Vale March 2014
ANDERSON, Ian Stuart | (10 April 2013) BELLAIRS, William (Bill) | (21 October 2013) BOWMAN, Gordon “Leo” | (10 November 2013) COLEMAN, Shirley | (18 January 2014) DAVIS, Peter Frederick | (13 December 2013) EVANS BEM, Ilid (Taffy) | (18 January 2014) HALL, Godfrey Foy (Bob or Scrubby) | (October 1990) HAYES, Jean Alison | (1 July 2013) | (22 November 2013) SHOWELL, David | (6 Jan 2014) WADSWORTH, Alan Francis | (20 November 2013) WALL, David Andrew de Bérigny | (26 December 2013)
William (Bill) BELLAIRS (21 October 2013, aged 96)
One of the last Gold Coast Kokoda veterans has died. Local icon and decorated World War II soldier Bill Bellairs passed away surrounded by family on 21 October 2013 after a short illness.
Mr Bellairs, originally from Victoria, lived on the Gold Coast for more than 35 years and was well known as the patron of the annual Kokoda Challenge and a driving force behind the funding and creation of the Kokoda memorial at Broadbeach’s Cascade Gardens, which was opened in 2008.
His son Gary flew from Victoria to be with his father in his last days and said he would be missed by his family and the wider community. “My dad lived a long and full life and, for him, family meant a heck of a lot,” he said.
“There was an endless stream of people coming to see him while he was in hospital at Alamanda and it made us realise the impact he had on other people in the community.
“To us he was simply Dad and we never saw that other side of him but in the last week it really hit home with us how many people he knew and whose lives he’d touched.”
Mr Bellairs was born in August 1917 and enlisted in the Australian Army in 1941 when he was assigned to the 39th Battalion. He was just 24 years old when the battalion arrived in PNG in 1942 and within months was fighting Japan’s forces on the treacherous Kokoda Trail. In his last interview just two months ago, Mr Bellairs said his memories of the conflict were strong.
“People must remember all the dangers which have faced our beautiful land,” he said.
After the war he married the love of his life, Joy, and had two sons, Gary and David.
He worked as a bookmaker until his retirement in 1977 before moving to the Gold Coast in 1978. In the past decade he worked tirelessly to give veterans greater recognition as well as lobbying the federal government to build a permanent memorial to the Kokoda Trail on the Gold Coast.
He was a well-loved member of the Broadwater Southport Rotary Club and attended his last meeting just one week before his death. Mr Bellairs was farewelled at a service at The Southport School chapel on 23 October 2013. Source: Andrew Potts, Gold Coast Bulletin
Godfrey Foy (Bob or Scrubby) HALL (October 1990, aged 76)
The name Scrubby was anointed from his early experiences on the golf course at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, where Bob was a solicitor. He died in October 1990, aged 76 years.
In 1954 he applied for a position as stipendiary magistrate for the then Territory of Papua New Guinea was accepted and posted to Rabaul on New Britain. Bob quite enjoyed the challenge of this reasonably new frontier and was particularly interested in the local people trying to involve their legal understanding with that of the white man’s law He also related well to the large Chinese population of the area.
Bob was also coroner as well as magistrate and his duties involved extensive travel, to Kavieng, Bougainville, Manus, Duke of York Islands along with outposts on New Britain: Kokopo, Kerevat, Pomio and Talasea to mention a few. Travel was in rugged DC3 or amphibious Catalina, sometimes by government trawlers or tug, car or half truck and occasionally just on foot patrol.
He enjoyed the trips on the trawlers, sometimes able to take the family, standing at the bow of the vessel at night watching the dolphins playing in the florescent water, a beautiful sight. He continued his love for golf on the picturesque Rabaul course as well as developing an interest in baseball and basketball.
Due to his sympathy with the locals, he was transferred to Port Moresby in 1960 where the powers to be could keep a closer eye on him. He served there till 1963 when the pressure became untenable so he transferred to Alice Springs, NT.
Here he also took on the role of mining warden and licensing magistrate, doing a monthly circuit of Katherine and Tennant Creek, as well as trips to remote outstations such as Hermannsburg, Papunya, and Yuendumu, where he had more success working with aboriginal understanding of law combined with white law. At times his jurisdiction would cover the whole of the Northern Territory to Oodnadatta in South Australia, from Camoweal in Queensland to the Western Australian border. He served on the bench till 1978, retiring to go back to private practice often taking on cases for the battlers. Failing health saw him retire in 1982 and he and wife Betty moved to rural acreage at Wamuran, Qld, till his death in 1990.
During his time in Alice he was heavily involved in lawn bowls, baseball and women’s softball and the Alice Springs Rotary club. Betty lived on till 2008 and they are survived by sons Arthur and Robert.
Note: Arthur Hall wrote: I am the eldest son of Godfrey Foy (Bob) Hall magistrate in Rabaul 1954 till 1960 then Port Moresby till 63 when we transferred to Alice Springs, NT. I noted that the entry for father in the alphabetical listing [on the web site] is rather brief and wondered if we could add to it?
Ian Stuart ANDERSON (10 April 2013, aged 83)
He was born in Melbourne. Between 1947 and 1965 he served in various police forces: South Australia Police Force, Vancouver City Police (Canada), Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Commonwealth Police then ASIO and again to RCMP.
He was appointed to RPNGC on 28 February 1966 at Bomana Police College before resigning on 31 December 1966 to return to Canada. He re-joined RPNGC on 23 January 1969 as assistant public relations officer resigning on 28 April 1969, when he became a private investigator in Australia specializing in fraud cases. He was also a prolific author and in the following fifteen years returned to Canada periodically. Following a stroke, he had been in ill health for some time and is survived by his widow Mary and a daughter. M.R. Hayes
Gordon “Leo” BOWMAN (10 November 2013, aged 88)
Born in Edenhope, Victoria, Leo joined the RAAF at age 19 and trained as a pilot at Sale. He was sent to Sydney to learn Japanese when the war ended. He went to South Australia and joined the Commonwealth Bank. He played Australian Rules football for Port Adelaide. In 1948, the bank offered him a position at Lae.
Conditions in Lae were rough as the town had been completely devastated. He lived in a canvas donga for three years and had the best time of his life. After three years with the bank, Charlie Heavey of Vacuum Oil offered him a job.
Whilst working in Lae, he met and married Flora Stewart, daughter of the legendary Flora ‘Ma’ Stewart.
Leo was a founding member of the Lae Golf Club and the Lae Cricket Club. He represented Papua New Guinea on a rugby league tour to Australia. He was an inaugural member and president of the Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Employer’s Federation, a councillor of the University of Technology, Chairman of the Niall Community Theatre, and a member of Rotary.
Mobil transferred him to Port Moresby as manager for two years, and then posted him to head office in Melbourne. He returned as General Manager, Mobil PNG, and as a director of Mobil Pacific which included Fiji, Tahiti, Noumea and Solomon Islands.
After thirty years in Papua New Guinea, Leo returned to Mobil head office in 1979 and retired in 1987. He remained in Melbourne and enjoyed some overseas travel. He attended all Collingwood AFL matches at the MCG.
Leo leaves a wife, daughters Debbie and Susan, son Peter and 5 grandchildren. Leo Butler and Peter Bowman
Peter Frederick DAVIS (13 December 2013, aged 73)
Peter was the only member of the RPNGC between 1945 and 1975 to have been a Falkland Islander.
After service in the merchant navy, he served in the British South Africa Police (then Rhodesia now Zimbabwe) between 1961 and 1964. He was appointed to RP&NGC on 18 January 1965. With Senior Detective Norman Simmons of the New South Wales Police, he set up the first RPNGC fingerprint section in Port Moresby where he spent the remainder of his time. On 1 April 1967 he resigned and became a full time general secretary of the RPNGC Police Association. After leaving PNG, he worked as an industrial relations officer for Caterpillar, Hamersley Iron, Vulcan Industries, Stanley Tools and the Metal Trades Industry Association. Later he moved into the pet care industry at Pettina Park, Moonee Beach, NSW. He is survived by Daphne and a son. M.R.Hayes
David SHOWELL (6 Jan 2014, aged 70)
David was born in Renmark, the son of a well-known fruit growing family. He and I first met as scouts in the Renmark Scout Troop. David’s primary schooling was at Renmark West Primary School and his secondary schooling at Scotch College Adelaide. He then worked briefly in Adelaide. After a couple of years, he sailed across the Tasman to New Zealand for a working holiday. He travelled on to Europe where he tried a huge variety of jobs. After some time he headed home and showed interest in a position with the Malaysian Police Force until hearing of opportunities as a kiap in PNG.
Back in Australia in late 1967 in his twenties, David applied for a Cadet Patrol Officer position in TPNG. After training at ASOPA, he was soon on a big balus to PNG. By mid-1968 David had been posted to Nipa sub-district out of Mendi, Southern Highlands, where his ADC was Allan McNeill. There were two patrol posts, Poroma and Margarima, a rather rough road system but navigable and a day’s drive to Mendi. This was the start of his 10-year service in PNG, working in the highlands and on Bougainville. “The best years of my life,” he often said.
In Bougainville, his next posting was to Kunua patrol post on the west coast, where there were not many people, very isolated and with access only by boat. Following this was Kieta Sub-District Office, when Arawa was just being built, and where eventually his work revolved around Bougainville Copper. It was not a happy time at Panguna for him with the start of the political and civil unrest. “We all knew eventually there would be a huge backlash against Bougainville Copper, but nobody listened”. David made a request to return to the Highlands and got Chimbu and later took leave and his final posting was to where it all began for him at Nipa sub-district.
After returning to Australia he studied wildlife and the environment and briefly managed a reptile park near Whyalla before returning to Renmark and the family fruit growing property.
David was a committed community member heavily involved with the National Trust of South Australia, Renmark branch; Renmark Lions; Local environment group; Renmark Rowing Club; up until his untimely fatal farm accident.
David’s son Patrick works at a local winery and lives in the family home. Lauren the daughter, like her father, is travelling the world and is currently teaching in France.
We all miss you David, Rest in peace.
Brian J Lock
Dave started as a Kiap on 24/6/68 and served for 10 or 12 years. He was killed in a tragic farming accident on his property at Renmark. David was well known for his involvement in community activities in Renmark.
Shirley COLEMAN (18 January 2014, aged 80)
In 1962, Customs Officer Frank Coleman proposed by letter from PNG to Shirley Morris who was living in Sydney. Shirley’s first task was to buy her own engagement ring, then her wedding dress and other matrimonial trappings before heading to Madang where they were married on 10 November.
Frank was transferred to Wewak where the always active Shirley became involved with various community groups, including the CWA. Shirley took pity on young Australian bank staff based at Wewak and later Lae, and their table provided a generous and nutritious culinary alternative for many bankies in the 1960s. Her wide circle of friends included the Somare family. With twin daughters, Yvonne and Ruth, the Coleman family went finish in 1975 to Sydney.
Frank’s ‘Golden Handshake’ helped buy the house in Fullers Road, Chatswood, that was their ‘home forever’; the Chatswood community then benefiting for nearly 40 year from the Coleman’s presence. Shirley worked at the Chatswood headquarters of the LNC motor groups and one October advised the CEO that the proposed date of the next board meeting should not be confirmed as it as Melbourne Cup day and there was a Cup Party to attend. Frank died in 2004 but Shirley soldiered on dabbling in wedding cake making and catering, including for functions run by the now father of the Australiana Parliament, former Minister Philip Ruddock. He was among the mourners who packed chapel for Shirley’s funeral. Bob Lawrence (PNG National Broadcasting Commission, 1974-76)
Ilid (Taffy) EVANS, BEM (18 January 2014, aged 85)
He was born on 21 January 1929, at Seven Sisters, South Wales, Great Britain.
Prior to his appointment to RPNGC he served in the British Army (National Service), then the Glamorgan Constabulary 1955-1959. On his arrival in Australia he joined the Commonwealth Police and served between March 1959 and March 1960. He then returned to Wales and re-joined his former Welsh constabulary between 1961 and 1964. He was appointed to RPNGC on 29 August 1967 on a six-year contract and served as an instructor at the Bomana Police College from which he resigned at the rank of Inspector (Third Class) on 4 September 1973.
On returning to England, he joined the Thames Valley Police from 1972 to 1976, following which he joined the British Foreign Office the same year, serving in some of the former British colonies, for which he was awarded the BEM. His last appointment was to the British High Commission in Canberra before retiring in 1991.
His wife, Ruth, died on 23 January 2013 and he is survived by three children. M.R. Hayes
Jean Alison HAYES (1 July 2013, aged 79)
After finishing school in Benalla, Victoria, Jean trained as a nurse at Wangaratta Base Hospital, and then as a midwife at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne. A holiday to Rabaul in 1956 saw her start at Namanula Hospital. She married John 1958. They moved to Kavieng and then to Port Moresby in 1963.
Jean commenced her long association with the CWA when she joined the newly formed Boroko Branch. She became the second president following after Barbara Underwood. Under Jean’s time as president, the Boroko Branch opened its new building and produced a very popular cookbook, Entertaining in Papua New Guinea. The next family move was to Lae in 1969 and on to Mount Hagen in 1971 and Port Moresby in 1973. Jean served as CWA’s National Handcraft Officer in 1973 and 1974. In 1976 the CWA awarded Jean a Loyal Service Medal and in 1978 she was awarded with a well-deserved Life Membership in recognition of her many years of valued participation with the CWA in Papua New Guinea.
Jean retrained as a bookkeeper and joined Coopers & Lybrand Chartered Accountants in Port Moresby. Following the family return to Brisbane, she worked for Coopers and then retired in 1992.
Jean always maintained her connection with CWA and would regularly attend ACWW conferences around the world. John passed away in January and Jean in July.
Alan Francis WADSWORTH (20 November 2013, aged 77)
Alan was born in Gin Gin, Queensland, in 1936. He attended the Brisbane Industrial High School, and he was a keen rugby player. After leaving school Alan joined the public service for three years.
During the post war years, the Australian government was busy expanding administrative services and infrastructure in Papua New Guinea.
The life of a patrol officer in PNG appeared more exciting and satisfying, and he was selected in 1956 to join the Department of Native Affairs. Alan’s first posting was to the Manus District. He was subsequently posted to Tapini in the Goilala area from 1958.
A year at the ASOPA Long Course followed in 1960. He met Barbara (Forrest) and they were married in Wewak by DC Bob Cole in 1961. From 1961 to 1967 he was stationed initially in Vanimo and then Wewak. Their son David was born in Wewak in 1963.
There was a strong Departmental push towards local government in preparation for PNG’s advancement to self-government and independence. Alan successfully completed local government training at ASOPA in 1966. In 1967, he was posted to Goroka in the Eastern Highlands where he was the District Local Government Officer. Barbara worked with the Goroka Town Council.
Alan’s long association with Freemasonry started in Wewak in 1963. He was elected Master of his Lodge in Goroka in 1972.
He was also a keen member of the Defence Reserve Forces, namely the PNG Volunteer Rifles, where he rose through the ranks to hold the position of Captain until the disbandment of the unit in 1973.
Whilst Alan loved PNG and its people, they decided reluctantly to leave Goroka in 1976 and relocated to the Gold Coast. Alan worked initially in real estate.
Several years later, they decided to set up their own pest control business, which they ran successfully until last year.
Alan’s other community interests included his Rotary International Clubs. He joined Rotary soon after arriving on the Gold Coast and also joined the Stradbroke Lodge. Alan became Master of the Stradbroke Lodge in 2011 and for the last five years was also the Treasurer.
Within Rotary he held the position of treasurer for the Broadbeach Rotary Club, and once this became the Robina Rotary Club he held the positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer. This club then transferred to become the Mermaid Beach Rotary Club and Alan was at the time of his passing both secretary and President.
From time to time Rotarians pay tribute to a prominent member whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives of the Rotary Foundation. Alan was made a Paul Harris Fellow (named in honour of Rotary’s founder) in 2013 for his service to Rotary.
Alan was very well regarded by his fellow Rotarians and Freemasons for his competency and efficiency. He was highly principled and a gentleman. My wife Shirlie and I have known the Wadsworth family for more than 50 years; our respective sons are best mates to this day. One of our ‘must-do’ events was the biennial ex-Kiaps’ Reunion on the Sunshine Coast.
We will sadly miss Alan, his friendship and his humour, as will his many other friends, and particularly his family.
Alan is survived by Barbara, his wife of 53 happy years, his son David, daughter-in-law Deanne and their 3 children. Hugh Richardson and David Wadsworth