Vale June 1983

BAILEY, George |  BLUMBERG, Lucy |  BUCHANAN, Ranald Denis |  COCHRANE, Renata |  COSTELLOE, John (Jack) |  FLEMING, Bill |  HYDE, Arthur |  McNAUGHT, Murray |  MOLONEY, Peter |  ROGERS, Jack (Doc) |  SCHACHT, Walter |  SINCLAIR, Bruce |  VERTIGAN, Hazel |  ZIGAS, Vincent | 


George BAILEY (21 April 1983)

George went to PNG in 1960 as a patrol officer, serving in New Ireland, East Sepik, Western Highlands, Madang and Milne Bay. In the 1970s he joined the Land Court Secretariat in Moresby and later transferred to Magisterial duties. He was Senior Provincial Magistrate at Mt Hagen when he died.


Lucy BLUMBERG (15 April 1983)

Widow of the late Alex Blumberg.


Ranald Denis BUCHANAN (6 June 1983)

Eldest son of Denis Buchanan, whose Talair planes have carried probably 80% of us at some time.


Renata COCHRANE (6 June 1983)

Renata was the widow of the late Percy Cochrane. Well-known for her radio and film scripts in PNG, she was perhaps best known for her recipes and cookbooks.


John (Jack) COSTELLOE (2 June 1983)

Jack worked in Treasury in Rabaul from 1926, as a patrol officer from 1930 and as ADO just before the war. He joined ANGAU, serving mainly in the Highlands and Aitape. Post-war, Jack returned to Balranald as Pastures Protection Board inspector.


Bill FLEMING (7 April 1983)

Bill went to New Guinea in 1928, working with PWD in Rabaul. From 1942 to 1945, he was a Flight Lieutenant in the RAAF. Post-war, Bill returned to PWD, mostly in Wau and Lae.


Murray McNAUGHT (March 1983)

For many years a Police Officer, serving mostly in Port Moresby and Mount Hagen.


Arthur HYDE (22 February 1983)

Arthur went to Rabaul in May 1922, and was made Mining Registrar in Wau in 1930. From 1937 to 1941, he was Senior Clerk, Wewak.


Peter MOLONEY (18 May 1983)

Peter joined the Administration as a Patrol Officer in 1946, working in Menyamya, Saidor, Madang and Rabaul among other stations. Retiring in 1969, he lived in the Manly area.


Jack (Doc) ROGERS (2 May 1983)

Going to PNG in 1947, “Doc” served mainly in Health Dept., and then as Assistant P.S. Inspector, retiring in 1969.


Walter SCHACHT (23 March 1983)

An old-timer from Forests, best known for his work in the reaforestation of Wau and Bulolo.


Bruce SINCLAIR (17 June 1983)

Bruce, better known as “Daddy” to his friends, went to Rabaul in 1928, then on to Salamaua where things were “wild and woolly” and he earned the affection and friendship of all who knew him. Escaping with Bob Melrose and “Taffy” Jones by boat to Buna, he walked to Kokoda and then flew to Moresby. Post-war, Bruce worked in Brisbane until retirement in 1949.


Hazel VERTIGAN (14 April 1983)

Widow of the late Don Vertigan.


Dr Vincent ZIGAS (25 March 1983)

Vin arrived in PNG in 1954, retiring in 1975 after working in Taipini, Kainantu, Goroka and Rabaul.

Sir John Gunther commented: “Vin was the youngest of a group of New Australian doctors who came to the Territory in the early fifties to help develop our medical services. He was enthusiastic and effervescent and his request to be given the hardest job we could find was typical of him. Whilst in the Fore area near Kainantu he began an investigation of Kuru (the fatal disease). His work created world-wide interest and Vin, working with Dr Carleton Gadjusek of the National Institute of Health in Washington, carried out what was probably the most complete survey of the environment, habits and way of living of an isolated society in the Highlands. This resulted in the discovery of a group of slow acting viruses with different physical and clinical properties, and Gadjusek received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on Kuru and associated diseases. Later Vin went on to investigate malaria and the anaemias, writing several articles for scientific magazines, and after his retirement continued his interest in problems of disease in the tropics. With the loss of Vin Zigas we mourn a good friend, a shining example and a truly great servant of the people of his adopted country, Papua New Guinea”.

Of interest, Vin wrote a book called Auscultations of Two Worlds (Vantage Press, New York) and in a note in the December 1982 Una Voce, Editor Freddie Kaad penned the following:

Most members of this Association will have heard of Kuru, the fatal disease affecting the central nervous system, found in the Fore region of the Eastern Highlands. This disease was discovered and first described by Dr Zigas while he was medical officer based at Kainantu. Research work on Kuru, particularly at the National Institute of Health at Washington, led to the discovery of the existence of slow acting virus diseases and to the study of this group of viruses new to science. Not unexpectedly, the early work on Kuru forms the central part of this stimulating autobiography of a remarkable man. The author describes the painstaking and arduous field work of assembling, in association with his “mentor”, Dr Gadjusek, the observations and data on this hitherto unknown disease. He also gives details of some of the behind the scenes activity and the intrigue in the disguise of scientific inquiry and national pride which caused so many problems at the time.

Dr Zigas started life in the Baltic States, saw his parents deported to the east, never to return, and studied medicine in Germany. After the war he came to Australia and eventually to Papua New Guinea where he found peace and contentment living and working among village communities. His first posting was in the Goilala of the Central District, where he established medical services at the cost of great personal hardship and commitment.

His book reveals Dr Zigas as a person with a wide range of interests: far beyond those of a general practitioner interested only in providing some treatment or relief for specific complaints. His “auscultations”— sounding out the heartbeat or breathing the fundamentals of society in which he happens to be living—reveal him as being a doctor with social awareness, a socio-medical worker observing and recording the heartbeat of societies and of cultures whether in Australia, Papua New Guinea or the United States. He must have a prodigious memory to remember long conversations and discussions with so many people, on such a variety of subject over the years covered by his book.

It is a book by a keen mind and a keen observer of man, his society and environment. It is of special interest to former Papua New Guinea residents.

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