Brisbane, QLD

Sunday, October 16, 2022


 Yesterday I attended my best friend's memorial. Joan and I had been friends for 58 years. We met in Papua/New Guinea in 1965 when she arrived from Australia to teach at the same school as me. We soon became good friends being similar age. We taught in adjoining classrooms. I took her class for PE and she took mine for music. I am hopeless at singing and she didn't like teaching PE. So we did a swap. 

She was married with two children, Craig and Cheryl. Joan introduced me to baby sitting when she asked me to mind the kids when she and Norm went out. I was single at the time. When I met Bill I took him to meet my friends, Joan and Norm to see if they thought he was an okay boyfriend. They gave him the thumbs up. 

In 1967 Joan and I went on a trip around PNG. We were going to visit her brother, Wes, in Manus Is and my brother, David, in New Ireland and do some sight seeing as well. We were on the first Fokker to fly into Mt Hagen. All the locals came to see the biggest aircraft to land on Mt Hagen airstrip. So the pilot gave them a show by circling on its side around the strip which was surrounded by towering mountains. Then he gave the crowd a wing waggle. Joan and I grabbed each other and wished the pilot would just land the thing.

Flying into Mt Hagen

After that we flew to Wewak and saw a traditional Sing Sing.

Joan and I keeping cool under a banana leaf in Wewak. Joan is at the back.

The next day we flew to Laurengau, Manus Is and stayed in Joan's brother's one man donga which was made of metal and was the size of one room. The door wouldn't close properly. Wes stayed with a friend and said don't worry there is no crime on the island. 

Manus Island
Then we flew onto Kavieng, New Ireland, where my brother and sister in law gave us a tour of the beautiful tropical island. 

Kavieng, New Ireland
Then we flew on again to the island of New Britain and Rabaul. There we climbed a live volcano and peered down into the smoking crater. Joan and I had a great adventure.

Matupit Volcano, Rabaul, New Britain.

After Bill and I married we spent a lot of weekends with Joan and Norm. We went on picnics and had "Gumi" races down the fast flowing river floating on inflated lilos. Then we would buy fish and chips and go back to their house and lie on the floor and listen to classical music pumping out of Norm's huge Yamaha Speakers.

We returned to Australia before Joan and Norm but when they did return we were surprised to see they had bought land in the same street as us in Brisbane. It was just an amazing coincidence. They didn't know where we were living. So our friendship rekindled. Walks in the forest, weekends away and holidays together. I even got to teach at the same school as Joan for a short time.

Joan (and I) hiking in Lamington National Park
Joan and I taught together at Mt Cotton School.

We went on holidays together with our husbands.

Then they moved to a rural property where we would visit them and they would come to us and we would go to the theatre together. During this time Joan continued her love of weaving and felting as well as playing the mandolin and being an avid conservationist. After thirty years in the bush their age made it difficult to care for the property so they moved into a village near their daughter in Brisbane but an hour's drive away from us. But we managed to visit a few times where we saw Joan deteriorate with an unusual neurological disorder which affected her muscles and brain. She passed away on 18 Sept at age 83.

RIP my long time friend, Joan.


  1. What a beautiful post and tribute to your friend.
    You shared some amazing adventures together.

  2. A beautiful tribute to a long friendship.

  3. Sad to read that your friend passed a month ago. Lovely memories you have and what a great friendship..

  4. A fitting tribute to an almost life long friend. I suppose you starting missing her earlier than when she died.

  5. So sorry to read of your friend Joan's passing. She sounds like a wonderful friend and what a blessing to have such a long lasting friendship.

  6. Hello,
    So sorry for the loss of your friend. Your post is a great tribute and happy memories of your time spend together.

  7. You have warm memories to shed light into your sadness,
    (Thanks for the visit.)

  8. So many precious memories of so many good times! I love the photo of the banana leaf umbrella. I’m so sorry about the death of your dear friend.

  9. So sad we reach a lifetime that we loose long loved friends and family now.....

  10. I'm sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful friend and you obviously have some great memories.

  11. What a wonderful friendship and this is a great memorial of your lives together. Thoughts are with you, always sad to lose such a great friend. Take care t'other Diane

  12. You are an extremely fortunate person to have such love in your life.

  13. Condolences on the passing of your friend, Joan. It is unfortunate and sad when we have to say goodbye to someone very special in our lives. Thank you, Diane, for sharing your special memories here.

  14. Sorry to hear of the passing of such a dear friend of yours. What wonderful memories you made together. Savory those.

  15. Diane this is a lovely post with wonderful memories of your dear friend. Keeping the good times alive is the best tribute.

  16. I'm so sorry for your loss, Diane. You have such good memories of your long friendship.

  17. Such a beautiful tribute to your friend, Diane.
    She sounds like a wonderful person.

    (((hugs))) 💐

  18. So sorry for the loss of your long time friend. Beautiful memories of your friendship and lovely tribute to Joan.

  19. When you have known a friend for 58 years, you have seen and done it all - uni, boyfriends, weddings, babies, buying a house, travel, grandchildren. I hope you and Norm have wonderful photos to reflect on.
    Art and Architecture, mainly