Vale September 1991

BERESFORD, Charles Ernest |  BURGERS, Johannes Petrus Coenradus |  BURNS, Francis Michael (Mick) |  CLARKE (Kennedy-Clarke), Phyllis Amy |  EVANS, Grace |  FARDON, Rev. Ian McAuslan |  GAULT, Joyce |  KRUGER, Audrey |  MORGAN, Angela Marisse |  MORGAN, Leo Robert, OBE |  NEEDHAM, Martin |  NOBLET, Keith Edwin (Nobby) |  RICH, MacKendrick Charles William (Mac) |  ROOKE, Peter |  SOWENI, Paul |  WEIDENHOFER, Reay Thiselton | 

 

MacKendrick Charles William (Mac) RICH (20 July 1991 aged 87)

As a child, Mac lived in Papua with his missionary parents, Rev. Charles and Caroline Rich of the London Bible Society, and his brothers and sisters at Fife Bay. He later went to school in North Sydney as a boarder at Knox College with his brother Clem (other brother Mick was only a baby) and attended the Congregational Church at Milsons Point, where he met Mab (Mabel) at Sunday School, little realising that they would marry many years later.

Mac joined the Papuan Field Service in 1924, aged 21 years, as a Patrol Officer and in 1932 spent six months at Kokoda building the first landing ground with the help of the local people. When Civil Administration ceased in February 1942, he was a Senior Assistant Resident Magistrate. He served in WW II with ANGAU and was at Milne Bay prior to and during the Japanese landing; he was at Goodenough Island where the US Forces staged prior to assault on Gasmata; and was on special duty with advance party up the NE Coast prior to assault on Buna.

Post-war Mac served as District Officer Port Moresby 1946/47 and then as Assistant Director, Department of District Services and Native Affairs until retirement in 1952, after 28 years service. As Assistant Director, he relieved the Director and the Assistant Government Secretary when they went on leave.

Mac and Mab then moved to Sunshine Street, Manly Vale and Mac worked for the Manly Council until he again retired. He was a member of the Manly Vale Bowling Club, Balgowlah RSL and the Harboard Diggers. He was pre­deceased by his wife, Mab, and their only child, a son MacKendrick (Ken), who died early this year.

Daughter-in-law, Marie, writes “Mac was a fine person and very talented, his great sense of design and beautiful handwork built boats at Manly Vale. He loved his radio, which was of great interest and kept him in touch with his PNG colleagues and friends via weekly sessions. He was held in high regard by those with whom he came in contact, fondly remembered by his family and friends, he loved his family and was one of nature’s gentlemen.” Mac is survived by his daughter-in-law, Marie, and grandchildren Kerri, Victoria and Craig.

 

Johannes Petrus Coenradus BURGERS (9 June 1991, aged 76)

John went to PNG in the early 50s with his wife and eight children. He spent his first year on the island of Buka, working on a coconut plantation. Then he took his family to Rabaul, where he worked for Chipper & Co. for a year. At this time he kept his study up for accountancy and passed all his exams.

He then worked with the Public Works Department for a number of years in Rabaul. In 1966 he went to Port Moresby to work with Trade and Industry. At the end of 1967 he was transferred back to Rabaul. Late in 1968 he was transferred back to Port Moresby and continued working with Trade and Industry there until he retired in 1972.

John and his wife then settled at Elbow Vale in Queensland. He is survived by his wife, Arnolda Albertha, eight children and twenty-two grandchildren.

 

Rev. Ian McAuslan FARDON (18 August 1991)

At the Northern Suburbs Crematorium, the Rev. Gordon Trickett on 21 August paid tribute to the life of Ian McAuslan Fardon saying he was “a man of vision, who had his feet grounded in reality”.

Ian was born and grew up on the Atherton Tablelands and was the eldest of a family of four boys and three girls. His father had a small tobacco farm and also worked a Wolfram mine. Ian missed periods of schooling assisting his father at the mine and timber getting. In WW II he joined the RAAF and went to Canada for training where he gained his “wings”. The war came to an end before he had the opportunity to see any action.

After discharge in 1947 he was accepted for training as a Methodist Minister and entered Wesley College at the University of Sydney where he gained a BA degree and became a joint President of the Australian Student Christian Movement (ASCM). When he had completed his theological training at the Uniting Faculty and Leigh Theological College, he became a travelling secretary of the ASCM. Trickett continued: “People with an ASCM background continue to comment on what an inspiration Ian was to them during this period of their studies. Ian was able to open their minds to new ways of commitment to the Gospel.”

In 1956, Ian, having married Gwenyth Wyndham, took charge of the Rabaul Methodist church for five years. “While there Ian gave leadership in the building of a great modern church and attracted into it a large and vital congregation drawn from the European, Chinese, and town dwelling PNG Nationals.”  His energy and initiative was unbounded.

“He visited the hospital each day [and met every arriving plane], as a means of keeping in touch with people’s movements. He would be at the air strip at 6 am. He would visit the market on Saturday morning simply to talk with people”.

In Rabaul he developed a transit Hostel, and a School Hostel so village children could attend High School. To finance all this a group of Church people, led by Alex Hopper and Ian, acquired a plantation in Bougainville.

After a term at Gaulim, “his final appointment in PNG was in the United Church at Port Moresby. With Church Union Ian was able to build up a strong multicultural church, preparing its people for independence, and building up skills among the indigenous people for the responsibility of the continuing life of the Church. He gave support to politicians and community leaders as they looked forward to independence.”

He returned to Australia in 1974 and conducted a vital ministry at Rooty Hill, Armidale and Uralla. He retired to a block out of Armidale and built with his own hands a beautiful retirement home which he and Gwenyth surrounded with a magnificent garden of Australian and other plants. He kept bees, ran sheep, was an assistant postman with a 200 km run, promoted exhibitions of paintings for Rotary and was a member of the CSIRO Ethics Committee … and much more. He will be greatly missed by Gwenyth, his family and a wide diversity of friends from every walk of life. At his request Gwenyth is floating a fund to support the education of United Church ministers in PNG.

 

Paul SOWENI (15 August 1991)

Paul died in Port Moresby of a heart attack. He was Superintendent of Operations in the Technical Education Division, Department of Education. He will be known to many through his long work in technical education including terms as Principal of Madang and Idubada Technical Colleges. He was also very active in soccer affairs and served as National Coach. No further details available.

 

Charles Ernest BERESFORD (6 June 1991, aged 73 years)

Dr Beresford was born in Manchester, England, on 19 August 1917. He showed signs of great determination and a strong will at an early age, when at 14 he had to leave school to supplement the family income. He did not allow this to hinder his ambition to become a teacher, and worked at anything available during the day whilst attending night school.

He graduated in his early 20s from Didsbury College in Manchester as a teacher. He used to organise activities for children during the school holidays as he was concerned about the ones with working parents being left unattended.

During the war he was so badly injured that he was to receive a pension for life. He refused and once again his incredible willpower came into play, and he went on to lead a full and very useful life.

In 1950 he migrated to Australia where, with his wife and 4 young children, he was assigned to a small country school in Richlands, NSW. A measure of the respect that he received is that some of the students still contacted him until recently. A few years later, Dr Beresford took up a position as District Education Officer at Lorengau, Manus Island in New Guinea. He left the family in Sydney, which was as well as when he arrived there was no school: no buildings, let alone equipment. His first lessons were held on the beach with shells for equipment.

Six months later when his family arrived, he had organised, with the assistance of the local natives, the erection of Quonset huts as a house and school. He had even made ice-cream for his 6 children. Whilst he was stationed in Lorengau, Dr Beresford started a Teacher Training School. He staffed the schools in the surrounding villages with his trainees. He was always interested in the Scouting movement and introduced Scouting in Lorengau.

He was most concerned about the lack of formal education for girls on the island and convinced the local village chiefs that it would be beneficial to educate them. With the help of his wife, Sally, he introduced the girls to education and had them board at the Lorengau Education Centre under the supervision of older women from the tribes.

Dr Beresford’s 2 youngest children were born whilst he was stationed in the Territories. At his last posting there, he noticed a marked deterioration in the relationship between the indigenous population and the whites, and it saddened him greatly.

His final posting before retirement was as Headmaster to the Nightcliffe Primary School in Darwin, where Cyclone Tracey devastated his school. He retired, with his wife and 2 youngest children, to Malanda in North Queensland where they bought a small property that backed onto the Johnson River. He set about planting hundreds of trees. The perimeter consisted of several rows of pine trees which became a landmark in the area. As with all of his previous homes, this one was named ‘Kibble Kift’. Dr Beresford was never really retired and he completed a doctorate in preventative medicine in 1984. He loved studying and up until 2 weeks before his death he was studying to keep abreast of the law in his role of Justice of the Peace. His wife, Sally, passed away on 20 June 1983.

He is survived by his 8 children, Wendy (Wodonga, Vic), Norman (Perth, WA), Leslie (Canberra), Thomas (Rockhampton, Qld), Gaye (Jilliby, NSW), Robin (Ipswich, Qld), Jennifer (Raymond Terrace, NSW) and Janet (Toowoomba, Qld), and their families.

 

Grace EVANS (20 May 1991, aged 91)

Widow of Thomas Evans, who joined the New Guinea Service in 1929 as a Technical Assistant and passed away in 1942 whilst, I believe, still in the Service. No further details available.

 

Francis Michael (Mick) BURNS (15 June. 1991, aged 68)

Mr Burns passed away at Selangor Private Hospital, Nambour, after a long illness. A service was held in a small Catholic Church at Kandanga, outside Gympie, attended by some 200 mourners: very few expatriates. Noreen Aldridge, Geoff Masters, Tom Durkin

Mick Burns served in PNG during the war and returned in 1946 as Works Supervisor for the Commonwealth Department of Works. Around 1950 he married Lexi Segar and they divorced in the 70s. He married Pat Neville (no relation to Ron Neville) around 1977. Upon leaving PNG they settled on a small property at Kandanga. He is survived by his wife Pat and daughter Michelle (13).

 

Reay Thiselton WEIDENHOFER (5 February 1984 aged 73)

Reay Weidenhofer joined the New Guinea Administration in 1937. He was stationed first at Rabaul. A member of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles, he was in Wau at the time of the Japanese invasion there and was one of a group of men who walked across the Owen Stanley Range by way of “Dead Chinaman” to Port Moresby. In about 1944 he was transferred from the Australian Army to American headquarters in the Pacific.

Post-war he was with Treasury at Madang with his family from May 1946 to 1952. At the end of 1952 he moved to Moresby with Treasury, later joining the newly established Department of Posts and Telegraphs (probably on its formal ‘inauguration’ on 1 July 1955). When he retired in 1967 he was the Executive Officer with Forestry.

Retiring to his home State, Tasmania, and to the family home, ‘Avalon Gates’, Taroona, which he and Joan had established at Hobart many years before, Reay joined NAMCO in Tasmania as an accountant. He much enjoyed working with NAMCO, and obviously the feeling was mutual because each time he talked of retiring he was persuaded to stay “a little longer”. When he did leave, he worked part-time with private accountants Wilson Woods till 1981.

Suffering a series of small strokes during 1981, Reay was hospitalised after a more severe stroke. To his great distress he was there the week Joan, who had been ill with cancer for several years, died. (Joan was well known for pioneering and compering the ABC womens’ session for 9PA from Port Moresby from the early 1950s.)

Reay made a slow recovery, sufficient for him to live quietly at home alone, thanks to son Wally, relatives nearby, and to regular visits by daughter Margaret (now Mrs Bryan Reid) from Melbourne. Joan and Bill Peckover visited him at Easter 1983 when, though still handicapped, he was enjoying a quiet, reasonably independent life. The following year he died suddenly at home on the day he had been looking forward to yachting with Wally. Margaret wrote: “Dad seemed to be coping quite well at Christmas, though he was slowing down a little, so we thought we would have him with us for a few more years.”

 

Audrey KRUGER (2 September 1991)

Audrey was a keen golfer and would be better known to many members as Audrey Woodlands of Madang, who at one time was the PNG National Associate Champion. I understand that she died on the Caloundra Golf Course whilst playing a round of golf. Her son, Geoffrey, is an outstanding Professional Golfer and flew home from the US for his mother’s funeral. Audrey is survived by her husband Eddie and son Geoffrey. No further details available.

 

Keith Edwin (Nobby) NOBLET (20 June 1991, aged 82)

Nobby was born in Adelaide and trained as a woolclasser. He joined BGD Bulolo as a Clerk in 1936. He joined NGVR at its inception and was evacuated with malaria to Brisbane in 1942. He hurried to Adelaide to marry Ethel Patricia Payne and returned to PNG on secondment to the RAAF, serving as an Air Liaison Officer with the 5th US Army in PNG and the Philippines.

He returned to Bulolo in 1946 and was joined by Pat and children, Tony and Susan, in 1947. He was BGD Port Manager Lae 1951 when he left to become Manager of Wanaru Cocoa Plantation outside Lae, but when dieback wiped out cocoa in the Markham Valley in the early 60s, he changed over to cattle raising. He sold Wanaru 1974 and joined Morobe Bakery, where he remained until 1979 when he came south to the Gold Coast.

Nobby was a keen golfer and was Lae B Grade Champion (1975?). He spent his retirement gardening and playing golf. Keith Noblet was a meticulous man in appearance and manner. For the last six years he and I rode buggies around the Gold Coast golf courses singing snatches of airs from Gilbert and Sullivan and proclaiming A.B. Patterson, Lawson and Kipling. Keith kept leaving his sand wedge in every bunker he went into and I and our mates kept picking them up. Anyone finding a club in a bunker automatically declared it “Nobby’s” and stuck it in our bag. We were the club ‘mumuts’ of the Gold Coast and he loved every minute of it. The Southport Golf Club is a sadder place because of his death.” Bob Bunting

 

Joyce GAULT (10 July 1991)

Joyce was one of Rabaul’s most colourful personalities and died after a long illness.

Before going to New Guinea, Joyce was a famous model, swimmer and cyclist. She lived with her husband, Richard, at Kokopo, New Britain, on the family plantation growing coconuts and cocoa. They later became involved with the timber industry and Japanese interests.

Joyce was well known for her beautiful golden hair and large shady hats. She was a great gardener and had an impressive collection of orchids. For a while she ran a tourist agency and took overseas visitors on delightful all-day picnics with morning coffee and champagne lunches served at secluded beaches and German historical sites. She was a member of the Country Women’s Association, Rabaul Art Society and the Red Cross.

She is survived by her husband Richard, son Richard, daughter Roslyn, son Roland and granddaughter Kiera.

 

Martin NEEDHAM (28 December 1989, aged 53)

Martin was appointed a Livestock Officer in 1969 and served DASF, DPI and Dept of Agriculture and Livestock for 20 years. In his early service he was involved with rural development and extension, being based at Kundiawa, Moitaka and Rabaul. When Livestock Training became an important function under a World Bank aid funded project to make PNG more self sufficient in livestock products, Martin assumed fulltime training duties. For many years he took a leading part in training both Government staff and farmers in livestock husbandry at 3 Mile, Lae, and from Kila Kila, Port Moresby. He was a member of the DPI Senior Training Officers Conference.

Martin was a big man but a gentle one. He was absolutely loyal to those who governed him and devoted to his task as a Training Officer. His early death from cancer aged only 53 and while still on rec. leave was a great loss. He is survived by his wife Dawn, who lives at Withcott near Toowoomba, and two sons, Michael and Matthew.

 

Peter ROOKE (26 April 1991)

The following notice appeared in the PNG Post-Courier on 24 May 1991:

ROOKE, PETER (DR) at Mareeba, Queensland on 26 April 1991. “An Outside Man”.

And that brief notice aptly describes him. Peter worked as a Medical Assistant in the West Sepik area and was well known for his almost constant patrolling. He later studied at the University of Papua New Guinea to qualify as a Doctor and later also qualified as a Specialist Obstetrician, in which capacity he worked in Madang and Port Moresby. No further details available.

 

Leo Robert MORGAN, OBE (31 July 1991, aged 45) Angela Marisse MORGAN (31 July 1991, aged 17)

Leo and his daughter Angela were killed in a road accident on the Gold Coast. His wife Angela and five other children were also involved in the accident and all ended up in hospital. Wife Angela is expected to be in hospital for some time as she is suffering a broken pelvis.

Leo was very highly regarded in PNG for his achievements as the first High Commissioner to New Zealand, head of numerous government departments, founder of the nation’s first radio station and recipient of an OBE earlier this year. It was his determination that his children receive the best Christian education that sparked his resignation from the Government and the move to a home in Ormeau, outside the Gold Coast.

A family friend, Paul Nerau, who travelled to the funeral from PNG, read a message of condolence from the PNG Prime Minister, Mr Rabi Namaliu, a close friend of Leo. Mr Namaliu’s message was sent to the family on behalf of the PNG people. It detailed a personal friendship since he and Leo attended the University of Papua New Guinea and were among the nation’s first graduates.

 

Phyllis Amy CLARKE (Kennedy-Clarke) (July 1991)

Phyl will be remembered by ex-residents of Madang, where she served for a number of years in the Madang Hospital. No further details available.

 

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