‘McArches’ on Kokoda

The debate about any American connotation of the name  ‘Kokoda Trail’ is about to warm up with the construction of a set of ‘golden arches’ at the entrance to the trail/track at Kokoda.

Anzac trekkers coming of the trail/track were almost reaching for their wallets as they spied the Kokoda ‘McArches‘ looming in the mist towards the end of their fast-food deprivation across the Owen Stanley Ranges. They could almost hear the young Orokaiva cashier asking if they would like fries with their bully beef.

A bronze plaque on the ‘McArches’ is dedicated to Japan and Kokoda.  It talks erroneously about an Australian ‘retreat’ (which is not a phase of war) and describes how ‘six thousand Japanese fought bravely during their southerly advance’.

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Trekker downturn weighs heavily on Kokoda Porters

The dramatic downturn in Kokoda trekker numbers, around 54 per cent in 2010, is causing some trek operators to compensate by overloading their PNG support crews. A recent backpack weight check at Owers Corner found that some porters were burdened with backpacks weighing up to 31 kg. The Ranger conducting the check said others were weighing in at up to 36 kg. This far exceeds the recommended weight of 20 kg in the KTA Code of Conduct for trek operators.

This exploitation of local carriers would not have been allowed in 1942 and it should not be allowed today. [Read more…]

Kokoda Sports Development Program

From: James Enage, Chairman, PNG Kokoda Track AuthorityDear Charlie,

 

REF : ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR THE KOKODA TRACK SPORTS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

I wish to thank you, your lovely wife and the Adventure Kokoda Management for financially supporting the Kokoda Track Sports Development Program within this year, 2009.

I had acknowledged your contribution to this very special project in various appropriate forums and have informed the boys and people along the Kokoda Track about your support.

In relation to the outcome of the Program, preparations are now underway by four (4) Local Rugby League Clubs in Queensland who are keen to engage few boys from the Kokoda Track to play in the local Queensland Rugby League Competition next year, 2010. Hopefully, the various Rugby Club offers (Work, Match payments, Accommodation) for the boys should be made available towards the end of January and I will make the announcements in the middle or towards the end of February, 2010. [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…]

Kokoda Trek Operator Licensing System

The PNG Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) has announced a licensing system for trek operators. This is effectively an accreditation system – something we at Adventure Kokoda have been advocating for many years. We obviously support this initiative and commend the KTA for the work they have done to bring it about. [Read more…]

Military Heritage at risk on the Kokoda Trail

There is an urgent need for a re-assessment of Australia’s role in the protection of our military heritage along the Kokoda Trail.

The construction of conventional buildings at Owers Corner and steel wire rope swing bridges across creeks at significant battlesites is akin to desecration of the most significant symbol of our involvement in New Guinea during the Pacific War. [Read more…]

Wire bridges on Kokoda=Bureaucratic vandalism!

The Kokoda Track Authority has advised of a plan to construct permanent swing bridges with cables and metal thread with constructed anchor points capable of taking up to 8 – 10 persons at Eora Creek Crossing, (Dump 1) Eora Creek, Efogi River (between Naduri and Efogi 2), Elomi Creek (between Efogi 1 and Efogi 2), Ofi Creek and Goldie River.

I do not know where these ‘plans’ are coming from but I do know they are being done without any consultation at all with the paying customer i.e. the trekker.

The research we have conducted with a significant number of people who have trekked with Adventure Kokoda over the past 18 years indicates that they want the track left alone. They want to trek in the footsteps of our diggers as they did it. They do not want boardwalks and bridges. [Read more…]

Owers Corner Desecration!

The recent construction of standard buildings with shiny silver iron roofs at Owers Corner illustrates the need for the Office of Australian War Graves to be involved in protecting our military heritage along the Kokoda Trail. 

Owers Corner is a significant site.  It is here that the road ends and the pilgrimage for thousands of Australians begins.  It is where our diggers manhandled massive 25-pounder guns into position to provide heavy fire support to our troops on Imita Ridge for the first time in the Kokoda campaign. [Read more…]

Kokoda: Response from the Australian Govt

A post by Robyn Kruk, Secretary of the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts:

Dear Charlie,

As a trekker who walked the Kokoda Track with you in 2007, and now as the Head of the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts I would like to respond to the concerns you have recently raised publicly in relation to Australia’s efforts to assist PNG to protect the Kokoda Track. I note that some of these points have already been outlined in other correspondence to you from this department. [Read more…]

Kokoda: Stop the bloody rot on the bloody track!

A recent proposal to mine part of the Kokoda Trail caused a public outcry that resulted in the Australian government entering into a ‘Joint Understanding’ with the PNG Government to protect the track and its environs from possible mining or logging activity.  Among the objectives is an agreement is to assist the PNG Government in undertaking a feasibility study for a possible World Heritage nomination. [Read more…]