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…]

A letter from Sam Halvorsen – with respect

Sam Halvorsen, trekked Kokoda with us a few years ago – he has a great respect for our military history. His letter relates to our three commandos’ who were recently killed in Afghanistan.

One of the commando’s who accompanied the bodies home on the RAAF Hercules is the son of one of my army mates – he is just 24 years of age and has just completed his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. He has trekked Kokoda twice with us over the past couple of years – those who were fortunate enough to share the experience with him will agree you will never meet a finer young Australian.  He was in the helicopter behind the one that went down on that fateful night.  It was their last operation against the Taliban  – they were three minues from their home base – and only three weks from their loved ones back home.  It was incredibly traumatic for those in the second helicopter who tried their best to save their mates as they are such a close knit professional team.  Next time you hear some chicken-heart bleating about our troops in Afghanistan you might refer them to Sam’s letter below: [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…]

5 deaths too many on Kokoda . . .

Five Australians have now died on the Kokoda Trail in recent years. Many more have been evacuated because they were not physically capable of completing the arduous and hazardous trek across the Owen Stanley Ranges in Papua New Guinea.

We do not the cause of death of those who died. We do not know how many have been evacuated, or why, because nobody keeps any records. [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…]

Kokoda: Response & Recommendations

A post by Charlie Lynn:

I appreciate the work that has been done along the Kokoda Trail in regard to providing educational and health support for villagers. Whilst nobody can argue about meeting these important needs I have serious reservations about the process used in determining who should be responsible for the work; the priorities/partnerships associated with it; and the ongoing lack of effective management for trekking operations across the Kokoda Trail. [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…]

Kokoda: World Heritage or Military Heritage?

Kokoda is a powerful word. According to the Orokaiva ‘koko’ means place of skulls – ‘da’ is village. The combination of syllables conjures up thoughts of ‘ adventure’ – mystery – danger’  in the minds of sedentary beings.

And no wonder.  Orokaiva warriors fearlessly resisted incursions into the Yodda valley when gold was discovered in the late 19th Century.  Many early explorers and missionaries ended up in village cooking pots as they were stalked in the remote jungle-clad mountain ranges. [Read more…]

Kokoda Mateship Trek 2009

From Scot Morrison’s Blog – Federal Member for Cook

Australians all let us rejoice for we are young and free. These words have never meant more to me than when walking the Kokoda Trail, with my parliamentary colleagues, Labor MP Jason Clare and trek leader Charlie Lynn MLC, as part of our 2009 Kokoda Mateship Trek. [Read more…]