Vale March 1994
ABAL, Sir Tei | BARNES, Ina Beatrice | BIRD, Nancy Veitch | BORN, Patricia | BUCHANAN, Edward (Ted) | CARTER, Anne | CLARK, Herbert Edlington (Lynn) | CRAWFORD, John | DAFF, Bruce (Curlie) | DINSMORE, Ronald | FISHWICK, Mervyn Wallace (Wal) | FOLDI (neé Kershaw), Vera Newton | FRAME, Kathryn | GEMMELL, James (Jim) Taylor | HARRISON, Vera | HILL, Arthur | KIDU, Sir Buri | LEA, Elfrida Beatrice | LOUTTIT, Doris May (Dot) | MacGREGOR, Rita | MANTON, Ivor Vaughan | McEVOY, Vivienne J. | McINNIS, Verona Joyce | RAHALEY (neé Sibley), Mabel Maud | RUDGE, Glen Athol Craig (Jim) | SANDERSON, Clive | SMITHERS, Sir Reginald | STRACHAN, Mary Caroline | THEODORE, Amy Marion | TWOMEY, Father Kevin, MSC | VIZARD, Geoffrey Lancelot Pitt | WELLS, Maurie, MBE |
Herbert Edlington (Lynn) CLARK (23 December 1993, aged 69)
Lynn’s first association with PNG was in 1944 with a Radar Unit at Merauke and Tana Merah. On discharge in August 1945 he went to Lae with War Disposals. He joined the Field Service in Lae and was posted to Madang. Married Margaret in April 1947 and they were posted to Mumeng and Lae. In 1950 he was posted to Rigo and then Biaru, Misima, Baniara and Port Moresby. After a stint with Ivan Champion in Land Titles Commission he worked in Moresby District Office then Taipini and Abau, where he established one of the earliest Local Government Councils.
Later back in Moresby he was in charge of Cadet Patrol Officer training. Then to Kiunga and again back to Moresby on magisterial duties. After this he was ADO at Tufi. On retirement he and Margaret took up a Trade Store on the Arona coast and finally settled at Broadbeach in 1973.
He was actively engaged with Legacy and RSL and in recent years did valuable research, inter alia, into the origins of the Papuan Constabulary, Montevideo Maru, Herbert Kienzle and Ivan Champion. Lynn was a meticulous officer and his research work will be valuable to future researchers. His well attended funeral was made up of school, army, PNG friends, and relatives. He is survived by his wife Margaret.
Doris May (Dot) LOUTTIT (27 November 1993, aged 79)
Dot was born in Victoria in 1914 and went to Port Moresby with her husband Lindsay in 1946. She worked firstly as a Dental Nurse and later as a dental mechanic with Don Clouston and Ian Chester. Lindsay worked as a plumber with the Department of Public Works and, when he retired in 1968-9, he and Dot returned to Australia and lived at Currumbin on the Gold Coast until Lindsay’s untimely death in 1976. Dot then moved to “The Leap”, just north of Mackay, to be with her brothers and sisters who lived in the Mackay district.
In 1989 Dot bought a unit in Sunnybank, Brisbane, where she resided until her death. Dot enjoyed life and in the last two or three years she travelled extensively along the eastern seaboard of Australia and to the Solomon Islands and PNG in 1992. She will be sorely missed by her many friends, who enjoyed her keen sense of humour and her ready wit.
Dot is survived by her older sister Peg Fell and her brother Ray Oliver, both of Mackay, and by many in-laws.
Rita MacGREGOR (24 December 1993, aged 62)
Rita Wood joined the PNG Education Department in 1957 and, during an introductory course at ASOPA, met Jock Macgregor who was attending the Long Course for Patrol Officers. They married at Taurama in the following year but sadly he predeceased her in 1965. Rita taught at several stations, concluding as Principal of Kavari Girls Tech., Moresby, until departing in 1967.
She was principal of schools in Wellington, Bulawayo and Perth before moving to the NT in 1980. For the past nine years, Rita, BA Hons (London), MEd (Deakin), FACE, had been a highly respected headmistress in Darwin. She succumbed to a heart attack whilst visiting her mother in London, and leaves two adult children, William and Catriana.
Arthur HILL (21 September 1993, aged 82)
Arthur was an old-fashioned gentleman, ever thoughtful of the needs of others, always there to offer a friendly hand and he was happiest helping others. He was a learned man, a great reader and thinker, always seeking more knowledge and always interested in the mechanics of everything, be it a simple piece of equipment or the latest space technology.
Arthur Hill had many physical difficulties to overcame during his lifetime. He was handicapped from the effects of polio, which he contracted at the age of nine. It was during his enforced, slow recovery that he became interested in books and more books. One book, the story of a young cripple, impressed him so much he was able at 82 years to quote these lines which gave him so much support throughout his life: “Your legs may be crippled but your brain isn’t, so damn it, use it!” And use it he did, winning a scholarship to the Perth Modern School. His first choice was Medicine, but this could not be, so he chose Pharmacy. After completing his studies he sailed to England, where he spent the next two years.
These were happy years for Arthur and he became an ardent Anglophile. He was still writing letters in 1993 to friends he made during his English experience. Along the way he completed a Podiatry Course. With the rumblings of war on the Continent, Arthur returned to Australia. The AIF would not accept him, so he volunteered for the CMF where he was eventually posted to Hollywood Military Hospital. It was here he was to meet AAMWS Gwendoline Bishop who was later to become his wife.
Arthur was posted to Rabaul and became a Mr when his army service ended. Gwennie arrived in PNG and they were married in a little thatched church in Rabaul in 1948. One friend described their life as being ‘one long honeymoon’. Later Arthur was posted to Port Moresby where he became Supt of Pharmaceutical Services. He could stretch his ‘Budget’ to the utmost. Expatriates and Nationals all had great admiration for him.
After retiring in 1965, Arthur and Gwen settled in Kenmore. In 1982 Arthur’s beloved Gwennie passed away. He continued to live in their home until 1989, when after a serious illness he retired to Sinnamon Village, Jindalee. He was happy there. He spent much time researching family histories and wrote an Autobiography and a Biography.
In his research he made many friends both in Australia and overseas. Arthur joined Centenary Toastmasters and enjoyed the warm friendship of its many members. His quick mind, ready wit and vast knowledge brought much pleasure to the members and himself.
We are saddened by his passing: this gentle man who brought so much joy and friendship into so many lives. Norm and Pat Webster
Maurie WELLS, MBE (15 August 1993, aged 63)
Maurie served in the RAAF during WW II and was a former Executive Director PNG Employers’ Federation 1970-1987. He is survived by his wife Dawn and sons Paul and Steve and their families.
Vera HARRISON (3 February 1994)
Widow of Robert McNaught Harrison, formerly a Communications Officer with the PNG Department of Posts and Telegraphs. No further details available.
Anne CARTER (24 January 1994, aged 66)
Anne was educated at Fort Street Girls High and Sydney University, and then successfully completed Pharmacist Registration Examinations. She was first employed as a Pharmacist in Sydney and, later on, managed pharmacies in Tasmania, NSW country towns and eventually in Port Moresby.
She enjoyed outdoor activity, was an active member of the Sydney Bushwalkers’ Club, and played social tennis and golf. She added snow skiing to her activities after meeting up with Bill Carter. In 1951 Anne married Bill Carter who, at that time, was PMG Department’s Divisional Engineer based at Parkes, NSW. When Bill got the job as Director, PNG Posts and Telegraphs Department, she accompanied him to Port Moresby in 1954. Later in the 50s she brought into the world a daughter, Beverley and three sons, Andrew, Stuart and Bruce, all born in Moresby.
In her youth Anne had been a Girl Guide and later on a Girl Guide Leader in Sydney and then in Parkes, NSW. In Port Moresby she continued her interest in the Girl Guides Movement as a member of the PNG National Executive Committee. When her husband, Bill, was invited to become Chief Commissioner of PNG Scouts, Anne not only retained her Guide’s interest, but was most active in helping the PNG Scout Association in its fund raising activity. Parallel with this, Anne also undertook active voluntary work for Port Moresby Red Cross.
Anne had developed a wonderful rapport with the women and men of Elavala (Ela Vala) village next door to Hanuabada. Her Lakatoi Enterprise venture provided tourists with an opportunity to have direct contact with village people and also an opportunity for the Ela Vala women to enhance their income by selling their art and craft objects to tourists.
Despite all this extra-curriculum activity, Anne was a “no fuss” home loving woman and wonderful mother.
Bill, Anne and family departed PNG for good in 1975, living at Balmain East while their children completed tertiary education, etc., and then moved to their weekender on the NSW Central Coast at Chittaway Point. Anne is survived by her husband, Bill, and four children named above.
Mabel Maud RAHALEY (neé Sibley) (17 December 1993, aged 82)
Widow of former PNG Police Inspector, Leonard Keith Rahaley. No further details available.
Elfrida Beatrice LEA (17 January 1994)
Widow of Frank Bernard Lea formerly a Technician with the PNG Department of Posts and Telegraphs. No further details available.
Verona Joyce McINNIS (20 January 1994)
Widow of Douglas Evan Macinnis, formerly Director of PNG Department of Lands, Surveys and Mines. No further details available.
Ina Beatrice BARNES (5 May 1993, aged 93)
Widow of former PNG Public Servant, Claude William Barnes. No further details available.
Vera Newton FOLDI (neé Kershaw) (1 January 1994, aged 87)
Vera was born at Chatswood, NSW, the fifth of six children and had she lived seven more days she would have been 88 years old.
She was educated at Chatswood Church of England Girls’ School and in 1924 commenced training as a nurse at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. Having completed four years’ nurse training she did a six-month obstetric course at the Royal Hospital for Women, Paddington. She was very proud that she graduated from both with distinction.
Vera arrived in Port Moresby, Papua, in February 1933 on board the MV Macdhui. The first man that Vera met on the wharf at Port Moresby was John Rollo Foldi. It was an on-again off-again romance with John stationed at Kikori in the Gulf of Papua and Vera nursing at Samarai Island at the eastern tip of mainland Papua. John and Vera eventually married at St John’s Church, Port Moresby, on 3 April 1936.
After a year’s honeymoon John returned to Kikori and Vera joined him in November 1937 with the first of their two sons, Peter. Ian was born in Sydney during leave on 14 April 1940. Vera was evacuated from Kikori with her two boys on Christmas Day 1942. Kikori to Port Moresby by small ship, Port Moresby to Cairns by Stinson Aircraft, and Cairns to Sydney by train. It must have been a dreadful journey during war years. It was made even worse with Ian coming down with pneumonia and malaria in Brisbane. The medicos in Brisbane would not treat Ian for malaria so Vera took him by train to Sydney and had him admitted to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children at Camperdown. John remained in Papua with ANGAU (the Australia New Guinea Administrative Unit).
Vera returned to Port Moresby alone in 1946. The family was reunited at Daru in 1947 when Peter and Ian came home on holidays from boarding school. Following John’s postings, the family moved across Papua to Samarai and Port Moresby and eventually on to Rabaul in 1955. Because of the infant and maternal welfare work that Vera had done in Hanuabada Village during John’s posting to Port Moresby, Vera was asked by the Assistant Administrator, Dr John Gunther, to take charge of the Infant and Maternal Welfare Unit at Oro Bay for three months following the eruption of Mt Lamington in the early 1950s.
John retired from service in Papua New Guinea in 1965 after ten years as District Commissioner, Rabaul. Between them John and Vera totalled more than 65 years in Papua New Guinea. They retired to Avalon, NSW, where John died on 23 December 1971. Vera continued the restless lifestyle of Papua New Guinea. After Avalon she moved to Canberra, then on to Pambula, back to Canberra, then to Kianga (Narooma) then to Gosford and finally Canberra. Vera is survived by her son Peter and his wife June and their children, Bruce, Robert and Louise. Ian was killed in a plane crash near Merimbula on 19 February 1976. His widow Maureen, and children Anne, David and Michael are living in Melbourne. She is also survived by her sisters, Adrienne aged 89 years and Isobel aged 85 years.
Too little recognition has been given to the Australian women who suffered hardship and deprivation supporting their men in the early days of the Australian administration of PNG. At Kikori from 1937 to 1942 Vera was raising a young family, maintaining a morse code radio link with Port Moresby when John was on patrol, and providing medical help to those in need who included Gordon Marshall of Ogamobu Plantation, Charles Karius and the Rev. B.T. Butcher from Aird Hills to name a few. Not to mention the support given to John over 25 years in helping new arrivals, particularly young Patrol Officers and/or their new wives, find their feet, as well as the customary accommodating and entertaining of colleagues and dignitaries either passing through or visiting Papua New Guinea. Peter Foldi
Glen Athol Craig (Jim) RUDGE (5 January 1994, aged 76)
“Jim” Rudge was born on 30 October 1917 in South Brisbane and late in 1921 he was taken to Fiji where his parents were missionaries. He remained there with them until late in 1934. His education in those formative years was at the Boys’ Grammar School, Suva. Later he spent several years in Western Australia training to be a missionary and then to the Sydney Sanitarium and Hospital at Wahroonga, NSW, where he took a special course for Male Nurses preparing to go to the mission fields of the Pacific area. At the completion of training he worked at St George District Hospital as a part-trained Male Nurse and then volunteered into the Australian Army serving in the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit as a Medical Assistant until demobilised following the end of the War. After a short period back at the St George District Hospital, he returned to Papua New Guinea where he remained until his retirement in 1971. Following retirement he was called back to Papua New Guinea to serve for a few months as Chairman of the Promotions Appeal Committee.
From 1943 to 1958 Jim served as a Medical Assistant with the PNG Department of Public Health in Papua at Kikori, Popondetta, Baru, Gaima, Kikori, Rigo, Kairuku and Abau, and then at Sohano in Bougainville. From 1958 he served as Administrative Officer in a re-organised Division of Medical Training within the Department. During 1964 he transferred to the Department of Information and Extension Services (DIES). While in DIES he worked with many Government Departments in the development of teaching aids to assist in the implementation of the changes necessary for PNG to achieve political and economic independence. In conjunction with other departmental specialists from Departments such as Agriculture, Forests, District Administration and Health, aids such as films, filmstrips, flashcards, flipcharts, posters and booklets were developed. Development and introduction of intensive courses in ‘Extension Method’ for Expatriate and national field staff were also undertaken. These courses had originally been introduced by Mr R. Carlaw and Mr Colin De’Ath. Both these men have now achieved fame in wider fields in other parts of the world.
His final effort with DIES was the re-writing and development of a field book for Extension Workers called Working With People. About seventy per cent of the book was new material written by him. Working With People had been originally compiled by a Mr T. Thompson, at that time Assistant Director, Community Development (Social Services) of the Dept of District Administration. Mr Thompson’s book was based on A Guide to Community Development, written by Dr Douglas Ensiminger, an American adviser to the community development programme in India.
According to Mr R. Pape, the then Principal Publications Officer of the Department of Information and Extension Services, the book published in March 1972 was an instant success with over 3000 copies sold to Administration Departments, Missions and private concerns engaged in advancing knowledge in Papua New Guinea. His name does not appear anywhere in the book, such was Departmental Policy.
Mr Edward Wegman, Head of the International Book Year unit, wrote to the Director of DIES on 14 June 1972 in the following terms:
Let me thank you for your letter of 28 March and the impressive booklet ‘Working With People’ which you have produced. This is precisely the kind of publication that UNESCO hoped would be produced as a result of International Book Year even though the fact that it was produced in 1972 is merely a happy coincidence.
I am passing along a copy of the booklet to our Office of Public Information so that it can be shared with our periodicals for possible review.
Jim is survived by his wife, Bess, and four children.
Mervyn Wallace (Wal) FISHWICK (15 December 1993)
Wal Fishwick served in the Army in New Guinea during the war. On discharge he worked as an Accountant for Guinea Air Traders in Lae until 1949 when he set up his own business as the first Chartered Accountant in the Territory. He moved to Rabaul the next year and remained there for the next 22 years.
Wal soon established a reputation for thoroughness in all his professional work, and his advice was sought by many. On retiring to the Gold Coast he became the Foundation Secretary of the Gold Coast PNG Club. Serving a total of 11 years on the Committee, he became President in 1988 for two years. He was mainly responsible for providing efficient computer data for financial and Garamut records.
Wal is survived by his wife May, his daughter Wendy and grandchildren Nicola and Kerry.
James (Jim) Taylor GEMMELL (10 December 1993)
Jim died at the Gold Coast Hospital after an operation. He went to PNG as a Cadet Patrol Officer, working firstly in the Western District and then at other postings. He later bacame a Valuer in the Department of Lands, Surveys and Mines, rising to First Asst Secretary when he retired in 1979.
As a Consultant he spent time in the Solomon Islands, Thailand and the Philippines. Jim is survived by wife Patricia, daughter Lynette and son James. No further details available.
John CRAWFORD (13 January 1994, aged 67)
John Crawford, a miner’s son from Melbourne, trained at Melbourne University and, immediately after becoming a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons, spent three years at Goroka and Lae in PNG in the 50s.
Bert Speers writes: “I first knew John and his young wife, Nancy, when he came to Lae to do surgery at the old Native Hospital at Malahang. It was great to meet up with him again at Goulburn when I came back here in retirement: we had numerous incidence recall sessions of the floods of the Busu River and the lack of equipment and facilities at Lae; but strangely we did the work and it was young Australians like John who ‘paved the way’.” John then served for a time in Tasmania before moving to Goulburn in 1962.
Long-time colleague in Goulburn, Dr Tom Lyttle said of John: “He brought with him a wide range of skills and virtually pioneered specialist surgical services in the city. He was a quiet man, a gentle man who carried out his practice with great skill and dedication. He would help colleagues, friends or strangers. Nothing was too much trouble: you only had to ask for his help and it was given without any thought to personal inconvenience.”
Dr Crawford’s son, Douglas, remembered his father as a gentle man who did not need worldly possessions. “He once wrote ‘our greatest possessions were those which we gave away’,” Douglas said. His spirit will stay in our hearts always. He wanted us to remember him the way he was before his illness. Dad was a very quietly spoken man with a wealth of knowledge, not only about medicine but philosophy and the workings of the human mind. His knowledge of philosophy gave him an inner peace as his illness progressed.”
Dr Crawford is survived by his wife, Nancy, eight children and ten grandchildren. Bert Speers
Kevin TWOMEY, MSC (23 August 1993, aged 77)
Father Twomey spent many years in PNG, first going there in 1944. His missionary work took him to Sideia, Basilaki, Milne Bay, Nimowa and the Trobriand Islands in Eastern Papua, Chanel College and Malaguna in East New Britain and Tabwiroa College in Kiribati. He spent seventeen years in Nimowa at the Catholic Parish there.
Father Twomey went to work in the Northern Territory in 1983. He spent about a year in the Darwin Parish of Nightcliff. From there he spent four further years in the Pacific and at Chanel College, Ulapia. During 1988-89 he lived in semi-retirement at St. John’s College in Darwin while helping with the chaplaincy work among the students of this large Catholic Secondary School.
His final years before his death were lived at the Darwin Cathedral Presbytery. His final pastoral duty was celebrating the regular Sunday Mass at the local RAAF Base.
His continuing esteem as a pastor was shown at the celebration of his Golden Jubilee of priesthood on 25 July, a month before his death. Present at that celebration was a nun who had worked with him at Nimowa over many years and current parishioners from the Darwin RAAF Base. Father Kevin died after a quite brief hospitalisation due to a heart condition. He was ready to meet his maker having been blessed with the chance to give thanks for 50 years of priestly ministry. To the end of his life his great love was PNG and its people. He spoke with pride that, in 50 years of priestly ministry, he had not married one white Australian. He saw his calling as beyond Australia.
Clive SANDERSON (21 January 1993, aged 64)
Clive Sanderson was raised in Temora, NSW. He matriculated at age 15, decided against doing Law and joined the Commonwealth Bank. He went to Madang with the Bank in 1951 and in 1953 became a partner in Modilon Motors and Madang Air Charters with Wally Ferguson and Dave Robertson. Madang Air Charters became Madang Air Services in 1954 and Clive became sole owner in 1959, then local Ansett-MAL manager when MAS was sold to MAL in 1960.
He departed PNG in November 1963, worked with Ansett in Melbourne, then raised stud cattle at Table Top and later at Bandianna, retiring to Mollymook. He is survived by his wife Betty, daughter Jillian Foster and sons Douglas and Jeffrey.
Bruce (Curlie) DAFF (7 September 1993)
Bruce worked for the PNG Administration in Port Moresby, Rabaul and Madang from the early 50s to the mid 70s. During the war he served in the Navy on mine sweepers. He was a keen member of the Clayton RSL, where his father was a foundation member. He retired from Moresby to Clayton, Melbourne and enjoyed his leisure time at the races, going to the AFL and playing snooker at the RSL. Bruce is survived by brother, Ian. No further details available.
Kathryn FRAME (10 October 1993, aged 38)
Died in a motor car accident after attending her mother’s birthday party at Coolum. Her 13-year-old son was also badly hurt in the accident. Kathryn was the daughter of Frank and Phyllis Allingham, and is survived by husband Dennis, sons Damien (13) and Gavin (17). No further details available.
Nancy Veitch BIRD (19 October 1993, aged 89)
Widow of William Henry Bird, PNG Public Servant. No further details available.
Geoffrey Lancelot Pitt VIZARD (20 December 1993, aged 64)
Cadet Patrol Officer Vizard was just 20 when he arrived at Kerema in PNG in 1949. Accompanying Patrol Officer Ken Chester on the first post-WW2 patrol to the fierce Kukukuku in the mountains; assisting Patrol Officer Ken Brown on magisterial duties and census taking among the coastal Elema; and having Jim O’Malley, Jack Hides’ offsider on the legendary 1935 Purari-Strickland Patrol, as District Officer was Boys’ Own Paper stuff. And then there was being a member of the crew, skippered by the famous Ivan Champion, which brought the Elema co-operatives’ ship Toaripi from its builders at Bundaberg. No wonder that Lance regarded his four years among the people of the Gulf District and his fellow Australians there as a wonderful experience.
In 1953, he returned to Melbourne, his home town, and commenced a successful commercial career. In the following year he married June, a nurse. Of their four children, Stephen (b. 1956), Andrew (b. 1958), Jennifer (b.1961) and Fiona (b.1963), the eldest, who strongly resembles Lance, is prominent in Australian TV circles.
Lance bravely faced the incurable cancer which caused his untimely death. The eulogy, written by his children and delivered by Andrew, highlighted Lance’s great love for his family, his exceptional ability to make friends, and his generosity. Andrew also mentioned Lance’s narrow escape from death in 1950. This is how it happened: On a December day of that year Lance and the late Ken Chester were swimming off Siviri village, below Kerema government station, when the ‘Lahara’ [northwesterly] suddenly came up. Ken managed to reach the beach but Lance was dragged out to sea. Village Constable Ata reported it to the District Office and Sgt Sevese of the Royal Papuan Constabulary and several prisoners set out. Among them was Oavelare Ivei, a man from Koaru, a village in the Kaipi area east of Kerema. By that time the ‘Lahara’ waves had taken Lance a long way out. Oavelare who, like many Koaru men was a strong swimmer, took a board with him. After battling huge waves for more than one hour, he reached Lance, who grabbed the board, enabling Oavelare to being him safely ashore.
Lance certainly made the very best use of the forty-fours years granted him from then on. We are the better for having known him. Harry Jackman
Ronald DINSMORE (21 October 1993)
Died at the Gold Coast after a long illness. Ron was in PNG from 1953 to 1986. He went to PNG as a surveyor for Comworks, later starting his own business. Ron was responsible for training Nationals to become surveyors and was the first in this field to do so. He is survived by his wife Elva, and children Allan, Kevin, Susan and Vicky. No further details available.
Patricia BORN (7 September 1993)
Pat went to PNG in 1948 to join her husband Rolf (deceased 1974) who was with the Department of District Administration. From then until 1973 they lived at many outstations including Kerema, Tufi, Goroka, Kundiawa, Kainantu and Manus Is (Lorengau). It was only by a hairsbreadth that they missed the Mt Lamington eruption as they had decided to take leave early and were flying out when the eruption occurred.
Pat worked with Posts and Telegraphs and the Department of Education and was also involved with the Country Women’s Association and Golf Clubs. On retiring to the Gold Coast, Pat was Asst. Secretary of the Gold Coast PNG Club in its early days. She is survived by her son Anthony of Byron Bay, NSW.
Ivor Vaughan MANTON (5 February 1994, aged 89)
Ivor Manton, late of Mt Hagen Warawau Tea Plantation, passed away on the Gold Coast. A successful businessman in Melbourne, he was part owner of the family department store Manton and Sons which was second only to Myers. Mantons was sold to G.J. Coles in 1955 for £2,250,000. Ivor was an innovator throughout his life and is credited with introducing Father’s Day into the Australian retailing industry.
He had a close association with the land and pastoral industry. He established a Romney Marsh sheep stud at Monegeeta north of Melbourne which was one of the best in the country. In 1963, when he was 58, he went to Papua New Guinea to set up the country’s first tea plantation in the Wahgi Valley near Mt Hagen. It was to be a model and no expense was spared to ensure the finest tea was produced. He played a leading part in the establishment of the small holder blocks scheme whereby local farmers would be able to sell their tea to the nucleus estate plantation factory. This principle was to follow at other tea estates in the Highlands and at other major plantation developments, including oil palm at Hoskins and Popondetta.
He had a total commitment to financial or social concerns and was equally at home conversing with Governors and Prime Ministers or the man mowing the grass. He was always approachable and believed that if you are determined enough you can do anything. He took the Duke of Edinburgh to the Baiyer River Sanctuary, which he assisted to set up. He loved animals and birds. At home he was an accomplished pianist though he could not read music. He had a great sense of humour. He said no good person is ever unsuccessful.
A large gathering attended his cremation service on the Gold Coast, Eulogies were given by his son William, granddaughter Melanie and by Peter Howard, his Supervisor at Mt Hagen.
Vivienne J. McEVOY (13 December 1993)
Vivienne went to PNG in 1953 as a Receptionist for Burns Philp, but being a Steno/Sec/Bookkeeper she was able to work in many different establishments viz. Comworks, Harvey Trinder (Insurance Brokers), Amalgamated Electronics (Bill Nicholson (Nicko) Proprietor), Bill Johns, Ernie Kriewaldt and “La Petite” Boutique (Lexy Burns, Proprietress) and eventually running the latter establishment on her own behalf.
In 1974 Viv returned to Australia, living in Brisbane and once again, going into the “Rag Trade” owning a couple of Boutiques in Brisbane suburbs. In 1980 Viv and husband Mike came to the Gold Coast and took up the challenge of managing a block of high-rise units, which they did for six years.
Ten years ago Viv joined the Committee of the Gold Coast PNG Club and brought a good deal of good sense and wit to the meetings. She was soon persuaded to become Editor of Garamut, a job she performed with increasing skill aided by a course of creative writing—but more so by her natural good humour and imagination.
Vivienne is survived by husband Michael, son Sean, daughter-in-law Sandra, grandchildren Anna and Ryan, son Kerry and her brother Brian McGarry and family.
Sir Buri KIDU (30 January 1994, aged 49)
The first Papua New Guinea Chief Justice, Sir Buri Kidu was appointed Chief Justice in 1980 for an initial three-year term. He was the youngest Chief Justice in the world to reach this high office at the age of 35, having succeeded Sir William Prentice. In 1983 he was reappointed for a further ten-year term and retired from his position last year, after twenty three years’ public service.
He was born at Vairaram near Pari Village on the outskirts of Port Moresby. He attended various primary schools before going on to Iarowari Intermediate High School in 1959. From there he won a scholarship to Toowoomba High School in Queensland, graduating from Grade 12 in 1965. He was the first Papua New Guinea student at the school to be made School Captain and a Senior School Prefect.
He then entered Queensland University where he obtained his Law Degree in 1970. He married Carol, who was then a teacher, while in his fourth year of law studies. In the 1970s Lady Carol Kidu was a teacher at Port Moresby International High School, Boroko, where she was held in high esteem by staff and students.
Sir Buri first worked as a Legal Officer with the Law Department in Port Moresby before becoming the first PNG Crown Prosecutor. He was transferred to Rabaul in November 1972 to take charge of the Crown Prosecutor’s Office. He returned to Port Moresby and became the first Crown Solicitor (now State Solicitor) at Independence in 1975.
He was Secretary for Justice and Principal Legal Adviser to the National Executive Council in 1979 and became Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department in August of that year. He was awarded a doctorate by the UPNG in 1991. He held appointments of Chancellor of UPNG, Chancellor of the Anglican Church, Chairman of the Legal Training Institute, Member of the Ombudsman Appointment Committee, Member of the Judicial Services Commission, Patron of the Port Moresby Rehabilitation Centre Inc. and President of UPNG Foundation.
Prime Minister Paias Wingti expressed his sympathy in a letter of condolence to Lady Carol. He said Sir Buri was one of PNG’s outstanding civil servants, who held a reputation of being an authority on the country’s constitution and judicial system. He was always impartial and recognised as an eminent example of his high profession.
He leaves his wife and six children.
Sir Tei ABAL (15 March 1994, aged 60)
A leading figure in PNG’s fight for independence, Sir Tei Abal, has died. He died at his home at Keas village, Wabag in the Enga Province. He had been ill for a long time, since a stroke in 1981 which left his speech and mobility impaired.
Originally an aid post orderly, he first entered national politics in 1964 as Member for Wabag in the then House of Assembly. He held that seat in Parliament until the 1982 general election when he lost to Albert Kipalan (now Sir Albert).
Sir Tei co-founded the United Party and was Opposition Leader when Sir Michael Somare’s Pangu Pati and partners formed the first government at Independence. He was Public Utilities Minister under Sir Michael in 1978 and 1979.
He is survived by his wife, Lady Abal, three sons, three daughters and 12 grandchildren.
Amy Marion THEODORE (December 1993)
Marion, recently of Bulimba, Qld, spent time with her husband, Cyril, in Madang PNG where for some time she operated the telephone exchange. Isobel Pert remembers her: “A nice lady, I can see her sitting at the old exchange under the shuttered wooden window like yesterday, pushing in and pulling out plugs.” I also remember her, she was a well-known and popular person in Madang. Survived by husband Cyril, son Peter, daughter-in-law Sue and grandchildren Cheryl and Bradley. Doug Parrish
Edward (Ted) BUCHANAN (10 January 1994)
Ted was a well-known identity at Madang for many years when he worked as a painter for Comworks, then Public Works and later as a painting contractor. No further details available.
Sir Reginald SMITHERS (2 January 1994, aged 90)
Sir Reginald was a Judge of the Supreme Court of ACT and Northern Territory, 1984-86; Judge of the Federal Court, 1977-86; Chancellor of La Trobe University, 1972-80; Judge of the Australian Industrial Court, 1965-86; Judge of the Supreme Court, Papua New Guinea, 1962-64.
It was an unusual career in that, unlike most Judges, Smithers did not serve on a single court but on a variety. First there were the Supreme Courts of Papua New Guinea, the Northern Territory and the ACT, later the Industrial Court and finally the Federal Court and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Smithers was born in Echuca, Victoria, and his family came to Melbourne when he was five. He went to Melbourne Grammar and went to work in the Titles Office of the Victorian Public Service, where he began studying law part-time. Admitted to the Bar in 1929, his career was interrupted by World War II; he became a Squadron Leader and served in New Guinea and the Philippines. After the war ended he continued as a junior Barrister until he took silk in 1951, which was about the time I came to know him really well. No client ever had a more hard-working or faithful advocate. Smithers also had a brilliant way with juries; he continually obtained substantial verdicts for plaintiffs when the odds seemed to be stacked against them.
Smithers stature as a Judge was in part a reflection of his qualities as a person. Blessed with great wisdom, tremendous warmth and sincere friendship, he was also, for want of a better term, what I call an enlivener. When he joined a dull conversation, he would transform it in no time to spirited discussion. As often as not he would do this by venturing some fairly challenging remark about an affair of the day.
When he retired from the Federal Court at the age of 85 many people said that not only were his powers not diminishing, but he was at the height of them. It was typical of him that soon after retiring, he started work as a legal consultant to the Melbourne firm Dunhills, revelling in the contact with lawyers barely half his age. Extracts from an obituary by Xavier Connor, published in The Australian, 25 January 1994
Mary Caroline STRACHAN (21 March 1994, aged 77)
Mary was living at Killara NSW when she died but spent many years in PNG at Lae. No further details available.