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Sandaun's Terry Trainor - 'man of peace' - dies in Melbourne at 81


LONG-time Papua New Guinea resident Terence (Terry) Trainor (1935-2016) – proclaimed as ‘a man of peace’ by those who knew him - has died in Melbourne aged 81.

Mr Trainor spent more than 50 years in the Sandaun (West Sepik) Province as a teacher, kiap and church worker.

His first posting was to Sissano government primary school but he taught in many schools throughout the province.

It was rare for teachers to become patrol officers (kiaps) but he made the transition and had the distinction of being the last expatriate kiap in the province.

A devout Christian, Mr Trainor went on to manage the Catholic Diocese of Aitape as a layman.

In 2014 he wrote reminiscence for PNG Attitude of his time as a kiap….

My first contact with Nuku was when I was dropped off there with a didiman, Neil Cooper, after returning from my mother's funeral. The pilot promised to return for us but, not unusual, the weather closed in.

In those days the plane only landed at Nuku on the way to Wewak but both Neil and I wanted to go to Lumi. At that time everyone was hospitable, like you all, so we stayed for a couple of days with kiap Frank Sabben and his wife.

We got sick of waiting for a balus to go our way so we walked to Lumi; overnighting with Fr Eugene at Wasissi. That wonderful man was very nervous of two single males lobbing in on him out of the blue as there were two young female volunteers on his station.

We behaved ourselves, left early the next morning and arrived at Lumi that afternoon (a Sunday) in time to play tennis and get beaten by the then Frs Brian and Greg.

He is commemorated in Sandaun Province by Terry Trainor Park in Vanimo, established 20 years ago, and by the thousands of people in north-west New Guinea whose lives he touched.

The funeral mass will be offered at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, corner of Melbourne Avenue and Widford Street, Glenroy, Melbourne, on Tuesday 19 July at 10:00 am.


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Rob Parer

Hi Tony,
I have sent your message to the Franciscans at Waverley & Archbishop Sir
Brian Barnes who is in a Nursing home.I do have a few photos of the Friars including Fr Martin who had a heart attack in mid 1960s while he was Parish Priest at Suain. A quiet unassuming Friar who lived the Franciscan Way.He died too young.As you would know he did the design/layout of Seleo School.He also did the layout of the Leprosarium which is now the Raihu Hospital.If you send me your email address per Facebook Messenger I will send a few photos.
Take care & would be very interested to see your autobiography when completed Tony.

Tony Deklin

Rob Parer, I am an old boy of Franciscan Catechist Training Centre on Seleo Island. I was there from 1958 to 1961.

At the moment I am writing my autobiography and I have a chapter on my time on Seleo. For that purpose, I would love to have any copy of any photo of the Centre, especially of Fr Martin OFM who was its director for all those years.

I would appreciate any information you may have on where I can access this material if it exists. I am also trying to remember the name of the sawmiller at St Anna in 1958. I think he was a former lay missionary. His first name was Peter.

I know Archbishop Brian Barnes. He arrived as a young priest with Fr Terrence OFM in 1959 and he spent a short time teaching on Seleo before he went inland to found his parish of Monadin. I caught up later in Moresby when he became a police chaplain and later on as the Archbishop.

I will be in Sydney in January 2017 and would like to visit Archbishop Brian if you could kindly give me the address of the nursing home where he is, if you have it, that is.

Terry Trainor is a household name in and around Vanimo. I never met him as he went to Vanimo years after I had left. But his name is certainly his best legacy in West Sepik Province. RIP Terry.

Many thanks in advance Rob.

Peter Turner

Who could forget 'Tea Strainer'. 'Hurrow,' his normal greeting for everyone.

Lovely bloke, heart as big as a house.

Proud to have known him.

Gabriel Ramoi

West Sepik Province has kept the memory of Terry Trainor alive by naming a strip of land on the Vanimo waterfront 'Terry Trainor Park'. Rest in Peace Terry.

Rob Parer

Terry mentioned playing tennis at Lumi with Frs Greg & Brian.

Fr Greg Bourke OFM retired from PNG after 50 years and is now in a nursing home Sydney.

Fr Brian Barnes, now Archbishop Sir Brian Barnes OFM, is also in a nursing home in Sydney.

After his time in Nuku and Lumi, Fr Brian was the Police Chaplain based in Moresby and travelled to every police station in PNG. Then he was appointed Bishop of the Aitape Diocese and finally the Archbishop of Port Moresby.

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