Vale September 2005

COOPER, John (Jack) |  EMERY, Robert Eustace (Bob) |  FISK, Joseph (Joe) |  GOW, Alan |  GREEN, Harold Neville |  GRIFFIN, Joan |  HUNT, Tony |  JACKSON, Malcolm Peter |  MARTIN, Bob |  SMITMANIS, Ivars (Ivan) Juris |  TALTY, Leonard J. (‘Len’) |  TIERNEY, John Francis | 

 

John (Jack) COOPER (5 May 2005, aged 83)

Jack was born in Samarai on 22.2.22 and died on 5.5.05, a remarkable coincidence of dates. He was one of six children. He went south in 1940 and worked for a short time in Brisbane before joining the CMF in October 1941 and subsequently the AIF in July 1942. After service in Borneo he received his discharge in May 1946. After some five years working for Qantas, where his sister Betty also worked, he set off for London where he pursued an acting career before returning to Australia and eventual retirement. Ralph Allan

   

Robert Eustace (Bob) EMERY (12 August 2004, aged 95)

The eldest son of a farm manager and a concert singer in South Australia, Bob Emery spent his whole life trying to balance his love of music with his desire to own a farm. He qualified as a carpenter and he took a Diploma in Agriculture from Roseworthy College. With these and a Boosey & Hawke euphonium he set out for Bulolo in 1932. Bob first worked for Bulolo Gold Dredging, and then managed Carl Jacobsen’s poultry farm at Lae. In 1936 he took up 150 hectares at Lae, planting 4,000 coconuts. He started the first dairy farm on the North Coast, challenging WR Carpenter’s in the food trade. Their meat was frozen and Bob was killing and dressing fresh beef and pork. But there was a war. As the first recruit in the NGVR in Lae, Sergeant Bob Emery found himself and Peter Monfries despatched to Madang to “defend the ‘drome’”. Two men and one Lewis Gun vs the entire Japanese invasion force. Discretion was clearly the better part of valour. From there he took part in ‘Australia’s Dunkirk’, the little-celebrated evacuation of troops and civilians from New Britain by small boats. His exploits over the next 6 months led to the award of the Military Medal. Ambushed by a Japanese patrol in 1943 he escaped with a bullet in the elbow and no boots. (The latter is worth noting as his only escape route lay through a sago swamp.)

Recuperating in Australia he played cornet one night whilst accompanied on piano by Heather Cameron of Curramulka. They were married in 1946. By then he had been promoted from NCO to the Officer Corps. Lt Emery served out the war with ANGAU, bemusing the US Marines on Cape Gloucester with his spirited renditions of Dixieland tunes on his cornet. Bob and Heather sold the farm to the NG Administration in 1949, as the site of the Lae Botanical Gardens. By then two sons had been born, John and Robert. Their farm in the Lower South East of South Australia was named NADZAB, where Andrew and Sally were born. Bob’s enthusiasm for New Guinea never waned. The long, cold Southern coast winters gave Bob plenty of time for music and he played in a number of bands. His keen mind and clear memory became a treasure-trove for historians of New Guinea. He is survived by his widow, Heather, four children and five grandchildren. John Emery

 

Joseph (Joe) FISK (4 May 2005, aged 72)

Joe moved to Lae with his employers, Hornibrooks, in 1957. Over the years he worked in Madang, Port Moresby, Rabaul, Mt Hagen and Wewak, with both Hornibrooks and Madang Slipways. He was a carpenter but specialised in bridge building in his early days in the Territory. An enthusiastic footballer, Joe had the distinction of representing both New Guinea and Papua in Rugby League before he gave the game away and became a Rugby League referee. He was also a staunch member of the Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles and served in all the above areas either as a Platoon Sergeant or as a Company Sergeant Major. Joe married Val in Mt Hagen in 1969 and their two children were born there, Charlie and Cathy. After their return to Australia in 1973 Joe was active in many volunteer organizations: the Army Reserve, State Emergency Services, National Servicemen’s Association, Scouts and the Returned Services League. He was also instrumental in forming the NGVR/PNGVR ex-members Association. He retired several years ago but was still active with his volunteer work as well as being an enthusiastic camper and fisherman. Because of his enthusiasm for the volunteer work he undertook he will be missed by a wide variety of people he knew both in PNG and here in Australia.

Joe is survived by his wife Val, his son Charlie and his daughter Cathy. Bob Collins

 

Alan GOW (aged 92)

Alan was a member of the Coastwatchers. He met his wife, Sadie, in Lae during the war and they married in Australia. After Alan was discharged from the Coastwatchers he returned to work for his old firm, ElectroLux Refrigerators, but was not very settled. Eventually he applied for a job with Public Health and he and Sadie set off for Goroka where they spent some years. They had the first white twin’s born in PNG after the war. Alan was a good soldier and a very smart medical man – his sense of humour will be missed. He is survived by Sadie, their children and grandchildren. Mat Foley

 

Lieutenant Colonel Harold Neville GREEN, MBE (Mil), ED (9 April 2005, aged 83)

Harry was born at Mullumbimby NSW and served with the AIF in the Middle East and New Guinea from 1940 until 1945. He returned to Rabaul with the trading firm, Gillespies’ in 1954. He soon established his own business and remained a well-known figure in commercial and community affairs in the New Guinea Islands, the Solomons and Vanuatu all his life. He was Boy Scout Commissioner in Rabaul for 15 years, Chairman NG Islands Winston Churchill Trust for six years and prominent in Planters’ Association, Anglican Church and Ex Servicemen’s affairs. For many years, from 1958, he was Company Commander of B Company, PNGVR, and in 1970 was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Regiment. Harry was President of the Brisbane based NGVR and PNGVR Ex-members Association for 16 years, from its inception in 1989 until his death. He is survived by his four children, Penelope, Nicola, Roger and Joshua. Harry West

 

Joan GRIFFIN (23 July 2005)

Married Barrie Griffin, Patrol Officer, and lived in Mt Hagen and Port Moresby. Barry predeceased Joan by twelve years. Joan is survived by three children, Frances, Ben, Cassandra and seven grandchildren. Graham Hardy

 

A D (Tony) HUNT (18 June 2005, aged 85)

Tony Hunt was born in England. He served in The Royal Air Force in WWII and could always be recognised by his traditional handle-bar moustache. After the war he entered The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and gained the MRAC Diploma in Agriculture. In 1949 he went to Trinidad, West Indies, and completed the One Year Course at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture. In 1960 he travelled to Australia and was recruited by the Dept of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries. He was posted to Okapa in the Eastern Highlands. In 1963 he was transferred to TUFI in Northern Province, where he remained for three years. From 1966 to 1974 he was at Popondetta working on general extension which included aspects of the giant Commonwealth Development Corporation Oil Palm Scheme. Married to Gwen, a teacher at the Popondetta Education Dept Primary ‘A’ School, they retired to the Buderim district of SE Queensland in 1974.

Tony, always a character, had his favourite Trinidad Tijuana Brass happy music played for his funeral service with all friends who were present smiling, foot tapping and thinking – this was Tony. He is survived by Gwen, their two children Tim and Josephine, and three grandchildren. Doug Franklin

 

Malcolm Peter JACKSON (28 June 2005, aged 58)

Malcolm was born in WA. He graduated from Graylands Teachers College in 1966 and spent four years with the WA Education Department. After marrying Cheryl in 1970, he accepted a contract to teach in PNG and always called these the best days of his life. His first posting, in 1971, was to Madang A School. Later that year he was posted to Karkar High School. In 1973 he moved to Alotau as head of the English department, then in 1974 to Dregerhafen High School as Deputy Principal where he became a very popular member of the Finschafen Club. While there he bought and sailed a Hobiecat, snorkelled the reefs, collected shells and went deep sea fishing. In 1975 Malcolm and Cheryl returned to Perth. Malcolm’s career continued in education where, in 2002, he became Principal of Southern Cross District High School. As well as teaching Mal managed to earn a University degree, produce (along with Cheryl) four children, serve as an executive in the School Teachers Union, become active in the Australian Labour Party, serve two terms as a councillor and actively support junior sport in the community including his daughter’s netball and his son’s football teams. Mal maintained a keen interest in PNG affairs, past and present. Malcolm is survived by his wife, Cheryl, children Edrissa, Alicia, Naomi and Jordan, mother Rachel and brothers Rodger and Raymond. P. Dwyer

 

Bob MARTIN (30 July 2005)

An image of Bob Martin will remain with many of his airline and business friends for many years to come. It will be one of a crowded corner office at Air Niugini’s headquarters at Jacksons Airport in Port Moresby, a foolscap pad rapidly filling with the scrawl of the day’s chores, the incessant ringing of the telephone, as favors are asked of him or meetings arranged and any new crisis being dealt with— the latter always being met with an air of calm efficiency. Bob, who collapsed and died suddenly while climbing Mt Wilhelm will be sorely missed not only for the dedication to his task as a senior executive of the national airline but also for the one thing that marked him above all else: He was a bloody good bloke. Bob first arrived in PNG in 1966 working for TAA and later began his first stint with Air Niugini, working in Rabaul, Panguna and Lae and as the airline’s Marketing Manager in Port Moresby between 1981 and 1984 before moving to Talair as Regional Manager. Moving back to Australia in the mid-80s he continued to work in the aviation and tourism industries until the call of PNG brought him back to Air Niugini in 1999. As General Manager Marketing he was a key member of the airline’s Executive Committee and instrumental in achieving much to further Papua New Guinea’s tourism industry. Beyond his work environment Bob had a deep affection for PNG and would take every opportunity to venture into the more challenging PNG hinterland. I well remember his excitement as he prepared for walking the Kokoda Track for the first time, proudly spreading across the floor of his Port Moresby home the weighty contents of the backpack he was using in his walks to prepare him for the task. He showed the same enthusiasm in his emails to me about the impending assault on Mt Wilhelm, enthusiasm heightened by the fact that he was again to walk in the company of his two sons. Sadly, his journey was not completed. He leaves a wife Elaine, and two sons Ben and Tim. They’ll miss him , and so will we. And so will PNG. Jim Eames

 

 

Ivars (Ivan) Juris SMITMANIS (15 December 2004, aged 64)

In 1944, when Ivars was four, his family left their homeland of Latvia and spent the next four years in a displaced persons camp in Germany. They immigrated to Australia in 1948 where they eventually settled in Monto, Qld. Ivars was appointed in February 1961 and served nine years in the Madang District serving on most stations and as Officer in Charge of Aiome in 1964 and then Simbai Patrol Posts in 1965-1966. The latter part of Ivars’ service was spent in Madang headquarters from where he did a considerable amount of patrolling and was the first census taker. After leave in 1970 Ivan was posted to the West Sepik where he served at Green River and other stations in the District. Ivars’ touch at Green River turned an isolated post into somewhat of a friendly centre with regular visitors and some enjoyable social functions. Ivan was promoted to District Officer in 1971. Ivan left PNG from the West Sepik District in early 1976 after fifteen years service. After PNG Independence Ivars went to Adelaide where his sister Anita lived. He met Kay and together they opened a deli. In 1976 he joined the Federal Police and was posted to Darwin where they lived until 1995 when they moved to Gin Gin, Qld. Kay died suddenly on 9 October 2004, shortly before Ivars. I remember his love of the English language, his sense of humour, his pride in his garden and his love of my mother and her children. He didn’t say much but when he did it was worth listening to. He may not have been famous but to me he was special, as he put ‘the big cheese’. Jenny Fairnington and Warren Read

 

Leonard J. (‘Len’) TALTY (27 July 2005, aged 76)

Len commenced service in PNG with DDA in 1966 as a staff clerk. Later on he moved to the Works Department and then back to the now retitled Department of the Prime Minister as District Clerk in Wewak. He saw service in Port Moresby, Kimbe and Wewak. After about 15 years he returned to Australia and gained his Bachelor of Arts majoring in History. He later retired to his beloved Coolum on the Sunshine Coast where he had been a surfer in his youth. Ray Watson

 

John Francis TIERNEY

(10 May 2005, aged 66 years) John was born in 1938 and lived his childhood in Moonee Ponds, Victoria. After leaving school John was employed by the Commonwealth Bank and the Department of Customs and Exercise in Melbourne. In 1957, aged 19 years, John was appointed Cadet Patrol Officer and after attending the induction course at ASOPA and the Public Service Training Institute at Konedobu he was posted to Ambunti. In 1958 he was re-posted to the May River Patrol Post. In 1959 John attended the Patrol Officers Course at ASOPA.

In 1960 he married Margaret in Melbourne. After their honeymoon, John took his new bride to Telefomin where he was promoted Patrol Officer. While at Telefomin David and Derek were born in 1960 and 1961 respectively. In 1962 John was transferred to Nuku and this was followed by postings to Lumi (1963), Kokoda (1964) and Popondetta (late 1964). Philip was born in 1965. In 1967 John and family were posted to Tufi. John attended the Advanced Local Government Course at ASOPA 1969. In 1970 John was posted to Buka and while there Lisa was born (1972). John was transferred to Arawa in 1974 where he held the position of Deputy District Commissioner. In 1975, John and family left PNG. The remainder of John’s working life was spent working in Local Government at Springvale and Frankston Councils. Dr David Tierney

 

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