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16 February 2017


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Have sent the documents located by Catherine Ziegler to Tom's grandson and niece in Port Moresby with the photo of William Lowe, who seems to be Tom Lowe's father. His grandson was emotional, I am told, at seeing a photo of his great grandfather (who disappeared in New Guinea in 1942): "his ears and nose are the same", he said. I then spoke with Tom Lowe today by phone on Liot and told him what has been found by Catherine Ziegler.
I am hoping to catch up with Tom's daughter who lives on Lou Island, not far from Lorengau, this week to hand over copies of the documents and photographs (not just of William Lowe, but also his parents, the father - Captain Michael James Lowe - from Country Cork in Ireland, and the mother of a colonial British Indian family). Both Lowe sons were killed in World War Two, but were survived by two sisters. Descendants of these women? Who knows? Will phone the Manly Historical Society and keep you all posted; although lapun Tom has many children and grandchildren etc. etc. himself.
Thank you Catherine Ziegler and Keith Jackson and Wantoks of PNG Attitude.

Thank you Catherine Zeigler for this fascinating find. As I have said elsewhere, unless I am wanting to see things in the photograph of this man William John Lowe, I do see some resemblance between what could be father and son.
I will get the photo to old Tom on Liot, although I have not seen him since our one and only encounter at Riuriu Village in October last year. My utter amazement at what you have found and my absolute gratitude also to you.
I did find out that Tom's story that his father disappeared to Wewak and died to not correspond with other friends of mine in Port Moresby who are also from Manus' Western Islands, as they told me that "No, Tom's father did his time, then left for Australia" which fits with what you have found - a man who joined up in 1940.

I found a Lowe, W. in AIF who lists his occupation as "plantation manager": NAA B883, NX65718
LOWE WILLIAM JOHN : Service Number - NX65718 : Date of birth - 11 May 1913 : Place of birth - MANLY NSW : Place of enlistment - PADDINGTON NSW : Next of Kin - LOWE MICHAEL

There is a photograph in the digitised file.

Hello again,
I popped onto RecordSearch at the National Archives and found the AIF records. ( There are three possibilities based on the name Lowe (Low) and initial W.
Lowe, William John b. 1913 Young NSW
Lowe, William Henry Smith b. 1909 Tweed Heads NSW
Lowe, John Wilfred b. 1918 Campbelltown NSW

Lowe, William John has had his file digitised, and is a farmer from Young.

Lowe, William Henry Smith seems the best candidate. He is older than the others, allowing him time to have worked for Burns Philp before the war, and he was born in Tweed Heads, which may have translated to "from Brisbane" as it is just on the Queensland border and only 100km from Brisbane.
The next step would be to order the records, and see if William Henry Smith Lowe listed Burns Philp under "trade or occupation" in the enlistment papers.
Best of luck!

I'm an archivist at the Noel Butlin Archives Centre at ANU. I was following up a research request from someone looking for their relatives who worked for Burns Philp on the Mal plantation in the 1920s, and were wondering where the Mal plantation was located when I came across this page. The Archives hold a number of Burns Philp records.

Sure enough, I have an Burns Philp employment card for a Lowe, W. which states that he was "Engaged Sydney, Sailed 22-12-36. Salary... Placed Mal... Took over from R. G. Garrett 18-8-37. Salary... Proceeded furlough 8/39. Arrived Sydney. Joined A.I.F."

R. G. Garrett was a long-time Burns Philp employee and the former manager of Mal plantation.

Even though many of the facts are different, this might be the Lowe you are looking for.

For further reference, 5 collections of Burns Philp records are held at the Noel Butlin Archives Centre for Business and Labour at the Australian National University ( If you have any enquiries regarding Burns Philp or other records we hold, please contact us:

My wife Apernamo Sinclair Lundy (formally Apernamo Amito Cullinan) shall get in touch with Brian Cullinan, should we hears some positive feedback we shall post the information. Not sure if there is any reference in a book called Thrity Years In The South Seas by Richard Parkinson, very informative.

I lived the Kaniet islands right up against Equator for two months in 2008. No inhabitants for a long time. Boy, the mosquitoes must use it for their retirement.

It was owned by Nia Aminto Cullinan on a 60-year land title expiring in 2037. It went up for sale in 2011. I believe she lived in Wewak,

Strangely, the Islands Ship Guide claims four islands and one islet in the group. But when I was there only two remained. Possibly tsunamis had demolished the other three.

At the Wuvulu website there is this - Edvard Christian Antonius Nielsen Ørtoft : 'A short biography by Charlotte Larsen and Kaj Aksel Jensen'.

May have some connections to Tom Low. In any event it was good site last time I visited it.

There are Lows in Rabaul who are of mixed PNG Chinese and PNG background to whom my wife (a New Ireland Seeto) is related. Indeed, my wife did raise this with me when Liot Tom appeared. But different family line completely.

The winner of the Crocodile Prize for student writing in 2014 was Angeline Low. She was 16 at the time and had aspirations to be a journalist. She was born in Port Moresby but we don't know her antecedents.

I wonder if there is any connection?

Anyone know where Angeline is nowadays?


Check out this link to the Queensland Times. It mentions a Marcus Amito Cullinan, aged 43 of Collingwood Park;

There is also a Kaleb Cullinan (PapuanPapi) on Facebook. He is also referred to elsewhere as Kaleb Amito Cullinan. His Facebook link is;

Best of luck with your searching.

Thanks Phil, exactly as I wanted an ex-kiap to do.

Not much time for Tom left as, although he is in pretty good nick, as Keith says, he is mid-80s. Did run it by ex-kiap Ray Bray, who was in Sepik for years and the District/Province of which Western Islands were once a part, but Ray knows nothing.

Only had a few minutes with Tom as he was on a boat about to leave for Liot.

And Barbara, thank you. My tabu-mama may well know Amito Cullinan around Brisbane.

Have sought lists of Australian civilians killed in PNG during the war (my late father-in-law Morgan Seeto had such a list for New Ireland) from War Memorial.

If the plantation was owned by BPs or Steamships, who knows where such records would be.

Thanks all. Hope we can help Tom, his children and grand-children.

I've posted this on the Ex-Kiap website too - here's hoping.

From Alois Jerewai... It is Mrs. Amito , not Amigo! Sorry!

From Alois Jerewai (from Wewak)....the Cullinan family of which I know the father , Brian, and son Markus well, may have some clue because Mrs. Amigo Cullinan is from Wuvullu /Aua. I don't see the Cullinans on Facebook but they live somewhere near Brisbane.

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