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After clashing with Douglas, Patricia’s adolescent daughter, Amanda, was required to leave the Snelling household. Following publication of the mid–1960s articles on Angkor Wat and subsequent audiences with Prince Sihanouk (where Snelling claimed he was sometimes required to sing ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and other Australian songs)—he connected with the Cambodian Ambassador in Canberra, who often asked for his help and advice in the absence of a Sydney consul. For most of the 1960s, Cambodia and its neighbour, Vietnam, had been hotspots in Asia’s Communist revolution, which spread from China after Mao Tse–Tung came to power in 1949. In the 1950s, the Chinese built a port for Cambodia (Sihanoukville) on the Gulf of Siam and the United States later built the Friendship Highway to link it to Phnom Penh. In 1965, Prince Sihanouk broke off diplomatic relations with the United States, after President Lyndon Johnson sent troops to support neighbouring South Vietnam in its long–standing war with the Communist North. By 1969, Sihanouk was fighting a civil war of his own—under attack from guerrilla rebel Pol Pot, leader of an army of Khmer Rouge insurgents which was supported by China and the Vietcong. While war raged in their adopted Asian country, the Snellings were promoting traditional Cambodian culture around their circles in Sydney. Sculptor Gerard Havekes, who created several substantial ornamental panels of ceramic and metal for the Little house at Clareville, remembered the Snellings attending several Sunday ‘open houses’ at his rural studio near Kellyville—and showing his guests at least one film on Cambodia. This could have been one of a series of ambitious films which Prince Sihanouk directed during the 1960s, starring his courtiers and subjects in costumes. Or it could have been a home movie taken by the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam when he visited the Cambodian Royal Court and Angkor Wat in 1969. In February 1970, Douglas wrote to Marion and Rick Dudek to announce that he had accepted an invitation from the Ambassador to become honorary Royal Consul General of Cambodia in Sydney— using his Kambala Road house as the diplomatic premises. Douglas now had a French/English secretary, hired to ease his links with three French developers in Noumea and Vanuatu. We are just about to embark on a whole new way of life. Already we are part of the Diplomatic Corps festivities in Canberra, and as soon as I am Official a great spate of these will occur in Sydney. We are both enjoying Bettina). They were New Caledonia’s most prosperous developers and entrepreneurs—and in 1968, they both commissioned Snelling to design substantial residences. Louis’ house, in an up–market Noumea suburb with distant views of the waterfront, was a U–shaped array of spacious rooms around a courtyard. From the finishes, cabinetry and other details, it seems that the architect was not in control of this project. Another scheme for Jean Nawa, a modest project house presumably intended for speculative production, did not proceed beyond preliminary drawings. The Jean and Betty Nawa house—named Bettina Paradise— was one of Snelling’s last notable constructions. Set on extensive grounds at the base of Mont Mou, a lushly vegetated mountain west of Noumea, it wraps around a central pool terrace and is topped by a high–gabled roof of timber shingles. These are fixed over timber roof beams projecting to carvings of abstract Asian style. Above the open–plan living area, the roof is obliquely folded: demonstrating a precedent for 1990s roof treatments by Sydney architect Richard Leplastrier (who camped on Snelling’s building site for the Kelly House 1) and his trail of proteges, Peter Stutchbury and Drew Heath. Even before Snelling’s practice shrivelled, it appeared to some of his colleagues and sub–consultants that he was slippery with finances. Landscaper Vern Kuchel remembered his client borrowing money and being late to pay. Jim Whitelock recalled that his employer always charged his clients more than the RAIA’s fee scale and was cavalier about adhering to their construction budgets. Doug always had high margins, but it became embarrassing really. He lost the friendship of Theo Kelly that way. In the late 1960s, the Snelling family was reconfigured by the arrival and departures of three relatives. Douglas and Patricia began to accommodate a Cambodian boy, Tai Lim, who they said was born into Prince Sihanouk’s Royal family and had been annointed as Douglas’ son after his parents were murdered. Aged about five years older than their own eldest son, Christopher, but a few years younger than Patricia’s daughter, Amanda, he stayed at Kambala Road until the early 1970s. In January 1968, Patricia’s father, Robin, died—leaving his widow, Aida, unhappy at 78 Kambala Road. Along with other members of the Gale and Youdale families, she concluded that Patricia was miserable and unhealthy. She blamed Douglas for being insensitive DOUGLAS SNELLING DOUGLAS SNELLING 84 85 1966–1976 1966–1976