KUNDIAWA - I have been emailed by my friends at the Australian National University that the academic, Dr Bill Standish, died in bed two days ago.
He was a great friend of Simbu and Papua New Guinea and this is a great loss to me and many good people in Simbu who knew him closely.
He had been involved in Simbu for nearly 50 years and we are putting up a hauskrai at my home or at the Riverside Motel in Kundiawa.
Bill had written so much on the Simbu, particularly on its elections and politics, since 1972.
He assisted me with chapters 7 and 8 of ‘My Chimbu’, the history which was published last year.
At that time, in the middle of 2018, he told me this could be his last project for Simbu and he said he was happy to do it for me. He did most of the work in bed.
I am really heart broken. A lot of his friends in Simbu are broken too. I saw two with mud on their faces.
He has kids here named after him and he was a true friend, my Gibraltar. I wish I could attend his funeral but that is not to be. I guess the hauskrai will do.
It is such a loss of friendship and a great wealth of knowledge. The only solace will be his writings.
The news of Bill’s death brought tributes on Twitter from PNG Attitude readers.
Dr Anna Powles - I’m so very sorry to hear this. Bill was such a kind person and a huge support to me when I started my research on PNG in the 1990s, generously opening his home and sharing his knowledge. He was brave too. He single-handedly prevented the rape of several school girls in PNG.
Fiona Hukula - I am very sad to hear of Bill's passing. He always made time to catch up with me if he knew I was in Canberra. Sori tru. I always loved chatting with Bill. Lovely man and always willing to share.
Dr Tess Newton Cain - That is sad news to hear, such a lovely man and so supportive of others' work.
John Conroy - Sorry to learn of the death of Bill Standish, who devoted a lifetime to the study of PNG politics, with particular reference to Simbu/Chimbu province. A man always ready to give time to others and to share his vast knowledge of the country, which he greatly loved.
Ashlee Betteridge - Sad news, always a supporter of our [development policy ]centre's work.
Gordon Peake - This is so sad. He was an utter gentleman, so giving of his time and knowledge, and with an unquenchable love for PNG. May he rest in peace.
Stephen Kirchner -A great contributor to the work of the Parliamentary Library, helping members and staff understand PNG and the South Pacific.
Peter Brent - I got to know him only recently, a couple of years ago. He was very helpful with some work I was doing. Very nice man.
Elizabeth Cox - Bill was special among researchers. Will be sadly missed by his many friends who work at grassroots level.