Vale September 2009

BATES, Charles David (“Harry”) Dowson |  BELL, Derek Turnbull |  BRAZENOR, Ian |  BURGESS, Henry Bernard |  CLEARY, Francis Gerrard |  COLMAN, John |  CRITCHLEY, Thomas Kingston, AO, CBE |  CROCOMBE, Ronald George |  GIBSON, Geoffrey Wynstan, OBE |  GILL, Keith Charles, OBE |  HARVEY, Ian |  HAY, David Osborne, CBE, DSO, MBE |  JACOBI, Sir James |  JONES, Trevor Stuart |  KENNA, Edward, VC |  NEVE, William John |  THOMSON, Reg |  WALKER, Alan Robert |  WILLIAMS, Margarette (Margo) | WILSON, Lt Cdr Donald Rupert


Charles David (“Harry”) Dowson BATES (26 July 2009, aged 58)

Born in Madang on 9 September 1950, he died in Sydney after a long illness. David was the son of Charles Bates, a pre-war Kiap, WW2 Coastwatcher and post-war District Commissioner, and Roma Bates who is one of the Patrons of PNGAA.

Early schooling was in Madang and from Year 5 he was a Boarder at Trinity Grammar School in Sydney. Returning annually to PNG for Christmas holidays by DC3s instilled a love of travel and a great interest in aircraft. After school David took up a Management Cadetship with TAA for two years and later joined Ansett for five years before opening his own Travel Agency in Coffs Harbour. He purchased a share in the Harvey World Travel Franchise Company and was a Director for thirteen years.

Returning to Sydney he operated Travel Agencies in Engadine and Menai. He was an active member of Rotary for fifteen years, being a past President and a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellowship.

David always remembered his early years in PNG with great fondness and returned for holidays several times. His last visit was escorting a group of PNGAA members on a cruise to Rabaul, Madang, Lae, Samarai and Milne Bay in 1999. David will always be remembered for his fun loving ways and his sense of humour. He is survived by his wife Lyn, three daughters Rebecca, Alexandra and Elizabeth, mother Roma Bates and older sisters Pat Johnson and Hilary Morrissey. Lyn Bates and Pat Johnson


Derek Turnbull BELL (1 June 2009, aged 70)

Derek came originally from Scotland. At 15, he began a cadetship with the Royal Edinburgh Police and at eighteen joined the British South Africa Police (BSAP). He served for three years in Southern Rhodesia before arriving in Brisbane in 1960. He applied for the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and was appointed in Port Moresby in 1961.

Derek spent 16 years in PNG where he served in Port Moresby, Lae, Mt Hagen, Rabaul and Goroka. During his PNG career, he was appointed to Special Branch; he headed the investigation in Rabaul into the murder of District Commissioner Jack Emanuel in 1971. While in PNG, he completed a BA Degree from the University of Queensland. He was confirmed Inspector (First Class), Chief Superintendent, Bomana Police College, before returning to Australia in 1976.

He then decided to formalise his life-long love of books by enrolling in a Librarianship Diploma with the University of New South Wales. He graduated in 1977 and went to work for the Melbourne State Library. He then joined the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) 1977-1993, serving in Sydney, Melbourne, Port Moresby, Canberra and Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, working behind the ‘iron curtain’.

Derek settled in Brisbane in 1993 working with the Department of Justice. Once again returning to study, he enrolled with Griffith University in 2000 to study the justice system more fully. During his eleven years with the Department of Justice, he was awarded the Public Service Medal and achieved a Masters Degree in Criminology. A chance meeting between Derek and an ex-PNG Police colleague in Brisbane in 1994 led to a few beers and the suggestion that “we should do this again some time”. With Derek as organiser, this grew into an annual get-together of ex-PNG Police Officers, wives and friends spanning 15 years.

A devoted husband and family man, Derek died suddenly and unexpectedly. He leaves behind his wife Sharenne, two daughters and six grandchildren. His only son died in 2006. His two sisters and his elderly mother still live in Edinburgh. Sharenne Bell


Ian BRAZENOR (17 April 2009)

Ian first went to PNG in 1961 with the Commonwealth Bank, later becoming Assistant Secretary with the PNG Banking Corporation in Port Moresby from its inception in 1974.  The family left PNG in 1978.  Ian is survived by his wife Lenore and children Jane, Gary and Tony. Lenore Brazenor


Henry Bernard BURGESS (mid 2009)

Henry went to PNG in 1970 as Fisheries Officer and later Regional Fisheries Officer, Voco Point Fisheries Station. The family remained there until 1980. He is survived by his wife Sheila and their two children Lynne and Anthony. Sheila Burgess


Francis Gerrard CLEARY (13 April 2009, aged 83)

No further details available.


John COLMAN (21 April 2009, aged 79)

John spent his early years in country NSW, finishing school at Barker and attending the University of Sydney. In 1953 he went to PNG as a cadet patrol officer, first to Port Moresby, then to Okapa in the Highlands where he served from 1955 to 1957. Okapa Station had been opened only in 1954; apart from handling local matters, John’s ‘brief’ was to contact people to the South-East mainly the Kukukukus between the Lamari River and Menyamya.

John was on leave, having resigned from the Government, when he met his future wife, Joan, in 1957. He returned to PNG and, with Jock McGregor, set up business at Minj. Joan joined him in 1960. The business failed and John and his wife encountered difficult times until he was able to begin business again, this time in Mt Hagen. He began the trading business, Colman Trading, opening small stores scattered over the Highlands. Over the next 20 years this grew into a substantial business, ‘Coltra’, with stores in many centres.

The company employed many expatriates and trained local people in Mt Hagen, Chimbu, Wabag, Goroka, Madang and other areas. John lived in Mt Hagen for nearly all of his 47 years in PNG. He was elected a Councillor in Mt Hagen. At the age of 44 he obtained his pilot’s licence which gave him much greater flexibility. He pioneered a successful exporting business shipping coffee to Germany and the USA. Always interested in any new methods of coffee production, he and Joan traveled to many exotic coffee-growing countries. In 2000 he ‘retired’ to the Gold Coast to continue his travels. He and Joan had three children, and have six grandchildren.


Thomas Kingston CRITCHLEY, AO, CBE (14 July 2009, aged 93)

Born in Melbourne, Tom grew up in Sydney attending North Sydney Boys High.  He was in “the vanguard of Australian diplomats who recognised after World War II that Australia’s future must lie in South-East Asia and the Pacific. … Critchley laid the ground for the establishment of friendly relations with Australia’s neighbours.’’

In 1961 he married Susan Cappell. In March 1974 he became High Commissioner in Papua New Guinea, a position he held until PNG’s Independence. Throughout life he enjoyed playing jazz piano, golf, tennis, scuba diving and water and snow-skiiing.  He is survived by his wife, Susan, and daughters, Laurie, Sam, Liz and Vicky. Info from SMH, 24 July 2009


Ronald George CROCOMBE (19 June 2009, aged 79)

The Emeritus Professor was a New Zealander who in his early twenties was a district officer in the Cook Islands administration. He went to the ANU, earned a PhD in History, then joined the university’s New Guinea Research Unit when it was created in 1962. Later he became its Director and had a large hand in founding the annual Waigani Seminars and establishing the Unit adjacent to UPNG in buildings now housing the PNG National Research Institute. He was insistent that the results of research by staff be made available for posterity and edited many NGRU Bulletins. Ron left PNG in 1969 to become Professor of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji, and continued to write extensively on Pacific island problems even after retiring to Rarotonga. His family now mourning him extends from his wife Marjorie down to eight great-grandchildren. Jim Toner

Ron Crocombe’s entry in Wikipedia can be read HERE


Geoffrey Wynstan GIBSON, OBE (2009, aged approx. 79)

Geof’s early years were spent in Australia and New Zealand. After obtaining an MA in New Zealand he attended Avondale Missionary College, taught for a year, then completed his DipEd, and gained his BEd with honours a little later. He applied for a teaching position with the PNG Administration and was posted to Sogeri High School. The present Governor General, Sir Paulias Matane, and the present Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, are two of the many notable people educated there at that time, and both these men became his close personal friends.

Geof eventually became Head of the Division of Teacher Education. When the position was nationalised, Geof taught at the University of Papua New Guinea. In 1985 he became Head of Education at the newly established Pacific Adventist College (now Pacific Adventist University). Along the way, Geof completed his doctoral studies in London and at Michigan State University. He was awarded the OBE in 1983 for services to education in PNG. He continued teaching for nearly ten years more before returning to Australia following a health scare.

Geof maintained close contact with his students over the years, encouraging them in service, praying with and for them, following their careers and sponsoring their further education or that of their children. His entire estate will benefit the work of education in the South Pacific, especially in PNG and the Solomon Islands. Geof is survived by his older brother Col; their younger brother, Warren Neville, died in 2007. Laurie Meintjes and others


Keith Charles GILL, OBE (25 May 2009, aged 71)

Keith spent his childhood on the family cattle property near Gladstone in Queensland and attended Gatton Agricultural College before returning to the farm. He first visited PNG accompanying shipments of cattle in the late 1950s when the family started exporting cattle there. In 1959 he started work as assistant plantation manager on Mamba Estate near Kokoda. He had great respect for the Keinzle family from whom he learnt a lot about life in rural PNG. Apart from his field responsibilities he had to organise the slaughterhouse and butchery, marketing of the beef and was put in charge of the aid post providing basic medical services to the workforce of about 400.

In 1963, Keith bought into the property Mountainview just west of Port Moresby. This involved a large piggery and dairy enterprises as well as beef cattle and was a major source of fresh food for the people of Port Moresby at the time. Eventually the piggery and dairy were phased out and the farm concentrated on beef production. Fairfax, a bigger property closer to the coast was bought and the herd built up to almost 3,000 head. Keith imported quality bos indicus stock, including droughtmasters, from Australia and was recognised by the Australian Droughtmaster Society in 1971 as one of only seven official classifiers. Mountainview supplied over 3,000 head of cattle to other projects in PNG during the period of cattle expansion. Keith’s advice was always keenly sought by visiting World Bank missions supervising their cattle loans to PNG.

The family sold out in 1977 and, after remaining as manager for two years, the family left Mountainview in 1979. Keith spent some time in Australia but returned to PNG to pursue other business interests until deteriorating health forced him to leave PNG.

He was well known for his sense of humour and involvement in community activities. They included the Port Moresby Show Society (President), Rotary (Paul Harris Fellow) and the Port Moresby Turf Club. Mountainview provided most of the stock horses for the races at Bomana during the 1970s and all patrons will remember the legendary ‘Humbug’ who often had two or three races a day, winning most, but always at prohibitive odds. Keith was awarded the OBE by the PNG Government for services to the community.

He is survived by wife Yvonne, whom he married in Port Moresby in 1964, daughters Paula and Fiona and grandchildren Sophie and Angus. Ken Woodward


Ian HARVEY (11 February 2008, aged 80)

at Katherine, N.T.

After six years service in the Queensland Police, he joined RPNGC in 1957 before leaving to join Oil Search, later working as a hydrographer for Commonwealth Department of Works. When stationed in Moresby, he joined the Reserve Constabulary. M.R. Hayes


Sir David Osborne HAY, CBE, DSO, MBE (18 May 2009, aged 92)

David Hay was Administrator of Papua New Guinea from 1967 to 1970, taking over from Sir Donald Cleland. He was well qualified to steer the territory towards self-determination but was hamstrung by the then Secretary of the Departmentt of External Territories, George Warwick Smith, who insisted that all decisions relating to PNG should be run across his desk. On leave in 1970, Hay spoke with Prime Minister John Gorton and the upshot was that Smith was moved from Territories, and Hay took over as Secretary, Territories. This gave continuity to the moves towards self-government, especially as Hay had a close working relationship with the new administrator, Les Johnson.

David Hay distinguished himself at school and university and entered the public service in 1939. In WWII he served in the Middle East, Greece and New Guinea and was awarded the military MBE in 1943 and the DSO in 1945. During his wartime service in PNG he built an airstrip near Maprik which developed into a sizable airfield and was named Hayfield. After the war he served in various senior diplomatic positions and in 1964-5 was Australia’s ambassador to the United Nations. He was awarded the CBE in 1963 and was knighted in 1979. His wife Alison died in 2002. He is survived by their two sons, three grandchildren, and his older brother Peter. Information from The Age and SMH

Sir David Hay’s entry in “Obituary Australia” can be read HERE


Sir James JACOBI (21 June 2009, aged 83)

Jim Jacobi worked in Port Moresby as a general practitioner for 40 years. During this time he became the first president of the PNG Rugby League, a position he held for more than 25 years. He oversaw PNG becoming a member of the International Rugby League Federation and was knighted in 1991 for services to PNG rugby league.

Jeff Wall, CBE, said: ‘Jim’s enormous range of business, political and community contacts were regularly tapped to help develop the greatest game of all in the only country where its place as the national code is unchallenged.  He was a person of unbounded generosity, and his passion for rugby league—and the time he put into it despite seeing up to 60 patients a day in his medical practice—was inspirational.’

Sir James grew up in Maryborough and served in the Royal Australian Air Force in PNG in the final stages of World War II. Jim moved to Brisbane in the mid 90s where he continued with his practise although he returned frequently to PNG as a medical locum. Info from League Unlimited


Trevor Stuart JONES (11 June 2009, aged 96)

Trevor lived in Port Moresby from 1946 to 1970.  He was Senior Administrative Officer at the Department of Treasury and later Executive Officer (General Services) also located in Konedobu. Trevor married Kathleen (deceased) and their two children, Patricia and Sharon, were both born in Port Moresby. SMH, 16 June 2009


Edward KENNA, VC (8 July 2009, aged 90)

Edward Kenna was awarded Military’s highest award, the Victoria Cross, for his brave actions on Mission Ridge behind Wewak on 15 May 1945. He was the last Australian Victoria Cross winner from WW2. See the Library for a full article | . Charles Betteridge


William John NEVE (22 January 2009, aged 91)

John was born in Goulburn, moving regularly in his early years as his father was a country school teacher. Eventually becoming a teacher himself, he was required to spend three months with a Sydney University Casual Battalion over the Christmas holidays when Japan entered the war. John spent some time training with the unit in Queensland before going to Milne Bay in 1943 and shortly after that, Lae, then Finschhafen and finally Bougainville. It was two years of intense activity which had a lasting influence on him.

During this time he studied Mathematics externally with the University of Sydney. Returning to Sydney after the war ended he enrolled in Psychology, Geography and Anthropology with the University of Sydney. Towards the end of this study he learnt of work being done by the Director of Education in New Guinea and so, in 1949, he travelled to Maprik where his first task was working on the language of the Abelam people in that area. John spent much time understanding the social structure and religious life of the society while a school was established.

John was keen to encourage development that would help the people cope with change and so classes were held for medical workers, pidgin literacy and for agriculture. John had met Mavis whilst on leave during the six years he was in Maprik and they married at the school in Brandi in 1955. After long service leave they moved to Mount Hagen and John became the District Education Officer, establishing the school in Mt Hagen and surrounding areas. After three years in Mt Hagen the family moved to Port Moresby. Granted a scholarship to study a Master of Arts in New York, the family moved there for nine months in 1966, travelling through Europe and England before returning to Port Moresby.

The family returned to Sydney in 1972 after John had spent 22 years working in PNG. After Mavis passed away in 1986, John continued his love of travelling and even at 80 was able to trek through the Karakorum in Nepal. In 1999, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Independence, John received recognition from the Governor-General of PNG for his service to the development of the country. John is survived by his daughter Jenny, son Geoff and four grandchildren. Jenny Owens


Reg THOMSON (2 June 2009, aged 89)

Reg left school at 13 to work in a series of jobs in rural Victoria. He joined the Australian Army in 1941 and served in several theatres of war including New Guinea. After the war he gained a Diploma in Social Science, then attended ASOPA and went to PNG as a junior education officer. From the late 50s until 1973 he was chief of the Division of Social Development and Director of Child Welfare in PNG.

This was a time of rapid social and political change and his responsibilities were many and varied. Specialised offices in his division included child welfare, urban resettlement, training, youth work and women’s activities. His community development officers were based in all districts. Their duties included community development projects and community education including health promotion and political education. They worked with government and non government agencies in many activities including case work and counselling, migration referrals, grants in aid, pensions and sports development and the licensing and inspection of child care centres.

Prior to Reg’s arrival there were few written guidelines in many of the areas mentioned above. Reg and his staff produced a wide range of publications which provided a ‘road map’ through unfamiliar territory. Reg helped build up a number of agencies which became part of a modern social welfare system for PNG. He has been honored by the PNG government for his outstanding contribution.

At the age of 89, Reg recently published his memoir, Looking for a Good Book. Early in his life Reg became an avid book collector. His book is a ‘tale of a gentle madness’, the story of a book collector thrown hither and thither by tumultuous events beyond his control. Reg is survived by his son Mark, and daughter Julie. Mark Thomson/Graeme Parry


Alan Robert WALKER (6 May 2009, aged 70)

Alan died suddenly in the Whitsundays, North Queensland, on 6 May 2009, age 70. He was born in Hull, England. Aafter service in the Royal Air Force, he joined the former English colonial Northern Rhodesia Police in 1960 resigning in August 1963.

Migrating to Australia, he joined the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary on 2 February 1965.  He served as an instructor at Bomana police training college and later as the treasurer and general secretary of the Police Association and editor of the association’s publication Kumul. He resigned from the RPNGC on 2 February 1968, returning to England.

The following year he returned to Australia and married Judy McNaught (daughter of Superintendent First Class Murray McNaught). They then returned to England and Alan joined the prison services of Scotland and later England retiring as Director of Operations, Prison Services after 34 years service.  In 2004 they returned to warmer climes in the Whitsundays where he continued working as a consultant in security services.  He is survived by Judy, a son, daughter and two grandsons. M.R. Hayes


Margarette (Margo) WILLIAMS (6 June 2009, aged 90)

Margo spent her teenage years in Sydney. Her first job was as violinist on the passenger ship Macdhui which cruised the islands of New Guinea. By her third cruise, the war in the Pacific had begun. It was during this trip that she met a young Cadet Patrol Officer, Les Williams, in Madang. Fortunately she changed jobs, as the Macdhui was bombed and sank in Port Moresby Harbour on its next voyage.

She and Les married in 1944, after a courtship interrupted by Les’s return to New Guinea as a Coastwatcher. In 1948 Margo and her first baby joined Les at his posting in Namatanai, on New Ireland. In less than two years they were posted to Goroka, then on to Lae. Their first posting as District Commissioner and Missus was to Madang for eight years from the mid-1950s, then to Popondetta, and finally to Kavieng, from where they retired to Australia in 1971.

Margo’s maternity experience tracked the extraordinary advances in medical services available in PNG after the War. She had to go South to have her first two children in the late 1940s; by the early 1950s she was able to have the next two in Port Moresby; but by the mid-50s the services were so good in Madang that she did not even have to get on a balus.

Margo and Les were keen golfers; Margo was a committed and effective amateur golf instructor. Les passed away in Sydney in 2001; later Margo moved to Coffs Harbour to be near family. She continued to play her beloved violin right to the end. She died peacefully at Woolgoolga Retirement Village. Garry Williams


Lt Cdr Donald Rupert WILSON (6 June 2009, aged 90)

A very interesting and detailed biography on the remarkable life of Don Wilson posted on the submarines Australia website can be viewed HERE


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