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23 August 2016

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Oh my goodness. Don is my uncle. We have had no contact for years because of his second wife. My family is unaware of his death as was I till just now. Please contact me on j-a-williams1@hotmail.com

Don was my teacher at Berry Springs School in the NT around 1982. I also lived with him and Buna while I went to high school in Darwin around 1986/87. He was a good teacher and a person I'll never forget.

I'll always remember him with his pack of Camels and a glass at the end of a hard day of teaching. He certainly was a rough diamond with a heart of gold.

Don was indeed a rough diamond. He presented as a tough dude, but then you discovered the truth beneath. He was passionate about teaching disadvantaged children, excelled in his university studies, played the guitar soulfully and was loyal and extremely supportive throughout his ex-partner's depressive illness. And it seems, mostly lived life the way he wanted it.

My memories of Don are similar to those already mentioned.We were young folk enjoying the newfound freedom of life in Moresby.
Don showed considerable tolerance towards my somewhat puerile behaviour when i would often crash at his home in Bisini Pde Boroko which he shared with my good mate Dave Box .Great days.

Vale Don.

Don was all the things that folk outlined above. I took over the Gagl School in Simbu from Don in 1969. He had left a very comprehensive and informative file regarding the Gena Tribe on whose land the school had been built.

He also warned me that the Siku Tribe next door might cause a few headaches, as the Genas did not believe that the Sikus should attend Gagl.

I appreciated the warning and we did not have too much trouble.

There were five expat head teachers at that school from 1965 to 1972. Now there are three left. May Don rest in peace.

Very, very sad to hear of Old Baldy Don's passing. He was a regular e-mail contact of mine. Don was one of the few (like me) who took offence at the sort of pro-Trump, pro-Pauline missives which have been landing regularly into in-boxes of late.

I always perked up when the 'old baldy don' e-mail lobbed because I would be certain of a few laughs and a nodding of the head in agreement with most of his observations.

We'd both hit the 'delete' button, virtually automatically, when the 'isn't Pauline great' e-mails fronted up.

One thing not mentioned above though, Keith. Old Baldy was a rugby league referee of some standing in the old Papuan Rugby League. Its sixties Friday night competition matches pre-dated the very popular AFL and NRL Friday night fixtures of the current era by quite a period.

Judging by his comments on the current crop of refs, especially when State of Origin bobbed up, OBD wasn't best pleased with the quality and knowhow of refs of the 2000s.

He was also an intrepid traveller. We used to get quite lengthy wraps of where he and his wife had been when they arrived back in Oz.

My goodness, though, how the ranks are thinning!

Keith, your pen picture of Don with his rough diamond exterior, gravel voice and heart of gold bring back endearing memories of a teaching colleague who made a genuine contribution to the kids he taught. He was a no bulldust sort of person who took pride in his profession and took no prisoners in his views of the human condition.

I will toast Don with a single malt and think of happy Simbu days.

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