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Looking for relatives of the formidable Frank Boisen


I AM FORMERLY OF RABAUL and was the first Papua New Guinean student that the celebrated PNG colonial educator Frank Boisen took under his wing in the 1950s.

Through his efforts I became the first Papua New Guinean student to come to Australia to complete high school (1954-56) eventually gaining acceptance into the 1958-59 ASOPA teacher training program.

I am now in my 77th year and have almost completed my autobiography, essentially for my five grandchildren who are all Australian-born.

Former District Education Officer Frank Boisen was quite obviously a big part of my life and, although unfortunately my memory isn't as clear now as it was, I would like to acknowledge what he did for me.

As a young man, after Mrs Boisen died, I spent much of my time driving the Boisen's children (Arthur and Margaret) to school in his red car and helping his children's carer with whatever requirements there were.

I would be most grateful if any reader might be able to let me know the names of Frank Boisen’s last daughter and even recall the lady who was his children's carer.

My regret now is that I do not know the Boisen children's whereabouts.

Perhaps a reader could direct me in the right way to this information

Readers can reply through the Comments link below or email Harry Coehn here. We’d also like to hear some Frank Boisen stories….


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Skerry Palanga

Harry Cohen, my name is Skerry Palanga. I first met you in the early 1960s as a student at Nodup Primary ‘T’ School.

I met Frank Boisen around that time too as the senior school inspector. He came home once to talk my father into enrolling me at Kamarere Street Primary ‘A’ School or Court Street Primary ‘A’ School.

However my father did not take note of the importance of what Frank Boison was trying to do.

I eventually got a scholarship at the end of primary school to go to Rabaul High School for four years. Then I got another scholarship to go to PNG University of Technology in Lae to do a surveying course.

I graduated in 1975 and worked for my sponsor, Bougainville Copper Limited, from 1976-1978. I started my survey practice in 1979 and still in private surveying practice now.

I met Arthur Boisen in 1967 at Rabaul High School. He was a year ahead of me. He returned to Australia and did surveying at university and became a surveyor.

I believe Arthur retired as a surveyor recently.

I wish to note that one of the grandstands at the Queen Elizabeth Park athletics field was named after you - the Harry Cohen Grandstand.

Judy Pike (Rhodes)

A month ago I visited Margaret Boison in Tin Can Bay. We were all Rabaul children.

My mother helped Frank with the children after the death of his wife.

We were students of Court Street Primary. I am the same vintage as Margaret. Would love any links you may have of Frank's war history and Military Cross.

Philippa Chaffey

I was at Brighton high school with Margaret for a short time. I would love to know where she is now.

John Collins

Hi Harry, I am the grandson of Velma Boisen, and Bill Collins. My name is John Collins. My parents are Ross and CheryI Collins.

I grew up hearing many stories about the awesome "Uncle Frank" and even inherited one of his cats before I was born. Her name was Sherry.

Some of my very first memories as a child were at a beautiful property near Hervey Bay with red setters and a very funny duck. I'm lead to believe that these great moments were at Arthur's place.

I have always been told, what a great man Uncle Frank was. I'm very proud of what I have learnt so far and I can now tell I'm going to learn a whole lot more.

Thank you for posting such great words about Frank, I'm so happy he has been a great influence on your life.

Mrs Barbara Short

Hi Jennifer. I'm the go-between. Please send me an email ([email protected]) and I will give you his contact details.

Jennifer Boisen

Hello, I am Jennifer Boisen, that third child. Happy to have contact with Harry.

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