“A novel and a biography: Two new books by David Wall”

December 15, 2013 at 6:43 am (Angoram Club, artifacts, Book review, Commentary, David Wall, expatriates, Fiction, Jim Wall, Jim Wall An Australian Life, Papua New Guinea, Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk)

See:   http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2013/08/a-novel-and-a-biography-two-new-books-by-david-wall.html

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Photographic memories

November 30, 2013 at 11:41 pm (Angoram, artifacts, Bob Mackie, Commentary, Deborah Ruiz Wall, Don Bosgard, Dr Jan J Saave, East Sepik District, expatriates, Fr Fons Ruijter, Goya Henry, H.B.G. Larkin, Jim McKinnon, John Bowers, Kami Raymundus, Kevin Trueman, Michael Somare, Papua New Guinea, Paul Dennett, Peter Johnson, Photos, Sepik floods, Somare, Temlett Conibeer, W.M. Hughes)

Don Pybus in Sydney

Don Pybus in Sydney


Dieter with Peter Johnson, Sepik Ironman Competition, 07/06/2009

Dieter with Peter Johnson, Sepik Ironman Competition, 07/06/2009

Greetings from Goya 1968

Greetings from Goya 1968

A.C.T. Marke & John Kelly in the wilds of PNG

A.C.T. Marke & John Kelly in the wilds of PNG

1958 Leeton, contemplates a world trip  1961 Troppo on Kar Kar Island  1963 Driekikir

1958 Leeton, contemplates a world trip 1961 Troppo on Kar Kar Island 1963 Driekikir

Bill Eichhorn, MBE » Bill Eichhorn, successful entrepreneur and politician at home on the Keram River

Bill Eichhorn, successful entrepreneur and politician at home on the Keram River

Dave Wall at Kekten Village

Dave Wall at Kekten Village

William & Rosa Batak, Kekten Village

William & Rosa Batak, Kekten Village


Ralf Stüttgen

Ralf Stüttgen

Sago 3   Sago 2   Sago Memories, thanks to Bob Beeke   Jock   Bob Beeke   Angoram Hotel


kami,Torembi Village

kami,Torembi Village

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

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

Sue Treutlein & Bob Mackie at the Angoram Club

Sue Treutlein & Bob Mackie at the Angoram Club

Sanam Kabasse & Dave Wall

Sanam Kabasse & Dave Wall

Wewak Hospital

Wewak Hospital

Hand-written letter from W.M. Hughes to H.B.G. Larkin 2

Michael Somare, Angoram, 1973

Graeme Jones, Robyn Faulkner, Co-op Manager, Dave Bretherton, Jan Matysek, Clare & Des Hill, Bruce Ross, Pat Bretherton, Ella Lucas, Ronnie Lucas

Graeme Jones, Robyn Faulkner, Co-op Manager, Dave Bretherton, Jan Matysek, Clare & Des Hill, Bruce Ross, Pat Bretherton, Ella Lucas, Ronnie Lucas

outside the church 2

On the left, Eva Waramapi

On the left, Eva Waramapi


  1960sAngoram 1960s

The Rev. John Spender

The Rev. John Spender

David Augustus Wall & John Bowers in Como, early 1980s

David Augustus Wall & John Bowers in Como, early 1980s

Cedric Wyatt, Rick Wyatt, CWyatt - a legend in his own time!

Cedric Wyatt, Rick Wyatt, CWyatt – a legend in his own time!

Bob Becke with May & Harry Marchant, Two called to the bar at the Angoram Club, Jim McKinnon, Esther & Jim Stevens

Bob Becke with May & Harry Marchant, Two called to the bar at the Angoram Club, Jim McKinnon, Esther & Jim Stevens

Jock McIntyre & Bob Becke, Western District, PNG, 1960

Jock McIntyre & Bob Becke, Western District, PNG, 1960

Angoram Hotel Sepik.  Houseboat and powered canoes for guided tours along the mighty Sepik River. Angoram, Sepik District, New Guinea Photo Uwe Steinward (C) GNG 70

Angoram Hotel Sepik. Houseboat and powered canoes for guided tours along the mighty Sepik River. Angoram, Sepik District, New Guinea Photo Uwe Steinward (C) GNG 70

png3bnew-shots-224new-shots-208paul-david-danAngoram 1960s

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Great things in store for Angoram, and other parts, perhaps?

October 17, 2013 at 7:11 am (Angoram, Commentary, East Sepik Province, Michael Somare, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River)


Sir Michael promises a lot – the big question is will anything eventuate? Only time will tell, but don’t hold your breath!

We should all have faith, hope and charity, but perhaps in this case hope will predominate. One can never tell what might happen!

However, now that the Father of the Nation has stepped foward we have no need to worry too much about comments by Phil Fitzpatrick, and others.

See: http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/2013/10/the-scum-that-they-call-politicians-in-png.html

PNG politicians by in large don’t need to worry about the local health and education facilities in their own country, because if they or their families get sick they can always seek treatment overseas, and the appalling local education opportunities don’t really matter to them and their children as expensive schools and universities beckon in foreign parts!

As for saying anything in support of their Melanesian brothers and sisters in the Western part of New Guinea under the brutal genocidal rule of Indonesia; PNG politicians are usually found wanting!

The past Australian Colonial Administration can usually be blamed for all the present ills – I see no merit in this, but one could perhaps argue that post-colonial Australian relations and aid have done little to encourage better government in PNG.

Like the Ancient Mariner of old, Australia has made the whole island of New Guinea an albatross hanging around its neck!

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Knights of the Realm in PNG

September 25, 2013 at 1:13 am (Commentary, Dreikikir, East Sepik District, Maprik, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Sir Pita Lus)

To say that knights of the realm are thin on the ground in Wewak is not exactly correct. Without too much trouble on any one day in the town, you could run into Sir Hugo, Sir Michael, Sir Pita, and other knights.

In January of this year I saw Sir Pita Lus, but didn’t recognise him, as it had been many years before that I had last seen him.

Sir John Kaputin once wrote this of Sir Pita:

“The former member for Maprik, Sir Pita Lus might have been perceived as vociferous and a loose cannon, but, behind this façade, there was a very serious mind concerned with real issues, expressed in pidgin with lots of humour and punctuated with colourful phrases in English.”

I had encountered Pita many years before in and around Dreikikir, well before he was elected to the House of Assembly. On one occasion he waved down the Land Rover I was travelling in from Maprik to Dreikikir, and in a rather forceful manner seemed to be demanding a lift to Dreikikir. I responded to him by asking, was he asking or telling me to give him a lift? His manner then changed, and he said he was asking. I then said to him: “Get in the back.”

This year while in Wewak in company with Peter Johnson, Peter saw and started talking to Sir Pita. After Pita left I asked Peter: “Who’s that?” I was informed that  was Sir Pita Lus. (Please excuse my conversational grammar!)

Later I was motivated to write to Sir Pita in my rather poor Pidgin, resulting in me not sending the epistle:

16 Janueri, 2013

Dia Sir Pita,

Mi sori tude, mi luk long yu, tasol mi no save pes bilong yu, taim yu tok long Peter Johnson long klostu pos ofis long Wewak.

Bipo mi wok long Malaria Control long Dreikikir, nau mi save long yu wok long Talatala Misin.

Bihain mi ofiso long 1964 Ileksen.

Mi lik tok gude long yupela,

Dave Wall

What I was trying to write in so many words, was that I was sorry not to have recognised him, and that I knew him many years before when I was with Malaria Control in Dreikikir, and he was with the Protestant Mission.  Also, in 1964 I was an electoral officer

Here are just a few thoughts of mine about a knight of the realm, and a former colourful PNG politician.

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Bill Babbington, Masta Gol

September 14, 2013 at 1:23 am (Commentary, East Sepik District, expatriates, Papua New Guinea, Territory New Guinea)

Megan Leahy and Bill Babbington at Zenag on the verandah of Mick Leahy’s property in the early 1960s.
(Photos kindly supplied by Richard Leahy)
The recent tragic events on the Black Cat Track – Salamaua/Wau – reminded me of a great friend I had in Maprik in the sixties and seventies, Bill Babbington.

Bill was a remarkable person – a man who put his age up to fight in WW 1, and put his age down to fight in WW II. A plantation manager, gold miner and Department of Mines Officer.

His stories about mining in pre-war New Guinea were a great source of information about those fascinating times. Tales about Errol Flynn and other famous characters of the era he spoke of.

He struck it rich twice and went on fabulous world tours.

When I knew him in Maprik where he was known as Masta Gol, he was respected and liked by the locals. His honesty and expertise in helping them find precious metals was greatly appreciated by them.

I last saw Bill in the early eighties when he was in declining health in an RSL Repatriation Hospital in the Northern Beaches, Sydney. Shortly after this he died, and his sister kindly sent back to me some photos of my children that I had sent him.

To this day, Debbie, my wife, values an opal that Bill polished and prepared himself for her. This gemstone is often commented on by others when Debbie wears it.

I shudder to think of what Bill would have thought of the recent tragic events on a track he knew so well.

Bill Babbington, soldier, planter, miner and gentleman, those of your friends still around miss you!

BABBINGTON, William Benjamin, NGX 192; A/Sgt; 4 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment; Enlisted – 21 July 1941; Embarked for M/E – 1 Nov 1941; Returned ex M/E – 27 Feb 1943; Discharged – 3 Jun 1946; Enlisted – SALAMAUA, NEW GUINEA; Date of Birth – 30 Jan 1902; BORN – LONDON, UK; NOK – FAY, Alice, Mother.

Source: New Guinea Volunteer Rifles Nominal Roll – World War 2


Click on the above to see a letter written by Bill to Debbie.

See: http://www.smh.com.au/national/trek-to-pngs-heart-of-darkness-20130913-2tq51.html


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Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk – Kindle Edition $2.00

August 25, 2013 at 8:20 am (Book review, East Sepik District, expatriates, Papua New Guinea, Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk)


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Before the lights go out!

July 22, 2013 at 11:54 pm (Aborigines, Commentary, Indepentence for PNG, Papua New Guinea, PNG Health)

 Dave Wall with Graham Greene

Dave Wall with Graham Greene

Some years ago, James, a Greek builder, said to me he wanted to  finish the work in building houses next door to me and get among the Spanish women on the Island of Majorca before the lights go out!

He spent about eight years in building and he then suddenly went to earth. For the life of me, I don’t know if the lights had gone out for him, or if indeed, he ever got to Majorca. As to the Spanish women, who can say?

Looking at my picture above you can certainly see that in my case the lights have gone out! Reflecting on Graham Greene could perhaps be of some help. Hold your breath though!

If all those years ago James didn’t make it as a good-looking Greek with a ponytail, what chance would I have as a broken-down Anglo Australian? I’d say my school friend the Silver Fox in spite of his years with his mixture of German, Irish, and Gallic charm would leave many old would-be fellows like me for dead!

The thing I share with Graham and his life is certainly not his talent, but something of his Catholicism, and the way it continually gets in the way of desire in matters of the flesh. My saving grace has always been a lack of opportunity. Graham in his life didn’t have this problem.

My years have taught me to walk softly in the footsteps of the Aboriginal elders. In fact this came to me years ago when Deborah, my wife, was living in the Block in Redfern. If you didn’t walk with care there was always a good chance you would be robbed. Over the years There were some splendid fellows in the Block in those days. If you did feel an urge to be part of the indigenous spiritually there, it was always possible to arrange a smoking ceremony, and what an experience that was!

The smell of burning gum leaves and the mumbling of incomprehensible words left many in a heavenly state and in touch with the dreamtime and the songlines.

Some of those bag snatchers of old in the Block were probably only preserving the old indigenous tradition of hunters and gatherers!

Deborah, my wife has encounted a variety of robbers and would be robbers: The hunter and gatherer type in the Block, a dysfunctional Anglo-Celtic with a hypodermic syringe full of blood near Broadway in Sydney. In Madrid she was mugged and robbed by a North African follower of the Prophet, well, perhaps a follower!

From the Dept of Planning and Community Development we are given a format in acknowledging our first people:

“I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land [or country] on which we are meeting. I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and the Elders from other communities who may be here today.”

This of course is to be commended, but I would like to see from time to time that some sort of recognition  be given to the eary settlers in building the Australia we have today.

Many of our younger generation seem to have the idea that all the early settlers did was slaughter Aborigines. I must admit that to my shame a lot of this was done, but they also did many noble things.

I approved of Kevin Rudd’s apology to the First Australians for the way they had been treated in the past. But at least today they live in a country that offers them a reasonable level of law and order, access to education and to a good medical service and social security, and generally speaking work if it is really wanted.

On the other hand let’s look at Papua New Guinea, and if any country needs an apology from Australia it’s PNG. The so-called Independence  given to PNG in 1975 has lead to a breakdown of law and order in the country. Fostered a bunch of corrupt politicians and ruined the health service, and disadvantaged the majority of the people. There’s practically no system of social welfare in the country, and the whole place is on the verge of chaos.

Please Mr Rudd apologize to the people of Papua New Guinea for the bad and misguided actions of John Gorton and Gough Whitlam for their part in getting Australia out of PNG.

You have to remember it was the famous Gough who gave Suharto the green light to take over East Timor, need we say anything more!

Many years ago two relations of mine in an RSL were well and truly under the weather, one said to the other pointing to two women:Take your pick they are both goers! I don’t know what happened, maybe they didn’t take a pick, but I don’t think the fate of nations depended on whatever they did. But Whitlam giving Suharto the green light had dire consequences!

If I die or I should say when I die, I want to be buried with Mungo Man – what a splendid end to a life. I wonder when the lights went out for Mungo? Did Mungo pre-decease the Aborigines in Australia, and is of a special race apart? I don’t think the scientific proof is there for this!

On the other hand if the Captain can give me a time within a year period of the Rapture I’m prepared to wait around for this.

I did dare to tell the Captain that his Eschatology was a load of rubbish. I advised him to return to the faith of his pre-Reformation ancestors and bent the knee to Rome. Eliminate all those generations of heresy from his mind – read: Europe and the Faith by Belloc.

We all often think of spiritual places and in the Sydney of old the Block in Redfern often comes to mind. Daryl and Narelle true hunters and gatherers in the old Aboriginal way. Val adding to the charm of the place.

I can’t move on without mentioning an Aboriginal who I have a lot of respect for. In the big protests against Australia getting involved in the Iraq war Shirley Lomas made an impassioned speech in Hyde Park and she ended by stating that we are all Abos!  Sometime after I met her at St Vincent’s in Redfern,and she told she had put her name forward in ATSIC. I don’t think the community realize what a gem they have in Shirley. Her efforts came to nothing. What I like about Shirley is that she tells it as it is without any bullshit. Good luck to you Shirley, wherever you are!

My thoughts go back to a Bible-based community in Queensland under the leadership of Brother George. At the time in the 1980s Brother George and his followers were doing ground-breaking work on the New Age. One of the most enlightened researchers with the community was Brother John. Brother John lived in a caravan at the back of Brother George’s house and did a lot of work with a Sister Cheryl.

Apparently the wife of Brother George was concerned with the amount of time Sister Cheryl was spending with Brother John. One day she knocked on the door of the caravan and said: “What are you two doing in there?” To which Brother John answered: “Working on the New Age for your husband!”

It was to be commended that the purity of the Bibical message was not being undermined by any hanky-panky!

I think in the evolutionary story the poor old Homo Erectus and the Neanderthals get a rough spin. I have it on good authority that both these groups were blessed with immortal souls. So that when we are welcomed into eternal life by St Peter there also with him will be numbers of Neanderthals and others. Life and death are covered with mysteries!

Of course we all know that Jesus has returned in the person of A.J. Miller. Do I need to say anything more? As A.J. says “I’m Jesus deal with it.” Yes, A.J. I will deal with it, by saying you are not Jesus!

One may not always agree with what the famous journalist Helen Thomas, recently deceased, said, but her words in 2010 should be considered concerning Israel and Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else.”

The geopolitical decision in creating the state of Israel after the war has destabilized the Middle East every since!

Let’s look at the agreement between Rudd and O’Neill, the so called PNG Solution:

I would imagine that what was said privately between Rudd and O’Neill probably went along these lines:

‘Don’t worry Peter, after we announce our policy hardly any boats will turn up anyhow, after the refugees fully realize that if they arrive by boat PNG is where they will finally end up, and just think of all the perks we are giving in exchange for your agreement!’

O’Neill in answer would have said:

‘Good point Kevin, I’ll go along with it provisionally for a year, and see what happens.’

Claire Harvey’s piece in The Sunday Telegraph gives us food for thought:

But also, and perhaps most importantly, Rudd’s PNG plan has exposed the intellectual dishonesty of the “refugee lobby”.

“But but but but but but but,” they have spluttered, “but but but but … ” But PNG is a shithole?

Yeah. It is. And now it’s our shithole – and you know what else? It’s a signatory to the United Nations’ 1951 Refugee Convention.

I must say that I agree with Henry Reynolds that the the Aborigines who died fighting against the white invasion of their land should be honoured like other Australian soldiers.

This blog rant of mine started with a reference to James the Greek builder. It has now come to my notice, and it is rumoured that James is seriously considering taking Holy Orders in the Greek Church – a Church from the Roman point of view that is schismatic but not in heresy – the continuity and validity of their Orders have been maintained throughout the Ages.

I’ll end by posing this question: Have the lights gone out for James?

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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)


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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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


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.


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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