PNG farewells elder statesman Sir Barry Holloway | Pacific Beat

PNG farewells elder statesman Sir Barry Holloway

PNG farewells elder statesman Sir Barry Holloway

Updated 18 January 2013, 11:01 AEDT

Papua New Guinea is mourning the death of one of its most respected elder statesmen, an Australian who arrived as a teenager and never left.

Sir Barry Holloway died in Brisbane's Mater hospital last night aged 78.

He arrived in what was then Papua in 1953 as an 18-year-old patrol officer, fell in love with the country and made it his home.

His concern for the welfare of the locals drew him to politics and he was one of founders of the PANGU Pati, led by Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Michael became PNG's first Prime Minister after independence from Australia in 1975 and Sir Barry was the first Speaker of Parliament.

Presenter: Liam Fox

Speaker: Paul Barker, PNG Institute of National Affairs


BARKER: He's made an immense contribution. He came in 1953, as a patrol officer and I think his first posting, or one of his early postings was over in Bougainville, where he experienced some of the sort of the challenges and the rigours of being a Kiap, which effectively means that you're thrown in, at an even an early age into being a combination of policeman, judge, jury, social worker, development official and so on and he seemed to throw himself into the task with a great passion and a strong sympathy for the local communities, with which he was working, and perhaps sort of questioning some of the edics that came from head office, from the administration in Port Moresby and down into Canberra.

As time went on, he became a leading proponent of political change and was one of the instigators, party founders of the PANGU Pati, which was the country's, one of its largest parties, and, of course, it was the party that Sir Michael Somare led into independence.

He was the Speaker for National Parliament, he became immediately after that, he was the Finance Minister and then into the early 1980s, he had a spell as the Minister for Education. All this time, he was very much driving the ideas of trying to get services out to their local communities. He was very passionate about local level government and getting services and the local people empowered and involved in Parliament, in political systems at the local level.

And he's been a man of great energy, drive, intellect and passion. He's been very much at the forefront of constitutional and political change. In fact, during the lead up, during the preparations of the Constitution. He was chairing one of the constitutional committees to facilitate that whole process and right through till really till his final days, he was very much a driver of ideas that related to getting the Constitution and the political systems to be more focused upon, upon ordinary community needs.

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