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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2514

AWARD OF GEORGE CROSS (POSTHUMOUS) - STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR WILLIAM MCMAHON

Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 17/01/1972

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 2514

EMBARGOED Until 0001 hours 18/ 1/ 72
PRIME MINISTER
FOR PPESS: A 2 5 PMN No95197
AWARD OF GEORGE CROSS ( POSTHUMOUS)
Statement by the Prime Minister, M~ r William McMahon
Her Majesty The Queen has approved that the George Cross
be awarded posthumously to the late Errol John Emanuel in recogqiti~ on
of the conspicuous courage he displayed as District Commissioner for
the East New Britain district of Papua New Guinea.
As Deputy District Commissioner at Rabaul from July 196~ 9 and
later as District Commissioner for the East New Britain District, Mr
Emanuel was engaged in the arduous role of influencing deeply hostile
groups of the Tolai people to discuss their difficulties i. n a peaceful
and tolerant atmosphere. Even when tension was at its highest, he
visited villages by day and night, almost always alone, to talk
personally to leaders of all groups to gain their confidem-nce and. trust.
On a number of occasions, between March and the date of his
death in August, 1971, involving pulblic confrontations and imminent
violence between police parties and large groups of people, Kr Emanuel
displayed outstanding courage. on each occasion Mr E--manuel deliberately
left the cover of police protection and, regardless of his own satfety,
moved among the people in order to pacify them. Each time h-e war,
personally responsible for avoiding possible bloodshed or loss of life.
He never wavered from his task, choosing to expose himself to danger
rather than risk the lives of his fellow officers and the police,
culminating in his ultimely death on 19 kugust 1971 while carrying
out his official duties.
M1r Emanuel's sustained acts of conspicuous courage over a
long period in circumstances of extreme danger and in complete
disregard for his pearsonal safety were in the highest traditions of
bravery and sacrifice carried out beyond the call of duty.
CANBERRA 17 January 1972

BACKGROUNDf Errol 7ohn ( Jack) Emanuel joined the Papua New Guinea
Administration on 24 August 1946 as a Patrol Officer. He
served with distinction in the Paoua, Mainland and Island
areas of Papua New Guinea and spent mors than 9 years
between 1956 and 195 as Assistant District Officer and
Deputy District Commissioner working among. the Tolai
people in the Fast Mew ritain district.
In July 1369, he was posted to Rabaul as Deputy
District Commissioner and was appointed District
Commissioner for the East New Britain District in March
1971 until the date of his death on 19 August 1971.
The award of the George Cross to the late Mr Emanuel
is the 9th award to an Australian over the past 25 years,
the most recent being in 1955 to-the late Chief Petty
Officer J. Rogers for his outstanding courage during the
" Voyager" disaster.
Mr Emanuel was born at Enfield, on 13
December, 1918, and is survived by his widow and three
children ( including a son and a daughter from an earlier
marriage). His first wife died-in 1965 and his widow is now
residing in the Brisbane suburb of St Lucia.

Transcript 2514