Opening Our Hands to the World

A retrospective

As we come to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Paulian Association, we also reflect upon the rich memories and achievements of Palms volunteers and supporters: people who have shared their gifts and lives with the world over the past five decades.
In this edition of Palms Post, we recall experiences from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.

The 1960’s

Early Recruitments

We have 20 Vicars Apostolic for whom we are looking for recruits. Unfortunately, in the short time we have been operating, we have not been able to supply each Vicar’s Apostolic needs. In fact, although fully qualified teachers are the most urgently required, we have to date not recruited one. The 10 recruits so far are mostly unqualified teachers. We are determined to keep trying during 1962 to prove that we will be true assistance to the Mission Bishops.
Palms Post, Issue 1, December 1961

Heat, Heat and more Heat

At the moment the temperature in my room is 92 degrees [33C], so I am lying on my bed in a rather reflective frame of mind thinking of ways and means to catch the occasional breeze which loses its way and comes through my window. I had thought of putting a sign outside to direct the breeze, however, I can never speak nor read the “talk place” of natives so…The other day, Magdalene (our German confrere here) was preparing a composition for her class and she wanted to know a word to express the sound of breaking glass. I, always willing to be helpful, came through with a few sound interpretations, which I thought were rather good, but we couldn’t use them because we couldn’t spell them. The English language is sometimes rather annoying in this respect. Ask any of the Dutch priests; they will tell you.
Margaret Trinder, Lae, PNG, September 1965

Words of Support

It has been my biggest disappointment that I never knew of Palms before coming up here. People who come through your organisation have that bond of friendship which keeps them together all over the territory. It’s something you miss when you just come up alone. If there is a next time, I hope it is through your organisation.
Ria Smith, Mt Hagen, PNG, March 1966

The 1970’s

Raining cats, dogs, puks puks…

We had a great deal of sympathy for Julie Byrne (Kapaimari) and Jill Byrne (Biwat) during the 4 month flood in the Wewak diocese. They used a row boat to get from room to room in their house and to the clinic and did not know what a dry bed was like.
Palms Post, December 1973

Palms Founder Dies

On Monday, 8th October, Roy Boylan, Palms founder and Director, died. As reported in the last issue of Palms Post, Roy had been ill this year with cancer. He was admitted to Repatriation Hospital a couple of weeks before his death. Roy continued to work mainly from home, although earlier this year he was able to come into the office two or three times a week, up until shortly before his death.

Roy is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their four children. A Requiem Mass for Roy was held at Our Lady of Dolours Church, Chatswood on October 11th. The main celebrant was His Eminence Cardinal Freeman. Concelebrating the Mass were Bishop Murphy of Concord and Bishop Murray of Wollongong, and about twenty priests.

Roy was very keen that the work of Palms continued and, for this reason, he set up a steering committee to help with the running of Palms.
The Editor, Palms Post, November 1979

The 1980’s


I am teaching at the girls’ Vocational School but also have a few classes at the boys’ Tech. School and nurses’ training centre. Nothing like variety.
Colleen Malone, Kavieng, PNG, April 1980

Palms and ACFOA

Palms is a full voting member of ACFOA, which is an umbrella organisation of over 60 Australian Aid Agencies….An important work undertaken by ACFOA has been the monitoring of the East Timor situation. It certainly has been the organisation which has kept before the Australian Government and people the principle of refusing to grant legitimacy to acts of armed aggression. It seems if anything is to be done about the present situation, it must come from Australia.
Palms Post, October 1983

Mary Gilchrist’s Tribute to the Paulians and Palms

As I prepare now to return to Ghana for another 3 years, I look back on the early days of the Paulians and Palms and realise just what an important role this movement has had on the life of the church in Australia…Twenty years has seen a great change in the skills required for this work. Mission and development has learnt many things over the years, which is now being incorporated into Palms’ orientation. However, this would never have come to fruition if Roy Boylan and the thousand lay people, mostly young, had never gone into some very frontier situations in PNG and Australia. Frontier in so far as it had to allow for change and fast change in so many instances. Also, it was frontier because many of these jobs in the past were done by priests and religious and our movement was breaking new ground…Even the Church in Australia found it hard to think of itself as missionary. We were still seeing ourselves as the mission – others being sent to us and not sending out to others.
Mary Gilchrist, Palms Post, March 1984