Vale March 2006

ABBERTON, Thomas |  ARMSTRONG, John (Dr) |  AVARD, William (Bill) |  BELFIELD, Michael (Mick) |  CARRA, Hurbert |  CHOW, Julian |  CLARIDGE, Roger |  DANGERFIELD, Christopher |  DAVIES, FrankGANE, Eric John  |  GRUNDY, Ian (Blue) |  McKELLAR-JAMES, Garry |  MELDRUM, Alexander |  MUNSTER, Judy |  REASON, Nancy |  REILLY, Ethel |  SCHLEUSENER, Bill |  SHACKLADY, ThomasSHEEKEY, Molly |  STANDEN, Eva |  TODD, Bryan |  YELLAND, Lorraine |  YEOMANS, Bill | 


Thomas William ABBERTON (17 August 2005, aged 83)

Tom was brought up in Dubbo, before joining the army and being posted to the Middle East. Prior to enlisting, and as a keen Rugby League player, he had played for Penrith. Tom was interested in all sports and had a radio spot in Sydney with, among others, Reg Grundy and Brian Henderson. Tom was dubbed the ‘Human Encyclopaedia on Sport’. He went to PNG to work for PMF, in charge of the bakery and became involved in the Executive of the Papuan Rugby League. From Moresby he took up the position of Manager of the Goroka Hotel and was also a director and shareholder in Golden Crust Bakery. After several years in Goroka he and Joan went to Madang to manage the Madang Hotel. In both Goroka and Madang Tom was again involved in Rugby League. He was also an active member of Rotary in Moresby, Goroka and Madang. After leaving PNG Tom managed hotels in Weipa and Port Macquarie, eventually moving to the Gold Coast two years ago. Tom is survived by his wife Joan, sons Grahame and Timothy. Paul Bolger


Dr John ARMSTRONG (10 February 2005, aged 80)

Born in Leura, John achieved his medical degree from Sydney University in 1947 and then worked in hospitals and private practises in Narromine and Parkes. He married Ann Stevenson in Sydney in 1951. John and Ann first visited PNG in 1974 as tourists, and John accepted a position as Locum in Rabaul for six weeks in 1975. He went back to Australia but returned to Bougainville to act as a locum at Panguna in 1980 before practising in Wyong for a year in 1981. He returned to Bougainville and in 1982-83 again practised at Panguna. After a short time at Walgett in 1994, he again returned to Panguna and worked there from late 1994 to March 1997. He loved fishing and travelling around visiting friends in both PNG and Australia. His final years were spent at Surfers Paradise where he practiced until 2000 when he finally retired. His son Tony pre-deceased him. He is survived by his wife, Ann, and his children Ken, Helen and Paul. Lars Anderson


William ‘Bill’ AVARD (24 August 2005, aged 90)

Bill went to Bougainville in the 1950s. He took with him his mechanical and sawmilling experience and skills that were learnt in the forests of the Dorrigo area, NSW. The Catholic Mission contracted Bill to set up a sawmill at Kieta for the Marist Missionaries. He later built another sawmill further down the island of Bougainville. After leaving Kieta, Bill went to Rabaul to collect wartime scrap for export to Japan. Some of Bill’s jungle finds were used to set up a garage at Sulphur Creek Road in Rabaul, which flourished under his great skills in petrol and diesel engineering. As sawmilling was Bill’s second trade, he bought and operated Nonga Saw Mill in Rabaul, in partnership with Fred Lawrence. The sawmill was sold in the 1970s and Bill retired to Coffs Harbour where he restored Harley Davidson motor cycles and machinery. Bill is survived by his wife, Dorothy, daughter Natalie and son, Roland. Joe O’Regan


Michael (Mick) BELFIELD (24 January 2006, aged 75)

Mick was born in Coleraine in Western Victoria and raised on the family sheep property. He was educated at Hamilton College and Longerenong Agricultural College. In 1951 he joined the Merchant Navy and met his first wife, Jane, in England; he returned with her to the family farm in Australia in 1953.

Mick started as a cadet agricultural officer in PNG in 1956, where he spent the next 21 years as a didiman, working his way up to a senior position in the administration of the era. After his first posting at Epo with his young family, he went to Popondetta, where, as a junior officer, he was in charge of the Northern District. It was here that Mick’s organizational and leadership qualities were noticed. In 1962 he was posted to Mt Hagen in the Western Highlands to take charge of the rapidly developing agricultural industries. The Wahgi swamps were being drained to make way for land settlement and estate tea plantations; the pyrethrum industry was being pioneered and rapid expansion of plantings into the high altitude areas was required; and cattle, sheep, fish and improved strains of pigs and poultry were being introduced and market garden and orchard crops were being expanded.

After the highlands, Mick was transferred to Port Moresby where he had further regional responsibilities. He retired and left for Australia in 1977 and settled in Armidale, NSW. In recognition of his services to PNG he was awarded the PNG Independence Medal. Mick returned to PNG as a consultant in 1988 to combat the spread of the newly-discovered coffee rust disease. He spent the next six years there training a team of agricultural advisers to help growers fight the disease and improve coffee production. It was there he met his present wife, Jo, and later settled in Bellbowrie, Brisbane.

Mick always enjoyed a good joke and could be a bit of a larrikin. He was very active throughout his life and enjoyed numerous sports. He was a great leader, a great boss, a loyal friend, and a devoted father and grandfather. His three children, Nick, Martin and Louise, remember him as tough but fair, and loved and respected him enormously. His sister described him as “Always quicker off the mark than the rest of us; always interested and interesting, always travelling on.” He will be sadly missed by family and friends. Louise Tigchelaar


Herbert CARRA (28 December 2005, aged 81)

Bert was born in Melbourne, starting work at a young age to assist his family through the depression. At 16 he put his age up to enlist in the Army and was assigned to a coast watching task in PNG. Returning from war Bert started work at the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he met his wife, Pat. In 1953 Bert took a government position to go ‘back’ to PNG. He helped build hospitals and medical outposts across the northern part of the country which he managed. The family left Mt Hagen in 1974 and returned to Australia. Bert took a position with Ford until 1989. In 1995 he moved to Coffs Harbour for three years before moving to Brisbane. He enjoyed fishing, camping, golf and water-skiing. Bert is survived by his wife Pat, four children and nine grandchildren. Joan Colman  


Julian CHOW (16 October 2005, aged 67)

Julian was born in Rabaul, and completed high school in Sydney. He became an accountant and was involved in the family business in Rabaul before retiring to Sydney. He enjoyed fishing, and playing golf and tennis. He loved learning new things such as how to use the internet and learning mandarin. Julian especially loved cooking and sharing meals with friends. He also loved travelling. He is survived by his wife, Cathy, and his son, Jonas. Kundu News, Dec 2005


Roger CLARIDGE (9 October 2005, aged 75)

Roger died in Bowral, NSW, having settled in the Southern Highlands in 1992 after his retirement. Roger’s friends and colleagues in PNG will remember he served in Northern District, Southern, Western and Eastern Highlands, New Ireland, Port Moresby and Sogeri, and Sepik Districts during his career between 1949 and 1969. He attended the short course at ASOPA before commencing in Northern District at Popondetta.

His service in PNG over those 20 years included experiences as varied as being required to assist in the immediate aftermath of the Mt Lamington eruption in 1951 (on his 21st birthday); many early patrols made with others to new and challenging areas helping to set up Government establishments and goodwill; and while in Port Moresby, serving as multilingual interpreter in the House of Assembly. Roger continued in the Administration until he transferred to the Magistrate’s Bench in Goroka and Wewak.

In 1956 in Mendi, Roger married Margaret Fullerton of Sydney and the wonderful occasion, overseen by Bob and Kay Cole, was attended and enjoyed by the whole District. Roger and Margaret travelled and lived in many varied towns and stations. Their children Christina and Anthony were both born in Papua. Roger loved PNG, and many friends were made along the way and many contacts have been kept and valued. On their return to live in Sydney, Roger joined Comalco and began another satisfying and challenging career, completing accounting and law studies with admission to the Bar in 1982.

Roger is survived by his wife Margaret, his daughter Tina, his son Anthony and daughter-in-law Sylke and grandchildren Alexander and Philippa. Tina Claridge  


Christopher Phillip DANGERFIELD (1 October 2005, aged 61)

Chris went to PNG as a cadet patrol officer in 1963 and departed after attaining District Officer standing in about 1976. He had served in the Southern Highlands, the West Sepik, the Gulf and DDA Headquarters. Chris was a graduate of ANU and whilst an employee of the Commonwealth Government, after PNG days, was reading for his PhD when illness and personal pressures precipitated his retirement and move to Western Australia in 1993.

Chris possessed a brilliant mind and his naturally high intelligence was appreciated by those who knew him well. He had a detailed understanding of astrology. Chris had a life time dedication to philosophy and had written books and articles on this discipline. Chris was the best of company, always intellectually stimulating with a quirky sense of humour. He could drink and sing along with the best of them. Chris was an excellent raconteur and will be sadly missed. Warren Read  


Frank Henry DAVIES (1 January 2006, aged 80)

Frank was born at Basingstoke, UK. After service in WW2 as a Bevan Boy in the mines in Yorkshire, he joined the Hampshire Constabulary. From January 1953 to June 1963 he served as an officer in the Kenya Police Force. Frank joined the RPNGC on 23 March 1970 as an Assistant Police Inspector, and was confirmed as a Sub Inspector two years later. He served at Kainantu and Goroka, and later at Bomana Police College, then as Police Intelligence Liaison Officer, Staff Officer at Konedobu Police HQ, and finally as Port Moresby Metropolitan Superintendent. He left PNG on 30 June 1980.

Frank then worked briefly as a security officer for Telecom in Brisbane. After the death of his wife Audrey in 1986 he lived at Springwood close to his family. Together with his son- in-law Lynn, he then set up the Queensland Drag Racing Club in the Springwood area for local youth. Frank was quiet and non-judgemental and made many friends with his ready smile and delightful sense of humour. He died in his sleep on the evening of New Year’s Day. He leaves three children, Martin, Marion, and Richard, four grandchildren and a great grandchild. The funeral was attended by family and many friends including a large contingent of ex RPNGC officers and wives. Max Hayes and Derek Bell


Eric John GANE  (20 December 2005, aged 97)

Formerly of Goroka


Ian ‘Blue’ GRUNDY (17 January 2006, aged 68)

Ian was born in Jandowae, Queensland, and educated at Churchie, followed by U.Q. and then the Australian Forestry School in Canberra on a NG administration scholarship. In 1957, midway through the course, he completed a field year out of Keravat and Bulolo. On arrival back in the Territory in 1960 he was posted to the station at the Brown River.

He met Pauline that same year and they married in 1961. Pt Moresby became their base where Ian worked out of both the Regional and Head Office. Surveys included Papua Coastal regions, the Mt Hagen area, Waitapi to Brown River and finally in 1970 from Australia, Ossima to Vanimo. In 1966 the family, which was now four, relocated to Victoria where Ian joined APM in Gippsland. In 1974 he was appointed Queensland Forests Manager, and stayed a further 19 years with that company.

In 1993 Ian signed a three-year contract to manage a large reafforestation project out of Banda Aceh on Sumatra. He and Pauline spent three special years there. The tragedy that was the Boxing Day 2004 ‘quake/tsunami, when so many friends and former staff were lost, was indelible. Retirement saw Ian playing more lawn bowls. He held office at his Memorial Club and also returned to part-time work with APM. Ian read extensively and had a special interest in the WWII NG campaigns. He rarely missed a Dawn Service. He always said his NG years were special. Ian is survived by Pauline, Robyn, Neale and two grandchildren. Pauline Grundy


Garry McKELLAR-JAMES (2 February 2006, aged 63)

It was a great shock to learn that our mate Garry died suddenly at Avenel in NW rural Victoria. Garry McKellar-James was a kiap in the then Western District of PNG and after that, the Chimbu District from the early 60s to early 70s. After leaving the PNG service he spent a number of years in SE Asia on various projects. Garry was not the type to stand back and just let it happen, he was a mover and a shaker. Of his own volition, he would challenge something if he felt it was wrong. Come to think of it, isn’t this what being a kiap was all about?

During the short time I knew Garry, via the ex-kiap website and then via email and the telephone, I found him to be a ball of infectious energy. Recently returning to Australia from a freezing Poland, Garry and Ewa set about building a new home at Avenel and taking up where they had left off before they left Australia. Garry also joined the Country Fire Service and, at 63, earned his orange overalls. He was passionate about preserving Australia’s proud role, of which he was a part, in bringing PNG out of the stone age and into the modern world. He was determined that we should not let our history die with us. Our ranks may be thinning but that only brings us closer together. Bamahuta Taubada. Paul Oates


Alexander Robert MELDRUM (aged 75 years)

‘Skeeter’ was an Agricultural Officer in PNG. Following his graduation from Gatton Agricultural College he began his PNG service in March 1948 when he attended Number 9 Short Course at ASOPA in Sydney with me, Jim Sinclair and others. After staying two or three years in PNG he then studied Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland and subsequently practised as a Veterinarian at Rockhampton. Bob Blaikie


(8 November 2005, aged 64)

Born in Melbourne, Judy went to PNG with her husband Peter and baby Julia in 1966. As volunteers they taught at Koaru High School and Ruatoka Teachers College, Kwikila, where Peter was Principal for two years. Trained as a Phys Ed teacher Judy proved herself very versatile by teaching students and their wives health and family welfare and acting as business manager at Ruatoka. In 1969 Peter was appointed Social Science lecturer at Goroka Teachers College, and several years later Judy became secretary to the CEO of Goroka Local Government Council. She soon got the measure of two wily old Council employees, Fuferefa and Masta Cylinder, who surprised everyone by accepting the need to take orders from a woman. One of her great achievements in Goroka was to raise thousands of kina for a town swimming pool. On another occasion she organised a ‘Clean Up Goroka’ campaign using the ‘Noa Pipia’ slogan. Her work in Goroka was acknowledged when she received the PNG Medal for service to the community. She had many great adventures in PNG climbing mountains (Mt Wilhelm, Mt Michael and Mt Otto), exploring caves and parachuting. Back in Victoria after 12 years in PNG, Judy managed a cooperative for unemployed people in Maryborough and when the family moved to St Leonards on the Bellarine Peninsula she completed a commerce degree at Deakin University and then became retail manager of Trading Partners, Geelong, a not-for-profit ‘fair trade’ organisation selling crafts supplied by people in Third World countries.

Four years ago she contracted CIPD, a debilitating neuropathy, which she courageously fought to the end, continuing to be active in family, church and community affairs. She was also able to type and edit Peter’s PhD thesis, A History of Contact and Change in the Goroka Valley, 1929-1950. Judy is survived by her husband, Peter, and children, Julia, Paul and Tam and grandson Jacob. Peter Munster


Nancy REASON (née Brearley) (4 October 2005, aged 92)

Nancy was born in Brisbane and moved with her family around Queensland and NSW extensively during her childhood. In 1937 Nancy met Charles Alfred Reason. They married in the Madang Lutheran church in December 1937 and then moved to Kar Kar Island where Charles worked as a Plantation Manager for Dylup Estates. Nancy and Charles’ early married years in PNG were among the happiest she had ever known. The outbreak of war temporarily halted their idyllic tropical lifestyle with Nancy being evacuated by air with the other Madang women, and Charles remaining in PNG, later joining the American small ships division. Nancy returned to the territory in 1946 with her new baby Helen and the family moved to war-torn Bau Plantation, near Madang, where Charles had constructed a kunai, pungal and limbom house for them. Nancy and Charles had a son John in 1952 completing their family. In 1954 after Charles joined the Department of Agriculture as a produce inspector, the family moved to Kavieng where they remained until 1967, the year that Charles died. In 1994, at the sprightly age of 81, Nancy returned on a cruise to PNG with many other New Guinea ex-pats on the Fairstar. She found many things had changed in Rabaul and Madang, but her love of PNG hadn’t faded even after 20 years absence. Her house in Kenmore was full of mementos of her time in PNG and she regularly corresponded and talked to ex-pats and read her copies of Una Voce cover to cover. Nancy slowed down a bit in her last years but remained mentally alert with an effervescent love of life. She will be sorely missed but remembered with joy. Katryn Bryant


Ethel Irene REILLY (20 September 2004, aged 83)

Ethel lived in PNG from 1950 to 1980 and was with Department of Forests in Keravat via Rabaul before moving to Mermaid Waters, Queensland. Ken Bonnett


Bill SCHLEUSENER, GM 1952 (26 January 2006, aged 81)

Bill was enlisted in military service from 1942-47 in the Australian special wireless group. After the Mt Lamington disaster on 21 January 1951 Bill risked his own life walking into the devastation and was given the citation of the George Medal for his courage and devoted service at this time. He was also awarded the 1939-45 Star Pacific and Star Defence Medal 1939-45 War Medal Australian Service Medal. Born in Bundaberg, Bill married Madeleine Jefford in Pt Moresby in 1953. Bill was a transit leader in search of Hydro electric power. Later he became marketing manager for Shell Pacific. He was selected to represent PNG as a lawn bowler the first time PNG attended the Commonwealth Games in Perth in 1962. Bill is survived by his wife Madeleine, three sons, William, Lee and Glenn, and their families. Madeleine Schleussener


Thomas SHACKLADY, MBE, BEM (22 January 2006, aged 88)

Composer of the PNG National Anthem, O Arise All You Sons of This Land

Born in Gateshead, County Durham, UK, on 15 November 1917, Thomas never knew his parents. His father, a Corporal in the Royal Marines, was killed in WWI some months prior to his birth. Raised by a relative, he displayed an early interest and ability in music, learning the Flugelhorn and teaching himself to play the trombone. Enlisting in the Royal Marines in 1935, he subsequently attended the Marines School of Music and became a musician, proficient in the trumpet, trombone, french horn and the percussion instruments. He was also an accomplished violinist.

Prior to WWII, Tom served on RN ships patrolling with the German navy off the coast of Franco’s Spain and also on the South China station based in Hong Kong and Shanghai. WWII saw Tom serving in a variety of naval stations and Royal Navy ships. In 1940 he was Marine Officer’s Attendant to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh (then Prince Philip and a Midshipman) on HMS Kent. Tom was able to renew this connection many times with the Duke of Edinburgh and the Royal Family both in Australia and PNG. Later, during the war, Tom was severely burnt when his ship, HMS Cleopatra, was torpedoed.  After his recovery in a hospital in Malta he volunteered to assist in the defence of the island from heavy German air raids by manning an anti-aircraft battery.  He then joined HMS Penelope which was subsequently sunk by a German U-boat.  Tom, with other survivors, was rescued by a US PT boat.   On discharge from the Royal Marines in 1948 and after holding various positions in the UK, he saw an advertisement for volunteers for the Australian Army and applied. Being accepted, he arrived in Australia with his family in 1951.  His musical ability was recognised and over the next six years he trained three bands a year from National Service intakes.

His initial connection with PNG was in 1957 when he was transferred to the Army Band in Port Moresby for a year. On return to Australia he was appointed Bandmaster for the 3RAR Enoggera Army Base band. Tom’s contribution to PNG began in earnest in 1964 when he was appointed Bandmaster of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Band with the rank of Inspector.  An event of significance early in his PNG career occurred at the Mt Hagen Show in 1965.  Earl Mountbatten was in attendance and heard his personal march, the Preobranjensky being played.  Amazed at hearing this in such a remote location, he went to investigate and found out that the Conductor of the Band, one Thomas Shacklady, was an ex-Royal Marine.

After a short stint in Rabaul on General Duties in 1970, he returned to Kila in Port Moresby where he continued as Bandmaster.  Independence was on the horizon and a competition was held in 1975 for a National Anthem. Many entries were received but it was won by Thomas Shacklady for the words and music of O Arise All You Sons of This Land.

In 1978 he was promoted to Superintendent and Director of Music, Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, and in 1980 to Chief Superintendent. He retired to live in Brisbane in 1981.

Under Tom’s direction, the RPNGC band gained considerable recognition and toured many countries between 1965 and 1975: Australia several times; New Zealand; USA; South-East Asia; other Pacific Islands and, in 1970, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The band also performed extensively at the 1969 South Pacific Games held in Port Moresby. His crowning achievement was the playing of the new National Anthem at the PNG Independence Ceremony in September 1975.

For his long, meritorious and dedicated service both to the Royal Marines and Papua New Guinea, Tom was highly decorated. He was awarded the following War Service Medals : 1939-45 Star; Italy Star; Africa Star; Defence Medal and War Service Medal.  Post World War ll awards were: Queen Elizabeth ll Coronation Medal; the BEM (1955) for service in the formation of National Service bands; MBE (1977) for service to Band Music in PNG; the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977; the PNG Independence Medal and the RPNGC Centenary Medal (1988).

Tom met his life-long partner, Danae Varipatis, in 1941 in Alexandria, Egypt. They married in 1942 at the British Consulate in Alexandria. Tom is survived by his sons Paul Thomas and Noel Liddle, their wives and five grandchildren.

Truly a life of service dedication and to band music. The Shacklady family


Molly SHEEKEY, (10 February 2005)

Widow of Kevin Sheekey, formerly of Pt Moresby. Courier Mail


Eva STANDEN, CBE (6 January 2005, aged 99)

Eva first went to Madiri Plantation in 1934. In 1936 she became a director at Bamu River Mission and remained in PNG until 1981. Her husband, Harrie, died in 1973. SMH 11 November 2006


Dr Bryan Edmund TODD, MB BS, FAFPHM, RACP, FAMA (2 November 2005, aged 73)

Dr Brian Todd attended the Brisbane Church of England Grammar School (Churchie) before graduating in medicine from the University of Queensland. Bryan served in Vietnam for nine months where he carried out various duties such as RMO of 2 RAR and medical advisor to the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam. Later he had a successful career as a General Practitioner in Lae, where he delivered over 300 babies and provided a medical service for TAA and Ansett Airlines. During his 11 years in Lae he was president of Apex, being a foundation member. He was a member of Rotary and Deputy Mayor. He was for some time the Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) of PNGVR, attending annual camps, and was involved with the PNG Cadet Corp at a senior level.

The Todd family departed PNG in 1970 and settled in Brisbane. Bryan served as the Australian Medical Association Queensland State President, worked as Queensland Director of Medical Services for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, was Chairman of the Commonwealth Games medical division and of the Asthma Foundation and Director of the Queensland Crippled Children’s Society. He also became involved in many community projects.

He enjoyed swimming, fishing, cricket and rugby and was a keen orchid grower and gardener. Bryan is survived by his wife Rhondda, five children and sixteen grandchildren. PNGVR, Harim Tok Tok and Major Bob Harvey-Hall, RFD. ED Rtd


Lorraine Geraldine YELLAND (29 December 2005, aged 81 years)

Born and raised in Sydney, Lorraine was employed by American Forces in Sydney during WWII, later transferring to Brisbane. In 1953 she visited Port Moresby for a holiday and stayed, working in the x-ray department of Ela Beach Base Hospital. Lorraine married Lloyd in Port Moresby in 1953 and lived in Mt Hagen (1955), Samarai (1959), Pt Moresby (1963), Goroka (1964), Mt Hagen (1966) and Wewak (1969). Early in 1974 the family departed PNG to live on the Gold Coast where Lorraine pursued many community activities and interests. Lorraine is survived by her husband Lloyd. Joan Colman


Bill YEOMANS (aged 79 years)

Bill arrived in Rabaul in 1951 to work as an electrical mechanic with Commonwealth Dept Works. Later on he became electrical supervisor with Elcom. He served in Rabaul, Wewak, Lae and finally Moresby and retired in 1975. He is survived by wife Maureen, sons Chris and David, daughter Janine and nine grandchildren. Maureen Yeomans


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