Vale December 2009

CIASTKOWSKI, Christian Pierre (Chris) |  COOKE, Walter L |  INCH, Henry Bruce, JP |  LEAKE, John Gaskill |  LUCAS, Neil Douglas |  NEWTON, Mary |  O’SULLIVAN, Richard (Dick) |  PURVIS, David ‘Ian’ |  RUSSELL, Douglas A |  TOURNIER, Lenard Joseph | 


Christian Pierre (Chris) CIASTKOWSKI (24 September 2009, aged 60)

Chris passed away on 24 September 2009 in Melbourne. He was a kiap from 1970 to 1979. He served in West New Britain, the Southern Highlands and the Northern District. During his last year in PNG he found himself out of contract but his wife Joan, who he met and married in PNG, won a position as census co-ordinator in the Northern District for the 1979 National Census. In his never say die attitude Chris spent the better part of his last year in PNG selling World Book encyclopaedias to all his friends and contacts throughout the country. He and his wife, Joan, were great mates of ours and we continued this friendship when chance brought us together again in Australia in the early 80s. Chris was always a go-getter and like a true kiap a jack of all trades. On his return to Australia he tried his hand at many things. He was sales manager for Motorola, security guard, news agency owner, staff manager at the Hyatt, farmer in Tasmania and finally marketing manager and part owner of a group of conference centres operated by the Grange group of companies. It was this last enterprise that allowed him to retire about five years ago and travel the world. We have many fond memories of our time together both in PNG and Australia. He will be missed by me, my wife and our grown-up children who, like us, remember him fondly. Vale Chris. Fulvio Favetta


Walter L COOKE (7 January 2009, aged 83)

Walter was with Bulolo Gold Dredging. Survived by daughter Marina Geiger. 


Henry Bruce INCH, JP (28 July 2009, aged 74)

After being inducted into RAAF National Service in 1952, he later joined the New South Wales Police Force resigning to join the RPNGC the following day on 25 August 1958.  He served at Port Moresby, Lae, Manus, Mendi, Wau and Rabaul, resigning from the Constabulary on 29 May 1971 at rank of Inspector (2c). His great love was the Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles in which he served in three companies between 24 November 1958 and 1 October 1970 resigning at the rank of WO2 (CSM). He returned to his birth place of Coolamon NSW and spent the following 25 years with the NSW Department of Motor Transport as a road traffic enforcement officer  in the Wagga Wagga region. He is survived by one son. MR Hayes


John Gaskell LEAKE (21 August 2009, aged 80)

John began work at fourteen and a half as a delivery boy for Carson Film Supplies. He soon aspired to become a newsreel cameraman and moved to Movietone where he quickly made a name for himself. It was during this time that he met and married Marion. Further positions were with the Dept of Information and Supreme Sound Studios. In 1960 he became Australia’s first true Freelance Cinematographer. His special connection with Papua New Guinea was when he was selected, in 1957, as the cameraman to film New Guinea Patrol, an award winning film shown worldwide and, fifty years later, still available on DVD. Lifelong friendships and fond memories developed from this patrol. John and his wife Marion, Jim Sinclair OBE (the leader of the patrol), and patrol members Albert Speer MBE and Neil Grant, have kept in touch.  John and Marion regularly attended and looked forward to the PNGAA functions especially at Christmas as it gave them a chance to catch up with old friends and family. John was a Founding Member (1958) of the Australian Cinematographers Society and had a lifetime involvement with the Society, serving as both Federal President and NSW President. He was an outstanding cinematographer, and mentor and father figure to many of his colleagues and successors in the industry. John was the esteemed father-in-law of Chris Johnston and a good friend of the Johnston family. He is survived by his wife Marion, four daughters, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Nancy Johnston


Neil Douglas LUCAS (10 August 2009, aged 73) 

Neil was born at Latrobe in Tasmania. He joined the Department of Native Affairs as a Cadet Patrol Officer in February 1956, and spent the better part of 20 years in PNG. His first posting was to the Northern District, where he spent time in Popondetta, Ioma and Tufi. Following the long course at ASOPA, he went to the Southern Highlands, where he spent five years, working from most of the Patrol Posts in the District. In 1963 he was posted to Port Moresby, and during his time there he met and married Jan, his wife of 45 years. For most of 1964 they lived at Kwikila, and were then transferred to Magarida. Two years later, Neil took over as OIC Kupiano, the Abau Subdistrict headquarters, where they spent four happy years. A final two years were spent in Lae, before the family returned to Australia in 1971, settling at Amamoor, near Gympie. After twelve months there, Neil was required to return to PNG for a further term, during which time he was in Lae, and Port Moresby. He returned home to Amamoor in late 1974.

Neil left us on 10 August 2009, from complications following surgery for bladder cancer, and is survived by his wife Jan, and children Rosalind and Robert. He was a man of many talents, and will be sorely missed by his family, and all those who knew him. Jan Lucas



Mary was the wife of Gerald Newton of Public Works Department.


Richard (Dick) O’SULLIVAN (7 July 2009, aged 81)

He was born on 28 May 1928 in County Cork, Ireland, and migrated to Townsville in 1950 to escape the cold of the European winters. From Townsville he applied for a position as a motor mechanic, his trade, with the PNG Department of Transport. In January 1951, Dick was posted to Popondetta following the Mt Lamington eruption of 21 January, to maintain the few vehicles available at that time. After a period of time Dick resigned from the Administration to be employed by the Sangara plantation where he worked for some three years before returning to the Administration. Dick met Marie Mitchell who was an infant welfare sister at Saiko and they were married in 1955.

They were posted to Rabaul, thence to Wewak, Mt Hagen and finally Port Moresby for the last ten years before Independence in 1975. Dick and Marie had three children: two girls, Christine and Kerry, and son Peter. The family settled on the Sunshine Coast at Maroochydore where Dick could indulged in his main recreational activity that of fishing. Towards the end of his life, Dick and Marie moved to Mapleton for health reasons until declining health necessitated Dick having to be admitted to a Nursing home at Maleny. Dick is survived by his wife Marie, their three children and eight grandchildren. Marie O’Sullivan and Alan Boag


David ‘Ian’ PURVIS (10 January 2009, aged 80)

Ian grew up in Brisbane and attended Brisbane Grammar where he excelled at Rugby Union. Ian played for the first Queensland GPS side, later to become the Queensland Reds. With his tall, thin frame, his father suggested a career in Rugby might not be the best choice, so Ian tried various jobs before travelling to PNG in 1953 to begin cadet officer training for WR Carpenter (CPL).

There he married Averil in 1957, sister of his long time friend Richard Gault, and they had two children, Jamie and Ruth. In 1973 he retired from Carpenters (and from working life) after 20 years’ service where he had risen to top management. The family settled in Brisbane. But city life was not for Ian. After a couple of years he returned to PNG to live on his plantation at Kokopo.

It was here, after some years, that he and his second wife, Irene, began 26 idyllic years together. They finally came to Australia to settle in 1991. In between extensive travels abroad, they spent their time between their Brisbane home and Maleny ‘farm’. Ian was an avid lover of the arts and he and Irene were able to attend and enjoy many live theatre productions, the opera, the ballet, symphony concerts as well as his beloved Rugby Union. He had an extensive knowledge and love of classical music, was a great reader and a keen clock collector.  An extremely intelligent, practical, demanding (as many would know) and charming man, he did not suffer fools gladly. He was generous to a fault and helped many – family, friends and strangers alike.  He often forgave a loan, and to some, he simply gave.  Ian is survived by wife Irene, and his children Jamie and Ruth and their families. Irene Purvis


Douglas A RUSSELL (May 2009, aged 91)

Dr Russell was in PNG from 1956-1976 with the Public Health Department.  Whilst based in Port Moresby he travelled widely in PNG.  He is survived by his wife Thelma.  They had three children Adrian, Jeremy and Martin. 


Lenard Joseph TOURNIER (16 July 2009, aged 81)

Len was born in Ballarat and arrived in Port Moresby in 1972 to work with the Tax Department. He was a very keen fisherman, with the Galley Reach area being a favourite spot.  Len also enjoyed playing golf in Port Moresby.

In 1985 he left PNG to operate an avocado orchard and then travelled around Australia for a year before managing the Macadamia Farm in Dunoon for the next eight years, regularly travelling up to Cairns and Northern Territory to do Barramundi fishing. Unfortunately Len had health problems which caused him to lose both legs.  Undaunted, he learnt to use computers and enjoyed working the stock market.

Len kept in touch with many friends from PNG and his ex servicemen friends from the occupational forces in Japan and later the Korean conflict. Len is survived by his sister Mary and her family. John and Glenda Schofield

Leave a Reply