Vale – Una Voce Dec 2015
With deep regret we record the passing of the following members and friends:
Donald James Buckley
Peter Frederick Davis
Victor Leslie Davis
Betty Evelyn Dent
David Alexander Bruce Dryden
Ann Theona Graham (formerly Smith, nee Young-Whitford)
Jonathan Yeatman Hancock
George Keta Leahy
Janet Lucas (nee McKelvie)
Donald James Buckley, 26 July 2015, aged 81
Don was born in Armidale, NSW on 26 September 1933. His family was well known and respected in Armidale and the surrounding district. He came to PNG in 1957 via ASOPA and was posted to Samarai with the Department of Customs and Marine. After a two year stint in Samarai, other Customs postings to Moresby, Madang and Wewak followed.
Don left PNG in the early 1970’s. Subsequently, he worked in England for a period and finally in the Accounts Section of the with the University of NSW from which he retired to Armidale in the mid 1980’s.
Don was a man of quiet demeanor, who was highly regarded for his intelligence and integrity by his Customs colleagues and those in the private sector with whom he interacted. He loved his time in PNG with its unique challenges and responsibilities and the enduring friendships he made there. He was an excellent tennis and squash player in his time. A lover of Corgi dogs, he owned a succession of them in his sunset years.
Don is survived by his brother Norman, sister Barbara and their respective families.
‘Still waters run deep’.
Peter Frederick Davis, December 2013, aged 72
Peter previously served in BSA Police Force (Rhodesia) from 1961 to 1964. Together with Norman Simmons (NSW Police on secondment) he set up the first fingerprint bureau at Konedobu. He resigned on 1 April 1967 to become the full time General Secretary of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) Police Association.
Peter left for Australia in 1968 and for many years he worked as an Industrial officer in heavy industries and at Hammersley. He was the only RPNGC officer to have been born in the Falkland Islands. Peter died after a long illness. He is survived by his second wife, Daphne, and family.
Victor Leslie Davis, 18 January 2015, aged 75
Victor served in the NSW Police Force from 18 February 1957 to 21 June 1966. He was appointed to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) on 24 June 1966 and served in Port Moresby, Lae, Madang and Rabaul. He resigned on 14 January 1971. His first wife, Val, was a member of the RPNGC Police Reserve.
Victor died after a long illness. He is survived by his second wife, Dawn.
Betty Evelyn Dent, 21 June 2015, aged 96
Betty Dent went to PNG in 1959 when her husband Oswald was posted to Wewak as the District Surveyor. She worked in the District Office for several DOs and ADOs and became a proxy mother to many a young patrol officer coming to the Sepik. She was a wonderful cook and hostess and many visitors graced their dining room table and some became lifelong friends.
Moving to Lae in the early sixties she continued her working life in Dick Davis’ office she joined the Girl Guides Local Association and was instrumental in raising funds to build the Guide Hut there.
In 1977 they retired and moved to the north coast of NSW and traveled widely in Australia and overseas. In 1996 a second retirement saw them move to Buderim on the Sunshine Coast to be closer to their family.
Betty enjoyed good health until she had a fall and broke her femur, but she never lost her love of life nor her quirky sense of humour. We will all miss her deeply. She is survived by children Cecily and Christopher, grandchildren Michael, Megan, Rosemary and Bronwen and great grandchildren Angus and Nicholas and their extended families.
David Alexander Bruce Dryden, 16 June 2015, aged 74
David was on an ‘E’ Course for teachers at Pila Pila in Port Moresby when he joined the Reserve Constabulary of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) on 12 March 1968 at Port Moresby. He left on 3 September 1969 with the rank of Senior Constable. He joined the regular RPNGC on 23 March 1970 as an Assistant Police Inspector and served at Kieta resigning on 30 June 1971.
Around 1997 he returned to Port Moresby and worked for Sika Fire later going to Lihir Island Gold Mine as a Safety Officer.
He was married to IRA and had three daughters.
Val Fisk, 18 August 2015, aged 75
Val was the wife of long serving Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (PNGVR) member WO2 Joe Fisk who served in most centres of PNG. He was a founding member and an active office bearer of the NGVR & PNGVR Ex-members’ Association. Joe died a number of years ago. Val had been suffering from emphysema and was admitted to a nursing home some weeks ago.
Ann Theona Graham (formerly Smith, nee Young-Whitford),
28 April 1931 – 16 June 2014, aged 83
Ann was born in Armadale in Melbourne on 28 April 1931 to William and Gwen YOUNG-WHITFORD. Her two older brothers (both Kiaps) were Fenton St. John (aka John) and Dudley (both deceased). In the 1930’s a family move to Rose Bay in Sydney saw Ann schooled at Brighton College in Manly then St. Catherine’s in Waverley. In the late 1940’s Ann trained and nursed at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children located in Camperdown, with lifelong friends Phil CLIFTON and Lorraine MCCULLOCH until her marriage in 1953 to long-serving PNG Kiap and WWII ANGAU Captain Sydney Stephen SMITH who was attending the ASOPA Long Course at the time with a friend of Ann’s brothers.
In the early years of their marriage Syd and Ann lived in Lumi District in the PNG Highlands where Syd was ADO. Son Ian arrived in 1954 and a posting for Syd as Native Land Commissioner in 1956 saw the family move first to Kokopo and then Rabaul. Ailsa arrived in 1958 and Greg completed the family in 1960. Ann worked at the local pharmacy before becoming the district school nursing sister. She blossomed in the tropics pursuing an active life of sporadic but enthusiastic gardening, parties, amateur theatre, sailing, water-skiing, picnicking at local beaches and being the world’s greatest mum.
The surname Graham had its beginning in 1967 when Ian, on enrollment to Knox Grammar School in Wahroonga, was found to be one of three or four Ian Smiths attending the school, prompting the rather peculiar decision (possibly Ann’s) for Ian to adopt the name GRAHAM at school to avoid confusion thus sparking a gradual transition to Graham for all the Smiths, except for Syd.
On Syd’s retirement from his post as Senior Land Titles Commissioner in 1970 the family spent a year travelling Europe and the UK in a caravan, followed by resettlement to Wahroonga in Sydney. In 1971 Syd was pulled out of retirement to assist in PNG’s transition to independence in 1975, this time serving in the role of ‘Special’ Commissioner. Ann briefly resumed her nursing career in Sydney before commencing a long stint in village management with the Anglican Retirement Villages network until her retirement in 1993. Syd and Ann moved to Faulconbridge in the lower Blue Mountains in 1981. In 1996, a year after Syd’s death, Ann moved to Marsfield in Sydney.
In 2005 Ann moved to Forster on the NSW mid-north coast to be close to Ian and his wife Patricia and finally in 2007 to AVEO Peninsula Gardens Bayview on Sydney’s northern beaches where a neighbour once described her as a beautiful, colourful butterfly flitting up and down the stairs to and from her unit. Ann had many interests including music, opera, ballet, film, literature, fine art and theatre, and from the mid 1970’s traveled often and widely within Australia and overseas in pursuit of those interests. Throughout her life Ann generously volunteered her services to several organisations including the PNGAA as late as 2013. Ann also supported many charities.
All who knew Ann will mourn her passing, and will feel deeply for her family in their loss. Ann is survived by her sons Ian and Greg, daughter Ailsa and daughters-in-law Patricia and Lisa.
Jonathan Yeatman Hancock, 22 June 2015, aged 81
Jonathon was born in April 1934. He became a medical officer cadet on 1 July 1958 while a student at Adelaide University and married Judith Masterman. They had three children: Rachel, Bridget and Andrew.
After graduation in 1959 he worked in the Sepik, Mt Hagen in the Highlands, Okapa and Goroka and eventually in 1965 became Superintendent of Angau Hospital in Lae. He left Papua New Guinea in 1966.
He obtained further post graduate qualifications in Australia and was at times Director of the Northern Territory Health Services and Chief Medical Officer at Australia House in London.
Jon recently developed prostate cancer and had a minor operation which resulted in septic arthritis with a staph infection.
George Leahy, 27 August 2015, aged 66
George Leahy is the name behind one of the most successful enterprises to come out of Mount Hagen. Eldest son of Danny Leahy and Koka, George owned Oilmin Field Services, a company he started with two kiaps in 1992, which today is the leading organisation of its kind in PNG. I knew George as a tough man who, like his father, was firm and uncompromising in his pursuits. His young family learnt early what was right and what was wrong. Yet a kind and generous person, who as a young man would often bring his failing father from Korgua to visit us at Alimp, lower down in the Nebilyer Valley.
George had numerous interests, among them tennis at which he excelled. Ensuring the education of his children in Australia was an imperative and I know that he was also responsible for building a school for his tribal people. Like others of his siblings he was determined that the roots of the Leahy dynasty at Korgua and Mount Hagen should be perpetuated.
Often when I think of our time in PNG I am reminded of George’s generosity when he accommodated my sons and I before driving us to Alimp to bury my husband, Barry’s, ashes. He picked us up at Kagamuga airport and showed us every consideration. We had much to thank George for. The Blogg family stayed in George’s old house in Hagen but he showed us, with typical modesty, around the impressive semi-completed building which he would call home. And we were not the only people George cared for in this respect. With George’s death goes the brass plaque which, because of a typical PNG stuff-up by a builder, was never used to mark Barry ‘s grave and I still worry about that.
His business flair derived from his ability to understand the needs of the highlanders and of the people attempting to explore the country’s potential. Oilmin Field Services was designed to service mining and petroleum companies. Today it provides a complete range of field services and logistical solutions incorporating all aspects of exploration from camp construction and catering in the most remote parts of PNG, transport solutions and land-owner negotiations (never a straightforward process) also buying and trading in gold.
George bore the scars of a tragic aircraft crash near Porgera in 1996, in which he was the only survivor. It seems terribly sad that this remarkable man, who somehow managed to crawl from the burning aircraft and who worked so assiduously to restore his fitness, should have died so early. PNG will feel his loss deeply as will his extended family and his friends, even those who now live far away but are grateful they had the opportunity to know him at one time.
Judith Blogg (Hollinshed)
Janet Lucas (nee McKelvie), 9 June 2015, aged 74
Born in Brisbane in 1941, Jan led an adventurous life after leaving school, working on sheep stations in the Riverina, completing one year of a science degree and then teaching biology in a couple of girls’ schools before governessing on a Northern Territory cattle station. She then worked in retail in a department store while learning bookkeeping at night school.
In 1963 she went to Port Moresby to work in Posts and Telegraphs. There she met patrol officer Neil Lucas and they were married in May 1964. Neil’s postings included Kwikila, Magarida and Kupiano before moving to Lae in 1970.
After a couple of years they moved to South-east Queensland and had several small businesses.
From 2000 to 2007 Jan worked in administration at the Maryborough Hospital. They then retired to Kumbia, a neat little town near Kingaroy. Both were experiencing declining health and Neil died in August 2009, after major surgery. In June 2011 Jan moved to Orana Nursing Home in Kingaroy where she died. She is survived by a daughter, Rosalind, and son Robert. For the four years in the nursing home Jan was dependent on 24 hour oxygen: we visited her whenever we could and were inspired by her positive attitude and sense of humor during what were very difficult years.
Graham and Patricia Hardy