NELSON, Kieran
7 February 2024

We are sad to advise that Kieran passed away at Greenslopes Hospital in Brisbane on 7 February 2024.
He was a wonderful wantok/friend to many of us, to our association – PNGAA, and to PNG and our Australian – PNG community generally. He proudly wore his PNGVR uniform on Anzac Day and contributed greatly to that association, closely affiliated with PNGAA, as its recent treasurer. He was also active within the PNG Federation QLD Inc as its treasurer and involved with its major event for PNG Independence Day each year.

Always kind and willing to help, Kieran arranged the annual PNGAA gathering in Brisbane at the Ship Inn, ensuring it was the easy, friendly gathering that we all enjoy.

Kieran was also the administrator on PNGAA’s Facebook site as well as other PNG reunion sites. He always ensured timely news of any PNG events and had a library of items of interest such as those legendary recordings of ‘Tripela Liklik Pik’ and ‘Liklik Retpella Hat’ along with his tok pisin translations of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas’ and The Ode in Pidgin, along with occasional others, which he enjoyed reminding us about each year, and we thoroughly enjoyed hearing and seeing.

Kieran grew up in Maprik and Lumi, then spent some years in Kavieng, Sohano and Wewak, later moving to the PNG Highlands and back to Wewak after joining the PNGBC and CBA.

He was, like many, an Australian whose early years and experiences influenced a great love of the people and his homes in PNG.

His strong Christian values shone through. Reunions organised by Kieran – whether they were related to his secondary schooling in Lismore, the bank, or with PNG friends he’d made over the years, ensured happy, friendly gatherings.

Despite being diagnosed with cancer five years ago, Kieran continued to give generously to the PNG/Australian community.

Kieran will be greatly missed by all of us who have known him either personally or through social media.

Our condolences go to Kieran’s supportive wife, Margot, and to his family.  See more HERE

REGAN, John Michael
1 November 2023

John Regan was born on 18 August 1931 at Bellingen on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

He was born into a dairying family who had a sizeable herd at Raleigh, between Bellingen and Urunga. John left any education aspirations behind on completion of primary school and joined his dad on the family farm.

It was not long before he was bitten by the aviation bug and he commenced pilot training at Coffs Harbour Airport. He trained under instructors of the Royal Newcastle Aero Club who had many training bases scattered over northern NSW at that time. After completing his private and commercial pilot licence training John moved to Queensland and became an instructor under the Chief Flying Instructor, Morrie McMullen, at Rockhampton Aero Club during 1958 and 1959.

In 1960 John moved to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea (TPNG) to fly for Mandated Airlines (MAL) being based in Lae. John was assigned to the DC-3/C-47 and remained in Lae for five years. He then became Check and Training Captain at MAL’s Madang base. In 1961 Ansett Australia purchased MAL and the airline was renamed Ansett MAL.

While based at Ansett MAL in Madang, John flew the DC-3/C-47, the DHC-6 Twin Otter and the DHC-4 Caribou on which he did the full evaluation for its suitability to operate in TPNG. John also flew the Fokker FK-27 Friendship whilst with Ansett MAL, which became Ansett Airlines of PNG in 1968 and later, in 1970, absorbed Papuan Airlines.

John relocated to Port Moresby in 1970 to become a Senior Captain with Ansett Airlines of PNG where he remained until November 1973 as Papua New Guinea (PNG) approached self-government.

John, along with Capt. Dick Glassey and Capt. Bill Johns of Ansett Airlines of PNG, and Capt. Larry Blackman and Capt. Garry Honour of TAA PNG, was one of the pilots in TPNG who took the option of joining Air Niugini when that airline formed. John remained with Air Niugini for ten years, flying the Boeing 707 on international routes including inaugural flights to several Asian countries.

His flying experience post-PNG (from 1983 to 1998) included flying Airbus aircraft in Australia and overseas. In Australia, he was a captain with East West Airlines, Ansett Australia and Compass Mark1. Overseas, he flew an Airbus A300 cargo freighter from a base in Hong Kong before moving to Oman in 1991 to set up Oman Air Flight Operations.

In 1998 John returned to PNG to join its Civil Aviation Agency as a Senior Executive.

The last two years of his flying career began in 2006 when he joined Airlines of PNG, flying DHC-8 aircraft. By the time he stopped flying he was 77 years old and was possibly the oldest pilot, ever, to fly commercially in PNG. Altogether, Captain Regan spent 33 years in PNG and amassed 23,946 flying hours.

John is survived by his loyal wife, Laurel, who continues to call Newry Island, near Urunga, their family home. He had two brothers Bernie and Gerald and a sister Maureen. Another sister, Gai, predeceased John. Son Tim and two grandsons, Alex and Chris, survive him.

Capt. John Michael Regan will be remembered as a true PNG aviation legend. We lapun who remain, will never forget John and his amazing contribution to airline safety in Papua New Guinea.

Rest in eternal peace, Capt. John. We all miss you tremendously.

Garry Honour

WEBER, Raymond Edwin MBE, ML, MCS
30 September 2023

Born in the Barossa Valley, South Australia on 28 February 1942, Ray spent his early years on the family dairy farm at Eden Valley. After the death of his father the farm was sold and the family moved to Angaston from where Ray attended the Nuriootpa High School, graduating Dux Year 12.

Ray began in PNG as a cadet patrol officer in February 1961 and initially was posted to the Madang District. He spent much time on patrol, including on Kar Kar Island.

Following the 1963 patrol officers’ long course, at ASOPA in Sydney, Ray spent 1964–65 in the Gulf District. He served at Kukipi then Kaintiba where he continued the establishment of the new government station including construction of the airstrip.

Ray related the story of applying for special leave to attend the Goroka (or Hagen) show. There being no response he walked from Kaintiba to Aseki and flew to Lae and the highlands. Returning to Kaintiba he received a radiogram informing him: ‘leave application denied’.

Ray was posted to Central District in 1966. He spent most of the next four years in the Goilala Sub-District at postings including Tapini, Guari and Woitape. He often spoke of the Kunimaipa area and the priests who worked at the missions there.

In 1971 he was posted to New Ireland District. He served at Taskul and was Assistant District Commissioner, Namatanai in 1974. One of Ray’s officers, Rod Owens, wrote: ‘The profound impact that Ray Weber had on my life narrative is immeasurable.’

Ray married Martina (deceased) the love of his life in 1975. In 1976 he was posted to Kavieng as District Officer Lands. Frank Howard (the last Australian DC of New Ireland) wrote that ‘Ray’s patience, his listening ability and acceptance of the reasoning of parties in discussions or disputes, was reassuring to the Papua New Guineans that they were being heard.’ He was a gifted negotiator and a lot of outstanding land matters were finalised during his time in Kavieng.

In 1980 the family moved to Brisbane to begin a new life. Ray was a crack shot and was often the winner in competitions in the local Clay Pigeon Club. He prepared all his own ammunition. Ray was a keen golfer and encouraged many people to play the game. His only drawback was he stood on the wrong side of the ball.

But, in 1988 he was back in PNG, recruited to work on land and community affairs for the Lihir gold project.

Ray later worked for the Ramu nickel project, 1997–2003. Next, until 2008, he was among the Huli people, working at the Porgera Gold Mine. Tim Omundsen, former Community Relations Manager, Porgera wrote: ‘We have lost a great man.’

Finally, until health and then Covid 19 restrictions on travel intervened, Ray spent his final years in PNG consulting for Total on dealing with landowners in the nation’s next LNG project which may start construction next year.

He became a keen lawn bowler and croquet player in recent years and was adamant that he would play in the seniors’ competition in 2024.

Ray was awarded an MBE for his services and was also a Member of Logohu and Meritorious Community Services Medal recipient. 

Chris Makin relates that, when he was working at Mt Kare, ‘We would communicate regularly. Ray liked to catch up when we were both home, on break, in Cairns to have a quiet one.’ Chris wrote, ‘One could say that Ray was a great bloke but he was not a blokey person. One-of- a- kind, a gentleman and scholar, highly intelligent, a man of integrity, but modest … A nice guy with Christian values and goodwill. Never heard him utter a swear word or speak ill of anyone. All this without being a church goer.’ 

Ray often expressed frustration at the attitude of international companies’ lack of knowledge and respect towards the local people and their cultures. He held a strong belief that throwing money to the local people caused a lot of harm whereas honest negotiations usually resulted in general agreement. There can be no doubt that Ray’s calming attitudes and knowledge saved and resolved many tension-filled situations.

Martina was also awarded PNG’s Logohu Medal for exemplary services to health and community. Children Yvette and Robert were born in Kavieng and Ursula in Brisbane. Ray worked in Brisbane before his expertise was sought in PNG and he returned. The Webers spent some time back in Port Moresby before they settled in Cairns. Ray always enjoyed and appreciated a glass of red and he has gone on his last patrol to the haus kiap in his beloved Barossa. R.I.P.

 Paul Simpson

YOUNG, Warren
19 December 2023

Warren Young spent his childhood in Rabaul where his father was a police office and his mother worked at the telephone exchange.

Readers may have known Warren through his love of Rabaul and the publication of Rabaul: Jewel of the Pacific—A Pictorial look at Historic Rabaul.

Warren wrote several other books: about policing in PNG, Port Moresby and the German occupation of the country. He was a regular poster on Facebook about the history of Rabaul. 

Warren is survived by his wife Chiharu.

Stephen Hull


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

1 Response

  1. Ian Macleod says:

    The funeral of Bishop AUSTEN CRAPP formerly Bishop of Aitape took place at Waverley , NSW on Friday 15 March.. he had turned 90 the day preceding his death. RIP

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