Last Friday, Max David dropped by the Palms office. An old acquaintance of Palms, he had been visiting friends and family on a short trip to Australia and was departing for Papua New Guinea the next day. He was returning home to Braham, where he has spent the past 50 years advocating for improved education opportunities, health facilities and infrastructure.
Max is originally from the small coastal NSW town of Moruya. Max graduated from Hawkesbury Agricultural College and in 1958, at the age of 25, arrived in Papua New Guinea. Max accepted the suggestion of Fr Mike Morrison (Toowoomba) and the invitation of Bishop Noza to come and share his skills within the Archdiocese of Madang. For the first 10 years he worked in the parish of Bundi establishing the first primary school, which developed into one of the model schools in PNG.
Max then moved to the Parish of Emmanuel at Brahman near Ramu River. It is here that he spent his past 50 years. He has always hoped to start a Technical Agricultural Training school, but has been part of establishing a secondary high school (St Michael’s Catholic School) with over 700 borders; primary school (St Pius X Primary School) with over 600 day students and pre-school (Parish of Emmanual) with up to 60 children.
Max has assisted the community of Brahman in so many ways, not only in education and health but also to negotiating and establishing essential infrastructure such as roads and bridges. He has not given up on the training school, believing this could provide extensive benefits to the local community.
I asked Max what the appeal of returning to PNG is and he said matter-of-factly ‘there is still a job to do’. Whether this job includes the technical college, other educational institutions, health clinics, or infrastructure projects, it was clear Max has no intention of putting his feet up anytime soon.
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