John Dutton died peacefully at home on in Gawler SA aged 91 years. The funeral was held on June 11th in Gawler SA.
John was one of the early pioneers who arrived on Bougainville with his wife Vi in 1971, to a construction camp in Arawa and a half-built power plant at Loloho. John led the Commissioning Team and over the next 2-3 years he became first the plant Superintendent and then Manager Power, leading all the generation and transmission for the mine. He built up a team of experts operating the Loloho plant and at that time kept it at the highest availability of any steam turbine plant in Australia, consistently achieving well over 97%.
John and Vi enjoyed eight years on the island and had the added bonus of family coming to join them in 1974, when his son Geoffrey came to Bougainville with Yvonne and baby Stuart to work at the power station. Geoff and Yvonne subsequently had a daughter and two sons in Arawa Hospital. Geoff left the power station to become Communications Superintendent in Panguna and stayed until 1985 when the family left for Australia.
John retired in 1979 and he and Vi went to live in Gawler South Australia. John started his engineering career in radar design in the 40’s in the UK and went on to be the Commissioning Manager for the 2,000MW Fawley Power Station. He came to Australia in 1968 to the Torrens Island Power Station in SA, before leaving for adventures in Bougainville.
Besides his love of power engineering John loved his music and played the French horn to records regularly, unfortunately leaving the island before the brass band started in the 1980s. In Gawler he enjoyed retirement with Vi until she died in 2007. He regularly enjoyed a port with his colleagues from Torrens Island and he and Vi played together in the Gawler Brass Band as well as enjoying their grandchildren, three of whom lived close by.
John is survived by three children, 11 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.