Sir Danny Leahy dies in Toowoomba
A tropical life permeated by books

Beyond the sunset, the memories survive


This is the view at dusk (towards Mt French) across Paul and Sue Oates’ property, Boonah Vista Farm, south-west of Ipswich. The shot, taken from their back verandah, invokes the style of a Hans Heysen painting, sans livestock.

Paul and Sue grow beef cattle (Droughtmasters) and, on their business card, refer to Boonah Vista Farm as “the home of Boonah’s boutique bovines” (although Paul reckons he’d prefer the more macho “home of Boonah’s best and biggest beef”).

I’d never met Paul in person before he visited Sydney earlier this week for the funeral of an uncle. He stayed overnight at our place and we used the opportunity for long and expansive conversation.

Paul is a prolific and thoughtful contributor to the Ex-Kiap website and to PNG ATTITUDE. He’s constantly contemplating what more Australia can do for PNG. And he’s more than a passing good writer. We’ve struck up a firm friendship over the internet.

We’ve also been working together – along with Chris Viner-Smith – on getting official Australian Government recognition for the services of Kiaps in the former Territory of PNG. This is a long process and, as regular readers of PNG ATTITUDE would know, we’re still hard at it.

The other morning I received an email from Bill Brown. Bill is one of the few surviving PNG District Commissioners and I’ve known him for 35 or more years, since we served together on Bougainville.

Bill is a person of tough demeanour and grand intellect. He doesn’t fully agree with the Kiap recognition project (I think Bill’s of the school that ‘we were sent to do a job and we did it’) but he doesn’t log roll. If Bill feels he can help, he helps. And this wasn’t the first time he’d held out a helping hand to the recognition project.

Bill’s email contained a list he’d compiled of Kiaps killed on duty, whose patrols had come under attack, who’d been involved in serious accidents. It represented the hard evidence that successful submissions to government require. You can find the list on the Ex-Kiap site here under the heading ‘Field Staff Casualties and Dangers’.

Captain_Suvista Now you may be able to contribute to this project. In your time in PNG, or in your reading about it, you may have come across incidents that illustrate the hazards that beset Kiaps. If there’s something you know, or even that you’ve heard second hand, you could drop Paul an email here and tip him off.

Lower photo: After Paul read this piece he was at pains to reassure me that Boonah Vista Farm has ample livestock. Meet Suvista Captain. Quite a sweet face, don't you think?


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Reginald Renagi

What a beautiful scene of Boonah Vista Farm. I hope to visit it one day.

Now I know where Paul Oates gets his inspiration from to prolifically write for PNG Attitude in this beautifully quiet place.

I can even imagine what a therapeutic and healing feeling for the transit lodger as guests of the farm owners.

One can even write a book here within three months without the distractions of the 'big smoke' towns and cities.

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