ABRAHAM, Eric (Abe) (20 April 1898 – 20 March 2003, aged 104 |  BAGLEY, Emese (11 March 2003) |BRIGHTWELL, Merton Walter (Mert) (18 March 2003, aged 81) |  BROMAN, Peter Alfred (23 March 2003, aged 79)|  BULL, Jean Katharine (28 February 2003, aged 93) |  BURNET, Ian Druce (26 February 2003, aged 71)  BYRNE, Peter Noel (21 June 2002, aged 79) |  De MORIER, Roy Samuel (1 April 2003, aged 86) |  DIGBY, Robert Bruce McKay (26 March 2003, aged 87) |  FALLON, Justin Mark  (21 March 2003, aged 62) |  FLEAY, Campbell (28 March 2003, aged 79) |  FORSYTH (née Field), Gladys Mary Jessie Beatrice (1897 – 12 April 2003) |  GRIMSHAW, Peter John OBE, OAM  (2 March 2003, aged 71) |  HARDY, Gordon Phillip (Phil) (21 February 2003, aged 79) |  JAMES, Sue (26 March 2003, aged 71) |  KELLY, William John Charles (Bill) (8 March 2003, aged 79) |  LAMROCK, Jack Colin (21 April 2003, aged 75) |  LANGE, Ethel May (early March 2003) |  LUTTON (née Grey), Sr Shirley (25 June 2002, aged 85) |  PIKE, James Rennie (28 February 2003, aged 69) |  ROSS, Jessie (12 March 2003, aged 98) | 

The deaths occurred recently of two well-known Rabaul identities, Eric Abrahams and Gladys Forsyth reported below. Unique is the fact their lives spanned three centuries, the 19th, 20th and 21st and both passed away within weeks of each other at the same Aged Care facility!

Eric (Abe) ABRAHAM (20 April 1898 – 20 March 2003, aged 104)

A well-known figure in recent years, leading ANZAC Day marches in Brisbane, Abe was one of the ‘Dungaree Diggers’ who volunteered for service in World War I. Among notable battles he participated in were the Somme, Villers-Bretonneux and Le Hamel. In 1998 he returned to France and was invested with the Legion of Honour. He was given the honour of a State funeral in Brisbane.

Abe had a successful career in the public service in Australia. Newspaper accounts of his life almost completely ignored his New Guinea connection. Arriving in Rabaul in 1922, he was Postmaster there until leaving in 1934 due to the ill health of his wife. Roma Bates, our co-Patron, knew him well and recalls the Post Office shared a bungalow with AWA and Abe lived there as well. In those days Morse Code was the main method of communicating with outstations. Abe taught Roma how to use the Morse code key so that she could send messages to her husband Charlie. He was a guest at Roma and Charlie’s wedding. Abe was a keen tennis player and always a popular figure at parties. Roma attended his 100th birthday bash in Brisbane.

Two daughters, seven grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren survive him. Pat Johnson

Emese BAGLEY (11 March 2003)

Emese Bagley was the wife of Ian Bagley, headmaster of Lumi High School in the ’70s and later inspector of high schools. Ian died some years ago but Emese stayed on in PNG with various projects. She was born in Hungary, spent her youth in the United States, and lived in PNG for many years. She died at her home in London which is where her children lived. Emese had friends all round the world; she had a very full and active life, working, travelling and enjoying living. A memorial service for her was held at the Boroko Catholic Church on 23 March 2003. One of those unable to attend wrote, ‘We will all remember Emese for her commitment to her work in PNG, her love of life, her wacky hats and her friendliness to everyone. She was an inaugural and integral member of our Moresby Bookclub. We will miss her.’ Robert Parer

Merton Walter (Mert) BRIGHTWELL (18 March 2003, aged 81)

Mert was born at Bondi Junction, NSW, joined the RAAF early in WWII and was a radio officer stationed at Calgary in Canada, involved in ferrying aircraft from their point of manufacture in Canada to England, via Miami, North Africa and Gibraltar.

He joined the PNG Administration as a patrol officer in June 1947. His service was mainly in the Highlands, New Britain and New Ireland Districts, and he was District Commissioner at Kavieng in the period leading up to independence.

He spent his retirement at Springwood, in the Blue Mountains of NSW. He had a reputation for being good company and a good communicator, cook and host. He had an avid interest in art, classical music and literature, and in retirement built up an extensive art collection and took an active and very successful interest in the Stock Exchange. He was a very generous man and provided the funding for many young Papua New Guineans to acquire a university education. He had a close affinity with the National people of PNG and kept in touch with many in retirement. Harry West

Peter Alfred BROMAN (23 March 2003, aged 79)

After several years’ war service in PNG, Peter became a cadet patrol officer in 1946 (later patrol officer) serving mainly on the New Guinea side. On his first leave he went to the UK to follow up work he was doing on his family tree. While doing research in Sweden, he found a cousin named Anne Marie Broman, a descendant of the original Bromans, but about 40 times removed. After a whirlwind courtship he and Anne were married and Peter returned to New Guinea after settling Anne temporarily in Australia. However the Administration was not very cooperative because he had overstayed his leave without permission and, in the aftermath of war, married accommodation was not readily available. The outcome was that Peter was transferred to the police force in November 1949 as Assistant Sub Inspector and Anne was able to join him.

When the PNG Volunteer Rifles was raised in 1950, Peter was amongst the first to enlist and in 1952 he was commissioned as lieutenant. During this period he was appointed ADC to the Administrator in addition to his normal police duties. In March 1956 as Sub Inspector, he left the force to take up the position of acting Official Secretary to the Administrator where he performed his duties with elan, skill, initiative and thoroughness. He was later confirmed in this position which he held until 1967 when he joined the Special Branch in PNG. Later he was retired on medical grounds and he and Anne settled in Brisbane.

His health improved to some degree and he helped Anne with the macadamia plantation she and their son John had established. While there Anne died from a heart condition and Peter was devastated. Over time his children and their families became more a focal point in his life.

Peter is survived by his son John, and daughters Christina and Sonja and their families. Peter Harbeck and Max Hayes

Jean Katharine BULL (28 February 2003, aged 93)

Jean was the wife of bank manager Ken Bull. The couple arrived in Port Moresby in 1958. Ken had spent time in Bougainville during the war and had a great affinity with Papua New Guinea. For Jean the move was a great contrast to her life as a bank officer’s wife in Sydney but she made the change graciously and became very adept at entertaining bank customers and friends and adapting to her new life. For the first time since her marriage she took a job and became a proof reader at the Government Gazette in Port Moresby under the guidance of Mr H Nicholls – a very happy time. When both her daughters married and settled in PNG, she and Ken returned to open the bank in Lae where they spent some years and Jean worked again, this time in the Post Office. After another stint in Port Moresby, Ken’s ill health necessitated them returning to Australia. Jean moved to Cairns in 1988 to be near to family after Ken’s death and then to Atherton in 2001.

Jean is survived by daughters Jennifer Collins and Christine King, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Jennifer Collins

Ian Druce BURNET (26 February 2003, aged 71)

Ian’s first posting as a cadet patrol officer was to Lorengau on Manus Island in 1955. He completed his year at ASOPA in 1958. His happiest memories were of Gumine patrol post. He patrolled the Bomai, and was posted to Lufa and various other posts in the Highlands. Ian transferred from the then Dept of Native Affairs to the Dept of Trade and Industry where he was an instigator for the setting up of the wool project in the Highlands. Subsequently he joined the Directorate of Transport which later became the Dept of Transport. He was instrumental in gaining funding from the World Bank and the United Nations Development Project for the Highlands Highway. He was appointed Secretary of that Department prior to leaving Port Moresby in 1974.

Ian was a pidgin interpreter for the first House of Assembly. He was also vice president of the Public Service Association. He represented permanent officers with actuarial negotiations in the early ’70s. He was a member of the PNG Tariff Board and Passenger Motor Vehicle Board.

He is survived by his wife Gwen, and sons Michael and Campbell. (His sons will enjoy reading his well crafted patrol reports.) Gwen Burnet

Peter Noel BYRNE (21 June 2002, aged 79)

Peter joined the army at the end of 1940. Later he trained in water transport and in 1944-1946 saw duty in Port Moresby, Wewak and New Britain After the war, he completed his matriculation and studied Agricultural Science at the University of Adelaide, graduating in 1952. Peter married Jean Petersen in early 1951.

Peter went back to PNG in 1956 to work for the Department of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries, being based at Bisianumu, Popondetta and Keravat. In 1960, Peter and two others began a consulting company, Plantation Advisory Service, based near Kokopo. In 1963, he took a position as assistant manager on Inus Plantation on Bougainville. He rejoined DASF at the end of 1964 as agronomist-in-charge at the Lowlands Agricultural Experiment Station (LAES) at Keravat, East New Britain. Peter was based at LAES until 1975, when he worked for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Malaysia. He returned to PNG again in 1977, this time as chief horticulturalist with Dept of Primary Industry and was based in Moresby for two years. Then Peter and Jean moved to Espiritu Santo Island in the then New Hebrides where Peter worked for FAO. They returned to Australia in 1982, living in Warwick. Peter undertook further consultancies for the PNG Department of Primary Industry, FAO and UNDP until 1988.

Peter is survived by his wife Jean, their five children (Jenny, Meg, Peter Michael, Patrick and Veronica) and 11 grandchildren. Mike Bourke

Roy Samuel De MORIER (1 April 2003, aged 86)

Roy took up an appointment with the PNG Administration in 1946 and retired in 1972 to live on the Gold Coast, Queensland. During his time in PNG he was a labour inspector and for a few years in Rabaul a customs officer. Roy and Betty married in Rabaul in 1951 and the family lived in Rabaul, Madang and Port Moresby. Roy travelled to most areas of PNG and made many friends in that time. In retirement he became a keen golfer: his work for the Veteran Golfers’ Association led to a Life Membership for his efforts.

He is survived by his wife Betty, and children Ann, Tony and Helen. Betty De Morier

Robert Bruce McKay DIGBY (26 March 2003, aged 87)

Bruce attended high school in the Newcastle area, then joined Rylands Wiremills (a subsidiary of BHP) where he trained as a metallurgist and furthered his studies in engineering. He married Gladys in 1938 and their two children wore born in Newcastle. After serving in the army in New Guinea and in Celebes, he returned to Rylands, then in 1949 joined Public Works Dept in Port Moresby as a mechanical engineer.

In the mid 1960s he joined the Dept of Labour as a safety engineer and in 1969 went to Lae as Regional Labour Officer for the Morobe District. During this time he became involved with Civil Defence as a regional coordinator. During his term as safety engineer he was heavily involved in setting up National Weights and Measures in PNG in preparation for independence. In 1971 he retired from the PNG Public Service to take up the position of executive officer of the PNG Metric Conversion Board. He retired from this position on independence and spent 12 months in Canberra. He and his wife then went to Honiara in the Solomon Islands where he set up National Weights and Measures. The couple remained there until 1981 when they returned to Canberra.

From the early 1950s Bruce was active in church affairs, involving himself in the construction of the new St. Johns church in Port Moresby and later becoming a lay reader. In Canberra he continued his involvement with the church. For more than 20 years he was actively involved with TADACT (Technical Aid for the Disabled ACT). For most of his adult life he was actively involved with the Masonic Lodge.

Bruce is survived by his son and daughter, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Brian Digby

Justin Mark FALLON (21 March 2003, aged 62)

Mark was a didiman, farmer, businessman and sportsman. Born on a dairy farm in Western Victoria he died and was buried on his 11,000 acre property, ‘Wonga’, in the Riverina. Soon after graduating from Ag. College, Mark joined Dept of Agriculture, Stock & Fisheries in Mt Hagen in 1963. He proved to be an outstanding extension officer. Before he left the government, with the blessing of Tom Ellis and Bill Conroy, and using hundreds of labourers, Mark drained 7,000 acres of Wahgi Valley peat swamps for resettlement.

Mark’s agricultural ventures continued despite his deep involvement in heavy earthmoving machinery and construction work. On leaving the government in 1969 he produced some 5,000 tonnes of sweet potato and bred and sold 4,500 head of cattle. In 1980 he bought a 2,400 acre sheep and wheat property in NSW. This was sold in 1985. ‘Wonga’ was bought in 2001.

In the early 1970s Mark and Jim Wellwood formed Pangia Constructions which, apart from hiring plant to government and construction companies, was involved in civil engineering work in PNG and further afield, e.g. Fiji. In 1976 Mark and Jim chose nine of their local employees and Pangia became a wholly owned National Company – Mark maintained involvement in its management. It was estimated that Pangia had an annual turnover of $50 million. Mark was also General Manager in 1986-87 for joint ventures with Ipilil-Porgera and Dillingham Corp. In 1995 Mark helped his four sons set up Dekenai Constructions in PNG which they now maintain.

Mark excelled in football. His love of horse racing started in PNG and culminated in his part ownership of the winner of the Brisbane Cup in 1995 and 1997. He became involved in blue water sailing as part of the PNG team in the Sydney-Hobart and Southern Cross Cup in the early ’80s. Later he purchased a 50 ft catamaran and with his sons as crew sailed in the Hamilton Island Series as well as cruising to Vanuatu and Fiji.

Over the last four years, despite being weakened with cancer, Mark continued upgrading Wonga station. As his wife Sherri said, ‘Mark believed there was nothing he could not achieve if he put his mind to it’.

Mark is survived by his wife Sherri, and sons Luke, Matthew, James and Timothy. Mick Belfield

Campbell FLEAY (28 March 2003, aged 79)

Campbell first went to PNG as a 19-year-old in January 1943 as a member of the Allied Intelligence Organisation. He served with distinction until the end of WWII and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for, as he put it, ‘doing a couple of minor jobs’. He then spent a short time in Australia and in August 1946 returned to New Guinea as a patrol officer. He served in Port Moresby, Rabaul and Kandrian.

In 1963 he transferred to the newly formed Dept of Labour as a research and project officer. He never actually worked in that capacity as he immediately took over as the senior industrial organisations officer which entailed creating and developing trade unions in PNG (a government policy which at the time did not endear itself to many people). In 1964 together with John Herbert he visited every police station and office throughout the country and established the first Police Union which eventually was second in strength to the Public Service Association. During the next two years further unions were formed and the basis of collective worker representation throughout the country was well established.

Following success in this area he switched to industrial relations and for some years headed up the division. It was during this era that the whole structure of Industrial Relations took shape. His political nous and perceptive approach to solving industrial problems stemming from the emerging turbulence of the changing labour relations scene ensured that when independence arrived, practical, well-established negotiating and arbitration procedures were in place.

In 1972 he took over as Secretary for Labour from Doug Parrish and ran the Department until 1975 when he handed over to Kipling Uiari, the first Papua New Guinean Secretary. For some years following independence he remained as a senior adviser in the labour field to the new government and was awarded the PNG Independence Medal. He then returned to Perth where he remained until he succumbed to illness. In looking back over his years of service as a kiap he felt that his greatest achievement was, with the help of the local people, in building a DC3 airstrip at Kandrian for £10,000.

Campbell is survived by his wife Christina, daughter Helen and son Alan. John Herbert

Gladys Mary Jessie Beatrice FORSYTH (née Field) (1897 – 12 April 2003)

Born at home in London, Gladys lived an amazing life of adventure and achievement. Her first job at age 16 was ‘nannying’ in India and then Mesopotamia (Iraq) where she experienced the first of three evacuations. Arriving in Australia in 1920 she subsequently became a triple certificated nurse and this led to her arriving in Rabaul in December 1928. Nursing at Namanula hospital she met and married Dick Forsyth in 1933. The second evacuation took place as a result of the 1937 volcanic eruption when Rabaul residents were evacuated to Kokopo. The third evacuation was on the Macdhui in December 1941 just prior to the Japanese invasion of Rabaul. Sadly her husband Dick went down on the Montevideo Maru.

Nursing and bringing up her daughter Beatrice involved her for the next 60 years until she turned 78 years of age. Nursing also allowed her to travel widely to England, Switzerland, France, Africa, New Zealand and around Australia. Gladys became a qualified wool-classer and achieved A+ results in Advanced French when 70 years of age. She was always optimistic and positive in outlook, and this helped her cope with many hardships throughout her life. Gladys was also one of the very special friends of Roma Bates with both sharing many interests of motherhood and travel and always keeping in touch. Roma recalls that Gladys was a very good cook – she made and sold cakes daily in the Burns Philp store in the 1930s. These were very popular among the ‘singles’ fraternity. Another anecdote Roma recalls was during the 1937 eruption – the population was waiting to be evacuated at Nordup beach with their few, but precious, possessions and Gladys had the family cat in a pillowslip.

Gladys is survived by one daughter, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Pat Johnson

Peter John GRIMSHAW, OBE, OAM (2 March 2003, aged 71)

Peter grew up in Adelaide and in 1947 went to Port Moresby as a schoolboy when his father was appointed Superintendent of (what was then) the Royal Papuan Constabulary and New Guinea Police Force (a position later reclassified as that of Commissioner.) Peter joined the Department of Civil Aviation and about this time became involved with the PNGVR. During this time Peter designed the original brass badge of the Constabulary which was worn by officers attending the Coronation in 1953. In 1954 Peter married Diane, also from Adelaide, and the couple moved to Cooma where Peter worked for the Snowy Mountains Authority. In 1964 the family moved to Canberra where Peter became business manager responsible for two of the four Research Schools at the ANU. He retired in 1997.

Peter never forgot PNG and made numerous visits there from 1964-97. He was indispensable with support at Canberra for the New Guinea Research Unit at Moresby until its hand-over by ANU to the new government on independence. He enjoyed his inspection visits and once walked up to the lakeside laboratory on Mt Wilhelm (at 11,500 ft) to the surprise of resident scientists. Peter took up a similar ‘godfather’ role with the North Australia Research Unit. He fostered a credit union and held a director’s position until recently. His work in this area was recognised with an Order of Australia in 2001. He was made MBE for services to his university, later elevated to OBE by the PNG Government. Up until his death, he was also involved with Aboriginal history. In his spare time he successfully studied for a BA and MEd (Admin.), and completed a history of the PNG Police titled Policing in Paradise: A history of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, 1890-1975 before his fatal heart attack.

Peter is survived by his wife Diane, and sons Phillip and Geoffrey and their families. Jim Toner, Max Hayes and the Grimshaw family

Gordon Phillip (Phill) HARDY (21 February 2003, aged 79)

Phill was born in Port Moresby to Lillian and Herbert Hardy. After a happy childhood in Moresby and Samarai and boarding school in Sydney, he returned to PNG at age 16 and worked for Customs in Port Moresby. In WWII, he joined the ANGAU Army Unit, where his local knowledge and his fluency in Motu and Tok Pisin were much valued. He attained the rank of Captain, one of the youngest in the Australian Army.

Following WWII Phill joined the PNG Administration as a kiap and progressed through the ranks to acting District Commissioner serving in the Central, Western, Milne Bay, New Ireland, Bougainville, Western Highlands and Morobe Districts. He transferred to full-time legal duties in Lae as a District Court Magistrate before returning to Australia in 1977. Retiring for a few years, Phill later returned to the workforce in Australia as a legal searcher for a Sydney law firm, working to the age of 77.
Shortly before his death from cancer, Phill asked us to send his love and thanks to all his friends from the ANGAU Unit, Papua New Guinean friends living in PNG/Australia and many others who had worked in or were associated with PNG from Australia. Phill is survived by his wife Ann, children Bruce, Andrew, Cassandra, Chris and Dale, and nine great grandchildren. Phill’s sons Bruce and Chris

Sue JAMES (26 March 2003, aged 71)

As a talented tennis player, golfer, singer and artist, Sue participated fully in the life of the Coonamble community for more than 20 years. She was a foundation member of the Coonamble Arts Society. She passed on her love of painting to other students of art, teaching in Coonamble, Wollongong and, more recently, Dubbo. Sue married Clarrie James in 1986 and the couple moved to Koorawatha, then to Woonona and finally Dubbo, her place of birth. Sue’s works have been successfully exhibited. Ten of her paintings with a Light Horse theme are on permanent exhibition in the Commercial Hotel, Murrumburrah, the birthplace of the 1st Australian Horse which was formed there in 1897. Sue was well loved and respected, particularly in the Studio Eight Group.

She is survived by her husband Clarrie, four children from her first marriage, 10 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. She was also mother and grandmother to the extended James family of three daughters, two sons and 16 grandchildren. Clarrie James

William John Charles (Bill) KELLY (8 March 2003, aged 79)

After schooling at Waverley Christian Brothers College, Bill joined the RAAF as a pilot, ending his war career as a Flying Officer with a Mention In Despatches. After a year studying dentistry, he went to New Guinea as a cadet patrol officer. However, he first married Margaret Eldershaw which he later said was the best thing he ever did.

His postings were first to Bougainville: Wakanai and Buin; then Kainantu and later across to Kundiawa as ADO, where he did a long patrol from Chimbu to the Purari and Papuan border. Like most Highland stations there were numerous but decidedly unruly clans nearby and it was to Bill’s credit that Ian Downs, DO at Goroka (who was not usually lavish with his praise), said, ‘Well I’m glad I’ve got Kelly at Chimbu.’

After two terms in the cool air, the Kellys found themselves at Esa’ala where, with the help of the local people (and possibly a little manipulation of funds?), Bill built wharves and other much needed infrastructure. When warned that Treasury might look askance at this, his reply was, ‘They’ve got to find out first and, in any case, the improvements have already been made.’ Things went well until Bill was ordered into Samarai, where he found a Treasury officer waiting on the wharf for him – but in his usual resourceful fashion Bill fielded all the officer’s questions and managed to talk his way out of the situation.

The next postings were to New Britain (1958-69): Talasea, Kokopo and then Rabaul as DO, a very interesting period as those who remember their history will know. As if there weren’t enough rumbles in the earth in Rabaul, Bill crossed to Madang as DO for a term but even there, in November 1970, an earthquake caught up with him (see Margaret’s story in Una Voce December 2002 issue). Then came Moresby where Bill was Senior Land Titles Commissioner, a subject in which he had first become interested in the Highlands due to the endless fights over land there.

Finally Bill and Margaret retired in 1978 to live in Mosman and in 1995, moved to Brisbane where most of their family were living. Bill was a genial, generous, happy man with a twinkle in his eyes, and a master of understatement. Efficient but open minded, he was liked and respected by his fellow officers. He leaves Margaret, four sons, five daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren. Freddie Kaad

Jack Colin LAMROCK (21 April 2003, aged 75)

Jack Lamrock joined the DASF in PNG in 1949 after graduating in Agricultural Science at Sydney University. His first posting was as an extension officer to the Mekeo Rice Scheme and, by the time he left in 1975 to commence a new career at the University of Queensland, he had long been a divisional chief in the Department and had made a significant contribution to the development and expansion of agriculture in PNG.

In 1952-53 he attended the Imperial College of Agriculture in Trinidad and on his return to PNG was posted to Madang and then Lae. He next went to Rabaul as New Guinea Islands Regional Agricultural Officer and fostered the rapid expansion of cocoa as a cash crop amongst the indigenous people, particularly the Tolais and in Bougainville. He played a prominent part in the establishment and growth of Vudal Agricultural College. Jack was a physically imposing man and his size and strength were matched by his intellect, energy and integrity. He is survived by his wife Shirley and family. Syd Saville

Ethel May LANGE (early March 2003)

Ethel was the widow of Geoffrey Rudolph Lange, a health inspector. She lived in Rabaul from 1948 to 1956. No further details available. Editor

Sr Shirley LUTTON (née Grey) (25 June 2002, aged 85)

Already a senior nursing sister at a Uniting Church hospital, Shirley offered her services to overseas missions and undertook further training at the George Brown Missionary Training School in Haberfield, Sydney, studying linguistics and anthropology. There she met Rev. Wesley Lutton: they trained together and were named to work in the same district in New Britain. Shirley was to take charge of the hospital at Nakanai some 150 miles west of Rabaul as the crow flies, and Wesley was posted to the Baining station in the mountains behind Rabaul. The night Shirley sailed for Nakanai she and Wesley became engaged.

Living conditions at Nakanai were primitive, and the hospital could not take in patients until construction was completed. In spite of the difficulties Shirley began work with enthusiasm, and coerced patients back to health with a mixture of commonsense and inventiveness. Rev. Jack Flentje who was at Nakanai at the same time wrote, ‘Shirley loved and cared for all of us in the area, black, white, whether we belonged to the Methodist church, the Catholic church or no church at all.’

Shirley is survived by her husband Wesley and children Peter, Linley, Ian and Jennifer. Rev. Jack Flentje

James Rennie PIKE (28 February 2003, aged 69)

Before joining Royal Papua and New Guinea Constabulary in March 1955 as Sub Inspector, Rennie saw service in the Queensland Police. He served with distinction throughout PNG, and his guiding hand and practical experience, particularly at senior level, made him a valuable asset to the force and PNG generally. His experience, integrity and loyalty to the officers and PNG national police serving under him ensured that he won a considerable degree of respect from all races.

In accordance with the retrenchment program of the Independence era, he was terminated at the rank of Senior Superintendent at a time when his expertise would have been of considerable value to the national government. Returning to Australia, he joined the Commonwealth Police in 1976 and served until 1988 when he retired suffering serious medical problems which later claimed his life. He died at Brisbane.

Rennie always saw himself first and foremost as a ‘Police Officer’ (in the old fashioned meaning of the word) over his 33 years’ service, and he lived up to the standards of true professionalism. He was awarded the RPNGC Centenary Medal and the Australian National Medal, of which he was justly proud . He is survived by his wife Mel (well known in Lae netball circles) and daughters. E J Herbert and M R Hayes

Jessie ROSS (12 March 2003, aged 98)

Jessie was born on Thursday Island. She was educated in Sydney and trained at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She went to Rabaul in 1927 and in 1932 married Guinea Airways pilot Les Ross. The couple lived in Lae until the war. Her parents were the Duncans of Rabaul. For about 20 years she lived at Sir Roden Cutler Lodge at Gordon NSW until she broke her hip last October. Deirdre Ireland, Jessie’s niece

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