Vale March 2005

ALLEN, Deidre Lillian, (née Wright ) |  BACKHOUSE, Joseph William |  BATES, William (Bill) JamesBLICK, Margaret MackayBRAMMELL, Jack Bertram Charlton |  CARTER, Ronald John |  DANIEL, Robert Brian |  DOYLE, Tau JustinaHARBECK, Peter Noel |  IGNATIUS, John (Most Reverend) |  KAPUTIN, IaKirara |  KELLY, Peter Andre Charles |  KEMP, Fred (Rev.) |  LEE, Nigel Chee FaiROSS, Eric A Sutherland |  SHEPPEARD, Val (Hooley) |  SUTHERLAND ROSS, Eric A |  THOMSON, Frederick David |  TURNER, June Gwennyth |  WATKINS, Nari Elspeth Hamilton (née Campbell) |  WILKINSON, Arthur Ernest | 


Deidre Lillian ALLEN (née Wright) (19 July 2004)

Born in Sydney, Deidre applied for entry to ASOPA as a cadet education officer as soon as she completed the Leaving Certificate at Fort Street Girls High but was ineligible because of her young age. She reapplied and in 1965 commenced training with the first group of high school education officers. On graduation from ASOPA in 1966 she was sent to Sogeri for prac teaching and from there was posted to Popondetta and then Kerawagi at which school she held the position of Deputy Principal. Deidre married the late Cliff Allen in 1969 in Sydney and daughter, Lauren, was born in Moresby in 1971 with Toby born in Lae in 1973. In 1974 the family moved to Sydney where the marriage ended.

Deidre moved to Canberra to be near old friends from her ASOPA and PNG days, and in 1992 she married ex kiap Norm Wilson, one of those old friends. Deidre was an exceptional personality and had many talents. She was a top pianist and for most of her working life continued academic studies, completing a Psychology degree in 1996, a Masters degree in Education in 1997, and achieved registration as a psychologist in June 2004, just prior to her sudden death. Deidre never lost her love for and interest in PNG. Her friends will miss her enthusiastic and often impromptu entertaining. This particular friend will remember her whenever a champagne cork pops. She is survived by her husband Norm, daughter Lauren and family, and son Toby. Heather Morgan


Joseph William BACKHOUSE (13 Dec 2004, aged 89)

After war service in the Middle East, Borneo and New Guinea, Captain Backhouse, after being part of the war crimes investigation team investigating Japanese atrocities against servicemen and civilians during WW2 in New Guinea, was appointed to command the 1 Australian War Crimes Compound at Rabaul from Nov 1947. Part of these duties required him to be in charge of firing squads of condemned Japanese war criminals, a duty which he did not relish. He spent some time at Manus at the 3 Australian War Crimes Compound until late 1949 when he separated from the Australian Army.

He returned to Brisbane, but decided that New Guinea presented opportunities. He then returned to Rabaul, and for almost a year was employed by John Stokie MC (a pre-war TNG police force warrant officer and war time Coastwatcher) who had acquired several plantations on New Britain. Towards the end of 1950 he purchased a run down plantation called Nambung in the Bainings from a Mrs Wood, the widow of the pre-war owner. Together with his wife, Sylvy, he built this up to become a very profitable plantation.

In 1972, they returned to Brisbane, leaving the running of the plantation in the hands of a manager. He was invited back to Lassul Bay for the Independence Day celebrations on 16 September 1975 and sold Nambung to the local people in 1980. His wife predeceased him and he is survived by relatives, one of whom Kym Osley wrote his biography, Uncle Joes’s Story, a biography of Captain Joseph W. Backhouse, published by Print on Demand, University of Queensland, 2002. Max Hayes and the Courier-Mail


William (Bill) James BATES (13 January 2005, aged 75)

Bill was born in Belfast, Ireland, and was one of twelve children. When he turned 18 he migrated to Australia. He worked in and around Melbourne for a short time before applying for a job in PNG. His application was successful and within a few days he was on his way to a new life in PNG. His first job was at the timber mill at Bulolo. Following this he was employed by the Commonwealth Dept of Works in Pt Moresby. He then took some time off and went to New Zealand where he obtained an aircraft pilot’s licence. Back to PNG he took up a position with Dept of Works and Supply, spending time in Rabaul and then Manus where he met his future wife, Eunice.

In the early 1960s he was in Pt Moresby and was offered the District Works Manager position at Daru where he stayed until 1974 when he was transferred back to Moresby. He worked for a time at PWD Headquarters, Boroko, and was then offered a job with the Dept of Health. When the Western Provincial Govt was suspended Bill was given the job of Administrator. This was followed with stints in Mendi as Oil Projects Liaison Officer and then another Administrator job in the Enga Province. He left PNG early 1995 and took up residence at his home in Clayfield. He passed away suddenly and is survived by his wife Eunice, daughter Andree and son Michael. Ian Pendergast


Margaret Mackay BLICK (13 March 2004)

MT Blick/E Meszaros


Jack Bertram Charlton BRAMMELL (15 October 2004, aged 81)

Jack grew up in Brighton-Le-Sands with his mother and sister while his father spent a great deal of his time working in New Guinea, where Jack would later spend 31 years of his working life. He worked in his uncle’s abattoirs after leaving school. Jack then went to work in New Guinea; firstly as a Patrol Officer prior to the war, then as a District Commissioner and later a Land Titles Commissioner. In 1940, at the age of 28, he returned to Australia to join the RAAF to become a pilot flying Catalinas. The Second World War brought him home to visit his mother, now living in a flat at Rose Bay. Here he met his future wife who lived in the same block of flats and in 1946 Jack and Pat were the first white couple to marry in Port Moresby after the war. They then lived in many isolated regions of NG with Jack often away from home. Jack worked to have schools and hospitals built in some of the more isolated regional areas of NG. They lived in placed like Kikori, Rigo, Popondetta, Rabaul, Lae, Madang and finally Port Moresby before returning to Australia in 1967.

Jack then began a new ‘career’ as an upholsterer for the next 15 years. His life was full and rewarding. He was an explorer and an adventurer with a great deal of initiative and a tremendous sense of humour. He punctuated the lives around him with amusing anecdotes from his past about the dangers he and Pat faced. Throughout every aspect of his life he was supportive of those around him. Jack and Pat were married for 45 years when she passed away in 1991. Jack is survived by daughters Reioni, Shane and Tina.


Ronald John CARTER (27 October 2004, aged 73)

Ron was born in London. He was with the Royal Air Force before joining the Metropolitan Police in 1951 and then the Essex County Constabulary. He joined RPNGC as a Contract Officer in 1967 with rank of Sub Inspector and served in Port Moresby, Lae and Mount Hagen. After leaving PNG in 1974 he joined the Australian Commonwealth Public Service and worked in the Family Court and Parliamentary branches. Max Hayes


Robert Brian DANIEL (1 January 2005, aged 59)

Born in Ballarat, Victoria. After three years’ service in Victoria Police, he then served two years’ National Service in the Military Police of the Australian Army, before joining the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary on 5 February 1968 on contract for 12 years. He served at Port Moresby, Lae, Goroka and was O.I.C. Henganofi for 18 months. With impending Independence, the conditions of contract officers were changed and he resigned in February 1974. On return to Australia he was personnel manager for Alcoa at Geelong, Victoria, and later in charge of revenue protection for Victorian Public Transport Corporation. He settled in Queensland, and had only moved into a new house six weeks before his sudden death. He is survived by his wife Marilyn, and three daughters. Max Hayes, D.T.Bell, M.Baker  


Tau Justina DOYLE (21 November 2004, aged 49)

Tau was from Witu Island, WNB, and lived at Langu Plantation for two-thirds of her life. She married Dick in 1972. After copra and cocoa prices crashed, Tau would often have to look after Langu when Dick went away on business/tourism services. Tau enjoyed several trips to Singapore as well as visiting Malaysia, Philippines, USA and Queensland. Many visitors were fortunate to experience her love of cooking which was inspired by both PNG foods and those from countries she had travelled to. Tau had a strong sense of what was right and the sight of this tiny lady berating a six foot nephew (or other wrongdoer) was always entertaining for those fortunate to witness. A proud moment in Tau’s life was the 1994 crowning as Miss PNG of Tania. She was also proud to have three daughters contributing to the PNG economy, all holding jobs in a difficult employment situation. Tau was buried on the small cliff overlooking Langu Anchorage, near the 1946 grave of Gladys Baker, a previous owner of Langu. Tau is survived by her husband, Dick, their three daughters, Melissa, Tania and Nancy, and five grandchildren. Dick Doyle


Peter Noel HARBECK, ED, LSGCM and bar (both PNGVR medals) (7 December 2004, aged 78)

Born in Deniliquin, Peter later decided he did not wish to pursue a career as a chemist and went to PNG, joining the RPC & NGPF in 1949 at Police HQ in Konedobu. In late 1950 Peter was seconded to the PNG Vulcanologist, Tony Taylor, GC, for a period of three months at Sangara Plantation, near Higatura, where he organised the evacuation of locals when the settlement was wiped out in the Mount Lamington explosion of January 1951. He later served at Bulolo and Madang, resigning from the RP&NGC in 1956 to establish Toitubu coffee plantation at Banz in the western highlands. He later became the agent for Shell Petroleum Company, Gibbes Sepik Airways, Talair, and thenran Banz timber and joinery along with other small businesses.

Peter joined the PNG Volunteer Rifles in 1951, where he carried out a distinguished 22 year military career in which he rose through the ranks to become Major, commander of Charlie Company. He saw active service in the Vietnam War.

In 1981 Peter and Lucy returned to Australia, settling in Brisbane for two years. In 1984 they went to Goondiwindi and operated a SHELL road house from Boga Billa until 1988, when he retired. They then moved to Cooroy in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast QLD. In 1991 he joined the Noosa Coast Guard and in 1998 was elected Commander which he fulfilled until he resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Peter and Lucy returned to Brisbane in January 2002 to be nearer family and better medical facilities. Through all these years Peter was still very much involved with PNGVR. Peter is survived by Lucy, 4 children – Tom, Brett, Grant, and Janet – two step-children, Neil and Pia, and nine grandchildren. Lucy Harbeck

Note: Max Hayes and Tom Dowling, whilst also writing about Peter, advised that Peter’s funeral service was well represented by members of the PNGVR ex members association, and the eulogy was delivered by Colonel Harry N. Green, MBE, ED.


Most Reverend John IGNATIUS, OFM, DD, DPh, Bishop Emeritus of Aitape (17 September 2004, aged 96)

From a humble beginning at Rydal near Bathurst, NSW, and early training for the Priesthood at Holy Cross College, Ryde, NSW, Father Ignatius, as he was for so many years affectionately known, sailed to Europe in March 1927 for eight long years of study. First at the Franciscan’s Novitiate at Killarney in Ireland, then at the Gregarian University in Rome, where all courses were in Latin, and finally the Zouvain University in Belgium, where classes were in French. He was ordained a priest on 2 July 1933 and returned to Australia in April 1934. For the next 12 years he was involved in advanced teaching at Franciscan theological colleges in Victoria and NSW.

In November 1946 he sailed to New Guinea on the MV Montoro as superior of eight young Australian Franciscan priests, to face the long war-torn strip from Aitape to Vanimo and its hinterland and establish a Vicariate, ‘The Mission of St Francis SALANUS, Central New Guinea’. Hardship and isolation were the order of the day in this remote part of PNG, at the time. In 1956 Father Ignatius was consecrated Bishop. After decades of service on the Aitape coast he retired to the Star of the Sea Friary, Waverley NSW. Harry West


IaKirara KAPUTIN (9 December 2004, aged 95)

IaKirara was the mother of nine children, including Sir John Kaputin, a PNG politician from 1972 to 2002. Her husband, Daniel, pre-deceased her. Post-Courier, 11 December 2004


Peter Andre Charles KELLY (5 May 2004, aged 90)

Peter arrived in Port Moresby in January 1958. He was Officer-in-Charge at the Out Patients’ Department at Taurama Native Hospital. While there he also patrolled the Koiari District at intervals. He was transferred to Bomana Hospital as relieving officer for approximately 12 months. His next assignment was as Principal of the Medical Nursing College at Rabaul and he also took part in a medical patrol of New Britain. From Rabaul Peter returned to Port Moresby, to the position of Principal of the Medical Nursing College in Boroko before leaving the Territory for Australia with his family in February 1968. Peter is survived by his wife Breda, son Peter, daughter Anne, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Breda Kelly


Rev Fred KEMP (19 February 2005, aged 88)

Served with the Methodist Overseas Mission at Misima, Kiriwina and Port Moresby from 1948 to 1968. His family are keen to hear from anyone who knew him. Please contact Anne Tanner, phone:02 9449 5211


Nigel Chee Fai LEE (early Jan 2005)

Son of Wilbur and Anna Lee of Buka Passage. Courier-Mail


Val (Hooley) SHEPPEARD (late 2004, aged 78)

Living in Redcliffe, Qld, she was known by choice as ‘Hooley-Dooley’. Hooley spent 27 years in PNG from 1962-1989 – in Madang, Goroka, Bulolo and Mt Hagen. Jo Corrigan


Eric A SUTHERLAND ROSS (10 January 2005, aged 90)

Eric first went to PNG in 1921. In over 40 years there he lived at Sapphire Creek, Koitaki, Eilogo, Hisiu, Port Moresby, Misima, Kikori, Daru, Salamaua, Wewak, Wau and Kokoda. Eric joined the RAAF in 1940 and was with them until 1945. He left PNG in 1966, living at Springwood in Queensland and then Carbrook.


Frederick David THOMSON (17 December 2004)

was born in Sydney on 12 September 1931. He worked as a station hand and an apprentice electrical fitter for several years before joining the NSW Police in 1956. He joined the RPNGC on 9 October 1964 serving in Port Moresby and Lae. Fred was designated Police Armourer but spent his early service in the uniformed branch and CIB in Lae. In the latter capacity he was also the station photographer. He retained his interest in guns all his life. He transferred to Special Branch in 1969 and left the RPNGC with the rank of Inspector 2nd class in 1971 and joined the PNG Security Intelligence Organisation, where he remained until June 1975. Fred and his wife Kath operated a motel at Chillagoe for several years and subsequently spent many years working on cattle stations in the Northern Territory and North Queensland. Fred was a fine professional police officer, well respected among his peers, and made many friends during his service in PNG. He is survived by Kath, three children and ten grandchildren. Derek Bell and Max Hayes


June Gwennyth TURNER (11 December 2004, aged 81)

June had been involved in radio presentation, theatre (both on and off the boards) and dances in Melbourne before joining her husband John, a Medical Assistant at Kerema, in April 1950. As with many others, she experienced a massive culture shock! Following Kerema they were posted to Mumeng and with three daughters they next moved to Kokopo followed by Kavieng, where June took a job with New Guinea Company. Finally they moved to Rabaul where June remained working with New Guinea Company and later Planters’ Association. June grew to love and respect the country and its people and also enjoyed learning a number of dialects. On retirement the family moved to Forestville, Sydney, still playing host to expats; many lifelong friendships that had been forged in PNG. June’s remaining family consists of her three daughters, their husbands, seven grandchildren and one great grandson. Lisa, Sara and Jane (Turner)


Nari Elspeth Hamilton WATKINS (née Campbell) (28 November 04, aged 78)

Nari was born in Rabaul where her father, Cam, was the manager of the first Commonwealth Bank there. After two years the family moved to Raua Plantation, an isolated property in Bougainville, where she was the first white child ever seen by many of the people. Nari was eventually sent to boarding school in Melbourne. She was 17 when war came to Bougainville. With the Japanese invasion expected Nari found herself heading south on the MV Macdhui, with other expatriate women and children being evacuated, leaving her parents behind on the plantation.

On arrival in Australia however, Nari heard a radio report that the Japanese had invaded New Britain and were expected to move on to the Solomon Islands. She decided to join the war effort instead of going to school; but a girl had to be twenty-one, or have her parents’ permission to join up. Nari ran into the engineer of the old steamer who used to visit the plantation every six weeks and got him to convince the draft board that she must have been easily 21 and she was in. In the service Nari learnt to drive trucks, eventually driving around important personalities, most notably Bob Hope.

Because of her knowledge of Bougainville she was drafted from the WASBEES for a time to service in intelligence in Townsville to help with the battle of Bougainville, during which time her parents escaped the Japanese by American submarine. Nari was then sent to India with the WASBEES where she met and married an Englishman, Captain Peter Forster. With her parents they returned to Raua to rebuild it after WWII. A son, Michael, was born but unfortunately Peter was killed in an accident a few months later. Later, after her father’s death, a family home was set up in Moss Vale and Nari returned to Raua to run the plantation.

Farnborough, a dairy farm, was later bought for the family in Moss Vale. Nari travelled between the two but eventually returned to live full-time on Bougainville. She met Les Watkins and they married in 1960, with Diana born in 1961. During this time Nari wrote her first semi-fictional novel, Laua Avanapu. Nari and Les contributed to developing PNG as independence approached, with Nari very involved in matters cultural. A home in Moss Vale meant that time could be divided between the two places. Nari returned to Bougainville for one last time after Les passed away in 1982. She spent the last two years with daughter Diana and her husband Toby on a farm in Wallendbeen, near Cootamundra. Nari is survived by Diana, Michael and four grandchildren. Diana Bassingthwaighte


Arthur Ernest WILKINSON (13 August 2004, aged 101)

Ernest was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1902. He migrated to Australia in 1922 and worked on station properties in Victoria and NSW as well as four years with Parramatta Hospital. He joined PNG Health Service in 1930, working in native hospitals in Manus, Wewak, Kavieng, Aitape, Angoram and Salamaua. In 1940 he joined the AIF from Salamaua and sailed in the Queen Mary in 1940 for the Middle East. On his return to Australia and after completing a Malaria Control course he was posted to NG, Indonesia and the Celebes.

After returning to Australia at the end of the war he married and went back to PHD in NG working in Rabaul, Sohano and Goroka. Retiring in 1972 he returned to Australia to live in Collaroy with his family and spent happy years playing golf at Long Reef. He joined the Collaroy RSL and Beach Club, and Probus Club at Mona Vale. He had a great collection of NG stamps and native artefacts. Ernest is survived by his wife Flo, his children, John and Anna, and four grandchildren. Flo Wilkinson

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