Ted Diro

Edward (Ted) Ramu Diro (1943- ), soldier, politician and businessman. Diro was born in Boku village, CD, and educated at Boku mission school, Kila Kila High School, Sogeri High School and Slade School, Warwick, in Queensland, Australia. In 1963 he entered the Officer Cadet School in Australia from which he graduated as a 2nd lieutenant in the Australian Army. Diro served as a commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Regiment and the Pacific Islands Regiment. In 1967 he became a captain, and in 1971 he was the first PNGan to attain the rank of major. In 1972 he commanded the C Company, 1st Pacific Islands Regiment, and in 1975 he became a Brigadier-General and Commander of the PNG Defence Force. Diro resigned his commission in 1981 and formed the PNG Independent Group (actually a Papuan bloc) to contest the 1982 House of Assembly elections. He was elected in 1982 and took his Independent Group into the National Party of which he was the leader for a period in 1982-83. Diro defected from the National Party in 1986 and his group became the basis of the People’s Action Party (PAP). In 1987 he was the parliamentary leader of the PAP.

In 1987, a Forestry Enquiry found that Diro had been party to a range of fraudulent activities while Minister for Forests (November 1985-December 1986). The Enquiry also found that, when Foreign Minister (December 1986-August 1987), Diro had received substantial sums of money from the Vanuatu government and an Indonesian army commander for his election campaign. In November 1987 he was charged with perjury and resigned from the cabinet. In January 1988 the perjury charges were dismissed. He was Minister for Internal Affairs (April-June 1988) and Minister for State, May 1989. In 1991 the Leadership Tribunal found Diro guilty of 81 counts of misconduct. Diro was not a candidate in the 1992 national election because under the Constitution those found guilty by the Leadership Tribunal are ineligible to stand for election for three years.

Donald Cleland

Donald Mackinnon Cleland (1901-1975), Australian Administrator of Papua and New Guinea. Born in Coolgardie, Western Australia (WA), and educated at Guildford Grammar School, Cleland became a barrister in 1925. He served in the Australian Army (including ANGAU) 1939-45, attaining the rank of brigadier. In 1945 he chaired the Australian New Guinea Production Control Board which was mainly concerned with the production of copra and rubber. Politically conservative, he chaired the State Executive of the National Party of WA from 1936-39, and was Vice-President of the Liberal Party of WA in 1945. He was Assistant Administrator PNG in 1951 and Administrator from 1952-67. From 1951-64 he was President of the Legislative and Executive Councils of PNG. In 1967 he became Chancellor of the Anglican diocese of PNG and from 1969 he was Pro-Chancellor of UPNG. Cleland was an honorary Colonel of the PIR (1958-67). He was knighted in 1961.

Ian Downs

Ian Farley Graham Downs (1915-2004), Administration officer. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and educated at Geelong Grammar School, Australia, and the Royal Australian Naval College, Downes became a patrol officer in the Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea in 1936. He explored the country west of Mt Hagen with James Taylor and John Black in 1938 and served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1940-45. As a District Commissionar from 1946-56 he mobilized villagers in the Eastern Highlands to begin the construction of the Highlands Highway. Downes retired from the Administration in 1956 to became a coffee planter in the highlands. He became President of the Farmers and Settlers Association and editor of its New Guinea Highlands Bulletin. He represented the Eastern Highlands in the Legislative Council from 1957-63 and in the House of Assembly from 1964-68 and retired to Australia in the early 1970s. Downes’ published works include The Australian Trusteeship, PNG 1945-1975 (the official history commissioned by Australia’s Department of External Affairs), a novel, The Stolen Land, and his autobiography, The Last Mountain.