Vale December 2007

BAMFORD, Raymond Hugh |  BEAZLEY (Snr) AO, Kim Edward |  BOOTH, Harvey Oswald |  DONNELLY (nee McBain), Ann LesleyERSKINE, Patrick Alfred Clarke (Paddy)  |  FISHER AO, Norman Henry (Dr) |  HAMMERSLEY, Tas |  HOLDEN, Vera |  HOLT, Joan Francis |  LEYDEN, Adrian Joseph |  LINDSAY, May |  LYON OBE, Malcolm Elliot |  SEYMOUR, Lily |  STRATTON, James (Jim) Buckingham |  SULLIVAN DSO DFC, Des |  TREZISE OBE, Sir Kenneth | 


Raymond Hugh BAMFORD (10 October 2007, aged 79 years)

Ray spent six years as a Kiap in PNG from 1948-1954 living at Finschafen, Wasu, Bulolo, Morobe and Aitape. He is survived by Elaine and their son Hugh together with his wife Leanne. Hugh Bamford  

Kim Edward BEAZLEY Snr, AO (12 Oct 2007, aged 90 years)

Well respected politician and brother of the late Sidney Beazley taken by the Japanese at Rabaul in 1942 as a prisoner of war. Kim Beazley Snr visited PNG on several occasions to research what became of the prisoners taken from Rabaul and said to be loaded on a ship believed to be the Buenos Aires Maru. Results of this research were later forwarded to the then Minister for External Territories, Paul Hasluck. Albert Speer MBE  

Harvey Oswald BOOTH (23 July 2007, aged 81)

Born in Brisbane, Harvey spent his early life in Sydney but returned to Brisbane in the late ’40s – there he met and married Valmai. The couple moved to Mt Hagen in 1951 and enjoyed everything the unique and exciting lifestyle had to offer. Harvey moved to Wewak as District Clerk in 1956 and then to Port Moresby where he worked in a number of Departments of the Public Service. By then the couple had two daughters, Diane and Cheryl. In 1974, after 25 years in PNG, the family moved to the Gold Coast, then to Bundaberg where Harvey permanently retired in 1989 Harvey returned to PNG as part of a six-person Rotary working group to assist in the recovery of the 1998 tsunami victims in the old West Sepik District. Harvey will be remembered for his zest for life – he climbed Mt Wilhelm at 28 and Mt Beerwah (Qld) at 80, he and Valmai traveled extensively and made many friends. Valmai predeceased him. Harvey is survived by daughters Diane and Cheryl. Di Meurer


Ann Lesley DONNELLY (née McBain) (17 September 2007 , aged 61)

Ann grew up in PNG where her father Ron ‘Snow’ McBain worked with the Department of Civil Aviation. She liked to refer to herself as ‘a Moresby brat’. Ann joined the ABC’s 9PA newsroom straight from school and remained there for a few years before leaving in the late 1960s on the first of her many overseas journeys. On her return home in 1969, she married Mike Donnelly – another so-called ‘Moresby brat’. Mike worked as a clerk with Government departments in Port Moresby, Sydney and Melbourne before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1973. Over the next 20 years, Ann accompanied him on postings to Lisbon, Jakarta, Singapore and Los Angeles. Their son Matthew was born in 1976. Sadly, Mike died in 1993. Ann set up home in Canberra and started a new career with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Ann had several interests including golf, riding for the disabled, cooking, and overseas travel. She also worked as a volunteer at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup. She was preparing to spend July in Europe when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Ann is survived by her son Matthew and daughter in law Katrina. Don Hook  


Patrick Alfred Clarke ERSKINE (01 September 2007, aged 84)

No further details available


Dr Norman Henry FISHER, AO (23 September 2007, aged 97)

Educated at Toowoomba Grammar School. Doctor of Science, University of Queensland. Former Director of the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Canberra. Norman achieved world status in his profession and was one of Australia’s outstanding geologists of the twentieth century. His scientific publications numbered almost 100, he worked in many different countries and won many prestigious awards. He was a prominent member of the Australian Academy of Science and served on numerous national and international boards. Norman’s long association with PNG began in 1934 when he was appointed Government Geologist in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. During the Pacific war he served with the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles from September 1939 to April 1942, before being discharged to survey and assess strategic mineral deposits. In October 2006, at the age of 97, he made his last visit to the Vulcanological Observatory in Rabaul, which he had established in 1939 following the eruption of 1937 (See Una Voce No. 2 June 2007 page 18). Harry West  

Tas HAMMERSLEY (17 August 2007, aged 78)

Tas was a well known Mt Hagen identity who wore many hats with considerable skill and aplomb and was actively involved in the community. As the Department of Education’s Western Highlands superintendent, he became heavily involved with the Mt Hagen Show, becoming its secretary and later being responsible for its change from an agricultural to a cultural focus. In the phenomenally successful early years of the show, he demonstrated his high degree of resourcefulness by accommodating up to thirty two visitors in his three-bedroom home for the duration of the show. Tas resigned from the Dept of Education and undertook a sea change of some magnitude by developing a cattle property in the Baiyer Valley adjacent to the Baiyer River Sanctuary. Trauna Valley Farm became a model farm and the two-storey native materials home he built for his paediatrician wife, Brenda, and himself, became a mecca for locals and tourists from far and wide. He left PNG when he decided the highlanders had ceased being ‘noble savages’ as he once described them and foreseeing the inevitability of expatriate departures. He and Brenda moved to Denmark in Western Australia where Brenda was to die suddenly in 2004. Knowledgeable, talented and endlessly resourceful, Tas frequently operated on a short fuse and didn’t suffer fools gladly. But no-one that ever met him could deny the special charm he was capable of. He died in Canberra where he lived with his daughter Sandy, again demonstrating his versatility by making yet another career change, this time restoring old furniture and making to order, working in the studio he built until he no longer could. Judith Blogg  


Vera HOLDEN (13 October 2007, aged 84)

Born in Rockdale, NSW, Vera became a trained bookkeeper and joined the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service during WWII. She was one of a small group of service women sent to Rabaul in 1946 who continued to serve there for several months until, with the guaranteed prospect of accommodation and employment, they were discharged from the Army to take up various positions. Vera worked for the New Guinea Company for several years before returning to Australia to care for her mother for a short time prior to her mother’s death, later returning to PNG to again work for WR Carpenters. Interested in all aspects of the Rabaul community she became a keen member of the Rabaul Golf Club playing off a handicap of 15, continuing this activity at the Cronulla Golf Club after returning to Sydney in 1965. She moved to the Berkleyvale Retirement Village in 1994 where she made many friends, but always maintained contact with the friendships made in PNG. She is survived by her nephews Geof, Phillip and Martin and their families. Pamela Foley  

Joan Frances HOLT (16 August 2007, aged 80)

Joan was born in Cairns. After completing her schooling she worked for Purr Pull Oil Co. (later Golden Fleece Oil Co.) Whilst working Joan joined the scouting movement and became the Cub Master to the First Townsville Sea Scouts. In 1953 Joan married Colin, a police constable and their only child Robert was born in 1957. Colin joined the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary in 1959 and their first posting was Port Moresby, followed by Samarai, Pt Moresby again, Mendi, a few months at Mt Hagen, then to Daru in 1971. In Samarai with others she started a scout group becoming the Cub Master. On outstations she would conduct cooking and knitting lessons for the police wives. Joan worked for Burns Philp in Samarai and Port Moresby and was secretary to D/C Homes, Brown and Gegeio at Daru.

In 1974 Colin and Joan were posted again to Pt Moresby and in 1975 returned to Townsville. After the death of their beloved son in 1976, they commenced travelling all over Australia, returning to Townsville in 1981. Joan commenced researching her family history back to early 1600 but was unable to print her book as in 1995, after major surgery, she was blind. A cousin completed the printing. Although blind Joan could still knit. Hundreds of squares were knitted from donated wool, sewn together by others and these blankets were then shipped to a Catholic leper hospital in South Africa. Joan is survived by her husband, Colin. Colin Holt  

Adrian Joseph LEYDEN (7 October 2007, aged 85)

As a young man, Adrian became restless in Sydney and sought employment overseas. He accepted an offer by Burns Philp to work in their shipping office in Port Moresby. He arrived there, aged 19, two weeks before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. In December 1941 he joined the Home Guard and was involved in the evacuation of women, children and others on ships and Catalina flying boats. In January 1942 he reported for army call up and in August 1942 he transferred to ANGAU and became a patrol officer, working in Lae and the interior behind Finschhafen. After the war he worked for Bulolo Gold Dredging (BGD) in Lae, and then worked in Fiji and Western Samoa which is where he met his wife Eileen. After their marriage in 1953, the couple went back to Lae and BGD. In 1962 the family, with children Michael, Peter, John, and baby Tracie, moved to Sydney. Richard was born in 1964. Adrian was President of the NGVR-ANGAU Association Sydney for many years; he worked for St Vincent De Paul and worked on radio with the Volunteer Coastal Patrol to about age 80. He is survived by Eileen who still lives in Hornsby, Michael, Peter, John, Tracie and Richard. Peter Leyden


May LINDSAY (16 September 2007, aged 78)

May was born in Scotland and married Bill Lindsay in 1958. Bill was employed by Burns Philp. After postings on the New Guinea mainland they were transferred to Rabaul where Bill became merchandise manager. Two children, Angus and Alison, were born in Rabaul. May was in Customs and Public Works. They retired to Takapuna, New Zealand in 1978. Bill died a few years ago. May is survived by Angus and Alison and four grand children. Angus is a headmaster at Innisfail and Allison is a lawyer in Hong Kong.  Allison Lindsay  

Malcolm Elliot LYON, OBE (27 September 2007, aged 77)

Malcolm Lyon, a career diplomat, had an important role in the discussions leading up to PNG’s self-government and independence. He was the senior Australian Foreign Affairs representative in Port Moresby from April 1973 to December 1974, and head of the department’s PNG branch in Canberra in 1975-77. Malcolm was born in London in 1930 and educated at Geelong College and University of Adelaide. He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1954 and, apart from PNG, had postings in Bonn, New Delhi, Stockholm, Dublin, Wellington, Singapore and Pretoria. Malcolm lived at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast after early retirement from Foreign Affairs because of ill health. He is survived by his widow Diana and three children Anne, Peter and Kate. Don Hook  

Lily SEYMOUR (15 July 2007, aged 95 years)

Lily Seymour was one of eleven children of George Martin from Bath in the UK and Bala Kana of Kaloura village in Papua. She married planter John Seymour in 1931 and went to live at 12 mile. Then in 1942, after the Japanese bombed Port Moresby, she left with two of her children on the Malaita bound for Cairns. In August many members of the Seymour and Martin families boarded the Mamutu to escape – the ship was attacked and set alight and all her relations on board died. Lily’s story is told on page 50 of the December Una Voce.


James (Jim) Buckingham STRATTON (8 September 2007, aged 101)

Jim, who died in Redcliffe about two months short of his 102nd birthday, served in the New Guinea Police Force at Rabaul, Salamaua and Logui between 18 May 1927 and 26 June 1929, and resigned just after the 1929 Rabaul police strike. After this he moved to the British Solomon Islands Protectorate working for Lever Brothers, later to Argentina and then to England joining the British Army serving for many years and being evacuated from Dunkirk. He was guest of honour at the 13th RPNGC ex-officers luncheon at the Gold Coast on 3 December 2005 and received a standing ovation. There is a feature article on Jim in Una Voce March 2006 (The last TNG police officer). He is survived by his daughter, Pauline. Maxwell R. Hayes  

Des SULLIVAN, DSO DFC (October 2007, aged 88)

Des learnt to fly with the RAAF in WA at the age of 20 before joining RAF Bomber Command in England and becoming a squadron leader during WWII. Completing 50 raids over Germany, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Flying Cross. Residents of Pt Moresby in the 50s will remember Des Sullivan who was Official Secretary at Government House to two Administrators, Colonel Murray and Sir Donald Cleland. 
See also HERE

Brian Essai and info from the ‘West Australian’ 8 October 2007  

Sir Kenneth TREZISE OBE (28 July 2007, aged 68)

Sir Kenneth was born in Sydney and had 35 years living in PNG. He had many and varied postings in Co-ops, being involved when Co-ops moved from Dept Native Affairs and joined Customs & Marine to become the Dept of Trade & Industry. Post-Independence he went to work for [former PNG Prime Minister] Sir Julius Chan full time as a ministerial adviser. His talent with words led him to become the writer of many great speeches for Sir Julius. ‘Ken was best friend, my boss, my slave, my writer but above all my true friend,’ Sir Julius told The Cairns Post after attending the service. Sir Kenneth had moved to Mt Molloy 15 years ago and enjoyed his ‘family of good friends.’ Fay Millist (Reeves) and the Cairns Post

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