Vale December 2011

BARRAND, Jeanette Rosslyn (Rossi), née Thomas (4 May 2011) | CONROY, Marie Colbron (6 September 2011) | DICKSON, Archibald Alexander (22 July 2011) | DOHERTY, Kevin Robert (Doc) (11 May 2011) | GAULT, Richard (Dick) Kyle (3 January 2011) | HOETER, Frank George, MBE, ED, JP (1 August 2011) | JONES, Patricia Adelaide (18 June 2011) | LARGE, Dennis Leslie (Des) (19 July 2011) | MUCKSING, Joe (15 August 2011) | NELSON, Delia Margaret (15 August 2011) | NORMOYLE, Christopher John Thomas (2 September 2011) | SHERWOOD, William Brian (17 September 2011) | SYMONS, Craig Andrew John (2 September 2011) | WALKER, Peter Ross |  (25 January 2011)


Craig Andrew John SYMONS (2 September 2011, aged 86)

Craig was with the Department of District Affairs from 1946 to 1974 commencing as a Patrol Officer and progressing to District Commissioner. The family lived in a variety of locations in PNG:  Goroka, Minj, Pogera River, Madang, Bogia, Emira, Kavieng, Namatanai, Samarai, and Port Moresby.

Craig attended the ASOPA Long Course in 1954-55.

Returning to Sydney in 1974, Craig became a lecturer at the International Training Institute, Mosman, from 1975 to 1992. Craig’s wife Lynn pre-deceased him in 2005.  Craig is survived by son Paul.


Archibald Alexander DICKSON (22 July 2011, aged 84)

Arch was born in Hurstville NSW and later trained as an automotive mechanic.

In 1952 he moved to Port Moresby to work for the Australian Petroleum Oil Company, assigned to a seismograph survey party operating in the delta area of Papua. On completing a two-year contract, Arch returned to Australia and joined a road construction company working in Central Queensland. In 1956 he returned to PNG to manage a rubber plantation in the foothills of the Owen Stanley Range, 60 miles from Port Moresby and three hours by road. As the only European in the area, Arch had a contract to log timber and build roads. The labour force for the plantation, which included a small rubber factory, arrived from the New Guinea Highlands 30 at a time and were replaced after one year by the next 30. The house staff were Papuans. Arch also managed a small first aid post and had a medical certificate to give injections and diagnose and treat simple ailments. No electricity, no telephone and only monthly visits to Port Moresby caused a move after four years. Arch worked as a motor mechanic in Port Moresby and, in 1962, joined the PNG Administration working for the Department of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries. As an agricultural mechanic Arch serviced equipment throughout Papua. He was promoted to regional mechanical officer (Papua) with an office in Port Moresby. When the position of senior mechanical equipment officer for the whole of PNG became vacant Arch applied and was accepted.

Arch was an Associate Member of the Boroko RSL Club and a foundation member of the Bowling Club (he claimed never to have played a game). He joined the Freemasons’ Lodge in Port Moresby.

Arch’s work involved a lot of travel. He met his future wife, a nursing sister from Nonga Base Hospital, on a Lae to Port Moresby flight. Arch and Joanne were married in Brisbane in 1972 and returned to live in Port Moresby. The family relocated to Australia in 1975. Arch was offered and accepted a position of Head of the Development Engineering section of the PNG Dept of Primary Industries so the family returned to Port Moresby in 1977. The work was interesting and Arch loved it. The family left PNG in 1980 and in 1981 settled in Kapunda, South Australia. Arch worked as a forklift mechanic for Kaiser Stuhl and then Penfolds in the Barossa Valley. He retired in 1992. He had an extensive workshop and became known locally as a “Mr Fixit”. Arch was a foundation member and past President of the Probus Club of Kapunda. He was also a volunteer for meals to the aged.

Arch’s health deteriorated and he was admitted to a nursing home in October 2009. He died suddenly on Friday 22 July 2011. Arch is survived by his wife, Joanne, children Paul and Sue, and one granddaughter. Joanne Dickson


Richard (Dick) Kyle GAULT (3 January 2011, aged 88)

See the longer article in the Library HERE

Dick grew up in South Australia. He enlisted at age 18 with the RAAF on 20 May 1941 serving at air-force bases within Australia and performing Japanese air surveillance at Tarakan and Morotai (Indonesia, then Dutch territory) and Tawi Tawi Island (Philippines). After WWII he spent some time buying and selling war surplus eventually heading to Rabaul with the first group of civilians and starting a number of entrepreneurial vocations. He met and married Joyce Barry and bought “Warenvula” Plantation which was approximately an hour’s drive from Rabaul and half an hour from Kokopo, on the lower reaches of the Warengoi River, overlooking the sea of the St George’s Channel. Their three children, Richard, Roland and Ros, were all born in Kokopo and enjoyed life on the plantation until a kerosene refrigerator burnt the house down in 1973. He built and operated a desiccated coconut factory at Rapopo, he financed a team of crocodile shooters trading crocodile skins, troccus and green snail shells (for buttons) but with his interest in machinery he went into the heavy equipment contracting, saw milling, timber exporting and veneer manufacturing businesses. He purchased two Japanese 120-foot fishing boats to start a tuna fishing business; he opened a sawmill (at Aropa) and soft drink factory in Kieta on the island of Bougainville. He also imported balsa seed from Ecuador and was instrumental in (inadvertenty) starting the now booming balsa business in PNG.

From the 1970s to his departure from PNG upon the sale of his business interests in 1993, Dick’s core business was sawmilling and export logging. When TPNG gained independence, both Joyce and Dick were amongst the first naturalised citizens, considering PNG “home”. They had no assets outside the country. Dick was an elected member of the Committees of the peak timber bodies of Papua New Guinea, the Forest Industries Association and the Forest Industry Council in the 1970s and early 1980s, at a time when the industry was well regulated. He represented PNG on several trade missions internationally. His knowledge of the forest species of PNG was extensive. Throughout his life there were many laughs. He was proud of his family and treasured his friendships. He is survived by Richard, Ros and Roly. Ros Gault


Jeanette Rosslyn (Rossi) BARRAND, née Thomas (4 May 2011, aged 70)

Rossi was born in 1940 in Rabaul, the daughter of Theodore ‘Mick’ and Doris Thomas of Rainau in the close knit Kokopo plantation community. She started school at Ravenswood at the age of eight and she enjoyed her years boarding there, making lifelong friendships and succeeding academically. Following her graduation in 1957, Rossi travelled the world with her parents for six months. She accompanied her father in his overseas investigation of suitable cocoa strains for cultivation in New Britain. This began a passion for overseas travel, which she enjoyed throughout her life. Rossi completed a Bachelor of Arts at Sydney Uni, followed years later by a DipEd. This was the backdrop to her love for theatre, drama, language teaching and especially, a fondness for Shakespeare. Rossi’s first marriage to Alastair Fitter was in 1963 and lasted for seven years. They lived in WA and then Tasmania. One of the jobs she was most proud of was being a Child Welfare Officer in Tasmania. In 1967 Rossi returned to Sydney, where she began work in the financial field. Rossi remarried in 1972 to Peter Barrand, an accomplished sportsman, and they had a wonderful married life for twenty years, living first in Kirribilli then Lindfield. Their first daughter, Lesley, was born in 1975 and Anna followed in 1982. Shortly after this, Rossi’s health took a turn for the worse with the onset of Lupus. This resulted in a long journey, battling many and varied health concerns for the remainder of her years during which Rossi showed enormous fighting spirit; tenacity and bravery as she faced one obstacle after another. She was sustained by her faith and enjoyed great fellowship at her church, teaching Scripture for a number of years.

People remember Rossi for her smile which captivated and cheered so many. She was always involved in many social activities, such as theatre-going, dinner with friends, playing bridge at the Queen’s Club, not to mention her propensity for collecting animals and other things living and inanimate. Rossi referred to the family home as “the menagerie” due to the array of pets, domestic and wild, that frequented the place. Rossi appreciated the beauty in small trinkets and treasures, perhaps a feather, a flower, or a shell from the beach. As one friend so aptly put it, Rossi was “…an ornament to our lives”, with her sparkle and quirky sense of humour. She brought much joy into the lives of her family and friends which will be treasured forever. Rossi is survived by Lesley and Anna and her four grandchildren. Dennis Doyle


Kevin Robert (Doc) DOHERTY (11 May 2011, aged 84)

Kevin was born on New Year’s Day 1927 in Gordonvale just South of Cairns. After a carpentry apprenticeship in Cairns, Kevin went to the then TP&NG in 1951, initially to Port Moresby and  then on to Rabaul. He then moved to Talasea, Hoskins, Gasmata, Kandrian, eventually Kimbe. He then moved on to Bougainville: to Kieta, Toniva and Buka in a Senior Supervisor capacity. He spent some time in New Ireland and a little in Manus but generally commuted by ship and govt trawler and pinnace to coastal locations. Kevin was transferred to Kavieng in around 1970 where he became a Senior Works Supervisor Carpenter in charge of many projects in Kavieng, Namatanai, Konos with a well-trained workforce comprising Tolai, Manus, Sepik, WNB, NIP and Buka workers.

Kevin also relieved in various senior District and Regional roles as Engineer, Provincial Manager and notably was Acting Provincial Manager 1986/87 in Lae (Morobe) for some time between his other substantive management supervisory roles. If there were any hard decisions to make, Kevin was pushed by his superiors into the role: he demanded and got building and other works to specified standards without exception. He gave the various stages of PNG development good value for money, was very well respected by everyone and a lot of his buildings still stand today.

Kevin was shot in a night robbery that went wrong in Lae. He lived for 33 years with shotgun pellets from this event in his lungs till his death. He retired from DWS in 1988, and momentarily moved back to Cairns but then he joined Willings and Partners to build an education complex in the West Sepik. He settled permanently at Cairns in April 1990. He still went back to Bialla to relieve someone for six weeks in late 1990.

Kevin was a keen yachtie. While an apprentice in Cairns, he built a skiff and sailed in regattas. He won several trophies in PNG yachting. His early Cairns history involved him in WW2 Cairns Harbour Defence. As  a Cadet Naval Volunteer he would lower and raise submarine nets at the entrance to Cairns Harbour.

Kevin was a very keen club person, he had life membership of the Rabaul New Guinea Club, Rabaul RSL, Rabaul Yacht Club, etc. He kept his various memberships going and he was a very honest person in all of his work, private and retired life. Kevin never married but will be sadly missed by all of those who knew him well. Jim Van Der Kamp


Dennis Leslie (Des) LARGE (19 July 2011, aged 86)

Des was born in Brisbane and, during the war, served in the RAAF as a Leading Aircraftman. After the war, Des and his father were offered jobs in Port Moresby to help rebuild the town and they were among the first boatload of civilians to go back to the Territory, arriving between Christmas and New Year 1945. Des worked with John Stubbs & Sons in his trade of carpenter in 1946-47. His father started his own building construction company and Des went to work for his father at first as a carpenter, then as foreman and then as manager until 1955. At that time, they were working at the Bomana War Cemetery building the Rotunda and Memorial Gate and replacing the old wooden crosses with the standard stone headstones of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Late 1947, Des met Betty Heape: she was 19 years old and working at Steamships Trading Company as a typist. Des and Betty married at St John’s Church in January 1948. They had three children, all born at the old European Hospital, Port Moresby. Des took an active interest in the revival of post-war scouting in PNG and was appointed as Rover Scout Leader of 6th Papua Group in January 1951. He became Assistant District Commissioner for Rover Scouts in mid-1954 and his involvement continued until the late 1960s. Betty was also involved in the Girl Guides. Des was a foundation member of Port Moresby Rifle Club in 1950 and remained an active member of the club for over 25 years. He was Captain of the Club for 15 years until his departure from PNG, when he was awarded Life Membership. Des was a member of the Commonwealth Games Committee of PNG from 1962 to 64 to get PNG recognised as an independent competing nation for future Commonwealth and Olympic Games. He was initiated into Freemasonry in June 1952 and was a founding member and master of the Port Moresby Lodge, of which he was a Life Member. Freemasonry was a big part of his life for the past 59 years.

After his father’s return to Queensland, Des eventually joined the Dept of Education as a Technical Instructor in 1961 and for the next 6-7 years, he was Teacher-in-Charge/Headmaster at various Vocational Training Centres. He moved to the Iduabada Technical College in 1967 and worked as Officer-in-Charge of the Building Section until he left PNG. Des and Betty left Papua New Guinea after almost 30 years in May 1975 to settle in Caloundra, Qld. Des became involved in both the Caloundra RSL and the Services Club where he held executive positions for several years. After Betty died in December 2001, Des continued to live at home until a fall. He moved to Eden in Glasshouse Country in Beerwah early 2007 where he lived very happily for 4½ years. In January last year, he fell and broke his hip and gradually his mobility decreased. Des is survived by his children, Valerie, Shirley and Alan, 5 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. He will be very sadly missed by his family and friends. Valerie Thornton


Frank George HOETER, MBE, ED, JP (1 August 2011, aged 88)

Frank was born in Tutwilla, Pago Pago, American Samoa in 1923, arriving in Australia in 1935. He attended Sydney Grammar School and, at 18 years of age, he enlisted in the AIF. After WW2 he joined the NSW Police Service, was seconded to the Commonwealth Police Service at Canberra and later appointed as a Sub-Inspector in the Royal Papuan Constabulary and New Guinea Police Force (RPC & NGPF) in 1949. This became the Royal Papua and New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) from which he retired in 1975 as Chief Superintendent. He served widely throughout PNG including service as Commandant of the Police College at Bomana. He joined the International Police Association in 1969, later being awarded Honorary Life membership. He remained a member until his death. He settled in Hervey Bay where he founded a chapter of the International Police Force. In his busy retirement he also served as the Deputy Director of the Wide Bay Emergency Service. Rotary and the RSL also provided a path of expression for Frank.

Frank served for over 20 years in the PNGVR. During World War 2 he served in several units including the 57th Special Wireless Group and the 8th Lines of Communication Provost Company. After discharge from the AIF in 1946, he enlisted in the 3rd Infantry Battalion CMF at Canberra. He joined the PNGVR on 15 May 1951 at Lae in A Company as a Private Recruit (this rank seemed strange given he was a Veteran). Frank was commissioned as a Lieutenant in 1953 and was promoted to Major in 1962. He was appointed Battalion Second-in-Command in the same year and relinquished that position when he was appointed as a United Nations Observer to Kashmir in March 1963. During his service in PNGVR he served as OIC B Company Rabaul, C Company in the Western Highlands and D Company at Wewak before retiring from the PNGVR in 1972. Frank received his MBE primarily for his service to the PNGVR. With Peter Harbeck he raised the Madang Platoon and was responsible for raising the Samarai Detachment. Frank is survived by Ruth, daughter Zandreen and her two children. Bob Harvey-Hall


Peter Ross WALKER (25 January 2011, aged 76)

Peter was born at Ingham, Queensland. At age 18 he joined the Australian Army and served during the Malayan Campaign and with 2 Royal Australian Regiment  in Korea. He served with the Commonwealth Police Force 6 May 1954 to 29 July 1960; and with the Queensland Police Force 10 February 1964 to 1 October 1967. He was appointed to the RPNGC on 16 November 1967 and served in Port Moresby, Daru, Mt Hagen and finally at Rabaul where he was one of the investigating officers in the Jack Emanuel murder. On the expiry of his contract a few days after Independence on 24 September 1975, he separated at rank of Inspector. After PNG, he bought a taxi licence, became the publican at Cunnamulla and later worked for James Hardy. He died after a long illness at Everton Park, Qld, on 25 Jasnuary 2011 and is survived by Marion and three children. MR Hayes


Patricia Adelaide JONES (18 June 2011, aged 83)

Patricia and Frank spent time at various locations in PNG, one of which was Wewak, where their first child Carolyn was born on 17 November 1957. On 16 July 1960, Suzanne was born in Sydney. The family spent some time in Rabaul but the most vivid memories are from time in Port Moresby. Both girls attended Ela Beach Primary School. During these years Patricia worked part time as a legal secretary, but always putting family first. Frank had served with ANGAU, returning post-war to the field service. He became Land Titles Commissioner in Port Moresby in 1970. The family returned to Sydney in late 1972 after which Patricia worked at ASOPA for a number of years. Pat was a lady of great strength, kindness, integrity, compassion, honesty and love and will be greatly missed. Suzanne Wood


Delia Margaret NELSON (15 August 2011, aged 95)

Delia Nelson, born Delia Daley in Melbourne, travelled to TPNG with her first baby, Teresa, in December 1946 to join her husband Harold Nelson. Harold was employed by the Public Health Department as a Medical Assistant in 1946 at Goilala following his discharge from the Army Medical Corps.

Together they made their homes in subsequent postings. Their first son, Kieran, was born during their time in Maprik, then followed Lumi and Kavieng and the birth of their second son Damian. They lived in Sohano during the 50s and Wewak during the 60s, where Harold was responsible for the Aid Post Training School, followed by postings to Mt Hagen and Kainantu to take up hospital administration positions. A similar position in Goroka at District level followed in the early 70s from which position he retired in 1974.

In their retirement they initially lived on Queensland’s Gold Coast but later moved to the Brisbane bayside suburb of Manly in 1981, where Delia lost her beloved husband Harold in 1996. With a strong desire to remain in her own home and good physical health she has lived alone for the last 15 years with the support of family and aged care services. She is survived by her three children, eleven grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. Keiran Nelson


Joe MUCKSING (15 August 2011)

Ever the quiet Gentleman. A Sepik Legend.

Joseph Mucksing, a highly respected legend of the West & East Sepik Provinces, passed away at the Raihu Hospital, Aitape, surrounded by some of his loving family. He had many offspring by three wives and they are spread throughout Australia and Papua New Guinea. Joe was born at Ali Island in 1936 and his father, a Malaysian Wolung, passed away during the War. His mother Maggie remarried to Pat Mucksing and they lived at Wirui Catholic Mission, Wewak. Pat was one of the best mechanics around.

Maggie came and stayed with us when the Aitape Hotel had its opening in 1971. A delightful lady and in her young days very beautiful. She was of mixed parentage: Wuvulu Island and Dane.

She was given a hard time during the War and told us she had to jump into an Aitape East Coast River to save her daughter Ann after one of the villagers had thrown her in. Joe worked for Collier Watson Ltd in Madang in the 1950s and later Burns Philp Ltd at Wewak. After hours he had his own band and was a very popular person around town.

About 1970 he went to Vanimo and ran a store there and eventually he purchased a store from John Allen at Aitape and settled there permanently.

I have known Joe for over 50 years and found him to be an honest, humble, kind, trusting true gentleman. Unfortunately, by nature, he was a very trusting person and many people played on this and so he never made a fortune and I know many of the most important people of the Province who never repaid his kindness. He was a most loyal friend and I salute the memory of one of the finest sons of East & West Sepik. Robert L Parer


Christopher John Thomas NORMOYLE (2 September 2011, aged 81)

Chris was a Patrol Officer with service dating from 11 April 1949. His father, also called Chris (1908 – 1981), was Commissioner of the RPNGC from 1954 to 1964.

Police Commissioner Chris Normoyle’s profile can be viewed HERE


Marie Colbron CONROY (6 September 2011, aged 83)

Marie Colbron was born to Marie (née Brettell) and Wallace Colbron on 21 September 1927 in Sydney. Her love of the seaside commenced from an early age while living at Bondi with her parents and her younger sisters Shirley and Ruth. Marie attended Sydney Girls High, completing the Leaving Certificate in the mid 40s. On finishing school, Marie’s first job was in the Solomon Islands working as a governess for a family. On returning to Australia, she enrolled in a BA at Sydney Uni as a night student while working in the Agricultural Science laboratories at Sydney University during the day. It was through her boss at Sydney Uni that she met her future husband Bill (WL) Conroy who was then working in the new Australia Territory of Papua New Guinea as a Patrol Officer and providing occasional lectures at ASOPA.

Marie then enrolled at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital to study general nursing in 1949. It was during this time that the budding romance between Marie and Bill was established relying on mail and occasional trips to Sydney by Bill to undertake their courtship. Marie completed three years of her studies towards becoming a Registered Nurse when she married. At the time, married women were not permitted to continue their studies in nursing so Marie left nursing for her new life with Bill.

Marie and Bill married in March 1952 and moved to Port Moresby to live where they raised their family. Their first home was a paper house on a large block of land at Konedobu. Later a new house was built on the same block. Before and after children, Marie and Bill were part of the social life of Port Moresby going to various balls and dances. Marie took an active interest in the welfare of local women and supported activities at the missions at Hanuabada and Bomana and, through the donation of some jewellery, invested in the development of the mothers and babies clinic run by the Sacred Heart sisters at Badili. Marie also taught a number of the nuns to learn to drive and would recount the experience of being driven down Paga Hill toward the water at break-neck speed wondering if there would be survivors.

Marie, six weeks after the birth of her first-born twins, toured the PNG archipelago on the Bulolo with her mother. Marie and Bill also took the young family on other trips including to Rabaul, Wau, and Goroka. On each of these trips Bill took the opportunity to meet the far-flung staff from DASF as well as plantation owners, managers and local staff. There were many picnics to the Laloki and Brown Rivers and Rouna Falls as well as to beaches such as Idlers Bay.

Marie was a member of the CWA and was the brains behind the design of a new school uniform that was better suited to the tropics, which was created by Mrs Rolfe for St Joseph’s Primary School in Port Moresby.

Marie and Bill retired to Avalon in Sydney in 1978, always  maintaining an active interest in the welfare of the people of PNG through contact with various missions and making donations.

A funeral mass was held for Marie at Avalon on 13 September 2011, the first anniversary of Bill’s death. Marie is survived by her children: Stella, Susan, Linda, Lawrence and Christopher, four grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and her sisters Shirley Hilyard, Ruth Tilmouth and sister-in-law Eileen Mason. Susan Conroy


William Brian SHERWOOD (17 September 2011, aged 76)

Those who knew Brian in his “New Guinea days”, and many did, wondered at his obvious energy, drive and general zest for life….and what a life it was.

Life started for Brian in Shanghai and then had three and a half years interment in the Japanese Lunghua Interment Camp. (For those who might like more detail on this period read JG Ballard’s best seller or watch Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun. Ballard was Brian’s neighbour in the camp.)

Primary school was conducted in Shanghai travelling down the river on the ferry with his Chinese nanny. His secondary years were spent in boarding facilities in Guildford Grammar College in Perth where he bore bullying until his sporting prowess became obvious. In his last year he was appointed a Prefect of the school. At age 21, he travelled to England: he squandered a largish amount of money (left to him by his grandmother) and he was forced to apply that initiative and imagination which was to stand him in such good stead in his New Guinea days, and beyond. He also met a South African femme doing her nursing training and spent most of the next fifty years convincing her she had accepted a fine offer.

An adventurous trip back to Perth convinced him that Perth was too quiet and he succumbed to an advertisement for a position with the Department of Health in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, then back to Moresby as a clerk with Health and off to Madang with Treasury. Once again the yo-yo took him back to Moresby with Taxation.

Those who knew Brian from the sporting aspect of his time in PNG could have chosen from Australian Rules (Moresby Demons), Rugby League (Hawks) and cricket (with someone and against Bob Hawke) and gambling (until Marina called a halt). Marina also states: “Brian hated dishonesty and cheats. He loved an argument whether the topic be political, racial, religious or anything else likely to be contentious.”

Leaving  PNG in 1968 the family settled on the Gold Coast after another stint in Western Australia. His love for the Brisbane Bears (and later Brisbane Lions) began on the Gold Coast and was a major part of life for him until his death in Bundaberg in September of this year. Complied by Henry Bodman from notes supplied by Marina Sherwood

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