Vale March 2007

CLANCY, Des  |  DALE, Osmond Joseph  |  GAZZARD, Albert Edward (Bert)  |  GUEST, Bill  |  HARRIS, Reginald John Luis  |  HEALY, Maurice Thomas  |  KELLY, Richard John (Dick)  |  KEMP, Arnold  |  KENNEDY, Peter Ross |  McLAUGHLAN, David PeterMURRAY, Peter Ross Kennedy |  READ, David  |  ROSS, David  |  STEWART, David  |  TOWNER, Veronica Adelaide  |  TRIPP, Gordon  |  WHITELEY, Nita  | 


Des CLANCY (28 October 2006, aged 84)

Des Clancy, who died in Perth four months after being diagnosed with leukaemia, will be remembered as a notable and popular District Commissioner, one of the celebrated outside men, with an outstanding record leading patrols in often dangerous situations in unexplored country. Des was born and educated in Sydney and, after service in the wartime RAAF in 1943-45, he became a patrol officer in 1946. He served at several stations before being posted to the huge Western District where, with ADO Syd Smith, he made a number of fine patrols in little-known country. In 1951, Des was Smith’s companion in the re-opening of Ivan Champion’s pre-war Lake Kutubu police post, and they went on to complete the initial post-war exploration of the Southern Highlands, in the process locating the sites for the present stations of Mendi and Tari. In 1954 Des led what J.P. Sinclair has described as “one of the greatest patrols ever made in PNG”, escorting an Australasian Petroleum Company geological party on an incredible journey from Lake Kutubu to Tari, down the Strickland River to the Fly, and beyond. Des occupied posts with equal distinction in many parts of the territory both before and after he was promoted to District Commissioner in 1966. A former kiap who worked under Des, Peter Barber of Melbourne, wrote in a funeral eulogy: “The indigenous people of the Southern Highlands respected him, indeed loved him, as he’d been one of the first kiaps to enter their world in the fifties and he returned in the late sixties to ensure that their new world was harmonious, progressive and the least traumatic he could programme. He built significant relationships with the Southern Highland leaders; he was a bridge across the cultures.” Des departed PNG with his wife, Margaret, and their two children, Sarah and Stephen, just after independence, when the Western Australia government offered him a position to devise and initiate a system of regional government for the State, starting with the Kimberley. After doing a successful job in the Kimberley he moved in 1976 to Carnarvon, where he established the Gascoyne Region. He retired from the WA public service after 12 years, at the age of 65, but for the next five years was a director and consultant of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association, before retiring again. In all that time in the West the Clancy’s maintained contact with their many old friends of PNG days, and often remarked that they had settled so easily in WA because they found the pastoralists had the same attitude to life and work as the kiaps. Editor (See also Jim Sinclair’s and Jim Toner’s personal recollections on page 24 and 25 of the March 2007 Una Voce)  

Osmond Joseph DALE, CBStJ (12 November 2006, aged 72)

Ossie, as he was always known, grew up in Queensland. While still at school he felt that God was calling him into the ministry and as soon as he finished secondary school he worked for the Methodist Church’s Youth Department. Following ministerial service and theological college, he was appointed to Chermside. While there he was ordained, and married Patsy. In 1961 the Dales went to PNG as missionaries with the Methodist Church, serving at Kimadan on New Ireland and then at Kavieng, until the end of 1967. Ossie then served as a Chaplain with the Pacific Islands Regiment at Wewak 1968-75 and at Manus Island 1975-77. The family returned to Queensland in 1978 and Ossie served as a minister of the Uniting Church at East Ipswich and then at Nambour. His final appointment was as full-time Chairman of the Presbytery of Mary Burnett for ten years. He also served part-time as an Army Reserve Chaplain and as Chaplain for St John Ambulance, and was made a Comrade Brother in the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

After retirement from full-time ministry in 1996, Ossie and Patsy went to England, where Ossie served for three years in the Methodist Circuit of Burton-on-Trent. His ability to get people moving in the right direction led a fellow-minister to describe him as a ‘Gentle Bulldozer’. He leaves many fond memories of his ministry in Australia, PNG and England. He is survived by Patsy, children Ross, Annette and Marc, and extended family members. Rev Neville Threlfall


Albert Edward (Bert) GAZZARD (29 October 2006, aged 96)

Bert obtained his Electrician’s Certificate and later his Diesel Mechanic’s Papers in Sydney. During the Depression Bert had many jobs, mainly in mining or whatever else he could find. In 1935 he went to PNG with his young wife Alice: his job was to electrify a mine. Their daughter was born in 1936 and in 1937 the family moved to Baiune where Bert joined Bulolo Gold Dredging. In 1941 he joined the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (NGVR). His wife and daughter were evacuated prior to the Japanese invasion. Bert was one of the small band of men involved in the daring rescue of hundreds of soldiers and civilians fleeing down the west coast of New Britain after the invasion. NGVR members on the New Guinea mainland located and commandeered a number of small vessels, among them the Bavaria which was crewed by Bert and three others. Bert utilised his diesel mechanic’s training to repair the Bavaria and ensure she was ready for the open sea. In 1945 the family returned to Bulolo and Bert was placed in charge of the huge operation of salvaging the enormous gold dredges that had been deliberately submerged at the start of the war. After stints in Newcastle NSW and with Placer Development Ltd in Canada, Bert was appointed Assistant Manager of Bulolo Gold Dredging Ltd and Commonwealth-New Guinea Timbers Ltd, and became General Manager in 1956. In 1969 Bert advanced from Managing Director to Executive Vice President of Placer Development Ltd and relocated to Canada for 20 years. He retired in 1989 and he and Alice returned to Australia. Bert’s wife Alice predeceased him. He is survived by his daughter Judith Anne, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Adrian Leyden  

Bill GUEST (1 December 2006, aged 85)

Bill first went to New Guinea in 1941 as a 20-year-old serving in the infamous 39th Battalion, whose exploits and achievements at Kokoda and Isurava have been well documented. In 1952 he was posted to the PIR, then the PNGVR based in Lae. In 1954 he married Pat and in 1958 Annette (Bubby) was born. Bill retired from the Army in 1963 and moved to Adelaide where he found work with Australia Post. In 1964 the family returned to New Guinea, initially to Lae where Bill worked for New Guinea Company (Carpenters) and then to Goroka where he became Manager of New Guinea Company there. The family went ‘finis’ in 1979 and settled at Kipparing, Queensland. However Bill did not accept retirement well and went back to work for Carpenters in Mt Hagen and Madang as manager of their supermarkets until 1983 when he finally came back to Australia. Bill was involved in many clubs in Goroka, as President of the Goroka Sports Club, Goroka Bowling Club and the Goroka Rotary Club to name a few, as well as serving on the Goroka Council. Bill, Mick Nailon and Terry Gleeson were the founders of the Goroka Dingo Derby and the Roman Chariot Races, which many would remember being held at the front of the Goroka Sports Club. Bill was always available to help – he was well known for his good nature and his great sense of humour. Bill’s heart was forever in New Guinea. He loved the country, the lifestyle and the people – food was always Kai, dessert was always sweetkai, church was lotu, a torch was always a shootlamp, petrol, benzine, rubbish was pipia, even after 24 years, he never called them anything else. Bill is survived by his wife, Pat, daughter Annette, son Scott, and six grandchildren. Because of Bill’s love for New Guinea, we will be spreading his ashes at Kokoda or Isurava. ‘Masta bilong New Guinea Company Goroka’ will be going home. Pat Guest and family


Reginal John Luis HARRIS (19 January 2007, aged 78)

Reg went to PNG around 1946 or 1947 with the Dept of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries. He was involved in the development of the new tea industry at the experimental station at Garaina in the Middle Waria Valley of the Morobe District before moving to Keravat Agricultural Experimental Station out of Rabaul for three years. In 1952 he joined a private family company and assisted in the development of cocoa and copra at Langu Plantation in the Witu Islands for six years before returning to Queensland. Reg is survived by his wife Margaret and her children, Wanda and David. Andrea Williams (née Coote)  

Maurice Thomas HEALY (11 August 2006, aged 87)

Maurice was born in Port Moresby in 1919, the youngest of five children. His father, Michael, was a gaol keeper at Koki but died when he was very young and the family moved to Ela Beach under the care of the Catholic Church. Eventually a lease on a block of land was given to his mother, Agnes Healy, by Sir Hubert Murray and the family were able to build a home in Durville Street. Part of his education was at Nudgee College, Brisbane. The family were evacuated in WWII. Maurice served full time in the Citizens Military Forces from January 1942 to January 1946, which included active service outside Australia for 1308 days – in PNG. Maurice lived in Pt Moresby for most of his life and was well known and respected. He worked for Burns Philp Trading Company in charge of their bulk warehouse. He retired to Australia after Independence in 1975 and spent some years in Ipswich before moving to the Gold Coast. Maurice lived alone, and led a quiet and happy life – he was well versed in current affairs, he had a great interest in astronomy and weather patterns in the world and he followed the stock market religiously. He lived and breathed PNG – his heart never left his birthplace of Port Moresby. Janice Margaret Murray – née Lukin (Maurice’s niece)  

Arnold S KEMP (9 November 2006, aged 88)

Arnold went to New Guinea in 1963 as an employee of Lands, Surveys and Mines, after which he worked in Wau, then Rabaul. He also worked with the Soldier Settlement Scheme, the Development Bank when they took over that, and then the Department of Trade and Industry. Arnold moved to Grenfell in 1973 after building a home there. Pamela Kemp


Richard John (Dick) KELLY (1 December 2006, aged 72 years)


Peter Ross Kennedy MURRAY, aka ‘Pitamari’ (8 October 2006, aged 81)

Born Wellington, NZ. After completing the first civil course at ASOPA in 1946, he proceeded to Port Moresby where he was appointed as a Native Labour Supervisor and on 29 November 1946 was appointed as a probationary Patrol Officer, which position he held until 10 January 1947. On the following day he was appointed as a Clerk at Police Headquarters, Konedobu. On 12 February 1947 he was appointed as an Assistant Sub Inspector, and Warrant officer ll, of the combined police force, ‘Royal Papuan Constabulary & New Guinea Police Force, police personnel number ‘P44’. During his tenure, he served as Assistant HQ officer at Konedobu, and at Finschafen, and finally Rabaul in connection with the Australian War Crimes trials as an assistant gaoler. He resigned on 14 November 1947. He served in the R.A.N. 1942-45 in South West Pacific area which gave him a liking for small ships, taking up the role in 1948 of Mate on the MV Kokoda for two years. Following this he spent the years between 1950 and 1982 on plantations with long tenure on Baia Plantation, Kavieng. Max Hayes

The following additional obituary provided by his widow Pat Murray:

In 1949 Peter leased Libba Lossu Plantation in New Ireland from the owner Mrs
Margaret Grose, widow of the late WE Grose and soon met the nearest neighbours,
the Stanfield family. Peter and Pat (Stanfield) were married in 1951. In 1955, when
the Lossu lease expired, Peter went on to manage Luburua and from 1958, Baia.
During the Baia years, Peter was a member of the District Advisory Council and
twice stood for election to the House of Assembly in an ‘open’ electorate. He drew
considerable support from the NI people as he was well known and respected, but
not enough to win a seat. Peter had a second ‘occupation’ that of licensed
auctioneer, holding sales three or four times a year. He dealt mainly with
Government disposals, especially vehicles, but also with personal property. Auction
days were well attended by all races, and the event took on a carnival atmosphere.
Peter joined the Freemasons Lodge and reached the status of Master. He was able
to assist in the building of the Kavieng Lodge by contributing a ‘wall building’
machine for the construction of concrete blocks. In 1982 Peter and Pat left New
Ireland because of a health problem of Peter’s resulting from war service. From
1946 to 1982 Peter only ‘went south’ three times before ‘going finish’. In Australia
Peter was an active member of Legacy for over 20 years. He joined the Newcastle
branch of the Naval Association and was the instigator of a suitable annual
commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea held in Newcastle on the Sunday
nearest the Battle date in early May; he was made a life member of the Naval
Association in 1999. In 2005 Peter and Pat moved to a retirement home on the
Central Coast of NSW. Peter is survived by his wife Pat, four children, Anne,
Alastair, Rosalind and Eve, and ten grandchildren.
Pat Murray 


David Peter McLAUGHLAN (26 November 2006, aged 79)

Will be sadly missed by his sister, Jean, and family. Info from Tweed Daily News, 4 December 2006  


David READ, LLB, PSM (5 September 2006, aged 67)

Dave was born in Maitland NSW and completed his schooling in Hobart. He went to PNG as a Cadet Patrol Officer in early 1960, serving at Ela Beach, Kairuku, Tapini, Woitape, and Guari, and then in Lorengau Manus Island, Okapa, Lufa and Goroka EHD, and Port Moresby. He ultimately became responsible for staff training for the Department of District Administration, including the induction of new field officers at Kwikila. Following Independence in 1975, Dave’s position was taken by a local officer. He went to Canberra, where he studied at the Australian National University and in 1978 graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree. He then secured a position in the Northern Territory where he worked in the Department of Community Development, extending local government through aboriginal communities, and then in the Treasury where he rose to become the Commissioner of Taxes. Other hats he wore in this position were Director of Gaming and Senior Director of Revenue. He was awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding service to the Northern Territory Treasury in 1997. In 1999 he retired to Cooran on the Sunshine Coast but continued to do consulting work. Retirement was not in his nature and so with a retired colleague from the Victorian State Tax Office, they started their own small company to assist the community in issues with Local Government and Government alike. Dave is survived by his wife Lucy and sons Michael, Craig and Lachlan. Wil Speldewinde


David ROSS (24 November 2006, aged 76)

Patrol Officer, rubber planter and cattle breeder, David had an adventurous, challenging and enterprising life. Born in Melbourne in 1930, one of three children of David Ross and his wife Molly, David was educated at Melbourne Grammar. He spent his early teenage years knocking about in various ordinary city and country jobs before choosing a more challenging career as a Patrol Officer in PNG. David attended the ASOPA Short Course and, on arrival in Port Moresby, in June 1949 was posted to the Central District stationed at Rigo and Kokoda. After home leave, he was posted to Baluan in the Manus District where he supervised the development of the Baluan Native Council. Living leisurely in a world of shady coconut palms, sandy beaches, coral atolls and cobalt waters David had to remind himself that he was supposed to be working not holidaying. Selected to attend No. 5 Long Course at ASOPA in 1954-55, David studied industriously and generated a life-long friendship with we four of his ASOPA classmates. Following ASOPA David was posted to the Gulf District where from Kerema, Kikori and Kukipi he patrolled the Lakekamu hinterland and surrounding rivers and swamps. David was always looking for challenges for his practical talents and felt his role in the administration did not meet these. In 1957 he noticed a Government Gazette inviting tenders to a lease of the government rubber plantation at Kokoda. He submitted a winning tender, resigned from the Administration and moved to Kokoda in January1958 where he spent the next 10 years as a rubber producer. In 1969 the Government required him to surrender the lease or face expropriation. Agreement was finally reached in 1975. David had also branched out in a partnership in breeding Droughtmaster cattle which he also withdrew from in 1979. He settled his family in Perth in 1969 where he assuaged his restless spirit in several building projects but returned to Kokoda and Port Moresby a number of times until his business interests were liquidated. He moved to Brisbane in 1996 and remarried the same year. David’s health deteriorated in the last years of his life culminating in a stroke from which he did not recover. He died in Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital. He leaves us with fond and lively memories of his irrepressible, assertive and rambunctious spirit.

David is survived by his wife Janice with whom he shared the last years of his life in happy retirement and his three children Cameron, Elizabeth and Judith from his first marriage. Bob Blaikie, Ken Connolly, John Norton and Graham Taylor.


David STEWART (19 December 2006, aged 82)

David Stewart grew up in Sydney, and joined the AIF on his eighteenth birthday. He was posted to New Guinea in 1943 and served in Madang and Lae and finally with the Australia New Guinea Production Control Board in Port Moresby. After his discharge in 1946 he was admitted to Parramatta District Hospital where he met his future wife, a nurse there. In 1947 he joined the PNG Production Control Board in Port Moresby and almost a year later they were married. The Production Control Board became known as the Copra Marketing Board, and David worked in Kavieng, Samarai and Port Moresby. He had started as a member of the accounting staff and assumed the position of General Manager in August1973. In 1982 he was awarded the Imperial Service Order for services to agriculture and primary production in PNG. He retired from PNG in 1984 and subsequently accepted a position with the United Nations Development Programme to advise the Commodities Marketing Board in the Solomon Islands and to establish a programme similar to the one he had overseen in PNG. David’s last visit to Papua New Guinea was in 1997 for the official opening of the Stewart Research Station, at the invitation of Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of PNG. David’s wife died in 2004 and some time later David moved to the Cheriton Hostel to be closer to medical care. He is remembered by his family as a kind and generous person and a devoted family man. He is survived by his children Ruth and John and two grandchildren. Ruth Stewart (daughter)


Veronica Adelaide TOWNER (20 October 2006, aged 94)

Born in Maryborough, Queensland, on 4 October 1941 she married at Bauple, Qld, Frederick Ernest Towner, who had joined the New Guinea Police Force on 15 December 1939 and resigned on 23 March 1941. He was then employed by Carpenters at Rabaul for a while but decided to return to Australia and join the RAAF in which he served for three and a half years. After Fred’s war service with the RAAF he returned to TP&NG being reappointed to the R.P.C & N.G.P.F. on 20 January 1947. Veronica joined him when scarce housing then became available. Prior to Fred’s retirement in 1969, they spent time in Wau, Lae, Madang, Kavieng but mainly in Kokopo and Rabaul. She is survived by a daughter, Pat, and a grandson Peter. She was a charming and gracious lady. Max Hayes  

Gordon TRIPP (22 June 2006, aged 70)

Gordon Tripp, the noted artist and cartoonist, died last June in the Kyneton region of Victoria, where he had settled with wife Cheryl. His health deteriorated after contracting golden staph following a minor operation. Gordon had many gigs in Port Moresby in the sixties and seventies but none more tempestuous than one I happened to share with him when we both freelanced for the notorious Black and White magazine. Black and White was widely circulated and widely anticipated in Moresby during the 70s. Trippy’s cartoons were spot-on, though some were perhaps a little politically incorrect in today’s situation. Black and White published 27 issues between 1966 and 1969 and I contributed to three or four of the early ones before bailing out, as I think Gordon did also. In recent years Gordon contributed cartoons to The Kilmore Free Press. Fran Bailey MP, the Federal Member for McEwen and controversial Minister for Small Business and Tourism, wrote that Gordon had a knack of capturing the essence of an issue with a few deft swipes of his pen. She has even included some of her favourite cartoons on her website ‘even if they don’t always show me in the best light!’ Gordon is survived by his wife Cheryl, and a son and daughter. Extracted from Keith Jackson’s ASOPA web pages ( | )  

Nita WHITELEY (10 November 2006, aged 90)

Nita grew up in Taree, trained in nursing and met up with Norman Whiteley when he was a patient. Norman, in partnership with Tony Edgell, owned plantations in Manus and Nita readily adapted to life out there. She and Norman spent their final years at Mt Riverstone, Norman predeceasing Nita by several years. Linda Evans

Leave a Reply