Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007

Other title

Parliamentary Record 12


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES Wednesday 14 February 2007 3890 ADJOURNMENT Ms MARTIN (Chief Minister): Mr Deputy Speaker, I move that the Assembly do now adjourn. Mr Deputy Speaker, 2006 was a big year for Catholics in the Territory. In August last year, the church celebrated the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Francis Gsell in the Territory. Father Gsell effectively established the Catholic Church here, and the centenary was a joyous occasion for many Territorians. However, that was not the only century the Catholic Church celebrated last year. On 28 December, it was my pleasure to attend a Mass at St Johns College to pay tribute to and celebrate the 100th birthday of Brother Rexford John Pye. Brother Pye is one of our true pioneers. Not only has he lived here for over 65 years, his work has helped shaped the Territory into the place it is today. Brother Pye was born in the Riverina district of New South Wales in 1906. He joined the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart at the age of 20, and took his first religious vows in 1930. Before arriving in the Territory in 1941, he spent 10 years at Downlands College in Toowoomba as a teacher and athletics coach. He was a top athlete in his younger days, although Brother Pye reckons at 80 he was still a top athlete. Go, Brother Pye! Brother Pye has served the people of the Territory as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart ever since, mostly in some of our more remote communities. After three years at Port Keats, he was appointed to Bathurst Island in 1944. It was there his name first slipped into Territory folklore, as it was Brother Pye who introduced Aussie Rules to the Tiwi Islanders. He used an old World War II airstrip as a field and erected sticks as goal posts at either end. All of a sudden, the one-time athletics coach was now coaching football. The rest is history. The Tiwis embraced the sport with a passion and their natural gifts and athleticism is now appreciated by football fans across the country. Brother Pye went on to serve as a missionary at the Channel Island Leper Station and in Daly River, where he continued his football coaching and ran the school boys boarding house. Despite a serious accident in the early 1960s when he was badly burned, and a near miss in India when his plane caught fire, Brother Pye continued to live life to the full. He wrote a number of books about the places he had come to know so well Ports Keats, Daly River, the Tiwi Islands, Santa Teresa and East Aranda. He travelled abroad, had a personal audience with Pope Paul VI and, in 1986, was award the Order of Australia Medal. The Historical Society of the Northern Territory commissioned a book about his life entitled Punderdelime - Brother John Pye - A Northern Territory Legend. Punderdelime is the nickname given to him by the Tiwis, which means strength and maturity. Brother Pye still lives in Darwin and, on behalf of all Territorians, I wish him all the very best in the future. His is a certainly a remarkable life. Members: Hear, hear! Ms MARTIN: It was wonderful to be part of that celebration. I can assure everyone that Brother Pye at 100 is doing very well. He reckons that in his heyday, he could kick a goal from the halfway line of an AFL field. If that is the case, that is awesome! The Centralian of the Year Award is a prestigious award that recognises the high achievers and community-minded people of Central Australia. This year, the selection committee had a large pool of entrants to choose from and competition was fierce. It was, therefore, no surprise to see the award being shared by two local heroes, Pippa Tessmann and Mildred Inkamala. Pippa won her award for her commitment to sport and sports medicine. She is the President of the Southern Region of Sports Medicine Australia and, in 2006, won the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award for her physiotherapy and sports injury clinic. As she has done in previous years, Pippa volunteered many hours of her time in the sport medicine team at last years Alice Springs Masters Games. She also volunteers hundred of hours every year sitting on the sidelines of many sports in Alice Springs performing her sports medicine duties. Sport is a big part of the Territory lifestyle, and volunteers like Pippa help it to continue. Congratulations, Pippa. Mildred Inkamala received her Centralian of the Year Award for her long-standing commitment to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal communities. In particular, Mildred has worked hard in Hermannsburg helping the community and the police deal with crime and violence. She has supported many children and families in her role as a health worker, while also raising her own family. Mildreds work has made a big difference to many people in her community and I hope her important work continues. My warmest congratulations go to her. These are just two of many Centralians who make a contribution to their community every year. I thank them both for their commitment to the Territory.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain the names, voices and images of people who have died, as well as other culturally sensitive content. Please be aware that some collection items may use outdated phrases or words which reflect the attitude of the creator at the time, and are now considered offensive.

We use temporary cookies on this site to provide functionality.
By continuing to use this site without changing your settings, you consent to our use of cookies.