Dr Jan J. Saave, Medico extraordinaire, Malariologist, Maestro, Mentor, Linguist, and Officer of the British Empire.

April 29, 2013 at 9:14 am (Bill Brown, Commentary, Don Coffey, Dr Jan J Saave, East Sepik District, expatriates, Jim Van Der Kamp, malaria control, Maprik, Papua New Guinea)

Dave Wall & Jan Saave, some years after they left PNG

Dave Wall & Jan Saave, some years after they left PNG

“Dr Jan SAAVE, OBE (4 October 2006, aged 86 years)

“From early post Pacific War to beyond Independence Jan was a government Medical Officer in PNG and for many years directed the Malaria Eradication Program.” Harry West

Source: PNGAA Obituaries

In 1999 & 2000, Dave Wall, met up again, with his much admired, and former boss, Dr Jan J. Saave, Medico extraordinaire, Malariologist, Maestro, Mentor, Linguist,  and Officer of the British Empire. The years they served together, in Papua New Guinea, enhanced the respect Dave had for Jan, and in their meetings in Sydney, so well captured in the above photos, we see clearly the deference and respect shown by Dave towards Jan.

Jim Van Der Kamp said,

April 1, 2010 at 2:39 am

“The first Malariologist in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea was Dr.Peters who insisted that he be given sufficient funds to run a Malaria Eradication Programme being extremely expensive but limited in time. He was denied this and told to run a Control Programme, cheaper but unlimited in time. Peters resigned and Dr Jan J Saave who was a surgeon in Rabaul, took up the post under the condition that he would not be interferred with. This was approved and more or less gave him a free go as how to run his Mal-Con programme. One great disadvantage was that he was not permitted to recruit European staff overseas which left him with only being able to recruit Europeans already in the Terrtory. Dr. Peters by the way became Professor Peters of the Department of Parasitology at the Liverpool University, U.K.
“Dr Saave took on his new position with great enthusiasm. He was a very hard worker. He soon became known for his extarordinairy word choices and abbreviations. I remember: WAF, Walking About Fever, CBF, Confirmed to Bed Fever. DDD, Drug Distributin Day, amongst many more. On his visits he would give his field officers a notebook full of assignments, and he must have known that it was virtually impossible to complete all these tasks in the given time. However, he never commented if a task was not fulfilled. Off duty he was a great lover of good food and liked his cold beer, in scooners. When he was promoted, the programme was never the same, never so exciting and colourful. Dr Saave would never say, e.g: “Now listen Jim” but it was always: “My dear friend” with his index finger up. He made a lot of friends but unfortunately it was inevitable to have made enemies as well.
“I always remained grateful to him for having recruited me in January 1965 in Port Moresby. I was only 24 years old.”

From the above readers will be able to ascertain the respect that Jan Saave was held in.

Thinking about Jan a rather amusing little encounter we had many years ago comes to mind. It would have been 1965 when I was stationed at Maprik in the then East Sepik District of PNG.

There was a section in the area of malaria control that was overdue for operations. However, there was no money available to patrol and carry out these operations. This situation I made known to Malaria Service Headquarters in Moresby.

A radiogram was sent to me, presumingly from Dr Jan Saave, stating that my excuses were entirely unacceptable, and I was ordered to proceed immediately with operations, and if nesessary to utilize private funds.

After receiving this radiogram I answered by radiogram advising that I had no private funds available, and I suggested that the hat be passed around headquarters.

Don Coffey was running the post office and radio at Maprik, and skeds in the country were  an open medium for anyone to listen into. With the result that the whole station was rather amused by the radiograms. Even the ADC, Bill Brown, got a kick out of them. Bill was usually rather humourless in official matters, being a proficient and astute officer. As a result of my radiogram, I think Bill respected me somewhat more than he had previously.

A colleague of mine in the Service was visiting Moresby Headquarters at the time, and he told me that Jan picked up my radiogram in his presence, and remarked in some disgust : “This type of communication from a field officer!”

I might point out that official funds did arrive shortly after the radiograms. Don Coffey did ask me if the hat had been passed around Headquarters.

In spite of this amusing exchange I always retained a liking and respect for Dr Saave, and I often wish he was still around.

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Mr & Mrs Kenny

April 28, 2013 at 5:03 am (Biography, Commentary, East Sepik District, expatriates, Maprik, Papua New Guinea, PNG Health)

It’s a funny thing in life how past doings and friends long since forgotten suddenly return to your consciousness.

Well, the other early morning when I awoke from my night’s sleep thoughts suddenly turned to Jim and Madge Kenny.

It would be getting close to fifty years since I’d seen or heard of this captivating couple.

It was in Maprik, in the then East Sepik District, in 1964-65 that I became acquainted with them. We were then all employed by the Public Health Department. Madge was a trained nurse in charge of maternal and child health, and Jim was an EMA (European Medical Assistant) at Maprik Hospital. I was with Malaria Service.

With thoughts about them I had occasion to look at the PNGAA Obituaries, and I came across Madge’s name. She died in 2000 after a distinguished career in nursing and health service management both in PNG and Australia. She left PNG in 1975. For her service there she was awarded an MBE. In Australia she held senior nursing positions, retiring in 1980.

I found no mention of Jim in the said Obituaries. I think I can safely say that like the old soldier he was, he simply faded away.

The stories about Jim were and I’m sure still are legend. What an extraordinary fellow he was.

He was a fighting medical orderly in the AIF with a Mention in Despatches to his credit. Jim carried out his medical duties in many different postings throughout PNG with skill and dedication.

By the time I knew him, he was no longer a young man, but still the dapper, clean and spruce gentleman that I’m sure he’d always been.

I remember him arriving at the Maprik Hotel after work in a PHD chauffeur-driven Land Rover, and stepping out onto the path to the bar ready for a convivial drinking session. If only I’d taken a picture, but alas, I have no snap of him.

We had many meetings together discussing important questions of state and health, lubricated with alcoholic beverages. In fact we used to call these meetings conferences.

On one occasion a young trainee medical assistant was heard to remark that when Mr Wall suggests to Mr Kenny a conference this is not what it really is, but only another name for a drinking session! I dare not comment on this assertion.

Going back some years before I knew Jim, he was on one of his periodic leaves from the Territory, in, I think, Sydney. His mind turned to the medical needs of the Territory’s  Health Department, and he decided he’d visit some medical supply companies. But prior to this he had a card printed that went thus:

 James Kenny, MA LLD                                                                               

Department of Public Health

Territory of Papua & New Guinea

He then duly visited a number of medical/pharmaceutical suppliers, and made extensive orders of products and drugs that he knew were urgently (in his opinion) needed back in the Territory. He signed all the necessary papers for immediate despatch, and everyone accepted his signature as sufficient authorization. You must remember that Jim had the gift of the gab, and he looked the part of a distinguished medical administrator.

Well, after sometime the equipment and drugs arrived by ship in Port Moresby, and the Public Health officials there were amazed to see the wonderful, including x-ray machines of the best and latest, and drugs arrive. The doctors were overjoyed by the products, but then they read the paper work with the consignment, and noticed the authorization approval by the one and only James Kenny. After that there were frantic phone calls to the Sydney companies pointing out that there was no money to pay for the supplied items and no authorization. They were told in no uncertain terms from Sydney that if there was no payment legal action would be taken out against the Health Department.

To make a long story short there was no way the doctors were going to send the supplies back because they were indeed items that were really needed.

At this time Dr John Gunther was the Director of the Health Department, and one of his senior officials had Jim up as it were on the mat.

It was pointed out to Jim that he’d put the Department in a very embarrassing position, and he had no permission to make these purchases, and then one of the officials said to Jim: “What’s this James Kenny, MA LLD?” Jim informed him in so many words that James Kenny was his name, and the MA LLD stood for Medical Assistant liklik dokta.

Being of Irish descent Jim was always eager to make a visit to Ireland. He did make a trip to Dublin, and meet up with some distant relations, and off they went to a pub.

When at the pub one of the customers after hearing Jim speak was reputed to have said: “What’s that Englishman doing in the bar?” – referring to Jim, to which one of his relations answered: “He’s no Englishman, that’s Jim Kenny, the son of Daniel Kenny!” After this a great night was had by all.

In his school years Jim attended Xavier College, Kew, Melbourne. I could not describe him as a fanatical Catholic, if indeed he practised at all. But I never heard him critical of the Church. I suppose his Irish blood was thicker than water, and there’d be inbuilt residual loyalty to Catholicism in his veins.

In both of us I detected some sort of affinity which may have been moulded by our shared Jesuit education – I went to St Ignatius’ College, Riverview. Be that as it may, but in many areas we both saw eye-to-eye, perhaps the drink helped a bit.

Madge, I would suspect was traditional C of E, Jim & Madge’s son, Michael, was sent to Trinity Grammar in Sydney.

Madge was a particularly generous hostess and one was often asked to the house for a meal or a party. Jim was also very generous, but he often found it difficult to stay awake for the arrival of guests.

On arrival at their house it was not unusual to see Jim fast asleep on a chair, and remain so for the duration of the social gathering, and just as the guests were about to leave Jim would wake up thinking the party was just about to start.

Poor Madge once said to me that it would be far easier to be married to a philanderer than to one who drank too much.

Jim, no doubt like us all had his faults, and perhaps at times he was in the grip of the booze, but from my perspective he was always a gentleman.

As I write this piece I’m listening to a recording of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, and I think back to those Maprik days, and the remarkable Madge and Jim couple. Both contributed a lot, and expats and the people of PNG are the better for their contact with them.

I think of the young Jim in his military days carrying a loaded 303, and a medical kit bag into battle, ready to fight and render aid – the EMA Jim, and Nurse Madge, in Misima, battling against a polio epidemic. Both rendered so much over the years to an emerging nation.

I often think even to this day that I’d love to again be in conference with Jim, and to be received so graciously by Madge at a dinner party given by her.

Madge Kenny MBE, and James Kenny MID, like Vaughan Williams’ lark, you two are ascending in my consciousness and appreciation.

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Photos of Angoram & Maprik

April 25, 2013 at 7:34 am (Angoram, Angoram Club, Bryan Martin, Dan Rolfe, Don Bosgard, Don Coffey, Don Westley, Donald Gordon Bosgard, East Sepik District, expatriates, Fr Mike Clerkin, Jim McKinnon, John Pasquarelli, Maprik, Nan Bunting, Papua New Guinea, Peter England, Photos, Sepik River, Steven Westley, Vanessa Westley)


See page: https://deberigny.wordpress.com/anaz-day-at-angoram-maprik/

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Judge William Desmond Thomas Ward 1920-2012; his former associate, John E Bowers, writes about him.

April 25, 2013 at 2:56 am (Biography, Commentary, John Bowers, Judge Ward, Papua New Guinea, Photos)

Judge Ward


His Honour Des Ward

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Paul Robeson and David Augustus Wall in two distinct pieces of music

April 22, 2013 at 5:20 am (Commentary)




“Sometimes I feel like a motherless child”  and  “Broken and bruised”

Some might say, melancholy, gloomy,  but still a dramatic cry from the emotional heartland of us all at times.

What do you think?

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Legalised same-sex marriage and gender neutral lavatories; does the answer lie in a dream?

April 21, 2013 at 9:49 am (Commentary)

After the Kiwis legalised same-sex marriage I had a rather unusual dream.

I dreamt I had occasion to visit a public lavatory, and on entering, and going to the urinals, I found them surrounded by women, leaving me embarrassed about going ahead with my bladder action.

I looked left and right and one of the women said to me: “What’s wrong with you, you old bugger, get on with it! This is a unisex public toilet.”

In my dream I said to myself that I’d heard about a bit on the side, but this was just too much.

Anyhow, next morning I awoke and I wanted to know what this all meant.

This, I thought, was a case for my admired friend, J.P. Priestley. Readers of this blog would be aware of this gentleman.

He’s a man that is catholic in his qualifications and talents – a psychologist with rare insights into the human condition.

J.P. gave me a bit of Freud, Jung, Hall, Domhoff, and finally his own considered opinion: Accordingly, my dream reflected something of my own unconscious wishes, but not only the unconscious. This dream showed a lot about me, and what I actually was. The dream was a waking reality that was for me rather than for him to interpret. In other words, it’s only as important insofar as I myself thought it was important.

Priestley’s final advice was to tell me to show him anything that I write on this very subject.

In this particular area, J.P. is famous in what he calls his grammatical psychological analysis of a writer’s words. In this he brings to bear his vast intellectual skills to read the personality of the author.

He looks particularly for any mistakes in grammar and logic. This helps him build up a picture of the writer, and his dreams and desires.

There are those who claim that J.P. has his own rules of grammar, but it is not I, as a lesser mortal to question these!

I want to know what is the relationship between same-sex marriage and unisex public lavatories? Does the answer lie in gender equality?

I can understand that transsexuals would be more comfortable with gender neutral lavatories.

For me, I feel, the explanation lies in Jung’s archetypes and the collective unconscious.

It would appear that I have an underdeveloped psyche, and my dreams are trying to compensate for my waking life deficiencies.

Perhaps I may be permitted to misquote Winston Churchill:

“I cannot forecast to you the action of a dream. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is the dreamer’s self- interest.”

In fairness to Churchill, the correct quotation is:

“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

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Donald Gordon Bosgard, esteemed President of the Angoram Club, makes a point in the photo below!

April 16, 2013 at 1:38 am (Angoram, Angoram Club, Commentary, Don Bosgard, Donald Gordon Bosgard, East Sepik District, expatriates, Pacific war, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River)

Bosgard,the Lucases,Wall -Ang 60s - Copy

Donald Bosgard, Walter Lex, Ella Lucas, David Wall, Glen Lucas, Angoram in the late 1960s                                       ( Photo provided by Ella Lucas and refined by Paul Dennett)

Donald Gordon BOSGARD (27 June 1990, aged 70)

Don joined the PNG Administration immediately he was discharged from the Army after World War II and, besides serving elsewhere, spent many years in the Sepik District, firstly at Wewak and then at Angoram as Senior Clerk with the Department of Native Affairs. It is believed he was at Angoram for some twenty years and remained there assisting with the transition to Independence until his position was localised, retiring in March 1975. Don made many friends during his service in PNG and will be sadly missed by them.

After his retirement Don lived at Rose Bay, NSW, where he was a member of the RSL Club. His funeral was attended by numerous family and friends and a contingent from the Rose Bay RSL Club with its President giving the eulogy. Our Association was represented by Meg England and Pierre Donaldson.

Source: PNGAA, Vale, September 1990

According to Cardinal Newman: “It is almost a definition of a gentleman to say that he is one who never inflicts pain.” If this is so, Donald Gordon Bosgard more than fitted the bill.

It was my privilege to have known Don over a number of years in the Sepik District, and after he retired to Sydney.

To say that Don was of the old school would be an understatement. A dignified and refined man, always impeccably dressed and softly spoken in a clipped Anglo-Australian accent, and to me, he embedded all that was fine and good in a colonial gentleman. Some may have felt that Don was a bit snobbish and they would be slightly correct, but like Warburton, the Somerset Maugham, character, Don may have been a snob, but he was also a gentleman. He never harped on any of his own misfortunes to the discomfort of others.

Don’s father was a Dane who migrated to Australia before the First World War, and he served as a dentist with the Military Expeditionary Force that occupied German New Guinea at the start of the war. His mother came from Anglo-Australian stock with a fine history of officer naval service in the family. Don and his two brothers all served with distinction in WW II. One brother was killed in action in the Territory, and I heard he was even recommended for a VC. Don was at Shaggy Ridge. Peter, his other brother, was also prominent in the RSL in Moresby after the War.

For most of the time Don was in Angoram, he was president of the club, and what a monument to decorum and good manners he was, but more than a monument in his organizational abilities in running and directing club activities. He was an example to young government officers who came to the town.

On a recent visit to Angoram, I was impressed with what one of the local leaders said to me about Don. Eva, who we knew in the old days as Ipa, compared the treasury activities in the town today with their own building, and the number of staff most unfavourably with the excellent work Don did as just one person in a small office.

Don’s abilities were obvious for all to see, but he was content to remain in the clerical side of things. Some might say he lacked ambition, perhaps he did. I do know that a member of the House of Assembly had a mind to recommend him for a civil decoration.

Every afternoon after work, he would adjourn to his residence for a cup of tea, served by his faithful mankimasta, Rastus, and a shower. After which he would go to the club, but prior to leaving, Rastus would be instructed about the evening meal that he was to prepare. Before he actually left he might glance at the Observer. He refused to subscribe to the Post-Courier.

At the club, drinks and conversation would go on until about 8 or 9 o’clock. He was never the worst for liquor, and a lot of common sense was talked about the affairs of the station, and the world in general, while all the time smoking cigarettes. After which he would return to his donga, eat his evening meal, and in due course retire to his virtuous couch.

If he ever availed himself of the pleasures of the night that were on offer in Angoram, no one knew of it. I suspect, that he didn’t, as it was hardly the thing one would do considering what his sister, the old hag (As Don affectionately called her.) would have thought of such behaviour when on his leaves he returned to Rose Bay to stay with her in Sydney.

Don, I don’t know if you realize how much your friends from the old PNG days miss you. I guess by now a lot of them are with you already, but there are quite a few of us still down here.

I can’t say I look forward to joining you up there, but at least knowing you’re there will be some compensation.

Among the expats in Angoram over the years there were many fine and dedicated people, but there was only one aristocrat who I can think of, and he was  Donald Gordon Bosgard.

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“This novel should win the Nobel Prize for Literature.”

April 15, 2013 at 5:06 am (A.C.T. Marke, Book review, Commentary, expatriates, Fiction, Motion picture, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River, Temlett Conibeer, Third Reich, Twixt Semites and swastikas: Temlett Conibeer's greatest challenge)

A.C.T. Marke's latest novel. png

“At last the world’s patience is rewarded. Send a cheque for the innermost secrets of the SS. This novel should win the Nobel Prize for Literature.”




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“Official Blessing & Opening of the Redfern Jarjum College (13 April 2013)”

April 14, 2013 at 5:58 am (Aborigines, Catholic Church, Commentary, Education, Jarjum College, Jesuits in Australia)

On 14/04/2013 8:43 AM, Deborah Wall wrote:

David, Judith Clarke and I were looking for you and Bill yesterday.

Judith did get to meet your daughter, I gather.  But we couldn’t find you. Pity.

Mum Shirl’s figure has found its rightful place.



Deborah, my wife, Judith, my friend, and I were very disappointed to miss seeing Bill Clements and his wife, Barbara.

Overall the  opening was very successful, and I’ll leave others to describe it, but for me, there were  three highlights:

1. Seeing Bill Clements’ bronze statue of Mum Shirl. This is truly a remarkable work, and in the category of a great work of art – Bill, my sincere congratulations!

2. Speaking briefly to Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales and Administrator of the Commonwealth: ” Your Excellency, my family knew your family in Narrandera, my father was Dr Jim Wall of East Street, Narrandera, and I’ve written a book about him, which I’ll send you.” Her Excellency was obviously pleased, and she thanked me.

3. I spoke to Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney: ” Your Eminence, you were the cause of me losing $20. I bet $20 on you being the next Pope.” The Cardinal, with an amused look on his face, told me that it was unwise of me to do so, and he concluded by thanking me nevertheless. In this brief encounter the good Cardinal impressed me!

Everyone at the gathering seemed most impressed with Jarjum College, and there was a large measure of public approval. A little element of concern and disapproval was heard from what I would call the sidelines!

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Many fine and upstanding old soldiers and others to be seen on the link below.

April 12, 2013 at 7:48 am (Angoram, Commentary, East Sepik District, Jim McKinnon, Pacific war, Photos, Sepik River)

ANZAC Day, Angoram, 1973


ADC Col Sanderson takes the salute.

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