Vale December 2003

Arie Henry (Harry) LAURENS and Lola Jean LAURENS  | Robert Gilder DIXON |  Arthur Robert Wyndham (Jim) HOILE |  Sydney Harley JOHNSON |  Gwendoline Ruth JONES |  David MOORHOUSE |  Mollie PARER |  Laura MARTIN |  Judy BENNETT |  Keith Thomas BUXTON |  Desmond Mylne HUSBAND | 


Arie Henry (Harry) LAURENS and Lola Jean LAURENS (26 and 27 August 2003)

David Laurens wrote of his father Arie and mother Lola, “Harry as he was affectionately known passed away quietly at around 4.00 pm on 26 August, and his eternally loving wife Lola whose love for him was stronger than life itself followed him eight hours later in the early hours of 27 August. . . They were a very well liked and respected couple. To all their friends past and present we wish to apologise for not contacting you personally.” Harry Laurens was born in Batavia, NEI, in 1918. He was a POW for 3½ years and arrived in Australia in January 1946. He had been with the Dutch Navy Air Force flying DC3s and Catalinas between Australia and the Dutch Indies. In 1951 he worked with a group building diesel electric generating plants on all the aerodromes in Victoria and Tasmania as a back-up in case of power failure. In 1953 DCA sent him to PNG to do the same there. In 1956 he joined Posts and Telegraphs to work on sub-installations. Soon after he was offered a job in the drawing office where he worked his way up to the position of senior draftsman. Then he obtained a diploma in architecture, and became their chief draftsman. He left in 1973 due to ill health as a result of war injuries. Harry and Lola are survived by their son David, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. David Laurens, and PNGAA records


Robert Gilder DIXON (12 August 2003, aged 77)

Born in Denman, NSW, Robert joined the RAAF at age 18, following which he studied Science at Sydney University, followed by a Diploma of Forestry at Canberra. Shortly after, he proceeded to Malaya and was a Forestry Officer in the British Colonial Service between 1954-1960. During this time, he married Kathryn Ann Fletcher, a daughter of Harold Ockenden Fletcher, who joined the TNG Administration in 1922 as a police officer, later patrol officer and planter for many years prior to WWII. Because of this connection, Robert came to Rabaul as Principal Forest Officer in early 1961 remaining in this capacity at Rabaul and Lae until his resignation in 1964. Following this, he joined the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and worked in various forestry projects in Venezuela, Nigeria, Indonesia, Nepal and Ecuador where he discovered 19 new species of tree, 3 of which were named after him. Because of medical problems he retired to northern NSW around 1981, where he took a great interest in civic affairs and politics. He is survived by his wife, and children Lee, James, Paul, and Awan. Max Hayes


Arthur Robert Wyndham (Jim) HOILE (28 August 2003, aged 81)

Jim went to PNG in 1931, and left in 1959. Pre-war he lived in Lower Edie Creek, Wau, Narakapor, Lae and Salamaua. Post-war he was in Lae, Finschhafen, Wau and Edie Creek. He held many positions from gold miner/sawmiller to aircraft engineer with MAL. He was in the Army and the RAAF, he was a marine trader and an aircraft engineer with Qantas. In 1953 he married Judith and the couple had four children. On returning to Sydney, Jim worked for Qantas until his retirement in the early ’80s. He and Judy settled in Forestville NSW in 1961 and remained there ever since. Jim’s great love was sailing and his dream was to build a home on his block of land at Scotland Island and have his yacht moored nearby. He also travelled regularly to his hobby farm outside Lismore and to a property at Terrigal. Jim is survived by his wife Judy, children and grandchildren. Judy Hoile and PNGAA records


Sydney Harley JOHNSON (17 May 2003, aged 88)

Syd grew up in Western Australia. He gained his LLB in 1937 and was admitted to the bar in 1940. He excelled at hockey and in 1949 was made a life member of the WA Hockey Association and in 2000 was the recipient of the Australian Sports Medal in recognition for services to the sport of hockey. He was an enthusiastic golfer and was Captain and President of the Port Moresby Golf Club during the 1960s. He joined the RAAF the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbour and on arriving in England went straight into a crew of Master Bomber Pathfinders of Bomber Command. He was first in and last out in raids over Germany, directing the Lancaster bombers of Main Force over the target area. Syd was the navigator set operator – bomb aimer. He qualified for the rare distinction of being both Primary Visual Marker and Primary Blind Marker. He did a double tour of 55 operations and gained the immediate award of the DFC in 1944 and a bar at the end of his service. Post-war Syd was appointed Crown Prosecutor in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and served there for 20 years, the last eight as Crown Solicitor. Returning to Perth, Syd became the first Registrar of the District Court of WA in 1970, finally retiring in 1977. He continued to have many interests in retirement – his family, Legacy, golf, gardening and writing. He published It’s Never Dark Above the Clouds, a memoir of his wartime experiences, which was very well received. Syd leaves a widow, June, two children, Rose and John both of whom were born in the Territory, and four grandchildren. June Johnson


Gwendoline Ruth JONES (15 September 2003, aged 87)

Gwennie grew up in Maroubra NSW along with her sister Margaret and three brothers. Gwen’s career started as secretary to J. Walter Thompson, an advertising agency in Sydney. When WWII came, she volunteered for the land army. At this time she became engaged to Ken Fisher, who unfortunately was killed during the war. She joined the Public Curator’s Office in 1950 and the Supreme Court in 1953 where she was secretary to the Supreme Court Registrar and four judges. She had several overseas holidays, and made frequent trips back to Australia to keep in touch with her family. She left PNG in 1966. Gwen’s interests included writing articles for the local newspaper, The Messenger, under the pen name Gemma. In retirement she continued to travel extensively. Swimming was another of her life enjoyments, as was tennis and reading, and the company of her many friends. Bronwyn, Warwick and Fiahra Kelly


David MOORHOUSE (31 August 2003, aged 66)

Growing up in Albury NSW, David finished the Leaving Certificate in 1954 and by January 1955 was off to PNG as a cadet patrol officer – he was the youngest cadet to join the service. His first posting was Kandrian. In 1960 he led an expedition into the unexplored areas of the Whiteman Range for the National Geographic Society, searching for new species. This resulted in finding the first new genus of the Paradisaea in 26 years (subsequently named phyllosopis rubbicala Moorhousie). In the mid-1960s, after attending ASOPA, he served as Assistant District Commissioner at Vanimo, Amanab and Maprik. The Border postings sharpened his interest in ‘Intelligence’ and he was seconded to Peter Sheekey’s unit in the Department of the Administrator. David was Deputy District Commissioner in Bougainville from 1971 until he returned to Australia in 1974. He is survived by his sons Matthew and Stephen and his sister Robin Moorhouse (Stubbs). Bill Brown and Robin Moorhouse


Mollie PARER (17 July 2003, aged 98)

Mollie was enjoying life to the fullest in her own villa in Brisbane until she was admitted to hospital two days before her death. It embarrassed her to have no aches and pains while everyone around her had health problems. In the 1930s and 40s she survived two bouts of blackwater fever – very few survive one. Mollie’s husband Bob died in 1977. Mollie had two sets of twins born in PNG pre-war. First were Robert and Carolin at Wau in 1937 and then Sheila and Ian at Wewak in 1941. After the family was evacuated in December 1941 Mollie had Teresa in 1944 and Michele in 1946. Son Robert wrote, ‘I hope to send more about Mum for the next issue, she was an inspiring person’.  

Laura MARTIN (1 September 2003, aged 81)

Laura Martin, from Victoria, arrived in the Sepik as a young teacher in the early 1950s. She was fascinated by the place and its people and has been in the Sepik ever since. She was given a State funeral and the Wewak Catholic Cathedral was full to overflowing with hundreds outside. Over many years she championed for the rights of the little people, especially women. An article in The National of 5 September said, ‘Though Laura Martin was the acting chairperson of the hospital board, she would be seen around the hospital picking up rubbish and talking to patients. Her interest in the state of the hospital goes as far back as the old hospital, which was situated on Wewak Hill. She has been the acting chairperson of the Boram Hospital Board since 1995’. She did not survive a bout of malaria, her first in 50 years in the Sepik. Arthur T. Somare, Minister for State Enterprises & Communications, said, ‘Until her death, Mrs Martin remained passionate about Sepik and its people. We thank her for being one of us and will remember her for many years to come’. She is survived by her children Lesley and Paul and grandchildren.


Judy BENNETT (née Kwan)

Ben Scheelings’ sister-in-law Judy Bennett in partnership with her husband Cam owned and operated the Red Lantern Chinese Restaurant in Goroka, with Judy the chef, they served excellent meals and were regularly booked out as apart from the Bird of Paradise Hotel it was the only place for fine dining. Returning to Queensland in the 1990s Judy and Cam owned and operated a very good family “all you can eat at a ;price” restaurant at Lawnton near Strathpine. She passed away recently after a short illness. Further details in next issue.


Keith Thomas BUXTON ( 28 September 2003, aged 70)

Keith was a medical assistant until 1966, then in private enterprise. Further details in next issue.


Desmond Mylne HUSBAND (4 September 2003, aged 83)

Des was born in Charters Towers and traced his ancestry to George Bernard Shaw. He grew up in Mackay and had his secondary education at All Saints College, Charters Towers, where he was followed, in due course, by four of his five sons, during the time he was a government surveyor in PNG. In the 1939-45 war he served with the 2nd AIF Survey Corps. He then worked as a surveyor in Brisbane and Maryborough before taking up a position with the Administration in Goroka in 1958. He was subsequently stationed at Minj, Wau and Lae, before being transferred to Rabaul for eight years where he was in charge of the Lands Department in the New Guinea Islands Region. In 1974 he moved back to Australia and settled at Lawnton, Qld. In retirement he devoted a lot of time to golf and bridge and travelled widely in Australia with his wife, Fran, keeping in touch with his far-flung family of five sons, their wives and eleven grandchildren. Harry West


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