NON Awas Salan


Friday, May 16, 2014

Coming to Norfolk wasn’t on our radar until about Dec 2013. What started as a small conversation between The Ocean Ambassadors and Oceania Economic Development Corporation on what Norfolk is capable of, blossomed into us changing our route plan and putting priority on making Norfolk Island a part of this years tour.


We came to show you the community and your school children what the issues are with Marine Debris, how we can work together for a brighter future. But focusing on solutions that are economically viable for small island communities.


To finish that side, we have learnt from your ministers of the local plan to minimize and process your waste. And hopefully as a community you can work together and move past the days of the current situation at headstone.


As for the technology we showcased throughout four different locations during our stay. If any of you are interested in seeing it come to Norfolk Island and work together as a co-op, feel free to have follow up conversations with Andre Nobbs, and OEDC.


Now with that out of the way, let me get to something that we have all talked about as a group every night as we wrapped up. 99% of everyone we met on Norfolk welcomed us with open arms, went out of there way to make our stay possible/pleasurable, offered us fresh fish, produce, a drink you name it.


As a young Capt. that chose to live in French Polynesia because of the rich culture, raw nature and yes maybe something to do with perfect waves I see many resemblances with your community. You can tell there are Polynesian bloodlines on the island and I have to say it made me feel a little homesick, only because you remind me of a place close to my heart.


From our whole team with no word of a lie, massive THANK YOU and Maruru Roa for everything you did for us. We look forward to continuing our friendships, promoting Norfolk Island, the people and their commitment to more innovative waste management as we continue our Clean Oceans journey through the islands.


Hopefully see you all again sometime in the near future.


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EULOGY - Katherine Daisy Adams-Friend

Friday, May 09, 2014

“On behalf of Dad, Kim, Garry, Stuart, Karen their children, Adam, Chris, Jack and Emily and myself I would like to welcome and thank all of you who are here today as well as those who were unable be here with us today.

I would also like to acknowledge Mum's  Parents and Siblings who have gone before her and now Mum has joined with them in looking over and protecting us all: -

*              Pumper, Ephraim Henry Adams (1897-1966)

*              Amy Ruth Adams nee Christian (1900-1954)

*              Tilly, Laurie Melba Adams 1918-1944

*              Gindie, Eustace Walter Adams 1919-1960

*              Jelly, Henry Joseph Adams 1920-1967

*              Doc, Frederick Adams 1923-1979

*              Snitch/Brud, Stephen Laverty Adams 1925-1986

*              Billy Pumper, William Joyce Adams 1927-2013

*              Taggart, Elizabeth May Menzies nee Adams 1929-1997

Katherine Daisy Adams-Friend was born on 11th November 1930 and was the youngest child of Amy Ruth Adams (nee Christian) and Ephraim Henry Adams (Pumper).

She was educated at the Norfolk Island School and took her first job as a nursing aid at the Norfolk Island hospital, which was in what is now Bishop’s Court near the Mission Chapel.  She was trained by Matron Heather Napier, with whom she formed a lifelong friendship.  When Heather went to Sydney, Mum went with her and worked in hotel management in Sydney.

During this period, Mum was chosen for a Women's magazine spread about her and Norfolk Island and she recounted that this photo shoot was taken of her in her first pair of shoes.

When her mother fell ill, Mum came back to Norfolk to look after both her Mother and Father.  

Dad recounts the story of how he met Mum. Upon his appointment and taking up the position of Agricultural Officer with the then Norfolk Island Administration, he thought it would be good to have a boat to go a fishenen and so he bought one in Sydney and had it shipped over to Norfolk.  He also realised that he could not drive a boat so asked around his associates as to who on the Island might be a person who he could approach to get to take him out fishing in his boat.  He was referred to Bill Adams and he asked Bill, Bill agreed, so off they went fishing off Kingston and Cascade.

After one such fishing trip Bill invited Dad back to Mill Road for dinner and to meet his sister, Kathy.  From that dinner they have had a relationship to this day.  Thank you Uncle Bill nice one.

In 1960 Dad got a job with the Northern Territory Government and early in that year they moved from Norfolk Island to Darwin along with Kim, Robert, and Garry.  Shortly after Stuart and Karen came into this world to establish the family we were and are today. 

Kathy was a talented, sport's loving, independent, strong and smart women.

Kathy was a good tennis and golf player and played tennis at the Methodist Courts and golf with Bill at the Golf course.  Mum recounted the story of when she first tried to play golf and she teamed up with Bill and others for a round. She was given a driver and was told how to swing it.  Being a natural swinger, she addressed the ball, took the proper back swing and brought the driver down and hit the ball long and straight.  The only problem was she hit it in the opposite direction from the hole.  What she and others didn't realised was that she was a left handed golf player and when a lefty hits a ball with a right handed club you can only hit it one way and that is not in the direction intended.

In Darwin, Mum took on several jobs before becoming a successful business woman and at one stage owned 6 fashion dress shops in Darwin, Gove and Katherine. She was also a leader in voluntary community works starting the Darwin Spastic Centre which acknowledged by a building in that centre being named in her honour.

Mum also ran the then Spastic Association Miss Australia pageant for two years as well as a number of fund raising events during this period.  Just before we left Darwin, Mum was named person of the month in the Darwin Newspaper and her community work and philanthropy was acknowledged within the Darwin community.

Whilst living in Darwin. Mum opened her house for her brother Stephen 'Brud' who worked in the NT as a bull dozer operator, as well as many of her nephews and nieces.  They include Julie and Steven Adams dar for Gindie, Wayne 'Doggy' Adams to commence a plumbing apprenticeship, Fla Adams who commence nursing training at the Darwin Hospital, Kelvin Adams to do some years at high school and his younger sister Alison Adams after their father passed away, who completed year 8 at Darwin High School with Robert and Garry.

While Darwin was some distance from Norfolk Island this did not limit Mum from going home or to visit her Aussie based Brothers whenever she was able.  We all remember and can recount numerous journeys down the Stuart Highway south to Port Augusta to visit Nan, Julie and Stephen, or to Fairy Meadow to visit Jelly, Meg and all dem for Jelly’s as well as Dad's parents and brothers before flying to Norfolk for a two week holiday with Bill and Taggart and all dem's sullen.

When Pumper was ill in his later years and after a Christmas holiday Mum brought Pumper back to Darwin so she could care for him.  Dad tells a story about that drive, with Pumper, out of Sydney.  When we were approaching Newcastle, Pumper asked Mum “we mussa dere Kathy?”  You can imagine his relief five days later we were mussa there.  I am sure Fla also remembers this drive when she first came up to Darwin with us?  Probably the fus and only time she se do dar trip in one car?

A year before Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin, Ernie was transferred to a job in Bundaberg so we left Darwin for Bundaberg, Mum selling her Darwin shops and after a short stay in Gove while Mum wrapped one of her dress shops, and a short stay in Bundaberg, we moved again and this time to Brisbane where Kathy and Ernie lived until their retirement and I use that term very loosely.

Mum being Mum, once we were settled into Brisbane went back to work which included working in a Butcher shop in Indooroopilly before taking over a gift shop in Yeronga.  After that business she took over a Florist in the City and this allowed her skills in design, colour and arrangement to come to the fore.  She had two Florists at one point before she sold those and as I said sort of retired.

One of the florist shops Mum ran was located at the old Roma Street Railway Station and this florist saw her compassion for people come out again.  It was known to be a night time refuge for a number of homeless people, mostly men but occasionally for single women or women with a child or two.  One of Mum's tasks when she would arrive to open her florist shop was to go across the entry way to the café where she would buy the homeless night time residents a hot drink and toasted sandwich for their breakfast.  You can be sure that these people protected their daily breakfast and made sure it wasn't abused by others.

We also have memories of Mum coming home from working in the florist all day and accompanying her occasionally was a member of her Roma Street breakfast gang and this also happen on Christmas Eve or day if I recall correctly.  This lucky person would be served a nice Christmas Eve or day meal and spend time with our family.  While the meal would last for a day or two I am sure the generosity shown by Mum and Dad toward these homeless people sustained them for many lonely months after that meal.

Upon Ernie's retirement, he and Mum built their house at Steele’s Point and moved back to Norfolk.  At Norfolk Kathy's independence come out again and I am sure we all remember her Café in Palm Court and the period they managed Branker House as a restaurant with Mum in the kitchen and Dad showing Gazza what a Maitre d' is really about.  During this period Kim was living on Norfolk and Garry and Karen were also able to spend time living on Norfolk and assisting Mum in her businesses amongst doing their own thing.

While on Norfolk, Mum also was part of the Norfolk Island Hospital Management Committee and we believe contributed greatly to the work of that committee during her participation in that committee.

For Mum and Dad this period of living on Norfolk was a very enjoyable period of their life.  Mum was able to reconnect with Bill and Taggart and their families as well as many of her old friends and look forward to those White Oaks brunch get togethers for a cup of tea, some cake or pie and reminisce.  Dad got back to his roots in agriculture and on the land which Pumper farmed he was able to cultivate a number of crops such as sweet and Irish tayte, corn, avocados, abundant fruit trees etc.

Sadly as a result of Mum and Dad's health, they had to move back to Brisbane.  This was greeted well by us as we then could see them much more readily than we did when they were on Norfolk.  This also gave her increased opportunities to interact with her grandchildren, Adam, Chris, Jack and especially Emily.  Mum and Dad returned back to Norfolk as frequently as they could and they were both here for the Bounty and the Adams Family reunion a few years back and this was one of their highlights of recent years.

During Mum's time back on Norfolk and then back in Brisbane, she developed a fervent love of rugby league and The Broncos and would eagerly await the Friday night, Saturday afternoon or Sunday night game where nothing was able to occur until after the game.  And even in her last week she asked how the Bronco's went that weekend.  She also enjoyed the State of Origin and I know many Blues supporters here today would have received a dig when Queensland beat New South Wales and would have equally taken the dig when the tables were turned.  When was that again??? Sorry one last dig from Mum.

Thank you to all of you here who knew her, loved her and played whatever role in her life to make it what it was.  Mum will be missed, however I am sure, she will forever be in our thoughts, our hearts and our life.

Mum, thanks for all ucklun”.

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Friday, May 02, 2014

Dolly Christian was born on Norfolk Island into the Evans’ family, grew up in the Cascade area of Norfolk, and still lives there today.  She was an only child, but says she was lucky to have a very large extended family to grow up with.  Her favourite times were when she was playing in the creeks of Norfolk – at Cockpit and at Simon’s Water – and she recommends these as places visitors must go.


Dolly also remembers there being no electricity and no water pumps, but most homes had a well.  Her home was one of the few back then that had a water storage tank.  She recalls how wonderful it was when there were so few cars.  She would ride horses to the shops which sold everything from material to food.  The few shops in those days were up near the school, and where Nuffka Apartments, and the Bounty Centre is today.  People milked cows and made their own butter and cream, and worked very hard all day in the fields growing vegetables and fruit to survive.


Dolly remembers the once-a-year roll call of the men of Norfolk to do a week of public works.  The women would take sandwiches and tea and the time would become one long picnic.  You had to pay two shillings a day in lieu of work, which was a lot of money back then.  Dolly recalls fishing the creeks for eels to sell (for a shilling each) to the 1,500 New Zealanders living on Norfolk during the war.  They considered eels to be a delicacy, and Dolly could buy 24 halfpenny lollies for each eel sold.  How times have changed!  


Dolly also remembers how caring everyone was, and while this aspect of the Norfolk spirit remains strong today, it is under stress because everyone is so busy doing multiple jobs, to provide the services necessary to keep Norfolk ticking along.


What does Dolly recommend to visitors to Norfolk?


Do a half day general tour to get an understanding of the Island’s history, and to see the best of the natural beauty.  All major tour companies offer this tour.  Then, armed with that knowledge, hire a car and go back to those places you really want to see.  The Cyclorama, a panoramic painting and soundtrack of the history of the Bounty mutiny and the Norfolk people, situated in Queen Elizabeth Avenue, is a must.  Take a progressive dinner to island homes, enjoy the island food, and learn about the real Norfolk from those who know. 

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Friday, April 25, 2014

carolyn ‘George’ Douran was “…born and bred” on Norfolk Island.  As a tiny baby Carolyn was quite chubby and, as the family knew a George who was plump, they jokingly called her ‘George’, and the name stuck.  George says nicknames were very common when she was growing up - her older brother is still known as ‘Sputt’ for the sputnik satellites launched the year he was born. 

George is one of Ngaire and ‘Uckoo’ (‘Cat’) Douran’s five children – and for many years her family had a fish and chip shop, The Black Cat, opposite the school.  Her grandmother, Nornie Douran, was an Evans, so George has plenty of cousins on the Island. 

Her dad also worked the ships and was the skilled boatman who ferried the Queen, and her party, safely to Kingston Pier in 1974.  When asked, by a TV film crew, if rough weather might affect Her Majesty’s arrival ‘Uckoo’ famously said the lighter trip would be  “…a piece of cake.”   It was a big day on Norfolk.  George was a teenager and remembers being part of the group that went to welcome the Queen; they acted as ushers and opened car doors for the royal family and their entourage. 

George has always been outgoing and energetic.  She loves sport and being involved in all kinds of activities.  At home, in Cutters Corn, she helped look after her younger siblings, but she also worked in the shop and kept busy at school.  She was a House Captain (Go Phillip!), and Prefect, and has wonderful memories of appearing as Josephine, in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMAS Pinafore, with Darlene Buffett, ‘Tet’ Grube, Lyn McCowan, ‘Dids’ Evans and Ric Robinson.

George left school and worked for a while running a milk bar in Burnt Pine.  She was only 15, but believes her family background in catering/ hospitality allowed her to cope at such a young age.  She worked and saved and, in 1975, headed off to Sydney.  Other Norfolk friends and her brother, Sputty, were there, and George was keen “…to go away and see a bit of the world.”  She wasn’t homesick and enjoyed spending some time in the ‘big smoke’.  She soon got a job working for the ANZ Bank at a busy, city branch.

George later transferred to Rose Bay and was glad when a Norfolk Island ex-pat, Ruby Matthews, came into the branch.  They got on well and would always speak Norf’k to each other while Ruby did her banking.  In 1979 George met her partner, Pete Crowley, who was a Sydney boy.  She did miss her family, though, and came home regularly for holidays.  George still treasures the 21st Birthday telex message her family sent to Sydney – before computers and mobile phones any contact from home was precious.

George, Pete and their whippet-cross, Lindy Lou, came back to live in July, 1984.  George had resigned from the ANZ and got a position with Westpac.  She also wanted to help with her mum’s new restaurant, Cat’s Café.  She and Pete loved their dog, but the air carrier at the time could not transport animals, so George’s dad arranged for them all to come by cargo ship.  ‘Uckoo’ accompanied them on the voyage which ended up being so stormy and rough that George was terribly seasick, and it looked like she’d be late for her start with Westpac.  So, when they reached Lord Howe, George jumped on a small, light plane and finished the journey by air!  Ironically, the seas improved and Pete, Uckoo and Lindy Lou arrived home on time.

She was pleased to be near her loved ones again, and happy to savour the Island’s relaxed lifestyle.  Friendly and enthusiastic, George loves her job and, apart from short periods of maternity leave, has been working at Westpac for nearly 25 years.  She had Brooke in 1994 and Jake in 1999, and they all live at Ball Bay, enjoying its peace and spectacular views.  She’s seen many changes in banking:  new technology, automation and lower staffing levels, but the social aspect has always appealed to George.  In the early days, when so many bank employees came from Australia, they had to be ‘looked after’ by locals, and there were lots of parties and fun times.

George was, and is, a bit of a ‘livewire’ and participates in a wide range of activities.  She does aerobics, walks, plays squash and helps out with Brooke’s netball.  She is a mainstay of the Easter Carnival and a talented designer/model for the annual Wearable Arts Parade.  George likes to perform and, partnered by Eddy Miratana, was the popular vote winner in 2007’s inaugural ‘It Takes Two’ singing competition.  With her flair for design, she is also in demand as a decorator for community events, school sports days and Christmas displays.

So, if you need cheering up, pop in to Westpac and say Whutta-waye to George.  In honour of the visiting ballroom dancers, and Red Hatters, one of her memorable Wearable Art creations is currently on show in the bank’s window.  Be sure to stop and have a good look - it’s vibrant and fun – just like George. 

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Friday, April 18, 2014

In the history of the Pitcairn Island people there have been critical periods which, in retrospect, required the assistance of “outsiders” to proceed.  The original John Buffett may be the initial one of these people.  He was the first to bring new ideas and skills to the community.  Captain William Driver, who took it upon himself in 1831 to return the Islanders to Pitcairn after their disastrous five-months in Tahiti, would be another.  Some 20% of the community died within that short period, mostly from influenza.  It was a horrible and desperate time.  Certainly Admiral of the Fleet, Fairfax Moresby, would need to be included.  No one represented the interests of the Pitcairn people, in London and within the halls of the Colonial Office, more loyally than the Admiral, particularly during the years leading to the relocation of the people to Norfolk Island.  This special relationship with the Admiral is reflected, among other things, in the number of sons named Fairfax or Moresby in his honour, or Fortescue, after one of his sons, well into the 20th Century.  Former Australian Commonwealth Attorney General and Territories Minister, Robert Ellicott, QC, must also be on this list.  He was the principal architect in 1979 of The Norfolk Island Act, which still forms the basis of the Island’s government.

This commentary isn’t about politics, but about the bond of trust that formed between two initial foes, Minister Ellicott and Island farmer, Greg Quintal.  Greg, a sixth-generation descendant of Bounty mutineer, Mathew Quintal, was a member of the Norfolk Island Advisory Council in the 1970s and a part of the Island’s negotiating team during a very bitter stage of negotiations between the Council and the Commonwealth regarding Norfolk’s political future.  A little-known incident occurred between them in 1978 that demonstrates what great things can happen when people of goodwill meet, even in trying times.  One is now 95, the other 87, and their ensuing friendship continues to this day. 

As uncertain as the future of Norfolk Island might seem today, it was probably more so during the 1970s.  All politics aside (and I’ll do my best), after more than a century of contention regarding the “ownership” of Norfolk – the Pitcairn Islanders arrived believing Queen Victoria had given them the Island; the Colonial Office disagreed – a 1976 Royal Commission report initiated by the Commonwealth, the Nimmo Report, essentially recommended the External Territory of Norfolk Island be absorbed into the Commonwealth.  The Norfolk Council of the day rejected the report in its entirety.  Particularly for Norfolk Islanders of Pitcairn-descent, a tremendous amount was at stake and emotions ran high.  Add to that a couple more years of vitriolic name-calling and the stage is set for intractable negotiations between the parties with seemingly no middle ground.  Enter Commonwealth Territories Minister Bob Ellicott and Norfolk Councillor Greg Quintal.  The incident, told to me by someone present and confirmed by both Greg and Ellicott, is as follows:

From the Norfolk Island perspective, talks were at an all-time low, with time and resources always on the Commonwealth’s side.  At a particularly frustrating meeting, Greg suddenly begins to sing the hymn, “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”.  This is what Norfolk Islanders sang on the shoreline in the 1930s as a much-disliked Administrator finally sailed away from the Island.  It’s been considered a protest song amongst Islanders of that generation ever since, Norfolk’s version of “We Shall Overcome”, and Greg is singing it now at the negotiating table.  It helps that Bob Ellicott turns out to be a committed Methodist.  This is what I think happened.

Greg’s response was so unusual, so un-Western-like, that Bob gets the sense that maybe Norfolk is different, too, and pauses to take a second look.  At that moment, preconceptions disappear and political agendas momentarily vanish.  At that instant, as well, Greg, Bob and the others in the room start to see each other as people, with families and histories and equal concerns about the future, rather than merely as opponents. 

I don’t believe it was entirely coincidence that the negotiations seemed to quickly change afterwards.  News accounts of the day reveal a genuinely surprising, sudden turnabout.  The controversial recommendations of the Nimmo Report were shelved by the Commonwealth in favour of entirely new legislation, The Act, which rightly or wrongly bestowed on a people about as much self-determination as most likely could have legally been given. 

That point in time in the negotiating room I call an Ellicott moment.  It could just as easily be called a Quintal moment.  It is an instance of empathy and understanding between peoples that can change the course of events, and can happen at the most unlikely times and places.  I think we could use such a moment now.

Postscript:  Some 30 years later, when Greg’s grandson was holidaying in Australia, he stayed with Bob’s daughter.  The Minister and the Farmer.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Leah was born in 1978 in Moruya in NSW to parents, Garth Menzies and Kathleen Bailey. When Leah was just two months old, they all moved to Norfolk Island and three years later, a baby brother,Dustin, completed their family.

Descended from the Buffetts, Leah feels she was always destined to end up on Norfolk and admits she has trouble leaving. Norfolk is well known for people being able to try different things and this is definitely something Leah has taken advantage of. At school, she got into art and craft and this led her into a Graphic Arts course with Photopress International.

Her next venture was to the Hillcrest Hotel whereher role ranged from housekeeping to second Chefin the kitchen. Next, Leah became a regular at thecheck-outs of Foodland Supermarket before cardetailing for Hibiscus Hire Cars. After this shehelped out in one of the family businesses, Norfolk Island Coffee House, as a Barista.For the last eight years, Leah has been looking after Records for the Norfolk Island Administration. Her partner, Matthew McConnell, was born on Norfolk Island and went to school here. He is a Mechanic withthe Works Depot, and has just completed his TAFE qualifications. Looking to the future, Leah is planning to start an airbrushing course.

Leah fondly remembers growing up on Norfolk as being pretty laid back. She lived at the beach in summer and went sailing, fishing, bike riding, horse riding and bush walking. She played a lot of sports too: tennis,football, soccer, squash, bowls, gymnastics, ballroom dancing, golf, along with pool and paintball. More recently Leah‟s holidays, have taken her all over Australia, including: the south-east coast, Adelaide,coastal NSW, Canberra, Bathurst, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. However, Leah loves her home on Norfolk because she is close to her family, and it‟s a safe, crime-free environment.

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Friday, April 04, 2014

Bonnie Anne Kelly was born in Sydney, NSW and grew up in the Blue Mountains area where her mother managed various guest houses.  Bonnie came to Norfolk at the beginning of 1953 to nurse at the hospital, after doing her general training at Katoomba, and Sydney’s Crown Street Maternity Hospital where she studied obstetrics. 

Norfolk was quite different in those days; it was a smaller community with horses, bikes and no electricity.  The hospital was new then but conditions, generally, were more basic.  She first met her late husband, George ‘Kik’ Quintal when he came to outpatients with a carbuncle on his neck, and they soon discovered they shared a mutual love of horses. 

Norfolk’s young people used to go for moonlit rides every month.  They’d head out to Steeles Point to watch the moonrise, then the boys barbequed steaks for tea and they’d ride home singing at the “…top of our voices!”  Bonnie remembers singing hymns, mainly, and a few country tunes they’d learnt from records.  ‘Kik’ had a wonderful voice and use to lead community singing, for happy and sad occasions, on the Island.

Bonnie and ‘Kik’ were married on 21st of October, 1953 and later had three children:   David (‘Kik Kik’), Karenne and Marylin (Mary).  She stopped working for a little while but began doing nursing shifts again when Mary was a baby.  During these years she was also involved in family activities, the Church, horse riding, ballroom dancing, Red Cross, Girl Guides and the Gun Club.  ‘Kik’ was the Forestry Officer and he looked after their place; growing all their fruit and vegetables, while Bonnie was happy to raise a family and work on Norfolk, because:  “I like the people, the friendliness and the way we help each other here.”


She’s always enjoyed new challenges, too, and got her pilot’s licence in the 1970s.  Ben Maurice, a New Zealander, and Bernie Saroff, an instructor from the Newcastle Aero Club, came to Norfolk and gave flying lessons.  Bonnie then went over to Australia to complete her training.  She kept flying for nearly 20 years and during that period travelled, with ‘Kik’, around Australia twice.  Bonnie has wonderful memories of flying across isolated, outback areas; revelling in the land’s stark beauty.

In 1981 she went to America to do a 10 week paramedic course and, the following year, was awarded a Churchill Scholarship to study “First Aid in Remote Areas”.  In 1983 Bonnie used this experience to establish St. Johns Ambulance on the Island and was their dynamic leader, while continuing her nursing career, until 2008 when she, and the local branch, celebrated 25 years of service.  From simple beginnings Norfolk’s St Johns is now a highly-trained, professional outfit and Bonnie, working tirelessly and running regular first-aid courses, played a big part in its evolution.  She, and other ambulance personnel, featured in a special postage stamp series last year.

Bonnie loves Sundays, especially getting together with friends and family for a big, roast dinner.  She is very proud of their children and are glad to have them, and two granddaughters, living on Norfolk. Their four grandsons, and another granddaughter, are in Australia.  Bonnie is also proud to have received numerous awards, including an MBE, for her service work. When asked why she’s so committed to helping the community she jokingly declares:  “I’ve got to be a little bit crazy, I suppose.”


She is, in fact, a clever, down-to-earth woman with a quirky sense of humour.  For over five decades Bonnie has delivered babies, tended the sick and been a wonderful comfort to many Islanders.  She enjoys so much about life on Norfolk – swimming at Emily Bay in the warmer weather, spending time with loved ones, the monthly Pitcairn Praise service  - but her favourite place is “…home, in Cutter’s Corn.”  

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Friday, April 04, 2014

David Leon ‘Bubby’ Evans has spent most of his life living on Norfolk.  As a young man he went to work in Victoria, but was terribly homesick.  When he had the opportunity to return, after just eleven months, with his friend Clive Chapman he was glad to get away from the “…crows and dust.”  When asked what he likes best about the Island he candidly declares “Every-bloody-thing!”

Bubby grew up in Cascade Road.  His parents had eight children:  Borry, Bubby, Jean (now in NZ), Farmer Lou, Pelly, Edie, Nellie and Thelma.  As a small child, during World War Two, he remembers that all the soldiers stationed here scared him a little, but he enjoyed riding horses and fishing with his siblings.   He had Miss Bataille as one of his teachers and says that it was hard to learn English because “…I just knew Norf’k.”

Nothing can induce him to leave Norfolk again; he’s “…happy to stay put.”   Home, these days, is in Music Valley and it is a hauntingly wild and beautiful place, close to Bloody Bridge.  When I arrive he is hard at work cutting vegetables and collecting produce for next morning’s Growers Market.  He’s all for the idea as he hates waste – fruit left to rot on the ground really bothers him.

A massive Norfolk pine; one of the biggest, Bubby reckons, on the Island, had to be cut down recently because it was rotten to the core, and a threat to buildings and people on his property.  Still, he was sad to see it go and he wistfully shows me the gigantic stump.  He believes it was 400 – 500 years old, but the decay makes it hard to date with certainty. 

We walk on to Anne Harper’s tumbledown cottage which lies beside the creek, in the shadow of ancient, lofty pines.  Bubby tells me Anne was a freed convict who, after marrying Mr Billett, lived in the house during the First European Settlement.  They had eight youngsters together and the family re-located to Tasmania when Norfolk was abandoned in 1814.  Their descendants often come to see the ruins Bubby uncovered, choked by vegetation, when he first moved in – it is one of the only surviving structures from the first penal colony.

Bubby has done many things.  He’s worked as groundsman/caretaker for various Administrators at Government House, as a butcher (his dad was one, too), and Colleen McCullough’s gardener/maintenance man for fifteen years.  Now he farms the land in Music Valley and at Headstone, and jokes “I’ve worked harder since I ‘retired’.”

Bubby lives close to nature.  He’s up with the dawn and usually in bed by sundown.  Music Valley is his pride and joy, a lush green kingdom, and he works with his children, Jane and Dids (David), planting and harvesting crops.  The rest of his brood, Moira and Jonathan, do not live on the Island.

Bubby shares a ‘cuppa’ with me in his quaint and cosy home perched on a ridge.  It was a cabin for NZ soldiers in the Second World War which was moved down from Mt Bates by Bob Dewey.  From its windows you are surrounded by stunning views into the tangled foliage and past the valley to the swelling seas and Nepean Island.  The neat little house is a treasure trove of framed photos, old china, antique furniture, memorabilia and curios of every kind.

Howard Christian, from the local mill, drops by and the friends chat with me about butterflies (Bubby has many specimens displayed in special cases), whales (an American whaler’s telescope, presented to his grandfather, hangs on the wall) and the age of Norfolk pines.  We sip tea and Bubby shows us his favourite outlook from the adjoining bathroom. In the mirror above the hand basin a magnificent vista of Nepean, with the surf pounding to the coast beyond Bloody Bridge, is reflected back at you.

Bubby believes “…every day is a good day…”, but he enjoys special occasions like Bounty Day.  He celebrates by mixing up his ‘Doctor’s Medicine’ and a flask of this concoction, containing lemon juice, cloves, sugar, a good ‘hit’ of rum and other ‘secret’ ingredients, keeps him going during the procession and picnic.

An easygoing man, Bubby reckons he likes “everybody” and feels the Island “…hasn’t changed that much, just more people…”  As he says, “…they can’t take away the scenery, can’t take away the language…”, and it’s these things, along with his family and friends, which make Norfolk so special for him.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

It was fascinating talking with Sorrel Wilby who has been living on Norfolk for many years now.  Sorrel is well known to Australia’s Getaway TV audience, and her National Geographic documentaries are well known to the global cable TV audience as well.  However, despite her international profile and globe-trotting experience, she loves to call Norfolk Island home.

Norfolk Online particularly wanted to know what Sorrel thought about the culture of Norfolk Island.  One of her passions is the endangered tribal cultures of the world, so what would be her take on a culture that has developed over the past two hundred or so years firstly on Pitcairn and then on Norfolk Island?

Sorrel’s response was immediate.  Norfolk’s culture is unique.  She said that she believed that Norfolk had the opportunity to be a living example to other South Pacific nations, and indeed the world, on how to maintain a living culture.

Firstly, Sorrel in her usual exuberant way, gave full credit to the Pitcairners who have managed to preserve their language and maintain the key aspects of their culture, in spite of a move that took them across the globe and exposed them to the world to an extent not experienced by many other cultures anywhere else in the world.  

Sorrel said that to her, Pitcairn culture consisted of the language, the simple laid-back lifestyle and the unique sense of family and where they belong.  She told the story of when she and husband, Chirs Ciantar and son Aiden and daughter Ruby came to live on Norfolk.  The boat with all of their possessions on board failed to arrive.  They were living in a shed with the barest of essentials, and absolutely no comforts.  But overnight, they were inundated with furniture, bedding, clothing and food, as people heard about their plight.  This is a perfect example of Norfolk culture.  It doesn't matter who you are, if you have a problem, the community will help out.

Sorrel also laughs about how delightfully insidious the Norfolk language is.  It has invaded her family and home so that everyone slips a Norfolk word or phrase into their conversation all the time!  But there are no problems about this, as Sorrel is more than happy to contribute to maintaining the Norfolk culture as she and her family are so happy to be part of this island community.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Everyone has heard of the ‘quiet achiever’ but this phrase very much describes Steve Ryves.  He came to Norfolk in 1966 and, even as a young 18 year old, had an affinity for the place.  He travelled by ship with his parents, making an unusual entrance by launching their small catamaran, Oahu, from the vessel and sailing it through the reef into Emily Bay.

Steve and his family were keen sailors, and Oahu was built and designed by Carl Ryves, his cousin, and family friend, Ben Lexcen.  Ben, of course, would later be famed for his winged keel and involvement with the 1983 America’s Cup win. Unfortunately a bad storm, one of the worst Steve’s ever seen on Norfolk, destroyed the catamaran shortly after their arrival.

Having grown up in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney, which was then fairly unspoilt and sparsely populated, the Ryves felt right at home.  Steve tried all kinds of casual jobs and then decided to become a refrigeration mechanic like his dad, John.  He started his apprenticeship by correspondence and completed the course in Sydney.   Steve and John had plenty of work on Norfolk as electricity was just coming in and the old, heavy kerosene fridges were being replaced by electric models.

At this time Steve became interested in pottery.  He experimented with local clay and was intrigued.  He was living in a house, Girlie Christian’s place, at Ball Bay and he tried using an old metal safe as a kiln.  This was not successful, but Steve was hooked.  He ordered a small kiln, and other materials, and began Norfolk Island Cottage Pottery in 1970.  He combined this with being a refrigeration mechanic but, after a few years, went into the pottery business full time.

Steve is a self-taught artisan but has travelled extensively to learn his craft and refine his technique.  Pottery, he says, is “…endlessly fascinating…there’s a real excitement in seeing how it turns out.”  The look of Japanese pottery – its symmetry and delicacy - particularly appeals to him and Steve enjoys making porcelain and stoneware pieces.  He concentrates on creating “…beautiful, functional stuff…” and produces his own rich glazes, sometimes using local clays and basalt. It is a very tactile medium and he revels in handling the clay, working the wheel and shaping the piece to its finished form – ‘throwing’ pots keeps him inspired.   

He remembers the Ball Bay days fondly.  Girlie’s house was supposed to be haunted and, although Steve never saw apparitions, he often heard ghostly footsteps and doors mysteriously closing.  Marie Bailey organised his first pottery tours and today, three decades on, Steve still demonstrates his potting skills for tourist groups.  In 1975 he moved to Anson Bay and Dennis Stirling built him a lovely Norfolk pine home, and workshop, on the property.  Steve helped construct it and likes his home’s peace, serenity and nearness to the sea.

Steve loves the ocean – he swam, surfed and sailed yachts from a young age.  He represented the Island in yachting, with Jerry Cooke, at three South Pacific Games.  He was part of a local yachting club in the late 1980s, but is now a keen windsurfer and feels the sport unites the elements he likes most about sailing and surfing.

Steve met Alison when she came to work for Cottage Pottery.  They later married and have two children, Jamie and Emily.  Alison is an artist and shares Steve’s fascination with clay.  Since 1981 they have run the business together - Steve crafts the stoneware and porcelain pieces and Alison embellishes them with gorgeous glazes and lustres.  Alison also paints on paper, board and fabric, and creates striking jewellery.  Sea imagery and Polynesian motifs feature in their work.

In 1982, with the help of Alison’s step-father, Mike Quantrill, Steve designed and built a large kiln which continues to run well.  He tests different glazes, finishes and firings and gets a ‘kick’ out of trying new colours and blends. The workshop has been enlarged, over the years, and includes an Art Gallery to exhibit the full range of Ryves’ artistry.  Emily’s interesting photographic and collage pieces are also displayed.  If you’d like to buy pottery and original art works, see a master craftsman at the wheel, or just look at Norfolk’s dramatic scenery I’d recommend a visit to Anson Bay.

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