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…]

COMING SOON: Kokoda Trail Track Analysis


The Kokoda Trail will be divided into sections between Owers Corner and Kokoda. Trek operators will be invited to ‘adopt’ a section each and provide a detailed report covering condition of the track, likely erosion problems, drainage solutions, campsite locations, placement of toilets, helipads, airfields, creek crossings, VHF radio blind spots, strength of digicell signals and any track safety issues.

The sections will be allocated according to the route each trek operator uses.

Information will be provided free of charge to the PNG Kokoda Track Authority and will be updated on a regular basis.

Consultants who do not have an intimate knowledge of the various tracks that make up the Kokoda Trail will not be used.

COMING SOON: Kokoda Trail Social Mapping Study


The Kokoda Trail Social Mapping Study will be seek to identify all clans between Owers Corner and Kokoda and the relationships between the varios clans. The study will also seek to identify landowners of each battlesite, significant feature, campsite, creek crossing, swamp area, lookout, waterfall, hunting track and mountain range.

The results of the study will be provided at no cost to the Australian Government. It will be conducted by trek operators with up to 18 years experience on the Kokoda Trail.  A number of the trek leaders involved in the study have lived in PNG for long periods, are fluent in Tok Pisin, have a deep appreciation of the military significance of the Kokoda campaign and are familiar with the Kokoda Trail and the Koiari and Orokaiva villagers who live along it. 

Paid consultants not familiar with the Kokoda Trail, Melanesian culture and language or military history will not be involved in this study.

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…]

KTA Response to ‘Kokoda: World Heritage or Military Heritage’

My name is Rod Hillman and I am the current Chief Executive of the Kokoda Track Authority and feel it appropriate for me to say a few things.

1. I respect Charlie Lynn as a leader and for the work he has done both on the Kokoda Track and with his company Adventure Kokoda. I have met with Charlie and some of his tour leaders and believe we have a mutual respect. He has put together a strong and qualified team and whilst we don’t always agree we do talk and discuss issues surrounding the Kokoda Track. [Read more…]

The Kokoda Trail Villager

First impressions of Koiari and Orokaiva villages along the Kokoda Trail give little hint of the complex relationships that exist within. The simple life of building, gardening, cooking, nurturing, teaching and healing is underpinned by the complexities of clan relationships and the influence of missionary pastors, traditional lululais’ and  sorcerers.

Elders maintain their distance and examine trekkers with furrowed brows and quiet curiosity as they arrive, collapse, rest, hand out a few balloons, ask a few shallow questions, shake hands, and wave goodbye.  Most elders speak Motu, some speak Tok Pisin, but their English is often poor or non-existent.  This limits their communication to friendly smiles and a wave of the hand.  But mostly they just look. [Read more…]

Charlie’s ‘angel’s Survive K-Trail

Article in PNG Post Courier by Barney Orere

Port Moresby Grammar School grade 12 students, Alfreda Nakue and Margaret Aitsi, have a different view of the Kokoda Trail from what history teaches them. Having walked the track recently, both girls say their real life experience of the track has given history a different dimension where they can relate more meaningfully. [Read more…]

Kokoda CEO Quits – Cites Intimidation

The news that the interim Executive Officer of the PNG Kokoda Track Authority, Annette Dean, quit her job and returned home to Tasmania is no surprise. She cited death threats, corruption and daily demands for money as the normal challenges she faced in her job. She needed a security escort to get from the carpark to her office in Boroko each day.

Annette’s credentials for the job were never in question but whoever made the decision that a white woman could work effectively in the KTA office environment in Boroko was naive in the extreme. They certainly did not listen to her predecessor, Warren Bartlett. [Read more…]

Field Marshall Sir Thomas Blamey: Australia’s most promoted but least appreciated soldier

An address to the United Services Institute by Major-General Gordon Maitland AO OBE RFD ED (Retd) 

The United Services Institiute presents the Blamey Oration biannually in conjunction with the Field Marshall Sir Thomas Blamey Memorial Fund. The oration perpetuates the memory of Sir Thomas Blamey, Australia’s highest ranking serviceman and, arguably, its greatest soldier. In this oration, which marks the 54th anniversary of the death of the Field Marshall on 27 May 1951, General Maitland reviews several controversial relationships and events in Blamey’s career and, in seeking to set the record straight, presents new evidence from his own research on the Kokoda campaign. [Read more…]