THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN EASTERN PAPUA
Kevin McGhee, M.S.C
ISLAND OF SAINT BONAVENTURE SIDEIA 1605
In the year 1605, a Spanish Expedition under the command of Explorer Torres, sailed into the Pacific and came to the shores of Papua New Guinea. The ship, "Elmoranta" dropped anchor on the south side of Sideia Island close to Sawasawaga Passage. Torres named this island the "Island of Saint Bonaventure". A Franciscan Chaplain was on board. It was the custom on all Spanish Expeditions for the Priest to go ashore wherever the ship anchored. It may be assumed that the Chaplain of the "Elmoranta" did go ashore on the island of Sideia and offered the First Mass on Papuan soil. In recent years a white wooden Cross was erected on this same spot. Written on this cross are the words: "Here on 28th April 1605, the Franciscan Chaplain on Torres' Ship came ashore and said the First known Mass to be celebrated in Papua."
"Now let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors in their successive generations." Ecclus. 44, 1.
Our gratitude is due to all who have cooperated to produce this history of the first fifty years of the Australian M.S.C. in Eastern Papua.
Our traditions grow from the lives and deeds of our forebears in the Faith, from the example of our fellow M.S.C. These traditions are confirmed by our fidelity to the trust that we have received from them. In turn, we pass on these same traditions as a heritage to those who will follow us. It is such a tradition, living and growing, that gives soul and spirit to any organisation of men. It is especially true of us who live by a brotherhood of faith, hope and a love that endures.
To us of this present generation, the lives and actions of the M.S.C. people of the past 50 years in Eastern Papua sometimes may appear somewhat more than life-size; the privations and trials encountered; the courage in adversity continually proven; the endurance that wore down obstacles; the disasters surmounted; the failures that became successes; the lives they squandered. All this was for Christ, for his Bride, for us.
Because of them, we stand where we are, today. We are humbly yet gladly grateful for what they have achieved. This is our M.S.C. heritage. We share it with God's people. We must remember that we are born of the same stock, we are driven by the same spirit. Let us measure up to their example. Let us be faithful to the mandate that Christ passes on to us, through THEM.
The last page of this book opens out to "tomorrow". The end of this volume marks the beginning of a new cycle of our M.S.C. traditions in this area. Already we are engaged in planning and working for this M.S.C. future. We are forming, training our successors.
We will to bequeath to this vital, young nation the full inheritance of Christ that is their due.
May the M.S.C. of Papua New Guinea, our brothers of a different race, be always one in heart and mind, with us, and because of us.
With Christ, may they celebrate in memory of us.
The Society of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart was founded at Issoudun, in France, by Father Jules Chevalier on December 8th 1854. Even in his Seminary days he had in particular a great love for the Heart of Christ and consecrated himself unreservedly to the task of making It known and loved. In testimony of his gratitude to Mary for favours received and to express her power over the Heart of her Divine Son, Father Chevalier decided on the title of "Our Lady of the Sacred Heart" as being the best expression of the perfect bond of union that exists between the Heart of Jesus and His Blessed Mother. He soon gathered together a small group of Priests who offered to share in his work of spreading the love of the Heart of Christ. They took as their motto the words which had become the aim of their lives - " May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be everywhere loved."
DAUGHTERS OF OUR LADY OF THE SACRED HEART (F.D.N.S.C.)
Wishing to offer Mary a gift of lives given completely to her, Father Chevalier formed a small community of women in 1874 and called them "Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart". In its infancy this community suffered many trials. Then, in 1881, came a widow, Marie Louise Hartzer whose two sons were students for the Priesthood with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart at Issoudun. Father Chevalier recognised her qualities and asked her to become the leader and guide of his "Daughters". Unable to convince her, Marie Louise agreed only to join the community as one of the sisters and did this on March 25th 1882. Some months followed and Father Chevalier could clearly see that only Sister Marie Louise Hartzer could save his work with this small Order of Sisters. Using every argument in vain, he finally and gently said, "It is the will of God. Accept it". Marie Louise was conquered and became the first Superior General of The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
In 1844 the task of evangelising the vast areas of Melanesia and Micronesia was confided by Pope Gregory XVI to the great French Missionary Society, the "Society of Mary" Marists. This area included the islands of New Guinea, New Britain, New Ireland and the Solomon Group.
Father Jean Baptiste Epalle, S.M. was consecrated Bishop and arrived at San Cristobal in the Southern Solomons on December 1st 1845. Twelve days later he was attacked by a group of islanders and in three days was dead. Shortly afterwards two Priests and a Brother were speared and devoured by the cannibals of San Cristobal. Bishop Jean Georges Collomb succeeded Bishop Epalle and reached the shores of the Solomons on August 28th 1847. His Mission station was constantly under siege and it was decided to leave the area. The Missionaries transferred to Woodlark Island (now within the Diocese of Alotau). Nine months later the Bishop took with him two priests and a brother and established a new Mission station on Rooke Island (Umboi) between the mainland of New Guinea and the island of New Britain. In two months Bishop Collomb succumbed to a severe fever and was buried on the beach of Rooke Island.
The surviving Priests and Brother stayed for six months then returned to Woodlark Island. Because of their great losses and lack of numbers the Marists sought permission to relinquish this Mission .
In 1850 the Bishops of Lombardy, in Italy, founded the Society of Foreign Missions of Milan - the P.I.M.E. Fathers. Pope Pius IX asked this new Society to continue the evangelisation of Micronesia and Melanesia. Monsignor Paulo Reina with a group of Missionaries arrived in Sydney in mid 1852 and proceeded to Rooke and Woodlark Islands. By 1855, lack of supplies and medicines, constant malarial fever and the apathy of the islanders caused the Mission to be abandoned. The last member of this heroic group, Father John Mazzucconi, received the crown of martyrdom when hacked to pieces by the islanders of Woodlark in September 1855. His Cause for Beatification is under way in Rome.
Two P.I.M.E. Priests returned to the Diocess of Alotau in 1981 to continue the work abandoned in 1855.
FIRST M.S.C. FOREIGN MISSION - NEW GUINEA
On 25th March 1881 the Holy Father Pope Leo XIII, through his Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda, wrote to Father Chevalier stating he would be much pleased if the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart would undertake the evangelisation of the Vicariate of New Guinea which had been vacant for many years.
The members of the Society were yet very few and their worldly means absolutely nil. Anticlerical decrees had exiled them from their beloved France. Through lack of numbers Father Chevalier feared lest he should be obliged to refuse. With great faith and recommending the project to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart he no longer hesitated. His letter of acceptance to the Holy Father was written on April 16th 1881.
The initial group of M.S.C. to set sail from Barcelona on September 1st 1881 were Fathers Durin, Andrew Navarre and T Cramaille. They were accompanied by Brothers Fromm and Durin, the latter a nephew of Father Durin. They sailed via Ceylon and Singapore and arrived in Manila on October 2nd. There was no ship available to continue the journey so the Missionaries returned to Singapore on December 8th. The health of Father Durin and his nephew deteriorated to the extent that it was necessary for them to return to Europe. The remainder reached Batavia on January 13th and finally Cooktown, in Queensland, on July 21st 1882. Father Andrew Navarre was appointed Superior and the group finally reached Sydney on August 13th. Here they were warmly received by the Marist Fathers who rendered the greatest possible assistance to the M.S.C.
FIRST M.S.C. MISSION - NEW BRITAIN
On August 26th 1882 Fathers Navarre and Cramaille with Brother Fromm sailed from Sydney aboard the "Chandernagor" and arrived at Matupit on the island of New Britain on September 29th. Initially they were well received by the natives and favourable progress was gradually made. However, disaster struck on June 27th 1883 and the entire Mission was gutted by fire. Father Navarre and Brother Fromm returned to Sydney on October 4th to obtain new supplies.
Four new M.S.C. arrived from France on January 28th 1884 in the persons of Fathers F Hartzer, Vatan and Gaillard with Brother Giuseppe de Santis. They sailed with Father Navarre and reached New Britain on April 10th 1884. Soon the Mission was again firmly established and the Missionaries decided to go further afield and occupy the mainland of New Guinea. Father Navarre with Father Hartzer and Brother de Santis arrived at Thursday Island, to the north of Queensland, on October 19th 1884.
FIRST M.S.C. FOUNDATION IN AUSTRALIA
On January 31st 1885 two M.S.C. Priests arrived in Sydney from France. One, Father L Couppe, later became the first Vicar Apostolic of New Britain. Father Henry Verius was to be the first M.S.C. to set foot in Papua - the land of which he became the first apostle and later, Bishop. They were accompanied on the voyage to Australia by three Italian Brothers, Salvatore Gasbarra, Nicola Marconi and Mariano Travaglini and by five Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the pioneers from their Congregaion: Sisters Madeleine Masselin, Claire Desailley, Xavier Ryan, Paul Perdrix and Martha Douillard.
Archbishop Moran of Sydney manifested great interest in the work of the Missionaries and offered them a parish in Sydney. In April 1885 Fathers Couppe and Hartzer with the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart established themselves at Botany, a suburb of Sydney. In November the headquarters was moved to the Parish of Randwick. Seven acres of land were selected in the sandhills of Kensington and the foundation stone of the Sacred Heart Monastery, Kensington was laid on December 1st 1895. The Monastery was solemnly blessed and opened by Cardinal Moran on December 5th 1897.
FIRST M.S.C. IN PAPUA
Fathers Navarre and Verius with Brothers Salvatore and Nicola and two Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart sailed to Thursday Island, arriving on February 24th 1885. This small island was to be the starting point for their conquest of Papua, the country annexed by Queensland in 1883, declared a British Protectorate on November 6th 1884 and which finally became Australian Territory in 1906. Every effort was made by the authorities to block the way of the Missionaries to the "promised land". Our Lady of the Sacred Heart heard their prayers and along came one Edward "Yankee Ned" Moseby, an American who had sailed these waters for twenty years and more. The blockade runners, Father Verius with Brothers Salvatore and Nicola and under the command of "Yankee Ned" sailed quietly from Thursday Island aboard the small sailing boat "Josh" on June 19th 1885. At Cape York they transhipped to a slightly larger "Gordon" and sailed with a substitute for "Yankee Ned" on June 25th. There followed a perilous voyage through terrifying seas and the vessel finally anchored off Yule Island on the Papuan coast. On July 1st the Missionaries went ashore, a primitive dwelling was erected and on July 4th Father Verius celebrated the first Mass on Papuan soil.
In August 1887 four Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart arrived at Yule Island and Father Andrew Navarre was appointed first Vicar Apostolic of British New Guinea. Father Verius was appointed Vicar Apostolic of New Britain, but, shortly after his Consecration, he became Coadjutor Bishop to Bishop Navarre. On the death of Bishop Verius on November 13th 1892 at the age of 32, Father Alain de Boismenu was appointed to replace him. Bishop Navarre was created Archbishop and died at Townsville, Queensland on January 16th 1912. Bishop de Boismenu became the second Vicar Apostolic.
In 1873 Captain Moresby discovered Hall Sound. Gradually the township of Port Moresby developed and more settlers arrived. In November 1884 Commodore Erskine hoisted the flag in Port Moresby and a British Protectorate was proclaimed under the name of British New Guinea. The French M.S.C. cared for the spiritual needs of the settlers. The Bishop soon realised the need of Australian Priests to work with the growing populace. His request to the Australian M.S.C. Province was well received.
Two Australian Scholastics, Brothers E A Bailey, M.S.C. and L. McCarthy, M.S.C. were sent to Port Moresby and were ordained by Bishop de Boismenu in December 1912. In the ensuing years others followed and included Fathers J Long in 1921, M McEncroe in March 1924, W Connors in March 1928, A Finch in 1930 and F F Lyons in 1931. On September 29th 1931 Brother John Flynn, M.S.C. was ordained at Yule Island by Bishop de Boismenu. His first Mass was in the presence of the Lieut. Governor, Sir Hubert Murray.
The first Australian M.S.C. Brothers to work with the French Missionaries at Yule Island and in Port Moresby were Brothers George Tweedy and Walter Garrod in 1926 and McIan in 1928. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities in the Pacific, Fathers Joe Docherty and Owen McDermott were appointed to the Missions.
During the second world war many Australian Missionaries of the Sacred Heart volunteered as Chaplains to the Armed Forces. These included Fathers R Hyland, H Reid, J McManus, T Ormonde, A Bryson, F Lyons, N Earl, J Dwyer, O McDermott and K Graydon. These Missionaries with the Forces, apart from their duties with and assistance to the troops, were able to keep contact with the native population, now without pastors, and were mainly instrumental in keeping alive that Faith for which the early Missionaries had fought so arduously to bring to the people of Papua. Father Norbert Earl was decorated with the M.B.E. for his services to the Australian soldiers on the Kokoda trail.
FIRST MISSION OF AUSTRALIAN M.S.C. IN PAPUA
In 1929 the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith conferred upon the Australian Province of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart the honour of granting it a Mission entirely its own - the Mission of Eastern Papua.
The new Mission Territory covered the eastern portion of the mainland of Papua from the 148th degree of longitude in the west to the easternmost tip of Papua and including the Port of Samarai and the very numerous adjacent islands to the east; in all about 30,000 square miles of territory. The native population at this time was considered to be in the vicinity of 120,000. Apart from the very occasional visits of Fathers E Bailey and M McEncroe to the European settlers on the island of Samarai, this region was one in which no Catholic Priest had ever set foot; but in which Protestant denominations had effective "spheres of influence" for over fifty years. The Methodists had stations on almost all the islands; the Anglicans were firmly established along the North coast whilst the London Missionary Society and Kwato Mission occupied most of the south coast and Milne Bay area.
PIONEER AUSTRALIAN M.S.C. - EASTERN PAPUA
To undertake the spade work of this new Mission, Father John Doyle, M.S.C., who had been in charge of the Mission on Thursday Island, sailed with Brother F Baker, M.S.C. from Sydney aboard the "Morinda" on June 25th 1930 and arrived at the island of Samarai on August 6th. Samarai, the then commercial and shipping centre for Eastern Papua, is a very picturesque island set in the China Straits and near the south eastern tip of the mainland at the head of Milne Bay.
Father Doyle had been instructed by his Ecclesiastical Superiors at Yule Island to remain at Samarai and there make contact with the natives and also with outside areas on the surrounding islands. In 1930 the European population of Samarai was about 100 of whom 12 only were Catholic. In effect, there were very few natives to be contacted for Mission purposes on Samarai and the few trading boats working the groups of islands were of little use as they went directly to the plantations with stores, picked up copra and returned immediately to Samarai.
The Catholic families of Samarai at that time were the Broodbanks, the Campbells, Mrs Patching, Mr Percy Walke and Mrs Carlow who, when she died, left her cottage to the Missions. It is still in use today.
There was no house vacant when the Missionaries disembarked from the "Morinda". Due to the kindness of Mr Broodbank, a building 30ft x 15ft was made available. It had in the first instance been a butcher's shop and latterly, a hall. Father Doyle and Brother Baker were soon installed and necessary furniture appeared from different quarters. The first church - of asbestos - was soon built. The sacristy press was a skilful blending of kerosene cases. Rats were a "specialty" and everything had to be locked away. The Broodbank family and Mrs. Patching were their mainstay and supplied practically all meals. Beyond this wonderful hospitality there was not much encouragement for the Missionaries to remain in Samarai. No Mission work could be accomplished from this point.
From the first day Father Doyle was anxious to visit the outlying islands and make contact with the people. It was not until September that he was able to charter Mr Evenett's twenty foot launch. The charter fee was one pound per day. In this craft Father Doyle visited Milne Bay, Esa-Ala on Normanby Island and Goodenough Island. The trips were of very short duration. Milne Bay, in those days, was a most depressing experience for the Missionaries. Kwato Mission, then at its height of power controlled practically all of Milne Bay. The people visited by Father Doyle ran to their homes and closed the doors when they saw him coming. The one spot in Milne Bay which gave him some hope was at Ladava where the Tanby family lived. Though not professing any great desire for the Faith, they offered, on enquiry, to sell their house and property for 250 pounds. Ladava, he imagined, would be a good place upon which to settle for a beginning and from which contact with the people could be made. Another small plantation, "Ramaga" on the southern side of Milne Bay, was offered for something like 3,000 pounds.
On the island of Sideia a property of 214 acres had been given to Bishop de Boismenu by Mrs. Patching. A school could be opened in this area. Father Doyle and Brother Baker visited Sideia on a few occasions but never envisaged it as becoming the centre and headquarters of the whole Mission area. The land was swampy with a poor approach from the sea. It did not lend itself to any agricultural prospects and it was not near any centre of population.
Father Doyle decided to travel to Sydney and advise the Provincial in Australia of the situation. He needed help for the Mission; a boat was essential and a property must be acquired; finance was a must. This finance was not available. Because of the strong Protestant opposition and the difficulties in procuring a Mission site, it was decided by the Provincial Council to hold the Mission "in abeyance". Brother Baker was recalled from Samarai and Father Doyle returned to his former field of labour on Thursday Island.
Early in 1931, Father Francis Lyons, M.S.C. was appointed to the Missions and sailed to Yule Island, headquarters of the Mission in Papua. The French M.S.C. had not the personnel to work in Eastern Papua. Whilst the Australian Province had accepted charge of this Mission, it still remained under the Ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the French Bishop.
Father Lyons served his apprenticeship with the French M.S.C. at Yule Island and in the township of Port Moresby, whose Catholics had for some years been in the care of Australian M.S.C. Father Lyons was to make the second and successful attempt to establish the Mission in Eastern Papua.
On April 22nd 1932, Father Lyons, in the company of a Kuni native, Camillo Loula, a Yule Island trained young woman, Basilia Obi, with her husband, Solomon, and two young children and a young man, Edimodo, sailed aboard a very small launch, through the reefs and dropped anchor in a quiet little bay on Sideia Island. This island, ten miles due East of Samarai, is very large and heavily timbered hills rise abruptly from the foreshore. Mangrove trees grow tall and straight around the coastline. Coral reefs abound in front of the selected Mission site and make the approach to the anchorage very tricky. The island of Sideia was chosen for several reasons. The land had been given by Mrs. Patching; its position like Samarai, was central enough and offered reasonable communication with the mainland. Furthermore, it did have a reasonable native population.
Let Father Lyons tell the story of his arrival: "When I surveyed the launch with its mixed cargo, and glanced across at the little opening in the mangroves where I presumed our landing place would be, and then looked at the one crazy canoe which a native had brought across to convey us to the shore, I wondered what the result would be. There were packing cases and all kinds of lumber collected in and around Samarai... not to speak of the nanny goats...to be transferred to dry land; and the old canoe seemed to say, 'Well, it all depends on me'. I can still see those goods making the perilous crossing. Anyhow, everything arrived safely at that little opening. There was water on one side of us and bush, bush, bush on the other three - a wilderness in every sense of the word. Night was coming on - it did not take very long to find the sago-palm dwelling that a native boy had erected some time earlier in view of the coming of the Missionary".
Father Lyons faced the pagan world around him with faith and good humour. He first set about opening up the bush around him and by Christmas of 1932, had four acres of mangrove swamp cleared, a fifty yard jetty constructed, a Church erected, a large bungalow and dwellings for his natives built. He spoke very highly of his first team of helpers who had been living at Sideia and awaited his arrival. These included, Francis Kulukulu, Tubo, Goroliya, Donisi, Aukaka, Motuweiya and James Deko. This latter young man, James Deko was at Sideia when Father Doyle visited the island in 1930. In 1982 he still lives at Malawatakiki Is, close by Sideia, and has been a true friend of the Mission. Much of his land he gave to the Sideia Mission so that the site could be extended. His uncle, Kwanaula, lived at Bosim with Rabawiye, Deko's grandfather. Mesiomala was another young man who greatly assisted the pioneering work.
Father Lyons wrote: "I was very much impressed on the morning of the first Mass on Sideia. Most of the work force are either pagan or belonged to one or other of the Protestant Missions. Of their own accord they came along to Mass and they have continued to do so each morning since. After Mass they go off with their long knives and axes, hack at the undergrowth and bring down the trees with a will. The house in which I am living is a very cheap proposition. It is built entirely of bush material, sago-sticks, sago palm leaves and is devoid of nails. Everything is tied with a very strong kind of bamboo. The leaves of the roof are so placed that the finished job resembles a tiled roof and the water carries away without difficulty."
Sideia is surrounded by Protestant Missionary organisations: Kwato, the Methodist Mission, the Anglican Mission and the London Missionary Society. Father Lyons fully realised that the progress of the Catholic Mission would be necessarily slow. It would not be a matter of an overwhelming number of baptisms or of numerous converts in the shortest space of time. He understood that it would be a long and slow process and he was quite prepared for that. His intention was to collect little native children from all points of the compass and establish a school at Sideia. This school opened in September 1932 and boasted twelve pupils. Through this small nucleus the popularity of Father Lyons spread over the whole Island. In the very early school roll books at Sideia it is interesting to read the names of the boys from the Tanby families of Milne Bay. In 1933, George and Daniel had sent three of their sons to Sideia for schooling. In the roll books the names of Bede, Billy and Andy Tanby appear with a few other lads from Milne Bay. Marietta Warupi came from Yule Island to help teach.
The year 1933 saw the Mission firmly established and ready to expand. In April, Father Lyons welcomed with open arms his first assistant in the person of Brother Joseph Dixon, M.S.C. At Sideia there were 30 boarders at school, mostly from the island of Basilaki and included three members of the Dindilo family, Michael, Joseph and Mary Therese. The latter was to become the first Eastern Papuan girl to join the native congregation of Sisters - "Handmaids of Our Lord" - founded by Bishop de Boismenu at Kubuna, near Yule Island. Families in Samarai at this time and whose houses were "home" for the Missionaries were the Broodbanks, Campbells, Cahills (Gaol Keeper), Harry Stuart-Russell (Collector of Customs), and Ernie Breiner (Post Office and Customs) who later married Eileen Broodbank.
At the time of Brother Dixon's arrival the Mission consisted of a native material Church-school, a "Presbytery", a work-shop and a few native type huts to house the work force. The Sideia "fleet" was made up of the "Stella Maris", a 30ft half cabin launch powered by a 12 hp Kelvin Kerosene engine. It had been bought from the Samarai "milkman", Tom Platt. The second launch was the 22ft "Pius", an ex-sailing boat powered by a 7 hp Kelvin Kerosene engine and bought from Mr. Roy Cox. In that year, Father Lyons reaped the first fruit of his labours in the baptism of seven of his school children.
In August 1933, Father Michael McEncroe, M.S.C. was sent by Bishop de Boismenu to report on progress. He Wrote: "The grounds are cleared, drained and paths made. The houses are in good condition for native type buildings. There is a large house 68ft x 52ft with iron roof - four rooms each 12ft x 12ft, a central room 16ft x 24ft and a 14ft verandah right around. This house is ready for the Sisters who should come at the first opportunity. In the school were 34 boys and 8 girls, all healthy and eager. Much progress had been made in English, Catechism and singing. The workforce of 10 young men was excellent. Two churches were under construction at different points on Basilaki Island - three hours from Sideia.
1934 was a wonderful year for the Mission. In February, Father Lyons went to Yule Island and returned with two Australian Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart - Sisters Genevieve and Cecilia. Much to the disappointment of all they could not stay very long at Sideia. In April 1934, the "Macdhui" brought Fathers Hugh Tomlinson and Bernard Baldwin. They were followed on June 18th by Sisters de Pazzi, Finbar and Stanislaus. These good Sisters were urgently needed on the Mission and solved a problem with the care of the young children. Later in the year Sister Berchmans joined the community.
CHAPTER 6 BASILAKI ISLAND
Extension now began in earnest. Father Tomlinson, from the beginning, gave a lot of his time to Basilaki Island where Father Lyons had already built two churches. This island is due East of Sideia. With 1,000 native people on the island, Father Tomlinson went regularly each Saturday and stayed from two to four days with the people. He has left records of these first months when everything was "new and wonderful", of the sago swamps and the mud - "like boot polish" - and of that language which seemed to be compounded from all the tongues of Babel. He wrote on one occasion: "Taking Brother Dixon, a workboy and a schoolboy, an altar (of deal) and the minimum of provisions and gear on the small launch, I spent about a week in each small place. I had two Baptisms, blessed a grave, got about three hundred words of the native language (no grammar, no dictionary etc.). My programme for the day: Mass at 7 o'clock, half an hour's instruction, breakfast and then out patrolling. With a book, pencil and rifle (for the wild pigs) I go from village to village, treading through sago swamp, knee deep in mud, climbing along poles through evil smelling mangrove swamps. The villages are on the shore on coral flats made from the wash of the ocean casting up debris of the ubiquitous coral reef. This coral flat is all planted with cocoanuts and where it extends for any distance is delightful to walk through". Father Tomlinson soon had a third church under construction. The land for these Churches on Basilaki had been given by Dindilo and Kiwiwi.
BACK HOME AT SIDEIA
During 1934 another boat the "Midas", built by Duncan Campbell, was purchased and renamed the "St. Joseph". It was 34ft long, powered by a 16 hp Ailsa Craig engine and was capable of carrying four tons of cargo. The "Presbytery" had been handed over to the Sisters, and the Fathers happily lived in make-shift quarters until a new Presbytery was erected. Sister Paul was a welcome arrival in February 1935 and she was followed in March by two very welcome additions to the ranks of the Missionaries in the persons of Brother Joseph Vogt and Brother Harry Pierce. Brother Vogt was to become the principal architect and builder at Sideia and throughout the mission and today, in 1982, is still very active with no thought of retiring.
The government inspection of the Sideia school at the end of 1934 proved that the progress was more than material. The general verdict was: "Of all the schools examined, the Roman Catholic School at Sideia was one of the best." The official report contained highest praise for the management of the school and the standard of the pupils, "especially in English subjects." It was a "red letter" day when the Lieut. Governor of Papua, Sir Hubert Murray, visited Sideia. This great Australian Catholic was deservedly loved by the Papuan people. Since the beginning of his long term of office he had lived for the natives. His territory was considered to be the best governed native territory in the world.
From the first it was never intended that the Mission should limit itself to the island of Sideia. Both Father Lyons and Father Tomlinson made short visits to Milne Bay in 1934 and were quite warmly received by the people. These were eager to learn something about God and to have their children attend school.
Father Lyons was asked by the Tanby families and the local people to build a house and start a school in Milne Bay. It was difficult to get land because the mission in those days was unable to purchase property from the local people. Leo Tanby, as spokesman for the Tanby families and the people wrote a letter in July 1934: "Last year my brothers Daniel and George Tanby sent their three children to school at the Catholic Mission, Sideia. For a time they have been asking Father Lyons to come to Milne Bay to their place. A little while ago he came and he spoke to me and my wife and we decided to build a house for the mission at Ladava on my wife's ground..... The village people were glad and said yes. Today I am sending my boy to the mission school at Sideia where he will learn English. We wish to send our children where we like, and we like to have the Catholic Mission here."
At the same time Leo wrote to Father Lyons to tell him he was sorry he could not give him land near Gohora as it was very swampy; but the land at Ladava was better, belonging to his wife Lednie. Eventually it was the other brother, William, who leased some land at Ladava to the Mission. The people set to and built a three roomed house, with back and front verandahs, on a piece of land within seventy yards of the sea. While visiting Milne Bay the Fathers also visited the villages of Gabugabuna, Maiwara and Hagita and inspected the three large copra producing plantations, "Gili Gili", "Hagita" and "Waigani".
Residents of the Milne Bay area at this period included Don Irvine, Manager of Gili Gili plantation and who always proved of great help to the Missionaries - even to the giving of two T Model Fords; Harold Heiner, Manager of "Hagita" Plantation and whose position was soon taken over by Ian McDonald; the Matleys of "Waigani" Plantation; Curly Coleman, a trader from the southern shores of Milne Bay and Hans Jansen, a Swede who had married a local girl and settled as a trader in Milne Bay. The families of George, Leo and Willy Tan by lived nearby and all welcomed the Missionaries and offered every assistance.
Father Baldwin was the first to take up permanent residence at Ladava in May 1935. He laboured long and hard among his native parishioners and built Church, Convent and school. His herculean efforts soon took toll of his health and towards the end of 1936 he was compelled to leave the Milne Bay area and recuperate. His place was taken by Father Arch Bryson who had arrived early in 1936. Brother Vogt spent some time at Ladava and was of great assistance to Father Bryson. Sisters Stanislaus, Paul and Catherine moved to Ladava on August 25th 1936 and soon this station grew into a flourishing Mission. Brother Ron Lilwall was appointed to Ladava in 1937. In 1939 Father Bryson wrote: "The Mission is made up of the central mission station and three secondary stations. The central station is on the same lines of Sideia, with its complement of mission buildings, including a large boarding and day school in the charge of the Sisters. Here also is a hospital for the natives with women's and men's wards, operating theatre and dispensary."
1939 also saw the arrival of Sister Pancratius and Father John Flynn who had been working with the French M.S.C. at Yule Island. He was followed in January 1941 by Father Norbert Earl and Brother Arthur Bushe. They remained until the general evacuation in January 1942 when Father Earl became Chaplain to the Army. Brother Bushe went to Yule Island and a year later suffered a severe bout of blackwater fever. He was sent south to Australia.
THE MISSION GROWS
In 1935, whilst Brother Pierce laboured with the mechanics of Sideia Brother Vogt spent month about in building the Church and Presbytery on Samarai Island and the Convent at Ladava in Milne Bay. Four young native men, Michael Dindilo, Alan Kaioko, Aloysius and Anthony proved able and willing assistants to Brother Vogt in the various works of construction.
Early in 1936 Father Tomlinson was struck by blackwater fever and was forced to return to Australia. He was replaced by Father Bryson. Sister Paul, who at the end of her first year had become sick and was sent south, returned with Sisters Pancratius and Catherine. Towards the end of this year Brother Vogt commenced building a fine new Church at Sideia. Christopher, Kenori, Philip and George Abdue were his assistants on this project. A new 18/24 hp Ruston engine was procured for the "St Joseph" and the old Ailsa Craig engine served a short period ashore as a "lighting plant" for the Mission. Illness caused Brother Vogt to go south in 1937.
Father Jim Dwyer arrived at Sideia in March 1937 adding further strength to the small Mission band. He was followed later in the year by Brother Ron Lilwall and Brother Arthur Bushe. In October Father Gerard Doody with Brother Hugh Fraser reached Sideia. They were accompanied by the Australian Provincial, Father J. M. Kerrins on his first visitation to the Missions. Early in that year an epidemic of dysentery broke out and many children were seriously ill. The unfinished church was used to isolate them. During the Provincial's visit Bishop de Boismenu came from Yule Island and blessed and opened the newly completed church. Before leaving for his Final Profession in Australia Brother Dixon supervised the construction of a small native type church in the nearby village of Kelegalega. Father Dwyer offered the first Mass in this church. Through the devoted work of the Brothers Sideia could now boast, in addition to Convent and Presbytery, workshops with carpenters' benches and engineering shop with an electrical plant, lathe and small saw bench.
CHAPTER 8 FOUNDATION IN THE TROBRIAND ISLANDS
To the north of Sideia and some 150 miles away lies a group of coral islands named the Trobriands. The group comprises one large island, Kiriwina and up to twenty smaller ones. The native population is in the vicinity of 10,000. The isles are low and flat, never in any part ascending more than 100 ft above sea level. Of all the islands of Eastern Papua the Trobriands are the richest in agricultural products for the soil is excellent. The inhabitants have been described as "bright, intelligent, industrious, yet very materialistic."
The Holy Spirit works in ways that are often strange to us. He was guiding the Mission of Sideia in the early days just as he guides our Diocese today. He had brought Priests, Brothers and Sisters to Sideia and Ladava and now was going to bring them to the Trobriand Islands, in His own way. The instrument he used was an elderly lady from England, married to a Mr. Charlie Lumley. She had heard of the school starting at Sideia and she used her influence to get parents to send three boys to school there. They were Albert, Tom Tit and Benedict, who went to Sideia in 1935 and were baptised by Father Lyons in 1936. The original idea was for these three boys to learn as much as possible and then do some teacher training. However, the War upset all these plans.
In the meantime, Mrs. Lumley invited Father Lyons to visit the Trobriands. He found the people of Teyava village interested in sending their children to school. Once again there was the difficulty in getting a suitable piece of land. This time there was a trading site, Gusaweta, which had belonged to a Mr. Hancock. When he died, the property was taken over by the Auerback family on Muwo Island. Father Lyons purchased Gusaweta in 1936. Mrs. Lumley was a "rough diamond", but was very good hearted and gave a lot of help to the new Mission. Her family, as they grew and took over from their parents, were also very friendly and helped the Mission immensely. Though now living south in Australia they still keep contact with the Missionaries.
Father Baldwin was the first Priest to begin missionary work in the Trobriands. He sailed from Sideia in May 1937 aboard the 20 ton 50ft "Trinity" accompanied by Brother Dixon and Skipper Bill Johnson. He took up residence in an old dilapidated bungalow and began to attract the people to him by attending to their bodily ailments. Brother Vogt was the first to assist him in building and establishing his station. Father Baldwin studied the Trobriand language which is entirely different from that spoken in Milne Bay and other mission areas. He devoted his "spare time" to the education of the children.
In November he was joined by Father Doody and Brother Bushe. The school was entrusted to Father Doody while Brother Bushe took over a great part of the manual work and began building the first Catholic Church in the Trobriands. Difficulties were apparent from the start. The trouble came, not only from the natives, whose lives were ruled entirely by magic, but also from the opposition of the non-Catholic missionaries who had laboured in this area for over fifty years. However, the work begun by Father Baldwin at Gusaweta was continued and as more missionaries arrived a new church-school was erected at Okaikoda in the centre of Kiriwina. Father Dwyer arrived towards the end of 1938. The years 1937 to 1941 marked a very gradual break-down of opposition but few conversions were made. In 1939, Sisters Finbar, Paul and Catherine came from Ladava and lifted a great load from the shoulders of the Priests. In January 1940 Father John Flynn with Sisters Pancratius, Berchmans and Paula arrived aboard the "St Joseph". It was not long before Father Flynn was struck down by blackwater fever. Near death's door for some time he eventually rallied and after a long convalescence went south to Australia. Sister Paula went south in June for medical treatment and was replaced by Sister Paul.
When war broke out the Missionaries were told to evacuate. The "Panawina" was sent out to pick up folk from the various islands but went aground on a reef. The "Elavala" was then sent to salvage the engine from the "Panawina" and pick up the evacuees. The delay allowed the Priests, Brothers and Sisters to spend Christmas with the people in the Trobriands. Final departure was on January 1st 1942.
The Sagarai Valley lies over the hills behind Daio in Milne Bay. It is very good rubber country. A large plantation owned by Mrs Jewell and managed by Bill Gray had been in operation for some years. In March 1939 an application was lodged by the Mission for the lease of 1000 acres of land in this valley with a view to starting a new rubber plantation and so help the depressing financial problems of the Mission. Bishop de Boismenu signed the 99 year lease in April 1939. Brother Dixon in the company of Patrol Officer Dick Turner, walked over the hills several times to locate and mark the boundaries. In April, Brother Dixon with five Milne Bay workers set up camp in the Sagarai and commenced clearing five acres between the main Sagarai plantation and Tomonau. They built a shack with palm roof and floor and, minus any walls, lived together while the work proceeded. A third nearby small plantation was run by Sid Warren but this soon failed. Brother Dixon suffered frequent bouts of severe fever which were followed by pleurisy and dysentery. He had to be carried out of the Sagarai Valley and was temporarily replaced by Brother Hugh Fraser. He in turn was succeeded by Hans Jansen, the Milne Bay trader who had originally set out the plantation now owned by Mrs Jewell. It was estimated that the expenditure for the first two years would be 700 pounds. In May, Father Bryson was sent down to Australia to make an appeal for funds.
In 1938 a Mission Congress was held in January in the N.S.W. City of Newcastle. Papua New Guinea was represented by Bishop de Boismenu and Father Lyons who brought down with him four Papuan boys to represent the people of Papua. They were Henry, who was "Mass server and sacristan" to the Bishop, Michael Bill from Rossel Island, Maurice Eloni from Tubetube and John Horace from the island of Basilaki. Henry returned to Kubuna and was with Bishop de Boismenu for many years. Maurice Eloni joined the Little Brothers at Yule Island and later transferred to the M.S.C. Brothers. Michael Bili returned to Rossel Island and soon after the war began the first school on Rossel. John Horace became a carpenter and settled in Rabaul.
Towards the end of 1938 Father Lyons was compelled to go south in ill health: this had been sacrificed for his work among the people of Eastern Papua. Like every shepherd of Christ's flock he regretted leaving his spiritual children, yet he could depart with a happy heart. The fruits of long years of hardship were now apparent even though he himself could not reap the harvest. Father Lyons regained sufficient health to serve as secretary to the Vicar Apostolic of Rabaul for a short period then as Chaplain to the troops during the war. Never again did he return to his beloved Eastern Papuan Mission. He died peacefully in Sydney on 30th April 1946.
In the early months of 1938 Father Tomlinson returned to the Mission as its first Religious Superior. Tireless as ever, he again devoted much of his time to the people of Basilaki Island. However, his unselfish life and arduous labours had taken toll of his health and his body could offer little resistance to the repeated attacks of fever. At the beginning of 1939 he went to Yule Island and on his return a very heavy attack of fever necessitated his removal to the hospital in Samarai. There on March 19th he died from cerebral malaria. He was buried on the hillside at Sideia amongst those for whom he gave his life. Following in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd he enticed his sheep by kindness and drew them by the bonds of love. He did not hesitate to lay down his life for them. He was then thirty two years of age.
Despite this great loss the Mission did not stand still. Father Doody was appointed acting Superior and more Missionaries, Priests, Brothers and Sisters came from Australia to continue and expand the great pioneering work of Father Lyons. In June 1939 Father Joe Docherty came to Sideia and Sister de Pazzi returned from south with Sisters Paula, Vincent and Benilde. Father Norbert Earl came from Sydney in January 1940 and remained at Sideia until the end of the year when he was posted to Ladava.
On February 1st 1940 Father George Taylor was appointed Superior of the Mission and arrived mid year. He made extensive tours of the area and the Mission settled down to steady progress. The school at Sideia continued to flourish with over 100 children in attendance, some coming from as far away as Rossel Island and Goodenough Island. Older boys were taking courses in carpentry and engineering and the girls in domestic science. The Baptismal Register listed over 200 Catholics whilst the number of Priests working on the Mission had now increased to seven. There were three central stations, Sideia, Ladava (Milne Bay) and Gusaweta in the Trobriand Islands.
Then came the war with the Japanese. The Missionaries were ordered to leave their stations for security reasons. This was a tremendous blow to the Priests, Brothers and Sisters for the work of ten years was to be largely destroyed. The majority of Priests joined the Armed Forces as Chaplains and rendered magnificent service to our troops throughout the Pacific.
The Missionaries had been evacuated from Eastern Papua but fortunately the natives were not to remain so very many months without priestly care. Father Baldwin, who had gone to Yule Island with Brothers Lilwall and Fraser, was able to return to Eastern Papua a few months later. For him it was a long lonely fight to save something from the wreckage, something of the spirit. Almost all the Mission buildings had been destroyed during those few months; the church and an old school shed were the only remains of a once flourishing Mission station. When the Japanese landed near Ahioma in Milne Bay on August 26th 1942, Father Baldwin witnessed the complete destruction of the Milne Bay Mission. Fortunately only one Mission child was killed during this invasion for the natives had mostly retired into the bush. The Japanese attack was unsuccessful and they were forced to retire after five days. Father Baldwin's small launch was strafed by Zeros on one of his trips up Milne Bay. Despite many setbacks, Father Baldwin was able to keep in touch with most of the natives and was able to re-establish the schools at Sideia, Basilaki and Ladava. He could manage one visit only to the Trobriands where enemy strafing had again caused most of the inhabitants to move inland.
In general, Father Baldwin found that the natives were very loyal to the Faith and longed for the return of the Missionaries. Writing in 1944 he said: "The adult native Catholics everywhere, I found surprisingly good, whilst the percentage of bad Catholics was mightily reduced by the grace of those days. Some I could not contact, mostly young men working for the army, but I sent word to them to make themselves known to the Chaplains with the Army. I know many that did. Though some have had some fun and most have made money, they sigh, like the rest of the world, for the end of turmoil and uncertainty, for the return of settled ways again. More than ever do they want the Missionary and more than ever do they need him".
It is the general verdict of Missionaries now in the field, that, though the war brought many material setbacks, it also brought many spiritual advantages. Aided by grace the natives not only remained loyal to their Faith but also displayed zeal and initiative in conserving and spreading the Faith. There are no known cases of defection from the Faith; a few marriages that were contracted were either valid in the absence of a priest or were brought along spontaneously, later on, for rectification. Many Baptisms were performed by the natives themselves. One boy had 33 to his credit; one girl had 28. In nearly all centres - new ones to which the people were evacuated - some girl or boy had assumed leadership and begun a school and assembled the people each Sunday for prayers. In one village, for instance, Father Earl, on his return, found that two young girls had 58 children in their new school and 40 people prepared for Baptism. No Priest had been able to visit this village for almost two years.
In 1943 Father Baldwin opened the school at Sideia again. Mary Therese Dindilo from Basilaki and Kathleen from Milne Bay taught in the Sideia school whilst Basilia Obi, Paul and Alan started school on Basilaki Island. So the War came to the Pacific, destroyed the toil of many years but not the spirit. The work of Christ went on unbroken.
In May 1944, Fathers Norbert Earl and Jim Dwyer were released from their Army Chaplaincies and returned to Sideia. They were soon joined from Australia by Brother Vogt who immediately commenced the rebuilding of the Mission. Because of the illness of Father Baldwin, Father Kevin Twomey came from Yule Island in September. Father Earl taught him the Basilaki language and he was then put in charge of Basilaki Island for two years, using for transport either the "Stella Man's" or "Pius". The Mission acquired a vehicle-personnel barge from the Navy and a L.C.M. barge from the U.S. Army. Welcome additions in October were Brothers Bernard Gormley and Alan Kinnane. When they reached Sideia, Fathers Dwyer, Earl and Twomey with Brother Vogt were in residence in an old school boys' dormitory. School was held under a verandah of this house. There was a store, a few native type buildings, an engineer's shed and very little more. Brother Kinnane's first job was to prepare Bosim Hill for a new Mission site; this did not eventuate. In August of 1945, the Americans moved out of Milne Bay and the Mission was able to acquire much building material. Most of this was transported by the Brothers on the two barges to Sideia. Father Earl remained at Sideia until December 1945 and during this time he frequently visited Ladava in Milne Bay and also spent a few months at Sagarai working on a Catechism and starting a school. From then on the Sagarai Valley was visited from Ladava Mission.
Having visited Yule Island and some of the French Mission Stations, Father John McGhee arrived at Sideia in April 1945. He remained at Sideia for a short period then took up residence at Ladava where he was Chaplain to the Armed Forces until they left Milne Bay. Father Dwyer became ill and went south to recuperate. The Provincial, Father Kerrins, visited Sideia and Basilaki in July. Doctor Lombardini, U.S.N. from Gamadodo Naval Base gave the launch "St Victor" to the Mission. This small craft did much work around the Nimowa Mission in its early years. The "St Francis" was bought by Father Dwyer as a hulk in the mud at Ladava. He had intended offering 60 pounds as tender but when the bidding was done, he tendered only 38 pounds - and made the deal.
Father John King arrived in 1946 and Father Jim Dwyer was appointed first post-war Religious Superior and Vicar Delegate of Bishop Andre Sorin, M.S.C., the new Bishop at Yule Island. Father Earl, whilst in Australia, blessed the new mission vessel, "Morning Star", on the slipway at Taree in N.S.W. Brother Kinnane looked after the Sideia store until he moved to the Trobriands in 1948; Brother Gormley built up an excellent engineering complex at Sideia. Father King was given the task of opening a very junior "minor seminary" for boys with the view that some could become priests in the future. In June 1946 Sisters Paul, Pancratius and Paula returned to Sideia. Waiting happily on the jetty to meet them were some hundred young Eastern Papuans - already mustered from the surrounding islands by Fathers Earl and Twomey. The Mission station had been rebuilt with an imposing little Church and a bright new green and white Convent.
On March 26th, 1947, Father Martin Atchison arrived. The Sisters had moved to Ladava so he was given the task of teaching in the school for some weeks. Father McGhee was sent to join Father Baldwin in the Trobriand Islands.
On May 12th, the "Morning Star" sailed from Taree. The Captain for the voyage was Cec. O'Dea, Sydney Solicitor, and ex-R.A.N. Officer. Engineer was Perce Quinlan of Sydney and formerly of the R.A.N. Bill Ryan Jnr. of Taree and son of the builder was Mate. Three A.B.'s completed the crew in the persons of Tommy Forsythe and Frank Geddes of Sydney with Bill Thomas of Taree. The "Star" reached Sideia safely on Friday, June 6th and received a tumultuous welcome.
Maximo Castro of Basilaki Island was appointed the first Captain with Joe Tanby as engineer. The first trip to the Trobriands was successful and the "Morning Star" showed the flag en route. On its return to Sideia the "Star" was refitted with bulwarks on the sides - work done by Michael Dindilo. At the same time the "St. Francis" was being rebuilt at Sideia.
Early in 1948, the Missionaries were joined by Father Greg Abbott and Brother Bernie Rickards. Father John King moved off to the Trobriands and Father Atchison was appointed to Ladava. The ranks of the Sisters were increased with the arrival of Sisters Joan, Marguerite, Camillus, Verona and Veronica. In Mid 1948, Sister Damascene came to Sideia and was appointed first Regional Superior. With Sister Joan she took over the Boys' Teacher Training School.
In May, a Lay Missionary, Kevin McGhee (brother of Father John McGhee), came to Sideia and took over the "Morning Star" from Maximo Castro. He remained as Captain for five years.
Father Kevin Murphy was the next Missionary to reach Sideia on April 1st. With him came Mr. Bill Ryan and son - builders of the "Morning Star" at Taree. They laid the keels of three new 30ft launches. Brother Kinnane worked with the Ryans and when they left after six months did a magnificent job in completing the Saints Paul, Peter and Patrick. Father Murphy moved on to Ladava for a short period.
In December 1949, Brother Ron Moore with Brother Matt Reynolds arrived with Father Greg Abbott who was returning from leave. Both Brothers helped initially with the work at Sideia. The first of the new boats, the "St. Paul", was launched on 23rd December 1949. At the end of this year, following an overnight decision, the Sisters were withdrawn from Ladava and returned to Sideia.
Father Earl returned from sick leave in January 1950 and remained at Sideia for one year. Father Murphy spent some time at Nimowa with Father Twomey then returned to Sideia at the end of January to hold the position of "Bursar" for two months. Father John Dempsey was transferred from "Vuvu" in Rabaul and took over the education of the boys at Sideia. Father Atchison was now based at Sideia and helped with the accounting. He supervised a small school at Kelegalega and visited Basilaki Island where three schools were operating - Gadogadowa run by Basilia, Hamoma by Michael Dindilo and Paolibabana by Bernard Kidi. Ill health had caused Brother Kinnane to go south in January. Brother Moore was sent to Nimowa in February to replace Brother Rickards.
On 25th March 1951, Brother Greg McCann (Snr) arrived at Sideia and was appointed to the teaching staff of St. Mary's School. At this point of time the Sideia Staff consisted of 3 Fathers, 4 Brothers, 4 Sisters, 1 Lay Missionary and 2 native teachers. Approx. 70 boys and 40 girls were in the school. There were 16 buildings on the station. Father Alan Corry joined the mission in 1951. Brother Moore returned from Nimowa in December and replaced Brother Kinnane in boat building.
In July 1951, the Holy See appointed Father John Doyle, M.S.C. as the first Prefect Apostolic of Samarai with the title of Monsignor. He was invested with the robes of his Office at the end of August 1951 in the Randwick Church by the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Marella, D.D. He reached Sideia in October.
Monsignor Doyle was born at Terang in the Diocese of Ballarat on October 6th 1897. He was educated at St. Ignatius1 School Richmond, Victoria and at St. Patrick's College, East Melbourne. Entering the Seminary of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart at Douglas Park in N.S.W., he was professed on February 26th 1921, then ordained Priest in St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, on November 30th 1926.
He was first appointed to Thursday Island. In 1938, he became Rector of Downlands College in Toowoomba, Queensland. At the time of his appointment as Prefect Apostolic of Samarai, Monsignor Doyle was Parish Priest of Randwick in Sydney.
Until 1946, the Mission was under the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of Papua, Bishop de Boismenu, M.S.C. In that year Bishop de Boismenu retired. With the appointment of the new Bishop, Bishop Andre Sorin, M.S.C., Eastern Papua was made a separate ecclesiastical division under the name, Prefecture Apostolic of Samarai. Bishop Sorin administered the Prefecture with Father Jim Dwyer, M.S.C. as his Vicar Delegate until the appointment of Monsignor Doyle.
Monsignor Doyle was warmly welcomed back to Sideia and the Mission where he found the Eastern Papuan Mission an accomplished fact. Already erected by Brother Vogt and his team was a very fine building housing the Fathers and Brothers. Workshops with full equipment were established and the school, under Father Dempsey, was operating well. While the workshops with the M.S.C. Brothers in charge were the backbone of the Mission; since without them no boats, transport or buildings were possible, the school offered the best prospects for the advancement of the mission work itself. Now there were boys and girls from the various islands of the Prefecture gathered together for Christian Education. They came from the Trobriand Islands in the north and from as far as Nimowa and Rossel Island in the East. This was to be a Teachers' Training School. Thanks to many fine young men of those days who passed through this school without passing any formal exams, new schools were opened up in many of the islands and villages with these same young men of goodwill as Christian Teachers. They laid the foundation of the Church in many parts of the then Prefecture.
Mention should be made and credit given to such great men as Philip Nogei, Benedict Kalekuleku, Sylvester Ganisi Snr, Kevin Linus, Henry Lekisi, Sylvester John Aniyeli, Eugene Lui and Timothy Oleni, all men of Budoya, who, to the present day have given of themselves entirely for the education and Christian development of our Papuan children.
THE SARTO BROTHERS
In 1952, Monsignor Doyle wrote: "One memorable event happened early this year when one of the senior school boys approached me and asked - 'When are you going to start the Brothers for the Mission?’ This certainly surprised me as I had not thought, at that time, of starting Brothers. But after several approaches had been made to me by Rupert Rami, I decided to give it a try. As the announcement of my appointment as Prefect Apostolic was made to me at Randwick on the day of the Beatification of Pius Sarto (Pope Pius X), the thought immediately suggested itself that the name for the Brothers would be "The Sarto Brothers". Brother Rupert became the first Sarto Brother and was joined by Brother Noel Bernard and Brother Sebastian.
This Society of the Brothers of Pius Sarto is a Society of native Religious Brothers and was established to provide an opportunity for young native men to dedicate their lives to the service of God. As its spiritual ideal and aim it has a special devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and a dedication and readiness to do any work which Religious Brothers could undertake. At the time of its foundation by Monsignor Doyle in 1952, there was no way open to young Papuan men to become religious Brothers in a European Society. A major obstacle was the low standard of education of the Papuans at that time. They could not be sent away to Australia and had to learn slowly at a pace suited to them, and in the milieu of a Christian Mission developing in their own country.
The Primary School at Sideia was the main source of aspirants to the Brotherhood and remained as the chief source for many years. As education in the secondary level developed it became necessary to seek vocations from that level. The Brothers remained at school until it was considered they had reached the limits of their schooling abilities. They were then put through a "Spiritual Year" of religious training or a "Novitiate" modelled, more or less, on that in Australian Novitiates at that time. This Spiritual Year was followed by the taking of private vows for one year initially then renewed five times. The vows were then taken for a three year period and renewed twice.
By 1968 and in sixteen years of existence, the Society grew to number eight Professed Brothers. Three of these Brothers had been living under vows for 10 years and the five others for 3 years. At this time the Professed Brothers were separated from the aspirants and established as a separate Community. Brother Noel Bernard was elected as Superior of this group. A further step in the field of development was taken when the first team of Brothers was sent as a building group to the Mission at Watuluma on Goodenough Island.
Early in their Professed life the three pioneer Brothers were called upon to undertake Apostolic work. Brother Noel Bernard preached often to the native Catholics at Samarai. Brother Rupert preached a Mission in his native language to the people of Daio. Brother Sebastian became an outstanding preacher and teacher among his own Rossel Island people. The younger Professed Brothers had all done work in catechetics and given a series of talks to the young working men of Sideia in their respective tongues. Most of them had instructed individual natives for Baptism. Father Peter Flynn spent three years as Director of the Sarto Brothers and during his absence on leave Father Bob Hyland filled in for him. Father William Ryan took over as Director in 1960 and still holds this position in Port Moresby in 1982.
It was finally considered that the Society of the Brothers of Pius Sarto should be transferred to Port Moresby and the training centre for aspirants be established there. The move to Port Moresby would attract more candidates and strengthen the image of the Society. It would be good for the personal development of the Brothers with contact with a larger world and with the growing ecclesiastical centres, such as the Major Seminary. The move did take place and the Brothers of Pius Sarto are now firmly established near Bomana under the direction of Father Ryan. The number of aspirants has greatly increased and augurs well for the future. The Apostolate of Catechetics is well to the fore and great work is being done among the poor and the youth of the Port Moresby area.
The Society, founded in 1952 by Monsignor Doyle, continues to grow and now, in 1982, is helping the Bishops and Priests throughout the Nation to establish the Kingdom of God in Papua New Guinea.
The Missionaries now realised that a definite policy must be adopted throughout the Prefecture to introduce Catholic and Christian teaching to the people. The decision was made that schools and education would be the main policy of the Mission. The Sarto Brothers were to be trained as teaching Brothers. A definite Teacher Trainee programme was issued by the Department of Education and a nominal salary paid for all qualified teachers who had passed the standards set by the Department. This gave quite an impetus to the schools and particularly to our school at Sideia. For some years the Mission had its own Teacher Training School which students attended on completion of primary schooling. This was at first carried on by Father Dempsey and after his transfer to Australia continued by Father Jim Fallon with the assistance of Sister Joan and Brother Cunneen. Father McGhee was now Mission Director of Education and in charge of the school at Sideia at the same time. Sideia school became well recognised and respected for the results obtained in public examinations. The new teachers went out and may still be found at various mission stations now, in 1982.
In February 1953, Father McGhee was appointed Religious Superior. He remained in the Trobriands until December when he took up residence at Sideia. In January, Father Virgil Copas was transferred from Rabaul and became Bursar at Sideia. Father Bernie McGrane came in March and was followed in June by Father Jim Fallon. Brother Pat Cantwell arrived in October. He was appointed storekeeper and worked on the maintenance of the buildings with Brother Reynolds until March 1954. This year saw the arrival of a third Lay Missionary, Joe Dowd, an Irishman and an electrician. Brother Moore laid the keels and commenced building two 18ft shallow draft launches for Nimowa and Rossel Island - The "Teresita" and "Bambino". In June, Kevin McGhee was asked by Monsignor Doyle to leave the join the teaching staff of the boys' school.
Mr Atchinson, father of Father Martin Atchison, came on the morning on holidays to the Mission in 1954 on the "Morning Star". Early November 9th Mr. Atchison suffered a severe heart attack and died. He is buried in the Cemetery beside the Church at Sideia.
Early in 1954 Father Copas was appointed Religious Superior of the Darwin Mission and Father McGhee replaced him as Bursar. Provincial Father Kerrins made his visitation from July 27th to September 2nd and travelled to all outstations. His Eminence, Cardinal Gilroy of Sydney, with Monsignor A Thomas visited Sideia in May and blessed the foundation stone of Sarto House. Brother Pat Cantwell relieved at Nimowa then returned to Sideia to work on the buildings and maintenance until May 1956.
May 1955, saw the arrival of Brothers Gerry King and Maurice Moon. Father Jim Raymond was appointed to Sideia in July 1955. He became Secretary to Bishop Doyle, Parish Priest of Samarai and took over the arduous task of Bursar to the Mission. These were difficult times financially. Father Raymond surmounted the problems and gave devotedly of his time until his transfer to Port Moresby in 1970.
Brother Moore with his team of boatbuilders laid the keels and built two 26ft launches - the "Verius" and "Alain" and one 22ft - the "St. Joseph". Brother Vogt built a fine two storey home for the Sarto Brothers. Kevin McGhee left in July to manage a Chinese Company in Rabaul. He joined the M.S.C. Brothers at Douglas Park in January 1959.
Father Peter Flynn joined the Community in February 1956. He spent three years at Sarto House - the first two also teaching at Sideia and the third giving a Spiritual Year to the Sarto Brothers. Sarto House was blessed and opened at Easter 1956. In December, a Lay Missionary Edwin Eschmann arrived to teach in the school. He remained two years.
European teachers on the Mission had also to be registered with the Department of Education. Those Priests and Brothers without teacher certificates did the "S" Certificate course in 1957 and 1958. This course was later abolished and trainees were sent to Rabaul to do a "crash" "E" course. These trainees included Lay Missionaries, Rudi Peperkamp, John Loty and Maria Trapp .
In 1957, Wally Garrod, who had been a Brother working with the French Fathers in the Port Moresby and Yule Island areas in the late 1920's, returned to Sideia a fairly sick man. He had left the Society at the outbreak of the war. Before Wally died at Sideia on 15th January 1960, Bishop Doyle received his private vows as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart. He is buried beside the Church at Sideia.
CHAPTER 14 FIRST BISHOP - VICAR APOSTOLIC OF SAMARAI SIDEIA 1957 - 1967
Early in 1957, the Holy See raised the status of the Prefecture Apostolic of Samarai to that of a Vicariate Apostolic. Monsignor John Doyle was appointed first Vicar Apostolic. He chose the Parish Church of Randwick where he was formerly Parish Priest and there, on February 25th 1957, was consecrated Bishop. There were great celebrations in Randwick and Kensington before Bishop Doyle returned to Sideia to continue to guide his Missionaries and the people of the Vicariate.
Brother Mick Carroll arrived in April 1957 and commenced to build the Bishop's House. This was later completed by Brother Vogt. Brother Moore took over the running of a small sawmill from Brother Gormley and continued this work through 1959. Father Kevin Young came to Sideia in March and was appointed to Daio. On September 3rd, Brothers Rupert, Noel Bernard and Sebastian took their first vows as Sarto Brothers. Father McGhee gave the Retreats at Yule Island, attended the Provincial Chapter in Sydney and went on to the General Chapter in Rome.
A new slipway capable of taking boats up to 60ft was built at Sideia by Brother Pat Cantwell. This was completed in April 1960. The Community again increased when Father Bob Hyland arrived in February 1959. He taught full time in the school under Father Dempsey and was Director of the Sarto Brothers in the absence of Father Flynn. He also took care of the Parish and hospital in Samarai. Father Twomey, who had been sick in Australia for 21 months, returned and stayed at Sideia for eight months. Father Martin Atchison was appointed Religious Superior in February 1959. In December, Father Bill Ryan came to give the Annual Retreat. He had not been appointed to the Mission but was asked to stay. He took over direction of the Sarto Brothers in 1960.
January 7th 1960, saw the arrival of Lay Missionary Herman Kooyman. He was a carpenter and renovated and put a new floor in the boys' old dormitory. From February until July he built a new 60ft x 25ft school for the boys. Father Dempsey had returned to Australia in January and his place in charge of the school was taken by Father McGhee. In April, Brother Pat Cantwell took over management of the old sawmill from Brother Moore and continued in that position until September 1963. The new Australian Provincial, Father Leo McDougall, made his visitation to Sideia and outstations from April 30th until June 1st. Engineer Lay Missionary John Stevenson arrived to work in the engineering workshop. He did most of the installation of the new sawmill at Gwabauna. From June until March 1961, Herman Kooyman built a 100ft x 30ft boys' dormitory and put concrete floors in the boys' refectory. In November the Sideia boys and girls sat for the Government Standard 9 examination for the first time. A glance at the Baptismal and Marriage Registers at the end of 1960 showed 1,543 Baptisms and 141 marriages.
Father Ed McCormack was the next Missionary to arrive in March 1961. Lay Missionary carpenter, Max Denno, came to Sideia and worked on the sawmill and in the Trobriands. He left again in September 1962.
Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop de Furstenberg visited Sideia, Kurada and Budoya in March and was given an official Reception in Samarai. Lay Missionary Teacher Charles Mercieca came to Sideia on May 22nd. He did the "E" Course in Rabaul and at the end of 1962 left to join the Passionist Order. There was no rest for Herman Kooyman who did the foundation and concrete floor for another 60ft x 25ft school building, renovated the hospital and built a 60ft x 25ft girls' school.
Brother Moore laid the keel early in 1962 and built the 40ft work boat "Bonaventure". His young assistants were Regis Baraun, Maurice Taliesa and Stephen Daot. The "Bona" was launched in October. On May 12th Herman Kooyman left Sideia to join the M.S.C. Brothers at Douglas Park. On June 13th Mrs Fallon, mother of three M.S.C. Priests, came to visit Father Jim at Sideia. She remained for three years and did great work in the Office with books and looking after store orders.
Secondary classes began in January 1962 with 8 boys and 2 girls in Form 1. There were 26 Teacher Trainee Students in 1962. Father Ian Langlands arrived on March 27th, stayed three days, and proceeded to the Mission at Budoya. Lay Missionary Brian Kinnane came from West Australia in July and worked in the store, doing orders for the outstations.
In January 1963 the "Bonaventure" was blessed by Father Tyson Doneley who had given the Annual Retreat. Brother Moore and his team gave a complete overhaul to and rebuilt the cabin of the "Stella Maris". The "Alain" was launched and the 16ft plywood launch "Tuluiana" was built for the Sarto Brothers. Lay Missionary Bets van den Berg came from West Irian to teach in the secondary school. She had a lot of illness and left in July 1963.
Other Lay Missionaries who came in 1963 were Brian Hockings, - sawmill; John Walker, - sawmill; John Beasley, -carpenter and Bernard Culkin, - handyman. Miss Carmel Uright who had come to Sideia on holiday with Father Murphy's niece, returned as a nurse in December 1963 and stayed until the end of 1965. Teacher Rudi Peperkamp came in December then did the "E" course in Rabaul. He married in 1965 and, with his wife, taught at Ladava for a short period then transferred to the Administration. In December also came Rod Driver, a builder from Canberra, accompanied by Corpus Christi College Seminarians. They built a secondary boys' dormitory and stayed until March 1964. Jack Crowley, an old farmer, arrived and went onto Goodenough Island with Father Abbott to look after the cattle and gardens. Secondary students sat for the Form 2 Administration examination for the first time in November.
In October 1963 Father John McGhee launched an appeal through the M.S.C. "Annals" magazine to assist in the feeding, clothing and educating of the Papuan schoolchildren. He called it the "Hotel Sideia" appeal. To quote from his letter of that time:- "In this tropical paradise is the "Hotel Sideia". Its four hundred "non paying" guests look happy and contented. Why shouldn't they? They get three meals a day. They fish on the Reef, swim in the sea, hunt in the bush; they play football and basketball and other sports in the 'Hotel's' spacious grounds. What is more - and this is really attractive - the tariff is most reasonable: 'nothing’ per week; or if you stay longer, 'nothing' per year. Is it any wonder that our guests are happy? What kind of privileged guests are these anyway? Well, it is a 'hotel' (fresh coconut juice only served) for children. These children, boys and girls from the age of five to eighteen come from all parts of Eastern Papua. Their parents are poor by any standards. Their only income comes from the sale of a little dried coconut, called copra. So you see the problem very clearly. Four hundred Papuan children - no school fees - no food of their own. The Mission cares for them entirely and is endeavouring to 'foot the Bill'. Without your assistance this is impossible and none of us would like to send any of these children away through lack of finance."
The project proved very successful and over the years very many Australian friends have supported the Appeal and have "adopted" large numbers of our Papuan kiddies for the period of their school lives. Each year Father McGhee would take a photo of each child and with it send a brief progress report of the "adoptee" concerned. (Costs have risen enormously in recent years and now, in 1982, it costs the Mission seventy kina (A$90) to board a child for a year.)
In 1964 Brother Des Walsh arrived and took over the Engineering Dept. During 1964 Brother Moore and his boatbuilders completely overhauled the "Morning Star" and rebuilt the cabin and superstructure. Brother Pat Cantwell took over the running of the new sawmill until ill health forced him to leave in 1966. Father Tony Young reached Sideia on March 3rd. Layman Brian Moore came from Queensland in August and worked for a year on the plantation near Nimowa. A new secondary school was built by Brother Carroll and was completed in May 1965. Brother Brian Cunneen moved out to the northern areas of the Mission to carry out re-training programmes for native teachers.
A Lay Missionary nurse, Elizabeth Cogan from the Overseas Service Bureau came to Sideia in January 1965 then moved to Ladava to run the hospital during 1966 and 1967. Father Peter Flynn was appointed Parish Priest of Sideia, Basilaki and Sariba Islands. Father John Doggett arrived on February 19th to teach in the Secondary school. In September he was appointed in charge of St Mary's primary school. Next Missionary from south was Father Russ Andersen on March 9th. August saw the arrival of two young lay women, Valerie Watkins from England, to nurse at Sideia and patrol Basilaki and Beth Paton from N.S.W. to assist the Bursar with secretarial work. The "Freedom from Hunger" Committee provided the necessary funds and Brother Carroll commenced building a Bakery to supply bread to the whole Mission. This was completed in 1966.
In November the Territory Intermediate examination was done for the first time at Sideia. The boys and girls who passed this exam went on to Teacher Training at Wards Strip in Port Moresby and some girls went to Taurama Hospital to do their nursing. A few of the boys went to Keravat, near Rabaul, to do Form 4. In February 1965 Father Doody was appointed Religious Superior. Records at the end of 1965 showed 2122 Baptisms in the Register and 202 Marriages. The boatbuilding team in 1965 overhauled, redesigned and rebuilt the cabin and superstructure on the "St Paul".
In January 1966 Brother Vogt with his carpenters built a new Classroom block for the Primary boys. Lay Missionary Jim Robertson came to Sideia on 26th and worked in the sawmill office and also taught technical drawing to Form 3 in the secondary school. He left in December. Moya Farrell, a graduate and qualified teacher came from A.V.A. Melbourne and taught secondary subjects in Forms I and 2. A further group of Lay Missionaries to reach the Missions in 1966 included: Barry Scott who went to the Highlands after 4 months; Brenda Mclnerney a qualified teacher from N.S.W. who went to Ladava; John Mills, an electrician from Victoria; Michael Liddle a graduate of Sydney University to teach Standard 6 in St Mary's and John Potanger who took over the management of Hagita Plantation. Brother Peter Harvey Jackson was appointed to Sideia in 1966.
There was a serious drought in 1966 and Father Doggett arranged for the sinking of a well to provide water for ablutions and drinking purposes in the school. Construction of new concrete shower-block, 35 units with storage facilities and electric pump operating from the well was done by Brother Milne and the primary boys, especially the Standard 6 of 1966. Both these projects were partially financed by Catholic Overseas Relief Organisation. The new Australian Provincial, Father J F McMahon visited Sideia only for a week in April. In October Brother Vogt with his workers commenced building a dormitory for the Secondary girls. This was completed in April 1967. On January 8th 1967 Sister Flavian, celebrated her Silver Jubilee of Profession. Bishop Doyle celebrated the Jubilee Mass in the new Cathedral. Provincial Mother Flavia was present for the happy occasion.
Nicola Wiemann from Melbourne, a graduate of Melbourne University, arrived in January to teach English and Social Studies in Form 1. Father Joseph Chow, M.S.C., a Rabaul born Chinese, came to Sideia on January 29th. He taught in the Secondary school until April. Mother Paul came from Port Moresby and Mother Marguerite was transferred to Marianville College in Port Moresby.
DIOCESE OF SIDEIA 1967 - 1969
In 1967 the Vicariate Apostolic of Samarai was raised to the status of a Diocese and Bishop John Doyle became the first Bishop of Sideia. In May he wrote: "The biggest consolation for the Mission is the approach of the first ordination to the Priesthood of an Eastern Papuan, Brother John Matthew Sinou, M.S.C. He is one who received the Faith and was baptised in the early years of the school at Sideia. Following him at present are seven students from the Mission in various years at the Minor Seminary Ulapia, near Rabaul. Many girls are in the Convent at Nazareth, Port Moresby as well as others with the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in training at Yule Island."
Brother Mick Carroll and his team of workmen had been building a new Cathedral at Sideia since early in 1966. He was later assisted by Brother Jack Cantwell. September 24th 1967, was the day for the Blessing and opening of the Cathedral. On 22nd, the "Morning Star" sailed down to Milne Bay to meet the plane from Port Moresby bringing Archbishop Virgil Copas, M.S.C., Bishop Leo Arkfeld, S.V.D., Bishop Firmin Schmidt, OFMCap. and Bishop Eugene Klein, M.S.C., together with Fathers Harry Eather, M.S.C., Brother John Matthew Sinou, M.S.C., Brother Gerry King, M.S.C. and Brother Maurice Eloni, M.S.C. Mothers Flavia and Marguerite with Sister Lucy, represented the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
The visitors were shown around the Mission on 23rd and a magnificent concert was presented by the children in the evening. The Blessing on 24th was a splendid and most inspiring occasion and the Cathedral was packed tight with hundreds of people who had come to be present at the Blessing of this, their Cathedral. Australian Provincial, Father J.F. McMahon, M.S.C. preached at the opening.
Statistics in May 1967, showed 2287 Baptisms in the Register and 213 Marriages. In the Diocese were 18 Priests, 11 M.S.C. Brothers, 8 Sarto Brothers, 21 Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and 4 Sisters, Handmaids of Our Lord. Lay Misionaries were 10 and European Teachers consisted of 10 male and 17 female. There were 97 Papuan Teachers in the Diocese and Catholics now totalled 8793. One secondary school with 125 pupils was in operation and there were 36 primary schools with 3048 students. Six hospitals had been built within the Diocese.
In February 1968, Father Jim Fallon was appointed Religious Superior of the Mission and Father Neville Dunne local Superior of the M.S.C. at Sideia. On March 10th, English for the Canon of the Mass was said for the first time at a concelebrated Mass by the Bishop and three Priests. On the Feast of St. Joseph three Sarto Brothers renewed their Vows for three years. On May 18th, Lay Missionary, Walter Raleigh arrived at Sideia and was followed in June by Patrick Dwyer and Mary Duffy.
Mazeppa Bacca died at Sewa Bay on 5th January 1969. His body was brought in to Sideia and the Bishop with twelve Priests, concelebrated the Mass. Anglican Priest, Father Cope, came from Samarai to read the prayers in the Cathedral and at the graveside. Mazeppa was buried on the hill near Bosim where he had lived for very many years. Mazeppa, of Philippines extraction, was brought up an Anglican. He had worked for Burns Philp in Samarai and had always proved himself a wonderful friend to the Catholic Missionaries. In the early days of our Sideia Mission, when finance was very limited and the Missionaries lived very poorly, Mazeppa gave much of his pay packet each week to support the Mission at Sideia. We remember and pray for him as a great gentleman and benefactor. His widow, Mita, continued to live at Bosim, cared for by the Mission, until she died in 1981. Of their two daughters, Josie and Alice, Josie married trader Jack Wilkinson and, at Bosim, brought up a wonderful family of five children, Mervyn, Sharon, Una, John and Yvonne. Mervyn married Dianne Bates, sister of Lay Missionary Judith Hyland and now teaches in Canberra where they live with their own large family.
The Wilkinsons were always very great friends of the Mission and now, based at Townsville in Queensland, still keep close contact with the Missionaries.
On March 7th 1969, Brother John Matthew Sinou, M.S.C. was ordained to the Priesthood in the Sideia Cathedral by Bishop John Doyle, M.S.C. Let Father John tell us briefly of his childhood and the road he chose to attain his ambition as a Priest of God:
"I was born at Tewara Island (D'Entrecasteaux Group) on September 21st 1939. My father was Iyem and my mother Nakiwa. Two years later my father died, leaving my mother with four children to care for. We were at the point of starvation when various relatives came to the rescue. I was adopted by my uncle Kinosi, the eldest brother of my father. Kinosi was married to Sinegisele of Oaiasuna village, Waluma, Fergusson Island. I don't remember much of those early days but I was happy with my new parents. In 1944, my uncle went to Goodenough Island to work with the Army. During his absence we suffered very much from a shortage of food. The Australian Air Force made things worse when they bombed and destroyed our very poor gardens at Waluma. We had to move ten miles north to Guiya where we remained until the end of the war.
Many children at Guiya became sick from lack of proper food. I was a victim and was sent by my aunt to Esa-Ala, the Government station, where the medical officer saw me and I was put in a nearby hospital for treatment. I went back to Waluma and when Kinosi returned from Goodenough Island he decided to introduce me to some of his secrets - that of fishing, gardening, how to make rain and how to stop it, love making magic and so forth. Of course I have now forgotten most of those things.
In 1948 I was allowed to attend the village primary school run by the Methodist Mission. When Kinosi and the remainder of the village went to live at Guiya I was sent to live with the family of my cousin Noel, (who today is still a Sarto Brother in Port Moresby) and continued at school. I think it was about this time that Noel and other school companions went off to Ladava and Sideia to attend the Catholic schools there. I too longed to go away and attend school in some other place. From time to time my uncle came down from Guiya to see me and to bring yams and fish. During the Christmas holidays my friends returned from school and told me of their experiences. When the boat called from Sideia to take the boys back to school I made up my mind to join them, but once again luck was not on my side. My uncle heard of my intentions and came in time to stop me.
The following year the "Morning Star", the Catholic Mission boat, anchored at Waluma and waited overnight to pick up the school boys. Once again my old uncle was there to see to it that I did not go away. But this time I was determined to go; to run away in fact. I was very happy when the Captain, Brother Kevin McGhee, M.S.C., (he was then a Lay Missionary), offered to take me to Sideia if I were willing to attend school there. I agreed to go - but how was I to get my old uncle's permission? I decided there and then that I would not tell him. I arranged with some of the Catholic boys to take me out to the boat while he was asleep. There was no peace for me on the boat that night hoping that the old man would not detect my absence. Luckily for me the boat started very early in the morning. When later my uncle heard of my disappearance to Sideia he simply said: 'Well, he always wanted to go to school at Sideia. If he is going to have a good schooling there, then let him have it.'
I went to Sideia in 1951 and found life there so different to what I was used to in the village. I was obliged to get up early with the rest of the children and go to Mass. The rule obliged every school boy to speak English. I found it very hard and wanted to avoid the Priests and Brothers and anybody who spoke English well. However, I eventually managed to fit in with everyone.
I spent only three years at Sideia. At the end of my third year on the morning of Holy Saturday 1953, I was baptised by Father Dempsey. On Easter Sunday I made my first Holy Communion and on Pentecost Sunday was confirmed by Monsignor Doyle. About a week after Baptism I joined a little group of seminarians living apart in a preparatory seminary. At the end of 1953 I was chosen with five other boys to go down to Australia to do some secondary studies. In January 1954 I enrolled at Chevalier College, Bowral, N.S.W., conducted by the Australian Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. I spent three years there and found it hard to endure the cold. At the end of 1956 I returned to Papua for holidays. I mentioned to Monsignor Doyle that I would like to become a Priest. He agreed with the idea, so he gave me a few weeks at home to think over the matter. When I returned to Sideia I was sent to Ulapia, a minor seminary for the training of the native clergy, near Rabaul and conducted by the Australian M.S.C. I arrived in time for the opening of the 1957 school year. At Ulapia I completed my secondary studies up to the Senior. There I also did a year of Philosophy under Father Bob Mitchell, M.S.C. and a spiritual year under Father Kevin Twomey, M.S.C. of the Eastern Papuan Mission.
In 1963 I joined the little group of aspiring M.S.C. students and was sent to Port Moresby to pioneer the new M.S.C. "De Boismenu" College, at Bomana. There I completed my second year of Philosophy and in 1964 I returned to Rabaul to do my twelve months Novitiate at Vunapau, near Kokopo. On March 2nd 1965 I took my vows as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart and two days later flew back to De Boismenu College.
I began my four year course of Theology during which I helped in Parish work and gave catechetical instructions in the Government school at Sogeri . On Sundays I sometimes preached the sermon in the bush stations."
And so John Matthew Sinou, M.S.C. reached the end of the long road from which there is no turning back. It was most fitting on that day, March 7th 1969 that he should be ordained to the Priesthood by His Lordship Bishop John Doyle, M.S.C., who, as a young Priest, was sent as a pioneer to survey the yet untouched Eastern Papuan Mission and to plant the seed, of which the first fruit is now born.
Father John Matthew Sinou, M.S.C. offered his first Mass in the Cathedral on Saturday March 8th in the presence of a congregati on of over 1000 and who included very many from his home area at Budoya.
On January 7th 1969 Anthropologist Father Jansen, M.S.C. came from Rabaul to give lectures on customs and native practices. Father Phil Kurts, S.J. assisted. Head boy in the school in 1969 was Thomas More Ilaisa, future lawyer and Provincial Government Secretary and who intends to stand for election to the National Parliament in 1982.
New Zealander Tom O'Sullivan arrived at Sideia early in 1969 and took charge of the sawmill at Gwabauna. A first class sawmiller by trade, Tom very quickly re-organised, re-modeled and modernised the mill, to the extent that it soon became a very viable proposition and assured the Mission of an essential income. Tom O'Sullivan devotedly served the mill and the Mission for close to ten years. It was with sincere regret that all Mission personnel bade farewell to him at the end of 1977 when he departed first to Port Moresby, and finally to his homeland.
In April the mother and sister of Brother Peter Harvey Jackson arrived on holiday. On May 27th 1969 the faithful Basilia Obi, who pioneered the Mission with Father Lyons, died at Basilaki. On July 6th came the sad news over the Radio that Father McGrane's mother had been knocked down and killed by a car in Bundaberg, on her way home from Confession.
On July 23rd the Mission celebrated the Silver Jubilee of Ordination of Father McGhee. Solemn High Mass was sung at 9 a.m. and then followed presentations of gifts from the people. Games took place in the afternoon and a Jubilee Dinner held in the Convent in the evening. A very fine concert was presented and the 24th declared a school holiday.
Brothers Rupert and Sebastian of the Sarto Brothers did not renew their vows in August and left the Society.
On November 2nd 1969 Brother Jackson's mother was taken unconscious to the Samarai Hospital. Father McGrane anointed her. Mrs Jackson died early on the morning of 3rd. Her body was brought back to Sideia and placed in the Cathedral. Requiem Mass was concelebrated by Fathers McGhee, Dunne, Barr and McGrane. Mrs Jackson is buried in the cemetery beside the Cathedral.
During 1969 Brother Moore and workers built the 30ft "Majella" to be used as a Hospital boat for the Sideia and Basilaki areas. The boat building team at this time included:- Regis Baraun, Brendan, Patrick and Louis from the Trobriand Islands, Hubert Esa and Gabriel Gilimoa from Fergusson Island, Joseph Daijah from Rossel Island and Bernard Mesiomara from Sideia.
The first registered Vocational Training Centre for girls in Eastern Papua was opened at Sideia in 1969. (See Chapter 25). In February 1970 the Mission was visited by Father General Eugene Cuskelly, M.S.C. with the Australian Provincial, Father J F McMahon. Samarai and Fergusson Island identity, Norman Evenett, died in the Samarai Hospital on June 12th. Sharon Wilkinson was married to Ray Catford in Samarai on June 13th.
Sister Petrina was appointed to the staff at Sideia and Sister Peter Mary moved off to Manus. She was replaced by Sister Francille. Sister Assunta left for Port Moresby.
On March 30th 1970, Pope Paul VI appointed Father Desmond Charles Moore, M.S.C. of Port Moresby to be the Bishop of Sideia in succession to Bishop Doyle who had resigned his office owing to age and ill health.
Bishop Moore was born in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1926 and was ordained Priest in Adelaide on July 27th 1957. He was episcopally ordained Bishop in Port Moresby on July 2nd 1970. Accompanied by his mother, Bishop Moore arrived at Gurney Airport in Milne Bay on July 10th. He received a very warm welcome from all sections of the Community at the Airport and proceeded to Hagita High School for dinner and a concert.
Sideia welcomed His Lordship on July 11th. The whole fleet, with all flags flying, went out through the reef to escort him in. In the evening there was a buffet dinner followed by a film. At 9.00 a.m. on the morning of 12th, Bishop Moore was installed and a concelebrated Mass followed. Father McGhee read the Papal Bull and escorted the Bishop to his seat. Father Jim Fallon, on behalf of the parishioners, welcomed His Lordship to Sideia. The day was spent in meeting the people and joining in the festivities. A concert in the evening concluded the celebrations.
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT 1970 - 1982
During July Fathers John Matthew Sinou and Owen Ani preached a Mission to the people of Samarai. On the last day of July the Bishop went on tour of his Diocese.
At the end of 1971 Lay Missionary Ted Borst came to Sideia and the Mission bid sad farewell to Father Norbert Earl, "going finish" to Australia. Mother General Benigna with Sisters Gerarda and Rita came on visitation to the Mission.
In February 1972 Brother Gerry King became seriously ill and went south. In June, the two "flying" Priests, Fathers Tony and Ralph Fitzgerald from the Wagga Wagga Diocese in N.S.W. arrived at Sideia. Harry Pierce, who had been working and living peacefully at Nazareth Convent near Port Moresby, died on August 1st and was buried at Nazareth.
On August 5th 1973 the Mission celebrated the Silver Jubilee of Profession of Brother Mick Carroll. His mother came from Parkes, in N.S.W. to celebrate with him. M.V. "Camillo Loula" was launched in 1972.
On September 7th 1973 news came over the radio of the death of Matthias Toliman, leader of the Opposition in the Government. He was an exceptionally fine leader and Catholic.
On November 4th the Mission was advised of the death of Bishop John Doyle at De Boismenu Seminary in Port Moresby. Solemn Requiem Mass was immediately offered at Sideia. The Bishop was found dead in his chair on the morning of 4th. As he was late for breakfast, Father Andrew Pong investigated and found the Bishop sitting in his chair in his pyjamas. Father Raymond had entertained the Bishop to tea on the evening before. On returning to the Seminary he strolled around the grounds in the moonlight and jokingly rejected the Seminarians advice to go to bed. He had asked Father Raymond to take him to Waigani on the Friday so that he could go to Confession to Bishop Louis Vangeke, M.S.C.
Archbishop Copas officiated at the Requiem. Father Kerrins came from Australia to represent the Provincial. On the Sanctuary were Fathers McGhee, Raymond, Doody, Ryan and Sam Miyon with Brothers Cuneen and Desmond. Father McGhee gave the homily as Bishop Moore was late in arriving. The plane on which he was travelling with Father Fitzgerald struck bad weather and was forced back to Cape Rodney for two hours. Bishop Moore arrived in time to officiate at the graveside. Sir John Guise was present and a telegram of sympathy was received from the Chief Minister, Michael Somare.
The 30ft "Miva" was built and launched at Sideia. The "Miva" was to be used by Father John Sinou in his pastoral work around Basilaki Island. Layman Greg Chee took over as Manager at Sideia in January 1973 and Sister Antoninus was appointed Superior of the Sisters in Eastern Papua.
December 1st 1973 was "Self Government Day" for Papua New Guinea. A special Mass was offered at Sideia and a Public Holiday declared. January 29th 1974, saw the arrival of Father Arthur Stidwill. The 24ft "Aioni" was built for Natauio, Captain of the "Morning Star", and launched on October 7th.
February 22nd 1974, saw large numbers of visitors arriving to help Brother Ron Moore celebrate his Silver Jubilee of Profession. Boats came in from Budoya, Alotau, Daio, Kurada, Goodenough, Nimowa and Yokowa. There was a fine Concert in the evening and proceedings were recorded by Radio Milne Bay. On Saturday there was a "feast" for all followed by a film. The Jubilee Mass was offered on Sunday 24th by Bishop Moore with eight priests and six Brothers on the Sanctuary. Father McGhee conducted the choir. Presentations and speeches followed the Mass. Fifty guests were entertained to dinner in the Convent in the evening.
On March 9th news was received by Radio of the crash of the Macair plane at Kanabea and of the death of Father Besson, French, M.S.C. Twenty-two years ago Father was a new Missionary learning "Australian" with our Missionaries here in Eastern Papua.
On August 2nd there were great preparations and many visitors arrived for the Centenary celebrations for the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. The actual date of the foundation of their Congregation was August 30th 1874. On August 3rd, Bishop Moore offered Mass in the Convent Chapel and the Sisters renewed their vows. The locals and the people from Basilaki prepared a large "feast" and this was followed by a film. The M.S.C. gift to the Sisters for the Centenary was the installation of "battery" lights throughout the Convent. On the 4th the Bishop, in full regalia, concelebrated Mass with Father John Sinou. Presents from the people were brought throughout the day and all were entertained to Dinner in the Convent. A concert and "sing sing" closed the festivities.
In December Brother Cuneen was transferred to De Boismenu Seminary and Brother Col Milne was appointed to our Mission in Japan.
Father Michael Fallen, M.S.C. came from Sydney to give the Sisters' Retreat in January 1975. Sister Jacinta's Silver Jubilee of Profession was celebrated on January 22nd with a Mass, presentation of gifts and Dinner in the evening. Greg Ghee completed his two years as Manager of the Mission and went south on February 14th. News was received of the death in Cairns of old Milne Bay identity, Lance Wilkinson, brother of Jack. March 19th, the Feast of St. Joseph, was the fortieth Anniversary of the arrival in the Mission of Brother Vogt and Sister Paul. Another Samarai identity and long time friend of the Mission, Mrs. Evenett, died in Samarai on April 2nd. The Bishop, Father McGhee, Brother Vogt, Sisters Patricia and Cornelia attended the funeral at Rogeia Island.
The new Australian Provincial, Father Denis Murphy arrived on his first visitation on April 26th 1975. Brother Terry Fallen took over as Mission Manager on June 8th. A happy day for all was July 2nd when the mission celebrated the Silver Jubilee of Profession of Sister Patricia. The Bishop concelebrated Mass with Father McGhee and Father John Fallon. Presentations, dinner for all and film followed. On August 6th, John Guise, Governor General elect, called at the Mission to say good-bye. On September 13th, the "Morning Star" commenced its tour of the nearby islands to bring in people for the Independence celebrations. Bishop Moore represented the Catholic population at Alotau.
INDEPENDENCE DAY - September 16th 1975.
The day commenced with a special Mass in the Cathedral in which the village people played an active part. The new Flag was raised and there followed three days of celebration. (See Chapter 28).
Sideia was hit by a 'flu epidemic and many of the children were very ill. Teacher Madeline Tanby died in the Alotau hospital on 14th October. Peter Hacca, long time friend of the Mission, died on December 20th and was buried in the Cemetery beside the Cathedral.
Another vessel, the "Yeli Ngep" was launched in 1976 for Father English at Rossel Island. The Mission purchased a D6C Bulldozer to assist with logging operations for the sawmill. The "Morning Star" and "Camillo Loula" towed it aboard a pontoon, reaching Sideia on January 7th. A new nurse from Switzerland, Vreni Pfister arrived on January 13th.
Our very devoted worker and pioneer of the Mission, Camillo Loula died on February 29th 1976, just as the Bishop concluded his sermon at Sunday Mass. "Cam" landed with Father Lyons at Sideia to found the Mission on April 22nd 1932. He was a great handyman, truck driver and drove for the Americans in Milne Bay during the war. When the war was over he drove for the Mission at Ladava and assisted in the demolishing of many Army buildings and transporting them to Sideia. "Cam" spent many years in a little room in a corner of the Sideia boatshed and repaired the shoes and boots of the Missionaries. He was a truly great man and loyal friend of the Missionaries for 44 years and is sadly missed.
On March 8th 1976, the "Morning Star" went off on a 12 day charter around the Trobriand area for the Belgian, "Leopold III Scientific Expedition". On March 17th, Father Tony Fitzgerald arrived at Gurney with his new plane. July 2nd was the happy occasion of Sister Petrina's Silver Jubilee of Profession. Father McGhee and English celebrated an Afternoon Mass in the presence of many visitors. Presentation of gifts was followed by dinner and festivities. News was received of the death in Ireland of Mr McNamara, father of Sister Therese. July 22nd was the occasion of the Silver Jubilees of Ordination of Fathers Jim Raymond (Port Moresby), Jim Fallon (Hagita), Bill Cunningham (Gusaweta) and Kevin Young (Goodenough).
Two devoted Lay Missionaries, Wally Bennett and Carmel Gabriel were married in the Cathedral on September 25th 1976. A very large crowd gathered to celebrate the occasion.
The entire Mission was very upset by the death of a young Rossel Island man, Brendan Gwanga on December 30th. Brendan had worked in the Office for nearly five years and was liked and highly respected by all.
On October 24th, Natauyo, Captain of the "Morning Star", was very ill with cancer in the mouth. He was baptised by Father McGhee. The "Miva" took him to his home at Suau on 29th and he died half an hour after reaching his village.
Brother Sam Miyon completed his Seminary studies and commenced pastoral work prior to his Ordination in June 1977. The Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Gino Paro visited Sideia on December 11th.
European fisherman, Stan Burnik had a serious accident aboard his vessel "Tanya" at Wari Island on December 30th. While dynamiting and in an attempt to save his little son from injury, he lost an arm, damaged his eyes and had other very serious injuries.
Brother Terry Fallon was transferred to Hagita as Bursar on February 6th 1977. Brother Peter Harvey Jackson left the workshop and took over as Manager. Brother Ted Merritt arrived from Darwin on February 17th and took charge of the Engineering workshop. Father Mick Sims came also from Darwin on March 10th and commenced pastoral work among the people of Sideia, Basilaki, Sariba, Samarai and the nearby mainland.
On March 25th four boats with 50 Vocational girls and 50 school children and with workers and villagers sailed to Alotau to see the Queen. In the absence of the Bishop, Father McGhee met the Queen and was on the dais with her. Brother Gabriel Crowley, formerly of the Darwin Mission, arrived from Australia and took over the running of the Sawmill at Gwabauna.
On June 17th 1977 Brother Sam Miyon, M.S.C. was ordained to the Priesthood at Nimowa. (see Chapter 19). Brother Mick Puls, M.S.C., former teacher at Hagita was ordained to the Priesthood in Melbourne, Victoria on August 20th. The second Anniversary of Independence was highlighted at Sideia on September 16th by the presentation to Brother Vogt of the Independence Medal for his long service to the Church and the people in Milne Bay. A well deserved honour.
January 1st 1978 saw the arrival of Mother General Gerarda on visitation to her Sisters. Brother Jackson was farewelled on February 2nd when he left to take over the M.S.C. Centre in Port Moresby from Brother McGhee. Father Mick Puls came to Sideia on February 7th and was given the task of training the Catechists and Leaders in the Diocese. Brother Kevin McGhee arrived on February 20th to replace Brother Jackson as Manager. The two very capable assistants in the Office then and still assisting the Manager in 1982 were Noeline Patrick and Paula Bunene. On March 9th, Francis Kulukulu died. He had been baptised before the War by Bishop de Boismenu.
A welcome addition to the staff on May 25th was nurse Veronica Kroon. She relieved Vreni Pfister at Kurada for a short period then took charge of the Sideia Hospital.
July 6th 1978 marked the day on which the Milne Bay Interim Provincial Government was inaugurated. There was a special Mass at Sideia with the blessing and raising of the new Provincial Flag - designed by one of our Catholic Teachers at Ladava. A public holiday was declared with sports, concert and dancing. On July 8th, Deputy Premier Sheldon Frank with his party came to Sideia to talk to the people and celebrate with them.
A welcome visitor on August 28th was Barbara McGhee who came to have a holiday with her brothers, Father John and Brother Kevin. New addition to the ranks of the Sisters was nurse, Sister Marlene on October 20th. The Mission farewelled Ray and Hank Flapper and John Maguire on October 22nd. Ray, after his holiday in Holland, will join the M.S.C. Brothers at Douglas Park. A Diocesan Seminar on "Magic and Sorcery" commenced on November 14th. Representatives from all areas of the Diocese came in for discussions with the Missionaries. On December 13th, Brother Ted Merritt left for holidays and on transfer to Ulapia Seminary in New Britain. The Mission received the sad news of the deaths of former Provincial Father J M Kerrins on December 15th and of Sister Helen Canty on 17th. Sister Cornelia Speelman returned from Nimowa in January 1979 to take charge of the Hospital in that year.
Brother Frank Griffiths, M.S.C., a late Vocation, joined the Society some years after the death of his wife and his family settled. He came to Sideia early in 1979 and took charge of the Engineering workshop. Early in 1979, Peter and Mary Hogan with two children came from Australia and were appointed to Yuiyai on Normanby Island to run the Plantation and store. They spent a few months with us. Bob Coutts, an Accountant, came in April to assist with the bookkeeping and to look after the Office while Brother McGhee was on leave. Otesi, father of Sister Theresa Gertrude, A.D., died on April 23rd. A radio weather station was set up for the Government at Sideia in 1978. A special weather crystal was installed in the Sideia radio and Father Mick Sims took charge of the operation. Since then other weather stations have operated at Gusaweta, Nimowa, Jinjo and Kurada. Paul Wells, O.C. Weather from Port Moresby, visited all our areas. Visitors during 1979 included Mission Benefactors, Chris and Marie Stuart, Bernie and Angela McDonald and Paul O'Shea from Downlands College in Queensland,
The Silver Jubilee of the opening of the third Church in Samarai was on August 15th 1979. The following extract is from the Jubilee Brochure printed for the occasion.
"In early 1954, a third Church dedicated to the Sacred Heart was begun. Twenty-two young men from different parts of Milne Bay Province under the supervision of Brother J. Vogt, M.S.C. and working under the Commonwealth Reconstructional Training Scheme, helped to build this present Church. The young men's names were:
Victor Taudegani (Taulu) Aidan (Waluma) Kevin Kenori (Made) Victor Harrison (Sebulugomwa)
AlaLorenki (Waema) Mowabe (Taulu) Patrick Bruce (Neduya) Francis Banaba (Budoya)
Thomas Naugu (Waluma) Brendan Kededa (Waluma) Martin Onesimo (Waluma) David Daglapani (Waluma)
Siloi (Kelologeya) PaulOno(Suau) Lebebe (Dobu) Peter No. 1 (Sawa1edi)
Peter No. 2 (Papawai ) Horace Dindi'lo (Basilaki) Kennis (Normanby) Billy Tobwabwaloi (Dobu)
Bernard Lodi (Papawai) Austin Inaido (Waluma)
The stone for the Sacred Heart Church was blessed on 25th May 1954, by the late Cardinal Gilroy of Sydney. The first Mass was celebrated on August 15th 1954 by the late Father J M Kerrins, the then Provincial of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. The Choir from Sideia was conducted by Brother K. McGhee, M.S.C., (then a Lay Missionary). Timber for the Church was purchased from Tall Timbers, Waigani, through Mr. Johnson, who worked at Belesana at the time. The louvres were supplied by Burns Philp and Buntings of Samarai. The roof was donated by the people of Australia through the late Mr. Ken Quinn of Sydney.
Priests who have celebrated Mass at Samarai since 1954 have included, Archbishop Copas, Bishops Doyle, Sorin, Klein and Moore; Fathers McGhee, Dempsey, John Flynn, Peter Flynn, G Taylor, W Ryan, J Raymond, K Murphy, B McGrane, N Dunne, J Doggett, J Dwyer and N Earl.
Today the Catholic people of Samarai and their Priest, Father Mick Sims, welcome all to this Mass of Thanksgiving for the Church's Silver Jubilee."
Ray Staples, from England, came early in 1979 to assist in the workshop. A most welcome visitor in November 1979 was Deputy Provincial Father Bede Mooney, M.S.C. Over very many years noone had done more to assist this Mission and the Missionaries than Father Bede.
December 5th was a very sad day for the Missionaries and people of Sideia. Father John McGhee had taken his usual team of very small kiddies for a swim at Bosim. On the way back, having just left the water, Father McGhee collapsed on the track with a very severe stroke. Fortunately the kiddies had enough sense to run to their fathers on the Mission. A stretcher was taken round and Father was brought to his room where he was anointed by Father Sims. Within the hour the "Camillo Loula" was on its way for the three and a half hour trip to Alotau where Father McGhee was admitted to the hospital. He remained in the hospital for four days then, in the company of nurse Sister Benedicta, was flown to Port Moresby. On the following morning Sister flew with him to Sydney where he was admitted to St Vincent's Hospital. The "brain scanner" showed a massive haemorrhage. Father McGhee was completely paralysed on the right side and unable to talk.
Sister Margaret Jennings, Headmaster of Hagita, came to Sideia to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of her Profession on January 4th 1980. Bishop Moore with Fathers Moore, Doggett and Herselman concelebrated the Jubilee Mass. Presentations were made during the day and were followed by Dinner for both Communities in the Convent and a film.
Brother McGhee flew to Sydney to spend ten days with Father McGhee and reported the Doctors very pessimistic about progress. Arrangements were made to move Father McGhee in to the Sacred Heart Hospice at Darlinghurst.
Another "oldtimer" of the Mission, "Aunty May" Bacca died early on the morning of January 8th and was buried after Requiem Mass. The Sideia Mission Council was inaugurated on January 31st and Brother McGhee was appointed to the supervision of the Primary boy boarders in their non-school hours. The boys were moved into the vacant dormitory next to Brother's house.
On February 1st Peter Hogan, Lay Missionary arrived at Sideia and went on to take charge at Yuiyai. He was later joined by his fiancee, Liz Yuill and they were later married in Alotau by Bishop Moore. The Mission was saddened by the sudden death of four year old Mary Louise, daughter of Mission stalwarts Regis Baraun and Mary Magdalene. Mary Louise was the eighth of ten children and was buried, after Requiem Mass, on the morning of March 19th, the Feast of St Joseph.
In May came news that Father McGhee had been tested by a team from Prince Henry Hospital in Sydney and had been accepted by them for rehabilitation. He remained at Prince Henry until August and in that time was able to walk with the aid of a call per and the assistance of a "quodpod" stick. Progress had been made in speech, but very little.
July 7th was the occasion of another Jubilee of Profession and Fathers Moore, Dunne, Stidwill, O'Brien, Sims, Puls, Jennings and Peter Flynn concelebrated Mass for Sister Helen Warman. Presentations were made, photos taken and all were invited to Dinner at the Convent and an evening's entertainment. A film was shown for the people.
Bishop Moore's mother had became seriously ill and he went to Adelaide to be with her. The Mission received the news that she died on July 25th and was buried on 30th. Requiem Masses were offered throughout the Diocese.
Father Jim Moore celebrated his Silver Jubilee of Ordination at his station, Kurada, with his mother present. They came on to Sideia where, on August 2nd, Father Moore, with ten fellow Missionaries, concelebrated Mass in the Cathedral. The Sisters, as usual, put on a very fine Dinner for all and the people celebrated with a free film.
Mita Bacca, widow of Mazeppa Bacca, died on the morning of November 3rd and was buried after Mass in the Mission Cemetery.
1980 will be known as the "year of drought". On very many occasions throughout the latter months the whole Mission came together in prayer and processed from the Cathedral through the Mission grounds to Ou Lady's statue in front of the Convent.
December news of Father McGhee was that he was living at the Sacred Heart Monastery, Kensington in Sydney and being taken twice weekly by his sister Barbara to physio and speech therapy at Prince Henry Hospital. A little progress only had been made.
December 10th 1980 was the day that shocked the entire Mission. The flag ship, "Morning Star" with a load of school children on board, went on the reef in Nivani passage whilst en route to Rossel Island. (See Chapter 27).
Father Tyson Doneley, M.S.C., Rector of Ulapia Seminary, came in January 1981 to give the Annual Retreat to the Sisters. News came over the radio on February 12th of the death at Vunapope, in New Britain of the Archbishop of Port Moresby, The Most Rev Herman To Paivu.
Two Swiss families were welcomed to Sideia on February 25th 1981 - Deli Wuthrich with his wife Vreni and small son Flavio and Claude Dubois with his wife Miriam and two little daughters, Pascale and Michelle. Both families are German speaking Swiss. Ueli is an electrician and Claude and engineer. They were accompanied to Sideia by Swiss Volunteer Supervisor Walter Ulmi.
Father Mick Puls and Brother Frank Griffiths went to Australia in January, the latter to make a Retreat and take his final Vows of Profession. Father Puls anticipated returning to the Mission in March but, for medical reasons, did not reach our shores until November. Sister Lawrence, a New Guinea M.S.C. Sister came to Sideia on March 9th to spend a year learning the secrets of the Vocational Training Centre. On March 13th Sideia's "chief cook", Sandra Elizah was married in a very colorful ceremony in the Cathedral to Saul Nathaniel, a carpenter working with Brother Vogt. A further serious drought in March necessitated earnest prayers and processions for rain from 16th through to the 28th. On Easter Sunday, with Father Puls in Australia and Father Mick Sims away from the Mission for lengthy periods on pastoral work and attending Y C Seminars, Brother McGhee was appointed Extraordinary Minister to distribute Holy Communion in the absence of the Priests.
On May 22nd the new Australian Provincial, Father Frank Quirk came on visitation and was warmly welcomed by the Missionaries. After ordination Father Quirk was appointed to the Missions in New Britain for a short period and then to Japan where he had spent his life until his present appointment as Provincial.
A son, Cor sin, was born to Ueli and Vreni Wuthrich at Alotau on May 31st 1981.
The Mission rejoiced at the news that the Doctors had made the decision to return Father McGhee to the Missions. They considered that the best therapy would be to live again among his people. Brother McGhee flew to Sydney in late May and they returned together to Gurney Airport on June 4th. The Staff and all the Sideia students attending Hagita High School were at the Airport to welcome Father. On June 6th, the Government vessel "Panguna" was chartered and brought Father McGhee to Sideia to a very warm welcome. There was much singing, dancing, and handshaking on the wharf then a team of dancers processed Father to his new home. On Sunday morning Father McGhee concelebrated Mass, to the best of his ability, with Father Sims. The village people, who had come in from the islands danced and presented gifts. In the evening there was a very large "feast" for all on the oval and was followed by a "welcome home" concert.
On June 30th two Government boats were chartered and brought to Sideia 35 students from Downlands College in Queensland. They were in the care of Father Vince Carroll, M.S.C., Brother Paul Brooks, M.S.C., Sister M Lurline, O.S.U. with twelve adult supervisors, including Doctors Marshall Osborne from Warwick and Paul Hopkins from Brisbane.
In the six months the Swiss Dubois family were with us, Claude and his daughter Michelle had suffered a lot of malarial fever. Miriam, a nurse, did a wonderful job in caring for Father McGhee. Claude's health reached the stage where the Doctors insisted that it was too dangerous for him to remain in Papua New Guinea and must return to Switzerland. Farewell concerts and dinners were given to the family and they sadly departed from us on August 31st 1981.
On October 1st Archbishop Albert Bundervoet, M.S.C. came from Rabaul to give the Annual Retreat to the Fathers and Brothers. Sister Patricia was welcomed back from her Course in the Philippines, her tour in Indonesia and holiday in Australia. The Mission received the sad news on October 22nd of the death of Brother Tom Collins, M.S.C., brother of Sister Margaret Collins (Mimowa) .
White ants had had their fill and on November 3rd the tank stand, under two full water tanks, collapsed outside the Convent Chapel. The wall of the Chapel was wrecked but the Tabernacle remained undamaged. Chapel and Convent were flooded. Father Mick Puls returned from south on November 4th. Brother Vogt went to Australia on November 10th for a well earned holiday.
In the Cathedral on December 28th, Vocational Teacher, Kathie Elizah was married, with Nuptial Mass, to Teacher Geoffrey Tobe. Kathie had taught for 14 years in the Vocational Centre. There were big celebrations in the Convent in the evening.
Mother Cecily, A.D. (Nimowa) completed her term in Port Moresby as Mother General of the "Handmaids of Our Lord" on December 27th. Mother Barbara Tippolay (from Melville Island in Australia) was elected as the new Mother General.
One of the great institutions at Sideia, and which has been operating for some years, is the "Tea Shop". Started by Brother Carroll and continued by Brother Vogt, this "Cafeteria" has proved of immense value to the workers on the Mission and to the local villagers and visitors. It is similar to the "corner store" at home and all essential items are available. Open at 6 a.m. it serves the needs of the people. Martin Lote and Luke Kauluia run this venture under the watchful eye of Brother Vogt and all credit must be given to these two young men for a successful operation. At this point of time in April 1982, Father Mick Sims is Parish Priest of Sideia and has the pastoral care of the people on Basilaki, Sariba, Samarai and mainland Dayamoni area. He is the Regional Director of the Y.C. and is now assisted in this work by Brother Greg McCann, (Jnr.). Father Mick Puls is on his second Catechetical Course for the year with young men from Rossel, Nimowa, Goodenough, Fergusson, Normanby, Basilaki and the Sagarai Valley. Sister Patricia, assisted by Sister Petrina is still in charge of the very fine Vocational Centre. Brother Gabriel Crowley has just handed over the management of the Gwabauna sawmill to Brother Frank Griffiths, who had been in charge of the Engineering department for the past 3 years. Brother Crowley is now joint Manager at Sideia and has taken much of the load from Brother McGhee's shoulders. Brother McGhee continues the valuable "adoption", scheme started in 1963 by Father McGhee and also supervises the Primary boy boarders in their non-school hours. Brother Moore, with his team, continues to keep our boats under repair. A new 30ft vessel is awaiting launching. Brother Vogt, who has recently returned from leave and medical attention in Australia, is still very active and supervises the young men in the Teashop. Much of his time is taken up with supervision of the garden and fowl yard to ensure the Mission is supplied with vegetables and eggs. The Mission owes much to Brother Vogt for his 47 years of devoted service to the Mission and people of Eastern Papua. Our two new laymen, Jim Yard and Mark Davies have taken over the Engineering and will keep the boats "running". Due praise and credit must be given to all the workers and boat crews for their dedicated service to the Mission throughout these 50 years.
The Missionaries and people of Sideia thank God for the graces received and earnestly seek His Blessings on the future.
CHAPTER 18 LADAVA (Milne Bay)
When the war finished and the Missionaries returned to Sideia, Ladava was periodically visited by Father Earl. In September 1945, Fathers McGhee and Twomey with Brother Alan Kinnane went to Ahioma on the north side of Milne Bay (where the Japanese had landed). They lived temporarily in an old Fire Station then moved across the Bay to the American Base at Ladava. Here they lived in what was the old Convent. Father McGhee spent four months as Chaplain to the Americans at Gamadoudou and to the Australian Air Force on Hagita. The natives began returning to their villages when the Australia New Guinea Administration Unit (ANGAU) ceased operating in October 1945. Once the forces had evacuated the Mission developed rapidly and the Quonset huts and other buildings erected by the Army at Ladava were put to good use as schools and chapels. Mass at Ladava was offered each Sunday for the people in the American Quonset hut church, St. Margaret's given to Father Earl by American Captain McGlynn. Much of the early work consisted in collecting gear from various American camps as they closed. Brothers Gormley and Kinnane made numerous trips on the "Barge" carting materials to Sideia.
Father John King spent some time at Ladava in 1946 and when Father McGhee was transferred to the Trobriands, Father Twomey filled in and was finally succeeded by Father Atchison. Father Earl continued to spend some time at Ladava before moving on to Koki Parish in Port Moresby in June 1947.
On January 7th 1947, Sisters Paul, Verona and Paula came to Ladava from Sideia. En route they picked up boarders from the coastal villages. Things were once again in full swing and, after a few months, they were able to move in to a renovated two-storey Convent, the former house of the Fathers. On the medical side life was very busy. Seriously ill patients were looked after in the hospital and there were the usual patrols of the nursing Sister around the villages. Father Atchison took over in May 1947. On the property were twenty-six small Quonset huts, a Quonset garage 100ft x 40ft and a Church built from a large Quonset. There were three ex American jeeps and two trucks. The 26ft "Stella Man's" was attached to the Ladava Mission for pastoral work and for obtaining supplies.
Father Atchison opened schools at Daio on the south coast of the Bay and at Ipouli in the Sagarai Valley in 1948. An outschool at Waema commenced in 1949. Father Kevin Murphy spent a month at Ladava in April 1949. At the end of 1949 the Sisters sadly returned to Sideia. One of the reasons given was that the people at Milne Bay had been somewhat changed by association with the Military during the war years and were no longer responsive to the efforts of the Missionaries. Father Atchison remained at Ladava until February 1950. Father Murphy was placed in charge until September 1950. Father Derek Savage, M.S.C. of the Irish Province and en route to the Rabaul Mission, relieved for some months at Ladava.
Over the years Ladava continued to develop and consolidate. School numbers increased and there was no end to the medical work in the hospital. In January 1967, Nurse Elizabeth Cogan took charge of the hospital and Lay Teacher, Brenda Mclnerney taught in the primary school. There were 106 children enrolled to Standard IV. Both Elizabeth and Brenda left at the end of 1967 - Brenda to be married to Administration Officer, Paul Jones. They were replaced early in 1968 by Helen Deery and Gael Fagan. Brother Vogt came down to Ladava and built new classrooms for the school. Teacher Henry Saina was in charge. Gael Fagan left early in 1969 and Helen Deery's successor early in 1970 was Bernadette Jones.
In 1971 Father Moore transferred from Daio and took up residence at Ladava to care for the parishioners in that area and at Alotau. Ronald Rastus was Headmaster of the school in that year. He was succeeded in 1972 by Headmaster Alphonsus Leni.
In August 1973, Father Moore left for the Philippines to do the E A P I Course at Manila. He was away for nine months. On his return he was appointed Religious Superior of the Mission. Headmasters had changed again and Nicholas Kalava from New Ireland was in charge.
1975 saw the commencement of the new M.S.C. House at Ladava. It was not completed until 1978 and since then has proved its value to all M.S.C. and visitors passing through Milne Bay. During 1978, New Guinean M.S.C. Father Joe Mandres spent a short period of pastoral work at Ladava. Goodenough Island was without a Pastor for some time during this year and Father Moore made several visits from Ladava. 1979 was Father Moore's final year as Superior and Pastor of Ladava. In 1980 he was transferred to his former Mission at Kurada.
Father Arthur Stidwill replaced Father Moore at Ladava in 1980 and today carries on this great work among the people of Ladava, Daio and Sagarai. Visitors have expressed great appreciation of the hospitality of the Ladava M.S.C. Centre.
BASILAKI ISLAND (Post War)
After the war years Basilaki Island was cared for by Fathers N. Earl, B. Baldwin, K. Twomey, J. King, B. McGrane, K. Young and P. Flynn. In the early days Father Baldwin compiled a grammar of the local language and during 1959 - 1960 Father Twomey produced a dictionary containing English and Basilaki words - with the aid of Bernard Ben and Patrick Miseka. Father McGrane worked hard to translate all the Sunday readings. Since then, Mr Bryan Ezard, a member of the Summer Institute of Linguistics has spent some years translating the New Testament into the Tawala language and has compiled a book of Tawala hymns.
In 1969 Father John Sinou took over the care of Basilaki and, for long periods, resided at Yokowa Village on the north-eastern end of the island. In 1977 Father M. Sims arrived and has since been caring for Basilaki, Samarai, Sideia, Sariba and Nuakata Islands. During 1977 the old church at Yokowa was demolished and on December 28th a new church was blessed and opened and dedicated to Saint Luke. It was a day of great rejoicing for the people and many came from other islands. After the Mass there were eleven speeches, followed by an evening meal and well presented concert, compered by the now late Bernard Castro. A church was also blessed and opened at Gadogadowa Village on the Southern part of Sideia Island on January 1st 1978.
Lawrence Manowa, from Basilaki Island, returned from a two year catechetical course in Port Moresby early in 1978 and resided at Yokowa to help Father Sims with the spiritual care of the people. A census was conducted that year which revealed there were over 900 people on the island.
A new church was erected by the people at Himoyei Village late in 1981, and a new church is under construction at Gogolabia. Plans for a new church have been drawn up for Dauyai where Father Twomey resided for a time in the early days. Today Basilaki is visited each month and clinic patrols are conducted regularly.
THE TROBRIAND ISLANDS
Father Baldwin returned to the Trobriand Islands in February 1946 and was joined by Father McGhee. The first year was spent repairing the old Convent to become the Presbytery. The Fathers' old house was repaired and became the workers' home. Father Baldwin began school immediately at Gusaweta whilst Father McGhee opened the school at Okaikoda in March. The Church was badly in need of repair. A catechism in the Trobriand language had been printed just prior to the war. The children now found little difficulty in learning this by heart. By the time a new catechism arrived and each one received a copy, the children were all able to read quite well. This was their only book for some years. John Mosuadoga helped Father Baldwin and Andrew Kalubaku and Edward Mwayubu assisted Father McGhee.
Okaikoda boasted seventy six pupils, boys and girls from seven to sixteen years of age who knew no English. Father McGhee was just beginning to learn the local language. Each day one sheet of paper was issued and a pencil given out. These were collected again at the end of classes. When the exercise books gave out, the backs of old letters were used and any scraps of paper that could be written on. It was a great day - a year later - when the first slates arrived. These were small sheets of masonite with the smooth side painted black or green. After a week the slates were completely useless. The kiddies sat on the floor and hugged the slates to their cocoanut-oiled bodies or carried them on their oily heads. For lack of rags, they spat on the slates and rubbed them "clean" with oily hands. Slate pencils just refused to write on such a surface.
Considering that progress had been slow prior to 1942, the sufferings of the war however, brought their fruit when the first nineteen children were baptised at Christmas 1946 and similar groups of Baptisms have followed each Christmas since then. The number who came to school grew rapidly. Ex school boys were recruited to help the Priests with the big classes.
In June 1946 Brother Gormley brought a truck to Gusaweta in the "Landing Barge". It was used for carting stores, firewood, hospital cases and school children. December brought Brother Vogt and his large team of young men from Fergusson and Normanby Islands who were to be trained as carpenters under the CRTS training scheme. Brother and these young men did a tremendous job in building the new Fathers' house, convent, Church and associated buildings. These young men were trained so well that ever since they have worked all over the Diocese and have very many fine buildings to their credit. Many are still helping to build in Mission stations today. Father John King was sent to the Trobriands in 1946 and the people of Liluta and Osapola asked him to build a school. A temporary church was built and a presbytery, which was later used as a school. Father King was also instrumental in starting schools at Luya, Boitalu and Lobuwa. With the exception of Luya, which kept going for several years, the other two schools eventually closed. Liluta is still a flourishing school today.
The Sisters returned to the Trobriands in May 1948. The first three were Sisters Verona, Finbar and Camillus. Brother Kinnane came in October to relieve Brother Vogt. Father Baldwin went on leave in 1950 and transferred to Nimowa and Rossel Island on his return.
In 1951 Father Alan Corry joined the Staff. He was given the care of Kapwapu and Luya and spent most of his year with these people. There were two families of traders in the area, the Lumleys and the Hancocks, all very good friends of the Missionaries and who were in competition in copra. Another member of the Hancock family, Bill, started a "Bakery". Father Corry moved on to Budoya in May 1952.
When Father McGhee was appointed Religious Superior in 1953, Father George Church replaced him until January 1955, when he was transferred to the Ulapia Seminary in Rabaul. Layman Joe Dowd assisted Father Church. Father Earl came in January 1955 but remained a month only and moved on to Rossel Island. Father Gerry Doody was appointed in June and stayed until January 1956. Sister Xavier came from Rossel Island on January 21st to join Sisters Flavian and Christopher Mary in 1957. Father Tom Luby gave the Retreats at Sideia and did a quick trip to the Trobriands. On February 19th Baroness von Trapp and Monsignor Wasner came on visit by plane and toured the Mission for two days. Brother Andrew Smith, who had been helping at Gusaweta went on holidays on March 15th to Australia and New Zealand. Father Doody returned in May 1957 and was in charge of the Mission. The Superior, Father McGhee visited on May 24th and flew with Father Doody to Samarai and Port Moresby on 31st. Sister Maureen replaced Sister Flavian on June 7th. After six years in the Trobriands Sister Flavian was transferred to Rossel Island. In December Father Jim Moore came out to relieve Father Doody who went south on holiday.
The Mission Staff in 1958 consisted of Father Doody, Brother Andrew Smith, Brother Greg McCann (Snr) and Sisters Xavier, Christopher Mary and Maureen. Brother McCann took over the school at Wapipi (Okaikoda). In 1958 there were eight native teachers with two hundred children in the schools, the Okaikoda building proved too small and a new site was found at Wapipi. As more qualified teachers became available the boys and girls did Teacher Training at Sideia and schools were opened at Youlawotu and Bonagai.
Provincial Father Kerrins, with Father McGhee, came on visitation on May 9th by plane. They left by "Morning Star" on 12th to visit Goodenough and Fergusson Islands. In October Sister Christopher Mary became ill and the "Morning Star" took her to Sideia. She returned to Gusaweta but became sick again and was flown south to Kensington in April 1959. She had contracted hepatitis. On November 10th Father Doody celebrated his Silver Jubilee of Ordination. The actual day was November 30th but Father flew south for holidays in Australia before the date. Father Kevin Young relieved.
On March 4th 1960, Mrs Lumley died in the Newcastle Mater Hospital. She had spent much of her sixty years in P.N.G. in the Trobriand Islands. The local people held a big "sagali" or "death feast" for her. Sister Augustine relieved Sister Christopher but both she and Sister Maureen contracted hepatitis. There was a crisis in the Gusaweta school through staff shortages.
To solve this situation Sister Margaret Jennings and Sister Peter Mary were appointed to Gusaweta in January 1961. On April 27th Sister Elizabeth A.D., a Trobriand Islander, came home on holidays and had a joyful reunion with her clan - all Methodists. Father Ed McCormack was appointed in April 1961 and spent most of his time with the school at Okaikoda. In December, Father Tyson Doneley, from Chevalier College in N.S.W. gave the Annual Retreats and managed a quick trip to the Trobriands with Father Atchison on the "St Paul". This was 1962. In January 1963 Sister Therese McNamara replaced Sister Margaret Jennings on the school staff.
Father Louis Vangeke, M.S.C. arrived on the "Morning Star" on July 8th 1964. The children were amazed when he gave them his blessing and the Altar boys vied with one another to serve his Mass. Early in 1965 Father Doody was appointed Religious Superior and Father Jim Fallon came out to take his place. Gusaweta school opened with 140 pupils and by March had reached 172. On April 14th Sister Helen Warman joined the staff to replace Sister Peter Mary.
During 1966 the potato crop failed and the people were very short of food. The A.D.C. at Losuia requested the D.C. at Samarai for a ration of rice for all school children under the age of 15. Meanwhile, the Mission gave rice to the school children of Gusaweta, Okaikoda, Youlawotu and Liluta. Bishop Doyle supplied 6 tons of rice and the Gusaweta children had two rice meals per day. On December 19th the old Church building at Gusaweta was demolished. It was a pre-war building and could no longer be used. A classroom was used for Sunday Mass. Father Kevin Murphy replaced Father Jim Fallon and was in charge on January 21st 1967. All of the previous year Standard 6 pupils had passed their exams and went on to secondary school at Sideia. School commenced at Gusaweta with 80 new children - mostly from Tukwaukwa, a prominently United Church village. Sister Helen and Peter Nusoya (later a Catechist) took Prep, classes numbering 84. Edward Mwayubu came in to teach at Gusaweta. Brother Pat Cantwell came out from Sideia and completed a small dwelling at Okaikoda. He planned to establish a bigger sawmill and sell sufficient timber to cover costs. Total number of pupils in the schools in 1967 was 650.
In June 1968 water was located, suitable for wells - one at Mwamwalu and one at Gusaweta. Many similar wells have been set up in villages with the Australian Government supplying the hand pumps. In December Sister Therese McNamara was transferred to Nimowa. Father Kevin Twomey was appointed to the Trobriands and spent much of his time in the Okaikoda area.
Sister Loyola Mary joined the staff in January 1969. St. Mary's school at Okaidoda had Standard VI for the first time. On Holy Saturday in 1969, 40 children were baptised at Gusaweta and 39 at Okaikoda. In April Father Doody came back to relieve Gusaweta Mission was destroyed by fire. Mission personnel helped to rescue one the guests trapped on the 2nd floor by bringing a ladder to the building. This "Hotel" was not re-opened. In November, Brother Vogt and his team began to dismantle the old Convent and started to build a new Convent on the old bearers. The Convent was ready for occupation in May 1973.
Sister Margaret Mary was transferred to Boroko early in 1973 and her place was taken by Sister Marcella. In May there was a "Self Study of the Church" Course at Sideia and on its completion the "Camillo" brought Father Herman Jansenn, M.S.C. and Father Pat Murphy S.V.D. on a visit.
In August, John Kasaipwalova was elected President of the new local Council. This move was due to the starting of the Kabisaiwali Movement. Chief Waibadi was made Vice President. John refused to hold any celebrations for National Day and caused a lot of ill feeling and disappointment among the people. Chief Minister, Mr. Michael Somare, visited the Trobriands in October and received a mixed reception, spoilt by the arguments between the Kabisaiwali Group and the old Local Government Council Members.
Early in 1974, Sister Marcella transferred to Budoya and Sisters Caritas and Elizabeth Inapi joined the staff. The Okukwewelu school closed through lack of community support in 1975. Children wanting an education, attended Gusaweta school as boarders. The school of St Thomas More at Bonagai was opened. In March, Father Ensing went over to Woodlark Island to visit our school at Kulumadau and was delayed by lack of transport. Five Woodlark boys returned with him to board at Gusaweta and to do Standard VI.
On September 16th, at the gathering at Losuia for Independence Day, feelings were running high between Kabisaiwali followers and T.K. (To Ninei Kamokwita) formed from the old Council. About 4 p.m. spears were thrown but the Chiefs controlled the situation before anything serious developed.
Father McGrane was appointed to the Trobriands in November 1975 and took care of Okaikoda until transferred to Japan in February 1977. In January 1976, Sister Juliana joined the teaching staff at Gusaweta and the first double classroom was built at Bonagai. On July 22nd, Fathers Cunningham, Jim Fallon, Kevin Young and Jim Raymond celebrated their Silver Jubilee of Ordination. The Community at Gusaweta celebrated with Father Cunningham. A special Mass was offered and there were greetings and presentations from the people. The School children presented a concert in the afternoon.
Sister Christina Kapela came early in 1977 and Father Bernie McGrane departed for Japan in March. Whilst Father Cunningham was south on leave, Fathers Jim Moore and Jim Fallon relieved. Father McGhee helped out in August/September and Bishop Moore came for a short period in September.
After 20 years in the Trobriands, Sister Xavier was transferred to Hagita High School early in 1978. She will be long and lovingly remembered by the people of the Trobriand Islands. Sister Juliana was transferred to teach at Nimowa. Sister Paul was appointed to Gusaweta with Sister Clare Koroti and Sister Christine. Maria Trapp came on the "Bonaventure" for a 4 day visit in April. On June 18, Albert Giyolagawa returned from the Sideia Catechetical Centre, dressed in the new Catechists’ uniform and preached to the people in the Church. Father Cunningham sailed over to Vakuta aboard the "Alepa" in July for the opening of the new Community Centre. The official guests did not turn up so Father Cunningham was asked to officially open the Centre. In September, Father Caruana, with the Hagita Band, Brother Frank Perry and Sister Bernadette visited the Trobriands.
The new power plant arrived aboard the "Bonaventure" on October 11th and was successfully in operation on 12th. At the end of October, the M.S.C. Diocese of Kavieng, New Ireland, bought a boat from Mr. Don Neate of Woodlark Island. American M.S.C., Brother Tony Freitas sailed it from Alotau to Sideia and then to Kavieng via the Trobriands, where he was delayed by bad weather for several days. From November 22nd to December 1st, Bishop Moore was in the Trobriands on visitation. Early in 1979. Sister Ludwina joined the staff at Gusaweta. Father Ralph Fitzgerald, a Diocesan Priest from Wagga Wagga in N.S.W. came from Daio Mission to assist at Gusaweta. He remained until July 1980, when his Bishop required him to return to Australia. Two new Sisters, Madeline Ofoi and Maria Margot were appointed to Gusaweta in January 1980. In June, a special course was conducted in the Trobriands by Fathers Tony O'Brien, Joe Ensing, Sisters Helen and Clare. About 26 did the Course to promote spiritual commitment and leadership. In August, workers commenced building a new Catechist's house for Peter Nusoya and family at Wapipi. In December, Sister Paul left for Australia and did not return to the Mission.
In October 1981, a double classroom block was commenced at Wapipi to replace the old ones that had to be demolished. In January 1982, Sister Elizabeth Inapi returned after an absence of 5 years. Sister Helen Warman was seconded to Yule Island as acting Novice Mistress and is expected back in the Trobriands about May. Since October 1980, Prayer Groups hold meetings every Wednesday night at various stations.
Father Joe Ensing is expected to return from Nimowa by mid 1982 and will assist Father Cunningham to continue the great work started by Father Bernard Baldwin in 1937.
With the growth in numbers of school children in the Milne Bay Province and the apparent desire of Trobriand parents to keep their children close to home, a new "Day" High School was opened at Losuia in the Trobriands in January 1981, starting with Grade VII. The High School seems to be working successfully.
Over the years several French M.S.C. Priests, before taking up duties at Yule Island, came to live with our Fathers in the Trobriand Islands to improve their English. These included Fathers Rinn, Klein (now Archbishop), Bel, Bourseau, Besson and Guichet.
Many years before the war, a Catholic Filipino, Florentin Paulisbo, bought half the island of Nimowa in the Louisiade Archipelago and cleared it to make a coconut plantation. When the time came to choose a wife, he took a girl four hundred miles to the Yule Island Mission so that she could be instructed and baptised prior to their marriage. One son, Joseph, was born of this marriage and the couple adopted a second son, Leo. Both were sent to be educated at Yule Island. In the meantime, war came to the Pacific. Joseph lived at Panapompom. Here he ran a plantation and trade store. He married into the Tanby family and had two sons and four daughters. (The elder son, Patrick, was Premier of the Milne Bay Province in 1981). Leo had offered land on Nimowa to the Missionaries but the idea had to be abandoned. Another Catholic Filipino who wished to have the Mission in this area was Gorio.
As soon as the war was over Leo decided to open a school himself and give Religious instruction to the island children. The Fathers at Sideia were certainly interested but, lacking a boat, could not even pay a visit to Nimowa. For eighteen months Leo battled on alone until the new Mission boat, "Morning Star", became a reality. It was only then that Father Kevin Twomey, the founder of Nimowa, was able to take up residence on the Island in 1947, though in the starkest poverty.
On December 19th 1947, with Father Guichet (French M.S.C.), Paul from Basilaki and wife Agnes, and with Fergusson Islander, James Wagu, Father Twomey arrived at Nimowa. Ten natives were on the beach to welcome the Missionaries. Work began the following morning on the Father's house, a small building of native material with sago roof. This had been started by Leo Paulisbo as a schoolboys' house. On Sunday 21st, Mass was offered in the presence of 80 people who had come by canoe from Joannet, Western Point, Dadahai Island and from Nimowa. On 23rd the Fathers visited Emembalia, Griffin Point on Sudest Island and then Piron Island, inviting the villagers to Midnight Mass and a Christmas Feast at Nimowa. On December 24th the canoes began to arrive. There was a big dance before Mass and again, after Mass continuing until daylight. Father Guichet celebrated the Midnight Mass at which 126 were present, including 48 women. On the evening of 26th, a start was made on the translation of the Catechism from the Basilaki language into Nimowan. The crowd seemed very interested and large numbers gathered round to help. School began on 27th with 28 boys and 1 girl. Father Twomey taught and supervised in the school.
On February 14th 1948, Bishop Sorin came on visitation. He was very keen on education and was anxious that the first steps in forming words and in reading should be in the local language. He was a skilled musician and, with words supplied by Father Twomey, he wrote some hymns in the Nimowan language for the children to sing. At Mass on the following Sunday morning the Bishop spoke to the people, through Leo Paulisbo, and baptised fifteen children. A week later, on Sunday 22nd, Father Guichet and Father Cadoux, who had come with the Bishop, offered Mass and baptised fifteen more children. By March, the Mission site was cleared and on September 10th, the Fathers moved into their new home. Brother Andrew Smith had come out to Nimowa on the second trip of the "Morning Star". Shortly afterwards he developed an abscess in the throat and was taken by Harry Pierce, from Griffin Point to Misima on October 21st. There he made contact with a boat travelling through to Samarai.
In November, Father Twomey went south on leave and Father Atchison came out to relieve. In Feburary 1949, Father McGhee replaced Father Atchison. He, in turn, was relieved by Father Greg Abbott in March. On March 27th, James Wagu and Mary Ann Galana were married with Nuptial Mass. Trained carpenter, Koipiri proved of great help in the building programme.
On May 7th 1949, the "Morning Star" set out from Sideia in extremely bad weather. On board, in addition to the crew, were Fathers Twomey and Murphy, Brother Rickards, Mother Damascene and the pioneer band of Sisters for Nimowa - Sisters Antoninus, Xavier and Theodore. This trip was to be the worst on record to date; seven long days of pushing in to heavy seas and a powerful South Easterly wind. As a result of dirty fuel clogging the filters the engine stopped on several occasions. Whilst Kevin McGhee and the crew, in a very cramped engine room, cleaned and replaced filters, the ship wallowed and rolled relentlessly from side to side in the heavy seas. It was most uncomfortable for the passengers. Several times the "Morning Star" had to return to anchorage as the seas were too great to proceed. The wind howled, the rain came down in torrents and all were soaked. Many native passengers were on board, the holds were packed tight with cargo, and, above deck, were all the odd items so necessary for setting up a Station - including two goats, a crate of fowls, three prize ducks and one drake. The Sisters will always remember this trip. Many sighs of relief were heard when the "Morning Star" sailed into calm waters and arrived at Nimowa on May 14th. In later trips and on a good moonlight night, this same journey has been done by the "Morning Star" in 24 hours.
The Sisters took possession of the first Presbytery as their Convent whilst the Fathers and Brothers moved into a half finished Presbytery to be. On Sunday 15th, large crowds came into the Mission to welcome the Sisters. At night there was a great "sing sing" and dance in their honour. On September 19th, the Sisters took over the school - "St. Alphonsus" Academy - with 71 pupils on the roll.
On October 31st, Brother Rickards was struck on the left side of the chest by a steel fragment from an anvil and which penetrated deeply. "Harry Pierce’s barge took him to Misima on the next morning and from there he caught the plane, with Father Murphy, to Port Moresby. Irish M.S.C., Father Derek Savage, flew to Nivani Island and was picked up by the "St Victor" and brought to Nimowa on December 15th to relieve. Four hundred were present at Midnight Mass at Christmas 1949.
Brother Ron Moore replaced Brother Rickards who had gone on to Australia in February 1950. He remained until December 1951. During this year a 16,000 gallon cement tank was built.
Australian M.S.C. Provincial, Father Aidan Breene came on visitation to Nimowa on July 18th 1950 and was greeted with a fine concert by the school children. During his stay he baptised fifteen children. Kevin McGhee was Godfather to the boys and Madeline Paulisbo Godmother to the girls. At this time news was received by radio of Polio cases in Samarai and Misima and all were quarantined. Bishop Sorin came on his second visit on October 25th and was accompanied by Fathers Dwyer and Dempsey. He confirmed 56 men and 62 women and 14 village teachers.
During 1951 Brother Moore, with local workers, built a 40ft x 40ft Convent, a 40ft x 20ft two storey boys' classroom and dormitory and a 60ft x 20ft two storey girls' classrooms and dormitory.
On March 3rd, the Doctor on board the "Heliam" called at the Mission and had a look at one of the girls, Rowena, who had become paralysed in both legs and arms. She was baptised (Mary), confirmed and anointed. She died on March 6th. Father Murphy and Sister Xavier were with her. The Mission was put in quarantine for three weeks. On March 31st, Harry Pierce took Father Murphy across to Misima to say Mass for the Catholics. Headmaster of the school, Mr. Reilly, had requested the visit of a Priest.
April 23rd saw the arrival of the pearling ship "Lochiel". On board, pearl diver John Nolan was unconscious. First aid was rendered and Father Twomey set out to look for the Doctor 'somewhere' on Sudest Island. He could not be located. About 4.30 p.m. John Nolan died. Father Murphy was with him whilst Father Twomey had again gone searching for the Doctor without success. In spite of heavy rain, Leo Paulisbo supervised digging of the grave. Requiem Mass was offered on the morning of the 24th followed by the funeral. A second pearling ship, "Crystal Star" had arrived with two Europeans on board. These, with the crew, carried the coffin up the hill to the grave. The doctor turned up on the 25th and reported quite a few cases of Polio in the area.
Father Earl came in May for a three week break - and remained until January 1953. Mother Genevieve A.D. (French) with Sister Solange A.D. (Mary Therese from Basilaki Island) visited Nimowa on October 3rd.
On December 7th there were great preparations to receive Monsignor Doyle, the first Prefect Apostolic. The "Morning Star" called at Sabara, Nigahau and Bunbun and he was given a royal welcome. At the Mission all lined up and each and all had to kiss the Monsignor's ring and shake his hand.
Brother Bill Murray with Sisters Pancratius and Joan came to Nimowa on February 1st 1952. Brother Rickards, who had returned from south, suffered a severe attack of pain on 18th and was taken by the "St Patrick" to catch the Catalina at Nivani.
April 17th was the start of a Cyclone with extreme winds and unpleasant wild weather from the South East. The night of the 17th was extremely bad - cyclonic weather with much damage in the S.E. of the Mission. Workmen's house and Church were blown down. Trees were uprooted and gardens destroyed - all buildings were deluged with rain. The cyclone continued all day on 18th. The Tabernacle was removed by Brother Moore to a safe place in the hospital. Later the hospital roof blew off and the Tabernacle was again transferred to Father Twomey's room. All children gathered in the girls' dormitory - the only dry place. Fears were felt for the safety of the "St Patrick" and the "St Joseph". Harry Pierce struggled in with his barge which was constantly belted against the jetty. It was heard on the radio that the Government station at Misima had been completely destroyed.
On 19th the cyclone continued now attacking from the North and North West. The Sisters and girls had to evacuate their house during the night and take refuge in the Fathers' house. The girls' house and kitchen were flattened. During the morning the "St. Patrick" struggled in after gruelling experiences for two days and nights, fighting to save the boat in Hebenahina Bay. The boat would have been lost except for the cooperation of the village men. Seventy bags of copra were jettisoned and all rigging was lost. A Catalina circled overhead to survey the damage.
On 20th, there was early Mass in the Presbytery - still the only safe building. The junior school was badly damaged with the roof just hanging on. Father Earl set off in the "St. Patrick" in search of Brother Murray on the "St. Joseph". He returned without a sighting but had heard that Brother was safe. The "St. Joseph" returned on 21st with Brother Murray exhausted, having had to fight to save the boat.
Great damage was reported from all areas around Nimowa. There was news of many ships damaged. Six natives were killed on Misima and a baby swept out to sea. The Acting Administrator, Mr. Cleland, with his wife and Mr. Champion and party, visited the Mission and the surrounding area to inspect the damage.
Sister Jane Frances (sister of Father Dempsey), came to Nirnowa on November 12th 1952. A French M.S.C., Father Riehl, came in January 1953 to learn English. Fathers Twomey, Abbott and Murphy with Brother Murray returned to Sideia on the same ship. February 14th brought Father Earl with his sister, Sister Catherine, together with Agnes Daio and Maria from Goodenough, who hoped to become Postulants for the Native Sisters of Eastern Papua under Sister Catherine. Father McGhee, the new Superior, arrived with the Walker Family on May 16th 1953. They had come to visit their daughter, Sister Joan. On June 3rd, Father Earl and Sister Catherine left to start a new station at Griffin Point on Sudest Island. October 28th saw the arrival of the "St. Patrick" with Brother Murray and Mr. Tom McGhee, father of Father John and Kevin. He stayed for a short holiday. Father John King came on December 24th and said the Midnight Mass. There were 259 communions.
On February 14th 1954, Sister Marie Marguerite (now Sister Margaret Collins) joined the Community at Nimowa. She replaced Sister Joan. A Japanese fishing boat was wrecked on the East point of Sudest Island on March 15th. At the end of April Harry Pierce became very ill and was anointed. Early in December Harry, with some mental problems, had been treated, felt better and returned to his home on 3rd.
On December 8th 1954, there were big celebrations at Nimowa for the Centenary of the founding of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. During the morning some natives brought in a letter from the Pamela medical orderly asking for Mission assistance as a "taubada" (white man) had killed two young native men at Pantava. After much discussion the Missionaries discovered that Harry Pierce had shot two natives with his revolver. Abandoning the Centenary Dinner, Fathers Earl and Twomey left in the St Patrick to see Harry and found him asleep. They broke the news to him. He had no knowledge of the deed but knew there was something on his mind. The St Patrick returned to Nimowa with the Fathers, Sister Catherine, Harry and his two daughters, Monica and Barbara. On 9th Father Earl went with Harry and the witnesses to the Government station at Misima. On 22nd Harry Pierce was flown to Port Moresby for medical examination
In February 1955 Roger Oma was installed as teacher at Araida. The roll call was eighty. Linus Kanadilimo took up his position as teacher at Rehuwo. On March 2nd Harry Pierce was remanded at Samarai to the Supreme Court for trial on the charge of wilful murder of two natives on Sudest Island on December 5th. He pleaded not guilty and reserved his defence. Harry was acquitted on the clear evidence of insanity at the time and was committed to close custody at Bomana. It was discovered that he was suffering from a tumour on the brain.
Brother Gerry King arrived at the Mission on August 22nd 1955. Brother Stan Reis came on January 7th 1956. On the afternoon of February 10th the "Morning Star" with Brothers King and Reis and Sisters Paul and Gerald on board, sailed for Rossel Island and anchored at Rambuso.
On the morning of 11th, the Community at Nimowa was awakened by the clanging of the Mission bell at 5 a.m. and realised something was wrong. Brother King's voice was heard calling them. He had come back to the Mission for assistance as, the previous evening, there had been an accident on the "Morning Star". At Rambuso, the "Star" went on a reef about 5.30 p.m. After some difficulty it slipped off the reef but a sudden storm arose and blew it back on again. As the boat was in danger, the Captain, Maximo Castro, told the sisters and other passengers to go ashore and a dinghy containing Sister Gerald and some girls left the ship. In the meantime, the "Star" got off the reef again but the anchors were caught in the coral. The handle of the winch broke when Brother King was using it and narrowly missed hitting him. He improvised a new one from a piece of iron but it did not fit well. When Brother Reis was using it, it slipped off, flew back, hitting him on the head and rendering him unconscious immediately. Sister Gerald was called back from the shore but could do little. It was decided that Brother King should go for help. He rowed all night in the dinghy and a few miles beyond Griffin Point was picked up by Tom Sigamata's boat and got a lift to Nimowa. Father Twomey with Sister Jane Frances and Brother King left immediately on the "St Francis". They met the "Morning Star" at Jolanding and the flag at half mast told them the sad truth. Brother Reis had died two minutes after midnight on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11th 1956. A short time after the accident he had started to take fits and those fits produced severe haemorrhages which finally resulted in his death. The Sisters prayed constantly beside him and a little before the end he appeared to gain consciousness and joined in the saying of the Hail Mary. The men from the village helped to dig the grave and Brother King made the coffin. The Sisters lined it and in the evening his body was placed in the Church. After Requiem Mass on the morning of 12th, Brother Reis was buried on the side of the hill at the mission.
From October 9th to 31st 1956, Monsignor Doyle visited Nimowa for Confirmations. The villagers were very impressed with the Monsigner's regalia. On February 3rd 1957, Sister Antonia arrived on the "Yelangili" a new boat built by the Osborne brothers on Rossel Island. Father Jim Fallon spent 7 weeks on the Mission. When Father Twomey left for leave in July, Father Murphy was in charge. He remained at Nimowa until July 1960. Father Twomey developed hepatitis in Sydney and was south for 21 months altogether. Sister Margaret Jennings was appointed to Nimowa at the beginning of 1958 and remained for two years. Father Kevin Young arrived in November 1958 and stayed until May 1964. Brother Mick Carroll was appointed to the Nimowa Mission and built a fine new Church. He moved off to Kurada and then returned to Nimowa in 1960 to build a new two-storey dormitory for the girls. Father Twomey returned to Nimowa and stayed with Father Kevin Young from August 1960 until the end of 1961. Sister Petrina took up duties at Nimowa at the start of 1962 and remained on the Mission until 1967. In 1962 Father Twomey was sent to Rabaul to give the Spiritual Year at the Ulapia Seminary. Brother Carroll again came back to Nimowa and built a Copra drier, shed and Trade Store. Father Twomey returned to the Mission in 1963.
In the same year Sisters Assunta and Margaret Mary took up their appointments at Nimowa and remained until 1966. In 1964, Father Tony Young came to Nimowa and still "holds the fort" to the present date. Father Kevin Young left for Goodenough Island. A layman, Brian Moore, worked on the plantation at Nimowa for Father Twomey.
In 1966, Father Tony Young was asked to go to the Ulapia Seminary in New Britain to teach for one year. Father Kevin Murphy returned from a year of teaching at "Downlands College" in Queensland. Sisters Olive and Gerald came to Nimowa early in 1966. Sister Olive remained until 1968 whilst Sister Gerald finished her tour of duty in 1971.
During 1966, 5 boats were lost in the area. The "Karu", a small steamer was wrecked at Jomard Passage. A Japanese fishing vessel "Ashitaka Maru" was wrecked near East Point on Rossel Island. The Methodist Mission launch "Gilmour" was wrecked north of Nimowa on the barrier reef. The Mission helped to save the passengers and assisted the "Koonwarra" to salvage the engine. The "Fijian Trader", a big motor barge was wrecked trying to salvage the "Karu". In mid December 1966, a Formosan fishing vessel "Wann Chang" was wrecked on a reef some 2 miles north of Panaman Island. The crew were taken off by Tom Sigamata and taken to Madawa and thence to Misima. The boat was a "write off".
In January 1967 Father Murphy departed to take charge of the Mission in the Trobriand Islands. Sister Charles moved on to Rossel Island and Sister Brenda replaced her, remaining until 1970.
On November 13th 1967 it was heard on the radio that tropical Cyclone "Annie" passed some twenty to thirty miles north on the night of 12th. Winds were up to 60 knots - a small cyclone. Sister Brenda and Father Twomey were booked to go in to Samarai on this trip of the "Bev." On Sunday night, 12th the "Bev" was sunk off the Conflict Islands. Captain Ray Taylor led the "swim" from the floating rafts to Bunora Island on the Monday. Mr Cotter (Bank of N.S.W.) was on his way to Misima. He died on Bunora Island after swimming ashore across a treacherous coral reef. All survivors were badly cut. They had no food or water until picked up on the Wednesday by the search vessel, "Tagula" under Captain Reg Eginton.
Father Joseph Chow was appointed to Mimowa early in 1968 and carried on the pastoral work of the Mission until 1970. Sister Therese McNamara took up her position as a teacher in 1969 and remained until 1971. The Mission had made steady progress and in 1969 there were Churches erected at Araida, Rehuwo, Grass Island, Hesesai, Nigahau, Maho, Tandiai, Mamanila and Kuwanak. Mass Centres, visited regularly by the Missionaries were established at Madauwa, Western Point, Emembalia, Iyin, Panaman, Dadahai , Pomela, Panabari and Hebwoni.
The small launch "Jubilee" came "off the slips" and was launched in 1969. The keel had been laid in 1968 to honour the Silver Jubilee of Ordination of Father Kevin Twomey. Layman Hugh Webb arrived at the beginning of 1970 to run the Stores and help with the Mission accounting. During 1970 Father Gerry Doody relieved for some months. Brother Mick Carroll came on the scene again and constructed a very fine hospital. The finance for this project was donated by the Rotary Clubs of Toowoomba, Queensland. In this same year the Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries Section, commenced operations at Sawata.
Sister Jacinta was appointed to the Mission at the beginning of 1971 and remains to the present date. Layman, Marco Paci, came from south and did some fine work as a general tradesman. Nurse, Barbara Dowling took over the Hospital in 1972. In the same year came Kevin Lane to do the "books" and run the Store. He stayed to the end of 1973. Married couple Ted and Mary Borst came to help the Mission at Nimowa and remained until 1975.
Father Bill Ryan was running his Catechist Centre, "Sivarai Namona" near Port Moresby and Peter Doni was the first Nimowan Graduate in 1972. A new "Presbytery" for the Fathers was built and occupied in 1972. Schools in operation in the Nimowa area in 1972 were situated at Nimowa, Hobuk, Maho, Griffin Point and Rehuwo. Sister Margaret Collins returned to Nimowa in 1973 and carries on her great work to the present day. She was joined by Sister Cupertino who stayed at Nimowa until 1975. Layman Wally Bennett came out to Nimowa at the beginning of 1973 and was of great assistance to the Mission during his two year term.
It was a step forward for the Mission when the first local nurse, Matilda Malona, took charge of the Nimowa Hospital, in 1973. Nimowa was brought a little closer to civilisation with the opening of the Tagula Air Strip and the landing of the first plane in 1973. Tagula is just a short "paddle" across to Sudest Island from Nimowa. In May 1973 the first "Self Study" Course took place at Nimowa and proved to be highly successful. Another first for Nimowa when local man, Stan Taliesa became the first Manager of the Mission. Stan died in 1979.
In September 1975, outstations Araida and Maho were granted the privilege of having the Blessed Sacrament reserved in their Churches. Sister Antonia was appointed in 1976 and worked on the Mission until the end of 1977. The Sawata Vocational Centre for the training of local young men, opened in 1976. First teacher in charge was Claude Nounou, brother of Father Sam Miyon. Father Joe Ensing came from the Trobriand Islands early in 1976 and has done much for the progress of the Mission in his seven years. In mid 1982 he anticipates returning to his former field of labour in the Trobriand Islands.
Lay Missionaries, Ray and Hank Flapper, did some fine building jobs at Nimowa during 1977. A second local nurse, Mary Patricia Kido, took charge of the hospital in 1977. In this same year, in February, the first "Leadership Course" was held at Nimowa. Another success. Sister Juliana commenced teaching in the Nimowa school in 1978. Diocesan Priests, Fathers Tony and Ralph Fitzgerald, gave of their time in 1978. Australian, Sister Cornelia came from Sideia and nursed through 1977.
The first "Christian Community Course" was held at Mamanila in May 1978. Quite a few more have since been held in various centres. During 1979/1980, Father Tony Young moved in to Ladava to be near the "S.I.L." Linguistic Centre and to work on his translations of the Gospels. In 1981 he was asked to take charge at Erave, in the Highlands, and conduct the Spiritual Year for the students from the Holy Spirit Seminary at Bomana. The first Course for Assistant Church Leaders was held at Nimowa during 1981.
In 1982 the Sawata Vocational Centre, with twenty students in training, is under the charge of Benedict Niki. It would take many pages to mention all who have so faithfully worked for the Nimowa Mission. Acknowledgment must be made of such men as Stephen Siletu who captained the "St Patrick" for twenty five years. Assisting him through most of this period, and very ably, was crew member Gerry. Col and Henry have competently worked as long as carpenters and relieving Captains.
Father Sam Miyon has been appointed to assist Father Dunne on Fergusson in 1982. Father Tony Young and the Sisters, with the Catechists and Leaders will carry on this "success" story of the Nimowa Mission. Great credit must be given to the late Leo Paulisbo for his devotion and dedication prior to the arrival of the Missionaries and to Father Kevin Twomey, founder of the Nimowa Mission, who laboured long and well for over twenty years among the people of Nimowa.
Sam Miyon was born on Sahara Island, in the Calvados Chain, some few miles from the Mission Station at Nimowa. His early education took place at Nimowa from where he progressed to Sideia for Secondary schooling. Expressing his desire to study for the Priesthood, he was sent by the Bishop to the Minor Seminary at Ulapia, near Rabaul. On completion of his higher studies there, Sam Miyon was transferred to the M.S.C. Seminary, "De Boismenu" at Bomana, near Port Moresby. Here he studied Philosophy and Theology and did pastoral work among the people in the area. In 1976 Brother Sam was raised to the Diaconate.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart, June 17th 1977, was chosen for the date of Ordination to the Priesthood. Brother Sam wished to be ordained at Nimowa to be among his own people. Prior to the actual day the people of Nimowa were very busy with preparations. The men made sago and sailed around the islands looking for pigs and native food. The women were occupied in making baskets, mats and grass skirts to be used in the dancing and for the giving of presents. The Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and mission workers, teachers and children of Nimowa were busy cleaning and tidying up the school and mission area. Everybody was practising dances, hymns and songs.
From Port Moresby, by plane, came Fathers, Brothers and Sisters. From Sideia came His Lordship, Bishop Desmond Moore, M.S.C. with more Fathers, Brothers and Sisters. Many visitors came from Alotau, Goodenough Island, Budoya, the Calvados Chain and Rossel Island. Father Kevin Twomey, founder of the Nimowa Mission, flew in from Rabaul. The people who lived nearby on Sudest and Joannet Islands brought in pigs and food.
On Friday morning the people, who had brought gifts, presented them to Brother Sam while he and his relations were on a platform. The bearers of gifts were accompanied by dancers and leaders beating the drums. At 3.30 p.m. Brother Sam approached the beach by canoe, accompanied by his village relatives and people. The crowd, singing and beating drums, danced as the canoe was beached. All then processed to where the Ordination would take place. A traditional native hut had been built and here, with much ceremony, Bishop Moore ordained to the Priesthood, Sam Miyon. Many people from different areas took part in the Liturgy. The ceremony ended at 5.30 p.m. with the first blessing of Father Sam Miyon, M.S.C.
Heavy rains prevented any celebrations in the evening. On Saturday morning old men and women, with young girls and boys, were busy preparing a grand feast. Some were burning off the hairs of the pigs while others cooked the pigs, vegetables, rice and sago. While all these preparations were going on, soccer and netball were played by the youngsters. The "feast" took place at 5.30 p.m. and was followed by a "sing sing" put on by the various groups. Finally there was guitar playing and dancing For the enjoyment of the young.
On Sunday morning at 9.30 a.m. Father Sam Miyon offered his First Mass on the same spot where he had been ordained Priest. Again different groups took part in the Liturgy. Before the final Blessing, representatives from all groups present, approached the Altar and gave their gifts to Father Sam. Sam Miyon, M.S.C. is now a Priest forever.
The exodus started on Monday. The plane to Moresby lost its direction in bad weather and finally touched down at Miadeba, on Normanby Island with little fuel to spare. By Thursday all had departed - all with very happy memories of a very great occasion.
Before the war there had been at Sideia a group of boys from Rossel Island, the furthest corner of the Mission. They had a remarkable record for devotion and zeal. Three of them taught at Nimowa outstations when that Mission was established. Later they went on to teach on Rossel Island and to lay the foundations for the Mission there.
These three were Michael Bili, John Gwedi and Malachy Mombi. To Michael, especially, is due the propaganda which resulted in the Rossel people begging for the Mission to be established on their island. Another, and the "grand old man" of the team was Camillus Tebi, who had gone to work in Port Moresby. When war came, Camillus walked from Port Moresby to Milne Bay; got a lift on an Army "spotter's" launch as far as Nivani Island where Japanese ships were anchored. There they were captured and Camillus was put to digging trenches. After a severe bombing the Japanese left. Camillus swam himself on a log to nearby Panapompom Island, thence by canoe to Misima. He then went by the only canoe that has ever gone from Rossel Island to Misima, to his home at Jaru on Rossel. There he established a "station" which still flourishes, ran a "school" and personally baptised, over the years, more than a hundred people in danger of death. By making land available, by running schools, these men mentioned above, together with Joseph Waibe, Philip Lamonga and Alphonsus Mensa had two hundred and fifty people ready for Baptism when Father Murphy, in 1952, was at last able to begin the Mission on Rossel Island.
Rossel Island lies at the eastern tip of the Louisiade Archipelago, some seventy miles east of Nimowa. A century and more ago its inhabitants were a race of cannibals and history recalls the murder of three hundred and sixteen Chinese, stranded on the reef of Rossel Island after the wreck of the "St Paul" in 1858. The people have changed very much since those days and are now mild and friendly, keen for schooling and trying hard to learn English. The island itself has a rugged gloominess about it - its coasts are forbidding and its mountains are nearly always smothered in cloud.
The first Mass on Rossel Island was said by Father Twomey in September 1947. He had inspected Leo Paulisbo's school at Nimowa then continued on the "Morning Star" with Mr Osborne and son Hugh to Rossel Island. The Osbornes disembarked at their home, Avaleti.
On February 17th 1948 Bishop Sorin, with Father Dwyer, sailed from Nimowa on the "Morning Star" and anchored at the western end of Rossel Island, at Mbua village. On 18th they reached Jinjo and the site of the new school. They inspected the school, boys' house and teacher's house. About seventy natives were present, including twenty-four schoolchi1dren. On January 6th 1949, Michael Bill came in from Rossel to Nimowa and reported all well - forty pupils in the school.
On October 13th 1949, the "Morning Star" dropped anchor off Jinjo in very rough waters. Father Dwyer was on board. Late in the evening the marriage of Philip Lamonga and his bride was performed on the stern deck of the "Star". The sea was rough and the ship was rolling. The batteries were flat and the auxiliary engine had failed. The main Vivian engine was started to give some light and "thumped" away loudly throughout the Ceremony. Kevin McGhee was "best man" and witness. The bride was violently ill and all were sitting on the deck, holding on for dear life - a Marriage to remember.
On August 15th 1951, Father Kevin Murphy arrived at Jinjo and founded the Mission. There were twelve hundred people into the lives of whom, with the aid of the Sisters already promised, he hoped to bring the love of the Heart of Christ. Father Murphy came in to Nimowa in October and returned to Rossel with Father Twomey. On a tour around the island, sixty-three were baptised. On December 12th Monsignor Doyle, with Father Twomey, visited Rossel Island on the" St. Patrick". He was given a tremendous welcome by the people. Monsignor Doyle returned to Sideia with four Rossel teachers.
On February 2nd 1952, Brother Matt Reynolds arrived at Jinjo to build the Convent. With him were Sisters Pancratius and Xavier to have a look at their new field of labour. They decided on the site for the Convent and a girls' school. By April the roof was on the Convent - Catholics, Methodists and pagans, all helping. On November 13th the pioneer group, Sisters Pancratius, Xavier and Virgil sailed from Nimowa with Mother Damascene and Brother Murray. They went ashore on the evening of 14th, were met by Father Murphy and climbed the hill to the Mission by torchlight. The Convent was a two-storey building of native bush material and which rocked as the Sisters walked across the floor. The roof was of cocoanut leaves. Church, school and Father's house were of similar material.
The founding work continued throughout 1953 with great success. Father Greg Abbott visited Rossel in June and gave a good report. The Sisters had their Retreat at Sideia in January 1954 and returned to Jinjo in February. On April 9th Father Murphy, Brother Murray and Ron Osborne visited Nimowa aboard the "Weiwei". Mr Roscoe, the Administration's second in charge of Education paid a visit to Rossel in July. Monsignor Doyle, with Australian Provincial Father Kerrins came on visitation in August". In October, the Sisters went in to Sideia to meet their Mother General from Rome. His Honour, the Administrator and Mrs Cleland, visited Jinjo at the end of December. In February 1955 Sister Pancratius was appointed Superior at Sideia and Sister Marie Marguerite replaced her at Rossel Island. Sister Virgil moved in to Nimowa. In April 1955, Father Murphy became ill and was sent off to hospital. Father Earl came in from the Trobriands and arrived at Jinjo on May 18th. In 1955, from a population of one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, five hundred had been baptised. Father Earl became ill in August and Father Twomey relieved for a fortnight.
On May 21st the new boat built by the Osborne Brothers, the "Yelangili", was launched at Avaleti. Father Twomey joined Father Earl at Avaleti for the occasion. Brother Pat Cantwell came to Jinjo in August 1955 and installed a small sawmill. He built five European type dwellings; Convent, kitchen, girls' dormitory and Father's house. He remained at Rossel until March 1959. Father Jim Fallon visited Rossel in 1957. The work of the Mission continued successfully through to 1960. Each Christmas the Fathers, Brothers and Sisters would sail in to Sideia for their Annual Retreats.
In October 1960, Father Bob Hyland went by "Morning Star" from Kelologeya to Sideia and Samarai where he transhipped to the "Yelangili" for the trip to Rossel. He was to assist Father Earl. During his two years on Rossel, he tried to learn the language, worked the outstations constantly, made new contacts around the west end of the island, mustered new children for the school and brought in baskets of food for the school children. On Ascension Thursday in 1961, with a group of native boys, Father Hyland climbed the highest peak on the island, 3,750 ft, and fixed a Crucifix there.
As well as the new Church at Saman, new church buildings were erected at that time at all the established outstations - Pum, East Point, Avaleti and Jaru. The Catechists from the outstations and the native teachers helped the Priests to revise the old Prayer book and prepare some new prayers and hymns in the Rossel language. Father Hyland remained until November 1962. Father Peter Flynn relieved in November and December and in January Father Bernie McGrane came for four months. In 1963 Father Peter Flynn again relieved at Jinjo and took the place of Father Earl for four months. Father Kevin Twomey also helped out for three months during that year.
In 1965 Brothers Pat and Jack Cantwell were mainly concerned with the building of permanent structures on Rossel.
Brother Pat built a new Father's house, Convent and girls' dormitory. Brother Jack built the new Church and school. In 1967 Layman John Mills came out to Rossel to teach in the Primary school at Jinjo. Sister Charles transferred from Nimowa to Jinjo in February. Sister Sarto went back to Nimowa. In September, the Australian Provincial, Father J F McMahon made his visitation to Rossel Island. One young man, Augustine, from Rossel Island joined the Sarto Brothers at Sideia and moved on to Port Moresby with Father Bill Ryan and the other members. He was ordained Deacon in 1977 and continues to work in the Hohola Parish.
Former Rector of the Seminary at Ulapia, Father Kevin English, M.S.C. had been stationed on Goodenough Island for six months. He was appointed by the Bishop to Rossel Island and arrived aboard the "Lakatoi" at Pambwa in October 1971. He arrived at Jinjo on a Sunday morning and spent one hour only with Father Earl before the latter set sail on the same "Lakatoi". On the walk down to the boat the old pastor advised the new that when a penitent said "Machera" it was time to give the absolution - The Rossel language is extremely difficult and has been mastered by very few. On the Monday morning Father English was off on patrol with Sister Imelda aboard the "Ancilla". From then on it has always been patrol one week and home the next. At first, Father English visited only the Catholic Centres for Church services and Clinic. Gradually trading entered the picture and the Mission was asked to visit the United Church Centres. Now there are eleven centres which are visited monthly.
The "Ancilla” was replaced by the St Joseph and for a time the Mission had the use of the "Majella". The Mission's own launch, "Yeli Ngep", built by Brother Moore and his team, arrived in May 1975.
The most significant development in the ten years Father English has been on Rossel, has been the relationship with the United Church. It has been quite friendly and at all the stations both Catholic and United pray together. At some stations, including Jinjo, there is an ecumenical Mass once a month. Additional buildings at Jinjo over the past few years are a storage shed on the beach and a residence for the women workers. Both are solid and lasting buildings.
There is a YC group at each of the Catholic Centres. There is now only one Catechist, John Camillus. A second and most devoted Catechist, Bartholomew Nata, died at Jinjo at the end of February on the day after the "Morning Star" brought him from Alotau hospital. Two schools, with a total of two hundred and forty pupils, operate at Jinjo and Jaru. St Luke's Health sub Centre is situated at Jinjo under the care of two nursing sisters and two nurse aides. Three Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart assist Father English in his work among the Rossel people in 1982. The Catholics of Rossel Island now number one thousand five hundred and eight. Tribute must be paid to Father Nlorbert Earl who spent sixteen continuous years among his Rossel Parishioners. Father Earl returned to Australia at the end of 1971 and died in Sydney on March 24th 1979. Nursing Sister Mary Hackett, teacher Sister Brigetta and Sister Cresentia staff the Jinjo Convent in 1982.
The D'Entrecasteaux Group of islands lies north of Sideia and consists of Goodenough, Fergusson and Norman by Islands. The combined population is about 40,000. Goodenough Island is the westernmost of the group.
Missionaries of the Methodist Church settled on Goodenough Island in 1896. Doctor Bromilow, with his companions, came from Dobu Island. The people of this latter island were very much afraid as they were traditional enemies of the Goodenough Island people. They began their mission at Wailagi and spread from there all over the island, setting up small missions under their pastors, everywhere. The Bwaidogan language was used as the Methodist Church language and a hymn book-prayer book was translated into that Language. The Dobu language was also used and the Bible was printed in Dobuan. Balantine and Jennes wrote a Bwaidogan Grammar which also included many myths and songs of the Island...a valuable book. Of course there were small "mission schools" throughout the Island. A very good hospital was built at Wailagi and health care was one of the contributions made by these early Missionaries.
Prior to the war a few Goodenough people came in to Sideia and were eventually baptised - some workmen, some schoolboys and some in danger of death. For many years the M.S.C. had been trying to open a station on Goodenough Island. It was not until September 1949 that an offer of land was received. The site was a 700 acre property on the north east coast at Watuluma Bay. The land was judged suitable.
Father Greg Abbott and Father Norbert Earl, accompanied by Samuel Atulake, a local man and convert from the Methodist (now United) Church, landed at Watuluma on 31st December 1949. The first Mass was offered on New year's Day, January 1st 1950. The new station was named "Santa Maria". Fortunately from the start, they had a fairly respectable house in which to live. The population on Goodenough Island was estimated to be 10,000. Father Earl departed and Father Abbott commenced his work of evangelisation. He found all of Goodenough was Methodist and, at first, he was far from welcome. He built a school and had the assistance of stalwart converts, Sam Atulake, Lawrence Yaubihi and Francis Wabuga. Father Abbott continued to build and the thing that made the Catholic Church popular was the formal education with well established schools and, finally, with well trained teachers. There were also many pockets of people who were not fully evangelised by the Methodist Ministers and these easily joined our Mission, often through their children attending our schools. The Methodist Church did make good Christians' among the people, and, today, many are still there, especially around the three main Circuit centres Wailagi, Numonumo and Uwawefu (Diodio). Later Missionaries often reminded the Catholics that they should always be grateful to the early Methodist Missionaries for the good grounding in their Faith in Christ and their knowledge of the Bible.
Father Abbott carried on alone for many years. At first the Mission did not have a boat and all contact with villages was by foot. Eventually he was able to buy a small petrol launch and visited outlying villages where schools were being established. In the early sixties Father Abbott was joined by Father Kevin Young. Brother Brian Cuneen also arrived at Watuluma to teach in the school. The Sarto Brothers came from Sideia and a Church and many permanent school buildings were erected. Father Abbott had learned the language and made many translations. His hard work at Watuluma and around the island established a strong, though small, Catholic Community. New Stations rose at Mataita, Kalauna, Lakulakuya and Diodio.
It is interesting to note that Watuluma might have become the High School of the Diocese instead of Hagita. Early in the 1950's there was a plan to make Watuluma the central boarding school for the whole Mission. There was land enough on the property for classrooms, playing fields and gardens. A start was made when Brother Reynolds (who has since died) poured the cement and put up the cement posts for the first school building. Logs were towed to Watuluma by the "Morning Star" for the hearers and these were trimmed and put into place. It is hard to say now, why exactly it was that the whole plan was not carried through. One reason may have been that Brother Reynolds became ill and had to return to Australia. Another may be that Watuluma is pretty isolated, both as regards supplies and for pupils; and the soil proved to be not as productive as it had been hoped.
A new station at Wagifa began during this period. Father Russ Andersen, a great linguist, travelled the length and breadth of the island and did a great deal to consolidate the Catholic Faith, especially at Diodio. Father Young built a house at Bolu Bolu and this was a great centre for work among the Catholics. Father Andersen began a school at Ufaufa. It was later discontinued, but opened again under Teacher Macartan in 1975. Eventually schools at Watuluma, Mataita, Ulutuya and Kalauna had their own Grade 6 Classes and the children from these schools went on to do secondary schooling at Sideia, and later at Hagita.
Father Kevin Young opened a school at Vivigani so that, today, there are now seven Catholic Agency schools; three in predominantly United Church areas, where the people happily requested them. The mutual relationship is excellent and co-operation is always there.
Father John Fallon (1973), Tony O'Brien (1974) and John Matthew Sinou (1979) continued the good work begun by the earlier Missionaries and concentrated on the formation of Church Leaders. There are now three Catechists and many Leaders caring for the seven Catholic communities. A Leadership Centre is to be built at Bolu Bolu in 1982 to assist in the formation of these people and also to help the Young Christians. A Teacher, Cyril Tobesa, is responsible for starting the YC on Goodenough Island and it is now being carried on by Dominic Valenauna (Catechist) and Joseph Kaiso (Diodio Church Leader).
Father O'Brien and his community built a very fine Church at Ulutuya. He also encouraged the introduction of traditional song forms into the Mass and the local language translations into the Liturgy. New Churches are being built at Mataita and Diodio and there are plans for churches at Wagifa and Kalauna.
Goodenough Island has been blessed with Vocations. Matthew Ivewakula is at the Holy Spirit Seminary in Port Moresby and is due for Ordination in 1983. Sister M Rose is a professed Daughter of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Sisters Flavia, Clare and Brigid are professed members of the Congregation, "Handmaids of Our Lord". Margaret Adinawae is a Postulant with the F.D.N.S.C. at Yule Island and two young men, David Mene and Cosmas Taudigana are Postulants with the M.S.C. at Vunapau in New Britain.
Certainly our early Missionaries established well the Catholic Church. The spearhead work was done by the three original helpers, Sam, Lawrence and Francis, with others through their teaching in the schools. Sam Atulake, in particular, was the right hand man of Father Abbott, especially in the work of translation.
THE P.I.M.E. MISSIONARIES ARRIVE
On September 29th 1981, the Feast of St Michael, Bishop Moore made the official hand-over to two P.I.M.E. Fathers of the Catholic Communities on Goodenough Island.
The story began some years back, when the Bishop, during a visit to Rome, went to see the Superior General of the P.I.M.E. Fathers, Father Fidele Gianinni. He went, seeking his support in our Diocese of Alotau. In 1980, during a visitation to his Missions in Asia, Father Gianinni came to Alotau to see our work at first hand and to make final arrangements.
Meanwhile, the people of Goodenough Catholic Communities were asked if they would like to have the P.I.M.E. Fathers take care of them and let the M.S.C. go to work elsewhere in the Diocese. After many meetings and discussions the Church Leaders were happy to receive the new Fathers, knowing that both Societies would be working together in the Diocese as a team and that the M.S.C. would continue to come to work with them from time to time, especially in Leadership Courses.
So, early in 1981, Father Gianinni brought Father Giulio Schiavi to Goodenough Island to begin work there. Father Giulio had spent fifteen years in the Missions at Bangladesh. Later in the year Father Cesare Bonivento arrived to assist Father Giulio. It is planned to send another Priest towards the end of 1982. The story of the early P.I.M.E. Missionaries is told in a previous Chapter 2 - "Early Missions in the Pacific".
When these first P.I.M.E. Fathers left the Pacific area they moved to Hong Kong, where one of their Priests became the first Bishop. Their Society works in such places as: China, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Borneo, Thailand, South America and North Africa. There are five P.I.M.E. houses in the United States. In 1932 the Society founded a sister Congregation, the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, who work with the Priests and Brothers and who are engaged mostly in medical and social work. The main aim of the P.I.M.E. Fathers is to establish the local Church - an aim that we M.S.C. have in common with them.
And so, after thirty one years of missionary work on Goodenough Island, the M.S.C. happily welcome the P.I.M.E. Fathers to carry on where our Society left off. There are now seven Catholic Communities which have their own Church Leaders. There are also seven Catholic Agency Community schools. The total population of the island is now nearly thirteen and a half thousand, of whom a little over 10% are Catholic. The remainder are United Church with around forty SDA people at one village.
Other M.S.C. who have worked on Goodenough Island are Father Kevin English who spent three months at Watuluma with Father Abbott and then moved off to Wagifa and Diodio before his transfer to Rossel Island; and Brother Herman Kooyman, who has just completed the new Presbytery at Bolu Bolu for the P.I.M.E. Fathers and who will later return to build the Leadership House.
The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, though they have no Convent on Goodenough, have continually worked with the Fathers and Brothers in the spiritual formation of the people. Sister Patricia Clarke assisted one of the Church Leaders to establish a Village Development Centre at Diodio - a grassroots level vocational school for girls. Sister Delia and Sister Helen have continually assisted the Teachers who worked in the schools on Goodenough Island.
It is hoped that Sister Patricia can help establish another Village Development Centre (maybe in 1983) at Hayaunaga Watul'jma. The buildings and garden are already there waiting for a "Qualified" teacher to assist the youth who are keen to come to this centre.
Fergusson Island lies between Goodenough and Normanby Islands. From Santa Maria Father Earl was able, in September 1950, to open up another station on Fergusson Island, at Budoya in the Dawson Straits. This is a very picturesque coastal area between Fergusson and Normanby Islands. There had always been schoolboys at Sideia from the Dobu areas; when their education was completed they returned to their homes which would become centres of Catholic Action, dotted throughout the district. There was Joseph Mimagore, amongst a group of Fergusson Islanders, who came to school at Sideia and later went back to his village and prepared the way for the establishment of the Mission at Budoya. There were about two hundred Catholics, all males, on Fergusson Island before the Mission started. In 1948-1949 Brother Vogt recruited some thirty young men from this district for the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme and took them to the Trobriand Islands to learn their carpentry, whilst erecting new buildings for the Mission. Very soon these young men wished to become Catholics and, when sufficiently instructed by Brother Vogt, were baptised. They then remained with Brother to complete the three year course of carpentry before receiving their diploma. When they returned to the Dobu area they formed, with the ex-Sideia schoolboys, a living nucleus of Catholicism in a very Protestant area.
On September 3th 1950, Father Earl came to establish the Mission at what is now known as Budoya. He found the ground well prepared. There were no buildings so he lived aboard the "St Paul". He made contact with many villages and visited them regularly by boat.
Father Martin Atchison took over Father Earl's "Apostolate of the Sea" on April 14th 1951. There was one native hut for the two teachers, Joseph Mimagore and Andrew Inosi and this building served as school as well. There were 15 pupils. Father Atchison continued to live on the "St Paul". A new school was opened at Galaya, across the Dawson Straits on Normanby Island, on January 21st 1952. A third school was opened at Kelologeya at the north eastern end of Morman by island on January 25th 1952.
Father Alan Corry came from the Trobriand Islands on February 15th 1952 to assist Father Atchison. At the same time, Brother Vogt arrived with his trained assistants. Father Corry and Brother Vogt with his team went down to Milne Bay to get the necessary materials to build a Church and Presbytery. Father Atchison went on leave so Father Corry taught, said Mass and administered the Sacraments, whilst Brother Vogt and assistants built a most impressive Church and a fine practical Presbytery. A solid foundation had been laid at Budoya.
Father Corry was not well and transferred at the end of 1952. On the completion of the building programme a big "sagal feast with dancing and singing, was put on for the official opening. Brother Vogt with his helpers returned to Sideia. There were several Baptisms that year including Andrew's wife, Veronica Bugai and Nympha Deisi.
Father Jim Fallon came to Budoya early in 1953 and cared for Kelologeya, Lasalobuya and Made. Father Atchison opened a school at Si'ilugu in 1954 and further west along the coast at Nade in 1955. Father Fallon took up residence at Kelologeya at the end of 1954.
The world famous "Trapp Family Singers" gave their final Concert in Sydney in 1955. Having met Father Kevin Murphy in Sydney and showing a keen interest in the Missions, three members of the family, Maria, Rosemary and Johannes came to Budoya as Lay Missionaries in November 1956. Maria and Rosemary taught in the school and did medical work in the Mission clinic whilst Johannes assisted in the building programme and did much Catechetical work with the villagers. There was much "singing", "dancing" and "playing of recorders" at Budoya during the period the Trapps worked on the Mission. Johannes returned to America in May 1959 while Maria and Rosemary went home on holidays in 1960. Rosemary did not return but Maria came back, did the "E" Course in Rabaul, taught at Budoya and supervised schools. Maria is still in Papua in 1982, doing social work in Port Moresby.
Father Jim Moore arrived at Budoya in April 1956 and assisted Father Atchison with outstation work at Taulu and Nade. The Father's house was built at Nade at the end of 1957 and Father Moore was in "semi residence". The school at Nade was opened at the beginning of 1958 with teachers Jimmy Dobu and Gregory Dewayota in charge. Father Moore transferred to Kurada in May 1958. He was to return and look after Budoya and North Fergusson area through 1964.
In 1959 Father Atchison opened a Mission Station at O'Oya but it closed in 1963. Philip Masolei built a fine house for the Fathers and Father Ian Langlands became resident Priest at Budoya for two years. In October 1959 Father Bob Hyland relieved. Maria and Rosemary Trapp with Lay Missionary Engineer Graham Furness and all the native teachers were very busy with teaching, giving instructions, supervising the Legion of Mary and running several outstations. Father Hyland left again in January 1960. Father Bernie McGrane came to Budoya in June 1960 and taught Standard 5. He remained until December 1961. The Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop de Furstenberg visited Budoya in March 1961.
The Mission station of Momo'awa in the district of Galeya was opened by Father Langlands early in 1962. The steep hills and the climb to the Mission tended to dampen the inhabitants' spirits. Many more adults asked for this station to be set up in a position more central to the area. Momo'awa was named "St. Pius Sarto Mission".
Father Langlands founded two more Missions on Fergusson Island. He opened Basima with a Church, school and boarders' house already constructed. This station is known as St. Michael's. St. Theresa's Bosalewa was the next opening and grew slowly but surely. It is situated inland about three miles from the coast on an open plateau. It is necessary to track through the swamps to reach the station.
In February 1962, the Sisters came to Budoya. The pioneers were Sister Flavian, Christine and Charles (Margaret Mary) and they received a very warm welcome from the people. The Sisters taught in the school and did extensive medical work, both in the large hospital and in village clinics. Maria Trapp returned from America in 1962 and taught until 1965.
In 1963 Father Langlands made the first visit to Salakahadi in Central Fergusson. It was a five and a half hour walk to reach the Barracks at Tutubeia. He received a good welcome from the people and they were anxious to have a Catholic school. They showed him the proposed site and by the end of the year had cleared part of the ground and had the first posts of the school erected.
When Father Atchison was appointed Religious Superior, Fathers Jim Moore and Jim Fallon were stationed at Sudoya. During 1965 a twenty-four bed hospital was built. Brother Pat Cantwell was appointed to Budoya in May 1966 to build and supervise maintenance. He remained until October.
On May 14th 1966, Teacher, Henry Lekisi, with his wife Josephine, walked from Bosalewa the five hours to the new Mission station of Salakahadi. The station is situated right next to the crocodile infested Lake Laou - about five miles in circumference. The Mission is built at a village called Bwayobwayo and the surrounding population from Tutubeiya, Ebadidi and Nuboa adds up to eight hundred and thirteen. Forty school children and some forty adults were being instructed in the Faith. Henry and Josephine set this mission off to an excellent beginning, and the school's influence and drive had come from the personality of the teacher. There were two teachers' houses, two separate schools and a kitchen, with a teacher's garden in the making nearby. The name of the station is St. Aloysius.
Until the end of 1981 Father Russ Anderson has been in charge of the outstations on north, central and west Fergusson. In all these Mission stations two Committee men have been elected as lay leaders of the people. One looks after the Wednesday mission work whilst the other looks to the school children, their discipline and regular attendance at school. Wednesday of each week is considered and observed as their Mission Day and each follower must come and work to maintain the Mission buildings and receive half an hour's Religious Instruction after work. The people must see to the food for the Teacher. These stations are still growing. The fact that many of the outstation children are now graduating to Sideia is having a big pull on the parents in sending their children to our schools. They know now that the Catholics are the only ones with Registered Schools in North Fergusson Island. Statistics at the end of 1967 give a population on Fergusson Island of 13,000. Total baptised 1,450; total school children 560, with 16 Registered Teachers. There were eight outstations. The European Staff consisted of two Priests and three Sisters. There were twenty-two native teachers of whom sixteen were qualified. Transport on the Mission was one boat, the "St. Paul" - one outboard and a Honda Motorbike.
In 1969, Father John Doggett took charge of the Budoya Mission and successfully continued with the work of development. Father Russ Andersen was still in charge of the pastoral work in the north and west of Fergusson. 1973 saw the foundation of a new station at Igwageta and by 1975 all the Primary schools were localised. Sisters Benedicta, Delia and Marcella were at Budoya in 1975. Father Neville Dunne arrived in May and Father Andersen went to Australia on leave. Sister Delia went off to the Philippines to do the E.A.P.I. Pastoral Course.
Father Doggett went down to Australia in October 1975 and Father Dunne remained in charge of the Mission. Father Andersen returned in February 1976 and Sister Delia in May. Brother Vogt spent some time at Budoya in 1976 and repaired and extended the present staff nurses' home.
After many years in charge of the hospital she had started, Sister Benedicta left Budoya in 1977 and was replaced by Sister Bernardine. Because of illness, Father Andersen returned to Australia and remained there until he left to do a Pastoral Course in Africa. Soon after his ordination in June 1977, Father Sam Miyon was appointed to assist Father Dunne at Budoya, In that same year three fine teachers' houses were built at Budoya, Ukeokeo and Bosalewa, by Lay Missionaries, Ray and Hank Flapper.
Fathers Dunne and Sam Miyon carried on the good work on Fergusson Island in 1978 and Sister Pauline came to join the Sisters and to do her Nurse-Aide training. Sister Marlene arrived towards the end of the year to relieve Sister Bernardine. Most of the schools on Fergusson Island have a large enrolment of United Church children. In 1978 the Budoya and Deidei (United) schools were amalgamated and given the name O'YAU Community School.
Father Andersen returned to Budoya in late February 1979 after a successful course in Kenya and a quick "walk around the globe" during which he managed to shake hands with the Holy Father. Father Sam Miyon returned to Nimowa. Sister Bernardine returned from south and Sister Marlene was appointed to the Nimowa Mission. Sister Cornelia joined the nursing staff for a short period.
In 1980 Father Dunne was appointed Area Superior but remained in residence at Budoya. Sister Rose Luila joined Sisters Delia and Bernardine and commenced her Nurse-Aide course. During this year Brother Herman Kooyman came to Budoya and built a very fine new Church at Budoya which was opened and blessed by Bishop Moore just before Christmas. Seminarian, Martin Sema, came from Bomana for seven months Pastoral experience.
In 1981 Brother Brian Thompson, M.S.C., a Deacon from Australia, spent three months at Budoya for Pastoral experience. He was ordained to the Priesthood in Australia later in the year. Brother Frank Perry, formerly Deputy Head of Hagita High School started his work as School Supervisor and was based at Budoya. Sister Bernardine went south to Australia for long service leave and her place in the hospital was taken by Sister Marlene. Father Andersen also moved down to Australia for extended leave. Father Sam Miyon from Nimowa replaced him.
The "Self Study" of the Church in the early seventies and the achievement of political Independence in P.N.G. brought about a more enthusiastic effort to localise responsibility and authority in the Church. To enable local Lay Christians to accept responsibility and to work confidently to build up the local Church, the Mission began a series of Leadership Courses. These were run separately for the different language groups. Two Courses were conducted at Sideia for the Parish Leaders of Fergusson Island. Following these courses, two one week courses were held at Budoya with the theme, "ONE IN CHRIST".
During 1981 awareness courses were continued. This time the courses were conducted in each Parish. They were led by a team...Priests, Sisters and Catechists. These Courses have added greatly to the effort of localisation.
Small churches in local materials have been built at Sawa'edi and Waluma. Brother Kooyman initiated a new Church building at Taulu, across the Strait, and this is now almost complete. Six more permanent Church buildings have been planned for the outstations. Brother Kooyman has completed their pre-fabrication at Sideia and is now in the process of erecting them. They will be at Ukeokeo, Fagululu, Salakahadi, Bosalewa, Basima and O'Oya.
Sister Benedicta began the nurse-aide training programme at Budoya and this was given a new lease of life by Sister Bernardine. A creditable number of nurse-aides have graduated from the school at Budoya and are now doing very fine work in the Diocese. Plans were drawn up to build permanently for the Nurse-Aide School but, due to cuts in Government Health spending, the future of the School is uncertain and this has prevented any further action. This year, 1982, the School is supposed to amalgamate with Salamo (United Church) but, as yet, it is not clear what this means. More local Nurses have returned to work in the hospital. These have assumed greater responsibility and the hospital is giving excellent service to all.
A new hospital has been erected at Basima, on the north coast of Fergusson and, at present, is staffed by one trained nurse with one nurse-aide.
At present, in 1982, there is only one Catechist on Fergusson Island. The Parish Leaders have been organising Sunday services when the Priest is not present. They look after the Church in general but do not feel competent to instruct the people regularly or give marriage counselling.
In 1981 Henry Lekisi, who taught and worked so hard for very many years for the Church and his people, took one year's leave from the Education Department and is now training on the job as Station Manager at Budoya.
Two Mission Education Secretaries at Alotau, in the persons of Hubert Weiteli and Dominic Savio, are fine products of the Budoya Mission. The Budoya Mission thanks God for the Vocations from amongst its people. Those who have entered Religious Life are: Father John Matthew Sinou, M.S.C.; Novice Damien Lekima; Sarto Brothers Noel Bernard and Kevin Diulo; Holy Spirit Seminarian Frederick Bodigai; A.D. Sister Imelda and F.D.N.S.C. Postulant Jacinta Simon.
In 1934, Father Lyons went down to the Eucharistic Congress in Melbourne and took with him two schoolboys, Aloysius Ladiwito and Bernard Dumahera. Aloysius came from Made on Fergusson Island and was one of the first schoolboys baptised by Father Lyons at Sideia in 1933. Aloysius married Betty from Haibala and settled at Daio.
In 1948, working from Ladava, Father Atchison started a small school and a Mass Centre at Daio. Daio is on the south coast of Milne Bay about one hour across by boat from Ladava. The area lies on a narrow stretch of coconut fringed shore beneath green hills which drop, almost sheer, into the sea. Father Baldwin, when stationed at Ladava, continued to visit Daio and say Mass for the people in 1952. Brothers Ron Moore and Stan Reis (later killed in an accident aboard the "Morning Star"), went to Daio in 1952 and built a Presbytery. School was under way and Aloysius was the teacher.
Father Bernie McGrane went to live at Daio in 1953. A quonset hut was converted into a school and two grades were taught. Sometimes classes were held under the father's house. Children came from Daio, Gwawili, Kebegiuli, Gatupa'ana and Gauba. Some even came from East Cape on the far side of Milne Bay. The girls lived with relatives and the boys slept in a dormitory. The church was a large wooden building erected on wooden piles.
A Convent was started in 1956 and Sisters Verona and Bernardine came to Daio in December 1957. Brother Matt Reynolds had previously built three classrooms. Brother Vogt built the Convent and Hospital and the local people erected the Church. At the beginning of 1958 Sister Verona took up duties in the little school whilst Sister Bernardine set up a medical aid post and began village nursing. Father Kevin Murphy was in charge and remained at Daio until January 1965.
In 1959 disaster struck. The dread blackwater fever caught up with Sister Verona and in two days she was dead - September 5th 1959. Utterly disregardful of anything concerning herself, Sister Verona had become careless about taking the essential anti-malarial drugs. The Doctor, called up on the Mission radio, came post-haste from Samarai with a nurse and fought desperately to save Sister. It was too late. When the Mission boat arrived from Sideia early next morning to take Sister's body back to Sideia for burial, the sea had become too rough. The dinghy could not get ashore for the coffin. So the village people carried their beloved Sister in procession, for several miles, to the nearest jetty. It took such an occasion to manifest the growing spirit of friendly and sympathetic interest on the part of the non-Catholic mission, already long established up and down this south coast of Milne Bay. At the jetty, the coffin was met by a Kwato mission group who asked to be allowed to say some of their own prayers for her, sing a hymn and present beautiful hibiscus and frangipani.
Father Kevin Twomey was in charge of Daio from January to August 1960. In February, Father Peter Flynn came to assist him and remained until October 1960. A new church was started by Herman Kooyman in December 1961 but he did not have the time to complete it. Brother Mick Carroll came from Sideia in 1962 to finish the construction.
1964 saw the arrival of some Glen Waverley Seminarians who, under the guidance of Brother Vogt, built a new Father's house. Brother Carroll continued with a building programme and erected a very fine modern hospital. With the building of this hospital, which had the necessary facilities for the training of nurses, the Government assigned to the Catholic Mission the exclusive responsibility for medical patrols in the villages along the adjoining coastline of Milne Bay. Now, with her assistant nurses, Sister was invited to make a temporary clinic, even in the former Kwato, now United Church, prayer houses.
Father McGrane returned to work at Daio through 1965 and 1966. Father Gerry Doody and Father Peter Flynn helped for a period whilst Father McGrane was south on leave.
Father Joe Chow joined Father Flynn on April 10th 1967. Sister Helen had taken over the teaching while Sister Bernardine continued with her valuable medical work. There were 180 pupils in the school, eighty of whom were boarding and were being taught up to Standard 5.
Father Chow wrote:- "We have approximately five acres of land. We are hemmed in on all sides by water during flood time - three have hit the place in the two months I have been here. The sea is washing away the frontage - I was told that more than ten yards have been washed away since the Mission came here. The villagers are afraid we would leave because of this and they are talking of giving us a different piece of land. The "Stella Man's" is usually available for our use to go across to Ladava and Camerons (now Alotau) every Sunday. Its other uses are for Sister's clinic along this coast and for going to Samarai for day-food and supplies. There is the occasional trip to Kilikilana for Ministry. I am teaching until a replacement for Sister Antoninus arrives. She went to Yule Island on April 14th. Most of the small budget given for this station is used for feeding the boarders. We send the youngsters at least once a month, at a weekend, to get food to supplement the budget."
With secondary school training at Sideia and a follow up of teacher training for two years at Wards Strip, Yule Island or Kabaleo, a good number of Daio ex students have become teachers and are working throughout the Diocese.
Aloysius is now retired from teaching but he has a son and daughter who are both teachers. He and Betty still live at Daio. They now care for some of their grandchildren.
In August 1967 Father Chow was transferred to Kurada and Father Jim Moore took charge of Daio in September. The Sagarai Valley, Ladava and Alotau came under his pastoral care. At the time, Sisters Bernardine, Helen Canty and Petrina were stationed at Daio. Teaching in the school were Ronald Rastus, Cyril Tobesa and Melchior Ilaisa. Brother Mick Carroll came down to Daio in November and commenced the new school building. This was opened and blessed on March 30th 1968.
Papuan Father Owen Ani, M.S.C., in his first year after Ordination, assisted Father Moore throughout 1968. Whilst based mainly at Daio he patrolled often to Sagarai where Teacher Wenceslaus was Headmaster. February 18th 1969 was the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of Profession of Sister Bernardine. There were great festivities on the Mission to celebrate. Australian Minister for Territories, Mr Barnes, visited the Daio Mission on April llth.
Father Bernie McGrane took over from Father Moore in February 1971. In the Sagarai Valley the school had been moved from Ipouli to Ho'owalai. Wenceslaus was still in charge.
Father Arther Stidwill, M.S.C. was appointed to take charge of the Daio Mission in 1974 and lived alternately at Alotau and Daio during his two years as Pastor. He frequently walked over to Sagarai to minister to his Catholic parishioners. In 1980 he was stationed at Ladava and again assumed pastoral care of Daio and Sagarai.
Diocesan Priest, Father Tony Fitzgerald was stationed at Daio in 1976. The Daio Convent was closed in January 1977, the Sisters returned to Sideia and Father Fitzgerald went south to Australia. His brother, Father Ralph Fitzgerald, also from the Wagga Wagga Diocese in New South Wales, cared for the people of Daio during 1978.
Father Jim Moore, whilst Superior of the Mission and stationed at Ladava, made frequent visits to Daio and Sagarai in 1979.
Since 1980, Father Stidwill has been in charge of the Ladava Parish and the M.S.C. Centre there. From Ladava, he visits regularly Daio and Sagarai to offer Mass and administer the Sacraments.
The faithful Aloysius Ladiwito visited his home at Made in March. On Easter Sunday evening, llth April 1982 Aloysius died suddenly and was buried the following morning in his ancestral ground at Made.
KELOLOGEYA (Normanby Island)
Whilst Father Earl, with his headquarters on the "St Paul", was contacting the villagers around the Dawson Strait and Dobu Passage in 1950, a young man, Patrick Yamelti, lived at Kelologeya, at the north eastern end of Normanby Island. Father Earl had called in at Kelologeya on a few occasions and Patrick's house became the first Mission station in that area.
Father Atchison succeeded Father Earl and by 1952 had built a school. Some thirty children were in attendance. One of these original students, Justin Sipiliyani, is now the Member for his area in the National Parliament in Port Moresby (1982). Guidance for the Mission continued from the "St Paul" until Father Jim Fallon took up residence in 1954. During this year he made contact with the people at Meudana and Kurada. He was able to open a new station at Meudana in 1955.
Slow but steady progress was made. When Father Fallon left in the middle of 1959, Father Jim Moore ministered to the people of Kelologeya from his Mission, Kurada, on the south side of Normanby Island. Father Bob Hyland was appointed to Kelologeya in January 1960. The staff consisted of native teachers, a school boy cook and some local men who worked at the filling in of the old creek-bed, running in front of the Mission buildings. Apart from the regular Ministry and school supervision, Father Hyland was able to do much medical work. It was a lonely life and occasionally he walked over the mountains to spend a day or two with Father Moore at Kurada. Father Hyland left the area in October 1960.
When Father Peter Flynn came in May 1961 there were stations at Kelologeya, Meudana and Soisaiya. This latter was later abandoned. The Catholic population was just under 500. The area of the Mission was a little less than half an acre.
Father Fallon had built a good Father's house and a solid school building, 50ft x 24ft of iron and concrete.
In 1962 Father Flynn erected a new native style Church. The Church at Meudana had been blown down so Father Flynn excavated for a new Church which was pre-fabricated at Sideia - but of necessity was used elsewhere. Father Flynn remained until October 1962.
Father Bob Hyland again took charge in January 1963. Father Atchison, at Budoya, was now Religious Superior and frequently away from the Mission. In his absence, Father Hyland frequently boarded the "St Paul" and assisted at Budoya. The next station to be worked, at that time, was around at Soisoiya. A church-school was built and a teacher's house erected. There was some opposition from the Protestants. In 1963 Local Councils were formed by the Government and members elected. On invitation, Father Hyland attended the inaugural Council Meeting for Normanby Island and recited the opening prayer for its welfare. Later in the year he did likewise for the first general session of local government held near Esa-Ala. Towards the end of 1963 Father Hyland was able to baptise many adults and children who had been waiting long and were well tested. There were some thirty at Kelologeya and thirty five at Meudana. Father Hyland finally left Kelologeya in December 1963 on transfer to Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Father Ian Langlands took charge at Kelologeya in January
1964 and continued the pastoral work in the area until December. Again from Kurada Father Jim Moore spent three months on visitation to the Kelologeyans from January until March in 1965. Father Greg Abbott was appointed Pastor in residence in April
1965 and built on the work of his predecessors until June 1967 when he was relieved by Father Russ Andersen who remained one month only in the district.
The care of Kelologeya was again passed back to Kurada in 1968 and Father Ted McCormack had the pleasant job of climbing the mountains to care for the flock on the north side of Normanby. In April 1969 Father Gerry Doody took up residence at Kelologeya and worked among the people until December.
1970 saw again the parish without a Pastor and Father Joseph Chow, the priest in charge at Kurada, was given the task of caring for the people over the hills. He continued his pastoral visits to the area until his time came to leave Kurada in April 1975.
In 1972 the outstation at Meudana, originally established by Father Jim Fallon, was moved to a much better and more convenient area at Giguta. A further outstation was opened at Kwanaula in 1975 and has proved to be a most successful foundation.
April 1976 saw the arrival of Father John Doggett, who was to be the longest "reigning" Pastor in the Kelologeya district. He contributed greatly to the growth of the Church in this area until he left for Rome in May 1980.
At the present time in 1982, when Father Jim Moore has once again taken to the hills on visitation from Kurada, this Mission is thriving and is a very active and important sector of the Diocese of Alotau. The Kelologeya school has three teachers with Brian Benoma in charge of eighty pupils. Sylvester Winowai, assisted by two teachers cares for the seventy five students at Kwanaula. Francis Pade, with two assistant teachers, is in charge of the seventy one children at Meudana.
Kelologeya Mission has the lone Church building whilst Mass is offered in the Classrooms at Kwanaula and Meudana. The Diocese owes much to the early Missionaries and teachers who pioneered the Kelologeya area. Particular mention must be made of the excellence of the teaching staff of recent years who are known for their devotion and dedication to the children and people of Kelologeya. The Baptismal Record speaks for itself in recording 811 baptisms in this district.
Father John Doggett, returned from Rome and now stationed at Alotau, intends, when shipping is available, to make frequent visits to Kelologeya and its outstations to minister to his former parishioners.
KURADA (Normanby Island)
Kurada lies on the south coast towards the eastern end of Normanby Island. In February 1955, Jerome Kekenai took up residence in the Rest House near Kurada and gathered together some of the children to start a school. During this year, Father Jim Fallon was supervising from Kelologeya and a Church-school was built. On his trips across the mountains to Kurada he patrolled the area and made contact with the people of Bwasiyaiyai and Bunama.
In 1956 the Church was blessed and a new school erected. The latter was completed in 1957. From Kelologeya, in this year, Father Fallon opened stations at Bunama and Bwasiyaiyai.
Father Jim Moore was appointed as first resident Priest in May 1958. On arrival he found 100 baptised. Jerome Kekenai was still teaching and was assisted by Fabian Keibiani (who died early in 1982). The buildings were all of native material and the school boasted a cement floor, cement posts and iron roof - all paid for and built by the people. Brother Mick Carroll came to Kurada towards the end of 1958 and built a Convent which he completed in 1959. It consisted of four rooms and a kitchen, semi-European style. This building served as residence for the Priest pending the arrival of the Sisters.
In September 1959 Father Moore was relieved by Father Peter Flynn. There were perhaps two hundred Catholics in the area. Whilst Father Moore was on leave a new station at Lenasinasi in Sewa Bay was opened. A native material Church and school were completed by August 1959. School started at the beginning of 1960 with teachers Jerome Kekenai and Ivan Luwaina. Teacher Kevin Linus followed and he, in turn, was succeeded by Benedict Kalekuleku from 1961 to 1964. The first group of Baptisms, approximately thirty, took place in October 1961.
To return to Bwasiyaiyai, a native type church was completed and opened in 1958. Francis Henry, from Budoya, was the first teacher. Twenty six were baptised on December 8th 1958. Augustine Aleliya (died 1980) was the teacher at Bwasiyaiyai from 1960 - 1962. In 1961-1962 two teachers houses were built and separate school buildings erected.
At Bunama the first group of baptisms - twenty five - took place on October llth 1959. Early in 1961 cement foundations and posts were laid for a new Church-school which was to be European style with iron roof. At the end of 1961 Brother Vogt came with his team to build this Church-school. The first teacher at Bunama was John Anthony. He was followed by Kevin Linus in 1961 - 1962.
At the main station, Kurada, January 1960 was a joyful time with the arrival of the first Sisters from the native Congregation "Handmaids of Our Lord (A.D.)" Sister Laura (in charge), Mercia, Catherine and Ann formed the first Community. The Sisters taught and did medical work. Father Moore moved in to a teacher's house as a temporary residence until the end of 1962.
The Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop de Furstenberg visited Kurada in March,1961. Brother Mick Carroll returned from Nimowa and built a new Presbytery. In the absence of Father Moore in May 1962, Father Bernie McGrane took over and stayed until June 1963. Father Peter Flynn was at Kurada in 1963 and remained until December 1964. During this period a new church was built at Lenasinasi in Sewa Bay.
Between Kurada and Sideia lies a large island, Nuakata. A church-school was built there in 1961 and John Anthony was the teacher. This station did not develop and was eventually closed. Since then quite a few children from Nuakata have come in to school at Sideia and continued on to High School at Hagita.
In 1966 Brother Pat Cantwell, on light duties owing to ill health, spent three months at Kurada. In May 1967 Lay Missionary Graham Furness, with a team of young Kurada volunteers, commenced a new and permanent Church. This was blessed and opened on November 23rd 1967. A power plant was installed in 1967 and a new two way radio made it possible to keep contact with Mission headquarters.
Father Moore moved to Daio in August 1967 and was replaced by Father Joe Chow for three months. Father Ed McCormack followed and was in charge in 1968 - 1969. Father Bob Hyland relieved for nine months in 1970 until the return from Nimowa of Father Joe Chow; the Convent was closed at the end of 1970 and the A.D. Sisters returned to Port Moresby. The new Health sub Centre commenced operating in 1971. From Tasmania, came two Lay Missionaries, Paul and Anne Maree O'Keefe, who worked at Kurada in 1972. Father Chow was instrumental in having the vessel "Hobiya", built by his brother in Rabaul for the use of the people along the south coast of Normanby Island. The first Catechists from this Island to do the Course at "Sivarai Namona" with Father Bill Ryan in 1973 were, Kevin Francis, Justin, Simon and John Baptist.
In 1967 Father Arthur Stidwill replaced Father Chow and, whilst stationed at Kurada, shared his time along the coast with the people of Yuiyai, Lenasinasi, Bwasiyaiyai and Barabara. The new Hospital was opened in 1967 and Swiss Nurse Vreni Pfister took over in 1977 and stayed for four years. The radio weather station commenced in 1978 and a new permanent school building was erected in 1979.
Father Moore returned from Ladava and took charge of Kurada in 1980. Lay Missionaries, Peter and Liz Hogan were well settled at Yuiyai looking after plantation and store. When Father Doggett left for Rome in May 1980, Father Moore made regular walks across the mountains to care for the people of Kelologeya. Sylvester Lota was Headmaster at Kurada in 1980 and was replaced in 1981 by Martina Nounou, sister of Father Sam Miyon. Andrew Tokula was Headmaster at Lenasinasi while William Tuna was in charge at Barabara. The new Church at Lenasinasi was blessed and opened by Bishop Moore in January 1982. The new Bwasiyaiyai Church should be ready to open in mid 1982. Victor Kaisa is now Headmaster at Kurada with Christopher Billy at Lenasinasi.
The Provincial Administration of the Milne Bay District was gradually moved from the island of Samarai to the new township of Alotau in the mid sixties. The pastoral care of the people in this area was supplied by the Missionaries at Daio on the southern side of Milne Bay. The population was assured of at least a Sunday Mass. Fathers Peter Flynn and Joseph Chow regularly sailed across in the "Stella Maris".
Father Jim Moore took charge of Daio in September 1967 and continued to look after the residents of Alotau. At that time, the Catholic Church owned a small block of land that had been allocated to the Mission when the town was first planned. Sunday Mass was said in one of the classrooms at Cameron High School. Headmaster, Bill Strang, provided accommodation for the Priest each Saturday night. Townspeople would attend, making a small congregation of some forty people - European and local. From the beginning Mass was periodically offered in the gaol, then in Alotau town.
In 1968 Father Moore continued as Pastor whilst residing at Daio. One Catechism class per week was given to six or seven students then attending Cameron High School. Father Greg Abbott would frequently come in from Hagita to offer Sunday Mass in Alotau.
The Alotau Theatre ("Bay Theatre") was completed in 1969 and Mr Geoff Masters invited the Missionaries to use this theatre for Sunday Mass - the congregation had grown to some seventy to eighty. In mid 1969 Alotau was officially declared a town, in the presence of the Administrator, Mr Hay. A small ceremony was held on top of the hill above Alotau and Bishop Doyle said a prayer of blessing over the town and its inhabitants. From the early days, hospital visitation was an important part of the apostolate at Alotau.
During 1970 the first residences for the Catholic Church were acquired. Two houses opposite our Church block were purchased by Bishop Moore from Jack Stewardson. One was rented out and the other used for Mission purposes. At this time Bishop Moore acquired the neighbouring block of land to our own from Stewardson Brothers - the builders in Alotau.
By 1971, Anglican Priest, Father John Bodger, had built his residence with a small Chapel underneath. He invited the Catholic Community to use this Chapel for Sunday Mass. The offer was gratefully accepted and the Chapel used for the next couple of years. It provided a far better venue than the "Bay Theatre" and produced closer ties between Catholic and Anglican, which still persist today.
During 1972 - 1973 Father Jim Fallon took up temporary residence in Alotau as superior and Mission Education Secretary; he was acting Parish Priest. Late in 1973 Brother Vogt built a new house for the Bishop with a small Chapel underneath. This was used only for week-day Masses.
Bishop Moore moved from Sideia in 1974 to live permanently in Alotau. Father Arthur Stidwill was appointed assistant Parish Priest to him. He lived alternately at Daio and Alotau. Brother Mick Carroll took up residence in Alotau during this year and thus began the most valuable and very important work of Mission Manager. In 1975 the first large storage shed was erected and Brother Carroll converted a section into Office and residence. This, and to the present date, has provided a most welcome refuge - and the only place to eat - for the numerous Mission personnel and visitors passing through Alotau. Father Stidwill was transferred to Kurada in 1976 and Father John Sinou became assistant Pastor. The position of Mission Education Secretary was localised and Hubert Weiteli took up the appointment, whilst residing at Ladava. John Iniauma was his successor in 1977.
The "Parish House for the Sisters" was commenced by Lay Missionaries Ray and Hank Flapper in 1978. They left in October and Brother Mick Carroll completed the building. Early in 1979 Sisters Benedicta, Helen Warman and Christine took up residence in the Convent. Sister Benedicta is in charge of all Nurses within the Diocese and as Health Secretary liaises with the Government on all health matters. Sister Helen is supervisor of all our schools and also liaises with the Government on all matters concerning Education within the Diocese. Sister Christine commenced pastoral work among the people and in the schools and still carries on this most important work today. Father Tony O'Brien was appointed to Alotau in 1979 and took the place of Father John Sinou as assistant in Alotau. Teacher Dominic Savio assumed the position of Mission Education Secretary. He holds the position today and has done much valuable work for the teachers in the Diocese.
Brother Carroll commenced a second large shed, on the waterfront, in 1980 and it was completed in 1982. Sister Brenda joined the Alotau Community in 1981 and continues the pastoral work with Sister Christine. Father John Doggett, on his return from Rome, and having spent a term of Canon Law with the Holy Spirit Seminarians in Port Moresby, has taken over as assistant Priest in Alotau in 1982.
Since 1970 plans have been on the drawing board for a new Church in Alotau and it is hoped that, during 1982, work will commence on a new permanent Church. The Priests from Hagita High School have played an important role in Alotau during the periods when no Priest has been in residence. The students, since the inception of the High School in 1970, have contributed in a very large way to the Catholic Presence in Alotau town. On all big occasions they have given freely of their time and have been to the fore in assisting at all National and Provincial events.
The history of Hagita High School really starts on the island of Sideia where, in 1963, post-Primary Education (Grades 7, 8, and 9) finished. The need for our Papuan Students to commence Secondary Education became obvious. Sideia was then the main centre for Education in the Diocese and was the only place the Mission could afford to start a High School. There was no money available to build new class rooms or dormitories. However, and despite the lack of facilities and even a definite syllabus, the High School grew quickly. It soon became clear, to those who could read the signs, that a new site would have to be found. It seemed desirable, and there would be an advantage, to move to the mainland in Milne Bay. The government Administration had transferred from the island of Samarai to the town of Alotau in Milne Bay. The latter would be a much more central position for a secondary boarding school providing for the education of students from such a wide geographical range.
In May 1967, Father John McGhee, who had been commissioned to select a new site, finally decided on Hagita plantation which had been purchased by the Mission in December 1966. It was necessary to make a move as the Mission depended on the Government subsidy to build the High School. Due to some procrastination a subsidy applied for had already been lost.
Hagita is about fifteen miles from the new administration town of Alotau and is situated close by the Gurney Airstrip. The site selected on the plantation was near the river and the building team of Brother Mick Carroll, Brothers Pat and Jack Cantwell with Lay Missionary Graham Furness commenced operations at the beginning of 1968. By the end of 1969 they had completed three dormitories, with class rooms underneath, a double classroom, a science room and refectory. These builders were followed by Brothers Joe Vogt and Des Walsh who built toilet blocks, teachers' houses and Convent. During the period of construction, Father Greg Abbott was Chaplain at Hagita.
The change from Sideia to Hagita took place during the vacation in 1969. The first day of Hagita's scholastic year was February 19th 1970. The Staff comprised Father Neville Dunne, (Headmaster and local Superior), with Sister Margaret Jennings as his Deputy; Fathers John McGhee, Bill Cunningham, Bernie McGrane and Kevin Barr with Brother Mick Puls, Sisters Evelyn and Maria Goretti. With the Religious Staff were Lay Teachers, Peter Wood, Jill Wilson, Helen Wesina and Jimmy Sihuge. Brother Kevin Bauer was appointed Bursar and Storekeeper.
There were 292 boarding students in that first year and there were three Classes of Form 1, three of Form 11, two of Form 111 and one Form IV. Out of study there was much work to be done as there were no roads, no paths, no lawns, no kitchen, no showers and for the first six months, no toilets. Lack of water was not too great a problem as the students swam in the river which runs alongside the school property. A large tank was completed and water was pumped by a diesel engine from a well not far from the river. The Staff had to put up with some inconveniences but work progressed. Hagita High School was officially opened and blessed by Bishop John Doyle before he retired to Port Moresby. It was a memorable occasion. The early years were not easy and the students worked very hard to improve the appearance of their school.
As the High School developed, satisfaction as to the outcome was general. Socially, it was proving very good, since, in the indigenous society, although the sexes were segregated during the years of adolesence, the young people managed still to meet. It was clear to all that, in the rapidly evolving social and economic conditions of a fast developing Papua New Guinea, unless something was done, these young people would be thrown into situations and circumstances for which they had no adequate preparation, based upon principles of Christian living. The solution seemed to lie in a Catholic co-educational secondary school.
In 1971 Fathers Paul Jennings and Mick Norwood joined the Staff of Hagita. There were 335 students including four non-Catholics. Fathers McGhee, Barr, Cunningham and McGrane had left for other fields, having taught for the one year only. A two-storey staff house was built by Brother Vogt; one small playing field had been completed and lawns and gardens were in the making.
During those first years athletic training was done on the roads and on the Airstrip. The School had very little money and there was no vehicle. With the help of some Australian benefactors, Father Dunne was able to buy a Datsun 1300 truck. This was serviceable until the rains started in earnest. Then it was realised how important it was to have a stronger four wheel drive vehicle until a bridge could be built across the river which flooded regularly. The Australian Province gave a welcome gift of $2,800 and a Landcruiser was bought.
With the aid of the Government subsidy, building continued in 1972 and Dutch born Lay Missionaries, Ray and Hank Flapper erected a new science block, two new toilet and shower blocks and Grade 10 Classrooms. The numbers in the school had risen to 375 and in the sporting line, basketball courts, netball court and volley ball courts were constructed.
Three more staff houses were completed in 1973; the ground was cleared and work commenced on the Library. The Chapel was renovated and a sanctuary added. During the Christmas vacation, Father Jennings began work on the first brick building - the Maths room. Graham Furness kept the mechanical and electrical side of the school running smoothly.
Father Dunne, who went off to the EAPI Course in the Philippines in September 1974, was succeeded in 1975 by Father Jim Fallon. With the latter came Brother Greg. McCann (Snr.) and Father Paul Guy, who stayed for six months.
At Hagita the students are divided into four houses and this grouping covers classes, sport, work parade and dormitories. The Houses are named after four early Missionaries who laboured in P.N.G.: TOMLINSON (Father Hugh Tomlinson); ALAIN (Bishop Alain de Boismenu); VERIUS (Bishop Verius) and LYONS (Father Francis Lyons, founder of the Eastern Papuan Mission).
Father Fred Ross was Headmaster in 1977 and Father Bob Mitchell for two months in 1978. Sister Margaret Jennings became Acting Headmaster when Father Mitchell became ill, and remained in charge of the High School until the end of 1980 when she was appointed Superior in Eastern Papua of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. She was succeeded by her brother, Father Paul Jennings who remains Headmaster at the present date.
Hagita High School has never looked back. It has gone from strength to strength. As the physical plant has been built up, more attention has been given to other important aspects of the school's development.
Other Religious members of the Staff and who have assisted in' the raising of the standard to the excellence it has reached today included: Father Anthony Caruana (1976 - 1978), present Bursar Brother Terry Fallon (1977), Brother Frank Perry (1978 -1980), Father John Herselman (1979 - ), Brother Greg. McCann (Jnr.) (1980 - 1981) and Sisters Therese McNamara, Ellen and Xavier. Papua New Guinea Religious who have contributed greatly to the progress of Hagita High School included: Brothers Anthon Alois, Gabriel and Conrad and Sisters Solange, Zita, Bernadette and Agatha.
Brother Herman Kooyman continued the work of building and maintenance through to 1981 and spent almost five years in erecting some very fine brick buildings. Lay Missionary Graham Furness continues to give his devoted service to Hagita High School.
From the Hagita Staff, Brother Mick Puls and Lay Teacher Peter Wood entered "St Paul's" National Seminary at Kensigton in N.S.W. Brother Puls was ordained to the Priesthood in 1977 and Peter Wood in January 1981.
Present Religious Staff of Hagita High School in 1982:- Father Paul Jennings, Father John Herselman, Brother Conrad Kavui, Sister Lorraine, Sister Agatha, Brother Terry Fallen, Brother Alois Keltapavan, Sister Therese McNamara, Sister Xavier.
In 1968 Sister Patricia started the Vocational Training Centre with ten students and one Instructor. By 1974 the enrolment was eighty with four Instructors and, today in 1982, the Vocational Training Centre is considered to be the best girls' training centre in Papua New Guinea.
The aim of the Centre was to fulfil the need of a different type of education for girls who were unable to go on to Secondary Education. Such skills as sewing, craft.
The Centre's non-denominatinal policy has had a great influence in the ecumenical movement. A very happy, contented atmosphere is very evident and there is a true sharing in work, play and prayer.
Two ex students of this Centre have become Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. During these past years eight girls have received Instructors' Certificates as a result of their training in this Centre.
The popularity of the Centre grows each year and many applications have to be rejected. In 1982, ninety girls are in residence and under training. Sister Patricia is now assisted by Sister Petrina and Vocational Teachers, Lucy Nounou and Jane Frances Vieilo. A very devoted teacher of long standing, Kathy Elizah, was married early this year and intends to do further studies. Students now come from all parts of the Diocese - from the Trobriands in the North to Rossel Island in the East. Many have to travel three or four days by boat.
In addition to the permanent Staff, trainee Instructors, assisted by Third Year students, supervise and teach the work to the First Year Students. The Trainee Council supervises the meals, evening activities and takes disciplinary action for any breaking of the school rules. The rules have been made by the students themselves.
There is a methane gas digester system which produces gas for the kitchen and fertiliser for the garden. Pigs, ducks and fowls are plentiful and their waste is daily washed into the tank where the gas is made. Water flows from this tank into the algae ponds and from there to the gardens. The students are trained in the care of animals and how to keep the digester clean and in working order.
Large gardens are planted with yams, potatoes, tapioca, aibika, Indian cabbage, various types of beans, sugar cane and bananas. As the students are all boarders, the gardens play an important part in the continued running of the Centre. Some girls are taught to drive a small tractor which is used to carry cargo and rubbish.
The P.N.G. Bank is donating prize money for the best Agriculture student, so each girl has been given a small plot of land for crop rotation garden, to be planted and cared for in their own time.
Each week the students have a cultural evening and each Friday a sports afternoon is held.
Very many girls have now gone home to their villages and their assistance to and guidance of the village women has proved invaluable.
YOUNG CHRISTIANS IN MILNE BAY
The Young Christian movement for young people in the Milne Bay Province has been in existence for the past ten years. Today, in 1982, there are thirty groups on most of the main islands, with the largest number on Fergusson Island. The aim of the YC is to help young people to become mature and responsible Christians through coming together in spiritual, social, recreational and cultural activities. In recent years some young men and women have been given opportunities to attend national meetings and formation courses which, on the whole, have helped the participants to become effective leaders in their areas.
Leadership courses have been conducted by the regional director in village situations and he also keeps in contact with all groups through radio and YC Newsletters. Past regional directors have been Father Kevin Barr, Father Jim Moore and Father John Sinou, who held the office from 1974 to 1978.
Since 1979 the YC has operated under regional director Father Michael Sims who resides at Sideia and who is Parish Priest of Sideia and the adjacent islands. Sideia YC has maintained a steady interest and has carried out good work with regional meetings and services to the communities.
In the past eighteen months the National Government has been helping Youth groups in rural areas throughout the country in trying to establish small scale activities for the good of their communities. Most of our YC groups are registered through this scheme known as the National Youth Movement Programme. Several YC members hold positions at the Provincial Youth level.
In 1982, Brother Greg McCann, (Jnr.) has been appointed by the Bishop to assist Father Sims in furthering the good work of the YC.
SIDEIA CATECHETICAL CENTRE
The story of Catechists and Catechetics in the Diocess of Alotau starts in the post war years. In the early days of the Mission there was no training available for those who wished to become Catechists. The Missionaries of those days received wonderful support from some of the Teachers, Church Leaders and their wives who gave freely of their time to instruct the people. In the mission at Nimowa, Father Kevin Twomey formed a group of helpers into a Catholic Mission Committee. From this group Peter Doni emerged as one of our first Catechists in 1966. In 1971 Peter, with some young men from other Mission Stations in the Diocese, went to Port Moresby. Father Bill Ryan, who had been assisting in the training of the Sarto Brothers at Sideia, had established a Training Centre for Catechists at Bomana, near Port Moresby and called this Centre, SIVARAI NAMONA ("Good News" in the Motuan Language). Here these young men completed a two year course of training.
Others from Nimowa followed in Peter's footsteps and in 1973-1974 Alonzo, Peter Koe, Simon and Cyril also completed this course of study. Then in 1975-1976 there followed Patrick, John Waliya, Celsus and Damien. The last two Nimowans to complete this course in 1978-1979 were Edmund and Ian.
The first Catechist on Rossel Island was Camillus, who had trained as a Mission teacher at Sideia. He then spent some years on his homeland, as a valuable help to Father Kevin Murphy in spreading the Faith and instructing his people. In 1971 Father Norbert Earl chose Michael, son of Camillus, to go to Port Moresby and train as a Catechist. He was joined by Bartholomew Nata (died 1982) and John Camillus who had been training as a Sarto Brother at Sideia. Since their return to Rossel Island these three have been working with their Priest and helping him in many ways. They have been assisted in this work by a number of young men and girls who have already been in to Sideia for Short Courses. Some of these are keen to make a complete Course of Training as Catechists.
The spread of the Faith on Goodenough Island was entrusted to the early Teachers, Church workers and their wives. They were tireless in helping their Priests to spread the Good News, by the example of their lives and their instruction of the children and adults. One of these early teachers was Sam Atulake. Another was Macartan who became a Mission Teacher in 1960 and taught in our schools for nine years. In 1971 he was joined by Dominic, also from Goodenough, and they proceeded to Port Moresby to join the others from this Diocese on the Training Course. They were followed in 1975-1976 by Felix.
The scene on Fergusson Island was similar. The first Priests received considerable help from the Teachers, Church Leaders and their wives. In fact, some of these people were born Catechists and became known in the Community as "Missionaries". Many of them, too numerous to mention by name, are still working for God and His people, spreading the Good News by their lives and their teaching. When the Training Courses commenced in Port Moresby, the first to join the others in 1971-1972 was Pius. He was followed in 1972-1973 by Francis. In 1975-1976 there were Venard and Alphonsus.
The story is the same of Normanby Island where the Priests were ably assisted in the early years by the Teachers and Church workers. In 1971 Edward was the first from Normanby Island to go to Port Moresby. He was followed in 1973-1974 by Kevin Francis and Justin Diloi. Finally in 1975-1976 John Baptist went off to do the two year Course.
A similar situation existed in the Trobriand Islands where the local Teachers and Church workers proved of great support to their Priest. Some of them are still faithful helpers today. Peter Nusoya and Noel Kaigeluwa had been helping Father Kevin Murphy in his pastoral work. In 1971 they were asked to go to Sivarai Namona for the two year Catechist Course. Since their return they have been helped by some of the younger and faithful ones, including Andrew, Albert and Brendan. Peter and Noel also made the Refresher Course in Port Moresby 1976.
From the Sagarai Valley went Joseph Towasi and Cyprian Yaloi to do the 1975-1976 Course. They began their work as satechists in 1977 and they are now being assisted by a number of young lads, who have already made some of the short Courses at Sideia. These are keen to return for further training in the Scriptures.
In the villages of Sideia and the surrounding islands, Father Mick Sims has had some valuable helpers in recent years. In 1978 Lawrence Manowa was installed as Catechist at Yokowa on Basilaki Island by Bishop Moore. Lawrence had completed his training at Sivarai Namona in 1976-1977.
In 1976, those who had completed the first Course with Father Bill Ryan in 1971, returned to Port Moresby to make a Refresher Course under the direction of Father Kevin Young.
Early in 1978, with the arrival of Father Mick Puls from Australia, it was decided to open the Sideia Catechetical Centre and commence short Courses of six weeks duration for the young people in the Diocese, who were keen to increase their knowledge of their Religion or who had some desire to assist their Priest as a part-time Catechist. The first Course was held in April 1978 for nine Catechists who had completed their training at Sivarai Namona. This was a short renewal Course. Then in September, a six week Course was given to a group of twelve first timers.
In 1979 five Courses were given in February, April, June, September and October. Fifty seven young people in all, attended. Five further Courses were given in 1980 for sixty nine young men and girls.
The Courses follow a similar pattern; they last for six weeks, the emphasis being on the Mass, Scripture and prayers with special talks on the Sacraments. The evenings are devoted to a Prayer Group - a Scripture Study Group - Rosary bead making, under the direction of Brother Frank Griffiths - a YC meeting of the local Branch - Films and Slides.
The Classes are held in what was an original 1962 Classroom for the Teacher Trainees. This has been rebuilt under Brother Vogt's direction and is ideal as a Catechetical Centre. The living quarters for the Trainees is Sarto House, originally built for the Senior Sarto Brothers in 1968-1969.
In August 1978 the first edition of a Catechist Newsletter was published. It was called "Reaching Out" and was intended to help the Catechists from the various mission stations to get to know each others problems, and to help each other by correspondence. At first this was well received but it failed, through lack of support from the Catechists themselves. There were also problems in having the Newsletter printed.
Amongst those who have come in from our outstations to make the short Courses, two young men, Damien Lekima from Budoya and Leonard Toto from Rossel Island are now in the Novitiate at Vunapau (New Britain) to become M.S.C. Brothers. Another lad, Peter lyahatu from Kurada is at Hagita High School completing his studies with the Novitiate in mind.
During this Jubilee Year, 1982, it is proposed to construct a Catechetical Training Centre near Hagita High School. This Centre will provide Courses in the various ministries of the Church and is something to which all Missionaries look forward.
On September 23rd 1975 the Pacific Islands Provincial Administration of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart was established with Headquarters in Port Moresby. The General and his Council in Rome had decided that the time had come for the M.S.C. in Papua New Guinea to be independent of home Provinces. The Australian Province was honoured by the offer of membership made by the Pacific Islands Provincial Administration (P.I.P.A.) to those other Missionaries of the Sacred Heart working in P.N.G.
The Australian Provincial and his Council in consultation decided that Port Moresby and Milne Bay should cease to be legally Regions of the Australian Province and become areas of the Pacific Islands Administration. At the same time the Australian Province remained unchanged in its interest and support for these areas and would continue to send men to work for the good of the Church and the Society in P.N.G. The title deeds of the properties belonging to the Australian Province in Papua New Guinea were transferred to P.I.P.A. These involved the M.S.C. Centre in Port Moresby, the Parish at Boroko and the M.S.C. House at Ladava in Milne Bay.
Father Andrew Pong was appointed to guide the new Administration in its infancy. In the first Provincial Chapter of P.I.P.A. in 1977, Father Pong was elected Provincial and still guides and navigates the Society through calm and storm in 1982.
F.D.N.S.C. - PROVINCE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The new Province of Papua New Guinea of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was erected on December 8th 1964. The idea had been proposed during the General Chapter of 1963. There were several reasons for the integration of the five separate existing regions of Yule Island, New Britain, Eastern Papua, Manus and Port Moresby. A central organisation would make for a more effective apostolate. In a Papua New Guinea of that time, moving rapidly towards self-determinationn, the future of the Church there would depend upon the existence of a vigorous local Church strongly united with the Church universal. There could be no local church without a Papua New Guinean priesthood, religious life and a well formed Catholic laity.
At first there was a feeling among the Sisters that they would be cut off from their own province of origin and there would be difficulties in the provision of personnel. However, it was felt that these difficulties could be solved and a greater spirit of unity and co-operation would result if the Congregation as a whole adopted the new Province as its own. Mother Catherine O'Sullivan was appointed the first Provincial Superior.
On February 5th 1966 at Boroko, Port Moresby the Provincial House for the newly constituted Province of Papua New Guinea was opened. This Province, today, is guided by Provincial Superior, Sister Antoninus, formerly Superior in Eastern Papua.
On December 8th 1980, Hagita Students with Fathers English and Sam Miyon with Sister Ellen boarded the "Morning Star" for the trip home to Rossel Island. The ship sailed at 3 a.m. on 9th and it was a calm uneventful day. First night's anchorage was in the Conflicts. Seas were moderately rough on the morning of 10th. Just inside the Nivani Reef at 8.55 a.m. the engine suddenly stopped. The crew worked on the engine and Father English tried to make radio contact. Neither were successful. The seas were building up and the "Star" was slowly drifting towards the reef.
A fishing canoe approached and Father Sam with a Schoolboy went for help. It took them three hours to reach the island of Nivani where the planter, Dusty Miller was already aware of a ship in trouble and had despatched his small launch. On board the "Star" life jackets were passed around and the crew stood by with heavy anchor to be thrown as soon as shallow waters were reached.
Dusty's launch came alongside and the smaller children were transferred. These children were landed safely on a small sandy atoll. Eventually all passengers were safely brought ashore by the little launch. At last, Radio contact was made with Headquarters at Sideia and with Bishop Moore at Alotau. The vessel "Porgera" was on its way to assist. The "Star" was now on the reef.
"Porgera", because of the rough seas and closeness of the reef, threw one rope to the "Star" but the crew failed to catch it. "Porgera" sailed away leaving the "Star" now fast on the reef and listing sharply. Captain and crew took to the dinghy but stayed close to the "Star" all night.
Soon after 8 a.m. on 11th the "Dawasi" then "Porgera" came close to the "Star" to pick up the captain, crew and what cargo could be salvaged. They then came to the little atoll and, with their dinghies, picked up the stranded passengers and took them to Nivani. Dusty Miller was sick in bed but sent a warm welcome to his unexpected visitors. There was no water on the island. News came over the radio that the "Camillo" with Father Jim Moore on board was on its way from Normanby Island. That night, in answer to prayer - and very many Rosaries - the drought broke, the tanks filled and there was water for everyones needs.
The radio now advised that the "Miva" was on its way from Sideia with Fathers Tony Young and Joe Ensing on board to attempt salvage. "Camillo" reached the wreck at mid-day Friday 12th and Father Moore reported that the "Star" was two thirds in the water with the sea swishing in and out of the hold. Only the prow was out of the water.
On Saturday morning 13th, with calmer seas, the "Camillo" took a group out to the "Star" to take off as many fittings as possible. Radio reported the "Miva" only an hour away. Another small ship, the "Sibona" arrived from Nimowa to give any possible assistance. They brought food which was readily shared with Dusty Miller who had left his house open to all stranded on the island.
Early on the Sunday morning, 14th the three boats headed for the "Star" and salvage operations began. It was a long but fruitful day's work. When the boats returned to Nivani in the evening they were joined by the Rossel Mission boat, "Yeli Ngep". The crews of the "Star" and "Sibona" stayed at the wreck overnight.
All on the island assembled on the beach for an evening Mass. It was a truly moving experience with five Priests concelebrating and Father Moore raising hearts in thankfulness to God for the many graces and blessings received during these days and for all those, who through the years, had served the "Morning Star" so faithfully. After Mass, at 9 p.m. Fathers Young, Ensing and Sam Miyon, went back to the wreck to work through the night on the pumps in the hope of emptying the hold, at low tide.
At 5 a.m. on Monday morning 15th, word came that the "Star" was "upright" and ready to be towed off the reef. With great excitement the "Camillo" and "Yeli Ngep" set out and the passengers settled down again to wait on the island – but without food. Everything had been loaded aboard Camillo for a dawn departure with the children for Rossel Island. Some rice from the crew and a fishing expedition saved the situation. Frequent progress reports from the "Star" were given throughout the morning. The Bishop at Alotau and all Mission Stations tuned in were on standby and often came on air with words of encouragement. Word came at 9.00 a.m. that the "Star" was ready to be pulled off but the tide was too low. At 10 a.m. drums were fixed in position under the hull. At 10.25 a.m. came the long awaited news, "The Star is off the reef and afloat". All Mission Stations had the news at mid-day. The "Camillo" escorted by the "Miva", "Sibona" and "Yeli Ngep" towed the "Morning Star" into Nivani to the wild excitement of the "shipwrecked" passengers.
The Government vessel Tapini came in to Nivani and helped with the transporting of the children to Nimowa and to the final destination, Rossel Island. The crew of the "Morning Star" continued to work on her to ensure safe towing and passage home to Sideia.
The journey home was uneventful and with the "Miva" in attendance, the "Star" was towed in to Sideia at midnight to a tremendous welcome from everyone on the Station and from many outsiders who had come in to see the Flag Ship they had really not expected to see again.
Such is the power of prayer. The "Morning Star" spent many months on the slip and under repair; the engine was completely overhauled in Australia and the ship re-surveyed by the Government. Once more the "Morning Star" sails the Milne Bay waters and does frequent trips to Port Moresby for loads of fuel and essential cargoes.
On September 16th 1975 there was great rejoicing throughout the Country as this historic day marked the birth of an independent and sovereign Nation and State of Papua New Guinea.
In his address to the Nation, the then Governor General, Sir John Guise, (now recently retired Member for Milne Bay in the National Government) said:
"Papua New Guinea is now independent. The Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, under which all power rests with the people, is now in effect.
We have at this point in time broken with our colonial past and we now stand as an independent nation in our own right.
Let us unite, with the Almighty God's guidance and help, in working together for a future as a strong and free country."
On September 14th 1975, thousands of people in national and traditional dress were at the Port Moresby Airport to welcome, His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, representing his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. The Australian Government and people were represented by their Governor General, Sir John Kerr and their Prime Minister, Mr. Gough Whitlam. Prime Minister elect of Papua New Guinea, Mr. Michael Somare, greeted the visitors and accompanied the Official Guests to the combined Ecumenical Service in St. Mary's Cathedral.
On the afternoon of September 15th, following the State Welcome and "Beating the Retreat", symbolising the end of Australian Control, the Australian Flag was lowered.
The morning of September 16th saw the Papua New Guinea Flag raised above Independence Hill. Similar ceremonies took place at the same hour throughout the Nation. Members of Parliament were sworn in and Prince Charles officially opened the First National Parliament of Papua New Guinea.