PNG Govt honours Aussie-born Bishop

Tamworth-born Bishop Austen Crapp of Aitape diocese who says he was the first white man to live in the remote grasslands area of Papua New Guinea will be awarded the title of Commander of the British Empire in the country's upcoming Independence Day celebrations.

Bishop Crapp who is the only bishop to come from Tamworth, NSW, has been a missionary in PNG since 1962, according to the Northern Daily Leader.

His service with the Church began in the 1940s with the Christian Brothers College in Tamworth where he was a student and altar boy.

It was during his time as a student that he learnt about the work of the Franciscan Missionaries and decided he wanted to be one.

"I was the first white man to live in the remote area of the grasslands in PNG," he told the Leader.

While a missionary Bishop Crapp also served as a priest in the defence force for 15 years.

As the Bishop of Aitape, Bishop Crapp was heavily involved in the reconstruction of villages hard hit in the Papua New Guinea tsunami in 1998.

"2200 people died," he said. "It was the biggest single disaster since Krakatoa before the December [2004] tsunami. I had a lot to do with the reconstruction of schools, clinics, roads and infrastructure."

These have now been rebuilt but Bishop Crapp is still working to rebuild five churches, with four already reconstructed at a cost of $1.5 million.

CBE award to ex-CBC altar boy (Northern Daily Leader, 5/9/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishop Austen Crapp (Catholic-Hierarchy)
Diocese of Aitape

6 Sep 2006