Fifty years in the making: Refugees in Australia’s first Manus camp offered PNG citizenship

Australia’s first refugee camp on Manus still stands, forgotten in time, and still houses some of the original West Papuan residents and their families.

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Called ‘Salasia Camp’ by Australian authorities, it marked the start of refugee processing on Manus almost fifty years ago.

A handful of rusty corrugated iron houses on a bare concrete slab, stand a short distance from a beach on the edge of the island’s main town Lorengau.

It was built by Australia and used to avoid a diplomatic confrontation with neighbouring Indonesia by isolating a small number of influential West Papuans – also known as West Irians – on Manus.

Only few hundred metres away is the Australian-run refugee transit centre, across the island from the Lombrum detention centre, where hundreds of current day refugees are slowly being evicted as it is shuts down.

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Indonesia was preparing a military takeover of the former Dutch New Guinea colony in the 1960s, sparking a refugee crisis, with thousands of “border crossers” fleeing into the then Australian colony of PNG.

“We came as refugees to Manus Island. The [Australian] government transferred us,” said Manfred Meho, who arrived on Manus as a three-month-old on an Australian Caribou plane from camps near the Indonesian border.

“There was a political crisis, fighting in West Papua between the OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka or West Papua Freedom Movement) and Indonesian soldiers.

“Our parents, when they run away, they were supporters of West Papua.

“Papua Merdeka. Papua Merdeka means ‘Papua independence’.”

Many were turned back by Australian patrol officers, called kiaps, on the border but a few dozen received “permissive residence” visas. The first were sent to Manus in 1968.

A handful of original West Papuan residents and their descendants still live at the camp, married into the local community, had children and even voted in PNG’s current national elections.

Like thousands of West Papuans who have come to PNG since, they have lived without citizenship until now.

“We have quite a large number of West Irian Indonesian refugees in Papua New Guinea,” incumbent prime minister Peter O’Neill told SBS World News.

“In fact many of them, under this government, close to 10,000, are classified as eligible for Papua New Guinea citizenship and a few weeks ago the first 300 were able to participate in a ceremony resettling them in the country.”

An aerial view of the region.Stefan Armbruster SBS

Australia walks diplomatic tight-rope

In the 1960s Australia did not want the West Papuans but due to their numbers and PNG’s remote terrain, could not turn them all back.

“[Australia] thought they were a nuisance, because potentially they caused a problem with the relationship with Indonesia,” said history professor Klaus Neumann, at Deakin University.

“Australia had not objected to Indonesia’s takeover of the Dutch colony, and Australia had recognised Indonesia was now in charge of former Western New Guinea, so for Australia to grant refugee status posed a diplomatic problem.”

A disputed United Nations-sponsored “referendum” in 1969, known as the Act of Free Choice, secured Indonesia’s takeover and saw it brutally suppress the independence struggle by West Papuans, that still continues.

In March this year, Vanuatu spoke on behalf of seven Pacific countries at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, calling on the UN to investigate allegations of serious and widespread abuses in Indonesia’s Papuan provinces. Indonesia rejected the allegations. 

When Australia signed the United Nations Refugee Convention in 1954, it was with an opt out clause, so it only applied to Europeans and conflicts before 1951.

But in 1964, Australia began issuing visas to a very small number of “border crossers”.

“These were people who were able to make a case they were being persecuted in Indonesian New Guinea, but Australia was very careful to say they were not refugees, in terms of 1951. It did not want to involve UNHCR, but wanted to keep them (UNHCR) out of the territory,” said Professor Neumann.

“There were two main reasons why Australia was not keen on them (West Papuans) staying on the border, where most ended up. They did not want the OPM to use Australian territory and use camps as safe havens after skirmishes on the Indonesian side,” said professor Neumann.

“They didn’t want some leaders to engage in anti-Indonesia propaganda. They didn’t want the permissive residence to engage in anti-Indonesian activities, and embarrass Indonesia, or get Papua New Guineans or expats to join them in protesting against Indonesia in West Papua.

“So they [Australian authorities] thought by sending them to the remotest place in PNG they would avoid that. Manus was much more difficult to access than mainland PNG for journalists.”

Stefan Armbruster SBS

A show of hands and the Act of Free Choice

Two West Papuans Clemens Runawery and Willem Zonggonau, both now deceased, tried to bring international attention to the issue in 1969.

“Wim and I fled West Papua to New Guinea to fly to New York to inform the United Nations that the Act of Free Choice was corrupt,” Mr Runawery said in an Australian television political advertisement in 2007.

The Act of Free Choice was a vote by 1,025 men and women in West Papua chosen by the Indonesian military, and by a show of hands were asked give up sovereignty and become part of Indonesia.

“We were forced off the plane by Australian officials, under pressure from Indonesia’s military regime. We were never able to tell the true facts at the United Nations,” Mr Runawery said.

They were questioned by ASIO and sent to Manus, along with dozens of other refugees.

“As a holding centre which is well situated away from Border Districts and where communication with West Irian is reasonably difficult, Salasia Camp, Manus serves its purpose well,” the head of the Department of External Territories wrote to his counterpart in Foreign Affairs in February 1972.

“While a camp on the mainland would give the West Irians a better opportunity for finding employment it also would defeat the purpose of getting them away from easy access for communication and return to West Irian”.

“It is considered that the Manus Camp should be maintained as at present, and that allegations about conditions in, and health of the occupants, are completely without foundation.”

Stefan Armbruster SBS

How the Manus camp became permanent

The Australian government was sensitive to criticism and Manus Island’s remoteness and lack of information had started rumours.

Back in 1968 the then Mr Michael Somare, later to become the country’s first prime minister, speaking to a motion on the issue of ‘border crossers’ in PNG’s pre-independence parliament said he “had heard the refugees on Manus had been placed in a camp near the police station”.

“This could be compared with the Second World War when the Jews were placed in concentration camps,” he said.

He added that PNG is a “free country” and the refugees should be treated fairly and found jobs.

In May 1969, journalist Jack McCarthy went to Manus for South Pacific Post and filed a story headlined ‘Refugee ‘prisoners’ live without hope’ and reported they existed in depressing conditions.

The Australian government sent an official to investigate and he reported the camp was in good condition but there was widespread unemployment.

Salasia Camp was “unsuitable” and Manus “too small” for the refugees to find employment but it was recommended “full rations only be issued on a ‘dole’ basis, that is the recipients be obliged to do public works, no matter how menial, in return.”

“If, and this is the big one, there is an acceptance by the people living in West Irian of the result of the plebiscite [Act of Free Choice], with necessary relaxation and change in administrative policy by the Indonesians, the permissive residents seeing no rosy future in Papua New Guinea would possibly take the chance of going home,” the report to the director of the Department of District Administration said.

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In February 1972 there were 73 people at the camp and “43 adult males with 69 dependants and one adult female (widowed) with one dependant child” had been processed, a report from the Department of External Territories in 1972 states.

Of these three had returned home “of their own volition”, one went to Holland and 39 men and their dependants “found employment and have re-settled in various centres throughout Papua New Guinea”.

“Initially it was thought this would be a holding centre until after their requests for permissive residence was decided on,” said professor Neumann.

“Some stayed much longer. The Manus camp became permanent.”

“The holding camp was not a detention centre, it did not have a barbed wire fence around it, people could come and go as they wanted to,” said professor Neumann.

“In fact the authorites wanted them to find work and were quite upset that they weren’t, they wanted the kids to go to school, so in that sense, it wasn’t at all like a detention centre.”

Manfred Meho has spent most of his life living in the camp.

“It’s a good life. Manus people are good. All house here were built by the government, from when we first walked in,” he said.

Australia spent $15,000 on the construction of 12 houses on a large concrete slab and a community hall at one end.

Manfred Meho remembers when life in the camp changed.

“The supply of food. In 1975 or 1976, the [Australian government] food supply stopped,” he said.

As PNG became self-governing 1973, ahead of independence two years later, responsibility for the permissive residence visa holders was transferred away from Australia.

“As soon as PNG became self-governing, Australia signed on to the 1967 protocol to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, that meant Australia no longer subscribed the geographical and temporal limitations of the convention,” professor Neumann said.

Most of the original refugees have now passed away or moved on to elsewhere in PNG, and some returned to Indonesia’s Papuan provinces.

At annual PNG-Indonesian border liaison talks held on Manus in 2005, Indonesia’s ambassador renewed the offer of voluntary repatriation to the West Papuans.

Stefan Armbruster SBS

‘Life here is good’

Amos Kimbri was born to West Papuan parents at the Manus camp in the mid-1970s. His father lives in PNG but his mother went back across the border.

In 2010 he returned to the homeland he had never seen.

“We repatriated, I went to West Papua, I went back. I feel the life is good here. I’ve travelled to West Papua and the life is too hard,” he said.

“Like we are sitting here, we are free, no problem, but in West Papua we have many problems,” said Mr Kimbri describing difficultlies accessing land, making it hard to grow food, and lack of schools for his children.

“I was there when they were shooting people [in West Papua]. They told us we can’t hold a flag for West Papua, when we hold the flag they will kill us, so I and my wife and son and daughter came back to PNG,” he said.

Amos hopes to visit his elderly mother in West Papua again but does not have a passport.

“I’m not a PNG citizen, I haven’t signed a form yet. I travel on a temporary passport,” he said.

“At the office in Vanimo (on the border), the Indonesian office, I take an ID and photo and they put it in a pass and I travel”.

Manfred Meho has never been back but has worked as a merchant seaman.

“We travel out. We are seamen, we travel out to Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam,” he said.

“I have a travel passport but I don’t have citizenship. We don’t have citizenship but our names are on the electoral roll in Manus.

“We vote, we vote as Manusians, but we are still waiting on citizenship.”

Now after almost five stateless decades, the PNG has made them an offer.

“Last month migration officials came to talk with us about giving citizenship but they haven’t come back yet,” he said.

Manfred Meho is almost 50 now, married to a local, has four children and is happy on Manus. Returning to a free West Papua is a distant dream.

“People are unhappy when they think about home and they feel sorry, but life here is good,” he said.

“Manus people are good. We go fishing, we go bush, we make gardens, we give sago, and they are friendly to us.”

Stefan Armbruster SBS

Police and students bond over love of football

Hundreds of students and police officers joined forces at Coogee Beach on Sunday, for a game of soccer.

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The event, now in its fifth year, aims to strengthen ties between New South Wales Police and international students.

A combined 200 police and international university and TAFE students from dozens of countries have enjoyed a few games of football at Coogee Beach in Sydney.

Chris Mackey, the Director of Study New South Wales, a key sponsor of multicultural events, says sport is a great unifier.

“We’re so lucky to have such a proactive police force in New South Wales. I think everyone understands sports. Football is the world game as Les Murray would have said.”

This particular day of games had one major goal, according to Inspector Glyn Baker of New South Wales Police.

“It’s about building trust. They need to know they can trust this uniform and that they are safe. It’s about breaking down those barriers.”

An eye opening day for students from some countries where the police are feared.

An array of students from countries including Nigeria, Tanzania and Saudi Arabia were in awe of local police officer’s friendly relationship with the community.

“Hardly see anything like this by the police at home. So big ups big ups big ups big ups to the NSW police department!”

“I am not gonna lie our team is really good and I am having so much fun with my boys over here.”

“They are lovely, enjoying with us playing with us.”

In 2009, racially-motivated attacks against Indian university students, mainly in Melbourne, prompted the Indian government to pressure Australia to do more to keep its students safe.

Eight years later, former Indian international student Gurnam Singh, who is now a mutlicultural advocate in Sydney, says initiatives like this police student soccer tournament have helped race relations.

“More awareness like people who are not educated, like the turban I am wearing. This was valued with the McGrath Foundation using the pink turban.”

And his optimism is enhanced by days like this one, where the community, police and students from all over the planet play for the same team.

 

PGA Tour rookie Schauffele wins Tour Championship by one shot

But the ball finally disappeared after circling the cup, leaving Schauffele with a wide smile of relief on his face.

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“My hands were shaking so much, I was so nervous,” world number 66 Schauffele said at the victory presentation.

“I was very embarrassed. I don’t want to win with a huge all-round lip-in.”

Schauffele carded a closing 68 to finish at 12-under-par 268, while Thomas shot 66 to claim second-place on 11 under.

The performance clinched for Thomas the FedExCup, and a $10 million bonus, awarded to the winner of the season-long points race.

Thomas overtook Jordan Spieth, who started the Tour Championship as points leader. Spieth finished equal seventh in the tournament and slipped to second in the FedExCup standings.

He received a $3 million consolation prize, while Schauffele finished third in the standings.

It was a fairytale finish to the season for 23-year-old Schauffele, who barely qualified for the 30-man Tour Championship field.

“It’s been a wild ride. I weaseled my way in,” he said as his father Stefan looked on.

Stefan was a promising German decathlete whose international dreams were dashed when he suffered a serious eye injury in a car crash.

He subsequently moved to the United States and married a woman from Taiwan, the couple settling in southern California.

“I’m so happy he’s here and I can share it with him,” Schauffele said of his father.

Schauffele broke out of a tight five-way battle, after five players had been bunched within one stroke on the back nine.

He made a fine up-and-down par save at the penultimate hole after a deft chip to remain tied with Thomas, before another precise chip at the par-five 18th set up his winning putt.

Russell Henley (65) shot the day’s best score to tie for third with fellow American Kevin Kisner (70) at 10-under, while Englishman Paul Casey finished another shot back.

Overnight leader Casey (73) did not make a birdie until the final hole.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis)

Mexicans pray as earthquake toll hits 320

Mexicans have packed churches to pray for the victims of the country’s deadliest quake in 32 years as rescue teams search against the odds for any survivors trapped under rubble.

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As another aftershock jolted southwestern Mexico on Sunday, the death toll from Tuesday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake climbed to 320 people.

With thousands of buildings damaged, survivors slept on the street outside their homes and estimates of the cost of the earthquake ran as high as $US8 billion ($A10 billion).

Many have been traumatised by the second major quake to strike Mexico City in their lifetime after a devastating 1985 tremor killed an estimated 10,000 people.

In the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the national shrine of the majority Roman Catholic country, thousands of people gathered to pray.

“I came to ask God for strength for those who lost loved ones and for the Virgin to watch over us and keep us safe,” said 69-year-old Maria Gema Ortiz. “Thanks to all those who came from other countries to help. Thanks to all and long live Mexico!”

Makeshift places of worship have popped up next to the crumbling cement and mangled steel of collapsed buildings in the deeply religious country.

In upscale Roma, one of the hardest-hit neighbourhoods of the capital, a priest led mass for nearly two dozen people under a blue tarp while a nun handed out small cards with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, who according to the Catholic faith first appeared to an Aztec convert in 1531.

More than 44,000 public schools in six states were due to reopen on Monday, but only 103 of the 4,000 public schools in Mexico City would open so as not to impede rescue and relief efforts.

Rescuers have narrowed their search to a handful of buildings in the sprawling metropolitan area of 20 million people, using advanced audio equipment to detect signs of life beneath tonnes of rubble, with help from teams from as far afield as Israel and Japan.

ACCC appeals LG faulty TV case dismissal

The competition watchdog is appealing after a court dismissed its allegation that LG Electronics misled customers about their warranty rights on faulty televisions.

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The Federal Court in September dismissed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s allegations that LG made false or misleading representations to certain customers about their rights in relation to faulty products.

The ACCC, which launched proceedings against LG in December 2015, argued that when a defect occurred after the LG warranty had expired, customers were told they would have to pay the costs of assessing the repair and that the company had no further obligations.

Customers were also told they were entitled to have a television repaired but not entitled to a refund or a replacement, and were liable for any labour costs to fix the problem.

The Federal Court dismissed the ACCC’s allegations on September 1, finding that LG was not obliged to to tell customers about their options under Australian Consumer Law.

On Monday, ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said the watchdog had lodged a notice of appeal, saying it was important to seek clarity from the Federal Court on this case.

“In particular, this appeal is about the extent to which manufacturers should inform people seeking a remedy for a faulty product about their consumer guarantee rights,” Ms Rickard said in a statement.

“Products and services come with consumer guarantees which may provide remedies over and above those in any manufacturer’s warranty.

“The ACCC will take appropriate action to ensure that consumers are not misled about their consumer guarantee rights.”

LG general manager Angus Jones said the company was disappointed with the ACCC’s decision to appeal the judgement and will continue to defend the allegations.

“We take consumers’ rights very seriously and we have confidence that our rigorous policies and procedures ensure LG adheres to the Australian Consumer Law,” Mr Jones said in a statement on Monday.

The decision to appeal comes less than a week after the watchdog lodged similar action against the Federal Court’s dismissal of its allegations that Medibank Private deliberately failed to notify members of new limits on pathology and radiology benefits.

Ardern puts her negotiating team together

New Zealand Labour leader

The small nationalist party has been left holding the balance of power following Saturday’s indecisive election.

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The ruling National Party won the most seats, but failed to secure enough to form government, leaving NZ First leader Winston Peters kingmaker.

While Labour trails the National Party by around 10 points, under the country’s German-style proportional representation it could still form government if it goes into coalition with the Green Party and NZ First.

Prime Minister Bill English began courting Peters on election night.

“My plan is to make some calls later in the week, over the next few days,” Adern told reporters on Monday.

“My expectation is that we will have a team that will speak one on one, as team to team.”

“We’ll be having a caucus discussion tomorrow and we will take it from there.”

Ardern hasn’t had any direct contact with Peters since the election, and earlier on Monday English said he hadn’t either.

English says he expects to speak to Peters either on Wednesday in Wellington or earlier by phone.

Nevertheless, he was “quite happy with the progress that has been made”.

“Clearly Mr Peters has said he is not going to rush it so that’s how it is flowing,” Mr English said.

As for Peters, he went fishing on Sunday and said it was important not to rush things.

He won’t give anything away about his negotiating position.

“Negotiating is about getting all you possibly can for the people who voted for you, and that means you’ve got to be smart, and clever, and determined and resolute – and the last thing you do is start playing your cards before you get to the table.”

Tigers don’t fear Crows energetic attack

Richmond star Alex Rance going head-to-head with Adelaide skipper Taylor Walker is a tantalising AFL grand final prospect.

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The Tigers backman was coy on the prospect of the megastar match-up when he spoke to reporters on Monday.

But he at least conceded he has a plan in place should the pair cross paths at the MCG.

“Do you want me to give him a call and tell him how I will play him? I know how I’ll play him but I’m not going to tell him,” Rance laughed when pressed on the potential match-up on Monday.

The Crows’ larger-than-life leader has kicked 52 goals this year, scoring in every match, but his influence extends further than his individual output.

Walker creates plenty of scoring opportunities for his teammates, leading the league in goal assists.

“I feel like he’s in a very similar mould to Matthew Pavlich,” Rance continued.

“He’s a true centre half-forward who is a double threat … can go forward or back; take a strong mark and is a bit of conduit as well.

“He doesn’t really have too many weaknesses, but it’s just about a little bit of help up field. A little bit of pressure, a few dirty balls and me just trying to limit his effectiveness.”

Richmond will need to blunt the most potent attack in the AFL if they are to beat Adelaide in Saturday’s grand final.

The Crows scored the most points this season by a wide margin and didn’t lose any games, where they scored more than 100 points.

But Rance says his side’s third-ranked defence is capable of stifling Adelaide’s array of attacking weapons.

“I think systems are prevailing more than match-ups,” he said.

“I know footy fans want to see Buddy Franklin v myself or Jack Riewoldt v Phil Davis but systems do prevail.

“There will be a few match-ups like Grimesy (Dylan Grimes) might play on (Eddie) Betts or David Astbury might play on Tex (Walker), but the way we work as a team is making sure that we support each other.

“I won’t be on Tex the whole game and Dave won’t be on Tex the whole game – it’s a system.”

Rance said the players will continue to embrace the hype that has engulfed the club even before they won through to their first grand final since 1982.

Star teammate Jack Riewoldt admitted he had despaired he would never play in a Richmond grand final team at the end of last season.

Rance isn’t the sort to get too hung up on such things, but he admits he’s glad he didn’t walk away from the game when he considered retirement in 2015.

“If I had finished up with football a few years ago – it’s a sliding doors moment – I would have hated to have missed out on this feeling,” he said.

“(To experience) this amount of enjoyment and to see the smiles on the faces of fans and support staff.”

Bank bosses to be forced to defer pay

Top bank executives in Australia may be forced to defer part of their pay for four years in case misconduct is detected, as the federal government looks to ramp up pressure on the scandal-ridden and unpopular banking sector.

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Draft legislation released by the government late on Friday, will require a chief executive at a major bank to defer either 60 per cent of variable pay or 40 per cent of total remuneration – whichever is lower – for a minimum of four years.

A top executive at a smaller bank will be required to defer the lesser of 40 per cent of variable pay or 10 per cent of total pay.

The deferred pay will ensure the executive’s variable pay will remain at risk in case of they are found to have failed accountability obligations.

The Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) legislation is part of measures flagged by Canberra in the federal budget as it seeks to improve accountability in the banking sector.

It comes amid a number of investigations, including by APRA and ASIC, into allegations against Commonwealth Bank related to breaches of anti-money laundering and counter- terrorism funding laws.

The regulators have also repeatedly flagged major problems with the culture and conduct of all the big banks, forcing the government to impose controls amid calls for a royal commission into the sector.

In May Treasurer Scott Morrison announced a surprise multi-billion dollar levy on big banks and said the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) would be able to remove and disqualify executives who hid misconduct.

He also sought to ensure at least 40 per cent of each executive’s pay is linked to more than short-term performance.

According to the draft legislation, released late on Friday, all senior banking executives on a salary of $500,000 or more will be required to defer a component of their remuneration on a sliding scale based on the size of the bank and the executive’s seniority.

The government has sought submissions on the draft legislation by September 29.

The Australian Bankers’ Association slammed the proposals, calling them an entirely new addition to the system of corporate governance and criticising the short exposure period.

“The seven day consultation period announced by the federal Government on new banking executive accountability laws is grossly inadequate and is playing fast and loose with a critical sector of the economy,” ABA chief executive Anna Bligh said in a statement.

US shooting suspect charged with murder

A man has been charged with murder in the US city of Nashville after he walked into a church armed with two guns and shot seven people, killing one.

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Authorities have identified the attacker as Emanuel Kidega Samson, a 25-year-old who came to the United States from Sudan in 1996 and is a legal US resident.

Samson entered the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ from the back after fatally shooting a 39-year-old Melanie Smith outside, police said.

He then walked through the church silently, shooting six more people before he was subdued by an usher, 22-year-old Robert Engle.

He tackled the gunman and suffered injuries when he was pistol whipped. In the struggle, Samson shot himself, although it wasn’t clear if it was on purpose or an accident.

Engle retrieved his own gun from his car and held the man until police arrived.

In a statement, Engle played down his actions.

“The real heroes are the police, first responders and medical staff and doctors who have helped me and everyone affected,” he said.

The church pastor, David Spann, shouted, “Run, run, gunshots!” as congregants hid under pews or in bathrooms, according to a witness.

By the end of the shooting, chrchgoer Minerva Rosa was on her knees, her dress stained with blood, putting pressure on the gunshot wound in Spann’s chest.

Church members told police the suspect had attended services a year or two ago.

Nashville police did not immediately comment on several bizarre posts on the suspect’s Facebook page in the hours before the shooting.

Spann’s wife, Peggy, 65, was also shot as well as William and Marlene Jenkins, aged 83 and 84.

68-year-old Linda Bush and 64-year-old Katherine Dickerson were the other victims.

Flag hopes drive grieving Crows ruckman

Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs says the prospect of an AFL premiership has given his life a purpose since the death of his brother.

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Jacobs says his Crows teammates have helped him carry a heavy heart after his older brother Aaron died on August 30, eight days before Adelaide’s first final.

“That’s a bit of an understatement, emotional roller-coaster,” Jacobs told reporters on Monday.

“It has been a crazy past month … the tragic event I went through.

“But at the same time I had real purpose around trying to get (AFL) success.”

After Jacobs’ 31-year-old brother Aaron died an undisclosed illness, his Crows teammates rallied around their popular ruckman.

But ahead of Saturday’s grand final against Richmond, Jacobs was also at pains to not disrupt Adelaide’s finals campaign.

“When I lost my brother Aaron it wasn’t ever about me,” he said.

“It’s about continuing the journey we started back in 2011 when I got the club.

“As as a team we have gone through some really tough times,” he said, referring to the deaths of head coach Phil Walsh in 2015 and assistant coach Dean Bailey in 2014.

“… Unfortunately I have been through it (grieving) before and I feel I have got some pretty good tools to be able to deal with it.

“And playing footy with my mates … is part of that.”

After his brother’s death, Jacobs returned to his home town of Ardrossan on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula – population about 1,130 – where he found another community rallying in support.

“Ardrossan has gone to lengths to make sure my family and me are well supported, which has been amazing from back home,” Jacobs said.

“At the funeral I had mates come over from Melbourne to be there for me.

“The whole playing group has been fantastic, right from (captain) Taylor Walker to Matt Signorello, the youngest guy.

“They have all got around me and made sure I’m comfortable in my surrounds and I guess just treated me normal. And that is what I wanted.”

Jacobs has been among Adelaide’s best players in consecutive finals wins to set up the premiership decider against the Tigers – a fact just starting to sink in for the 29-year-old.

“Over the weekend it has probably been a bit surreal,” Jacobs said.

“I took my dog for a walk yesterday for 15-20 minutes to take in what we had actually done – but at the same time knowing it’s nothing if we don’t get the win this week.

“We’re excited by the prospect of putting ourselves out there.”