Friday, December 28, 2018

Steve Fernandes Photo tribute

See also tribute to Steve Fernandes
on this blog

Death Notice: Steve Fernandes
December 22nd 2018: With a deep sense of the greatest loss, we announce the passing of Steve Fernandes in London (ex-Nairobi). Loving husband of Marjorie, son of the late AP and Maria Fernandes. Father to Melvyn, Jennifer (Paul) and Clifford (Meera). Grandad to Dylan, Nikita, Aaron and Leah. Brother to Thomas (Lydia), Sylvester – Silu – (late Ivy), Raul (Christine), late Leslie (Linda)... lot of cousins, nephews and nieces all around the world. Steve found peace after a courageous four-month battle in hospital. Funeral details will be announced as soon as arrangements are completed. 
Condolences to


Steve Marjorie Cliff Jennifer Melvyn

Steve Silu Raul

Pride and Joy

Raul Silu Steve

With Evelyn Fernandes

Edwin Rodrigues/Alfred Fernandes/Rowland Rebello/William Soares/Lambert Pereira/Robert D’Costa Seating:  Steve/Donald Almeida

School play

One of those famous camping holidays in Malindi, fav place a few miles from Mombasa, great, great times

With Tony Reg

With Pio Almeida, Rosemary-Lunn, Olive Nazareth, Steve and Marjorie and Carmen Nazareth (do Rosario)

All teachers I think ... although I am not sure Bosco Baptista was a teacher

En route to Malindi ... this could be waiting in a queue at the Likoni Ferry in Mombasa

Just chillin' out

Monday, December 24, 2018

RIP "The Joker" Steve Fernandes

R.I.P Steve Caito Fernandes
“The Joker”

Death Notice: Steve Fernandes
December 22nd 2018: With a deep sense of the greatest loss, we announce the passing of Steve Fernandes in London (ex-Nairobi). Loving husband of Marjorie, son of the late AP and Maria Fernandes. Father to Melvyn, Jennifer (Paul) and Clifford (Meera). Grandad to Dylan, Nikita, Aaron and Leah. Brother to Thomas (Lydia), Sylvester – Silu – (late Ivy), Raul (Christine), late Leslie (Linda)... lot of cousins, nephews and nieces all around the world. Steve found peace after a courageous four-month battle in hospital. Funeral details will be announced as soon as arrangements are completed.
Condolences to

In a way, this photo taken at the Railway Goan Institute Nairobi at a fancy dress gig epitomises Steve (aka Chief Crazy Horse) and Marjorie (his squaw).

One of the last photos taken in August 2018: Edwin Rodrigues/Alfred Fernandes/Rowland Rebello/William Soares/Lambert Pereira/Robert D’Costa. Seated: Steve and Donald Almeida

A very young dashing Steve with Rudi Fernandes (kneeling extreme left), standing: Bosco Baptista, Michael Fernandes, Pio Almeida.

It is an understatement to say that my friend Steve, who passed away a couple of days ago in London, loved life … he did, he did … he loved a joke (around the world are sprinkled many victims of his light-hearted pranks), he loved baking his favourite marble cakes, he loved Ladbrokes (the UK betting shops), he loved the chicken at Nando’s (even when he was critically ill in hospital the first thing he asked for was, yes, Nando’s chicken), he loved sports (in the old days when they played the  true version which required skill and cunning … hockey. In fact, I think I made him one of the revolving captains of the Hornets team in Nairobi. He loved card games … who will forget the marathons Gilbert Fernandes, the late Tony “Fats” Pereira and the Indian teaching mafia used to hold during Easter time or other long holidays, especially at the magnificent farmhouse which was on the property managed by that fine, fine man, Angelo Costa Bir. Of course, with the cards were an ample supply of alcohol and a variety of curries or barbecued game meat which had been shot by Angelo earlier in the week.

He loved to teach and in Nairobi, as headmaster, he took a middle of the road school and turned it into one of the most popular, best-performing schools in the country. He was an incisive and innovative educator who was always abreast of all new ideas happening overseas. He adopted these to Kenyan conditions, much to the delight of students and parents alike … something that is often difficult to achieve universally. When they moved to the UK, he was even more invigorated and really enjoyed it all.

Steve honed his teaching skills at the Nairobi Teacher Training College in Ngara, Nairobi. Most Goan boys went to this college to graduate as primary school teachers.

He was, of course, a living patron saint … no, no, no … a high priest of a bunch of guys, most of them teachers who went by the panhandle of The Jokers. Just a bunch of singles who loved fun, music, song, dance, the movies, hockey, the clubs, Tropicana restaurant in Nairobi on Saturday morning, picnics, visits to the Kenyan coastal town of Malindi for all-night rave parties, camping trips actually… they included Gilbert Fernandes (Toronto), the late Tony “Fats” Pereira, Tony Reg D’Souza (Sydney), Rudolph Fernandes (Toronto), the late Tony “Coco” Cardozo, Pio Almeida (Brazil), Yours Truly, Ben and Julie, Albert D’Souza and lots of other guys. Even though I am biased on this score … their dimly-lit parties were the events you did not want to miss because they were usually the talk of the town the next Monday.
Growing up with these guys (actually, for the life of me, I cannot remember how I came to join these guys) was really quite blissful. It was an era when if you did not have any money, it really did not matter because one of your good mates would look after you. My best friends for life were Steve and Gilbert Fernandes.
The past few years, the three of us spoke to each other regularly … I visited the UK and Canada a couple of times. WhatsApp and the pretty good telephone deals meant that I connect with them quite regularly. In fact, I was speaking to him the day he was involved in a motor car accident. He sounded a bit down and seemed to lack in energy but he kept his chin up and said everything was all right … three days later I called him again … this time he told me “Skip, when I spoke to you the other day, I was involved in a car accident. I am OK but the airbag burst and it had wound me.” A few days later, he was in hospital. He called me from his sick bed and we chatted, and joked, quite confident that he would be home soon. Many weeks passed, many operations passed, he wanted to speak to me but the time clocks were not aligned. We never spoke again, he never recovered.
Steve and I were dating our respective girl-friends at around the same time. Both Marjorie and Rufina used to come and visit Steve when he was pretty badly off after a motor car accident. I was staying with him at the time. Marjorie nursed him through his nightmare. From that moment on their love was forever. He used to enjoy showing off his “beauty queen” bride.

When we used to speak late into the night, Sydney time, he used to give me a running commentary on his grandchildren. Like most granddads, he was absolutely blown away by them … each of them was very special to him. He would pretend to grumble, but he used to love babysitting and, of course, playing silly games and pranks. Jennifer and Paul’s children, Dylan, his eldest grandchild who he had many fun adventures with and Nikita who Steve called “the Boss”.  Steve also adored Cliff and Meera’s children - Aaron and Leah who loved singing ‘the naughty little flea’ song with him. He just worshipped them, just as much as he loved his own children, Melvyn his eldest son and rock, Jennifer his beloved daughter and Clifford his cheeky youngest son. 
He will be missed by his brothers Thomas (Nairobi, Kenya) Sylvester (Silu) Toronto, Raul (UK) and by their wives, his cousins, his nephews and nieces, and all his friends around the world. Steve was predeceased by his younger brother Leslie.

With his passing, the world will be the poorer for the fun and laughter, that endearing smile, the teasing eyes as if he was up to something … but most of all because he was your friend, her husband, their father, their grandad … and always the teacher who simply loved life … and a bet.

PS: from Tony Reg D'Souza: Just seems like yesterday, Rudi, Steve and I were at Maganlals (the tailoring outfit in old Government Road, inexpensive) choosing materials for our suits for Christmas. (In those days it was not only the girls who wore some new and special for Christmas).  All the same material and colour. In hindsight, we must have looked like the Three Stooges walking in these suites from Eastleigh to South C (quite a few miles) to visit the Lobos (Rudi's eventual wife, Hazel). That was the bond that started us off. We slowly became the social animals that became The Jokers.

The folks in Heaven better watch out … here comes The Joker. Somebody get Elvis Presley quick, tell him one of his biggest fans has come to stay.

 Cyprian, Silvano, Rudi, Tony, Gilbert and Steve

Seated: Steve (centre) with two of his best mates, Don (left) and Gilbert

Steve, Neville Pinheiro, Pio Almeida, Tony Reg D'Souza, Tony "Coco" Cardozo

Alvira Almeida with Steve and Anthony
Steve as Santa, Skip as the clown at the RGI
With Father Comerford, former Principal of Dr Ribeiro Goan School who inspired Steve who joined other fellow students in a successful revolt to reinstate Fr Comerford who had been moved by the school board.

SEE ALSO a photo tribute

PS: If you would like to add your tributes, send them to

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Death is nigh for Mombasa's historic newspaper Coastweek

I am in shock and I don't know when I will be myself again. I have just been informed that one of my favourite newspapers, at least its printed version, Mombasa's CoastWeek will cease publication after the final edition next Friday. It may be possible to be born again as an online publication. It never is the same.

It has been a pleasure writing for the paper for several decades. Its editor Adrian Grimwood and I began our careers at the Nation in Nairobi. He joined a few years after me and showed that he always enjoyed visiting the Kenyan coast. I think he spent a little time posted there as a reporter and it was not long after that he became the editor. Throughout the past several decades, he nurtured both the publication and the teams he has led with honour and dignity. Throughout his life, Adrian has been a star performer. He married Ulla, who just as delightful a person and a journalist as her husband. Together they make a truly formidable team.

Together they gave their all for the Coastweek. Both are very old school in terms of integrity, honesty, utter respect of the truth, intolerable of rumour or innuendo or gossip or the unsubstantiated story. It has always been a case of the truth and nothing but the truth. Adrian has always been blessed with a fun sense of humour, a love of the coastal outdoors, Kenya's wildlife in all its aspects, the people and the history of Kenya 's history, its sport icons, its business leaders and all the other beautiful things that are to found on this stunning coastline.

With the other members of the team, they have built a newspaper, a success to the Mombasa Times, a product of Kenya's coast era, that his readers have always been proud of. If the late Franklin Pereira was alive today, he would have probably tried to buy it and allowed Adrian and Ulla and the team to continue as business as usual.

The Coastweek will be buried with the human parts of thousands of past readers who stories and photographs it published: their successes, their failures, their births, their deaths ... all of the human endeavours which collectively is a cyclopedia, or several copies, of the Coast. In a way in its death, much of the coast will die with it.

My heart is filled with sadness. The grieving process begins next Friday. Coming to terms will take a long, long time. Many thanks to all my friends who made the Coastweek possible. Never forget you.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

In Memoriam Xavier Vienna RIP

In Memoriam Xavier Vianna

The Goan School Mombasa team: Back Row: Joe Fernandes (Sports master), John Coutinho, Anthony D'Souza, Joe Fernandes, Dominic Braganza, Ildafonse D'Souza (School Principal). Middle Sitting: Mervyn D'Souza, Peter X. D'Souza, Oscar D'Mello, Francis Lobo, Harold George D'Souza. Front Row: Armando Pereira, Xavier Vianna, Eddie B. D'Souza

Death: Xavier Vianna
7 Dec: Croydon, UK. XAVIER ANTHONY JOSEPH VIANNA: Born 14th March 1938, Mombasa, Kenya. Xavier was born and raised in Mombasa, eldest son of the late Manuel and Anna Vianna of Mombasa, Kenya. He moved to Britain in 1960 and served in the British Army for 25 years from 1960-1985. Thereafter he lived and worked in London where he met his second wife Joan Jennings (died 2002). He will be sadly missed by his step-children: Sue, Hazel, Brian, Janine and their families and by his surviving siblings Alfred, Ernest, Zeena, Monique and Manu, their families and all his dear relatives and friends around the world. Funeral service to be held on Monday 14th January 2019 at 12.00 at the Good Shepherd Church, 25 Dunley Drive, New Addington, Croydon, CR0 0RG. Burial at 14.00 at the Bandon Hill Cemetery, Plough Lane, Wallington, SM6 8JQ. Wake arrangements to be finalised - watch this space for update. RSVP for catering purposes and for Condolences email
Courtesy of Goan Voice UK

Father time has claimed another Mombasa sporting icon, Xavier Vienna who passed away in the UK recently. He was part of that formidable collection of champion Goan athletes from the Kenyan coastal capital of Mombasa and included the likes of the Seraphino Antao, the Commonwealth Games double sprint champion, Joe Faria, Albert Castanha, Pascal Antao, Alfred Vienna, Jack Fernandes, Meldrita Laurente, Winnie D’Souza, Laura Ramos and many others.

Mombasa was also the home of many Goans also excelled in soccer, cricket, hockey and the whole list of indoor sports. The late 1950s to the 1960s was perhaps the greatest period of success for East African Goans, especially the Goans in Kenya. In all of this the Vienna family was well represented. The family has a rich vein of pioneering history in the life of the Goans in Mombasa and the formidable Mombasa Goan Institute.

Xavier’s younger brother Ernest explains: “Yes, Xavier was an outstanding athlete, versatile in many sports and certainly enjoyed the camaraderie of his rivals and competitors alike. With his contemporaries, they shared a unique virtue; a very special talent, that of humility and humbleness. Xavier, very seldom spoke of his successes, other than exhibiting a smile when others recalled his achievements. I can recall many a sportsman from our community and our other rafikis (friends) back in Kenya, who with meekness would endorse my sentiments. This is typical of the Vienna Family, including my most cherished father, M. A. Vienna, a renowned tennis champion in the 1940s and 1950s, especially in Mombasa and occasionally upcountry.

 Xavier had a distinguished carrier in the British Army, initially as a gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery. His Regiment was later relocated to the Outer Hebrides, where his Regiment specialised in Ground-to-Air missiles. Xavier served in numerous capacities in Aden, Northern Ireland, The British Army of the Rhine (B.O.A.R.) and The Falkland Islands. After 25 years in the Service, Xavier finally retired as an NCO with the 3rd R.H.A. His last post was at Salisbury, U.K.”

My own connection with the family, albeit minute, was the short friendship with another Vienna, Monte, a journalist who worked with me on the Nation in Nairobi and tragically died very young. One of the most popular guys around, he is never forgotten. Another brother Alfred still lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

I will publish the funeral details as soon as I can get them.

My condolences to Xavier’s immediate family and the extended Vienna family around the world.

I am expecting a major tribute will update this as soon as I get it!


Goans: My Sydney Diary Part II

My Sydney Diary Part 2 (work in progress)
GOA NSW 1980-1989

The team that lost in the final of the Indo-Australian cricket tournament in the early 90's. Back row L-R Richard Rattos, Cyprian, Harold, Willie, 2 Consulate staff, ??, Hilary Front: Richard Tanner, Paul Francis, Barth Pacheco, Alban, Patrick Pinto

Indoor (from memory): Robert Mascarenhas, Cyprian, Alban, Richard, Harold, Willie, Clovis, Leon, Lavocah? Hilary Bachelors (from memory): Clovis, Amir, Jude D'Silva, Chris D'Silva, Gavin Gomes, Reuben Rattos, Chris Vaz, Cyrus, Leon Fernandes, Shane Scott, Michael Scott Glen Pereira and others.

This my way of saying thanks to all the folks I have been privileged to meet through the Goan Overseas Association of NSW. Most of the folks I mention, worked tirelessly to keep the association going. Too often things almost fell apart because no one wanted to take up the presidency and someone had to have his or her arm twisted and once again the association was saved at the 12th hour or an AGM or EGM was threatened with a lack of quorum and the situation was saved by ringing round. Some functions faced extinction for lack of bookings and the day was saved by committee members telephoning individual families and cajoling them to come. There were extremely robust debates but no one crossed the line or sued the association or was in a position to sue the association. After the meeting, we agreed to disagree and we buried our well-intentioned hatchets and got on with keeping the association alive. Everybody helped with everything, from setting up the halls, clearing afterwards, manning the bar and generally making sure things went OK. For many there were many sacrifices made and their efforts have been lost in the sands of passing time. I can’t remember every single one who was involved and I apologise for that. However, as I said, to those I have mentioned below: Many thanks for the memories we made and shared together.

If you would like to add your own mems, corrections, or whatever, please send to Also would appreciate any fotos of this era. You can read more at  Like I said, we arrived in Sydney hot, hot, hot in late 1979 from cold, cold, Leicester, UK. One of my farewell gifts was an umbrella. It was well meant from one of my journo friends who had worked in Melbourne for a while and had returned to the UK. His advice was: “You will need it, it rains there all the time.” I have not seen him since and I would like to think he was pulling my leg.

Our transition from London to Sydney was thankfully very seamless. We felt at home from the moment we landed at Sydney International Airport. In fact, just as we got off the plane and smelt the Mombasa-like salty air, we knew we were home. The folks at the Sydney Morning Herald were very welcoming especially my immediate boss Denis Muller (who is now teaching journalism in Melbourne). He and his family had us over for Midnight Mass at his local church and on New Year’s Day, Rob Barrett and Helen had us over for lunch, along with other colleagues. That became an institution and the annual attract because the smoked turkey Helen served was special from some friends. It was so, so, so delicious. Pink, a unique texture and it melted in your mouth.

I cannot exactly remember the first Goans I met in Sydney. The only ex-Kenya Goans I knew in Australia were the late Ben and Julie Pereira and they were in Melbourne. We had spent a lot of time together with a bunch of people in Nairobi and we were semi-glued together. That friendship was forever. A quick call to the telephone directory inquiries found their phone number and spoke to each other hours and we would speak regularly after that. We could not wait to drive the 10 hours or so to Melbourne for our first holiday. It happened a couple years later and we caught up with Geoff and Ellen Ahluwalia, Edgar and Rose, Alma and late Henry, and a whole lot of other people. What a holiday.

Can’t remember when exactly, but amongst the first people I met were the late Sheila and George Pereira and their boys Colin, Clive and Carl. Colin actually designed the GOA NSW logo but the credit went to Carl because Colin had submitted multiple entries under different names. Still there today. George seemed to have worked for Air India all his life. I first met him in Nairobi where he was with … Air India. A softly spoken thoroughly likeable bloke. Hadn’t change much when I met in Sydney … still sneaked a puff or two and had a good nip of scotch, smiling broadly as usual. Sheila was the belle of the ball. If there was no stage, she would get up on a table and sing to the seniors. Both were dedicated to the GOA and I am delighted to say that Clive and Colin have continued that tradition with honours that would make their parents proud. Clive and I produced one of the first newsletters during his dad’s presidency. We typed it all and photo-copied the mag on a Saturday morning at my place of work in the City. It was back-breaking work … naturally we made a mistake or two. I think we got a date wrong. Can’t remember how we fixed it.

I had been looking forward to meeting a whole bunch at Centennial Park where a picnic had been arranged for one day in 1980, I think, but it had to be cancelled out of respect for the passing of Franco Pereira. I used to see Franco and Mabel around the Norwich Union House/Law Court complex when I worked around there. Sadly, he left us too early.
We were magnetically drawn to Hazel and Harold D’Souza and their three daughters Hayley, Gayle and Hylett. Harold was a sporting icon back home in Mombasa and he dedicated himself to promoting sport among the young Goans (and some not young) Sydney. In fact, he was always the Godfather of sport. He pioneered the exchange of sports visits between Melbourne and Sydney. There was a little bit of bad feeling there because some of our friends were in mixed marriages (especially the children) and they would not allow them membership of the GOA in Victoria. It left a bad taste but Harold persevered. In Melbourne, it was an old friend of Harold’s, the late Nobby D’Costa, who got the ball rolling. We played indoor soccer, indoor cricket, out-door hockey for men and once or twice for girls, table tennis …and the whole thing culminated in the social event of the year: The Sports Dance.
Harold was forever Sports Secretary but later came to the rescue of the association and took up the presidency with Mal Ferris as the vice president. Hazel, on the other hand, corralled her daughters into helping her in very large lucky dip stalls.

In those early years, Eleanor D’Souza was one of the best social secretaries and she had a pretty good corps of ladies to help her: Dawn Dias, Anne D’Silva, Rineth Scott, Laura Rattos, Gloria Vaz and names I can’t remember. Most of the functions in my time were organised by this team. However, Joe and Christine Gomes and Michael and Tessa Antao were a formidable team in organising various games, novelty dances, the bingo, hall decorations. Joe was also a mad keen squash player. A large part of the successful functions was due to their efforts.

From day one, one of the great benefactors and a cricket tragic was the late Dr Pat D’Souza who with his wife Bertha in her beautiful saris both looked an eloquence of elegance. The family continues to support the association.

Maggie Soares deserves special mention. From the earliest days, she was the cultural guardian of the association... especially when it came to traditional Goan dances. She twisted arms, begged, cajoled and sometimes even inspired people to take part. She even stitched the costumes. She was always the leader or part of the choir, the Christmas carols or any kind of community singing. She was also always doing something or other on every occasion. As President and with Dunstan D'Souza and others in the community, she is the only person who has hosted a GOA function in Sydney's Town Hall. It was perhaps the poshest function ever held by the GOA ever. The music, the decor, ... everything was sheer class.

To this day, Tony Vaz remains one of the true pillars of the association. He has always been a delightful person to work with. He was a treasurer for many seasons and a committee member for even more seasons.  In similar vein, there were Maggie Soares (President), Ancet and Olga Fernandes, Victor (President) and Monica Nazareth, Hazel and Felix Nazareth, Indira and her late mother, Mona and Cass Dias, George (treasurer) and Cynthia Peres da Costa, Alvito Peres da Costa, George Dias, Joe (auditor) Pereira (late Mary), late John (auditor) Mascarenhas and Ivy (one of those rare characters who devoted a lot of time and effort towards the betterment of the association and its membership), Tony (President) and Quinnie Machado, Joe (President) and Martha De Lima, late Baptist and Aggie D’Sa chief caterer, John Sequeira (Jeanette), Cornel and Maureen Coutinho, Roque and Sylvie Rebello, Leo Rocha, Manuel (current Trustee) and Nelita, Paul Francis, late Joe and Natty Gonsalves, Willie and Betty Fernandes, Mabel Pereira, Allan and Crecsy D'Souza, Albert and Patsy Mascarenhas, Lassere Gomes, Robin Scully (table tennis), Arthur (table tennis champ) and Genevieve Lopez, late Octavius and Merlin De Souza, Mark (treasurer) and Candice De Souza, Joe and Gwen D’Souza, Alfred and Helen Vaz, Dunstan D’Souza, Jude D’Souza, Francis and Maria Baptista, late Alda D’Souza, late Freddy Mascarenhas, Imre Gomes, Silroy and Yvette Thomas, Gavin and Marilyn Thomas, Michael and Gemma Evesson, Tessa George (Michael Antao), Eva Fernandes (Mark Fonseca), Merlyn Martins (and her brother Jeff who was pretty good squash player), Mal and Margaret Ferris, Patrick and Yvonne Silveira, Michael Machado (a dedicated sportsman), Alban (president) and Laura (president) Rattos, late Tony and Lucinda Coutinho, Richard Rattos (muso extraordinaire and who I had the rare privilege of beating in a GOA 100 yards race, me fourth, he fifth, or was it third …!!).

The brothers Silroy and Gavin with their respective spouses Yvette and Marilyn made a huge contribution. Silroy is always the life of the party, a good dancer, always with a laugh and smile and as Master of Ceremonies he had everyone dancing their hearts away. Silroy was always a great benefactor of the association. Gavin’s piano playing is in a class of his own as his wife’s singing. Between them they brought their network of friends, quite a few ex-Bandra folks.

It was also good to make acquaintence of George and Monic Hommes. Their daughter Mary-anne was a general secretary during one of my terms. Enjoyed working with her.
This has nothing to do with official GOA NSW circles. I am just reminiscing about the good old days. Talking about good old days, the first time we met Gail and Ivan Mendens turned up at a venue for the GOA function on Sunday that did not happen. It was cancelled and we did not know anything about. No problem. A couple of other families turned up, Ivan set up his portable barbecue, we shared the food we had brought and had an absolute ball.  The other thing about the Mendens was that each year on Boxing Day they held a sing-along at their home and it was always something that topped off the holiday season. Musicians and singers made a beeline for their home.

Dr George Dias who remains a staunch member, and even stauncher golfer, was also involved with the Indian associations in Sydney. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was due to visit and he put my name forward to make the keynote address. I sat next to his wife at the top table and chatted a little. My address was based on the youth of India around world looked him as our version (good parts) of John F. Kennedy. It was received pretty well, that might be a little understated.

Just before that I had met Neena and Vijay Badhwar who rate amongst my closest friends. They roped me into editing their brainchild Australia first English language monthly newspaper called The Indian Down Under which was published for more than 20 years and is now only available online … time is taking its toll of wearing bones.

A few years later, I met the legendary Malachy Ferris and his wife Margaret who, to this day, I count special. Mal was a vice president of the association and a committee member. He usually ran the bar like he was running his meat factory in London. He got into an argument with a lady (who shall remain nameless) because he was charging her $5 for a bottle of lemonade which probably cost a dollar something at Woollies. The lady was quite right in challenging Mal. He used buy the stock for the bar, stick it in his van or car, pack the eskies with ice, bring everything to the hall, set up the bar virtually on his and was ready for business for the function. It is the nature of his DNA that, while his mates are sipping beers or wines, he is hard at work doing this or that. Never seems to stop and puts all his mates to shame. A tiny blemish in an otherwise sterling career, one which some of his friends will never let him live down: he failed in a bid to become president of the Moira association which promptly died away for want of a leader. Ironically, he has been in love with Goa, all its wonderful food, chillies, chillies and more chillies, and feni, feni and more feni. He would go there twice a year if he could. They have had a home there for several years now. Only he would love driving in Goa! He swears that Sorpotel and Pork Vindaloo (hot, really hot) are two of the greatest dishes every invented. Oh, and he loves a good lamb mince samosa or a good beef croquet. He has also been trained well in cutting pork into the tiniest pieces for Sorpotel. For all that he has not deserted that drop Irish holy water, a good pint of Guinness!

He was also the man who invested the association’s funds in stocks and shares. After a major revolt the association was forced to liquidate the shares. The whole affair split the community, split friends and relations. One relationship was particularly painful … and was never repaired even though the President at the time Harold George D’Souza apologised and went to great lengths to repair whatever the imagined or real damage was. It broke Harold’s heart. He didn’t deserve that.

Freddy Mascarenhas who had achieved pioneer status with the early Kenyan Goans in the UK following the exodus, had been an inspiration to all he came into contact with, especially in sports, particularly hockey. He was bound to great things for the Goans in NSW. He came on the committee a few months after migrating to Australia. We lost him in a tragic boating accident not too far from Wiseman’s Ferry. My last memory him … on a hot day at park near Silverwater by the river … we taking a break after setting up for the picnic … he guitar in hand, one of his daughters cradled in his arms, still playing the guitar and singing with her. It was a picture of bliss only he could have painted as part of real life. Never forget you, buddy.

George Peres da Costa looked at me from across the table and said: “What do you like to drink?” That was the first time I had sat eyes on him. We were at Tony (Carramar) Fernandes’ place for a game of three-card brag (Flush). From that moment on our friendship was cast in Scotch for me and Cognac for him, preceded by a beer or two. We lost him a few months ago. Also gone are Andrew D’Abreu, Lawrence Fernandes, Richard Gonsalves and one or two others whose names I forget. Could never forget the drinks, the meals or camaraderie! So there is just Tony and I, and the guys who have left the table forever have taken the card games with them. Rest easy my friends, never forgotten.
We don’t see much of Tony and Philomena Fernandes, more is the pity because they deserve a special mention in the history of the GOA. For several years, Tony almost single-handedly organised the bulk of the annual athletics meeting. Joe Gomes and Harold George D’Souza also made big contributions. Alan Ferris was the “most valuable athlete” one year.

I won’t mention the Goencho Bazaar in too much detail because I can’t remember all the stalls. I think the winner was always the one manned by Mona and Cass, Cynthia Peres da Costa and others. Indira usually put on a Goa history lesson on display. Very popular. I introduced the Goencho Bazaar because at that time there were a lot of young families migrating to Sydney. The wives either did not have the time or did not know how to cook the famous Goan dishes. We decided at least one day in the years, members could share their culinary wares at very low price. One year my late wife Rufina, late friend Ben Almeida his wife Vivian and I fried 96 rechado bream onsite at one of the best venues we had then The Crystal Ballroom near Ryde. We held many of our dances there and the owner would let use the hall free of charge on a Sunday, if it was available. It was a brilliant venue.

Goencho Bazaar stalls: Navelim Union: Mona and Cass Dias, Alex and Lucy Mendonca, Charlotte and Denzil, Tony and Gloria Vaz.

Goencho Bazaar stalls: Moira Union, Aggie and Baptist D'Sa, George and  Sheila Pereira, Glafy and Braz Goes.

Alban Rattos (brilliant batsman) and Harold George D’Souza (wicketkeeper) guided the GOA cricket teams for many years. We had a pretty useful indoor side as well as an outdoor team. It was bolstered by the Pakistani Goan players, among them Clovis D’Souza (in mold of Malcolm Marshall), Leo Rocha (wicketkeeper), Aamir Zachariah (tall, very tall, fast bowler), Patrick Pinto (very fast bowler), Mervyn Pinto, Paul Francis (school captain in Karachi and a damned good barbecue cook who put on a feast with Haleem and Nihari at each match), Eric Dias, late Kenny Dias, Chris D’Silva, Jude D’Silva and others whose names I forget, sorry. Others included Francis Baptista, Richie Rattos, Bart Pacheco, Willie Fernandez, David Walker, late Shaun McKay … and names I forget. With the Pinto boys and other we used to regularly have World Series cricket in Frederick Street Pendle Hill, especially during the big holidays when we used barricade the street (literally). Otherwise it was our backyard. We also had a table tennis table. Good times past. There was also a team of bachelors.

The Navelim feast, albeit for a short while, was one of the best village feasts celebrated in Sydney. Pioneered by the late Joe and his wife Natty, it was a quality event reminiscent of similarly celebrated in East Africa, UK and Canada. Hope to get more on this and pictures.

My son Leon and I used to play tennis court cricket in a team put together by Alban Rattos in the southern suburbs. Played in the evening, memories were made of this.

In my small circle of friends I must remember the late George and Cynthia Fernandes. George was a one-man emergency response team. He fixed our taps, got on the roof and fixed the tiling or any leaks … just about anything that needed to be fixed. My next door neighbour the late Lyle Sandford and his wife Helen and his late father and mother Frank and Maree were very special people. Frank and Lyle were walking encyclopaedias of local knowledge. Both were also very handy around the house, the car, and they had a garage with a spare part and a fix for most things that went wrong around the home. When moved into Frederick Street on a grim, rainy day and while we had not even started to unpack ... in walked this guy, put down the six pack of beer, extended hand, with his other hand  he niftily eased the six pack's by picking up two bottles, one of which he handed to me and said: I am Lyle Sandford, I am your next door neighbour, welcome to Pendle Hill. 

On a Saturday afternoon around 3 o’clock, one of us would fire up the mower and, after 30 minutes or so, the first crow would plonk himself with an esky containing a six pack. A few minutes later several other crows would arrive. After I had finished the mowing there was the serious issue of solving the world’s problems. At around someone would wonder where we would be burning the meat that night and we would all head for the nominated host’s backyard with our respective families. It was only after dinner that we would solve Australia’s problems with strong emphasis on New South Wales, the Western Suburbs, Parramatta and of course our own local council. We would head home having told ourselves that we had had a good night.

Or we would be sitting outside Lyle’s place at around 4 o’clock and we would decide on an instant part and call Dorothy Gonsalves, Vivian Almeida, Cynthia Fernandes, John Muir and a few others. An hour or so later we were sharing everything.

John Muir was a New Zealander and a delightful person. One New Year’s Eve, Lyle was barbecue for the children who were all next door at our place. Ben Almeida was going to cook for the adults but before he could get started a hungry John Muir went to the table and helped himself to a dish that was particularly appetising. “It is a bit tough,” he announced, “A bit chewy”. And we all burst into gales of laughter … he was chomping on pieces of marinaded raw pork. Never did that again.

The Lyles’ children Bryan and Claire went to Pendle Hill Primary School which was exactly 2 minutes away. They took little Carl with them and when they brought him home each day he was treated to a toast with vegemite … and a glass of lemonade. Carl learned to love school so much that he used to spend time there even after he moved to secondary school. He helped them with their computers. The Lyles were always great neighbours. Miss them all terribly.

A lot more history has happened after 1990 and I hope someone will write that story.


  This invaluable collection of photos was sent to me by David Mungai. He says it is “for the acknowledgement of Kenyan History, the celebra...