Friday, June 08, 2012

A tribute to pioneer kiap (patrol officer) Lloyd Hurrell

Lloyd Hurrell, the last of the pre World War 11 kiaps (patrol officers) in New Guinea died peacefully at home on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.
He is famous for his work in pacifying the feared Kukukuku warriors of Menyamya in Morobe province and establishing PNG's great coffee industry.

 Lloyd Hurrell being hugged by a Kukukuku friend
According to former kiap and longtime coffee industry personality John Fowke, Hurrell someone with an exemplary record.
Hurrell established Menyamya station as it is today in 1950 and against disbelief, brought in wife Margaret, son Peter (8) and daughter Lesley (2) to live among the Kukukukus.

The first white woman and children at Menyamya, Margarest Hurrell, Lesley of the wondrous white hair, and Peter

This is Menyamya, the patrol post on the only flat land in the Kukukuku country of the sharply-folded mountains...established by Lloyd Hurrell
“Later a pioneer coffee-planter at Wau in the 1950s, he was one of the founders of the old Coffee Industry Board,” Fowke said.
“The boardroom at the present Coffee Industry Corporation building in Goroka is named after him.
“Hurrell is survived by his wife and three children.
"Son Don is one of the few AusAid consultants serving in PNG who can be said to have made a real difference by his presence as a police advisor in Goroka.
“Hurrell had been in ill health since a fall resulting in a broken hip some months ago.
“He remained weak and unwell after discharge from hospital and died peacefully, at home, last Tuesday afternoon.”
In 1939, (Albert) Lloyd Hurrell applied for the position of cadet patrol officer advertised in Sydney newspapers.
After serving briefly as a kiap in New Guinea, Hurrell joined the Australian Military Forces in 1940.
He was awarded the Military Cross for his actions on November 11, 1942 during fierce fighting after the recapture of Kokoda.
After WW11, Hurrell returned to kiap duties in New Guinea.
In 1950 he was appointed acting district Officer of the Menyamya district, and was instructed to establish a new settlement at this remote post in the ‘uncontrolled’ area.
The following year, Hurrell was ordered to investigate a raid on the village of Kiatsong during which several people were killed.
While investigating the raid, Hurrell’s party was attacked.
He fired a warning shot, which unfortunately killed one of the attacking men.
Hurrell resigned from his kiap duties in 1954, and established a farm and coffee plantation near Wau.
He entered national politics in PNG and served for many years as president of the PNG Coffee Marketing Board.
In 1969, Hurrell was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to the board.
Margaret Bluett, whose husband Noel was executive officer of the coffee board from 1965-1971 has fond memories of Hurrell.
“Our family’s relationship with Lloyd Hurrell lasted professionally for ten years - from 1965 to 1975 but as a friendship it lasted much longer than that,” she recalls.
“He was the first chairman of Coffee Marketing Board in Papua New Guinea and in that capacity we first met him on the Goroka air strip in 1965 when he helped us off the plane.
“It was a free and easy airport in those days, no security or restrictions.
“I remember him saying, ‘You weren’t afraid to come here with Sukarno threatening to invade us?”
“Sukarno was the corrupt and rogue leader of Indonesia in those days, a ‘sabre rattler’ who constantly referred to PNG, as East Irian and many believed he was planning an invasion of the Territory.
“My husband was appointed as the first executive officer of the newly-formed Coffee Marketing Board and it was obvious to me from that day onwards Lloyd cared a great deal for our welfare.
“He was particularly concerned about our five young children forced to live in an upstairs apartment with nowhere for the children to play.
“As soon as he could push it through government circles a four-bedroom house in a large garden was built especially for the executive Officer and his family.
“My husband said that in Lloyd’s role as the chairman of the Coffee Board he was completely and absolutely committed to the task of steering the coffee industry from its infancy in 1950 through to Independence in 1975.
“It might be interesting to note that the coffee industry was one of the most-successful undertakings in the world that turned thousands of indigenous subsistence farmers into wealthy men in such a short period of time.
“This success was in no small way due to Lloyd’s untiring, dedicated, intelligent and enthusiastic support.
“Lloyd was a humble man who never wanted to acknowledge the credit he deserved.
“His constant efforts to understand the industry he steered saw him reading everything he could find to assist him both as a coffee planter himself and in his administrative role.
“When he was awarded the OBE for his work with the industry he told my husband, ‘This award is typical of what they say about this thing. OBE stands for ‘other bugger’s efforts’ and it should also be given to you because without your help I wouldn’t have been able to do this’.
“Lloyd Hurrell was a sensitive, caring man who was a gentleman in the true sense of the world, emboldened by old fashioned virtues and a work ethic that was hard to find amongst men of European origin who lived and worked in Papua New Guinea before, during and after World War 11.
“Lloyd was a vital cog in the machine that helped turn a land of tribal people into an independent nation.
“His family and those who knew him in his glory years will sorely miss him.”

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