ENB loses passionate historian

East New Britain has lost a passionate historian who diligently and honestly worked to uncover its many stories that were almost lost in time.

Gideon Kakabin passed away yesterday in Canberra, Australia, after suffering a heart attack.

“The Rabaul Historical Society was saddened to hear of the passing of Gideon Kakabin,” Rabaul Historical Society secretary, Susan McGrade, told this newsroom.

“He was working on an ENB exhibition in Canberra. He had a heart attack last week, was revived and admitted to hospital ready for open heart surgery this Wednesday but he suffered another heart attack.

“This time he could not be revived.”

Kakabin worked together with the Society on many events, including Anzac dawn services, Montevideo Maru and HMAS AE1 commemoration events as well as the Centenary of Rabaul Town and German colonisation.

“The RHS respected and admired the work GK undertook with regards to East New Britain’s rich cultural history,” McGrade, OBE, stated.

“Apart from being a passionate historian, Gideon was also an amazing artist.

“Combining his love for painting, culture and environment, he sketched some stunning works of ENB cultural icons such as the Baining fire masks, and interestingly, some detailed sketches of stick insects of ENB.

“He was also passionate about music and enthusiastic toward keeping local musicians such as George Telek and local string bands faithful to their brand of music.

"He was also passionate about photography," McGrade said.

“He was a pleasure to work with.

“He was intelligent and extremely knowledgeable but at the same time humble. A gentleman.

“The Rabaul Historical Society would like to extend its condolences to his wife and family.

“You will be sadly missed, Gideon Kakabin.”

Meantime, tributes have poured in from all over the country and globe, with people thanking his family for the generous but rare gift shared with them.

(Picture: Andrea Williams)

Carmella Gware