Vale June 2008

BILTRIS, John Mansell |  BUCKETT, Joseph (Joe) Maurice |  DE GRAAFF, Dimmen |  DICKINSON, Harley RiversEDWARDS, Herbert Cecil (Bert) | DUNKERLEY, Margaret Wendy |  GILLMAN, James Holland (Jim) |  GROSE, William James (Jim), OBEHUMPHREYS, Ken | HARDING, Margaret UrsulaJACKUS, Hildegard | KEOGH, Patrick Francis |  MARR, Ted |  ROBERTS, Mary Alicia |  SHAW, Dorothy E MBE (Dr) |  STOUT, Lorna | 


William James ‘Jim’ GROSE, OBE (23 January 2008, aged 81)

Jim spent his early years on a plantation in New Ireland. After schooling in Australia, some time in the RAAF and a stint at Sydney University studying civil engineering, he returned to New Guinea to help re-establish the family business which had been destroyed by the Japanese. There he met and married Diana Stanfield – the couple made their home at Kamiraba Plantation, Jim’s first plantation, and the foundation of what was to become extensive business interests throughout New Ireland and also the New Guinea Highlands. Jim was developing a high profile in the community: he was elected to the first PNG House of Assembly in March 1964 but did not stand for a second term because of his numerous business and community commitments. Over the years he was President of the New Guinea Planters’ Association, Director of Westpac Bank PNG Ltd 1975-1991, Chairman of the Copra Marketing Board 1973-1985 and Deputy Chairman 1986-1989, and a member of the PNG Cocoa Industry Board. He was awarded an OBE in 1984. He was also very active in community organisations in Kavieng. In the early 1980s Jim and Diana began preparing for a new life in Australia but Jim wanted to ensure that the business survived and that the people of New Ireland would receive some benefit. After about five years of negotiating with the Commonwealth Development Corporation, Jim successfully brokered a deal whereby CDC bought out most of the remaining private landholders in New Ireland. CDC then redeveloped and reinvigorated the plantations and today it is still a major contributor to the economic development of the New Ireland Province. In 1990 Jim and Diana moved to their farm at Alstonville. Jim entered into the life of the community and had a happy and fulfilling 17 years there. He is survived by his wife Diana and daughters Susan, Alison and Fiona. Susan Stewart, Alison Grose and Fiona Arrowsmith


Lorna STOUT (1 February 2008)

Lorna was born in Port Moresby. Her father, Jimmy James, was a pioneer in Papua, starting the first Port Moresby newspaper. Lorna spent most of her life in PNG. She finished primary school and, like all Port Moresby children, then had to go to Australia for secondary boarding school. Lorna went to St Margaret’s in Brisbane. She worked for Burns Philp, married Gerry Johnston and lived in Port Moresby until they moved to Sydney. Lorna moved to the Gold Coast on Gerry’s death and later she married Ron Stout. NR Oakley


Margaret Ursula HARDING (22 January 2008, aged 71)

Margaret and her husband Bernard, along with their small sons, left Australia in 1969 for a new life in the PNG Highlands. In 1971 they moved to Bulolo for two years. Bulolo had a swimming pool, and Margaret was instrumental in forming the Bulolo Amateur Swimming Club. After several more moves, the family settled in Rabaul in 1975. Through Margaret’s tenacity the Rabaul Amateur Swimming Club began to evolve; she also began teaching swimming. She had a great sense of justice and a belief in multiculturalism – she fought hard for Chinese, indigenous and mixed-race people to be part of the pool scene. When tour ships visited Rabaul, Margaret and Bernard would invite tourists to stay with them and really see what Rabaul had to offer – this was the start of many wonderful friendships. After Bernard was tragically killed in Rabaul in 1992, Margaret settled in Alstonville and became actively involved in the Masters swimming, attending events around Australia. She was an official at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney. Margaret is survived by four sons and seven grandchildren, and her sister.


James Holland (Jim) GILLMAN (16 November 2007)

Jim was born in Adelaide. In the early war years at the age of 17, he joined the Royal Australian Navy and served on Corvettes and Minesweepers in the South Weat Pacific Area. He was very proud of his wartime service. Like a lot of young ex-servicemen, he found it difficult to settle down to life in a big city. In 1947 he obtained employment as paymaster at the Darwin General Hospital and in 1949 joined the provisional administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and started work in the Treasury Department. He was to serve as the officer in charge of the Salaries section and became the first Treasury Audit Inspector serving under Alec Edwards. He later became District Finance Officer Lae and then Rabaul. Jim left Treasury in 1961 and joined the Office of the Public Service Commissioner before joining the new Department of Civil Defence under Bill Johnston in the early 1970s. In 1957, he married nursing sister Betty Brosnan in Port Moresby and they had two children, Elizabeth and Anthony, who now live in Brisbane. Jim always considered himself a Treasury officer and had many friends in that Department. In later years before ill health overtook him, where possible, he attended Treasury reunions and gatherings. Jim gave a lot to the Development of the Territory and is sadly missed by all who knew him. Betty predeceased him in 1997. Clive Troy


Ted MARR (17 February 2008)

Ted spent time in Rabaul from August 1945 to June 1946. His photographs of this era are now included in the PNGAA Collection with the Fryer Library and the University of Queensland. The following is an extract from the June 2008 Una Voce (p. 17): Lieutenant Ted Marr landed with his unit close to the pre-war main wharf in Rabaul in August 1945. They camped at Talili Bay with a strength of about 150 officers and men and were allocated labourers from the 13,000 Japanese in Rabaul to restore some order. Between August 1945 and June 1946 Ted photographed the ruin of Rabaul as well as Japanese wrecks, abandoned artillery, rifles, vehicles, and water-craft in and near tunnels. He supported his photographs with comprehensive notes. These form a remarkable record of Rabaul in the months immediately after the Japanese surrender and form a major part of the PNGAA Collection in the Fryer Library. Demobbed in 1946 he bought Mt Murchison Station on the Darling River in New South Wales. He and his wife, Doreen, raised four sons and a daughter there. Doreen died in 1988. Ted’s wide-ranging interests, broadened through extensive travel, made him a talented conversationalist and correspondent as well as a charming companion and friend. Ted died peacefully at Mt Murchison Station on 17 February 2008. His surviving four sons, daughter and long time companion, Vicky Gumm, will miss him.  


John Mansell BILTRIS (20 March 2008, aged 70 years)

John joined the Administration as a Cadet Patrol Officer on 27 February 1961 and served at Gumine in Chimbu, then in various parts of PNG in Local Government positions. John became town clerk of Lae in 1972 and returned to Australia in 1974. He was diagnosed with cancer two or three years ago and underwent treatment. A recent secondary diagnosis prompted him to make a farewell visit to Gumine in January before commencing new treatment. The people of Gumine, south of Kundiawa, were a big part of John’s life. He had visited a couple of years earlier and then financed a reciprocal visit to Melbourne of John Dai and his wife. John Dai was the son of a very well-known traditional leader. Between them, the two Johns organised some small civic projects around Gumine including books for the school. Returning to Melbourne from his last visit he was quickly admitted to hospital where he remained until his death. John will not only be missed by his family and peers – he will be missed by the people of Gumine who held him in high esteem. He is survived by his wife Barbara and two children, Andrew and Fiona. Chris Warrillow and Graham Pople  


Herbert Cecil (Bert) EDWARDS (5 March 2008)

(This late obituary received from David Keating, it is not contained in the printed Journal)

Christened Herbert Cecil Edwards, and known in PNG as Bert, he was born in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar) in 1921. To his family and closest friends, he was known as White (Whitehead Edwards) because of his snowy white hair as a child in a family of mixed ethnic origins.

As a young man Bert served in World War II in Burma’s Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, captaining a gun boat in the Irrawaddy Delta. He married Yvonne Yolande Aubert, also from Rangoon, on November 22, 1943. After the War he emigrated to Australia with his small family and settled for 11 years in Western Australia. In Perth he studied to become a schoolteacher. He taught at a 2-teacher Government school in Shackleton, in the wheatbelt of Western Australia and later at a primary school in the coal-mining town of Collie in the southwest of WA.

Bert and his family moved to the Eastern Highlands of PNG in 1960, where he was posted as a pioneering Head Teacher of the Asaro T School. He was appointed to Goroka Primary A School in 1963. Both he and his wife were stalwarts of the Goroka Bowls and Golf Clubs. Bert was also very active in the Goroka Rotary Club.  In 1966 he was posted to Port Moresby where he was Head Teacher at Korobosea Primary School.

Bert and Yvonne left Port Moresby for Brisbane, Australia in 1972. They settled in Cleveland, Redland Bay, and Bert took short teaching and school Principal contracts at local primary schools until his retirement from teaching in 1975. With his wife, and son-in-law, Bert bought and operated a café in Cleveland for 18 months. They were actively involved in the Cleveland Bowls Club for many years.

He moved to Runaway Bay and settled in a Retirement Village there in 1995. After the death of his wife in 2001, Bert suffered for years of melanoma to his face and passed away in the Gold Coast Hospital on March 25th, 2008. He was 87 years of age. His ashes are interred together with those of his wife at Allambe Memorial Park, Nerang, on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

Bert is survived by his four daughters and a son (Paula, Laura, Jocelyn, Jonathan and Yolande), ten grandchildren, and twelve great- grandchildren.


Dr Dorothy E SHAW MBE (27 Aug 2007)

After graduating from Sydney University and doing a PhD in Canada, Dorothy became plant pathologist of the Dept of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries at Port Moresby and quickly established her reputation as a highly qualified expert in her field. She rapidly expanded her section by the appointment of several other plant pathologists to work on different crops and problems – she became the Principal Plant Pathologist. When coffee rust was discovered and identified in PNG, Dorothy took charge of the rust eradication campaign which was successful in preventing the spread of rust to the Highlands’ coffee crops.

Her reputation spread and a few years later she was invited by the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the UN to go to Central America and advise on measures to control and eradicate an outbreak of coffee rust in that region. She was secretary of the PNG Scientific Society from 1958 until her retirement and was instrumental in securing as speakers many distinguished visiting scientists to Port Moresby. She was also active in the scout movement, particularly in training Papuans for entry into scouting. She was awarded an MBE for promoting scouting in PNG. On her retirement from PNG she obtained a room in the laboratories of the Dept of Rural Industries in Brisbane, and during the entire period of her retirement, she worked in her office as if she were employed there. Her life was devoted to science and the protection of crops from dangerous plant diseases. Gabriel Keleny


Mary Alicia ROBERTS (25 November 2007, aged 86)

Mary’s link with PNG was through her uncle, Fred Archer. Fred’s Australian base was with Mary who took him to meetings, visited friends and had acquaintances or business associates over. She became very familiar with the Arni and Soma families of Wuvulu as Fred’s relationship with the families grew firmer and as the families themselves grew. David Roberts    


Dimmen DE GRAAFF (30 June 2008, aged 92)

Dimmen had an adventurous life. As a young man he left Holland and migrated to South Africa. As WWII progressed, he joined the Dutch forces and fought the Japanese in the Netherlands East Indies. He became a prisoner of war and worked on the Thai-Burma railway. After the war he again went to South Africa but disagreed with the apartheid policies, so he migrated to Western Australia and then applied to work in PNG. In Port Moresby he became a curator for parks and gardens. The garden setting of the war memorial at Ela Beach and the Coronation Gardens next to the police station are testimony to his skill in designing and planting gardens. He planted shade trees along many streets. Later he joined the Dept of Agriculture where he supervised coffee factories at Lae and the District Agricultural Station near Kavieng. He left PNG just before Independence and settled in Canberra where he took an active interest in politics: he was a founding member of the Democrats and stood for both the Senate and the House of Representatives as the Democrat candidate in the Canberra electorate (he outperformed every other Democrat candidate in Australia). On moving to Brisbane he was very active in various community services until just before he died. His wife Pat predeceased him. He is survived by his daughters Judie and Maria. Judie Gale and Maria Campbell


Patrick Francis KEOGH (2008, aged 71)

Patrick arrived at the Christian Brothers Community and Teachers College at Vuvu near Rabaul in Easter 1995 and immediately set to work reconstructing the college in the aftermath of the 1994 volcanic eruptions. Because he worked in technical subjects he would always help others with carpentry and maintenance too. After three years at Vuvu he was asked to manage the Mt Sion Centre for the Blind at Goroka as well as be community leader in the PNG Highlands. The community was mainly younger Melanesian Brothers in their early years after training. ‘As well as managing the centre and looking after his Brothers, he organised games after school for the visually impaired and hearing impaired children, took them swimming, held a dance every Saturday night, transported them to church every Sunday and supervised night study almost every night.’ The local people had a great respect and love for Patrick. On his return to Australia he moved to Wollongong to teach woodwork at a special school in Corrimal for children who had been rejected by other schools. He also taught English to those who needed assistance, and religion, in two other schools. Info from SMH April 19-20, 2008


Margaret Wendy DUNKERLEY (7 March 2008, aged 67)

Wendy Dunkerley passed away at the Berkeley Vale Private Nursing Home, Berkerley Vale on the New South Wales Central Coast on 7 March after a long illness. Wendy was married to Neil Dunkerley, who served as a Patrol Officer from 1958 to January 1975 at Popondetta, Malalaua, The Sepik and Mt Hagen. Neil had passed away on 27 June 1987. They are survived by their sons, Philip (born in Sydney, September 1963) and David (born Port Moresby, July 1967) and their families. Frank Haviland


Harley Rivers DICKINSON (April 2008, aged 69)

Harley revelled in being different. For example, while still at school he undertook the restoration of a Cobb & Co coach in very poor condition. He then gave it to the National Trust. He took a lifelong interest in it, and it is now part of the display at the State Museum where it is seen, appreciated and photographed by people from around the world. Soon after leaving school, Harley went to PNG as a Cadet Patrol Officer and served in the Sepik District. There he climbed Mt Fubalan, later to become known as Ok Tedi, the biggest copper mine in New Guinea. He believed they were the first white men to crest Mt Fubalan. He then returned to Melbourne and studied law, then transferred to the ANU which is where he met his future wife, Nikki. He attended The Australian School of Pacific Administration in 1965, and was posted to Kokopo. He became Administrative Officer to the Gazelle Peninsula Local Government Council in Rabaul. After a period in Port Moresby, he became a full time Resident Magistrate, serving first at Popondetta, then at Mendi in the Southern Highlands. Here he was instrumental in introducing the first Village Courts, essentially handing back power and responsibility for law and order to the local people. On Independence Harley returned to Australia. He had long been interested in politics and in 1982 he won preselection for the seat of South Barwon and went on to win the seat. There followed 10 years of service during which time he always put the interests of his electorate first. After leaving politics, he resumed activities on the family farm, Mount Pleasant at Bannockburn, as well as many artistic and community interests. Harley is survived by his wife Nikki and children William, Catherin, George and Edward.


Joseph (Joe) Maurice BUCKETT (28 April 2008, aged 75)

Joe was born in Lismore, NSW, the eldest of ten children. He was educated at Woodlawn Boys College, Lismore. He came to Port Moresby in 1955 aged 21 years and became a Permanent Overseas Officer in the Territory Administration of Papua New Guinea.  He rose to be a senior administrator with the Department of Education and was involved with the establishment of the Teaching Service Commission in the early 1970s under the first commissioner, Mr Alkan Tololo. He was very active in the sporting community of the town playing field hockey, squash and golf. Joe was a founding member and held a number of positions at the Port Moresby Golf Club originally at Badili and later at its present location in Waigani. He was an active, low handicap player and he became a life member of the club. In 1987, Joe became manager of Port Moresby Golf Club and oversaw many improvements to the clubhouse and course during his four years there. In 1991, he became manager of the Rabaul Golf Club and was in that position when the course was destroyed by the 1994 volcanic eruption. He was eventually forced to leave Rabaul due to effects of the sulphur concentrations in the air at the time. He went back to Port Moresby then returned to Brisbane. Joe went back to PNG in 1998 to take a position at the Bensbach Wilderness Lodge in the Western District. He was also instrumental in organising the 2005 PNG Golf Open. Joe is survived by his three daughters, Beverley, Roslyn and Nicole and their families.


Ken HUMPHREYS (16 February 2008)

Ken went to PNG as a Cadet Patrol Officer in February 1958 and served in a number of districts before resigning and returning to Australia. Amongst other things he owned and operated a number of service stations before moving to Caloundra Qld where he purchased a toy shop in an arcade off Bulcock Street.

Ken had a long and abiding interest in philately and after retiring near Kings Beach he specialised in the stamps of Papua New Guinea going back to the German period prior to 1914 – he produced a number of extensively researched works on people and places in German New Guinea, especially around Rabaul and the Gazelle Peninsula, some of which can be found on the PNGAA website.  (Will Muskens)


Hildegard JACKUS (20 March 2008)

No further details available.

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