This odd little gallows for a gong and a bell stands beside the church & bears a plaque recalling the Rev. & Mrs HE Warren whose names are synonymous with Groote Eylandt.
Hubert Warren's exploits and achievements include the 1916-21 survey of the west coast of the Gulf in the Evangel for which he was made a Fellow of the Victorian Royal Society and led to the establishment of Emerald River Mission for indigenous children of mixed descent in 1921.
In 1919, he famously drove a model T Ford 3000 miles from Sydney to the Roper River Mission. In 1932 Warren led the "Peace Expedition" with Alf Dyer from Oenpelli, DH Fowler & Fred Grey following the murder of Constable McColl, beachcombers Fegan & Traynor and 5 Japanese trepangers whose drifting lugger ended up at Bickerton Island. The subsequent trial, conviction, exoneration and disappearance of Tachiar are the stuff of Territory legend.
On 30th October 1934, the 33 year old Rev. Warren was flying from Launceston to Sydney aboard Holyman's VH-URN Miss Hobart, a four-engined De Havilland 86, which was lost over Bass Strait with all 12 aboard.
The 33 year old Rev. Hubert Warren was survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. In memorium the Groote Eylandters wrote: 'He was like our father and he treated us as his children, so a person who does that to us shall never be forgotten'.
Warren’s had recently given his 8 year old son, David, a crystal radio set which put him on the path of scientific inquiry that led to a Phd in Chemistry at Imperial College London and a position at the Australian Defence Aeronautical Research Laboratories where he had unofficially been working on the idea of a cockpit recording device for aircraft despite ridicule and derision from pilots pilots, CASA & Defence.
Undeterred he built a prototype and a lucky encounter with a former Air Vice-Marshall of the RAF saw him on his way to London with instructions not to tell Dept. Defence that his true purpose was to demonstrate his invention and assist with the falling Comets investigation.
An engine failure en route nearly echoed his father’s fate but he survived the flight and went on to create the famous ‘black box’ flight recorder which is now aboard every commercial flight and has saved countless lives through aircraft fault identification and remedy.