Vale September 2007
DE KANTZOW, Charles | KLECKHAM, Marjorie Surtees | MERRETT, Margaraet (Peggy) | MURRAY, Peter Ross Kennedy | NORRIE, AO OBE , Major General James William | QUARTERMAINE, Pamela Ann | STEVENS, Brian Arthur | WAN, Sir Wamp |
Charles DE KANTZOW (28 December 2006, aged 72)
Charles arrived in Mendi in 1961, a new Didiman recruit. After a brief introduction into Highlands life, he was given the task of developing the Southern Highlands Agricultural Training Station at Kagua, on a swamp, using a bag of pearl shell and some salt to buy labour. Charlie was a Hawkesbury College graduate whose resourcefulness and resilience were born out of hard work and hard times on his parents’ property on the Hawkesbury River. The focus was not just on Kagua. The local Highland people had to be contacted and Charlie eagerly took his message to them on foot. When he left to establish the Eastern Highlands Agricultural Station at Korofeigu four years later, Charlie left behind a thriving Agricultural Training College and local industries based on cattle, poultry and pig production as well as coffee, forestry and tea projects, and maize and sorghum crops. In 1971 Charles joined ICI as their Highlands representative based in Lae. Throughout his time in PNG, except for the first two years, Charles had his wife Del by his side. Del taught in the local T schools and later established the first Special School in Lae. The family, including daughters Stephanie and Kate, moved from Lae to Scone NSW in 1974. Ten years later Charles took up an agronomist position in Darwin. The family returned to NSW in 1995 and settled in Berry. Since 1998 Charles has promoted the coffee industry in the area. He died after a long battle with cancer and is survived by his wife Del, two daughters and two grandsons. D. de Kantzow
Marjorie Surtees KLECKHAM (2 June 2007, aged 88)
Marjorie grew up in Brisbane, marrying Fred in 1940. Fred then went to the Middle East and Marjorie worked as a nurse at the Mackay Base Hospital. After the war Fred joined the PNG Department of Agriculture. The couple’s first married posting was to Popondetta where they lived through the eruption of Mount Lamington in January 1951. Here, Marjorie’s nursing experience and resourcefulness proved invaluable. She described her experiences in an article in the June 2003 Una Voce (p.11). Shortly after the eruption, Fred set off for the devastated area and Marjorie set to work: ‘I had to prepare food for everyone, get all the bandages and medical supplies I could collect together, get the machinery cleared out of the engine sheds, spread tarpaulins across the floors of the sheds and make an emergency war hospital for the people. I supervised all of this work and also collected all the 44 gallon drums I could find and sent boys with every available bucket to carry water to fill these drums and tubs. It was very fortunate that I did this as the streams ran hot and filled with mud and dead fish and other animals.’ Then a shuttle service began bringing in the burnt and dying native people. Marjorie continued, ‘… all the women worked tirelessly all that afternoon and all night and into the next morning. All we had for the treatment of burns was tins of dripping. Every native was given a place to lie down in the shelter of a roof. The women (European women) put dripping on all their burns … We had no morphia, nothing except rum and whisky to ease the natives’ pain. We got this from the trade store.’ All the while Marjorie was caring for her two young children and breastfeeding her baby daughter. Later in 1951 the couple were transferred to Lorengau, where Marjorie, ever resourceful, purchased a Singer treadle machine from the Edgell & Whitely store and began making laplaps for the Chinese shops to top up their modest income. She also helped at the local hospital on a voluntary basis. Further postings were to Daru, Port Moresby and Lae. The couple retired in 1975, but two years later sailed their yacht to Popondetta where Fred spent two years developing the Smallholder Oil Palm project. Following this Fred and Marjorie sailed to various ports around PNG, before finally retiring to the Mackay area. Marjorie and Fred became world renowned for their shell collecting, discovering new shells over the years. Fred predeceased her; Marjorie is survived by children, Fred and Betty, and grandchildren.
Margaret (Peggy) MERRETT (30 June 2007, aged 81)
Born in Thirroul NSW, Peggy completed her nursing training at the Wollongong District Hospital in 1947. A year later she obtained her obstetric certificate in Sydney. After cycling around England and Scotland and nursing at the Wollongong Hospital, she moved to PNG in 1955. She worked first in Port Moresby and then in Madang. There she met Russ Merrett. Peggy and Russ were married in the Lutheran Church, Madang, in 1958. In 1962 the family left PNG to settle in Fairy Meadow NSW. In 1984 their eldest son, Jim, died. Peggy’s interests included china painting, horticulture and floral arrangement. In 1994 cancer caught up with her, and over the years she had four major operations. She passed away following complications resulting from a fall. Peggy is survived by her husband, daughter and two sons, and three grandchildren. Russ Merrett
Peter Ross Kennedy MURRAY (8 October 2006, aged 81)
The Vale notice for Peter Murray in the March 2007 issue of Una Voce described Peter’s life up to 1949. His wife Pat has now sent us more information.
In 1949 Peter leased Libba Lossu Plantation in New Ireland from the owner Mrs Margaret Grose, widow of the late WE Grose, and soon met the nearest neighbours, the Stanfield family. Peter and Pat (Stanfield) were married in 1951. In 1955, when the Lossu lease expired, Peter went on to manage Luburua and from 1958, Baia. During the Baia years, Peter was a member of the District Advisory Council and twice stood for election to the House of Assembly in an ‘open’ electorate. He drew considerable support from the NI people as he was well known and respected, but not enough to win a seat.
Peter had a second ‘occupation’, that of licensed auctioneer, holding sales three or four times a year. He dealt mainly with Government disposals, especially vehicles, but also with personal property. Auction days were well attended by all races, and the event took on a carnival atmosphere. Peter joined the Freemasons Lodge and reached the status of Master. He was able to assist in the building of the Kavieng Lodge by contributing a ‘wall building’ machine for the construction of concrete blocks. In 1982 Peter and Pat left New Ireland because of a health problem of Peter’s resulting from war service. From 1946 to 1982 Peter only ‘went south’ three times before ‘going finish’.
In Australia Peter was an active member of Legacy for over 20 years. He joined the Newcastle branch of the Naval Association and was the instigator of a suitable annual commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea held in Newcastle on the Sunday nearest the Battle date in early May; he was made a life member of the Naval Association in 1999. In 2005 Peter and Pat moved to a retirement home on the Central Coast of NSW. Peter is survived by his wife Pat, four children, Anne, Alastair, Rosalind and Eve, and ten grandchildren. Pat Murray
Major General James William NORRIE, AO, OBE (28 July 2007, aged 85)
A NSW country boy, Jim was a contemporary of Freddie Kaad at Sydney Boys High School, where both excelled at sport. He graduated from Duntroon in 1942 and an outstanding military career in war and peace followed. Jim was in charge of Defence Forces in Papua New Guinea for several years in the critical transition period through Self-Government to Independence. His impressive military funeral in Sydney was attended by His Excellency the Governor General and Mrs Jeffrey. Harry West
Pamela Anne QUARTERMAINE (29 March 2007, aged 73)
Pam arrived in PNG in 1955 at the age of 21 and devoted her next 38 years to community schools and to teacher education as a teacher, a Teachers College lecturer, an Inspector, and an administrator in the Waigani Central Office. She touched the lives of her students, colleagues and members of the community in Rabaul, Dregerhafen, Goroka, and Port Moresby in such a way that these relationships often turned into lifelong friendships. She had an abiding interest in the needs of females in education and was for a time the Dean of Women Students at Port Moresby Teachers College. She worked for the National Government all the while maintaining very cordial working relations with the various Churches which also operated colleges and schools. Pam studied education in Western Australia, the UK, the USA and Tasmania and traveled widely, broadening her knowledge and perspective. She left PNG in 1993 to live in Perth. In 2001 she completed her PhD thesis on Teacher Education in PNG, a very comprehensive document. In 2006 she returned to East New Britain to teach at an international school but left prematurely because of serious ill health. Pam had a deep and enduring affection for PNG and its people. (From the eulogy given by Neville Robinson)
Brian Arthur STEVENS (4 April 2007, aged 75)
Brian spent his formative years in Renmark SA. He joined the Army in 1952 and attended the School of Signals. Radio became a passion which stayed with him all his life. When seniority moved him away from hands-on communication, he turned amateur. Brian’s first posting was to Korea, quickly followed by a posting to Japan. There he met and married Harumi, and their three children followed soon after. Of all their postings, the family’s favourite was Port Moresby.
After retirement, Brian sought to return to PNG, but soon realised that times had changed since Independence. He returned to Adelaide where he involved himself in community activities. One of the highlights of his later years was the annual PNG reunion which he enjoyed enormously. Brian is survived by Harumi, his wife of 52 years, three children, Peter, Diane and David, and five grandchildren. Diane Brinkworth
Sir Wamp WAN, Paramount Chief (May 2007, aged 101)
Sir Wamp Wan, the Paramount Chief who became a Member of the British Empire (MBE) and was later knighted, died in May 2007 at his home outside Mount Hagen. He was 101.
Sir Wamp’s contact with the outside world began in 1933 with the arrival of explorers and the Administration. By then, he was 27 and already a famous young tribal chieftain around the Mt Hagen area. He was the first Highlands leader to accept, welcome and help settle the pioneer western explorers into the country’s interior. He was appointed a boss of Tultuls soon after WWII; in 1962 when local government was introduced, he became a Councillor, and in 1963 he became Council President.
He, along with fellow chiefs, the Administration and the Catholic Church, forged harmonious relations with surrounding tribes: today the tribes in his area are some of the most peaceful and law-abiding in the Highlands region. He was the founding father of the multi-million-kina Wamp Nga group of companies. He assisted the BBC in filming colonial PNG before self-government. Following this, in 1973, he was sponsored to England and Italy; he met the Queen and was awarded an MBE, and continued on to Rome where he met Pope John Paul II. He invited the Pope to visit PNG. Eleven years later, in 1994, he was on hand to greet the Pope on his visit to the country. Between 1975 and 1982, he served as a Provincial Member of the PNG Government and held the Health portfolio. In 1995 he was knighted by the Queen. He stepped down from public office at the age of 79. Sir Wamp played a major role in bringing development and services that completely changed the traditional existence of the mountain tribes under his domain. He led in the establishment of the Catholic and Lutheran churches in the region; he was one of the first to become a Catholic. The first school was established on his land. The Mount Hagen General Hospital eventuated because of him. Like all tribal chieftains in the Highlands during this era, Sir Wamp had several wives – all five of them predeceased him. He is survived by seven sons and eight daughters, and their many descendants. (Information from Pacific Press and The National)