Kokoda comes to Sydney . . .

juffaKokoda was represented at the highest level recently when the Governor or Oro Province, Gary Juffa MP, and Mr Benjamin Ijumi flew to Sydney to pay their last respects to former RSL State President, Rusty Priest AM.  Rusty was a strong advocate for Kokoda and was the driving force behind the establishment of the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway in Sydney.  He became good friends with Benjamin Ijumi who represented his people at many commemorative services at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway over the years.

During the Governor’s visit we hosted a function for the PNG High Commissioner, H.E. Charlies Lepani, the PNG Consul-General, Sumasy Singin at Parliament House to welcome PNG sailors visiting Sydney for the Naval Review.

NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell accorded a State Funeral for Rusty and invited the PNG Consul General in Sydney, Mr Sumasy Singin and Governor Juffa to represent their people through reading the prayers for the service which was held in St Mary’s Cathedral and concluded at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmJiqxL1IfA

The following month Benjamin returned with two of his colleagues from Kokoda to attend the annual Kokoda Day Service.  The following day we hosted a visit to Parliament House, attended the NSW RSL Art Awards then took them on a guided tour of Sydney.  The public response was simply incredible – if we had charged a dollar for every photograph they would have returned to PNG with bilums full of booty. The response was even stronger when they learned they were from Papua New Guinea. People went out of their way to shake their hands and thank them for the support they gave our diggers during the war.

We visited the Cenotaph in Martin Place, the Anzac War Memorial, the Opera House, the Bridge, Circular Quay and were even invited to join a Japanese wedding for a picture they will never forget.  There was a great commotion when they met up with some indigenous buskers during their trek around the city.

They were great ambassadors for PNG during their visits and we look forward to many more.

DSC_1088Governor Gary Juffa, PNG Consul-General Sumasy Singin

DSC_1090Lt Col Rowan Tracey, Major Charlie Lynn, Chief Benjamin Ijumi, Governor Gary Juffa, Brigadier Philip McNamara – Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney

DSC_1097Miranda Devine, Governor Gary Juffa

DSC_1101Major Charlie Lynn, Consul-General Sumasy Singin, Colonel Joeseph Fabila, H.E. Charles Lepani

DSC_1151Vi Le, Sergeant Bede Tongs MM

DSC_6251The President’s Chair, Legislative Council, NSW Parliament

DSC_6252The Legislative Council, NSW Parliament

DSC_6566The obligatory Media Conference

DSC_1159Craig Laundy MP, Chief Benjamin Ijumi, Vi Le, Kokoda Dayat the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway

Copy of DSC_6331The Cenotaph, Martin Place, Sydney

DSC_6307The Courtyard Café, Sydney

DSC_6280Coffee Break . . .

DSC_6273Orokaiva blend?

DSC_6265Mmmm . . . Highlands I think!

DSC_6401The Sydney Harbour Bridge

DSC_6441The Opera House

DSC_6396Special guests at Japanese wedding

DSC_6461Indigenous brothers at Circular Quay

DSC_6517Special guests at Due Mondi Café

DSC_6547Farewell salute to their Sydney host and guide, Vi Le

 

 

 

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