In 1994-5 I was privileged to be asked by Admiral Clarke of the Hutt Principality to assist in raising funds for a project he was deeply involved with in Papua New Guinea. Admiral Clarke had been living in Papua New Guinea for many years and had witnessed at first hand many of it's problems. When he was asked by the Papua New Guinea Red Cross for assistance he leapt into action. At that stage I had only met Admiral Clarke socially a few time. One of the problems in New Guinea was the mortality rate of children being born within the hill regions of the country.
The mortality rate of children being born in these region in particular was extremely high, in fact 7-8 children would die within the first few months of life. The cause was lack of clean drinking water . Due to economic circumstance and the remoteness of some of these areas there was little food except what they could hunt. Most mothers therefore were extremely undernourished and could only supply milk for 4-5 weeks for their newborn. They would in turn take water from polluted rivers or creeks which in turn caused severe diarrhea, malaria or even worse. Something had to be done.
At a meeting which was privileged to attend it was decided that the best way to combat this situation was to provide volunteer nurses who would in turn train the mothers into using clean water which would be provided by solar power. The mothers would be taught to place water into containers, the water would then be boiled using the solar panels as heat and be purified at the same time. What was needed was money to buy solar panels and install them.
I consider my part in this whole venture as quite insignificant . At this stage I was the editor of a statewide magazine in Queensland called " The Small Business Advisor". Through the many contact we had made. we ran a charity golf tournament over the course of one year and managed to raise over $15,000. It helped set up five(5) stations in New Guinea , a further $5,000 was donated to Gold Coast Legacy, to help improve the life of widows and children of service men and women who had been killed in action.
Within a year of the program being trialed the mortality rate drop to just under two children dying. The program proved a huge success.
Upon hearing of our achievement Prince Leonard decided it deserved special recognition and so award myself and others the honour of a Knighthood.
Knight Royal Order.KRO.
SENIOR OFFICERS L-R
Army Hospital Craft used in the second world war,
The Brigades main aim was to take as many of the young people of both sexes and try to either get them some safe accommodation back to school or find them an apprenticeship. An abandoned ex WW11 army hospital ship was purchased with a donation from the bank of Qld of $50,000 this was matched by an equal amount from Barter Card which enabled us to buy accommodation although limited and a mobile Kitchen to house and feed as many as possible. Base Kuranda was established.