TUMBY BAY - Former kiap Tim Terrell AM died in Canberra last Tuesday at the age of 90.
His passing is significant in the history of Papua New Guinea because he established the first training centre for local kiaps at Gagidu near Finschhafen in 1959-60, assisted by another kiap, Peter Foldi.
In July 1959 the Public Service Ordinance had been amended to allow for the appointment of suitably qualified Papua New Guineans into the public service in anticipation of self-government and independence.
Some 125 positions were created of which 12 were earmarked for local kiaps.
Several departments had already begun training programs but there was no program for kiaps. Tim Terrell was given the job of establishing it.
It was a big job. Not only had he to supervise the building of a training centre but he also had to plan a curriculum, write the teaching notes and look after the welfare of the young Papua New Guinean trainees.
He began by converting an old ex-Army barracks at Finschhafen into accommodation units and lecture rooms.
While the role of a kiap was attractive to many young Australian men it didn’t generally appeal to young Papua New Guineans, most were not attracted by the prospect of service at remote patrol posts in the bush.
There were six local trainee patrol officers on the first course and not many more on subsequent courses.
However, by the time the Finschhafen Training Centre closed in 1965 and the courses transferred to the new Administrative College at Waigani, it had graduated many of the men who would ultimately lead PNG to independence.
They included men like Basil Koe, Jack Bagita, Micky Rarua, Gorua Gomara, Jerry Nalau, Posa Kilori, Bernard Borok, Seaea Avosa, Joe Nombri, Jack Karukuru, William Warren, Cedric Tabua and Noel Levi.
All these men became District Officers, District Commissioners or department heads.
It was to Tim Terrell and his assistants, Peter Foldi, Terry Dwyer, Brian Jinks and Graeme Hogg, that they owed their success.
Charles Edward Timothy Terrell AM was born in Darjeeling in India in 1929.
His death notice reads: “Tim lived a remarkable life devoted to helping others all over the world, particularly the most vulnerable in Papua New Guinea.
“Tim was a gentleman, a man of integrity, commitment and humility.”