Obituaries Feed

Kiap, broadcaster, author: Graham Taylor dies at 90

Graham Andrea 2015
Graham Taylor with then PNG Association president Andrea Williams in 2015


ADELAIDE – Kiap and broadcaster Graham Taylor died on Sunday at the age of 90 after being afflicted with prostate cancer for more than 20 years.

Graham was a patrol officer in Papua New Guinea in the early post-war period, transferring to the ABC to produce its ‘native people’s program’ and establish 9RB Rabaul before continuing his career in Australia where he reached a senior level in the organisation as general manager for South Australia.

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Howard Richards: Barngarla man rediscovered his own culture

Barngarla Elders 2007
Barngarla elders in 2007 - Eileen Crombie (Antakarinja advisor), Lorraine Dare, Howard Richards, Linda Dare, Harry Dare and Eric Paige


TUMBY BAY - They’re burying Howard Richards on Thursday. Howard was a Barngarla man from the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

He was part of the stolen generation, taken away from his family as a child to grow up in a boy’s home in Adelaide.

I worked with Howard and the Barngarla people on their native title claim for many years. Their lawyer, Philip Teitzel, died a few years ago.

Like Howard, many of the Barngarla had been taken away from their families as children and in the process lost their connections to their culture and their land. It’s a common story in Australia.

Working with Howard and the other Barngarla men and women on the native title claim was a learning experience for us all. Together we scoured old government records, anthropological works and old newspapers to re-discover Barngarla culture.

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William Adrian (Bill) McGrath – kiap & bibliophile – dies at 86


PORT MORESBY - Bill McGrath, who died on Tuesday after a long illness, went to Papua New Guinea on 16 April 1953 as a 20 year old cadet patrol officer - 66 years ago.

He later transferred to the Royal PNG Constabulary as a police officer before moving to the Lands Department under the renowned Ivan Champion where he was involved with the purchase of land for the Rouna hydro-electric scheme.

He also worked with Champion at the Land Titles Commission and was a consultant and adviser on land matters throughout the Pacific islands.

After leaving the public service he returned to PNG from time to time to advise mineral and petroleum exploration companies on land matters.

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Eric Tapakau – skilful communicator who loved Bougainville

Eric Tapakau
Eric Tapakau was deeply committed to the betterment of Bougainville and its people 

DENIKA SEETO | Communications Manager, Bougainville Copper Ltd

BUKA - Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) lost both a dear friend and esteemed colleague with the untimely passing of Eric Tapakau on 19 May after a brief illness.

Eric, 44, was a highly regarded member of our Bougainville team having joined the company in September 2017 as media and communications adviser.

As a testament to his capabilities and leadership, he was quickly promoted to a senior project officer position just four months later.

One of Eric’s great qualities was his natural affinity with people and his ability to effectively engage with those at all levels of the community. He was deeply committed to the betterment of Bougainville and its people and had earned widespread respect.

Those who knew him best, including former work colleagues and school friends, recall how people loved being in Eric’s company. He was warm and welcoming and, also possessed a quick wit and wicked sense of humour.

ET, as he was affectionately known, was able to lighten the mood of any room no matter the situation and it was often hard to keep a straight face when he was around. 

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Dikana ‘Ten Gun’ Boge – great team man who never let you down

Dikana Boge
Dikana Boge - a great team man always firing on all barrels


BRISBANE - One of my most treasured possessions is a photo of the 1976 Kumuls and there, sitting next to me in the row at the front, is Dikana ‘Ten Gun’ Boge.

Dikana was five-eight and I was halfback, and we had also played in those positions for the Papua New Guinea Southern Zone representative rugby league team when we won the inter-zone championship that year. Although I say it myself, I think we were a great combination.

Dikana was fierce, fearless but almost always smiling.

When we last met in Hanuabada almost 14 months ago, it was an emotional reunion.

The ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program had decided that I should do one last TV program on Papua New Guinea and while we were in Port Moresby, Dadi Toka Junior arranged for us to catch up.

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Doug Robbins dies - ex kiap & contributor to PNG Attitude

Doug Robbins
Doug Robbins - wherever he was, in Papua New Guinea, in his home town of Springwood or in PNG Attitude, a great contributor


NOOSA – I have been deeply saddened to learn of the death of Doug Robbins, a former patrol officer and, in recent years, a prolific contributor to PNG Attitude.

Doug died in Springwood in south-east Queensland on 8 May, his last article for the blog being published just last month.

Much of Doug’s writing was about the Northern (Oro) Province and the experiences of he and his wife Annette there in the 1970s.

What I did not fully appreciate was how Doug and Annette  had remained committed to that part of Papua New Guinea right up until his death.

Doug wrote on his Linked In page, “Since 2009 I have worked in a volunteer capacity with Gangai Kokona together with his associates in Port Moresby and his extremely efficient teams in the villages.

"Specifically this involves pursuing Gangai's passion for eco-enterprise for the people of PNG. I know Gangai's family and people from over 40 years ago.”

And Gangai has written: “Doug shares my passion for the protection of nature and all its providence, however his wealth of experience in outback eco-tourism surpasses anyone I have met.

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How prime minister Bob Hawke became a PNG chief

Somare and Hawke
Grand Chief Michael Somare and Chief Bob Hawke in 2009 - became good friends establishing PNG's trade union movement and fighting for better public service wages


NOOSA – In 1966 I was transferred from my remote bush school in the highlands to Port Moresby to edit the school magazines.

At this time the headquarters of government in Papua New Guinea was an untidy collection of wartime army huts in the harbourside suburb of Konedobu.

In one of these was located the Education Department’s publications unit, of which I was a member, and right next door was the colonial Administration’s industrial relations office.

This office was one of Bob Hawke's bases during his PNG union days.

At the time he was the man responsible for wage arbitration in the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

It was an influential role and a stepping stone to the leadership of the ACTU, Australia’s peak union body, of which he was to become president in 1969 and from where he achieved high public profile and, eventually, the prime ministership.

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John Neitz, respected senior educator in colonial PNG, dies at 84

John Neitz in PNG
John Neitz spent 16 years as an educator in PNG, rising to the rank of superintendent

KEITH JACKSON | From Jason Nitz

SOUTHPORT, QLD - John Desmond Neitz was born on 22 June 1934 at Torwood in Brisbane and spent his childhood in the Currumbin valley on dairy farms operated on a ‘share’ basis by his parents.

He was educated at The Beeches State School, Currumbin State School, Southport State High School and Brisbane State High School.

After high school, John entered the teachers’ training college at Kelvin Grove in Brisbane and, in 1954-55, undertook a physical education diploma course at Queensland University.

He was posted to Kragra, near Chinchilla in Queensland, and in 1957 to Palm Island off the Queensland coast near Townsville. Here he befriended triple certificate nurse Dell Jackson, but she moved to Melbourne and John decided to pursue his career in Papua New Guinea.

But Dell was not to disappear and, on 16 December 1961, John was to marry her at St James Anglican Cathedral, Townsville.

In the 16 years between 1958 and 1974, John was first a teacher and then an administrator in the PNG Education Department.

He taught at Yangoru, Pagwi and Brandi Junior High School in the Sepik District, Malabunga Junior High near Rabaul and Milfordhaven Primary School in Lae. This was followed by various postings as an inspector of schools, district education officer and later to the high rank  of superintendent.

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Angra Bill Standish & Simbu: We remember our good friend

Bill memorial
A memorial for Bill Standish will be held in Canberra this coming Monday. Instead of flowers, the family wishes that donations be made to Médecins Sans Frontières at


KUNDIAWA - It was no ordinary hauskrai. Under the mango tree at the Riverside Hotel it was special.

Special because there was much laughter, and fun, and also solemn moments. Young and old came from far off places in Simbu – many of them I knew, others I had never met. They were all friends of Bill Standish.

Angra Bill’s brothers and sisters. His namesake and his wife Sue’s namesake from Mindima village came. We all came together to celebrate the life of a great mate, a teacher, a mentor, a brother, a father and a namesake.

Bill Standish’s good friend Steven Gari came with his family from Asaro in the Eastern Highlands Province. They brought with them a big pig for the celebration.

Others came with vegetables, bananas, avocados, bread, frozen meat and more - everybody brought something for the barbecue. There was lots of food.

We displayed a blue trampoline as a sign of a true hauskrai. But unlike the usual crying house in Papua New Guinea that can go on for many days, this hauskrai only lasted just four hours.

Grown men broke down before they uttered a word and others who assembled could not hold back their tears.

We live in a society where emotions are never far from breaking point, especially at gatherings like this where we mourn the departure of loved ones.

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The death of Dr Bill Standish is a great loss to Simbu

Bill Standish
Bill Standish


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.

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Anne Nealibo Dickson-Waiko – pioneering gender academic

Dr Anne Nealibo Dickson-Waiko 2
Dr Anne Nealibo Dickson-Waiko

CATHY KEIMELO | Gender in PNG Research Program

PORT MORESBY – As a teacher, advocate, mentor and silent achiever, the late Dr Anne Nealibo Dickson-Waiko (1950-2018) will be remembered for her contributions to the advancement of women in Papua New Guinea.

Hailing from Wagawaga in the Milne Bay Province, Anne was born on 15 May 1950, the fourth child of five children to Osineru and Doreen Dickson.

From humble beginnings as a six-year-old school girl at Kwato Mission, Anne continued at Port Moresby High School and later attained a Diploma in Secondary Teaching at Goroka Teachers College.

From 1971 to 1973 she taught at Kilakila High School, during this time marrying John Kaniku, also a teacher, and had two sons.

Juggling motherhood and work, in 1974 Anne joined the University of Papua New Guinea as a professional assistant in social science at the Teaching Methods Centre. Concurrently, she studied part time for a Bachelor of Arts, graduating with first class honours.

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Former PNG national court judge Jeffrey Miles dies at 84

Jeffrey Miles
Former ACT Chief Justice Jeffrey Miles (Rohan Thomson)

RICHARD REFSHAUGE | Canberra Times | Extract

You can link to the full obituary here

CANBERRA - A common stereotype of a judge is of a distant authoritarian who imposes severe prison sentences, often accompanied by a tongue-lashing.

While the Honourable Jeffrey Miles AO, the Australian Capital Territory’s second chief justice, who died on 11 February aged 84, could and did impose long sentences when deserved, his love of nature, his commitment to social justice and his devotion to his family showed that this eminent citizen and jurist was more human - and humane - than the stereotype.

He made a really substantial contribution to his family, his friends and to the Australian community.

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Graham Pople dies in Cairns – one of PNG’s first elected MPs

First suits
New MPs John Pasquarelli, Simogun Pita, Sinake Giregire and Graham Pople show off their new suits - tailored free of charge to wear in parliament - soon after their election to PNG's first House of Assembly in 1964


TOWNSVILLE – My long friendship and onetime political partnership with Graham Pople MBE has ended. My old buddy died in Cairns earlier this month.

He was 83 and had been ill for some time.

Graham and I were amongst Papua New Guinea’s first parliamentarians democratically elected on a common roll.

PNG’s first election, involving the entire adult population of the then Australian territory, was held in February-March 1964, 55 years ago.

Graham Pople, Keith Tetley, Keith Levy, Barry Holloway and I were five white men elected to what were described as parliament’s ‘open seats’ (that is, open to all comers, black, white or brindle).

The House of Assembly was a 100-member chamber which, apart from open seats, had ‘special seats’ reserved for expatriates and ‘official seats’ reserved for white bureaucrats appointed by the Australian Administration.

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Death of 'the missionary with a compassionate heart'

Fr Adrian Meaney
Fr Adrian Meaney MSC

STEVEN GAGAU with Keith Jackson

SYDNEY - It is with great sadness that I share the news that Rev Fr Adrian Meaney MSC passed away aged 85 around 11:00pm on Thursday night last week.

Adrian was ordained together with his brother Basil in Brisbane on 29 June 1961.

He spent many years in the Northern Territory, especially in Alice Springs, and also many years in Papua New Guinea, especially in Bereina and Port Moresby, including work for the Papal visit in 1995 for the beatification of Peter To Rot.

Known as "the missionary with a compassionate heart,” his principal focus in more recent years was the MSC Mission Office in Sydney, which he founded to help the poor in developing countries with potable water, medicine for TB and HIV patients as well as scholarships for children.

Adrian visited and worked in 60 countries. Among the many other activities, he directed a 10-day retreat and workshop for parish and prayer leaders of the Marshall Islands in 2008.

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Gus Bottrill OAM dies at 94 – a splendid man in war & in peace

Bottrill & Michael
Gus Bottrill receives his OAM from Dr Ken Michael, Governor of Western Australia, in 2008


NOOSA - When Angus Matheson ‘Gus’ Bottrill was awarded the OAM in September 2008, the citation read “for service to the indigenous community, particularly through research and assistance with land title claims”.

It could have gone much further because as a soldier, kiap, court officer and advocate for the rights of indigenous people, he was a man of high values and exceptional dedication to his fellow humans.

Gus Bottrill has died in Perth at the grand age of 94. I knew him only in Rabaul in 1970, when he was a kiap engaged fully in the civil unrest at the time – a stocky man of avuncular demeanour and unflappable disposition.

Those times, which ended in the murder of a district commissioner, unsettled us all. For Bottrill, they would also have offended his sense of propriety about how human relationships should be conducted.

World War II broke out in 1939 and, as a student at Christian Brothers College in 1941, along with his mates Terry Murray and Ted Fitzgerald, Bottrill joined the air cadets. When they all turned 18 in 1942, his mates joined the RAAF and were killed as air crew gunners in Europe.

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Jon Bartlett, patrol officer 1963-81 – a life of family, friends & fun

Jon Bartlett
Jon Bartlett - a good life

COLIN MIDDLETON | Edited extracts

NEWCASTLE NSW - Jon Bartlett was a country boy from Wagga, whose family antecedents were Irish and Chinese.

Asked why he spelt his name without the ‘h’ of ‘John’, he said he liked swimming and was an admirer of Jon Henricks, the Australian Olympic and world swimming champion and changed the spelling of his name to match.

Jon was a self-effacing and caring family man of considered thought. He loved music, food, cooking, beer, fun and laughter. He had a keen sense of humour and had an infectious laugh.

After school, Jon worked for a time with the Dalgety wool company in Wagga. He enjoyed his time with them in the saleyards which taught him many things about stock and especially working dogs.

Jon joined the Papua New Guinea Administration in the last permanent patrol officer intake of 1963 – probably completing the one month ASOPA course before a month-long orientation in Port Moresby before his initial posting to the Kainantu Sub District.

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Death of Clarrie Burke - teacher, academic and humanitarian

Dr Clarrie Burke - a  prominent educator and a tireless activist for human rights


BRISBANE - Clarrie Burke, known to many former educators and senior public servants in Papua New Guinea during the 1960s and 1970s, died in Brisbane on Sunday.  He had incurable cancer.

Clarrie was born in Port Moresby, his family evacuated to Australia shortly after the Japanese invasion of PNG in 1942.

The family settled in Brisbane but later moved back to Samarai. Clarrie and his brother Eddie completed their primary and secondary education as boarders in Brisbane and Toowoomba.

In 1957, Clarrie worked as a clerk at the District Education Office in Port Moresby and the following year he took up a two-year education cadetship at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) in Sydney to train as a primary teacher.

His postings as a teacher were to Lae and then Port Moresby as headmaster of the well-known and highly regarded Hohola Demonstration school.

Clarrie later was appointed principal of the Education In-Service College which had the formidable task of upgrading teachers’ credentials and identifying high level training for senior PNG administrators in the lead-up to independence.

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Sr Francois Wridgeway MFIC dies – an amazing missionary sister

Sr Francois with her stamp albums
Sister Francois with her stamp albums - she knew exactly how many stamps she had and the location of each and every one


BRISBANE - I am sad to share the news that Sr Francois Wridgeway MFIC died at St Vincent's Hospital in Brisbane at 3 am last Saturday.

She had not been well at all and was in hospital for some time.

Sr Francois was with the pioneer Franciscan Sisters who first came to Aitape in 1949, being based at Sissano where they had a clinic.

The only doctor in the large Sepik District, the popular Dr John McInerney, was based at Wewak and owned a small Auster plane. He would call at Sissano occasionally to give a helping hand. Tragically, in March 1953, he crashed into the sea taking off from Vanimo and died.

Two kiaps who were with him, Assistant District Officers George Wearne and Ian Skinner, survived. Overloading was a principal contributing factor and crash inspectors also found a hornet's nest blocking the pitot tube so there was no indicated airspeed.

Anyone who spent time at Aitape, Lumi, Fatima or Sissano would know Sr Francois, who was an amazing missionary Franciscan sister.

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One of PNG’s great achievers, Sir Henry To Robert, has died

Sir Henry was governor of PNG's reserve bank when the kina and toea were introduced as the new nation's currency


BUKA - I am saddened to hear of the passing of one of the East New Britain great sons, Sir Henry To Robert.

I first met Sir Henry more than sixty years ago when we were contemporaries at Saint Brendan’s College Yeppoon, Queensland, Australia. We were the first Papua New Guinean students at the school.

I still remember the day that we boarded the Quantas flight from Lae to Rockhampton. It was a journey that inevitably forged a friendship that would last a lifetime.

Sir Henry’s passing is a great loss to the people of East New Britain Province and Papua New Guinea. Sir Henry has had the distinction of being the first Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea for 20 years (1973 – 1993). He was also one of the longest serving governors of the Commonwealth.

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Death of Leo Hannett - a Bougainville leader of the middle way

Leo Hannett
Leo Hannett - politician, administrator, thinker & a true son of Bougainville


BUKA - My friend and colleague Leo Hannett, who died on Friday 15 June, was a man of passion tempered by common sense.

He had remarkable ability to bridge the gap between educated leaders and leaders at the village level. He was a leader gifted in finding the middle way through situations where people were deeply divided. He used his very many gifts in many ways that brought great benefits, especially to the people of Bougainville.

I first knew Leo in 1963, when he and I entered the same class at the Catholic major seminary in Madang.  We spent five years together, to the end of 1967, studying to be catholic priests.

Leo decided to leave the seminary  to be more involved in active politics. He  studied at UPNG and at the University of Hawai’i, where he developed his abilities as a commentator on pre-independence PNG politics.

Like me, I am sure that Leo was shaped in many ways by our joint experience of seminary education. Our training there included human rights and social justice and we had access to what was, by the standards of the day, a very good library.

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Moses Tau: Out of the cage to live a life of joy & giving


NOOSA – The sudden death last week of one of Papua New Guinea’s best known entertainers has both saddened the nation and raised the hot issue of how PNG treats its gay community.

Moses Tau died soon after collapsing at Port Moresby’s Lamana Hotel, triggering an overwhelming response as thousands of messages of condolence inundated the social media.

The Post-Courier newspaper noted perceptively that Tau had “made a place for the gay community in PNG by forcing this place through his music and performances”.

Government minister Justin Tkatchenko wrote on his Facebook page describing the singer as “vibrant and a true showman”.

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Sir Reginald Barnewall, aviator & businessman, dies at 93

Sir Reginald and Lady Maureen Barnewall in 2008ROB PARER

BRISBANE - Sir Reginald Barnewall, a descendant of Anglo-Norman knights and the founder of Polynesian Airlines, has died at the age of 93.

Sir Reginald, pictured here with his wife Maureen in 2008, served in Papua New Guinea during World War II as a lieutenant with the Royal Australian Engineers and Z Special Unit AIF. He lived at Mt Tamborine in Queensland.

He was in Aitape with the Army engineers in 1944 and after the war flew around many parts of PNG with Mandated Airlines. He had first met the Parer family, pioneering PNG aviators, in the 1930s.

Sir Reginald had been well and attended recent Anzac ceremonies in Brisbane.

Son of a wealthy Victorian grazier, he founded Goulburn Valley Air Services (later Southern Airlines Ltd) in 1954.The airline serviced Victoria and Tasmania including King and Flinders islands.

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‘Aliko and Ambai’: In loving memory of Lilly Samuel, 1990-2017

Lilly Samuel
Lilly Samuel - "I recall the first time I met you.... You gave me a bright smile"


CANBERRA - If you haven’t already watched the film, ‘Aliko and Ambai’, I strongly suggest you do.

It was first screened in November last year, produced by the Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka as the product of a PACMAS innovation grant.

It is a true Papua New Guinean film and it has everyday PNG in it: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

You’ll appreciate the beautiful footage of our country and realise how easy it is to make friends there.

You’ll see images of contemporary PNG.

The drunkards singing until daybreak (so disturbing, no respect for neighbours).

The husband who assaults (‘quite normal, it’s a family problem’).

The young girls who don’t do well in school (‘what a waste of school fees’).

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Mary Lou Uechtritz: Rabaul, the frangipani town, loses a flower

Mum Beehives
Mary Lou at the Beehives in Rabaul with harbour and volcanoes in the background


SYDNEY - Mary Louise Uechtritz passed away on Holy Thursday at Brigidine House, Randwick in Sydney. She was surrounded by children and grandchildren, her room festooned with Papua New Guinean memorabilia, flag and flowers. Frangipani flowers.

It was at the Frangipani Ball in 1951 that the romance between Mary Lou Harris and her future husband Alfred Max Parkinson Uechtritz blossomed.

The frangipani had been introduced to Papua New Guinea by Alf’s anthropologist-botanist grandfather Richard Parkinson in the 1880s.

It became a symbol of resilience for the town after poking stubbornly through the volcanic ash and re-flowering after the historic double eruption devastation of 1937.

The other great symbols of Rabaul are the Beehives, or Dawapia Rocks - two rocky volcanic outcrops in one of the world’s most spectacular harbours.

Mum (Mary Lou) and Dad (Alf) occasionally picnicked and plotted their life together on the Beehives and one such visit produced the accompanying photo of the bride-to-be – an emblematic image of their romance and 56 years of wedded bliss.

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Death of Chris Owen – esteemed maker of films about PNG

Chris Owen (Andrew Pike)
Chris Owen (Andrew Pike)

Chris Owen - the veteran filmmaker best known for his PNG documentaries - died this month. PROFESSOR DON NILES provided this citation at a Lifetime Achievement Award made to the film maker last year

CANBERRA - For his films on Papua New Guinea over more than three and a half decades, Chris Owen has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Visual Anthropology.

This took place at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) held recently in Washington, DC.

The Society for Visual Anthropology was founded in 1984 as a section of the AAA to promote the use of images for the description, analysis, communication, and interpretation of human behaviour.

Its Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals whose body of work is recognized for its exemplary impact on the field of anthropology. Chris is only the ninth person to receive such an honour.

Chris Owen’s award acknowledges his outstanding films on PNG traditional and contemporary culture. Ceremonies were held on 29 November and 1 December.

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Kokoda author & film historian Neil McDonald dies aged 77

Neil McDonaldNEWS EDITOR | Books + Publishing

MELBOURNE – Neil McDonald, the author of two popular books on the Kokoda Track in wartime, has died in Sydney at the age of 77.

Mr McDonald published several books including 200 Shots, a pictorial account of Australians fighting on the Kokoda Track and Kokoda Front Line: The Amazing Story of Legendary Australian War Cameraman Damien Parer.

His most recent book, Valiant for Truth: The Life of Chester Wilmot, War Correspondent, was shortlisted for the 2017 NIB Waverley Military History Prize and the 2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Australian History, where judges commended the book for shedding] new light on the career and experiences of one of Australia’s most renowned war correspondents.

“All of us at NewSouth Publishing were saddened to learn of the death of our author Neil McDonald in Sydney last weekend,” said publisher Phillipa McGuinness. Coincidentally, it was the same day that journalist Paul Kelly, in the pages of The Australian, praised Neil McDonald’s biography of Chester Wilmot that we were so proud to publish in 2016.”

Last letter from Kurt Pfund: Eminent artist chose PNG as his home

Chimbu Warrior (Kurt Pfund)
Chimbu Warrior (Kurt Pfund)


SYDNEY - Kurt Pfund (1935-2017) was born in Switzerland and lived, worked and played in Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean before finding his way to Papua New Guinea.

He was lured there by the ambition to become a crocodile hunter. Instead he developed an abiding love for the country and its people which he expressed through his paintings and his writing.

Kurt was already a significant artist and had held several successful exhibitions at an international level when I first met him in 1973.

He had also published two books, ‘Islands of love: portrait of the Trobriand Islands’ (paintings and text by Kurt Pfund) and ‘Legends of Papua New Guinea’ (paintings by Kurt Pfund, text by Jack McCarthy). His studio was on a five-acre property at Sapphire Creek.

We saw a lot of Kurt until we went our separate ways after Independence in 1975. Kurt returned to Switzerland and we returned to Australia for a while. The Sapphire Creek property became an official residence.

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After a long & adventurous life, Des Martin OL dies at 92

Des Martin
Des Martin awarded the PNG Order of Logohu by consul-general Magdalene Moi-He


SUNSHINE COAST - Dad passed away peacefully at the Buderim Private Hospital  at six o’clock this morning, 1 February, after battling a relapse of the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma he developed in 2016. He was 92 years of age.

We were with dad while he was in hospital and are deeply grateful to Dr Shavaksha and the nursing staff who ensured his comfort to the end.

Dad had a great life. He enjoyed a wonderful and loving marriage to Pam (deceased), our mother and the love of his children and grandchildren, son and daughter in law.

His formative experiences were as a young soldier in Papua New Guinea during World War II, then with the fraternity of kiaps in that same country and subsequently with his colleagues in ASIO, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

He had a deep respect for the men and women who shared his journey and the friends he made during his life.

Mum and dad moved from Canberra to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland in the mid-1980s and enjoyed their retirement there.

Dad faced the end of his life with the strength of character he showed during his life, with calm and composure. One of his greatest gifts to us was to love and respect our mum, Pam with whom he is now reunited for eternity. Daresay he will be having a few words with the man upstairs who took him earlier than he wanted.

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Ex kiap & respected businessman Alan McLay dies at 72


NOOSA – The death on Wednesday night of esteemed Lae businessman Alan McLay so soon after the death of Highlands icon Terry Shelley has deepened the sadness of the Papua New Guinean community.

Alan John McLay, 72, president of the Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry died at Angau Memorial Hospital. He came to Papua New Guinea as a cadet patrol officer in 1964 and was posted to Pomio in East New Britain.

The Victorian-born McLay later worked as a kiap in Wakunai, Kerowagi, Sinasina and Madang, remaining in PNG after independence to become Deputy Commissioner of Morobe Province from 1981-85 under Commissioner Sir Jerry Nalau, with whom he formed a close friendship.

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Terry Shelley dies at 77: tough, generous, a true man of PNG

Terry Shelley
Terry Shelley


CAIRNS - A great and generous man of Papua New Guinea - as gritty as the highlands people he respected so much - died here early yesterday morning.

Just turned 77, Terry Shelley succumbed in Cairns Hospital. Direly ill, he had travelled there by what he termed “Dr Qantas” as the cancer he suspected, but did little to address, eventually overwhelmed him.

Terry had little time for ill health, doctors, Australia or the Papua New Guinean elite. But he had every minute he could muster for his family and the people of PNG whom he served so well for 55 years.

His son, Trevor, who he admired and loved like he did all his family, sent me a note yesterday afternoon to convey the wretched news. Trev is an information technology consultant with BHP Billiton in Perth following upon a distinguished career in Australia’s Army.

“Dad passed away early this morning in Cairns,” Trev wrote. “The silly bugger was riddled with cancer and, because he is a stubborn old bastard, did not seek any medical treatment - he would have had this [the cancer] for some time given the amount he had. Refused to seek help until he was cooked.

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Historian Ken Inglis, onetime UPNG vice-chancellor, dies at 88


CANBERRA - Kenneth Stanley (Ken) Inglis AO died on Friday after a long and highly acclaimed career as historian and an academic career that traversed the corridors of Oxford University, his role as Vice-Chancellor in the early developmental days of the University of Papua New Guinea and for many years as Professor of History at the Australian National University.

Emeritus Professor Inglis was especially noted as the author of what has been termed “a magisterial two-volume chronicle of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (‘This is the ABC’ and ‘Whose ABC?’), his biography of war correspondent Charles Bean and Sacred Places, his study of war memorials.

Just back from Oxford in 1956, as a lecturer at the University of Adelaide, the then Dr Inglis wrote The Stuart Case, an examination of the conviction for murder and subsequent commutation of Aboriginal man Max Stuart.

From 1967 to 1975 Prof Inglis worked at UPNG, first as Professor of History then as Vice-Chancellor, a period captured in a recent article by Ian Maddox and Seumas Spark,Taim Bilong Uni – Ken Inglis at the University of PNG’.

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Rosalyn Evara, prominent journalist, dies suddenly aged 41


NOOSA – Rosalyn Evara, a senior journalist who was business editor of the Post-Courier newspaper, has died suddenly in Port Moresby.

Ms Evara collapsed at her home and was pronounced dead after being rushed to Port Moresby General Hospital.

Rosalyn Albaniel Evara was 41 and had been the long-serving bureau chief for the Post-C ourier in Madang.

“It is a shocker to us all,” said the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Todagia Kelola. “It is a sudden and great loss for the Post-Courier and the media industry in Papua New Guinea.

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Former BCL managing director Paul Quodling dies


Paul & Pam Quodling
Paul Quodling with wife Pam shortly before his retirement in 1987

BRISBANE - PAUL Quodling OBE, who was associated with the development and operations of Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) for 20 years, has died aged 90.

Mr Quodling entered the mining industry in 1956 with Rio Tinto and in 1966 was appointed to the project team responsible for the feasibility work on the Panguna project.

He and his late wife Pamela moved to Arawa in 1971 as the mine moved into its operational phase.

Quodling held senior positions in administration and community relations before his appointment as general manager in 1977 and managing director in 1982.

Shortly before his retirement in 1987, Quodling was awarded an OBE for his outstanding service to commerce, public and community affairs.

“Paul was instrumental in making BCL at the time one of the world’s leading mining operations,” said BCL chairman Robert Burns.

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Jim Sinclair OBE, recorder of PNG's colonial history, dies at 89

Jim Sinclair & Pami  Lake Kopiago  c 1952
Jim Sinclair and Pami, Lake Kopiago, c 1952


NOOSA – James (Jim) Sinclair OBE, 89, the famed post-war kiap and prolific author of Papua New Guinea’s history, especially that of colonial times since World War II, died just after midnight yesterday at Sunshine Coast University Hospital in Queensland.

He had contracted a severe form of influenza which was subsequently compounded by pneumonia and other complications.

James Patrick Sinclair was born in Dubbo, NSW, on 18 April 1928. He attended Dubbo High School, Sydney Grammar School and the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) in Sydney.

In November 1947, he joined the Department of District Services and Native Affairs in the Administration of what was then the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

After attending an orientation course at ASOPA he travelled to PNG in August 1948 as a cadet patrol officer and served on many outposts as he progressed through the field officer ranks.

Between 1969 and 1974, he was the last Australian district commissioner presiding over what is now Eastern Highlands Province.

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Diver & planter Harry Brutnall dies at 97: Man of energy & action

Harry BrutnallMARTIN KERR | Ex Kiap Website

CAIRNS - With moving tributes from family and friends, former sailor and shipowner Harry Brutnall was interred at Ravenshoe Cemetery on Friday 29 September. More than 120 attended the graveside service with military honours coordinated by the RSL sub-branch.

Born in England, Harry Brutnall came to Ravenshoe in 1926 and briefly attended Ravenshoe State School. He milked cows and at 14 worked as a blacksmith’s nipper on the Tully Falls Road, enabling him to purchase his first motor cycle.

Harry then went tin mining before joining the navy in 1938. On HMAS Perth he visited New York just before the outbreak of war. He later served on HMAS Swan and HMAS Adelaide.

In 1942, as an able seaman, he was selected for diving school. Quartered at HMAS Kuttabul, Harry was in Kings Cross when the vessel was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Without a diving suit, he retrieved bodies.

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After a word of prayer, Rev Dr Kemung was called home

Rev Dr Zirajukic KemungWARIME GUTI

LAE - The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea has lost one of its senior pastors, the theologian, academic and profound philosopher Rev Dr Zirajukic Kemung.

Dr Kemung was called home to rest last Saturday while preaching at the pulpit. After a short introduction to his sermon, he said a word of prayer and collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead after an hour.

Dr Kemung was awarded his doctorate in theology from Neudettlesau, Germany, in 1996. He was the second of four Papua New Guinean Lutheran theologians to hold a doctorate in theology.

The others are former head bishop the late Chief Rt Rev Dr Wesley Kigasung, current Martin Luther Seminary principal Rev Dr Michael Wann, and dean of the ministry faculty at the Pacific Theological College in Fiji, Rev Dr Kiki.

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Ex-kiap & former Queensland MP Bruce Laming dies at 79

Bruce Laming & wife Estelle after a successful early political campaignBILL HOFFMAN | Sunshine Coast Daily | Edited extracts

MAROOCHYDORE - Bruce Laming launched his career in public life at 42 off the back of a kaleidoscope of life experiences, including service as a kiap in Bougainville and the Papua New Guinea highlands.

Mr Laming would eventually play a role in the shaping of some key players in conservative politics in Queensland.

By the time he passed away on Monday after a long battle with dementia, former MP for Mooloolah and Landsborough Shire councillor, Bruce Laming, had not only established his own legacy but had helped nurture those of his son Andrew, the Federal Member for Bowman, and many prominent Queensland politicians.

"It's a very sad day," said Liberal Senator Mr Wallace. "The LNP has lost a great trooper. He was one of life's gentlemen."

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Nick Laki dies at 35 leaving a legacy as a great man & thinker


NICHOLAS Jew Laki (15 October 1981 – 5 August 2017) was a gentle man who could also be stern and commanding when need be.

He was open-minded but also held strong Christian values and principles that defined boundaries.

He balanced generosity with a strong work ethic. He was a man of ideas who turned words and dreams into reality.

These contrasting qualities reflect Nick’s colourful journey through life.

Amidst the death and destruction of tribal warfare in the Mul District, Nick emerged into the world on 15 October 1981. Pastor Israel Laki learnt from prison, where he was facing charges related to tribal warfare, that he had a son called Nicholas who was born at Tinsley rural clinic in Baiyer.

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Gordon Dick, PNG agriculturalist with an aversion for authority

Gordon Dick & Christmas bellsPETER DANIELS | Port Macquarie News

GORDON Dick, who has died in Port Macquarie aged 82, lived a life consumed by learning and a willingness to push back the boundaries of acceptance.

His early schooling – with brother Wal – was with the St Agnes parish and it’s fair to say they were not the most popular of students. His family believes this was the birth of his lifelong aversion to authority figures.

By age 13 he joined the seminary at Springwood in the Blue Mountains. Eight years of study, sport, bush walking and bird watching followed.

After obtaining a Commonwealth scholarship, he entered university to study agriculture or forestry. Three years later, in 1960, he graduated, married the girl from across the university benches and became an agricultural officer in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

The expected two years in PNG rolled into 20. Daughter Merrianne was born during a posting at Kerowagi in the Simbu.

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Angus (Gus) Smales, doyen of Pacific journalism, dies at 87


LAST week Monday 10 July, Gus Smales, a doyen of Australia-Pacific journalism, died peacefully in Mt Eliza, Victoria. His funeral will be held this Thursday 20 July in Mount Martha, Victoria.

Born in 1929 in Mildura, Angus (Gus) Smales’ illustrious career as a radio broadcaster, journalist, foreign correspondent, photographer, political advisor and media mentor kicked off in his early twenties when he moved to the central-west Victorian town of Castlemaine to join the Sunraysia Daily as a cadet reporter.

In 1954, following a posting to Sydney where he met his wife-to-be, Betty Cooper, in the offices of the Daily Telegraph, Gus went to Rabaul in Papua New Guinea to take his chances as a freelance journalist and radio news broadcaster.

Culturally attuned and quickly earning a reputation as a clever writer and articulate broadcaster with a social conscience, sharp wit and splendid sense of humour, in 1957 Gus became editor of the Rabaul Times at the same time allowed to continue his freelance reporting and broadcasting.

Amidst heightened local and international debate about the future of the then Australian territory, Gus was had access to and deep knowledge of the key figures in PNG’s rapid move to independence.

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Veteran doctor John Niblet dies: treated evilly by PNG government

John Niblet & medical colleagues  20 June 2017 (Andrea Niblet)SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

THE man who was a staunch campaigner for the improvement of the National Cancer Treatment Centre in Lae has died at the hospital he served in for more than 20 years.

Former Angau Hospital oncologist Dr John Niblet died of various complications at about 7pm on Tuesday night with his wife Andrea at his hospital bedside.

As many of his close friends and colleagues began grieving for his loss, there has been a lot of anger expressed over the treatment of the cancer specialist in the 12 months leading up to his death.

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Ben Finney, Polynesian Voyaging Society founder, dies at 83

Prof Ben FinneyGARY KUBOTA | Star Advertiser (Hawaii)

UNIVERSITY of Hawaii Professor Emeritus Ben Finney, who helped to show that ancient Polynesians sailing thousands of miles were capable of finding the Hawaiian Islands through non-instrument navigation, died on Tuesday at a nursing home in Kaimuki, Hawaii.

He was the last surviving founder and first president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, who helped to debunk the scientific theory that Polynesians had drifted to Hawaii by chance.

“The voyage changed the whole identity of the Hawaiian people. We went from being castaways…to being children of the world’s greatest navigators,” said Polynesian Voyaging Society President Nainoa Thompson.

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Archbishop Brian's remains to be interred at St Didacus, Aitape

Emeritus Archbishop Sir Brian Barnes OFMFRANCISCAN FRIARS | Order of Friars Minor

IT IS with great sadness that the Franciscan Friars of the Province of the Holy Spirit announce the death of Emeritus Archbishop Sir Brian Barnes OFM (1933-2017).

Brian James Patrick Barnes was born at Wingham in New South Wales on 23 March 1933 to Arthur Keith Barnes and Eileen Barnes. He joined the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) in 1951 and was first professed on 18 February 1952. He was ordained a priest on 12 July 1958.

As Father Brian Barnes, he was appointed to the mission of Papua New Guinea in October 1959. He served as Assistant Priest in Aitape when he first arrived in the PNG Missions. He then served as Headmaster at Seleo Island and as a parish priest in Monandin, Nuku, Wati, Ningil and Lumi from 1960 until 1968.

In 1968 he was appointed as chaplain to the police of the Royal PNG Constabulary. He was based in Port Moresby but travelled extensively throughout Papua New Guinea. He served as the police chaplain from 1968 until 1988 when he took up his appointment as a bishop of the diocese of Aitape.

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Death of Archbishop Brian: priest spoke out against corruption

Young Fr Barnes & Hanna Mongas Rawah  AitapeROB PARER

AFTER some years of ill health, much loved Papua New Guinea church leader Archbishop Sir Brian Barnes OFM passed away at 2 am Tuesday morning in a nursing home run by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary sisters in Sydney.

Sir Brian arrived in Papua New Guinea as a young man. He was to become a citizen, an outstanding figure and was particularly outspoken against the scourge of corruption.

Brian came to the St Anna Friary at Aitape in October 1959 not long after he was ordained. He assisted Fr Dennis Dobson OFM building the new friary and also taught for a while at a little bush school nearby.

He then went to Seleo Island as acting headmaster to replace Fr Martin Schumac OFM. From there, in March 1960, he went into the bush near Nuku to establish the mission station at Monandin and then served in the Nuku-Wati parish for a few years.

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Death of Josepha Kiris, leader in domestic violence struggle


ONE of Papua New Guinea’s most respected women leaders, Josepha Kiris, who many people knew as Josepha Kanawi, died last week.

Ms Kiris, a former Secretary of the PNG Law Reform Commission, was a driving force behind the criminalisation of wife beating and a constant voice urging the PNG government to acknowledge the skills and experience of senior female public servants by elevating them to executive roles in national agencies.

She always said she wasn’t asking for special treatment for women.

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Death of Bro Iggy – Hawks stalwart & PNG educator for 27 years

Bro Iggy with De La Salle BrothersJOHN MURRAY

THE unexpected death on 28 January of Leo William Kennedy, known in the De La Salle order as Brother Ignatius, brought to an end over 60 years of religious life dedicated to teaching.

‘Iggy’ (seen here with three De La Salle brothers) as he was known to thousands of pupils over 60 years, had retired to the Brothers' home in Cronulla, Sydney, only in 2013, after returning from Papua New Guinea where he spent 27 years as a teacher and mentor.

Born in Melbourne in 1931, Iggy was a member of the Kennedy clan renowned for its contribution over three generations to the famed Hawthorn Australian Rules club.

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Sir Michael Ogio: 'We have lost a peacemaker & a great statesman'

The late Sir Michael Ogio and President John MomisJOHN MOMIS

IT IS with the greatest of sadness that I mourn with the rest of Bougainville the passing of one of this nation’s finest statesmen, the late Governor-General His Excellency Sir Michael Ogio.

The late Sir Michael Ogio served this nation and the people of Bougainville with commitment and great distinction.

His long career began as an educator, politician and peacemaker and finally he held the highest office in the land as Governor-General.

Sir Michael was a staunch Catholic and family man; he was a man amongst men, a leader with a heart for his people. His selflessness and Christian values were the hallmark of his jovial attitude to life, which he lived to the full.

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Death of businessman & philanthropist Sir Henry Chow


SAD news has reached me of the death of Sir Henry Chow, 83, the patriarch of the Chow family - a long-established and respected line whose roots in Papua New Guinea go back to the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Sir Henry, a member of the fourth generation in PNG, was born in Rabaul in 1933 and educated in Rabaul and Australia, After World War II he served an apprenticeship and trained as a boat designer and builder in Australia.

The Chow family’s forefathers were peasant farmers of Guangdong Province in southern China.

In 1895, the colonial government of German New Guinea recruited a family member as a personal servant for one of its administration officers and the young man arrived in Rabaul to be soon followed by two younger brothers.

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Death of ex kiap & Australian police officer Paul Jones


PAUL Milton Jones, who died in Canberra just before Christmas, was born in Sydney in 1942 and grew up with a love of bush-walking and no inkling that he would get more than his fill of it in the mountains of Papua New Guinea.

In 1962 he successfully applied for acceptance as a cadet patrol officer and after initial training found himself at Bolubolu, PNG, in 1963.

Even while patrolling the remotest parts of the country, Paul sought to maintain his cultural connections with Australia.

Just before 1 pm each weekday he would instruct a carrier to shinny up a tree with a radio aerial so he could listen to the latest episode of Blue Hills transmitted on shortwave by the ABC.

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Death of Oseah (OP) Philemon, PNG’s finest newspaper editor

Oseah Philemon, Buka 2003BOB HOWARTH

THE dreadful Christmas Day news of the death of Papua New Guinea’s most-loved newspaper editor, Oseah Philemon, has caused what we now call a viral outpouring of grief and tributes on Facebook - the booming social media that corrupt politicians seek to censor.

I have two vivid memories of OP, as he was known.

One is of the hijack of his company vehicle after a gun was stuck in his mouth.

The other is about how he saved my life in Goroka’s Bird of Paradise Hotel when I nearly died from eating under-cooked mumu pork; a story which made me a popular speaker at a Muslim women’s group on a Java university campus.

The hijack. OP rang me one afternoon in 2004 when I was running the Post-Courier to tell me that some raskols had stuck a gun in his mouth and hijacked the company Kijang car outside the National Library in Waigani.

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