarke (Treasurer), and the PNGAA—Andrea Williams and myself, at Lyn Bracio’s home to judge the PNG Dolls, Handicraft items and Bilums. 

A lovely morning was had by all reviewing the entries from the talent of the CWA (and sampling some amazing cakes they are famous for). It was obvious the enormous impact that studying our closest neighbour had been on the CWA. 

The PNGAA also immensely enjoyed and was excited to be able to be involved with this great initiative to promote better understanding of Papua New Guinea. Over the previous eighteen months PNGAA members had participated by speaking at conferences, talking about PNG at various CWA international days on PNG throughout NSW, and PNGAA had produced a general information book about PNG that was provided to all CWA centres in NSW.

The CWA raises funds for the country studied and, in this case, the NSW branches already have a long-term association and support of PNG childcare centres and women’s organisations among many other worthy causes. 

We hope to be able to continue the great friendships and networks we have made over this year to benefit both organisations in the future. 

Cheryl Marvell


Worked for Burns Philp in Popondetta and Port Moresby from 1980 through 1987

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