ROY STEWART MCPHERSON
(Compiled by Ross Tucker, nephew – April 2012)
Roy was born in 1910, second son of Robert & Isabella McPherson of Caboolture, Queensland.
His father was the Shire Clerk in Caboolture and died in office in 1923. His mother was left penniless as there was no Government pension in those days. Roy with his elder brother Graham was left to help support their mother. Roy was educated at the Caboolture State School and followed his sister Madge Tucker née McPherson to becoming a school teacher. He taught at the Ascot State School in the eastern suburb of Brisbane and played the saxophone in a local dance band, before leaving around 1934-1935 to take a position as teacher at the Kavieng European School. He returned to Brisbane several times on the coastal steamer MACDHUI. His last trip was 1940 when ‘The Wizard Of Oz” was showing in Brisbane and was so delighted with the film that he saw it several times.
He left his teaching position in Kavieng to become an accountant for Frank Saunders, a well known businessman, who owned several coconut plantations, wharves and other business interests in town.
When the invasion of the Japanese Army became imminent Frank Saunders organised an escape party of five schooners to head for Australia, but one of the boats broke down and whilst waiting for repairs to be carried out they were imprisoned by the Japanese and interned in Kavieng and later transported to Rabaul.
Roy’s brother, Graham, went to Kavieng soon after Roy’s arrival and together with William ‘Bill’ Attwood, conducted a garage business in the town. Graham sold his share in 1940, returned to Australia, got married and joined the AlF. He served in the BCOF* in Japan after the war and on returning made contact with Sister Dorothy Maye, who had been interned in Kavieng for the duration of the war, to try to learn more details of Roy. She told him that Roy had been taken on the Montevideo Maru which was sunk with 1053 soldiers and civilians near Luzon on 1 July 1942. (*British Commonwealth Occupation Force).
Roy’s name is inscribed in a Memorial book held in Westminster Abbey, London, entitled: “Overseas Civilians Who Died in World War 11”. His name is also inscribed on a plaque on the Kavieng Wharf in memory of local citizens who died due to the Japanese occupation.
The pictures below show two of the artefacts sent to Ross Tucker by Roy about 1940 -1941 – after 70 years they have retained their original colours.
Kina shell artefact with a painting of a sailing ship – sent by Roy McPherson from New Guinea to his nephew Ross Tucker in 1940-1941
Kina shell artefact with indigenous artistry – sent by Roy McPherson from New Guinea to his nephew Ross Tucker in 1940-1941