Vale, June 2006

BEST, Peter Villiers
CASS, Kaye
DEVERELL, Robert Allen
GOROGO, George
HAND, The Most Reverend David
JACKMAN, Harry Hans
LAWSON, Harold (Harry)
PENHALE, Darrell
SMITH, Alwyn
STORER, Josette
TRESTRAIL, Hugh Alexander
WALKER, John (Johnny)

Peter Villiers BEST (2 May 2006, aged 80)

Peter was born in the UK and completed a Civil Engineering and Surveying degree there. He went to Papua in 1950 with the Australasian Petroleum Company. Peter worked in various positions with oil and mining companies, Dept of Lands, Surveys and Mines, as well as in merchandising with both Burns Philp and Steamships before a brief retirement to Australia in 1986. He continued visiting many of the provinces in PNG on a consultancy basis for mining companies until the mid 90s. Editor


Brendan CARROLL (8 December 2005, aged 57)

Brendan was born and raised at Swifts Creek in the high country of Victoria. In 1972 he went to PNG and to the Catholic Mission at Guminie in the Chimbu Province, where he worked for a number of years as a general fix-it man. He learnt a lot about coffee at Guminie and his next job was at Erave in the Southern Highlands where he worked for the late Ron Neville’s company, Coecon, managing his coffee plantation. From the laid back lifestyle at Erave he secured a job with Wahgi-Mek coffee plantation and processing plant at Minj where he remained until 1982 when the family returned to Australia. He settled on a property near Charters Towers North Queensland where he battled the elements and the bureaucracy to establish a fruit block. With his wife’s ill health he returned to Swifts Creek where he operated a small business. Brendan had a dry sense of humour and spent his life helping others. His wife, Katie, pre-deceased him. He is survived by his two children, Damien and Deslie. David Showell

Kaye CASS (23 March 2006, aged 80)

Kaye was the wife of the late Les Cass. They went to Popondetta in 1953 to work in Education. Their children Lee and Peter were taught by Kaye in various odd surroundings before the new school was built. Philip, who was born in Wewak in 1959, always studied in proper classrooms. Kaye worked in both Primary A and Primary T schools. Her most notable achievement was setting up a school especially for girls at Brandi, outside Wewak. This was the first school in the Sepik to educate girls only. Kaye loved teaching and she loved Papua New Guinea, especially Milne Bay where her family spent several happy and productive working years. She will be sadly missed by Lee, Peter and Philip and her grandchildren. Lee Billingham (née Cass)


Robert Allen DEVERELL (14 July 2005, aged 66)

Bob was born in Sydney on 30 December 1938. He developed a dislike for city life after travelling an average of  three  hours a day in his teen years  to attend Canterbury High school.  On leaving school his one ambition was to escape Sydney. He went to PNG in 1960 as a Cadet Patrol Officer, completing a year at ASOPA in 1962.

Bob spent time in a number of places including Esa'Ala, Kerema, Popendetta and Wakunai. On returning in 1969 with his wife Rosalie, he served four more years on Bougainville at Tinputz and Kieta.  Later they spent time in Wabag and finally Port Morseby.  On leaving PNG in 1976 Bob and Rosalie owned a bottle shop in Sydney for a short time, finding it better to drink the merchandise than sell it.  They then took to a more gypsy mode of life. Bob studied meteorology and worked in this field in various places in Western Australia for some years until the children needed to be educated with a bit of stability in their place of abode. Bob returned to University (Curtin) where  he completed a commerce degree, majoring in Valuation. In 1999 Bob and Rosalie moved to the Albany area where Bob set up his own business. They had found one of the special places in Australia.

Bob died in 2005 after a well fought battle with skin cancer over four years. He is survived by his wife Rosalie and three children Ben, Callen and Kayt. Rosalie Deverell


George GOROGO (28 March 2006)

George Gorogo served the agriculture sector in PNG, particularly the food and horticulture sectors, and worked for over 30 years in various capacities in DASF/DPI (currently DAL) and the Fresh Produce Development Agency. He was the director of the food management branch of DAL in Port Moresby and recently retired as the general manager of FPDA in Goroka for health reasons.

George is survived by his wife, Angelina, his children and grandchildren. Mike Bourke


The Most Reverend David HAND, KBE, Grand Chief in the Order of the Logohu (6 April 2006, aged 87)

Bishop David Hand, who died in Port Moresby’s Pacific International Hospital, spent 60 of his 87 years in PNG, where he took out citizenship on independence in 1975. He was born in 1918 in Queensland, where his father was the rector of Clermont. But within the next four years the family returned to England, his father taking up a country parish, and David grew up and was educated in England. After taking a history degree at Oxford, he prepared for ordination and had a brief spell as a curate in Yorkshire. But, impressed by stories of the wartime Gona Anglican martyrs who had died at the hands of the Japanese, he sailed for Australia at the end of 1946 to take up a posting in the Papua mission – first in the Northern Province, and eventually working in many parts of PNG. So impressive was he in his calling that he was consecrated bishop in 1950 when he was 32, the youngest bishop in the Anglican communion. He did vitally important work of rehabilitation following the Mt Lamington eruption of 1951, when so many mission adherents were among the 4000 people who lost their lives.

After his superior, Bishop Philip Strong, was appointed Archbishop of Brisbane in 1963, Hand succeeded him as diocese bishop in PNG, and in 1977 he became the first Archbishop of Papua New Guinea in the newly created independent Anglican province (the diocese had been directed from Queensland). Setting about the reorganisation and expansion of the church which had been operating with staff and funding mostly provided from overseas, he gave early attention to developing local leadership. He was a strong believer in an accord between the major denominations, including the Roman Catholics, in PNG. He went on to become a founder of the Melanesian Council of Churches.

When he retired in 1983 at the prescribed age of 65, handing over to his friend George Ambo (the first indigenous leader of the PNG church), he returned to England for a year or two, but his love for PNG drew him back. He eventually settled in Moresby but he travelled continually, serving the church in many ways. He was bestowed with many honours – a CBE in 1975, a knighthood (KBE) in 1984 and last year PNG’s highest honour, the newly created Grand Chief in the Order of the Logohu. He was also made a chief of the Orokaiva tribe in Oro province. But he lived humbly, eschewed titles and preferred to be known simply as Bishop Hand. He never married. He is buried in Popondetta, among some of the martyrs who drew him to PNG. Editor


Harry Hans JACKMAN, MBE (8 March 2006, aged 84)

Few careers have been so versatile or varied as Harry’s. Rescued as a boy from Nazi Germany, he was adopted in Melbourne by the Nathan family. His education ranged from Alf Conlon’s School of Pacific Administration in Sydney to Victoria’s Dookie Agricultural College. He served in the Second AIF (mainly in ANGAU) from 1942 to 1946 and then joined the civil administration as a Patrol Officer, eventually becoming Registrar of Cooperatives, holding this position until his retirement. His sterling service to the post-World War II PNG administration was directed mostly to the training and development of the rising generation of Papua New Guineans who would soon be running their own government. Harry greatly prized the MBE awarded to him in 1978 at the recommendation of the PNG government.

Harry was a natural scholar and had numerous academic qualifications. After retiring from PNG, he held academic teaching posts in Australia. He was an active member of many learned bodies, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (London). His great pleasure was to review books, especially about the Pacific, always judiciously and fairly, informed by his great personal experience and wide reading. His distinguished and immaculately presented library was his great and justifiable pride. Among his own publications there is a highly interesting study – Malaria in German New Guinea (1990).

Harry was never reluctant to enter public controversy whenever he could shed light on the affairs of his beloved PNG. His widow, Grace, whose constant care and tenderness comforted Harry in his last painful illness, still resides in Angaston. He is survived also by his daughter Bronwen who has five sons, and by his son Max. Peter Ryan

Harold (Harry) LAWSON (1 November 2005, aged 71)

Harold went to PNG about 1960 and over the next 40 years lived and worked mainly in Port Moresby, Daru and Kikori. He returned to Australia in the late 1990s because of ill health, living in Cairns. Margaret Lawson (sister)


Darrell PENHALE (13 May 2006, aged 74)

Darrell was in PNG from 1953-1962 holding the following positions: CPO Northern District, PO Manus and Coops Officer Central District. Following his departure from PNG he moved to Maidstone in Kent, England, where he lived with long-time partner, Jean. He is also survived by his three sons. Adelaide Advertiser, 19 May 2006


Alwyn SMITH (18 April 2006, aged 77)

Al was born in Tonga on 25 September 1928. When he was eight years old, his family moved to Melbourne, where Al finished his schooling. He then took up an apprenticeship as an electrical fitter from 1946 to 1950. After travelling from Melbourne to Darwin by motor bike, he ended up in PNG at Rabaul with Commonwealth Dept of Works (CDW) in 1952. He became supervisor and later manager of the electrical department which changed names to eventually become the PNG Electricity Commission, or Elcom. His area of control covered all the NE New Guinea islands from Manus to Bougainville. His interests included serving with ‘B’ Company of the PNGVR in Rabaul where he became a sergeant. After Independence Al returned to Australia and settled in Redcliffe near Brisbane, close to a number of friends. Here he worked in the railway as an electrical fitter, wiring switchboards and control equipment on new diesel electric locomotives until his retirement. He travelled extensively all over the world, visiting many countries. Most people who knew Al became his friends and many of these joined his family at his funeral to pay tribute to a dear friend. Tom Kingston


Josette STORER (26 March 2006, aged 79)

Josette was born in Paris and came to Australia in 1937. After service with Alliance Francaise and the WRAAF, Josette travelled to PNG in 1953 with her first husband and son Christopher. Life in Lumi was very different for a Sydney girl and her involvement in the recruitment of native labour was later to intrigue her grandchildren. With her second child due and determined that Michelle should be born in Sydney, Josette became a passenger on a special Junkers flight going south. The plane made a forced landing on Horn Island but the baby was eventually born in Sydney. The family moved to Mandi near Wewak but the marriage did not last. Josette met Ron and they were married by Horrie Niall at the Residency in Lae in 1961. After a short term of duty in Port Moresby they were transferred to Rabaul and son Paul and daughter Nicole arrived to complete the family. Whilst there, Josette opened and ran a children’s nursery and was involved in acting and directing in the Little Theatre Group. After seven years, the time arrived for the inevitable transfer to Port Moresby. Josette, unable to remain inactive opened ‘Playtime’, the first toyshop in PNG. Many will remember the toys selected and individually wrapped for the children of members of clubs from all over PNG. Josette took a keen interest in the welfare of personal staff and kept in touch with them until recently. Having left PNG in 1975, Josette and Ron conducted newsagencies and gift shops in Adelaide, fitting in seasonal trips to Caloundra until retiring in 1990. Josette will be remembered as a vivacious, charming, warm and loving friend. Both she and Ron were inseparable. Josette is survived by Ron, children Christopher, Michelle, Paul and Nicole, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. John Kleinig

Hugh Alexander TRESTRAIL (25 February 2005, aged 88)

Hugh was Asst Director of Lands, Surveys & Mines at the time of his retirement from PNG. He had lived in Wau and Port Moresby from 1959 to 1974. Danny Trestrail


John (Johnny) WALKER (30 March 2006)

John was born in Newcastle in 1913. He started school there and subsequently went to Canterbury Boys High, Fort St High, Lismore High and Hay War Memorial High School moving with his Maths master father. Jobs were hard to get when he finished school, so he did the Leaving Certificate twice and finally qualified as a wireless operator through the Marconi School of Wireless. A union move to have a wireless operator on all ships over a certain size led to his employment first on a trawler, on the Iron Master taking coal to Whyalla, and on Burns Philp boats collecting copra from the New Hebrides. He left the sea and was appointed to a base in Kurumba on the Gulf servicing QANTAS flying boats. John then got a job at Rose Bay and in 1941 was able to marry Muriel Ferguson whom he met whilst at Hay. In 1945 their daughter, Susan, was born and Johnny was posted to Port Moresby in 1946 to work for DCA as the military relinquished control. Muriel and Susan joined him in 1947 and lived at Taldora near Jackson’s. They loved PNG and were happy to be posted to Lae with DCA in 1956, after spells in Tamworth and Adelaide. After four years there they went to Coffs Harbour and then to Townsville after which posting Johnny retired. Wherever they went they ran into old acquaintances from PNG. Daughter Susan went to Moresby with her family in 1970 and were able to see how it had changed. Johnny had been living on his own in Yamba since Muriel died in 2004. He was in hospital when he died and had the current edition of Una Voce at his bedside. Susan Woodward


Sel WARD (11 April 2006, aged 80)

Sel was born in Parramatta, the third of eight surviving children. He eventually became an electrician and set up his own successful business in partnership. He later went to PNG, met and married Sue, and lived there for the next 22 years.

During those PNG years, Sel made a great contribution in the field of Hydro Generation, at Rouna 1, Rouna 2 and Yonki Power Stations. His pride in the stations was immense – firstly in the welfare of the operators, their families and the labour lines. He worked tirelessly to create congenial surroundings, making concrete paths through the muddy surrounds of the compound, upgrading housing for the staff, planting gardens, and particularly mango trees whose crops today are a source of considerable income to the present staff. He built a little schoolhouse where he raised the technical and professional knowledge of the operators and where Sue taught them maths and English. Rouna 1 became a showplace destination for important overseas visitors to the Electricity Commission, and was lovingly called Ward’s Park for its grace and beauty. His work at the other stations was equally commendable and he always made a significant contribution to the whole community in which he was working. When he was able to return to PNG for a visit in 1993, the engineer he had trained, and who is now the Chief Executive of the Commission, welcomed him like a VIP, and flew him to Yonki to see the progress since he had left.

Sel loved his sport. He was an avid tennis player and also loved sailing. After Sue’s retirement, they were able, through her volunteer work, to satisfy his love for travel and discovering new cultures by going to live in Fiji, and also in Cambodia. The last few months of his life were not as he would have wanted them to be. Even in this adversity he was keen to hope and help others by trialling a new drug for cancer, which sadly did not prolong his life. Survived by his wife, Sue, Brad and Bobbie. Bruce Shaw