ABC News: 23 June 2009

Australia will spend $12,000 to refurbish part of the Kokoda Track and build two memorials to Australian service in Papua New Guinea.

More than 600 Australians were killed and 1,000 wounded in battles with Japanese forces along the Track during World War Two.

“This funding will help restore and repaint the Memorial Archway, a nearby 25-pounder gun at Owers’ Corner and the 39th Infantry Battalion Memorial,” Veterans’ Affairs Minister Alan Griffin said in a statement.

“Thousands of trekkers retrace the steps of Australian soldiers each year; passing through the archway as they begin their journey on the Kokoda Track.

“The 39th Battalion was the first Australian battalion to face the Japanese on the Track, and the memorial at McDonald’s Corner honours their service.”

The announcement comes one month before Papua New Guinea’s annual Remembrance Day, which commemorates the first engagement on the Kokoda Track between the Australian military forces (39th Battalion and the Papuan Infantry Battalions) and the Japanese.

– AAP