The phone rings!

January 13, 2014 at 1:21 am (Uncategorized)

There many interesting things written here that seems even more relevant now. It’s good to think that dad and his brother James would be seeing much more of each other and having these conversations. – David Jnr

Stories by David Wall

The phone rang at four in the morning and I thought to myself, ‘who the hell is that? Maybe it will stop ringing and I can go back to sleep.’ But it didn’t and I had to answer it:

Hello and a vaguely familiar voice answered: James here, I thought I’d better get in touch. I’ve been away for a while and I want to catch up. In my still sleepy half conscious state it came to me that I’d not heard James’s voice for years. Well he went on: I’ve been about quite a bit since I left and I’ve run into some interesting people. Dad and Mum are fine. Joan said that if I meet you to say she is thinking about you.


By this time I was wide-awake and I was starting to think that the voice sounds just like James or Fells as we used…

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Poems by Deborah

January 13, 2014 at 1:02 am (Uncategorized) (, )

October 19th 2013 in the backyard 005 - Copy (15)Awakening

My eyes see, my ears hear,

my feet on the ground

in a spirit utterly wanting,

entrapped in twilight zone

after you swam your way into infinity,

leaving me suddenly without your anchor.

Love has become an abstraction

beyond expression, traces of you

disintegrating from the materiality

of existence, and I am barred

from reaching ‘you’ until I myself

am summoned to cross over a horizon

where your unquenchable earthly thirst

for definitive answers to questions

is now being filled with Living water,

mystery unravelling in a place

where Peace reigns, where paradox lives

in the eternal sleep of Awakening.

Two poems: sleep

So mortality knocks on my door.

No one knows the day and the hour.

We dance our dance in the circle of life.

Like an accordion, the past flashes fast

into the now where the future becomes a blank.

The peacemaker knows that the verdict

of passage is not in human hands.

Our walk, our small steps make an imprint

On the whole of this world, part of the co-creation

Process where mindfulness weaves fragments

into the eternal design and time is a notion

that has no anchor.

Openness to the beginning,

to the reason for being

shines through conscious awareness of place.

No need for resistance for we flow into

the river of the dynamic source of all breath

that enables the breakthrough of Mystery.

Sleep calls but there was no response.

I wake to the many shades of sleep.

My eyes shut and I ‘see’.

My eyes open and I go blind.

I travel inward and my night turns to day.

Flesh and blood draws a boundary

for grounding my unrestrained flight

into the truth in myth and fable,

into materializing the intangible.

Words burst out of a blank space

to give form to the unformed,

to think an unthought,

to mirror faint traces

from the collective unconscious.

The conscious unconscious awakes.

Deep sleep calls.

I am summoned.

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Eulogy by Terry Pfafflin

January 7, 2014 at 10:12 am (Uncategorized) (, )

It is my pleasure & privilege to speak about David, if somewhat melancholy, as we all feel.

Let me say, it is not difficult to speak of nice things about a nice person and David was a nice person and a good person in the true Christian sense. He did not have a bad fibre in his body – although he had a few eccentricities and a few extraordinary accomplishments, of which we are all aware. He never wished ill on anyone even when he disagreed with you – I ought to know as I have known David since we were 12 yrs of age Riverview College as boarders.

We both came from the Riverina, he at Leeton and l at Griffith. The Pfafflin & Wall families have known one another since the early 1930’s, when Gus my father moved to Wagga from Sydney and Dr Jim, David’s father, moved to Nerrandera from Melbourne.

David was also pleased of a common connection between us – both having French grandmamas and we were both francophiles. Later on in the 50’s, it was almost a ritual on every boxing day the Wall’s would come to the Pfafflin place to enjoy a BBQ with plenty of wine & food and of course lots of dancing and fun.

At St Ignatius College Riverview David was a good student with a penchant for the histories both Modern & Ancient and especially in English Literature. Sporting wise – He played in the lst Xv Rugby and in the lst Vlll for a while, and settled in the lst IV – he also ran the 880 and the mile with me. In order to keep fit and strengthen his body, he smashed rocks on the Riverview foreshore With Fr Gerard Jones SJ.Those stones became the foundations of the newly renovated Cova cottage, previously Bruce Kennairds cottage.(see the Dec edition of the Ignatian ­magazine) So indeed David is in someway enshrined Riverview forever.

During the latter years Riverview David would take cold showers summer & winter and was dubbed the nickname ‘Yogi’ by my brother in law David Ragg. A pseudonym he rather enjoyed.

David did not eat much of the food at Riverview as much of the food was not palatable after the war years. He was often seen in the Chapel, as he was a deeply spiritual person and somewhat of an aesthetic.

These characteristics stood him in good stead all of his life. He had a keen eye for truth & Justice, the foundation of many of his arguments.

After Riverview he wanted to do something extraordinary again. He wanted to row in a canoe down the Murrimbidgee from Albury to Adelaide, with another friend Leo Ingham. They got as far as Denilquin and struck a snag and the boat sank. i had the ominous task of bringing the original canoe from Sydney to Leeton on the back of a ute. Yet again, with his spirit of adventure and daringness he climbed Mt Kìiimanjaro (thank God I wasn’t involved in that venture)

David then went on to PNG as a Medical Field Officer and did wonderful things to help the indigenous poor. Here he met Debbie who became his wife and they have 2 sons Andrei and David present here today. Debbie was the Personal Asst to one of the Chief Ministers in PNG Govt. They both returned to Sydney and he joined the teaching profession.

0n retirement, in keeping with his natural bent for writing, he wrote 2 books one of his experiences in PNG and the other about his father Dr Jim and the family history, and the good works he did as a medical Dr in the Riverina. Above al1 David was a prolific writer on the Internet – I used to say you probably take the computer to bed with you! He just loved writing.

Some 9 yrs ago David had a massive operation, a quadruple bypass. l saw him hospital and I thought he was on ‘death’s door’. However with his remarkable courage and determination he recovered and was up and about in a matter of weeks. He then carried on with his devoted wife Debbie without any fear of recurrence of heart problems in fact I used to jokingly say you will probably out live me.

We used to communicate at least once a week and met up on a regular basis at the Trinity Hotel with my cousin Antony Ruhan SJ, Tom Williams and Paul Dennet. We had much intellectual discussion of politics, philosophical and sociological matters – David enjoyed it very much as we all did. He will be missed at those gatherings. He was indeed a very good friend and liked by all.

David Andrew de Berigny Wall – was an extraordinary man who did extraordinary things. He could turn his hand to pretty well anything. He loved his family & especially his sister Madeleine as they were the last 2 born of a very large family. However, the most outstanding characteristic that he had, is that he would ‘give it a go’ with great gusto and in the Ignatian credo of ‘Dare to achieve’.

Of course as the bible says we know not ‘where or when’ we will die – but if David had a choice, he could not have chosen a better time than the week of Christ’s birth. There is no doubt David Andrew de Berigny Wall will have a safe and swift passage to God and eternal life.

My sincere condolences to all the members of his family and from all of his friends here present. To Debbie, Andrei, David, Peter and Madeleine. (Mary Rose is in Norway, not well and unable to attend)

Adieu mon Cher ami – R.I.P.

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Eulogy by Deborah Ruiz Wall

January 7, 2014 at 9:25 am (Uncategorized) (, )

My first encounter with David was in 1970 through a letter to the editor that appeared in the editorial page of the Daily Mirror in Manila. I was intrigued by this letter. I imagined a jungle in New Guinea and an Australian man claiming that the place had a shortage of women. In equal jest, I wrote to this stranger and drew a parallel with Manila’s shortage of rice. And so began a friendship exploring diverse interests until we met in person in 1971 in Manila where he stayed for a few months and proposed marriage. I declined. I felt that I was too young and would like to have more exposure of life independently. I was a young idealistic journalist and political activist wrestling with questions about the roots of social turbulence in our country, the Philippines. We parted as friends, and from then simply exchanged occasional postcards.

In September 1972, martial law was declared. A few months later, David sent a reply paid telegram to the University of the Philippines where I worked as a research officer with the Social Science Research Council.

The gist of the telegram was: ‘Why don’t you visit New Guinea and see for yourself what life is like here. You can stay with my Parliamentarian friend, an Englishman married to an Asian woman.’

My reply was ‘Thank you but no one can leave the country. Martial law had been declared. There is a travel ban.’ When he received my reply, David was doing a course in the highlands of New Guinea, Mount Hagen associated with his work in malaria control within the Public Health Department. Concerned for my safety, he deserted his course and immediately flew to Manila and again proposed marriage. This time, I said ‘yes’, and so began an eventful 41 years of marriage that produced two sons, Andrei and David, and a granddaughter, Hala Sofia.

David’s last 10 years of public service in PNG was spent in Angoram, a remote place in the Sepik, which virtually was David’s second home. The day we left Angoram for good, I was astonished. The whole airstrip was covered with Papua New Guineans. Their huge presence was a witness to the respect and love they had for David. I got presents too of shell bags and bilum woven bags. We moved to Talasea, West New Britain and lastly, to Port Moresby before we left PNG for good.

David’s spirit never really left PNG. Upon his retirement as a teacher-librarian, His focus returned to PNG through his blog. He became a professional blogger, the centrepiece of his writing was mostly about Papua New Guinea. He also wrote 2 books – Sepikblu longpela Muruk, and another, Jim Wall an Australian Life which was a tribute to his father. In hindsight, I think he was attending to his unfinished business. Till the end, he remained a seeker of questions dear to him, formed by his Catholic tradition and his life experience. He wore no guises. He was natural and spontaneous. He also had an ironic sense of humour that was never ever intended to hurt but sometimes misinterpreted by people from other cultures. He was compassionate and generous to a fault, his pursuit of uprightness and justice overwhelmed any personal disadvantage that might rebound to him, and this, he simply endured. For me and my sons, his love was unquestionable. He was very supportive of me and my work and interest in Aboriginal and Filipino stories and cultures. I will miss him dearly.

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Eulogy by Andrei Immanoel Ruiz Wall

January 7, 2014 at 9:16 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Firstly I’d just like to thank everyone for turning up as I know some people have flown in to arrive here today. I’m sure my father would really have appreciated it.

I really couldn’t have asked for a more loving and caring father who was always there when I needed him. I really feel so blessed. I certainly did when I injured my knee and was bed-ridden almost a couple of years ago now.

I’ll really miss my Dad’s sense of humour, his generosity and caring nature. He was really able to connect with people on so many different levels, more so than he would have given himself credit for — which probably explains why so many of you are here today.

For those of you who didn’t know, my father was very fond of his own father and even wrote a book about him. My cousin’s husband’s father also passed away last April. He gave him one of his books and wrote a small note, which I would like to share with you now.

I know what it is like to lose a beloved father. I hope this small account of my father’s life will in some way help you in your grief in sharing with you the high regard and love I had for him. Both our Fathers in the afterlife, being the men they were on earth, are not entirely lost to us, and in time your heavy heartedness will pass and be placed with joy and thankfulness.

Thanks dad for being there for us all. I feel so blessed to have had you in my life.

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Eulogy by David Augustus Ruiz Wall

January 7, 2014 at 9:06 am (Uncategorized) (, )

We heard my father was an extraordinary man, an amazing man, a kind, loving and caring man. I can’t say that he wasn’t but there are simple reasons that I know he was – reasons that might be overlooked. I’d like to mention these simple reasons.

My dad grew up in an imperfect world, with an imperfect family and so wasn’t always necessarily perfect himself, as would be expected for anyone under these conditions. However dad brought perfection into the world and we can know this by the fact that he was truly loved.

A man like my dad doesn’t leave the world with people who sincerely love him if he didn’t give love sincerely himself. I’m not talking about love when love is easy to give, anyone can do that, the love I am talking about is that love demonstrated in times when love is hardest, in times when one’s own life experiences, upbringing and immediate influences would for many result in love being absent. It was in these moments that dad was not ordinary but extraordinary,
because he defied the odds and loved when love wouldn’t be expected from him.

The true measure of a man is how much he can love when others can’t, how much he stands for truth, when truth divides people, and how much a man can admit his failings when others would hold on to their pride.

Dad was a man that defied those odds when ordinary men couldn’t. For those reasons my father was extraordinary and it is how I will always remember him.

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Eulogy by John Bowers

January 7, 2014 at 8:47 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

[The Lord] health those that are broken in heart; and giveth medicine to heal their sickness
(Psalm 142:3 BCP 1662)

David Andrew de Berigny Wall was my dearest friend, a somewhat benign though roguish adventurer yet a gentleman to boot; fervent of spirit, kind and gracious in heart while cultivating a remarkable and lively sense of humour! Not unlike God’s chosen people, his weary wanderings are now over and the promised rest attained!

David, born in Melbourne in 1936, was educated in Sydney at Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview. After leaving school, he worked in Papua New Guinea on plantations; and after a time circumnavigating the globe living on his Wits, Worked for the Department of Health in PNG for 18 years. In the 19703 he returned to Sydney and qualified as a teacher librarian, subsequently working in high schools for the New South Wales Department of Education and resident in Newtown, Sydney.

I first met David 44 years ago in Angoram on the banks of the mighty Sepik River in PNG. Angoram could then best be described as a wild frontier town of the East Sepik District somewhat reminiscent of the American Wild West. Here one found mosquito-infected tiger
country or more to the point, crocodile swamps where old time crocodile hunters, traders of skins for the fashion houses of Paris or New York, artefact collectors, kìaps and government officials, entrepreneurs of one motley kind or another commingled with missionaries, teachers, anthropologists, philosophers and mere opportunists. A rich assortment of characters with the appearance of an occasional femme fatale! David was then working for the Public Health Department. His battle was against the furtive anopheles mosquito bringing the deadly parasite malaria and death throughout the Sepik region. l was a young kiap or government patrol officer endeavouring to maintain law and order among such a small rambunctious community.

In 2007 David published a most delightful work of fiction: “Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk” recalling his adventurous memories and compelling stories. His friends remember with affection his perseverance, assiduity of purpose and kindly reflections. He was later to meet his beautiful Philipina, Deborah, who in becoming the love of his life, gladly reshaped his debonair spirit and occasional impulsive proclivities. At the same time, as a journalist in her own right, Debbie helped to guide the fiery oratorical skills of the Highland’s leader of the government opposition, Sir Tei Abel, as his press secretary.

After returning to Sydney, David set his mind to education and an honours degree in history at the Wollongong University; and then worked as a teacher librarian until retiring in 2005. His favourite word then became “legitimacy” which peppered many a philosophical discourse!

Just as he had shown a great love of the Papua New Guinean people so then he embarked on another magnificent paean in praise of his highly esteemed father, a popular physician, entitled simply: “Jim Wall, An Australian Life”. Rarely in my view today is it possible to observe the fifth commandment so movingly and faithfully portrayed and exemplified as in this loving work on his father. Not unlike his father, David had the gift of friendship, diligence and care which his father wrought before him, and remembers him thus:

He remains forever a senior, elder and guiding force – a truly moral and upright man; unattached to wealth and position, a healer of the ills of others, and in his practice as a physician and surgeon in the dead of night, in wintry rural Australia, called to attend to the sick and dying, more often than not with none or little financial gain to himself, he rendered without fear or favour all his wonderful medical skills!

(“Jim Wall An Australian Life” pg73)

David maintained his Wide interests in PNG by writing about it and making yearly visits to the country. He also became a keen blogger, and some of his blogging enthusiasts have revealed even in the short time since his death how much they will miss his involvement. Some have Written:

“I am sure many readers will miss his compassion, his insights and his deep and abiding
love for PNG and its people.”

0ne of the great patriotic loyalists of PNG; a character reflected in his writings.

What an adventurous life David lived. Sincere condolences to his family in their loss.

David Wall truly graced us with his thoughts on this blog.

And now what of his legacy? Often David was fond of regaling us with his father’s traditional caution from “Tom Brown’s Schooldays” when the boys left home usually on their way to boarding schools:

If schools are what they were in my time, you’ll see a great many cruel blackguard things done, and hear a deal of foul, bad talk. But never fear. You tell the truth, keep a brave and kind heart, and never listen to or say anything you wouldn’t have your mother and sister hear, and you’ll never feel ashamed to come home, or we to see you.

To Andrei Immanoel and David Augustus, I offer you this comfort, and suggest these memories are a precious legacy of your father – his strength and his love and concern for you both. I pray that the in Almighty’s care you will know His solace, and that such memories will keep your father close! Indeed, David never gave up appealing to me to “cross the Tiber, John” as he quaintly put it in many an afterthought! My last gesture was to send with Christmas wishes a refurbished and ancient copy of a youthful David on patrol in the Grass country of the Sepik together with a copy of the film “Walk into Paradise” made in 1955 featuring Chips Rafferty and my old hero, Freddie Kaad among 5000 highland warriors. It tells the story of a patrol verifying the discovery of oil in “Paradise Valley” beyond the headwaters of the Sepik River. My last communication from my old mate arrived on Monday of this week consisting of copies of his ANNALS Catholic journals which he often shared with me, the last of many kindnesses over the years of a staunch friendship! His latest Christmas ANNALS contained the beautiful prayer of John Henry Cardinal Newman surely a most suitable epitaph for my old Sepik wantok:


Blessed are they
who give the flower of their days,
and their strength of soul and body to Him;
blessed are they
who in their youth turn to Him
who gave His life for them.
Blessed are they
who resolve, come good, come evil,
come sunshine, come tempest,
come honour, come dishonour,
that He shall be their Lord and Master,
their King and God!
They will come to a perfect end,
and to peace at the last.

(Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, 1801-1890)


John E.Bowers

(3rd January 2014)

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