Natalie Adadikam, well lived, we will miss you (26 Dec 1963-28 Sep 2020)

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On 5 October 2020, the West Papua Womens Office shared stories about founding member Natalie Adadikam, who had died peacefully after a long illness on 28 September 2020. Natalie was a driving force in the office, and worked hard and diligently to implement the principles of self-determination, sustainability, and good governance. Click for large-view of images. Below for video recordings of our tributes.

Dean Golja's beautiful portrait of Natalie during the Womens Office 'Prayers for the Melanesian Spearhead Group' in St Paul's Cathedral, 15 June 2015. This particular MSG in the Solomon Islands accepted West Papua's application for membership, delivering the people from 'darkness to light'; from 55 years of isolation to the global stage where their cries can be adjudicated in terms of international law.

Natalie was the heart and soul of the office; a warm and generous muma who made people feel comfortable and cared deeply for those who sought her assistance. Her faith and trust in Jesus, and her commitment to the freedom of West Papua moved and influenced everyone who came in contact with her.

Aerial photo of Docklands Wharf in 1984 (1). It was from this wharf, before Docklands was populated with banks, businesses and high-rise apartments, that Natalie's mother Corrie identified and organised Alfonse Adadikam to marry her wild young daughter. Alfonse was an apprentice-engineer on an Indonesian ship in the harbour (flying the flag of Panama). The Indonesian girl and her West Papuan spouse could not have foreseen that thirty-three years after their meeting on the wharf in 1982, the Federal Republic of West Papua would open a five-star-energy office a few metres away (red dot on map).

Docklands was built on a luxurious wetland, which before white settlement had supported the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples for 1600 generations.

Federal Republic of West Papua heralds the tribes of the Kulin Nation Alliance: Woiwurrung, Dja Dja Wurrunga, Wathaurong, Boon Wurrung, Taungerong; and the Wurrundjeri clan of the Woiwurrung tribe, who own the land that sustains the City of Melbourne. Wurrundjeri land extends north of the Great Dividing Range, east to Mt Baw Baw, west to Werribee, south to Mordialloc Creek.

When the FRWP Department of Foreign Affairs office opened on 23 June 2014, it was decided that building relationships was key to developing political support, and that the best tool for that job was food cooked by Natalie and her good friend Babuan Mirino (2).

Paradoxically, when Natalie and Babuan launched the Womens Office eight months later (2/2/2015) it was with an eight-hour Day of Prayer, Reflection and Abstinence that almost killed off some Australian-christian support.

Natalie was an astute business woman as well as a great chef, and formed Dapur Sampari (Morning Star Kitchen) with Alfonse, Babuan Mirino, and Ivone Bukorpioper. Dapur Sampari earned money for the Womens Office to publish new books and buy international airfares for Papuan diplomats.

With her fastidious attention to detail, Natalie easily won Best Recipe (use of indigenous ingredients, nutritional value, presentation, taste) at the Melanesian Culture Day during the 2016 Sampari Art Exhibition at the Australian Catholic University in Brunswick St, Fitzroy (3)

Our office guiding principles are Self-determination, Good Governance, and Sustainability, but it took St Pat’s Cathedral paying $1,126 for chicken-and-corn soup in hand-hewn coconut bowls for Natalie to jettison glad-wrap and plastic plates.

Dapur Sampari at the Cardinal Knox Centre in June 2017 with the hand-hewn bowls (by Lobar Wainggai) for the launch of Bonded through tragedy, United in hope: the Catholic Church and East Timor’s Struggle for Independence A memoir by Hilton Deakin with Jim and Therese D'Orsa.

The last time Natalie cooked for the Womens Office was 8 December 2019 at the West Papua Rent Collective Open Day.

She used a beautifully prepared pig (donated by 'Baby Bacon' in the tiny town of Denison 160kms east of Melbourne) to reference, with food, West Papuan tribal cultures as well as the nation's Dutch and Indonesian colonial stories, all spiced up with a pinch of modern vegetarianism.

Natalie was born in Jakarta in 1963, and was brought by her mother to Melbourne in 1975.

In Jakarta and in Melbourne Natalie suffered the enormous physical and emotional pain and shame of sexual abuse. It was only after discovering that Jesus really loved her that she developed her extraordinary ability to rise and soar above the wretchedness inflicted upon her. We remember you Natalie through the words of "Too much Rain" by Jenny Herrera, a member of the West Papua Womens Office.

postscript There is no evidence in the Bible that Jesus had any musical talent, but many demonstrations by one disciple that she had precious little either, including at Ronny Kareni’s graduation party (Federation University, 2015) at the Sisters of Mercy convent in Ballarat, where Natalie felt compelled to air-conduct, with Jacob Rumbiak, a hymn composed by Rev. Isaac Kijne in the 1930s and adopted by the New Guinea RAAD in 1961 as the West Papua anthem.

Note 1: Victoria Harbour, Docklands, Conservation Management Plan, Places of Melbourne and City of Melbourne, 2012.
Note 2: Matt Gale from the Solomon Islands with Dr Cammi Webb-Gannon (Research Fellow, University of Western Sydney); in the background is WP Rent Collective member Mr Thay Horn Yim. Photo: Tommy Latupeirissa, 838 Collins St, Docklands, 23 June 2014.
Note 3: Photo: Tommy Latupeirissa.


As the Coordinator of the FRWP Department of Foreign Affairs Office in Docklands (Victoria, Australia), which is under the jurisdiction of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, I wish to express my condolences to Mr Alfons Adadikam after the death on Monday 28 September 2020 of his wife Natalie, the mother of their three children and grandmother of their six grandchildren.

Natalie was a valuable member of the West Papuan community in Melbourne, the ‘guardian’, always ready and willing and able to help and to counsel.  She was also the ‘mother’ of the FRWP West Papua Women Office in Docklands, her hard work contributing to the extraordinary success of ULMWP diplomacy on the world stage.

Mrs. Adadikam, we cannot measure the value of your service to the people of West Papua in gold, diamonds, or piles of money as high as the sky. We can only say thank you, and pray through our tears that you will now live in eternal peace with God our Father in Heaven.  Lord Jesus, comfort the Adadikam family and the relatives that Natalie has left, and strengthen her colleagues in the Womens Office who will feel lost without her.

(PDF for download) Jacob Rumbiak’s message of condolence to Natalie Adadikam’s family

1. Louise Byrne

Natalie at the Womens Office Sampari Art Exhibition at the Australian Catholic University in 2015

2. Faye Gregson

3. Mary Stringer

4. Mary Stringer

5. Lorna Archer, Ester Anderson

6. Linda Duckham

7. Annette Culley

8. Sausage Sizzle

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