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June 2005

 

REUNION UPDATE

Great Occasion II: Friday 30 September – Sunday 2 October

TIME TO STUMP UP FOR REUNION ACTION. Reunion payments have started to roll up and, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to send in your remittance of $80 per person. This covers the three organised reunion activities - Saturday dinner [$35], bus tour [$10] and Sunday lunch [$35]. Cheques can be made out to Keith Jackson and posted to him at Jackson Wells Morris, PO Box 1743, Neutral Bay NSW 2089.

WHO’S IN [51] - Dave & Kerry Argent; Bill & Joan Bergen; Henry & Janelle Bodman; Diane & Bill Bohlen; Col & Wendy Booth; Dennis & Ros Burrell; Jeff & Robyn Chapman; Joe Crainean; Bob Davis; Margaret Dwyer; Sonia Grainger; Rod Hard; Colin Huggins; Justine Finter; Keith & Ingrid Jackson; Allan Jones; Richard Jones; Dave & Elissa Kesby; Pam & Palle Kruger; Peter & Marg Lewis; Jean Lowe; Libby Lowig; Les & Margaret Lyons; Elizabeth McKenna Lynch; Ian & Belinda McLean; Maxine Mundell; Rory O’Brien; Howard & Glenda Ralph; Val Rivers; Therese Scott; Roger Stanley & Sue Core; Bill Welbourne; David & Lorraine Westover; Bill & Anita Wilson.

WE BEGIN TO FILL OUT THE REUNION PROGRAM. The reunion program provides lots of opportunities to get together and reminisce as well as time to take nostalgic walks around our old stamping ground.

Friday 30 September: During the late afternoon and evening we’ll meet, greet and eat at the Cremorne Hotel, alongside the Concierge Apartments. Your accommodation and the hotel are in the heart of Cremorne Junction and surrounded by shops and restaurants. Adjacent is an IGA supermarket and a medical centre for the script you forgot to bring with you. If you get bored or thirst or both, the Cremorne Orpheum and a Theo’s liquor outlet are just across the road. The main bus route into the city is at your doorstep.

Saturday 1 October: Late morning, around 11 am, we’ll gather at The Oaks Hotel, Neutral Bay, for a get-together and lunch. The Oaks is a 15-minute walk or five-minute bus ride up Military Road. It offers plenty of eating options - from a simple salad through barbecued steaks to the big roast. A section of the hotel will be set aside for our use. Then at 7 pm we’ll gather at Raymond’s Tai Kwun Garden Restaurant, Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay, for dinner. It’s in five minutes walk from The Oaks for those making a big day of it.

Suggested morning activity: Catch any city bound bus ($2.50 gives you an all day bus/rail/ferry pas with your senior’s card) and explore the CBD before heading to Quay and catching the Neutral Bay ferry which is met by a bus that terminates at Neutral Bay Junction, five minutes walk from The Oaks.

Sunday 2 October: At 10.30 the Mosman Bus Company’s coach will pull up outside The Concierge to ferry us to Middle Head and the old ASOPA campus. Rod Hard is arranging access to a few cooling beverages while we inspect the venerable ruins of our youthful folly. We’ll take off again at about 11.15 and, by 11.30, will be debussing at the Mosman Club at Mosman Junction for the official reunion lunch. Late stayers can attend a valedictory dinner at Mido Restaurant, Military Road, Neutral Bay. This will be organised ad hoc depending upon how many of us are still in a reunion mood.

Suggested morning activity: Head down Murdoch Street to the harbour for a stroll around Cremorne Point, one of Sydney’s most glorious walks. The reasonably fit will accomplish the round trip in about an hour.

 

KEITH’S CURRENT AFFAIRS

DAVE WESTOVER SAILS INTO TOWN. Thirst for adventure not quenched by a visit to Uzbekistan in 2003, Dave sails his 41-foot ketch Moana from Adelaide, around Tassie and along the east coast. Laying over in the upper reaches of Sydney’s Quaker’s Hat Bay Dave strikes out overland for the nearby villa, Chez Keithy. With land legs not quite where the sea legs were, a m’aidez is soon emitted and the search party (Keithy) replete with vehicular support (courtesy of Nissan) successfully locates and ferries him to Benelong Road for a couple of calming reds and the usual stimulating conversation you’d expect when a couple of Asopians get together.

Dave has previously told The Mail that cross-ocean navigation is a basic skill. Asked how he navigated across the Pacific to Australia, Dave replies: “We sailed towards the sunset and turned left when we saw land”. The land was Coffs Harbour not Bundaberg as anticipated, but he had the right continent. Lorraine, who describes Moana as “a very fat boat”, was not with Dave on this most recent voyage.

EXPEDITION TO THE GOLDEN WEST. The Sheraton Hotel on Perth’s Adelaide Terrace was the venue for a recent mini-reunion that sprung from a visit Ingrid and I made to WA. Before heading out to the Margaret River (wine) and Broome (pearls), we made a point of meeting up with as many Asopians who could make it into town on the night.

A clean-shaven Pat Dwyer was already ensconced in the bar by the time I arrived and the two of us were soon joined by Val and Mary Murphy and Margaret (McKenna) Dwyer. Ex-kiap Pat has now retired and takes his golf handicap very seriously. Val is a redoubtable figure still as Director of Ministry at Mercy College and doesn’t seem to have changed in 40-odd years despite two new hips. Mary has been in private practice for 23 years as one of Perth’s better known midwives. Margaret continues to teach and be the doyen of her family.

By the way, among many other positive comments, I found this observation of Mary on the Internet: “I had Mary Murphy who is very well known in the WA birthing community. She was fantastic, a real motherly type that doesn't stand for any crap! Saying that though, she is really caring and attuned to a woman’s needs and fears. I would have her at my birth again in a heartbeat.” Quite a wrap.

OBELISK BRACH STILL TROUBLING NEIGHBOURS. I’m a member of the Headland Preservation Group, which looks after the interests of the precinct around what we knew as ASOPA. I came across this item in the Group’s most recent newsletter. “Nudists Beaches. There is widespread concern about some unsavoury practices at Obelisk and Cobblers Beaches. The Headland Preservation Group does not have an official policy on the status of these beaches as they are not on Sydney Harbour Federation Trust land. We believe that Mosman Council should request the police to take appropriate action.”

 

NEWS FROM OUR FRIENDS

BARRY PATERSON [Cairns QLD] - I have now survived two cardiac rehab sessions (there are to be 12 in all!). We do an hour’s exercise on all sorts of instruments of torture with our blood pressure and pulse measured regularly. It gives me the idea of what a normal set of exercises should be.

I have been rethinking some of my priorities, even though mine was not a major incident. The ten days or so in hospital when you were not allowed to work was an interesting experience. I will continue at Wontulp-Bi-Buya and part-time in the parish but I have cut out a number of peripheral activities in order to sharpen my focus a bit.

I am feeling well and am planning a visit to sunny Adelaide in June to see our grandson Henry and look after him while his Mum, Bec, is doing her university exams.

BRIAN WHITE [Meringandan QLD] - Thanks for your email and interest in my progress. I saw my specialist in Brisbane yesterday for my monthly check-up, and she seemed to be quite happy with the way I am, though I do have some unexplained pains which she said she's keep under review. I feel a little stronger each day, though still get very tired after being on my feet for an hour or so.

We were visited by friends from Kippa Ring in the Moreton Bay area recently. Graham Pople is married to a Trobriand Islander who is in some way related to Nammie, and he still works in PNG. I showed him some recent copies of The Mail as I thought he might recognise some of the names of those who have at times contacted you, though they were not teachers. Graham immediately recognised your name, remembering that he was in the area of your first posting - was it Kundiawa? He asked to be remembered to you.

Graham was a member of the first elected parliament, and has knocked about PNG in various positions. He is now working at Mt Kare as manager of indigenous relations or some such title. He gets down here quite regularly. Julia, his wife, lives here in Queensland and we visit her whenever we can.

PHIL DONNISON [Manly Vale NSW] - My first trip to PNG was in 1961 to Rabaul, where my dad, Norm Donnison, was senior lecturer in the first E Course and principal of the second. At the age of fourteen, Rabaul cast a spell over me - it was like living in a story from The Boys' Bumper Book! I fell in love with the place and vowed to return.

Dad had been lecturing at ASOPA until the time of his death in 1967 and, in 1968, I applied for and was accepted into the 1969-70 ASOPA course. My first posting was to Goroka Tech where I taught for three years under the command of firstly Pat Pyers and then Paul Briggs. I then transferred to Brandi High in Wewak for a further three years where Dave Keating was headmaster. Memorable years! I returned to Sydney at the end of 1976.

I left teaching at that time and got into the film industry where I have remained ever since. I hadn't returned to Rabaul since 1961 but I got to visit very briefly during 1989 when I stopped over, to and from a visit to Lihir Island, where I was shooting a documentary on the gold mine. Rabaul hadn't changed. It was just as beautiful as I had remembered as a teenager, but this time through I was old enough to enjoy a few drinks with my client at a restaurant in Chinatown.

The old guy who owned the restaurant had been there since before the war and so had his fine establishment. Dangling from the dining room ceiling were strips of over-populated fly paper and the flies that had escaped slowly circled the ineffectual ceiling fans. From an old record player near the till at the entrance the Andrews Sisters Boogey-Woogie-Bugle-Boyed to the almost empty room. Where was Company B when you needed them?

A wooden screen behind the ‘dance floor’ on the other side hid the doors to the restrooms, inappropriately marked by silhouettes of a top-hatted, monocled gent and a Spanish senorita. When the old bloke asked if we'd like a drink, my host, obviously no stranger to the restaurant, replied, "The usual", and a couple of minutes later a bottle of Buka Meri was plonked on the lazy susan along with two greasy tumblers. Some things never change, I thought.

I went back up to Rabaul in 2003 and again last year in 2004. Boy, Vulcan and Tavurvur (we always called the volcano Matupit) don't mess around when they decide to blow! Eighty percent of the town was destroyed in '94 and not much has been rebuilt. Most of the infrastructure has moved to Kokopo. Through Macquarie University I was there making a documentary on the recording of five Tolai stringbands in collaboration with an American guitarist, Bob Brozman.

On our first trip, Tavurvur was still spewing up great gouts of ash which covered everything with a layer of black grit. We set up a studio in a couple of rooms at the old Travelodge - apart from the Amamas Hotel, the Yacht Club and a couple of other buildings, not much remains in that part of town - only the skeletons of collapsed buildings and meters high mounds of ash. All those beautiful trees down Mango and Casuarina Avenues are gone. It's pretty desolate.

The bung is now situated at the Tunnel Hill end of Malaguna Road where the usual trade stores and small businesses operate. Maltech is still there - even the house where we lived at the Tech still stands, although in a much more dilapidated state. A lot of the road up Namanula Hill collapsed during the eruptions and although it is still passable, there are great washouts and gullies to avoid on the sometimes single track. The old airport is just a huge black scar running from the harbour to Tavurvur and quick-growing trees have been planted to keep the soil together.

The road from Rabaul to Kokopo was being rebuilt with Japanese aid and is probably sealed all they way by now. Things are slowly starting to become re-established and there is an air of confidence, although it will never be quite the same.

In my film, ‘Songs Of The Volcano’, you can get an idea of the destruction and what it's like now. Maybe we could organise a screening if there are enough interested people.

COL BOOTH [Port Macquarie NSW] - Now that we seem to be back on the air, finally, we may be able to maintain some regular communications. Just back from Quilpie/Thargomindah, after a short spell in Shanghai - a bit of a contrast! Western Queensland is in a really desperate situation because of the drought.

Now, Masta Sir Kit, about the next event. Program looks generally good but I knew we should have made a quick trip to Sydney for the planning meeting and put our two bob’s worth in. There is no allocation of time for fine coffee at Lothars!

Forgot to let you know that we are booked into the Concierge arriving Friday and departing Tuesday. But we will probably leave Monday as it is very likely we will be back in Sydney later that same week.

Enjoy yourselves in the West. You might even be able to bring yourself to join the Libs if you get a taste of some of that fine Margaret River red. Nigel returns from Honiara in early June, so no doubt we will be busy again. Sad to hear about health problems for Brian and Barry. We wish them both well. Ol samting istap gut long paradise.

JUSTINE FINTER [Mapleton QLD] - Despite computer lessons for seniors, I had some problems accessing my inbox and can't believe my luck at getting it at last. The planned program for the reunion is something I'm looking forward to.

In mid March my Canadian-based daughter, Janelle, requested me to baby-sit the grandchildren while she and husband went to Mexico with the in-laws. It was a scramble for me and I therefore didn’t plan any day tours and spent quite a few hours at the LA airport to and from Canada. The weather in LA was cold and rainy on arrival and standing in queues for security purposes can be energy draining, especially in the wee hours of the morning. Nevertheless, I found the Brisbane-Los Angeles-Calgary route was better than Sydney-Honolulu-Vancouver-Calgary.

On approach to Calgary the news that the temperature was minus fifteen was not welcome to my ears, especially at midnight. Janelle's in-laws know how much the cold weather affects me so came prepared with heavy overcoat, gloves and scarf - with so many layers of clothing I felt like a walking eiderdown and found it not so easy to move around.

Janelle now lives at Pincher Creek, about three hours drive from Calgary. The overnight stay in Calgary in a comfortable bed felt so good after the hours on the airport lounge-where the foetal position was really out of question! Pincher Creek is a small town surrounded by ranches and wind farms. One has to experience the wild wind gusts to believe their velocity. One day I witnessed an old lady having trouble just staying up-right while walking down the street.

There was a heavy snowfall on my first day at Pincher Creek. The snow falling looks great from indoors. After much cajoling I ventured outside and even went tobogganing with the grandchildren from a gentle slope on a sports ground a block away from the house.

Before their trip to La Paz in Mexico, Janelle took me to Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park not far from the Canadian/USA border. As the brochure suggests it is a magical landscape with strange sandstone formations, called hoodoos. They began forming after the glaciers exposed the sandstone bedrock after the last Ice Age. Rain sculpts the rock by wearing away softer sections of the sandstone faster than the harder sections and with other weather elements the result-fantastic shapes. The First Nations people -The Blackfoot - used the valley for at least 3000 years. Young men often climbed the hills in order to undertake a vision quest.

Despite the blistering winds on the day we managed to find a sheltered spot where the children thought it was fun toasting marshmallows. As the youngest grandchild was two and a half we took the short trails. The drive there and back took us for miles through the prairie country. We overnighted at a little place called Milk River.

It was good to be with Janelle and her family though I must admit the youngest of the three children really ran me ragged. Doing it solo was not as easy as I thought. Bill stayed home we have our property on the market. I was away for six weeks and I'm pleased to report Bill did a great job house keeping.

Sorry to hear about Barry Patterson's heart attack and pray that he makes a full recovery. Thanks for the great job with The Mail. I trust you are continuing to be blessed with good health.

JEAN LOWE [Croydon NSW] – As I’ll be returning from overseas on the Friday of the reunion, I know I’ll be quite unfit for any activities until at least the Sunday. I’ll catch a bus from Wynyard to arrive at the Cremorne Hotel before 10.30 am. I’ll try and let you know if this is not possible.

DENNIS BURRELL [Whiteside QLD] – Ros and I are looking forward to the reunion and a big ‘thank you’ goes to all involved in organising it. Drove up to Townsville for the Easter holidays to visit the Burrells up there. They are still busy with the renovations of the 1914 Queenslander they have. It is looking good. Ros is in Melbourne at the moment. She went there for a seminar and took her mother with her. They intend taking a week to get back to Brisbane driving via the Pacific Highway.

I’ve been kept busy while she’s been away with work, two spoiled pooches, a week old bantam chick and nine 4-week old chickens (the fox got one), two bantams and three geese. I’m also expecting to receive four ducks any day now. We seem to be building up another menagerie. We had one before and got rid of it but this one is here to stay.

VAL RIVERS [Burra North SA] – The reunion program and those listed as who’ll be there seems most promising. No doubt there have been a number of side arrangements made as well. Colin [Huggins] has actually arranged his arrival in Sydney around the same day as myself. I thank you and the organising team for the efforts necessary to make it so effortless to take part.

COLIN HUGGINS [Albion QLD] – Looking forward to the celebrations and especially seeing what the old place looks like these days. I hope that Keith Bain didn’t poison Peter and Margaret Lewis. I find it hard to imagine Keith in the kitchen a la Jamie Oliver.

MARG & PETER LEWIS [Windella Downs NSW] - We saw Keith and Barbara Bain in London recently and had a lovely meal in their terrace in NW London. They are very comfortable and have a lovely English garden out the back. Peter and Keith reminisced happily over a nice drop of red we took with us all around Ireland etc before finding their home.

Keith's directions were spot on and we travelled across London by bus from Lancaster Gate where we were staying. We are looking forward to catching up at the reunion.

BOB FAYLE [Mooloolaba QLD] - After the brilliant successes of the last few Kiap Reunions on the Sunshine Coast, we have been asked as to when and where the next will be held. We plan to have it on 13 November 2005 at the Kawana Waters Hotel, Nicklin Way, Buddina in Queensland.

The Kawana Waters Hotel is located on Nicklin Way near Kawana Waters Shopping Centre on the main road between Mooloolaba and Caloundra. A large parking area is available at the hotel. The outlook is over water to an extensive marina and has a covered outdoor deck area linked to an indoor bar/lounge with adequate dining and seating facilities available for our use.

There is a good restaurant/bistro adjoining our area where as with previous reunions you will be able to order your own meals. The restaurant will be open from 11.30 am to 9 pm. Drinks will be available at bar prices from the Lounge Bar and Public Bars and these bars will be open from 11.30 am to 10 pm.

Informality will again be the order of the day. No speeches, everyone is too busy catching up with friends. The Kawana Waters Hotel has thirteen motel style rooms available which we have tentatively booked. If you require a booking please phone the hotel on 07 5444 6699 and mention that you are part of the “Kiap Reunion” group to secure a unit before the end of August. There is also other accommodation in close proximity in Buddina and Mooloolaba.

Since we will be sharing the restaurant facilities of this popular establishment with the regular Sunday clientele, the Function Co-ordinator has requested that we provide a close figure of attendees by the 28 October 2005. Breakfast next day seemed another popular gathering and this could be arranged again should you wish.

We ask that you spread the word and pass on this invitation to those you feel would enjoy the day. Please email Denys Faithful at faith@flexinet.com.au or Bob Fayle at bobheatherfayle@yahoo.com.au