• The Kokoda Trail is an important heritage site for both Australia and Papua New Guinea.
  • The heritage values of the Kokoda Trail are unique and in evidence.
  • As custodian, Papua New Guinea is not able to protect or manage the heritage.
  • The Kokoda Initiative cites tourism as a key driver for development and the aspiration for World Heritage Listing.
  • There is no current Plan for protection/interpretation of the sites Heritage.
  • A trekking industry has developed that clearly demonstrates the key relationship between the sites heritage, tourism and sustainable long-term development.
  • There is little interpretation of ‘Kokoda Trail’ Heritage; Natural, Cultural or Military on the site itself.
  • The majority of current interpretation is by private donors, is in poor condition and presents an adhoc, incoherent approach to the stories, events, actions and environment.
  • An overall plan for interpretation on the Trail is warranted as one of the key means of safeguarding and protecting the sites heritage.
  • An interpretive strategy focused on the trails history, its heritage and its special nature is the first step to enshrining the Kokoda Trail for future generations of both Australians and Papua New Guineans.
  • Deploying permanent interpretation (consistent with an overall plan) will enhance the visitor experience whilst enshrining the environments core values and heritage.
  • Deploying permanent interpretation (consistent with an overall plan) provides (demonstrably) opportunities of sustainable long-term development for the traditional landowners.
  • Cost for development of a Heritage Interpretation Plan is in the order of $250,000.
  • Cost for implementation of the Plan is in the order of $2 Million.

Kokoda Trail Funding Proposal by HPA Projects


Executive Summary



However, research into the sites performance and usage (alexa.com) show that the average time at the site is less than 2 minutes, the visit is usually by link and the number of pages viewed is 2 or less.

  • The Kokoda Initiative (2008) has a stated tourism objective; a heritage plan appears absent from the strategy of development assistance.
  • World Heritage listing under ICOMOS provides development principles that focus on the relationship of tourism, heritage and sustainability.
  • The absence of coherent planning for protecting the Heritage of Kokoda will in time lead to dissolution and weakening of the core heritage values.


The key points in conclusion:

  • The Kokoda Trail and its heritage have an important place in Australia’s history that has been recognised by past governments.
  • The ‘story of Kokoda’ has attracted significant interest over the past IO years evidenced primarily in trekker numbers on the Trail itself and literature sales.
  • The Papua New Guinea contribution to the Kokoda battle affectionately remembered in Australia, as the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ is largely absent from interpretation or commemorative elements on the Trail.
  • The Trail history for Papua New Guinea is largely forgotten and has become ‘a local commercial benefit’ rather than a shared national cultural heritage experience .

Heritage Interpretation on the Trail

  • There is no Natural Heritage interpretation on the Trail; there is no Cultural Heritage interpretation on the Trail;
  • There are a number of small plaques installed over the years that act as commemorative markers of the Military Heritage;
  • The lsurava Memorial is the only major Memorial element on the Trail itself, the Kokoda Parade Ground Memorials are modest ‘markers’ with little interpretation;
  • Generally interpretation is ad hoc, provides little context and in many cases shows significant inaccuracy and/or inconsistency;
  • The Kokoda ‘Memorial Museum’ is over 15 years old and in relatively poor condition;
  • With the exception of lsurava and Kokoda Parade Ground/Museum Military Heritage Interpretation across the Trail is either in poor condition, is inconsistent, inaccurate or non existent.

Proposed Detail

  1. Key Site (Military, Cultural, Natural Heritage)
  • Significant Site (Military, Cultural, Natural Heritage)
  • Marker Site

Key Sites of Military Heritage are currently considered as follows: Kokoda, lsurava Memorial, Brigade Hill , Eora Creek and Ower’s Corner.

  • Significant Sites of Military Heritage  are currently considered as follows: Kovello, Abuari, Templeton’s Crossing, Kokoda Gap/Eora Valley Lookout, Myola lookout, Mission Ridge Battle Sites, Menari, Ofi Creek Camp, loribaiwa, McDonald’s Corner, lmita Gap.

Site Identification Matrix (Draft for illustration purposes only).

Stakeholders and Consultation



  • Funding Proposal Report Submittal – October 2011
  • Project Commencement – December 2011
  • Stage 1 Research and Consultation – Completion March 2012
  • Stage 2 Masterplan Development – Completion May 2012
  • Stage 3 Implementation – Commencement May 2012
  • Completion November 2012


Principles for Sustainable Tourism at World Heritage Sites


HPA Projects

Relevant Experience (Military Heritage Sites)

  • lsurava Memorial. PNG 2002 (Design Construct Contractor)
  • Hellfire Pass, Thailand 1998-current (Design and Construct Contractor)
  • Sandakan Memorial Park, Malaysia
  • Villers Bretonneux (Development Masterplan)

Relevant Experience (Cultural Heritage)

  • Al Zubara Fort,Qatar (Development Masterplan)
  • Jain Centre, Mumbai India (Site Development Masterplan)
  • BridgeClimb, Sydney Australia (Site Tourism Development Contractor)
  • Hermannsburg Historic Town, N.T. Australia (Site Development)

Natural Heritage Projects

  • Taronga Zoo – Coastline Precent (Design Consultants)
  • Lark Quarry. Winton (Design Consultants)
  • International Antarctic Centre, NZ (Design and Construct Contractor)