Our 24th Reunion has come and gone. We were treated to yet another beautiful autumn day. Surprisingly our numbers were down but, on the positive side, for the first time, we were able to get around and to speak to most of the attendees.
There were several attendees from the veteran class including 93 year old Pedro (Amigo) Saavedra. Pedro was delighted to catch up with several old workmates, from B16. Harry Cislowski was there with his wife, Marlene. Ted Rogalski again travelled from Perth. Pedro was in the custody of his daughter, Clara and his grandsons, Michael and Daniel assisted with the mobility scooter. Errol Ryan also enjoyed a chat to Amigo. Of course, Errol`s son, Craig, is another regular who is always there, helping the cause. Ken and Dianne Mills, from Mackay, were first timers. With Ted, they travelled onto Bundaberg where they caught up with ex-B16 / B24 celebrities, Nev Brewer, Keith Widt and Kevin Groom. I understand they had a big night out at the Brothers Leagues Club. We must take care as to the amount of hospitality we lavish on Raggles. He is threatening to return to Perth via Brisbane !
Ray Chadwick was again down from Cairns. Also from Port Services there was our good captain, Barclay Ross, looking spritely and content. For many years Stephanie has journeyed from Sydney without Barclay and she has been one of our most prolific reunion photographers. This year it was Harry who marshalled the troops for the camera. In our next transmission we will share some shots with you. Another one of our most consistent attendees is Rolly Cornell, down from the “Sunny Coast”. Ray Leddick continues to work in distant lands but this does not stop Fran from getting out and about. It was good to see you, Fran.
There were the usual stalwarts, on parade. George and Rhonda never miss and neither does Keith Sherwood. John McLeod, also from Cairns, is becoming another regular. A reunion newcomer was Joan Whitham. I promised her a teacher to chat to and I was so pleased to see Barbara Knox and husband, Ross arrive. They were with John and Annette Barr. In this circle there was also Jill Ferguson and Eddie Boast. Jill has been busy gathering equipment for the Buka and Buin hospitals cause. A big thank you to Jill ! Sadly the other Gill did not make it this year. “Fenella`s husband” (it is Derek, I believe) called in , , , , , , , Gill is not mobile enough for such an outing these days.
Speaking of Fenella , , , , , if you find any Arawa Bulletins or copies of the Concentrates newsletter tucked away in the back of your garage then please treasure them. Under no circumstances are they to go to the dump. The day will come where we will be seeking such material for the reintroduced Bullie.
Marie and Joanne Hoskins also came from NSW. Graham and Colleen are keeping well. Also there were Elaine and Kathy Devereux (Moore). Elaine, if you ever need a lift just give us a call. Ross and Wendy Colvin are regulars and it is always nice to catch up with them. Valerie rarely misses, unless she is travelling. David is now based in Aussie but John is still resident in the UK. Structural Engineer, John has been a Project Manager on the world acclaimed Shard development, in London. Chris Hatherley again journeyed from Toowoomba. It was so nice to connect with Jeanette (Brophy) twice in a month. The same goes for Shirlene and her husband, , , , , , , they have moved from WA to Bribie. He is a top bloke. He comes from the West ! Also from Bribie, came Gerald Clark and his family. Sorry to everyone whose names I have forgotten. My memory is not quite what it was. I was lost this year without James. I will be looking for a couple of volunteers to assist us for the 25th. We already have a volunteer , , , , , , from the Ryan family.
We were delighted to see Con Papamihail make a dash across from Perth. When the mine closed there were about a dozen of us who had alternate employment in PNG. Con completed several years with the PNG Electricity Commission prior to returning to Australia. We are grateful that Con has been quite diligent in keeping track of all matters, Bougainville. Thanks, Con. Another I T guru in John Mowatt was with us , , , , , , with his better half, Shirley. John has offered to assist me with some of this correspondence, going forward. Horst was the first to arrive (from the Sunny Coast) and he put in another long day. Gwen and Billy Koch were with us again. Bill`s surgeon is more than content with his progress. As usual we compared notes.
Fergus Keane drove 5 hours from NSW to attend. We look forward to seeing Fergus, each year. Thanks for the effort, old mate. Kiwi McDonald has returned from China. We will see more of him going forward. Tony attended with his son Justin. Rae and Lisa Smart have experienced the toughest of months yet they still made it to the picnic. Thanks to the Nix family, Otto, Anita and Ricky for attending for the first time
Next year, for No 25, we will endeavour to do something special. We would like to bring together some of the teenagers who were raised on Bougainville and then travelled from there to various boarding schools across Australia and New Zealand. There is no doubt that there is more and more tourist type travel taking place into Bougainville. Reunions there are a probability within the medium term. Darrell Cox, Ted and George are speaking of a fishing venture in the New Year. Watch this space.
Special mention is justified for two of our favourite people, Reg and Pam Givney. A huge thank you to the youngest of their beautiful daughters, Anona and her daughter Sharnie, who facilitated the day for them and for us. We were so lucky to have Reg and Pam living, just around the corner, in Arawa when our kids were infants.
For future picnics please keep in mind that if your esky and picnic furniture does not have wheels then there will be a trolley or two available to assist you. If there is anyone who cannot drive and wishes to come then just give us a call. Anne and Father Barnham have been on the sick list but yesterday John sounded in good form. They are fortunate to have all of the billy lids living close by. Errol has already paid them a visit with some photos from Sunday.
The catering was completed in expert style by Luke Kuhia and his team from the Brisbane Bougainville Community Group. Included in Luke`s team there were Monica Larcombe, Veronica and Les Henderson, Chrissie Davidson and Lucie Beagrie, to name a few. We very much, over catered but it is always better to have too much rather than too little.
I have probably gathered only half of our picnickers here. Monica has recalled for me the attendance of Kerry Mullins. Kerry, if you are not receiving our newsletter then please send us a note. This goes for everyone who has changed address or who otherwise has slipped from the mailing list.
The next important date on your social calendar should be Saturday, the 14th June, see below. In addition to the goodies listed herein Monica advises that the Lucky Door Prize is dinner for two and a night at the Mercure. If you do not have enough for a table then just advise Monica or Lucie and they will see you right.