Vale June 2013

AUSTIN, Leslie Roy Stanley (10 December 2012) | BARNES, Don (11 March 2013) | BURNS, Barbara June (29 November 2012) | DE MORIER, Elizabeth Mary (7 November 2012) | FOLEY, Matt (2 April 2013) | GITTINS, Bill (3 May 2012) | HICKS, Joseph Roy (28 March 2013) | HOOK, Jane (31 January 2013) KIMMORLEY, Elaine Margaret (née Jones) (19 March 2013) | MOLDERS, Jan (Johannes) |  MURRAY (née Stanfield), Pat  (7 May 2013) | OAKLEY, Nance Rae (4 December 2012) | RYAN, Greta Clarice (11 May 2013) | WEBB (née Donald), Susanne  (16 February 2013) | WREN (née Hancock), Beverley (23 February 2013)


Leslie Roy Stanley AUSTIN (10 December 2012, aged 81)

Leslie was born in Toowoomba on 29 November 1931, the youngest child of Leslie and Edith Austin. The family later moved to Brisbane where Les attended St James School in Fortitude Valley. On leaving school he was employed by Jeffress Brothers, an Engineering Firm at Northgate, as an apprentice fitter and turner.

When Les was 18 he met Joyce Gibson. This meeting was to lead to a partnership of almost 60 years. They married on 7 February 1953, and moved to New Guinea where Les was employed by the Commonwealth Department of Works. He later transferred to the Forestry Department in Kerevat, later to Lae and later still to Port Moresby.

In 1974 the family returned to Queensland and settled at Margate on the Redcliffe Peninsula, but later moved to Burpengary. Les successfully completed a Greenkeepers Course and was employed by the Redcliffe Golf Club until his retirement in 1998. Les was a Life Member of the Golf Course Superintendents’ Association of Queensland, and in 2004 he received a “Golf Course Superintendents’ Association of Queensland Industrial Recognition” award.

After Les retired, he and Joyce moved to Rothwell, but for some 10 years he had poor health due to a debilitating illness. Les passed away in the Redcliffe Hospital on 10 December 2012. He is survived by Joyce and children Dianne, David, Debbie and Brad and 6 grandchildren. Joyce Austin


Don BARNES  (11 March 2013, aged 91)

Don was born in Bute, South Australia. He attained his Pharmacy Degree at the University of South Australia. He served in ANGAU during the war, mainly in the Kokoda area. He worked with Captain Vernon in the army hospital, with much of his time spent looking after the ‘carriers’ and local army recruits.

After the war, he returned to PNG Health Department in 1946, followed in 1947 by his wife Joan. They were stationed at Gaima on the Fly River in Papua, and then at Morobe in New Guinea.

The need for a pharmacist found Don serving the next 27 years in charge of Base Medical Stores in Lae. They returned to Adelaide in 1976 to be close to their two sons,  Ray and Terry. A thumb nail sketch of a quiet “old school” gentleman. Joan, Ray and Terry Barnes


Barbara June BURNS (29 November 2012, aged 87)

Last November saw the passing of Barbara Burns, who had lived for 28 years in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Barbara was born in Adelaide in 1925, the youngest of four children of Thomas and Eveline Tolhurst, her father being a leading Adelaide stockbroker. She attended Unley High School.

She was 20 when the war in the Pacific ended, and the Australian newspapers were full of job advertisements for vacant positions in the new Administration for the post-war restructuring of the government and infrastructure of the Territory. The day after she turned 21, her father accompanied Barbara in applying for a position of stenographer/secretary. After passing a rigorous interview process, she was accepted. She found herself on her way to Port Moresby in April 1946. She intended this to be the first stage of a round-the-world working adventure.

The trip north from Adelaide was strenuous; by extended train trips to Townsville, then via flying boat and a converted wartime US Army DC3 to arrive in hot and steamy Port Moresby. Barbara was posted to the Treasury Department. The 1946 Government Offices occupied an ex-wartime Army base, and the Treasury Dept girls were accommodated in ex-WWII Army nurses’ quarters. Barbara’s contract was for 21 months’ duty and 3 months’ leave, renewable every two years. Just before going on leave after her first term she met a young Australian police officer Bill Burns, from Sydney, who had seen military service in Papua New Guinea as an Officer in the Papuan Infantry Battalion and then transferred into the new Administration as a Patrol Officer. He had subsequently transferred to the new Royal Papua and New Guinea Territory Constabulary as an Inspector. In April 1949 they were married at St Mary’s Church in Port Moresby (now demolished, replaced by the Cathedral). Conditions in Papua in the 1940s were primitive: friends and her older sister Pat supplied the dresses, catering, decorations, flowers, cakes, etc.

Bill was initially posted to the Police Station at Finschhafen and then to the Police Training Base at Bisiatabu, near Sogeri in the foothills of the Owen Stanley Mountains.  Soon after this, Bill was appointed to establish a new Police Training Depot at Goroka, in the Eastern Highlands. This move to the green and temperate highlands after three years on the sweltering coast was relished by Barbara. The expatriate population numbered about 30 people, mostly Administration workers, missionaries and coffee planters, many of whom were to become lifelong friends. Barbara referred to Goroka as a “paradise” and loved her 11 years there. Barbara’s four children were all born during this time; Barbara having to fly to Port Moresby for the first one (Vivien) and then having the next three at home (Stephen) or in the new 4-bed European Hospital (Dennis and Michael). In 1960 the family moved to Wau for 13 months.

In 1961 Bill was promoted to Superintendent at Police Headquarters Konedobu and thus a return to Port Moresby was required. Barbara was employed throughout the 1960s and early 1970s in the Papuan offices of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, as secretary and P.A. to the General Manager. In 1964 the family moved to Bomana, in the bush outside Port Moresby, as Bill was appointed as the inaugural Commandant of the new Police Officers Training Depot. In 1967 the family moved back to Ela Makana Street in Port Moresby as Bill was appointed Head of the Reserve Police Force of PNG. The family then moved to Rabaul in 1968 for three memorable years as Bill was promoted to take charge of the New Guinea Islands Division. In 1971 they moved back to live at Boroko, Port Moresby, as Bill again returned to Police Headquarters at Konedobu.

In April 1974 Barbara and Bill finally left the Territory with much regret and wonderful memories and moved to Caringbah, in Sydney. She and Bill lived in Caringbah for 18 years and for much of that time were also redeveloping and managing a small beef cattle and wheat property near Merriwa, in the Upper Hunter Valley. For a few years in the late 1970s Barbara was employed at the ABC’s Head Office in Sydney. Bill passed away in late 1988; Barbara, aged 63, kept busy travelling around the world and being heavily involved in PROBUS and the War Widows’ Guild for over 20 years. She moved to Monterey on Botany Bay in 1992, where she spent the last 20 years of her life; an undaunted explorer of life, independent and strong-minded to the end. Steve Burns


Elizabeth Mary DE MORIER (7 November 2012, aged 85)

Elizabeth passed away at Alamanda Hospital Gold Coast. Tony Demorier



(2 April 2013, aged 91 years) 

See the Eulogy from SMH | .


Bill GITTINS (3 May 2012, aged 84)

Formerly of Wewak, PNG. Passed away peacefully at home at Bli Bli, Queensland.

Dearly loved husband of Tai and loving father of Tina, Bede and Ken.


Joseph Roy HICKS (28 March 2013)

Joe first went to PNG in August 1960 as a Cadet Patrol Officer. He served in the Morobe District and the Western Highlands District, and attended the 1963 Long Course at ASOPA.

He commenced studying Law by correspondence around 1964 and left PNG in 1967 to continue his Law Studies at The University of Queensland whilst working as an Articled Clerk at a large Brisbane Law Firm.

He obtained his LLB in the early 1970s and continued work as a Solicitor in several other Brisbane Law Firms as well as a year with an ex-kiap Barrister and Solicitor Jim Hunter in Bowen, North Queensland.

After returning to Brisbane he then commenced work as a Legal Officer with the Pine Rivers Shire Council, but was forced into an early retirement after suffering from a debilitating illness which resulted in his spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

Joe spent his final years in a Unit at Bribie Island. Bruce Dunn


Jane HOOK (31 January 2013, aged 76)

Jane Bowhill, a 23-year-old Londoner, sailed to Australia in 1959 as a “Ten-pound POM” to work as a teacher with the NSW Department of Education. On board the Fairsky she met journalist Don Hook who was returning home after a 12-month stint on British newspapers. She also met Mal Lang, a kiap returning from long leave in Europe. Jane accepted Mal’s invitation to visit PNG in the forthcoming Christmas school holidays. While there she met and became a friend of the ballerina Elaine Fifield. At the time, Elaine was living with Les Farley on a coffee and rubber plantation at Cape Rodney.

In December 1962 Don and Jane married in Sydney and after a very brief honeymoon they flew to Port Moresby where Don joined the ABC’s PNG Service (9PA). Jane started work almost immediately at Boroko East School and went on to teach at other A and T syllabus schools in Port Moresby. Two children—Catherine (1963) and James (1965)—were born at the Taurama Hospital.

In 1967, the family moved to Singapore where Don was based as the ABC’s South East Asia correspondent and Jane was employed at The Tanglin School. A third child, David, was born in Singapore in 1968.

In 1970 the family moved again, this time to Delhi where Don was South Asia correspondent and Jane taught at an international school until they returned to Australia in 1973.

The homecoming was brief. Within a few months Don was appointed to head the ABC’s new PNG bureau that was created following the handover of the ABC to the PNG National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) at self-government in November 1973.

Jane was at Ela Beach school before moving to the police college at Bomana where she taught English to recruits and courtroom skills to officers until December 1978.

Don left the ABC in 1980 to join the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, serving five years in Singapore, two years in Bangkok and retired to Canberra in 1989. Jane kept teaching, either fulltime or as a relief teacher, until July 2012. In all, she taught in six countries over a period of 56 years. She was regarded as a gifted teacher, especially in the area of special needs.

Many teachers, including PNG colleagues Bob & Mary Webb, John & Margaret Rumens, & Beverly Rodgers, attended her funeral on 11 February at Saint John the Baptist Anglican Church in Canberra.

Jane is survived by her husband, three children and three grandchildren. Don Hook


Elaine Margaret KIMMORLEY (née Jones) (19 March 2013, aged 91)

Elaine was born in Sydney on 14 July 1921. She received a scholarship to attend Sydney Girls’ High School where she studied for a while and then moved to Lismore to live with her aunts, who were both teachers at Lismore High School, and to continue her education.

During WWII she trained as a nurse at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. In 1946 she sailed to Papua. She nursed at Moresby and then on Manus Island. Whilst on Manus she met Corbett (Kim) Kimmorley and they were married in Madang in 1953 and had their honeymoon in Wabag. Together they travelled around the territory and she nursed at Manus, Rabaul and Port Moresby and in that time they both met and made lasting and endearing friendships with a great number of people whom many, unfortunately, are no longer with us today.

Margaret was born in Rabaul in 1955 and William was born in 1958 on Sohano Island in Bougainville. Apart from when the children were really small, Elaine always worked in nursing. Even when she and Corbett retired to Mount Riverview in the Blue Mountains, Elaine still continued with nursing. She did a Diploma of Community Health Nursing in the mid-seventies and was in charge of the Community Health Nursing Clinics in Western Sydney until the early eighties.

Like many of their contemporaries in the PNG Administration, they were transferred to different areas. Elaine was always cheerful and never complained about their living conditions, late supply ships or being left alone while Corbett was out on patrol, often for weeks at a time.

Elaine had a love for travel and adventure and had travelled extensively through Europe, China, India and the Pacific Islands. She played tennis until her mid-eighties and was active in the local community.

A few years after Corbett died (1995) Elaine moved to Banora Point to be closer to Will and Margaret. She resided at the Banora Point Retirement Village till deteriorating health saw her move into low care at Heritage Lodge, Murwillumbah, and for the last two years of her life she was in high care after suffering several strokes and heart attacks.

Even though her faculties had faded quite considerably in the last year or so she still had her sense of humour. Recently Will asked her, “Mum, do you remember who I am?” She replied, “Who could forget.” She will never be forgotten either. She lived through a fascinating period of history and like so many women of her era in Papua New Guinea, worked selflessly and tirelessly in often dangerous conditions. Both Will and Margaret are very proud of her achievements.

Elaine is survived by her daughter Margaret, son William, grandchildren Jennie Diefenbach (née Coombs), Robert Coombs, Rebecca and Sam Kimmorley. Elaine also has one surviving great grandson, Noah Diefenbach and two great granddaughters, Isabella Diefenbach and Asha Clarke (both deceased). William Kimmorley


Jan (Johannes) MOLDERS

Born Rotterdam, Holland. Marine Engineer and Mechanic, ex-Army. Jan arrived in Port Moresby approximately 1949 and moved to Rabaul about 1951.

He obtained land on Malaguna Road and built a business consisting of a mechanical workshop and Toboi Post Office. Jan tendered for and obtained two Taxi Plates and added a small store to serve Malaguna No. 1 Village and others living in the vicinity. Some years later Jan sold the businesses and became a Customs Officer.

He then moved back to Port Moresby and remained in the Customs Officer position for about 12 years. After “going finish” he later returned to Port Moresby to work a term for another Company. Jan passed away on the Sunshine Coast after a long illness. He is survived by Jenny who is now blind.


Nance Rae OAKLEY (4 December 2012)

Nance passed away on the Gold Coast after a short illness. Nance’s late husband, Phil Oakley, was Qantas’ Chief Pilot in Moresby and Lae, 1947-60. Chris Oakley


Greta Clarice RYAN (11 May 2013, aged 81 years)

Greta served in education and DASF, 1959-71. Erica Ryan


Pat MURRAY (née Stanfield) (7 May 2013, aged 90 years)

 Pat first went to New Ireland in 1927, later marrying Peter Kennedy Murray (well known on New Ireland) and raising her family there.

She endured an horrific evacuation from New Ireland in late 1941. A letter to her brother telling about it was later returned to her, and was reproduced on page 50 of the September 2010 Una Voce | .

See also the Tribute from Anne Peters |   | 


Susanne WEBB (née Donald) (16 February 2013, aged 70)

Sue, along with her parents (Toby and Barry) and siblings (Chris, Wendy and Elizabeth) went to PNG in 1950 from the Glasshouse Mountains to, first, Pondo plantation, and then, in 1953, to Wangaramut plantation, eight miles out of Rabaul.

Here Sue attended the Rabaul Primary School and then to boarding school in Sydney at St Gabriel’s School, Waverley.

David Webb courted Sue in Rabaul and they were married in Sydney on 27 May 1961. David has always been in journalism, mainly with the Murdoch Press group and so, with his advancement within the press, they first lived in Sydney, then Adelaide and finally in Perth, where David was the Managing Director of the Sunday Times.

Sue had many great friends, as demonstrated in the attendance at her funeral. With her volunteering activities, participating in many charities, societies, clubs, etc.

Sadly Sue leaves a loving husband, David, her son Chris and daughters Robyn (with Mark), Vicki (with Chris) and Jacqueline (with Peter), along with seven beautiful grandchildren, all of whom miss a lovely lady, mother, wife and grandmother.

She will be sadly missed by everyone. Chris Donald


Beverley WREN (née Hancock) (23 February 2013, aged 71)

Beverley passed away at Ballina, after suffering a stroke. Beverley was the widow of David Wren who died in November 1995, with an obituary published in the Una Voce March 1996 edition. 

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