A tribute to the late Kevin Trueman by Peter Johnson

June 27, 2013 at 9:19 am (Angoram, Angoram Club, East Sepik District, East Sepik Province, expatriates, Kevin Trueman, Maprik, Papua New Guinea, Peter Johnson, Sepik River, Vanuatu, Wewak)

KEVIN WILLIAM PATRICK TRUEMAN

Long-time Pacific Islands Identity

(b. Winchester, England 20 September, 1944   d. Port Vila, Vanuatu 7 June, 2013)

 

Kevin Trueman whose sudden death at Port Vila, Vanuatu, the former New Hebrides Condominium, on the night of 7 June, 2013 surprised and shocked his family and multitude of friends around the South Pacific islands.

Kevin, of English and Irish parentage, was born in the ancient cathedral city of Winchester, Hampshire, England.   His family migrated to Australia whilst Kevin was still in his teens.   After several ordinary jobs he teemed up with Sava Maksic in kangaroo and crocodile hunting ventures.   They sold their crocodile skins to an Armenian reptile skin tanner, Arshak Catchatoor Galstaun, and in 1967 they came, as two young married couples to Angoram, where Galstaun was the new proprietor of England’s Hotel; the ladies managed the hotel and Kevin and Sava shot the Sepik crocodiles. Neither the job not the partnership lasted long, for Kevin was not by nature an employee…he was soon trading, shooting and artefact dealing on his own account travelling the Sepik River in the Heron, a small trawler he bought from  Nils Madsen.

Two lovely daughters, Laena and Justine were born in Wewak, and Kevin’s restless enthusiasm saw him move to Wewak in about 1971 to take advantage of the booming coffee industry around the Maprik area.   Kevin put in 10 and 12 hour working days, and still had time for a hectic social life. He took virtual charge of building the Wewak Yacht Club, was for several years the Commodore, and  subsequently made a life member.

In 1976 he built a steel work-boat Elenjay and sailed her to Honiara and Port Vila, I was privileged to be a crew member on that adventurous voyage – the only other crew was a pot smouldering Kiwi hippy yachtie who neither of us knew! On arrival Kevin was jailed for a day for the illegal landing of an unnamed vessel flying no national flag. The prosecuting Harbour Master later became a good friend and helped Kevin to secure a coastal coxen’s ticket. Kevin succeeded in selling his boat, eventually coming back to New Guinea to buy and sell another after trading around the islands for a while.

An entrepreneur who saw the “big picture”, Kevin, around 1980 invested in an ocean-going freighter, the Bismarck Sea, later expanding with a second. He tramped between Australia, New Guinea, the Philippines and Vietnam, but a serious accident at Palau and difficulties with the waterside workers of evil memory, and “big line” competition caused the closure of this enterprise…he turned his thoughts and attention to the land; in 1983 he bought “Wetlands Station” near Augathella in western Queensland – my sons and I enjoyed a week of the Truemans’ wonderful hospitality there, shooting, eating and with my sons joining the girls at School of the Air lessons.

Around 1990 Kevin was asked to return to Wewak to manage a recovery of the troubled Sepik Producers Coffee Association, a native owned, but now badly run cooperative. He accepted this almost thankless task with the full backing of the then prime minister, Sir Michael Somare. He established a most capable  management team of Evelyn, Herman Baumann; Geoff Payne and Dieter Idzikowsky.  Kevin had an inclusive style which made his efforts popular with his New Guinean shareholders and customers, and after a campaign against the “rice and tin fish” Asian competition (as Kevin called it), the business started to boom. He expanded into wholesale and retail sales of hardware and whitegoods and commercial vehicle repair. Again wanting to be completely his own boss he eventually resigned and returned to Australia…but not for long!

Kevin and Evelyn accepted jobs in Honiara, BSIP with Kevin managing a large hardware business and Evelyn a soap factory…goodness! They settled down just in time to experience the horror of the unrest in the Solomons which eventually resulted in the establishment of the RAMSI peacekeeping force.

In 2006 Kevin made what was to be his last island relocation as he moved from the troubled Solomons back to Vanuatu and established himself as a respected businessman, restaurateur, and political commentator. A true Island Entrepreneur of the “old school,” Kevin will lie in Pango cemetery, Port Vila, a fitting last resting place to be fondly remembered as a generous, vital outgoing personality of warmth and almost boyish enthusiasm for the numerous projects and ventures he pursued.

Kevin, a loving husband and father leaves a widow, Evelyn Avis, daughters Laena, Justine, and Alexandra, four grand-children and an army of friends across much of Oceania.

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When sitting is shitting and shitting is sitting

June 27, 2013 at 3:40 am (Australian Politics, Commentary)

A major clanger made today by an ABC news reader: Today is the last shitting day for Parliament. This was quickly corrected by the reader to sitting.

It could well be argued that the Freudian slip was more apt, and to the point, than the correction.

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Beautiful Wewak is being Trashed

June 25, 2013 at 8:53 am (Commentary, Corruption in PNG, East Sepik District, Papua New Guinea, PNG Health, Wewak)

 

See: Click on Doc14 below

Doc14

Mosbi Mauswara lived in Wewak for some years.   He was there recently, and he sadly reports:-

The once attractive and leafy tree lined centre of Wewak is being

“trashed”    There is filth everywhere.   Either Health Inspectors are

hibernating, or have been “bought off”

     Young children hawk cheap (and often nasty) Asian goods on the

crowded streets, whilst their employing merchants lurk behind dingy

trade-store counters, with chop-sticks and ill-gotten work permits at

the ready.   Officers of the Labour Department follow the same work

ethic as their health demoting brothers, and do absolutely nothing to

prevent this outrage.

     Youthful pick-pockets abound; policemen do not.   Their station is

some fifty metres away – much too far to walk!

     The town’s new and modern garbage truck “became unserviceable”

a month after delivery – a victim of enthusiastic and 24- hour daily usage.

     In the main street people push and shove their way past other

shoppers; opportunistic bystanders; hundreds of angry and un-serviced

bank clients – many of them on duty public servants; and of course the

ubiquitous tubercular buai spitter.

     But all is not lost, for our local M.P. has just announced a Wewak

 District Road Map 2013-2017…so all this will change in the coming weeks, or will it?

   Sadly whatever happens, the former beautiful avenue of raintrees

 will not be there to watch! 

 

Mosbi Mauswara

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A tribute to Laurie Crowley by Richard Leahy

June 20, 2013 at 4:58 am (Australian Aviation, Aviation in PNG, expatriates, Laurie Crowley, Papua New Guinea, Tribute)

June 13, 2013

Dear Dave,

Laurie Crowley passed away yesterday at the age of 93 in the Highlands of NSW.

I am sure that Laurie will be recognised as being the most significant Light Aircraft Air Charter Operator so far in the history of PNG Aviation.

Laurie was an aircraft mechanic (fitter) in the RAAF (I think) during the war, and learned to fly soon after hostilities ended.

In early 1950 Laurie with another pilot, Ray Stockden, started up Crowley Stockden Airways at Lae. They began with Tiger Moths, and from there followed a fascinating assortment of aircraft which included Avro Ansons, a Curtiss Robin, a Piper L-5 Stinson, Piper Apache, and later Piper Aztecs and, of course, Cessna 170s, Cessna 205s, and I think, later a Cessna 206.  Laurie had an Aero Commander and a Helio Courier in his fleet for a time as well.

At some stage Laurie took over Ray Stockden’s share, and the company became Crowley Airways. Sometime in the 1960s Laurie decided to develop a helicopter operation as well, and I think, at one time fielded up to six Choppers, a Bell 47 G-5, Bell G-47 3B1s, and Bell Jet Ranger 206s.

Laurie eventually sold out the entire operation during the mid-1970s, and  moved to New South Wales with his family.

A little known fact, and I would include the members of Laurie’s family in this statement as well, is that during 1959 I would spend about one hour each and every week with Laurie in a camp hut at my family’s cattle station at Baiune, which was between Mumeng and Bulolo.

DASF were endeavouring to eradicate a cattle tick problem that we had at Baiune, and once a week they would charter Laurie and his Cessna 170 to take the stock inspector, at that time Neville Robinson, in to spray our cows for tick.

I would walk into the property at dawn on the designated days (one and a half hours walk each way) to ensure that the cattle had been yarded for the spraying operation.

After Laurie brought Neville in to the airstrip, I would leave the spraying  to him, and our lads and I, would spend the hour the spraying took with Laurie, asking him endless questions about every aspect of flying in PNG.

I can say without any fear of contradiction, that I learnt more from Laurie during that year than I ever learnt from a text book or from a flying school. I was only seventeen at the time, and although Laurie always had a book to read, each and every time he saw me walking over he would close the book, and very gracefully put up with my endless questions.

Later that year I would go on to take out a Private Flying Licence, and about three years later a Commercial Licence.

Laurie operated both fixed and rotary wing aircraft for around twenty- five years. No paying passenger was ever killed flying in a Crowley Aircraft whilst Laurie was at the helm.

I would like to pass on my condolences to Laurie’s family, and I’m greatly saddened by the passing of one of aviation’s greats.

Sincerely,

Richard Leahy.

 

See: http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2013/08/laurie-crowley-dies-at-93-pioneering-png-aviator.html#comments

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The sudden death of Kevin Trueman in Port Vila

June 9, 2013 at 6:03 am (Angoram Club, artifacts, East Sepik District, expatriates, Funerals, Kevin Trueman, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River)

Kevin Trueman on the left, late 1960s in the Angoram Club

Kevin Trueman on the left, late 1960s, in the Angoram Club

See: http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2013/09/tribute-to-kevin-trueman-a-real-islands-entrepreneur.html#comments

For those who knew Kevin or knew of him, the news of his sudden death on the night of 7th June, would be received with much sadness.

We all extend to Evelyn, his wife, and family, the deepest condolences!

Readers of this blog are invited to write of their recollections of Kevin.

Some have sent me emails which I’ve taken the liberity of reproducing here in part.

Kevin in anyone’s book was an extraordinary character – once known never forgotten!

Vale Kevin Trueman

Robin Hodgson
12:08 PM (1 hour ago)
to me

Hello Dave and Debbie,

Richard just rang to say that Kevin died suddenly in Port Vila last night after feeling unwell at dinner.  Evelyn is apparently in Australia. Eunice Hanson advised.

Rob & Meg
Jun 8 (1 day ago)
to me, origin.wewak

Thanks for that David.He certainly lived life to the full.

I remember when he was in charge of Sepik Coffee.

Another Sepik character that is for sure.

Kind regards,Rob.

Alan Pretty
11:29 PM (15 hours ago)
to me

Quite a shock & sad to hear. I always had a good relationship with him & remember him fondly.

I remember the last time I saw him. Remy & I had a meal with him & Evelyn in his house in Cremorne (I think – one of those North shore suburbs). It was a splendid evening, some 30 years ago…

He led an amazing life – Vale Kev indeed…

LeighPerry
6:29 AM (8 hours ago)
to Don, me

Damn, another man down. Kevin was always larger than his life. A big man with a big heart. He had a good eye for artifacts, too.

Do you have an email address or mailing address for Evelyn?

Maybe in a way he was lucky, like Dieter, dying at the end of a day in a place and time that suited him.

Thanks so much for keeping all of us in touch, even for sad news. Carolyn

Carolyn Leigh Studios

via iPhone

From:

Sandra
To Evelyn

SANDY KING FROM THE OLD DAYS IN ANGORAM.

SO SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT THE DEATH OF KEVIN.

GEOFF AND I REMEMBER ALL THE FUNNY, HAPPY AND ADVENTUROUS TIMES WE

HAD WITH YOURSELF AND BIG KEV.

A WARM EMBRACE GOES OUT TO YOU AND YOURS.

KINDEST REGARDS

SANDRA HOUGH AND GEOFF KING

Sandra
12:37 PM (2 hours ago)
to me

………………..KEVIN WAS A CROCODILE HUNTER AND TRADER
OF CROC SKINS.

HE WAS FUNDED BY ARSHAK, CONSEQUENTLY GEOFF AND I WERE HANDING OUT THE PURCHASE
MONIES TO BOTH HE AND RIVAL RUDI TREUTLEIN.

I ONLY HAVE AFFECTIONATE RECOLLECTIONS OF THE OUTGOING KEV AND PATIENT SUPPORTIVE
EVELYN.

Sandra
Jun 8 (1 day ago)
to me

OH DEAR…………….BETTER GET THAT REUNION GOING BEFORE WE ALL FALL OFF THE PERCH.
REMEMBERED WITH AFFECTION.

At this stage we do not have an email address for Evelyn.

I encourage those who knew Kevin to make comments.

See: http://www.dailypost.vu/content/kevin-trueman-loveable-larrikin-who-lived-life-fullest

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