Jeffery Evenette - Oral History interview recorded on 07 April 2017 at Alotau, Milne Bay Province


Mr Jeffery Evenette tells the story of his father Mr Norman Evenette and other recollections that he has of the war.



Warning: This site contains stories of war. Some of these interviews may include detailed and graphic descriptions of events and experiences that may be disturbing for some individuals.

This is an interview with Jeffery Evenette conducted on the 7 of April 2017 at Top Town, Alotau and he's going to talk to us about his father and other recollections that he has of the war, Papua New Guineans' participation during the war.
My father is Norman Evenette and he was born in 1930. So in 1938, actually 1939 for his education he was taken to Australia to Townsville because the Evenettes were going between Cooktown, North Queensland and Samarai all the time. He was taken to Townsville to go to school.
The war didn't really affect my father at all because he was only a child and there was others like Joseph Evenette, he was a warrant officer administering in Samarai and he went off and not much is known about what he did or where he went. He was in the Australian army.
I had a grandfather, brother of a grandfather who actually went to the First World War from Australia. And he ended up in France but he managed to survive. He came all the way back to Australia. And I think they did camps in a place called Freshwaters, that's outside of Cairns. There's a river there. And I think they had a fight or they got drunk he never made it, he actually you know survived the war and came home and got killed in a drunkard brawl or something.
But really only my grandfather, my father's father his name was Arthur Evenette and he was taken as a pilot by the American navy but my father actually never took any part in the war. That was my grandfather; he was the pilot for the American . like you know they just take him on where they go because he was all around this area all his life. He used to dive for beche-de-mer and trochus shells. He had his own boats as well so it was natural for them to use him. He was used as a pilot plus also the chartering boats for this and that. He was generally working around the Americans.
For the Australian army like you know, we had relatives like Les Simpson. Les Simpson actually enlisted; he wanted to be a pilot. So he was sent to England and he became a spitfire pilot. And so was Dusty Miller. Dusty Miller was also a spitfire pilot during the war. He enlisted in the Australian air force and they sent him. He actually wrote to the Queen and said you know he wanted to be a pilot so somehow they got him to England. He became a pilot and after the war he came back and he was a manager at Samarai at Steamships and later they named the ship 'Dusty Miller' after him.
Les Simpson, his wife was my father's cousin, Patricia Evenette but she got married to Simpsons. That Samarai Bakery at that time was run by the Simpsons.
Yeah. You know he was an aircraft pilot Les Simpson but I guess yes the Americans were good at that sort of thing. They had a lot of money.
Not really. I'm more of a historian I sort of I know History but as far as a personal touch with the war I don't really have much to tell so yeah. Jay Mataio should be a best guy to talk to because he knows a lot of the people. He lives down at Bibiko but he's been researching from the ground . our sort of side of things. I think he would know a lot of people you could talk to.
No. he didn't come across the enemies. No, he was just a pilot like a ship pilot. I'm saying pilot and you getting confused sorry he was a ship pilot. He used to get on the boat and tell them to go this way or that way. He didn't see any action. We didn't have much . we don't have much of a . I'd know its funny thing like my father was too young to go to war and my grandfather was too old. Because he was already 50 (age) or something.
All right. Okay. Thanks.

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“Jeffery Evenette - Oral History interview recorded on 07 April 2017 at Alotau, Milne Bay Province,” Voices from the War, accessed May 30, 2024,