Dieter Erich Paul Idzikowsky 23 February, 1938 – 22 January, 2011

January 29, 2011 at 8:17 am (expatriates, PNG, Wewak) (, , , , , , , )

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

Dieter with Chris Rose, Wewak Yacht Club, 07/06/2009

I was shocked to receive an email from Chris Rose informing me that Dieter had died on 22/01/2011:

“Dieter passed away Saturday, 5pm teeing off number 9, it was very quick and painless. We took him to the hospital and they tried resuscitation but to no avail. As you know, he was a good mate to lots of people here and will be sorely missed.”

A Requiem Mass was said for him at Christ the King Cathedral, Wewak.

 Peter Johnson CBE gave the eulogy:


To many of you he was just “Dieter” perhaps most did not know his surname, but some loved, most were fond of, and all respected him and acknowledged his helpful ways and engineering skills… we are the richer for having known him; the poorer for his passing. 

Dieter was my very good friend for over thirty years.   His sudden and totally unexpected death has been devastating. 

None of us know the time or place when and from where we shall be called to meet our maker.   It is certain that last Saturday Dieter had no intimation that his time was running out.   He died mercifully quickly and painlessly after collapsing whilst playing on the Wewak golf course… as his friend Steve Taylor said, “He was where he liked to be, and doing what he liked best to do!”

Dieter Erich Paul Idzikowsky was born on 23 February, 1938 at Grunberg-Schlesien, near Dessau, East Germany shortly before the outbreak of WWII.   After leaving school he served an apprenticeship  as a toolmaker and motor mechanic with  a company associated with the famous Mercedes motor company.   He then served for a brief period in the army. 

Life was not easy for the Idzikowsky family in Russian occupied East Germany, and in 1956 Dieter, moved to West Germany where he worked as a motor mechanic for AG Pollux.

In 1963 Dieter, together with his younger brothers, Klaus and Peter emigrated to find a new and more rewarding life in Australia.   Peter later moved to South Africa where he married, prospered, and died several years ago… it was a disappointment to both Dieter and Klaus that the three brothers did not meet again. 

Dieter worked mainly in Tasmania and Western Australia.   It was in Perth, Western Australia that he met with, the Rosper family who informally adopted him.   Mr.  Rosper passed away some time ago at an elderly age.   Mr. Rosper and his son Werner visited Dieter in Wewak some years ago… Werner remained a very close friend of Dieter’s and will no doubt be grieving as we do today. 

In 1970 Dieter came to Papua New Guinea to help his brother Klaus, who had established Pedford Constructions Limited, a civil engineering company engaged in road building and maintenance in the Lumi/Nuku area of the Sepik District.

Following the sale of Pedford Construction and departure of Klaus from PNG, Dieter worked firstly for the Sepik Coffee Producers Association, managing the large workshop at Maprik, then for Sepik Coffee/Sepik Construction in Wewak. 

It was Dieter Idzikowsky’s great desire to become a Papua New Guinea citizen, to this end he held a glowing reference and recommendation from Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare (a friend and golfing partner!).   Unfortunately the timing was wrong and no citizenship committee meetings took place for some years.   Dieter decided most reluctantly that he must leave New Guinea to meet the residency requirements for Australian citizenship.   Awaiting naturalisation, he worked in Cairns  for English Engineering Limited between 2004 and 2006 as their tradesman training manager – Mr. English has constantly tried to lure Dieter back to his job in Cairns! 

Dieter married his bride and long-time partner,  Pricilla,  in Cairns in 2003.

Immediately following his naturalisation as an Australian citizen, Dieter volunteered for work as manager of the Bishop of Wewak’s mechanical workshop which he has brought from chaos to good order. 

Dieter in his day was a fine sportsman, playing top grade soccer with Perth United and boxing to Commonwealth Games standard.   He showed his sporting endurance by twice appearing  at the Sepik Ironman Challenge as a swimmer and its oldest competitor. 

He took part in Wewak social and sporting events from darts at the Yacht Club to weekly golfing competitions and Hash House Harrier runs and private chess matches… he usually won the darts and chess games! 

Dieter not only took part in events, but also took major responsibility for organising and promoting them.   He was a founder member and life member of the golf and yacht clubs, vice-president of the former and commodore of the latter for eleven years… he was deeply distressed at the alien and deceitful manner in which this position was usurped – the long term result of which is only too obvious today!

Dieter Idzikowsky was a genuinely honourable man who spoke his mind, and spoke the truth.   (He also spoke four languages!)   He disliked falsehood and sophistry.   To declare a false golf score or engage in shonky business deals would be complete anathema to him.   He deplored such traits in others.   He was a loyal friend to many, and did not forget them just because their paths diverged, as condolences received from many overseas countries testify. 

The Christian Church preaches that “we bring nothing into this world, and it is certain that we shall take nothing out.”   Whilst this is undoubtedly true, it is also true that we leave something;  reputation, example and something in the hearts of those we leave behind.

Dieter was a humble, decent, hard-working and life-loving man, a good friend to many; a wonderful friend to me for which I give thanks and offer sincere condolences to his young widow, Priscilla, to all his relatives and friends and to the people of the East & West Sepik Provinces whose lives he touched in some greater or lesser way! 

(Dieter Erich Paul Idzikowsky 23 February, 1938 – 22 January, 2011)

Peter Johnson


Farewell Dieter, you deserve the best the afterlife can offer.

 David Wall

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Scenes from 19th century China

November 5, 2010 at 3:57 am (Charles de Berigny, expatriates) (, , , )

Piece of furniture from 19th century China


19th century China

Scenes from 19th century China

Europeans in China

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Inspirational Volumes for the Jungles of PNG

November 2, 2010 at 11:33 pm (David Wall, expatriates, Love on the Run, Papua New Guinea, Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk) (, , , , , , , , , )

I was recently asked by a friend that if I were marooned in the bush of Papua New Guinea for three months and was allowed to take four works of literature with me, what would they be? Without a moments hesitation I named them:

Love on the Run and  Love in a Hot Climate by A.C.T. Marke

Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk by David Wall

The Confessions of St Augustine

I would be interested to hear from anyone who can come with a better selection.

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Expats in Shanghai in the early 20th Century

October 30, 2010 at 3:42 am (expatriates) (, , , )

Expats in Shanghai in the early 20th Century

This photo is from my family’s photo album, so, I guess, one or two in the group are my relations.

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Recently discovered notes and cards from Goya Henry

October 27, 2010 at 1:47 am (expatriates, Goya Henry, Papua New Guinea) (, , , , , )

Greetings from Goya 1968

Greetings from Goya 1967

Letter from Goya


I was thrilled to see that I still had this correspondence from Goya.

When war broke out Goya immediately volunteered for the RAAF, but he was rejected on medical grounds because of his lost leg. At about the same time he met a senior RAAF officer, who incidentally he had taught to fly. This man said to him: “Goya, the RAAF will never take you for three reasons – first you are not a Catholic second you are not a Mason, and third you can fly a plane!”

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Two past residents of Angoram looking fit and well

October 9, 2010 at 1:53 am (Angoram, expatriates, Papua New Guinea) (, , , , , )

Sava Maksic & Sue Treutlein - Cairns October 2010

(Photo supplied by Marina Treutlein.)

As Marina said: “both looking good, fit and healthy”, and I would fully endorse this. Perhaps the waters of the Sepik River have something of the elixir of youth about them, and whatever else, I can only say, Sue & Sava, you both look remarkable.

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4 Killed in plane crash

October 6, 2010 at 7:06 am (Angoram, expatriates, Papua New Guinea, PNG) (, , , , , , , )

Donald Gordon, Niels & Mary Madsen – Angoram, 1960s  

 Photo supplied by Norm Wilson

Angoram tragedy

On the morning of Sunday, July 28, 1968, Niels Madsen’s recently purchased plane took off from the Angoram airstrip with four people aboard. It arrived in Mt Hagen. In the afternoon the plane crashed  after taking off from Mt Hagen airport and all aboard were killed.

People who were in Angoram on this day would remember it well as a tragic and anxious day. David Bretherton was in charge of the station and Peter Johnson ran the radio in the local post office. Ivan Solomon, Don Bosgard and Des Hill were all there, but they are no longer with us.

Niels and Mary Madsen were significant members of the expat Angoram community.

I’ll alert a number of people to this post who were in the Sepik at this time and perhaps they might like to comment.

(The newspaper report got the spelling of Madsen wrong. Niels was known to us as ‘Mads’.)

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C Wyatt, a legend in his own time, makes a visit.

September 10, 2010 at 1:36 am (Angoram, artifacts, expatriates, Papua New Guinea, PNG) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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

What a pleasure it was to see Rick after many years – an old expat Sepik hand – Education Officer, Cultural Development Officer and extraordinary character.

We spoke of many things and people – kiap(s), ol didiman, teachers,  missionaries, politicians, medical officers, medical assistants, malaria control officers, doktaboi(s), ol meri na misis, ol  mankimasta, traders, artefact buyers, educators, crocodile shooters, recruiters, the God fearing and the not so God fearing, canoes and the present state of PNG. These are just a glimpse of the depth of our discussions.

We were both intrigued with a rumour going around Angoram that the late Patoman, a mankimasta/butler, who had served many expats in the past, did leave a memoir, dictated to a tourist and written down in the 1980s just before he died. This manuscript, if it exists, would be a priceless document for a social historian researching the Sepik.

In life it’s a wonderful thing to catch up with old friends, especially ones of the calibre of Rick.

(To the locals Rick was mainly known as CWyatt, particularly in Kaup, a coastal village where he spent a considerable time as a teacher.)

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Professor Hank Nelson comments

April 18, 2010 at 5:20 am (Angoram, David Wall, expatriates, Love on the Run, Pacific war, Papua New Guinea, Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk, Temlett Conibeer) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Letter from Professor Hank Nelson

I was so grateful to receive the above from Hank Nelson. The now late Professor Hank Nelson was a wonderful man and great academic.


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Jan J. Saave

March 27, 2010 at 5:08 am (expatriates, malaria control, Papua New Guinea, PNG, PNG Health) (, , , , , , , , )

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

Dave Wall catches up with his former boss

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.

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