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.

1 Comment

  1. Paul Dennett said,

    A nice In Memoriam on your blog for Bozzie. His composure & good manners were quite memorable.
    He found out that I could cut hair soon after my arrival in the Scarlet Woman’s Lair and from then up until my departure from Angoram, I tended to his tonsorial needs. No royal warrant was ever issued to mark my “By Appointment”, but he always seemed pleased with the results of my efforts. I was surprised to see that he could refrain from lighting up a fag during the procedure.
    I learnt when his birthday was due and I presented him with a ‘pre-loved’ book on military matters that we had discussed. It was inscribed by me something along the lines of ‘To Donald for his birthday, with the sincere wish that all of his future campaigns may be of the armchair variety’. “Chuffed” is the best word to describe his reactions to this.
    Regards, Paul

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