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Kevin Murphy, rugby league administrator, dies at 63

MALUM NALU | Malum Nalu Blog

Kevin MurphyWELL-KNOWN PAPUA NEW GUINEA rugby league administrator, Kevin Murphy, died of a heart attack in Orange NSW last Friday aged 63.

Murphy, known the length and breadth of PNG for his passion for the “greatest game of all”, passed away in the home of elder brother, Brian, a Catholic priest.

Murphy, a Kiap in the late 1960s who later moved into education, commerce and became president of the PNG Rugby Football League, reluctantly moved to Australia in 2008 because of diabetes, having his right leg amputated.

His first emergence from hospital was to attend a barbecue for his beloved PNG Kumuls, who had travelled to play a Cairns team. Until the day he died  Murphy was passionate about rugby league in PNG.

“For the last four years, he has lived in Tamworth,” Murphy’s second son, Daniel, told The National.

“He was always torn between two cultures: the PNG culture and the Australian culture. He always carried a bilum everywhere.

“He passed away in Orange on Friday morning, at about 7am, at the place of his brother, Brian Murphy, who is a Catholic priest.

“His last job was at Niugini Oil in Mt Hagen, but due to his health, he could not work again.

“He did some voluntary work at a youth centre here in Tamworth.

“For the last four years, he has been recovering with his family in Australia, as well as being emotionally attached to rugby league back in PNG.”

Murphy, of Irish origin, came to PNG as an 18-year-old in 1967, and stayed for 42 years.

After his stint as a Kiap, Murphy was a primary school teacher in Henganofi and Kainantu, later serving with the Department of Provincial Affairs, National Sports Institute, Rothmans and Niugini Oil.

He is survived by his three sons Adrian (39), Daniel (36), and Anthony (33) and four brothers – Patrick, John, Brian and Bill.

His funeral services held at St Joseph’s Catholic, Orange NSW, at 2pm on Friday.


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Don Tidswell

I remember Kevin well. Astonishingly adept and knowledgeable. Enormously helpful when establishing a Vocational Centre at Aitape. Around 1965 - 1973. So long ago.

Peter van Fleet

Kevin was a great friend and a good Rotarian at Mt.Hagen. He was a passionate rugby league man and he will be sadly missed by a great many people. Real nice guy. Cheers Kev.

Rob Parer

Yes, Kevin was in Aitape as a young Kiap and ADC Harry Roach had him on the Department of Works TD 15 Bulldozer and commenced the road from Tadji Airstrip to Wewak.

I remember young John Murphy and his mother worked for our manager Bill Middleton at Vanimo. Kevin was not his father.

Kevin was one very fine guy and will be missed by his many, many mates.

Gabriel Ramoi

Kevin Murphy served briefly in Aitape as a Patrol Officer under ADC Harry Roach in 1967-68 where he was mentored by Sgt Major Wamamis and my father Sgt Ramoi.

Andrew Naiko

Kevin was a man with the heart of gold.

He loved PNG till the day he passed away. A selfless man who gave all and expected nothing.

He will be sadly missed. RIP tambu.

Kevin O'Regan

Sad news for all of us. Murph was a great man and his passion for both PNG and Rugby League helped contribute to many humorous disagreements over a tipple or three.

After his leg amputation his positive attitude was an inspiration for many of us. RIP Kevin you will be missed by all who knew you.

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