Vale March 1995

BOSTOCK, Keith Anthony (Tony) |  DARNER, Thomas Richard |  DAVIES, Alfred Samuel |  DENCH, John |  DIETRICH, Gwenyth |  DIGBY, Gladys Ivy |  DRYER, Ernest Stanley Henry (Max) |  ELWORTHY, Geoffrey Collin |  FERRIES, Lillian |  FRANCIS, Kenneth John |  GALLOWAY, Ronald Thomas |  HERBERT, Sister Annette |  HOLINSKY, Karel |  HOSKING, Lorna, OAM |  JANOUSEK, Jan Joseph |  JOYCEY, Douglas Charles |  MASON, Francis Clive |  McKENZIE, Murray |  MYCOE, Thomas Peter |  MYNARD, June Lilian |  NICHTERLEIN, Edwin (Ted) |  O’DONNELL, May Webster |  O’DONOGHUE, Guy William Patrick (Steve) |  PRITCHARD, Violet Gwendolene (Gwen) |  RAMSAY, Eric, DFC |  ROSSER, Evelyn Therese |  SAUNDERS, Mary Raphael |  TONG, Jack |  WILSON, Lindsay McCallum | 

 

Douglas Charles JOYCEY (30 January 1995, aged 98 years 11 months)

Doug was born on 26 February 1896 in London, England, and he led a full and interesting life, remaining active until the last six months when illness required him to have 24-hour nursing care.

He emigrated from the United Kingdom to Canada in 1910 at the age of 14 years. In 1914 he enlisted in Canadian Army and served in France with the 5th Field Ambulance Division until 1918 when he was repatriated after losing his right eye in the Battle of Somme at Vimy Ridge. He later named his plantation in New Britain “Vimy”. After the war he worked in the timber industry in the West Coast of Canada before emigrating to Melbourne in 1926 where he was employed in the clothing trade. It was in Melbourne in 1930 where he met his wife Winifred. They had four sons: Douglas, James, Richard and Walter.

In 1933 the depression forced him to work in New Guinea with the Department of Health as a Medical Assistant, running native hospitals and patrolling from village to village in the Mew Guinea Highlands, the Sepik and New Britain Districts. One of his patrols on the Sepik River took three months. In 1937 he witnessed the Rabaul volcanic eruption whilst providing medical and supervision services. Fifty seven years later in September 1994, through television, he was also able to view and take interest in the second Rabaul volcanic eruption.

In 1941 during the Second World War, he enlisted in the Australian Army and became a Lieutenant in the Medical Division of the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU).  He was present at the surrender of the Japanese Army in Rabaul. He received a King’s Order for distinguished service for his work in this Unit.

In 1946 after the war, he remained in New Britain and recommenced employment with the Department of Health as a Medical Assistant running the Kokopo Hospital for approximately six years. During this time he purchased Vimy Plantation which was wrecked during the war and which he redeveloped. He left the hospital in 1952 and worked full time on the plantation, producing cocoa and copra until 1972. He was a member of the Planters’ Association, the Masonic Lodge and the R.S.L. in Rabaul. He published a booklet of his Recollections of the First World War in France and Belgium, the 1937 Rabaul Volcanic Eruption and the Second World War in New Guinea.

In 1969 he and his wife spent six months travelling overseas visiting the United Kingdom, Europe and South Africa. They returned to Vimy Plantation where he worked until 1972 when he retired to Scarborough, Brisbane, on account of his wife’s ill health. She died on 26 August 1976 and he continued his life in St Lucia, Brisbane. He took a keen interest in the development of Brisbane and enjoyed getting out nearly every day into the city inspecting construction sites, buildings, etc. He was an active member of the Liberal Party attending meetings and distributing leaflets on Election Days. He is survived by his four sons, 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

 

Jack TONG (2 November 1994, aged 79)

Jack was an Instructor in the PNG Department of Education serving in PNG from 1958 to 1972. He is survived by his widow Nobuko. No further details available.

 

Ernest Stanley Henry (Max) DRYER (8 November 1994, aged 69)

Born in England in 1926, he joined the Royal Navy at 15 as a cadet. Later, he managed Hostels in Adelaide and the Snowy Mountains before he went to PNG in 1963. Initially Secretary, he later became General Manager of the Electricity Commission. He also became a Lt-Colonel in the CMF before returning to Australia in 1976.  Subsequently, he was recruited to supervise the restoration of the electricity supply in Darwin following Cyclone Tracy. He is survived by his widow Ann, his son Maxwell and two grandchildren.

 

Eric RAMSAY, DFC (22 December 1994, aged 74)

Eric, born at Cottesloe, WA, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his role as a combat pilot in the Korean war.

An accomplished pianist from an early age, he had to choose between tertiary studies and a career as a concert pianist. He chose the former and became an articled clerk with a chartered accountancy firm in Perth. He joined the RAAF in 1940 and received a King’s Commendation for meritorious service in the air.

After his discharge in 1945 he returned to accountancy, but kept up his interest in flying in the air reserve. In 1950 he rejoined the air force and served for the next 19 years in a number of countries. From 1967-1969, he was seconded to the Royal Malaysian Air Force as a senior officer. By the time he retired in 1970, Eric had recorded more than 7000 hours of flying military aircraft in fighter and ground attack roles.

He then became Associate to a Papua New Guinea Supreme Court Judge and in 1973 he was appointed staff manager of Air Niugini at its inception. After leaving the airline in 1980 he travelled widely. He divorced in 1975 and there were two children from the marriage.

 

Thomas Richard DARNER (15 January 1995, aged 56)

Tom Darner was born in Lancashire, England, migrated to Australia in 1947 and qualified as an Electrician. Eventually he ran his own business in the south-western suburbs of Sydney.

In 1971 Tom joined the PNG Administration as a Patrol Officer in training and was posted to Wau. In 1972 he was posted to Bulolo. In February 1974, Tom and his family arrived on transfer to Finschhafen where he served as a Patrol Officer. He was promoted to ADO in November 1975 and on 1 July 1978 he took over as DOIC Finschhafen District: he was thus the last Australian to hold this Office.

With his experience in the building trades, Tom was a great asset on an outstation and was very highly regarded by the Finschhafen people. Notable achievements included work on the Hapahondong, Wareo and Nandu roads; he finally changed the famous Finschhafen ‘Golf’ Club to the Finschhafen Social Club and installed a TV set in the Clubhouse. Tom was very active in assisting with the Finschhafen Kabwum planning and Development Authority, Rural Improvement projects and Social Clubs and their activities. Tom resigned in August 1981 and returned to Australia.

His time since leaving PNG was marred by a series of illnesses and he died on Sunday 15 January 1995 at his home in Ruse. His funeral at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Leppington, was attended by some 100 relatives and friends. He is survived by his first wife, Maria and children Karen, Christine, Stephen, Tommy and Katie; and second wife Joan and step children Caroline, Linda and Susan.

 

Gwenyth DIETRICH (5 January 1995)

Gwen went to Rabaul in 1936 with her family. She worked for District Services when ‘Bobbie Melrose’ was in charge. She was, of course, involved in the 1937 eruption. A couple of years later she married Jack Evans, Colyer Watson’s accountant, but the Japanese had plans for PNG and Jack became Cpl N.J. Evans, NGVR, and one of the many Australians who died on the Montevideo Maru as a POW.

Gwenyth was evacuated and spent some 6 years in Melbourne before returning to work in PNG again. This time it was with Dept of Civil Administration when Steve Lonergan was boss. At this time Australian Services were withdrawing from Moresby but, before they left, Gwenyth met Naval Lieut Rex Dietrich. Some years later they were married and had a long and happy life together in Sydney, eventually retiring to a property near Grafton where Rex died a few years ago.

Gwenyth is survived by son Stewart, grandchildren Stephanie and James, and stepdaughter Valentine. She was also a sister of our member, Jean Cox of Dungog, NSW.

 

Lindsay McCallum WILSON (9 January 1995, aged 55)

After a career in PNG Department of Education, Lindsay retired in Cairns, with his wife Sila Rutina and children. They were married in 1972 in Medina, New Ireland. Working again part time in Education he had also an artistic activity, mainly in pottery.

The funeral was conducted by Bishop George Tung Yep and attended by several PNG residents of Cairns area. Survived by widow Sila, mother Gladys and children Anthony, Tangala and David.

 

Jan Joseph JANOUSEK (6 January 1995, aged 95)

JJ, as he was widely known, came to PNG in 1950 with his first wife Dr Marie Janousek, who was one of the Continental medical practitioners engaged by PHD to establish the post-war medical service for the Territory. She was a very popular doctor, well known for her work in maternal and child welfare in the Port Moresby area. Her name and work is commemorated by the Janousek Clinic at Sogeri near Port Moresby.

JJ was an attorney and judge in Czechoslovakia. They escaped from that country because of the post-war political changes and developments. After migrating to Australia, they came to PNG. In Port Moresby JJ was appointed to the Department of Law. He was highly respected for his great courtesy, helpfulness and thorough legal knowledge. His major work was the preparation and editing of an annotated list of the Regulations, proclamations, notices, etc., gazetted under both the pre- and post-war Ordinances of Papua, New Guinea, and Papua New Guinea. In recognition of his work, on his retirement he was called to the bar of the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea.

Shortly after their retirement to Sydney in 1968, JJ lost his first wife. Her illness and death were probably the result of the difficult medical working conditions during the war. During his retirement, which he shared with his second wife Vlasta, he maintained his wide interest in world affairs and his concern for PNG. He will be remembered by his many friends and associates during his long and rewarding life for being one of nature’s true gentlemen and a sincere friend. He is survived by his widow, Vlasta.

 

Evelyn Therese ROSSER (12 January 1995, aged 75)

Evelyn was the widow of Tom Rosser and together they owned a copra plantation at Sivigold on the Kemp Welch River, Rigo, later inter-planted with cocoa. He (Tom) also owned a sawmill in the area, and trade store at Kwikila with his late brother Harry.

When they left PNG they settled at Tascott on the Central Coast and after his passing Evelyn moved into the West Gosford RSL Retirement Village which her late husband established while he was President of the West Gosford RSL for a number of years.

Evelyn was a mother to many, not only to her own children, but also to many a young officer of both sexes from the various Departments in the area. She was a good listener, comforter, helper and her home was open to all. She did not always have an easy life herself, but made the best of it. She is survived by her children, Thomas, Ricky, John, Maris and Ian.

 

Lorna HOSKING, OAM (7 September 1994, aged 89)

Lorna was the widow of Dr Herbert Champion Hosking, who was in PHD Rabaul from the early 30s until the arrival of the Japanese in Rabaul in January 1942.

Lorna was a very private person, living only for her doctor husband and her two daughters. With her two daughters she was evacuated to Australia with all the other women and children of Rabaul in December 1941, and took up residence in Adelaide, her home town. Her husband was taken prisoner-of-war by the Japanese in 1942 and was one of those lost on the Montevideo Maru.

Her main interest then was the historical Stow Memorial Church of which she eventually became Treasurer. She maintained her interest in this church when, later, in 1945 she joined the newly formed War Widows’ Guild and gave it her staunchest support. Stow Memorial Church is now called the Pilgrim Church and is a lovely old edifice. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of the earliest churches; it used to be Congregational but is now Uniting.

With the formation of the War Widows’ Guild, Lorna became fully engrossed in it and worked most of the remainder of her life for the Guild and War Widows’ homes. She was Vice-President, then Senior Vice-President and often Acting President of the South Australian branch of the War Widows’ Guild for many years. Often she represented the South Australian Branch of the War Widows Guild at national and interstate conference. For her lifetime of work she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal.

 

Ronald Thomas GALLOWAY (17 February 1995, aged 72)

[The following is a reprint of an article printed in the March 1996 Una Voce, pp 18-21.]

Born in 1922, educated at a local primary and then at Parramatta High, scoutmaster and trained Goldsmith, Ron joined the army at 20, landed at Moresby in early ’42 and in September was a Sergeant Instructor in the 14th Infantry Training Battalion, reconnoitring the Black Rocks area with Ed Hicks and others within earshot of the “woodpecker” heavy machine guns and mortars of the advancing Japanese. Fortunately they had been halted by the end of the month and they began their retreat. Still only 20, Ron learned that his brother Harold had been killed in action after the Japanese landing at Rabaul in January that year.

Thinking that his scouting days would qualify him for patrolling Ron joined ANGAU. Little did he know what was in store for him! At his first posting, Abau, he met David Marsh and then went on solo patrol during which he quickly learned the lingua franca, Police Motu, how to manage his police, carriers and the local people.

At war’s end many of us here today joined the Civil Administration either directly from our PNG stations or, if in Australia, as soon as our leave had finished. Ron followed the former course, serving in Kikori, Beara, Taipini, Madang, Samarai, Moresby, Lae and back to Moresby. He progressed upward through the ranks of the kiaps or Field staff of District Services and Native Affairs, the proud traditions of which have deservedly earned a place in the country’s history since 1880. In this tradition the role played by Ron is recognised by all “outside men” who know anything of his work in this most challenging of fields as being second to none: he was a superb bush kiap.

But as his record shows he was also an excellent administrator. As one of the most senior post-war District Commissioners, Ron was widely respected for his diligence and his total commitment to the wide range of duties and responsibilities which such a position carried. In recognition of his efforts and wide knowledge he was twice the Administration Liaison Officer with the United Nations Visiting Missions which toured the country and in 1968 was the PNG representative at the UN’s Trusteeship Council’s periodic examination of reports of Australia’s stewardship over the Territory. Ron was also a nominated member of the House of Assembly—the Papua New Guinea parliament—for four years before his retirement in 1974. Lots more could be said but surely that is sufficient.

But who was the man inside this outstanding officer? What made Ron Galloway tick? To find that out we have to look at some of the special traits which made up his character. There is no doubt at all that he was courageous: but what does that mean? It seems to me that there are three kinds of courage. One is the ability to face physical danger—the kind that sometimes wins medals—and Ron had this in abundance. For instance, the army commendation for “outstanding coolness” when rescuing a party of pilots. David Marsh recounts the incident at Lake Murray when their all-important canoe had drifted some 50 metres out in an area where they all knew a giant crocodile constantly patrolled to keep it as his own. Ron didn’t order someone else to swim out but without hesitation dived in and retrieved the canoe himself.

Harry Jackman tells about working at the District Office at Moresby. At that time he was quite inexperienced. A serious riot involving Goilalas and others at Kila Labour Camp was reported and Ron jumped into a jeep, took Harry and no police. As they approached the hostile mob Harry became more than a little nervous but it took only a few well chosen authorative words in Ron’s fluent Police Motu to restore order. As Harry wrote “It was a demon­stration of personal courage and magnetism.” Were there time I would give many other examples of Ron”s courage, especially in the Goilala.

There is another kind of courage which comes from integrity, strength of character and determination. A man of principle, Ron had no hesitation in standing up for what he thought was right, even though he knew it was not what we now call “politically correct”. This trait earned him some respect but did not endear him to many of his superiors – some of whom did not like to be told they were wrong. Ron had the courage of his convictions. And his integrity can be seen again in his retirement: he became a director of a real estate firm but resigned when he realised they had no ethics.

The third kind of courage is usually shown in times of great adversity—when the strong will, the indomitable spirit not to give in come to the fore. This was illustrated by Ron during many of the long, rain-soaked arduous patrols—the kind we all remember—when you wondered whether you’d ever get to the bottom of the ridge in front of you, let alone to the top; or at night when you looked at blistered, bloody feet and wondered whether it really was worth it. It was shown again during this last year as Ron’s condition deteriorated: his main concern was not for himself but that his suffering should not affect others, especially his family. To any inquiry from his friends his standard answer was lau be namo—“all OK”—and I can remember him trying to put a smile in his voice even though it was fading and hoarse.

Despite his success Ron was a humble man. He had no pretence or lofty airs and would be as comfortable sharing bully beef and rice with a villager as having a scotch with an overseas VIP. His thoughtfulness for others, his compassion, came quite early: at school he would often save up his lunch money for missionaries in New Guinea. Later he gave much more but these were matters between Ron and the recipient and often it was only by accident and much later that Ronnie or Anton would find out. Outside Ron’s study is a photo of a young pregnant mother with her child beside her. Her clothes are rags and she is desperately praying. On the glass Ron has pasted a quotation which sums up this aspect of his life. Many of you will know it—it reads:

I expect to pass this way but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.

He wasn’t afraid of reaching out—of becoming personally involved—and his concern extended beyond Australia and Papua New Guinea to include Asia. Ron was always ready for an argument or preferably a discussion. He had a well-developed interest in other religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and you can well imagine how this would lead to spirited discussions with the Fathers in Goilala. I think that at first they thought of converting him but soon gave that away. One of his dearest and life-long friends was Father Michellod and Anton remembers many occasions when they would talk until after midnight on all kinds of subjects strengthened by coffee and the occasional cognac, and Papapu would finally leave on the excuse that he had “to make Mass” that morning.

Ron’s interest in different things was not confined to religion. He was always on the lookout for new ideas, especially those connected with his work. This led him to visit, on his leave and at his own expense, SE Asian countries seeking new ideas, especially on land settlement, which would be useful in Papua New Guinea. And we all remember the times at DC’s conferences when we’d toss new ideas around over a beer or two or three with Ron often playing the devil’s advocate though the gleam in his eye usually gave him away.

One of Ron’s well known characteristics was his intensity. Unfortunately this roused the ire of some, but those who understood him knew that it did not come from selfishness or narrow mindedness, but was rather a way of underlining his opinion, springing from his belief in following through those things in which he believed. His intensity may have put some people off but I always found him open to discussing his ideas and even changing them—if my arguments were good enough.

Law and order were part of everyday life for any Kiap. For Ron it was his most important problem when he first went to the Goilala but the Pax Australiana was established there by him. In the cities of Lae and Moresby it was not rural but urban law and order: a very different problem requiring economic, educational, housing and health solutions, the staff and finance for which no DO could ever get. It is little wonder that “law and order” was a subject constantly on Ron’s mind and about which he was so intense, for he foresaw the real dangers which the “rascals” would present in the future and the general breakdown of law and order which unfortunately was to come.

Leaving Papua New Guinea was a great disappointment for Ron: in the humdrum existence of suburbia there were no longer the great challenges which he had faced for so long. He had always kept diaries, copies of his reports, recommendations, letters and anything else that interested him including papers which had conveniently fallen off the back of a truck. In these and his own recollections he had more than enough material to write his memoirs, perhaps a book. But then fate was to strike another cruel blow: the floods came and much of his treasured material was lost or made indecipherable. Dark days indeed.

Ron was not to know way back in 1945 what the future would hold for him in Papua New Guinea except that he had made a commitment to help in its development and in the nearly 30 years to follow he gave of his best and took no small part in the work—with its attendant dangers, difficulties and frustrations—of assisting its people through the post-war recovery, their preparation for self-government and finally independence. This is a record of service of which Ronnie, Anton and his family and others of Ron’s family can be more than justifiably proud.

Over the last week I have been trying to think of how Ron might have summed up his life in just a few words – I think he, and all of you here, would agree with my own epitaph for Ron:

I DID IT MY WAY.

[The above Eulogy was delivered by Freddie Kaad and his opening remarks were as follows: ‘Ronnie, Ron’s family and friends let me first say how honoured I am to deliver this eulogy to such a long time and great friend. It is based not only on my own feelings but also on notes provided by many others especially Ed Hicks, David Marsh, Ken Brown, Harry Jackman and not forgetting Ron’s son Anton’.]

 

Guy William Patrick (Steve) O’DONOGHUE (26 January 1995, aged 85)

Steve went to PNG in 1953 and, for many years prior to his retirement in November 1964, was Harbour Master at Rabaul with the PNG Department of Trade and Industry. He is survived by his daughter, Mrs Mollie Edwards of Cheltenham, Victoria. No further details available.

 

Thomas Peter MYCOE (4 February 1995, aged 67)

Peter served in the Royal Papua and New Guinea Constabulary over a period of more than twenty years, having joined in May 1955 and eventually retiring with the rank of Superintendent. No further details available.

 

Sister Annette HERBERT (3 December 1994, aged 90)

Florence Herbert was born on 30 September 1904. Her parents were Henry Joseph and Mary Louise Herbert and her father was a building contractor. She was eventually to have 5 sisters and 7 brothers and she was very attached to this large and very united family.

Before entering the Congregation on 2 February 1930, Florence, henceforth to be known as Sr M. Annette, had worked as a nurse aide and it was to be in the field of nursing that she would spend the greater part of her long active life. Sister Annette pronounced her first vows at Bowral on 6 January 1932 and her final vows at Yule Island on the same date in 1935. She spent the first year after her profession helping in the College infirmaries at Bowral and Winstains, Queensland. The following year, 1933, she was appointed to Papua New Guinea.

Initially she was engaged in teaching under the direction of Sr M. James, an experienced teacher. Soon, however, she transferred from Yule Island to Koki, Port Moresby to replace a Sister who was sick. At Koki a school and orphanage were conducted with few resources. Of this time it was said: “Only by extraordinary ingenuity and self-sacrifice were Sr Paschal and her companions able to keep the place going”.

In 1942, owing to the danger of remaining in Port Moresby, the Sisters were evacuated to Yule Island. For some time Sister Annette worked in various schools and hospitals in the Waima-Mekeo area before being asked to accompany two gravely ill Sisters to Port Moresby. Here both these Sisters died in a military hospital. Their funeral was attended by some 20 Catholic chaplains. Of this time Fr Norbert Earl MSC declared that he owed his life to Sr Annette. Always a great letter-writer, she had written him a long letter. On receiving it he moved away from his two soldier companions and sat down under a tree to read his letter. Meantime the two soldiers he had just left were killed.

Conscious of her need for formal training, Sr Annette came to Australia to follow an eighteen-month course in Midwifery at St Margaret’s Hospital, Darlinghurst. She graduated in 1945 and was soon back in Port Moresby putting her new skills to good use. Concerned for maternal and infant health she envisioned a centre to equip local girls with the skills to help their own people. In 1947, with the support and encouragement of Dr Joan Refshauge, despite the difficulties and lack of basic facilities, Sr Annette commenced this work at the small health clinic at Koki. Sr M. Camillus, another trained nurse from Australia, helped in the development of a suitable syllabus and the first group of nurses proudly graduated in 1952.

When Sr M Camillus took over the direction of Koki, Sr Annette, after a holiday in Australia, set about establishing a similar training centre in New Britain at Paparatava. Here she managed to get a hill removed in order to have a site on which to build a maternity and infant welfare centres Faith (together with hard work) can move mountains!

Sr Annette is survived by Monica, Tony and Ray, along with many nieces and nephews, plus grand nieces and nephews.

 

June Lilian MYNARD (10 December 1994)

June spent many years in Madang when she was married to Dave Robertson and after their divorce she went to Port Moresby, where she married the late Ralph Mynard. She is survived by her daughters Leslie and Ann and son Ross. No further details available.

 

Karel HOLINSKY (10 November 1994, aged 74)

Karel was a teacher with the PNG Department of Education, went to PNG in November 1964 and retired in January 1976. No further details available.

 

Murray McKENZIE (23 February 1995, aged 47)

Following graduation from Lincoln Agricultural College in 1967, he worked in New Zealand and Australia before being appointed Rural Development officer to PNG in 1970. He was posted as a Didiman to Wabag in the then Western Highlands District doing agricultural extension work among Enga people at Wabag, Sirunki and Kompiam. He was instrumental in the first time seeding of the rivers of the area with Rainbow Trout and setting up many new cattle projects. He worked under Allan Harrold the RDO in charge at Wabag, and alongside Roland Freund and Darryl Niegel, both of whom now reside in the Hervey Bay area of Queensland.

Whilst in the Enga district he was in charge of the first election patrol into the Wapi Census Division in 1972, down the Ywat River. In 1974-75 he was posted to Aitape and became the OIC of the Agricultural office, working with Francis Mangila who later was promoted to DPI HQ Konedobu. In 1976 Murray took up a position at Popondetta Agricultural College as Livestock Lecturer. During his two years at the College he was able to pass on his wide knowledge to more than eighty Didiman students. He was always keen and enthusiastic helping local farmers as far away as Kokoda. He regarded his time at PAC as very special. In 1978, he returned to New Zealand with his wife Joyce, who had worked in DDA offices, and purchased a 640 acre farm in the Otago District of the South Island. While initially running sheep they took up deer farming and together have built the property up to 2600 head.

Murray is survived by his wife and two children, Scott aged 16 and Tracy 14 years.

 

Kenneth John FRANCIS (17 December 1994, aged 76)

Ken Francis first served in a wartime AIF Engineers unit in Borneo. There he was involved in dangerous mine clearing operations. It was while on one such mission that he was blown up, resulting in his evacuation by allied submarine to Port Moresby and thence by air to a Sydney hospital. He went to PNG with Comm. Works in 1955 and over the next few years had postings at Rabaul, Bougainville and Kavieng. It was there that he met Marjorie who had gone to Kavieng as a school teacher from Melbourne. Their two children were born at Kavieng.

In 1961 Ken won an agricultural block at the Sangara Soldier Settlement Scheme at Popondetta to grow cocoa. This scheme was beset by insect problems including devastating attack by the Pantorhytes cocoa weevil borer. In 1976 he left Popondetta and after a brief period in Australia returned to PNG to Bialla in East New Britain. There he used his engineering knowledge and experience to lay out the roads and airstrip for the new Oil Palm project. He returned permanently to Brisbane in 1987. Ken was a tall, kind man, always ready to listen to someone else’s problems and to give a hand to those in need. His wife died in 1981 and he is survived by his daughters, Valerie, Laura and Debbie in Brisbane.

 

John DENCH (19 January 1995, aged 80)

John Dench entered the permanent Australian Army in 1932, served throughout the war, and proceeded to the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces in Japan in 1947. Returning to Australia, he served with Armoured Regiments until taking his discharge in 1952, after 20 years continuous service, with the rank of Brigade Sergeant Major.

Because of his army experience he was selected to join the RPNGC in 1952, and thereafter served at the Sogeri and Kila Police Training Depots until 1958. He then pursued a career in Administration and Management, as a result of which he headed the Administrative College in PNG for a couple of years in the mid-60s. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy (having celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary two years earlier), a daughter and a son.

 

Francis Clive MASON (15 January 1995, aged 78)

Frank was born in Melbourne on 25 December 1916 and he went to PHG with the PNG Department of Education in 1949.

His various postings were Keravat, Buin, Utu (Kavieng), Iduabada (Port Moresby), Malaguna, Kamere Street Primary School and Goroka Teachers College.

When Frank retired in 1970, he and his wife Kate went to Germany and settled in Bavaria. They had many visitors ex PNG and their hospitality was great, taking one to all the tourist spots possible. Jo Nitsche, our Secretary, said he was one of the tourists a couple of times, and got to know Munich very well, as they walked for hours throughout the city.  Frank is survived by his widow, Kate.

 

Violet Gwendolene (Gwen) PRITCHARD (1 March 1995)

Gwen was the widow of the late Guy Pritchard. They were soldier-settlers at Popondetta in PNG and whilst there Gwen was a member of the CWA and a popular resident. She is survived by son Peter, daughter Jennifer and numerous grand­children and great grandchildren. No further details available.

 

Keith Anthony (Tony) BOSTOCK (15 February 1995)

Tony went to PNG in the mid 50s and worked for the Commonwealth Bank for some years in both Rabaul and Port Moresby. It is believed that he was at one stage involved in War Reparations and later with Insurance in Rabaul, Solomons, etc. He was also very much involved at one time with Rugby League in Port Moresby. He went to Brisbane in 1978 and was involved with Real Estate. Tony is survived by his widow Margaret and seven children. No further details available.

 

Alfred Samuel DAVIES (October 1995)

Alf went to Lae 1948/49 to join the RPNGC after serving in Japan with the Occupation Force. He eventually transferred to Elcom as a Linesman and was involved with erecting the major arterial electricity power lines throughout the mainland of New Guinea. He is survived by his widow Audrey and the families of Bruce and Wendy and Christopher and Lynda. No further details available.

 

May Webster O’DONNELL (1 December 1994, aged 83)

Widow of Geoffrey Thomas Roscoe, who went to PNG in July 1947 and was Director of Education until June 1962. No further details available.

 

Lillian FERRIES (7 March 1995, aged 84)

Lillian was the widow of Dudley Howard Ferries, who worked for the PNG Department of Treasury. Dudley retired in August 1965 and passed away in January 1973. No further details available.

 

Mary Raphael SAUNDERS (14 September 1994, aged 81)

Widow of Christopher Joseph Saunders, who was a Senior Health Inspector with the PNG Public Health Department. Chris went to PNG in April 1948 and left in December 1965. No further details available.

 

Geoffrey Collin ELWORTHY (20 December 1994, aged 77)

Geoff used to live in Chester Street in Port Moresby and was well known as an orchid grower and collector. He also owned a plantation on the south coast of Papua. No further details available.

 

Gladys Ivy DIGBY (3 January 1995, aged 79)

Glad was the wife of Bruce Digby, who went to PNG in 1948 as an Engineer with the PNG Public Works Department. Bruce had to build a house for them before Glad could join him in 1949. Bruce later joined the Department of Labour and, except for a period at Lae, Glad and Bruce remained in Port Moresby until 1975. Then after a year in Australia they spent five years at Honiara in the British Solomons.

They were our neighbours in Moresby for a number of years and great friends. Glad was a gentle, very caring person and one of the kindest people we have known. She also used to teach at the Sunday School at St Johns Church. After returning to Canberra in 1981, both Glad and Bruce spent a great amount of their time working for disabled people and Bruce continues this work. Glad is survived by her husband, Bruce, son Brian and daughter Fay. Doug Parrish

 

EDWIN (Ted) NICHTERLEIN (1907–1972)

The author of the following article titled “A little bit of history”, is Wally Doe (Wandering Wally) from Dalmeny on the South Coast of NSW. It was published in Una Voce March 1995, p 17

Edwin (Ted) Nichterlein. Gold miner, Mining Engineer, Geologist, Navigator, RAAF 1941-45. New Guinea 1932-1965. Born 1907 Died 1972.

Many stories about New Guinea gold miners have been written over the years. This one is about a man who laid no claim to fame: he went quietly about his work, looking up instead of down for the elusive yellow metal.

It was away back in 1932 that Ted was expecting a plane to arrive at the Bulwa Strip with materials for his mine on the other side of the river. We introduced ourselves that day, and remained very close friends until the day he died.

The conversation that day was about gold, and it was a story I never forgot, because it was told unconsciously by a man not given to skiting. He, like many others, had the Gold Fever, but unlike a lot of the others, he read the valley as a Geologist, and his training gave him the edge over the untrained. And this is an illustration of his knowledge of geology, particularly of the Lower Bulolo Valley.

While waiting for his plane he told me: “50 million years ago the floor of this valley was up there,” pointing and waving his arm around nearly in a circle. “Over the centuries the river has carved it away to the level we have now. Over there on that mountain side there has got to be good gold, and I am going to find it.” That was the end of Ted’s story, for that day. And so the Tueapeke mine was found. The spelling is as near as I can get. Directly across the Bulawat River at Bulwa.

When war came in 1940, Ted made arrangements for someone to look after the mine while he quietly slipped away and joined the RAAF, becoming a navigator and flying in Baltimores, I think. His plane was shot down near Crete, and with a piece of shrapnel in an ankle Ted had a nice swim to shore. That ducking was to cause Ted trouble later in life, as he must have got water into his lungs, and died much too young. He came back from the war and married his girl friend Marjorie Bush and brought her back to the gold mine at Bulwa in 1946, and raised two girls and a boy, who has survived his sisters and now lives in Queensland.

Marjorie has settled down on the property they bought long before they retired from mining, on the shores of the Wadonga River at Narooma, one of the most beautiful waterside properties in NSW, watching the birds in the trees and the fish jumping in the bay.

Like a lot more of our vintage, Marj is having trouble with rusty joints, and would be quite happy to do a trade-in with a joint shop dealing in hip, knee, elbow, and shoulder parts. With one or two minor ailments she is going along quietly in the care of our wonderful Home Nursing Service supplied by the DVA. God bless them.

 

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