Heroism no boast: Herald Sun Editorial 22 October 2012

MILITARY historian Professor David Horner has every right to opine that Australia has developed a tendency to exaggerate the significance of our country’s military campaigns, including the Kokoda battle.

It’s his belief, and freedom of speech was among the democratic values more than 100,000 Diggers have given their lives to protect.

However, few are likely to agree with his claim.

The World War II Kokoda campaign, waged by brave young men in the most appalling conditions, must receive due recognition in our history.

Prof Horner says the efforts of our soldiers at Kokoda did not save Australia from Japanese invasion because Japan did not intend to invade our shores. [Read more…]

Congratulations to Ryan O’Keefe – Kokoda trekker and 2012 Norm Smith Medallist in AFL Grand Final

 The seeds of greatness for a number of Sydney Swans footballers could well have been planted by Sydney Swans CEO in 2001, Kelvin Templeton – a former Brownlow medallist and John Coleman medallist with the Footscray Bulldogs. Things were looking grim for the Swans in 2001.  Brett Kirk had been told that he wouldn’t make the grade; Leo Barry’s form was so bad they couldn’t even offer him for trade.  Ryan O’Keefe had potential but needed to be more flexible in his approach to his team-mates and his game.

Templeton was a visionary and believed each one had the potential to be among the best.  After Kokoda, Brett Kirk went on to become one of the most courageous captains the game has ever see.  Leo Barry took the confidence mark mark of the century in the 2005 Grand Final; and Ryan O’Keefe won the Norm Smith Medal for best on the ground in the Swans 2012 Grand Final victory over Hawthorn.  The following year Adam Goodes trekked Kokoda – and went on to win two Brownlow Medals!

Swans conquer the Kokoda
By Cameron Bell Sunday, January 14, 2001

Six swans have tackled pre-season with a difference, trekking Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Trail. Cameron Bell reports.

‘I forgot to mention the poem Charlie read about the Digger spirit. It was inspiring and sent shivers up and down my spine. This war was all about endurance and the human spirit. It was being fought by mostly teenagers and they showed heroism beyond belief. My pop is the bravest person I have ever met.’

SYDNEY Swans rising star Brett Kirk was in a tent after a 14-hour day in which he had pushed his body to the limit, when he sat down to record the above entry in his diary.

The rain was tumbling down outside and his every muscle was stinging … and yet he had four days of physical and mental torture to endure. It was late last month and Kirk was one of six Swans players trekking 110km along the Kokoda Trail.

The Charlie mentioned in the diary is Charlie Lynn — a local politician who has taken countless groups to Kokoda in the past 10 years to raise awareness of one of our truly great war campaigns. [Read more…]

Lady luck smiled: Getting fit for a Kokoda trek was a life saver for Noel

13 Dec, 2011 04:00 AM

ON day two of a 10-day Adventure Kokoda trek, Noel (Lucky) Cameron, 64, was wishing he was back in Gol Gol on his fruit block.

“Lucky” as he’s been called since he “was old enough to remember”, has just returned from an “eye-opening” trek through the hot, wet, humid and mountainous jungle of Papua New Guinea as one of a 25- member mixed group of Aussie adventurers.

Lucky can’t recall how he came to be given the “Lucky” tag, but after listening to his story leading up to the “surprise” Kokoda trek birthday gift from his wife Midge – the name is appropriate.

Had it not been for the pre-Kokoda medical examination, Lucky may not be telling his story after a serious heart artery blockage was discovered two and a half years after his first heart attack. [Read more…]

Historic betrayal of our diggers in Afghanistan

‘Stop firing’ screamed the Afghan interpreter metres away from a suspected Taliban leader as he emptied his magazine towards a small band of Australian commandos. As the walls exploded the insurgent responded by clipping on a fresh magazine and unloading it at them.  The Australians returned fire and lobbed a grenade into the dark room.  The firing ceased.  As they crept into the room they noticed a sight that will haunt them forever.  The suspected Taliban leader lay dead amongst a human shield comprising women and children.

Three of the commandos in the raid, doing what they were sent to do by the Australian government now face charges of manslaughter.  These young men have been double-crossed by our political leaders who have exposed them to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in the Hague. [Read more…]

Olivia’s Kokoda Trail triumph

Macleay Argus by Luke Horton

SIX days into walking Kokoda Olivia Pratley had had enough.

Physically she was being worked harder than ever before.

Mentally and emotionally, she was struggling being away from her beloved family in a foreign country amidst some of the most remote – and technologically isolated – terrain on earth. [Read more…]

Kokoda Trail still a testing ground

Despite the deaths Australians are drawn to take the challenge, writes Erik Jensen from the Sydney Morning Herald, who has just completed the RSL Services Clubs Kokoda Youth Challenge with Adventure Kokoda .

There are not the words in Koiari to ask about Kokoda’s spirit. That is an Australian construct, and a reasonably modern one: the sort that made Paul Keating bend down and kiss the earth at Kokoda in 1992, that wrote the word ”mateship” on the memorial built there a decade later, and sends almost 6000 Australians down the track each year. [Read more…]

Keep track of Kokoda operators

Jill Singer From: Herald Sun October 08, 2009

KEVIN Rudd’s done it. So have Joe Hockey and Ron Barassi. They’re among thousands of Australians who walked the Kokoda Track and lived to tell the tale.

The arduous journey has become an increasingly popular pilgrimage for many Australians. In 2001, only 76 people retraced the steps of our troops in World War II. Now, close to 6000 Australians do the trek each year. [Read more…]

The Punch Online: Consultants Killing Kokoda

Kokoda has claimed more Australian lives this year than Afghanistan.

During the last week two trekkers died on the Kokoda Trail, a couple more were evacuated by helicopter and fourteen went down with food poisoning.  Yesterday a campsite that took years to build at Ofi Creek was burned to the ground over an argument between two landowners. [Read more…]

Safety Upgrade of the Kokoda Trail


The Australian Government has committed $1.8 million to fast-track a range of safety projects along the Kokoda Track.

Australian Heritage Minister, Peter Garrett, and Papua New Guinean Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Charles Abel, said this initial funding was the first part of a broader program of joint initiatives between the two governments.

The initial $1.8m will be used to undertake safety enhancements at airstrips — including Kokoda, improvements to communications along the Track and maintenance work on the Owers Corner Road. [Read more…]

Upgrade for Kokoda fast-tracked

The following article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 5 September 2009:

The Federal Government will spend $1.8 million to speed up safety projects along the historic Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea – less than a month after a light plane crash in the area claimed 13 lives. [Read more…]