NON Awas Salan

EULOGY - Michael Alexander Jack

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thank you, I want to say a few words on behalf of my brothers and I.

As you know Dad was a relatively uncomplicated man who never liked people making too much fuss, so I’ll keep this short.

Someone recently asked me to think of the things that Dad taught me and thinking back there are so many.

I remember Dad teaching us how to boogie board on the Gold Coast at Christmas, teaching us how to fish, how to drive, how to play rugby, unfortunately for me I think William better understood those lessons, how to pull off great April fools pranks and more recently how to appreciate a fine single malt.

However, thinking back through all those memories I think the greatest lesson that Dad taught me was to live life by a set of principles the simplest and most important of which is to try to understand the difference between right and wrong and to always do the right thing and although I’ve had a couple of stumbles initially these are the questions I ask myself and the challenge I’ve set myself to try and live my life by.

Even though I think its so unfair to lose Dad so early on, when he had so much more to give, I will always be incredibly grateful for everything he taught me for preparing for life and for being able to call such a great man my Dad.


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Friday, December 12, 2014

The 24/25 ? visitors came from many parts of Australia with a common aim; to find the rare and unique  forest birds and seabirds that make their home in the Norfolk group of islands. Lifelong birders mixed with first timers; sound recordings were made, lists were ticked and added to and everyone participated in a range of events. Hilli’s hosted the dinner to launch the week, a Meet the Ranger dinner at Mariah’s  was highlighted with an update of the Green Parrot program. At the farewell dinner at Paradise a slide show of the beautiful images captured during the week were displayed as a background to the evening.

Local nature specialist and author of the island’s bird guide, Margaret Christian, led the way to a variety of locations around Norfolk Island, and David Bigg and Karlene Christian introduced a number of the participants to the wonders of Phillip Island.

A special outing to find seabirds on the water was facilitated by Darren Bates. Pelagic species are sought after by birders, and in the Norfolk region there are a birds that are rarely seen elsewhere.

The participants were sorry to leave, and some have vowed to return for next year’s event. All agreed that it was about more than just the birding outings that made them want to return; the people, the supportive attitude of the community to each other and the warm, friendly welcome they show visitors, the humour, the weather and the stunning beauty of the island all added up to an experience that won’t be forgotten, and that they look forward to repeating.

Norfolk Island Bird Week was a project of Wildmob, with regular visitor, Wildmob director  Derek Ball on the island to ensure the smooth running of the event. Wildmob has a suite of environmentally focused tours planned for Norfolk, and already during November the first group of eco-volunteers has visited and assisted in work to rehabilitate and sustain the island’s natural assets. Five further groups are planned for visits during 2015. You can read about Wildmob and their many and varied projects at

The Norfolk Island Travel Centre, in their efficient and friendly way ensured the smooth running of the event from start to finish, as we know they always do.

For anyone interested in travelling to Norfolk Island with Wildmob as an eco-volunteer or for Bird Week next year (24-29 November 2015) check the Wildmob or Norfolk Island Travel Centre website for more details or email or

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Friday, December 05, 2014

Welcome to my adventure in the life as an Aircraft ground support officer (AGSO) with the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD).

My journey began on the 29th August 2014 when I flew from Norfolk Island to Sydney then onto Hobart. Prior to my departure the whole recruitment process took approx. 6 months before I was offered a position as an AGSO to serve my contract of roughly 5 months between Davis and Mawson stations.  

There are normally six to eight AGSOs based at the Antarctic stations (Davis, Casey & Mawson) for the summer season, and there are 4 of us (3 male and 1 female) going to Davis Station.

So what does an AGSO do?

•             Construction, maintenance and reporting of Ski Landing Areas to agreed standards.

•             Aviation fuel handling, including the management of station based aviation fuel stocks.

•             Passenger and cargo manifesting.

•             Coordination and conduct of safety briefings for expeditioners.

•             Coordination and assistance with the transport of personnel and cargo to, from and within the aircraft, including the preparation and hook up of helicopter external loads.

•             Provision of Ski Landing Area weather observations to pilots and Bureau of Meteorology.

•             Providing basic emergency first aid and aviation firefighting and emergency response services as required.

•             Maintaining inventory registers of station based Air Operations equipment.

•             Documenting procedures and making recommendations for the ongoing development of such for future seasons.

•             Supporting station, field operations and science programs as required.

Additional training is provided by the AAD in Aerodrome Inspection and Reporting, meteorological observations, dangerous goods acceptance and packaging, helicopter sling loading operations and licensing to drive various vehicles such as the over-snow Hagglunds.

My training was conducted at and around the AAD in Kingston Tasmania. After completing 2 months training which would allow me to carry out role and tasking’s required for a AGSO (as previously mentioned)it was time to board the Aurora Australis which is Australia's Antarctic flagship (named after the southern hemisphere atmospheric phenomenon).  We left Hobart on the 22nd October bound for Davis station which is located at 68°35' S 77°58' E on the Ingrid Christensen Coast of Princess Elizabeth Land, and is the most southerly Australian Antarctic station about 4700 km SW of Perth.

After 14 days sailing south from Hobart we reached the pack ice on Wed 06 Wed November which was around 6km out from Davis station. The plan was for the ship to stop at this mark and launch the two helicopters that were being carried on board and fly some essential staff off first to coordinate with the current winter crew at Davis to allow the commencement of transfer of summer personnel(for both Davis & Mawson) and cargo destined for Mawson station as well. I was fortunate to be one of the first be flown off on a helicopter to the base to standby and wait to receive cargo by helicopters from ship to shore followed by passengers.

Once underway it took the whole evolution just over 5 hours to complete. Whilst this was all happening the ship continued to push through the ice for the next 2 days until it reached its anchorage point, about 2km off shore.  Then started the huge job off off-loading all the cargo across the frozen ocean which is called the sea ice. It was imperative the ship got within 4km as that is the max length the ships fuel hoses are for it possible to transfer fuel ashore to resupply the station.

The Aurora Australis finished her resupply and departed the waters around Davis on the 12th November bound for Hobart. It was now time for the 2014/15 summer & winter crews to settle in and commence station duties as from where the previous season crew hand over. The accommodation and recreation buildings are very good as they were re-built in 2011.  I have my own room accommodated in what is called the SAM (Summer accommodation module).

The food is excellent, considering the chefs can’t just pop down to the supermarket and fresh salad such as lettuce isn’t available.

So far my job has involved inductions for vehicles such as Track quad bikes,4x4’s,Frontend loaders, Snow Groomers, Skid steers to mention some and then base support roles. We also been conducting maintenance on the ski landing area. Other jobs we have been working on is prepping equipment, stock takes and equipment inventories. We have also been involved in aircraft refuelling both fixed wing and Rotary, Ski landing Area preparation and marking. Working in the environment down here definitely is challenging at times as the temps are low and the wind chill is definitely is lower when it is blowing, not mentioning the visibility once the snow becomes drifting or blowing.

Myself and one of my colleagues Jenn flew over to Mawson Station on the 7th November but the weather prevented us from getting there as planned (Plans down here change very frequently due to weather conditions) .  We made one attempt to land at Mawson (4 ½ hours round trip), but we were unable to land so returned to Davis. Then it took us a week till the weather allowed us to fly again over to Mawson and achieve a landing on the 14th November. The scenery from up in the air was amazing, our role at Mawson was to assist in what is called the Berlin Airlift which involves an old DC3 aircraft that has been modernised transporting freight/cargo from Davis to Mawson.

The aircraft we currently have operating out of Davis are a Douglas DC3, Twin Otter DHC6 and two Squirrel AS350B helicopters.  The pilots and aircraft are on contract from two companies, Ken Borak Air from Canada and Helicopter Resources from Hobart Tasmania.

 Since arriving down at Davis and Mawson I have seen wildlife which includes numerous amounts of Adelie penguins, Emperor Penguins, Weddell seals and pups, snow petrels, south polar skua’s and southern giant petrels.  Whilst at Mawson station I had the opportunity to tag along with a crew on a Quad bike trip out to the Auster Rookery to see the Emperor Penguins and the Adelie Penguins. On the way we saw some amazing scenery and the odd Weddell seal and its pup just lazing around enjoying a little bit of sun shine. Once we reached our destination at Auster we managed to park our Quads some distance from one of 3 colonies of Emperor Penguins.

The acquisitiveness of Penguins in both types is astounding.  Whilst still maintaining the required distance (essential for the wellbeing of wildlife in Antarctica) it is hard because the Penguins are so inquisitive and they always seem to come to you rather than you going near them. As we stood there snapping shots like real paparazzi with our cameras, in awe of some 800 penguins and their fluffy chicks, it didn’t take long before we were approached by a few Emperors and funnily enough a couple of little chicks. It was if they came over for a chat they would come so far and just stand there watching you as if saying “well you going to talk to me?”

Our job was done on the 23rd November and after just settling into life at Mawson it was time to move on again and return to Davis station. We unloaded the Basler and then boarded and departed to Davis. We find ourselves now back at Davis supporting the fix wing and rotary aircraft as they carry out their season tasking’s.  My adventure continues day by day and I look forward to continuing to sharing my experiences with anyone and everyone who has always wonder what life in some parts of the Antarctica is like, especially from Davis and Mawson stations. 

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EOLOGY - Chloe Nicholas

Friday, November 28, 2014

Chloe was born in Sydney in 1940 and spent her early life swimming and sailing off Sydney’s Harbour beaches.   As a young woman Chloe lived and worked in Sydney and married her first husband Harry who remained a great friend; they travelled and spent time on Lord Howe Island.  Some years later Chloe flew to Tonga and joined the New Endeavour which sailed to Norfolk Island as part of a Captain Cook re-enactment voyage.  In March 1966 Chloe returned to Norfolk Island with her second husband Bill and settled at Middlegate.  

They raised two children; Melissa and Stephen James who pre deceased Chloe in 1998.  During her 48 years on Norfolk, Chloe involved herself in many activities.  Her involvement in the early days of NATS will be remembered along with her Friday evening radio program – Surrounded by Fine Music.   

Chloe particularly enjoyed the NIMPEX days and the time she spent working as a property agent; most enjoyable were the days spent on Emily Bay with her children.  Chloe entered Norfolk's political arena in 1980 to the Second Legislative Assembly and again in 2000 to the Tenth Legislative Assembly and she served on a number of Government Statuary Boards.  Chloe was immensely proud of her grand-children Isabelle, Ari and Tertia and their achievements, particularly their academic achievements.   

Chloe may well be best remembered for her dedication to the gym and her active aging regime.   She was unimpressed that after so many years of healthy eating and exercise that her legs would let her down.   

Chloe developed deep vein thrombosis which was triggered by pancreatic carcinoma and in typical form her own research prepared her for the worst and her decision to return home after just four days in Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital was absolute.  Chloe will be remembered as a woman of great intellect and dignity; a pragmatic person and a quality human being who willingly gave her time and assistance to those sought it, she encouraged and inspired many.     


Thank you – Chloe Nicholas

On behalf of Chloe’s family I would like to thank David Buffett, the Sexton, grave diggers, the wreath makers and Marie, Gavin and Tardy, Milt, ushers and pallbearers; Khan and Daniel Forsyth,  Dean Fitzpatrick and Sputt Douran for preparing the ground and laying Chloe to rest.   To Colleen White, Sue Menzies, St John’s Ambulance and the staff at the hospital, thank you.  To Gary and Lynne, everyone who sent cards and offered tributes and support in so many ways, bless you with love in return.  To Mum’s Palliative care team, Wendy Soley, Jodie Williams, Bron South, Donna and Ash, PJ, Monica and Daniel and my basalt rock Bruce Taylor, words will never be enough.    


Melissa Ward

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SHIP A BULL ... by Betty Mathews

Friday, November 21, 2014

My challenge last week was to follow the story of the two new bulls which arrived on the Southern Taire cargo ship.  Watching the ship unload the bus on Tuesday I spotted two green large cattle crates numbered #1 and #2 on the Kingston Pier.  The Bulls had already been unloaded upon the ship’s arrival on Monday 10th November and they were now safely on land again, making themselves at home at James Partridge’s and Aaron Graham’s properties to be quarantined and Candice the vet had checked the bulls over. 

After a few phone calls and facebook contacts I have learnt a little more and await photos of the two new studs and hopefully they will be love-a-bull to the local lady cows. 

Aaron took a trip to New Zealand and the bulls came from the Napier area in Hawke’s Bay.  He organised the transport and their loading onto the Southern Taire for their voyage to Norfolk Island.  Aaron has the Simmental Bull and James has the Angus Bull.  So there are now some new bloodlines for the Island’s cattle breeding.

I thought the cattle crates at the Kingston Pier were return-a-bull, back onto the ship, but I have since found out that they were made here on Norfolk Island specifically to transport cattle and horses.

I now have pictures avail-a-bull of the two bulls, thank you Aaron Graham, Megan Fitzpatrick and Candice Snell for all of the photos, of the bulls being unloaded from the ship  and happy to be new residence of Norfolk Island.

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EULOGY - Byron Hugh Burrell

Friday, November 14, 2014

Byron Hugh Burrell was a quiet, gentle but strong man with an inquisitive mind. He continually challenged himself to learn more, whether in conversations, reading or watching his favourite TV programs.

During trips in the Second World War, Byron's father Hugh (Sam) fell in love with the island and decided this was where he wanted to retire. After the war was over, Sam, his wife Evelyn (Nean) and children Byron, who was 11 at the time and Heather 5, moved to Norfolk Island and purchased the property at Point Vincent and named it Moana Roa.

Byron Hugh Burrell was born in Christchurch, New Zealand on 11th November 1935 to the sound of bells ringing for Remembrance Day. Nean had suffered seven miscarriages so Byron was lucky to come into this world.  He was born prematurely and only weighed 3lb, he survived only because a humidicrib had been delivered to the hospital the day before.

Byron & Heather soon became entrenched in the island way of life through his second family - Nick and Bebe Christian and their children. Nick was their farm manager at the time and always had Byron in tow when he did anything, especially fishing.  Byron and Heather and the rest of the kids would ride their horses over the mountain to School, until Russ Partridge purchased an old army troop carrier, which was called “fartin lozer” and in dry periods, the kids would arrive home covered in red dust.


Byron left Norfolk Island to attend Scott’s Boarding School in Wellington at the age 12 but enjoyed coming home each holidays with his cousin Robin Bennett.  He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force at the age of 16 as a boy entrant where he did Aircraft Mechanics. During his time in the Air Force he served in Malaysia.  While doing his training in Blenheim, Heather remembers his obsession with motorbikes and him writing to tell his parents that he was racing motorbikes, much to their horror.  

With only six months left in the Air Force before his discharge date, Byron decided not to renew his service as his father Sam’s health was failing and he needed to retire.  Byron at 25 years returned to Norfolk to help take over the farm and Sam’s job as an British Petroleum Agent at the Norfolk Island Airport.


In 1960 Byron met his wife to be, Noelle Lancon who he courted her by taking her down Norfolk’s cliffs fishing!  Byron and Noelle were married in 1962 and started a family which he was very proud of.

As we all know Byron loved to fish, starting at the very young age of 6, and he would fish off the Hobsonville Wharf unchaperoned and feed his catch to the local cats on the wharf.  As he grew up Byron would spend any spare time fishing off the rocks somewhere and eventually going out in his own boat ‘Quest’. He would also go to New Zealand and fish in Easter Fishing Competitions with good mate Tony Mullins. He was in his element catching Marlin.

He taught his children to fish as soon as they were old enough, starting off at the pier then Headstone, and later progressing to Black Bank and Poll Point.  He had rules though - always keep one eye on the sea; if you hooked a little fish you had to let it go; and only catch what you can use, no more.  Byron kept photos of every different fish he caught with some of these photos being used in stamp designs.

Byron loved his animals and boy there a few of them over the years , aquariums, dogs, cats, sheep, cattle, horses, geese, ducks, terns and even a wild dove that befriended him.  A close friend once said she wanted to come back in another life as one of Byron's animals because they were so well looked after.   His love of horses returned once his children became interested in them, he broke horses in, rode in the A & H Shows and even built the children a sulky for their pony.

Byron was a perfectionist in anything he did, and when he had a project on, boy look out because that was all he thought about until the project was finished. Byron could turn his hand to anything that needed inventing, building or fixing.  On winter nights he would spend many an hour in his study building model aeroplanes and flying them with his modelling mates.

Byron and Noelle had three children, Denise, Robyn and Dean.

Denise was the first to be married to Bill Donald and had three children, Trent, Alana and Brooke who he was very close to him and had a lot to do with their upbringing.

Robyn married Geoff Turner and had three girls, Elise, Mikaely and Jessica who he enjoyed getting to know on their visits to the island.

Byron's Son, Dean married Wendy LeComte and had a son, Luca who was often out at the farm with Grandad.

Byron adored all of his grandchildren, and taught them how to fish and drive a car out in the paddock. The grandkids all had him twisted around their little fingers.

Byron will be missed dearly by his family and friends, he is always in our thoughts and we pray for him for the next part of his journey.

Thank You

The family would like to thank, all the very special friends who have given their love and support to him and the family during the last 2 years of his illness.

Thank you also to the wonderful Doctors, Nurses, Aged care givers and all the staff at the hospital, especially those who went above and beyond to make his final days more comfortable.  Also to all the special people who have dropped off food & flowers and given their support this week.

Tardy for driving the hearse, Shane and the grave diggers, the ladies at the usual place for their beautiful floral tributes, the police escort, Milton for the PA system, Sim for the music.  And Ralph, Ken, Les and everyone for their help today.

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Friday, November 07, 2014

The Visiting bowling team from Engadine Australia enjoyed bowls at the Norfolk Island bowling club this week. The visiting club played on Saturday, Wednesday and on Thursday.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Terry’s Tours & Charters, in conjunction with Norfolk Island Travel Centre welcomed a happy, friendly group to Norfolk Island last Saturday accompanied by tour leader Lynne Sullivan who loves returning to Norfolk each year. A special trip too as Lynne’s sister Helen also came on tour – and set the shopping pace!

Terry’s Tours really enjoyed their time staying at South Pacific Resort, with daily breakfasts and some scrumptious dinners at the hotel. All in all everyone had a terrific week of touring, shopping & relaxing. The tours included Norfolk Traditional Dinner, Culla & Co Horse & Carriage Tour, Wonderland by Night, a visit to Cyclorama with a afternoon tea at Hilli’s, Progressive Dinner, Glass Bottom Boat trip, Convict Settlement Tour, A Night as a Convict, Green Fingers Tour and the popular Cliff-top Island Fish Fry.

We wish Lynne and the Terry’s Tours group a safe trip back to Brisbane and look forward to seeing them back again in future.

Our photo shows the Terry’s Tours group at South Pacific Resort Hotel.

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MEET SIMON NOLA ... by Leilani Shepherd

Friday, October 24, 2014

During bronze medallist Simon Nola’s visit to Norfolk Island, I was fortunate enough to have a chat with him about his recent experience as a rower, representing Norfolk Island. Here’s what he had to say:

Me: You won a bronze medal. What competition was it that you won this in?

Simon: The Commonwealth Rowing Championships.

Me: Where were the championships held?

Simon: Glasgow, Strathclyde Park, which is the same location where the triathlon was held in the Commonwealth Games—everything there was still set up for the triathlon.

Me: What kind of an experience was this compared to what you’re used to?

Simon: To be honest, it’s actually quite a small regatta, there’s hardly anyone there, because each country is only allowed to take a maximum of, I think, twelve people. Obviously, Norfolk only had one but some of the countries took the full contingent. There were fourteen nations there in the end and not all of them had twelve, so it was quite small—the days were short and there weren’t really that many races. What I’m used to is doing multiple races, a busy regatta park and lots of rules about when you can get on the water and when you can’t. Compared to what I’m used to, it was fairly laid-back—relaxed. In saying that, the standard was pretty high, a lot of competition compared to four years ago and a lot of the competitors actually went on to compete in the World Championships a few weeks later.

Me: Did you have to qualify to get in?

Simon: I didn’t because there’s no one else here on Norfolk Island who tried out. Sometimes you do have to qualify even if you’re the only one, to get into an event, but not this one.

Me: Do you think you’ll ever do it again?

Simon: Definitely—absolutely. My aim is to do it two more times—go for another eight years before I retire.

Thank You Simon for your time! We look forward to seeing you represent Norfolk in major sporting events for years to come!

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EULOGY - Unice Mihinga Vercoe

Friday, October 17, 2014

Unice Mihinga Vercoe was born in Otorohanga the second eldest of ten children to Doug and Agnes Hughes. As a toddler her parents lived on a farm at Maihini where their closest neighbours were an Indian family. Her mother said Unice first words were a mixture of Hindi, Maori and English. From Maihihi they moved to a farm at Otewa where she attended primary school. At the age of 12 the family moved to Marokopa which is a coastal farming area. There she finished her primary school years.

By then there were 10 children. Unice secondary schooling was at New Plymouth Girls High staying at Rangiatea Maori Girls Hostel. On leaving school Mihinga studied to be a hairdresser in Auckland before returning to Otorohanga to finish her apprenticeship and start her working life. But the travelling bug soon called and she decided she wanted to see the world. Her first and last stop was Norfolk Island. This is where she found her paradise.

Philly has covered the early years of Noons life as we affectionately knew her, and now I am honoured to recall her time on Norfolk. Noon arrived in 1972 to work at the South Pacific Hotel, and later at Paradise Hotel, she also had a number of part time jobs. Noon was a hard worker. Philly remembers well her first visit to Norfolk at the age of 16 spending most of her time helping Noon wash and detail cars at Cecs Hire cars and cleaning the King Air for Norfolk Island Airlines.

She told Philly it all helped to pay the rent! Noon loved her job with Norfolk Island Airlines and was to later become their Norfolk Manager, a job she did with pride and held until the airline ceased operations in 1980. Noon was then able to obtain a job with Burns Philp Travel as part of the Air NZ and Qantas team. After the birth of daughter Suzy in 1989 Noon had to give up permanent work due to ill health but she kept her part time jobs at Norfolk Telecom as a Telephonist and later helping with the monthly accounts.

She looked after her family and also continued her passion as a radio announcer which she commenced when she first arrived on Norfolk. Noon was the longest serving radio announcer spanning a period of over forty years. She also assisted with concerts and charity shows as an entertainer and judge particularly promoting her native Maori culture which she was extremely proud of. Noon was also a qualified Tai-Chi and Qigong Wellbeing Instructor - she claimed this helped her immensely during her down times. Noon had a strong character and personality - ask Basil when he got home late from the Gun Club!

She was exceptionally talented and she would share this talent with anyone who was prepared to learn. When Noon chose Norfolk as her new home she enriched our lifestyle and helped foster our knowledge and understanding of her Maori heritage and culture. In return she always respected ours - Noon will be missed by all who knew her - May she rest in peace.

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