On 30 September 2003, the President of the 2/14th Battalion Association, Stan Bissett AM MC invited me to become an associate member of their battalion association.  He wrote:

  • Mi sori that we refuse to acknowledge your sovereign right to name your own geographic features and refuse to respect the name of the Battle Honour awarded to your Papuan Infantry Battalion, which is ‘Kokoda Trail’.
  • Mi sori we have failed to engage an accredited Military Heritage Architect to develop a Military Heritage Master Plan to commemorate our shared wartime heritage across the trail – because our shared wartime heritage is the primary motivation for the 65,000 Australians who have trekked it since we first met.
  • ‘Mi Sori we have not been able to restore any of the significant heritage battlesites across the Trail to enhance the value of the pilgrimage for your paying customers who choose to trek across it.
  • Mi sori we failed to achieve any of the 5 key strategies or the 33 supporting objectives in your taxpayer-funded ‘Kokoda Trail Master Plan 2012-2015’.
  • Mi sori the million-dollar Village Livelihood Project, developed in Canberra, without any consultation with you, failed to produce any fruit, vegetables or income earning opportunities for you.
  • Mi Sori we have not conducted a single workshop in your villages to discuss your needs at the local level since we assumed responsibility for the Trail 13 years ago – it would have been a good way to get to know you better.
  • Mi Sori we have not been able to assist you in building a single hygienic toilet anywhere across the trail to meet the needs of your paying customers i.e. trekkers.
  • Mi sori we have failed to assist you to develop a system that allows trek operators to book campsites in advance.
  • Mi sori we haven’t developed a Trek Itinerary Management System to advise you how many trekkers will be arriving at your village, and when, so you can prepare food and souvenirs to sell.
  • Mi sori we have not taught you how to earn additional income from trekkers by providing local services to meet their needs.
  • Mi sori we have failed to provide any funds to assist you in developing campsites that meet the needs of your paying customers.
  • Mi sori we continue to import Queensland Park Rangers and pay them fat salaries and tax-free allowances instead of paying you to do the work you have been doing for generations i.e. keeping the Trail safe.
  • Mi sori we have not been able to help you develop a system to stop the exploitation of your local guides and carriers by unscrupulous trek operators.
  • Mi sori we have not been able to help you develop a system that provides for urgent medical evacuation from your villages to hospitals in Port Moresby.
  • Mi sori that we have failed to honour the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign with any known plans to enhance the value of the pilgrimage for future trekkers.
Adventure Kokoda Director Charlie Lynn inducted as an Officer of the Order of Logohu by the Government of Papua New Guinea
Imita Ridge: Designated to be Australia’s last stand during the Kokoda campaign – ignored by the Australian funded ‘Kokoda Initiative’ over the past decade
Steps built by Australian engineers during the Kokoda campaign
Local villagers could be paid to rebuild steps to reconstruct this iconic image with the imposition of a PNGK100 ‘Trail Maintenance Levy’ on trekkers
The site of the biggest battle of the Kokoda campaign has been ignored by environment-DFAT officials over the past decade
Mortar position is owned by Naduri villagers who used to protect it and charge each trekker PNGK10 to visit it – they earned around PNGK40,000 (A$17,000) each year as a result
After Australian environment officials made the position ‘safe’ by locking the mortars in a wire cage the site is now ignored by trekkers – Naduri villagers are now PNGK40,000 per year poorer as a result (we don’t know who dragged the tail wing of a PNG plane to the site)
Local villagers could be easily employed to erect old tents to replicate the wartime hospital at Lake Myola
Hard to imagine why such a significant site has been ignored by environment-DFAT officials over the past decade
Iconic photo by Damien Parer – one of the most desperate of all scenes during the Kokoda campaign
Local villagers could easily be engaged to replicate the wartime village site.
Opening of the Isurava Memorial by Prime Ministers John Howard and Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Battle on 26 August 2002
Troops parading before Major General George Vasey as they raised the Australian flag on the Kokoda plateau on 3 November 1942
Hard to imagine why environment-DFAT officials have ignored the need to design a Commemorative Centre on the Kokoda plateau in view of its significance and its road access to the Popondetta airfield
Owers Corner: Managed by the DFAT-Kokoda Initiative
Politically correct interpretive panels display incorrect and irrelevant information
Not a single toilet along the Kokoda Trail meets the most basic of hygiene standards
Toilets are built by local campsite owners – no privacy and no protection against the smell
It is hard to imagine more disgusting toilets than these – hard to understand why Australia have not allocated some of the millions of Aid dollars they have spent on consultants towards meeting the needs of male and female taxpayers
Difficult to describe – beyond 3rd world!
Smell is atrocious – infestation is chronic – Australian taxpayer dollars at work!
Bomana War Cemetery managed by Department of Veterans Affairs
The Kokoda Trail