Next month:
March 2006

6 posts from February 2006


Briannammie After a year-long battle with oesophagal cancer, my old Mandi teaching buddy, Brian White, passed away last night in St Andrew's Hospital, Toowoomba. Brian died knowing his niece, Tasminnie, will return to live in Australia after a much protracted decision by Immigration authorities. But, unfortunately, he did not live to see the day. We will publish Brian's full obituary in the March issue of The Mail.

Igo pinis longtaim liklik

I first encountered kiap Pat Dwyer as he was pushing a pedometer from Kundiawa to Chuave  in early 1964. He'd committed some minor infraction of the rules,  displeasing the District Officer, and was compelled to personally check the mileage between the two Highlands townships.

Pat later married Margaret McKenna, one of the great beauties of the 1962/63 ASOPA class, and - together with a bevy of children and grandchildren - they now live in Perth where Pat has retired to the golf course and Margaret still teaches.

I look forward to Pat's occasional epistles from the West as they frequently bring news a person ought to know. For example, Pat's expecting former kiaps John Biltris (Kundiawa,  Gumine etc) and Chris Warrilow to hit Perth any day now. Pat famously remarked, when he first met Warrilow in 1959, that the pikinini kiap wouldn't last ten minutes in the Territory. "He's just given it away after 46 years," a chastened Dwyer admits.

Give Brian a boost

ASOPA 1962/63 alumni, Brian White is quite ill in Toowoomba’s St Andrews hospital. It is ironic that this distressing development follows the welcome news that his niece, Tasminnie, will be allowed by Australian immigration authorities to rejoin Brian and Nammie after a four-year community campaign to have her return to Australia.

Friends of Brian and Nammie are holding a benefit for the family in Toowoomba three weeks from now and I’d encourage you to make a donation to the appeal.

Graham Deck of the organising committee says: “Brian is a wonderful person and the small amount we are putting in to assist him and his family is nothing compared to what he has put into our community.”

You can make a donation to the ‘White Family Benefit’. Send it to Cecily Fitzpatrick, Mater Dei Catholic Primary School, 53 Curzon Street, Toowoomba Qld 4350 or make an internet transfer to the Heritage Building Society [BSB 638 060; Account 010 244 204; White Family Benefit Association].

You can visit the Bring Tasminnie Home website here.

Gotta get this right

For some reason - probably to do with an ageing, addling, pickling mind - in my editing of The Mail I keep mistaking the place of abode of former ASOPA physical education lecturer (and ropes course tyrant) Les Peterkin.

Les, of course, lives in Tweed Heads not Coffs Harbour - and is a well known local artist and potter. From Tweed Heads, each year, Les sponsors and judges the Les Peterkin Portrait Prize - a wonderful initiative to encourage school students to explore and pursue their artistic talents.


Welcome to  ASOPA PEOPLE - created for the men and women associated with the Australian School of Pacific Administration, which flourished between the latter days of World War 2 and the early 1970s.

ASOPA trained patrol officers, magistrates, teachers and other professionals who were assigned to work in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea and Australia's Northern Territory. They were young and ready for a challenge and they contributed a great deal to the development of the indigenous peoples of the South Pacific and northern Australia.