Welcome to Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway
The Walkway covers more than 800 metres from Rhodes Station to Concord Hospital in Sydney's inner-west, and runs along the mangrove-studded shores of Brays Bay on the Parramatta River.
At the centrepiece are magnificent granite walls bearing photographic images of the Kokoda campaign. There are 22 audio-visual stations along the Walkway, each describing a significant place or military engagement. The Walkway has been planted with lush tropical vegetation simulating the conditions of The Kokoda Track.
Kokoda Day Commemoration 2016
On November 3rd, 2016, the Walkway commemorated the 74th anniversary of the raising of the Australian flag at Kokoda village. This event marked the successful advance by the Australian Army back across the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges to the Northern New Guinea coastal plain. Those attending the commemoration were also aware that the following month would represent 75 years since the beginning of war with the Empire of Japan, following sudden attacks on Pearl Harbour and other US, British, and Dutch bases.
The official welcome was given by Mr John Haines AM, Chairman of the Walkway and NSW State President of the RSL. The Walkway was fortunate in having a Catafalque Party provided by the 4th/3rd Battalion - Royal NSW Regiment. Prayers were lead by the Reverend Paul Weaver, Anglican Chaplain of Concord Hospital. The following month Paul retired from the chaplaincy, after some 14 years of valued service to the Hospital and this Walkway. The Walkway Board wishes him well in retirement.
Music, an all important contribution to a fitting commemoration, was once again provided by the NSW Corrective Services Band, and solo tenor Kent Maddock sung Sir Hubert Parry's beautiful old hymn, "Jerusalem", as well as the "Lord's Prayer".
A video compilation, in the form of a Kokoda Day Reflection, was projected onto a large screen. This audio-visual presentation traced the course of the Pacific War from the initial Japanese attacks in December 1941 through to the re-taking of Kokoda village and the historic flag raising which occurred on November 3rd, 1942.
The 2016 Kokoda Day Address was delivered by Professor, the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO. Professor Bashir noted that the year 1942 was critical in the history of modern Australia. Having been thwarted at the Battle of the Coral Sea in their plan for a seaborne assault on Port Moresby, the Japanese, Professor Bashir said, opted for an overland route along the rugged Kokoda Track. It was, as the Professor emphasised, some of the worst terrain of the Pacific War in which to fight a battle. A full audio file of Professor Bashir's address can be accessed from this page.
The Australian Flag Raising was undertaken by Mr Ray Gentles, a New Guinea war veteran who served with the 55/53rd Battalion. Mr Michael Ali OAM, raised the Papua New Guinea flag in honour of all those from our neighbouring country who supported the Australians and gave such splendid assistance to the wounded.
Mr Ray James, State Councillor, RSL NSW, recited the Ode, and towards the conclusion of the commemoration, Board member, Brigadier Phil McNamara CSC ESM OAM, thanked all those in attendance and those who contributed to make the day a fitting tribute to those remarkable Australian servicemen who turned the tide of battle at such a critical time for our country.
John K Wright PSM
(Director, Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway)
To hear the 2016 Kokoda Day Address - Professor, the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, please click the play button below.
The Centenary of ANZAC and the GREAT WAR
January to June 1917
Battle of Rafa
The Battle of Rafa, fought on 9 January 1917, was the third and final battle to complete the recapture of the Sinai Peninsula by British forces during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War. Australian and New Zealand mounted troops played an important role in the successful operation.
Battle for Baghdad (Mesopotomia)
Australian involvement in this operation was as members of the 1st (Anzac) Wireless Signal Squadron, a unit then two-thirds Australian and one-third from New Zealand. The squadron provided twelve mobile transmitting stations throughout the force, and during the march into Baghdad those operating with the cavalry were among the first troops into the city on March 11, 1917.
First Battle of Gaza (Palestine)
At the heart of the main Turkish defensive position in southern Palestine, Gaza was the scene of three battles in 1917. During the first battle on 26–27 March, troops from the ANZAC Mounted Division entered Gaza, but as it neared nightfall and it was learned that the Turks were being reinforced they were ordered to withdraw.
First Bullecourt (France)
Poorly planned by General Gough, and without proper artillery support, the Australian component of the attack on April 11 was exposed to murderous machine-gun and artillery fire. The Australians were forced back to their own lines while tanks stood burning on the battlefield. The Australians had 3,000 men killed or wounded; many survivors remained bitter about such a futile waste.
Battle of Lagnicourt (France)
In March the Germans strategically withdrew to the Hindenburg Line with the British in pursuit. Aware of a weakness in the British lines at Lagnicourt, the Germans attacked with 23 battalions in an effort to destroy supplies and capture equipment. They were partially successful before being prematurely ejected by just four determined Australian battalions on April 15.
Second Battle Gaza (Palestine)
On 7 April a joint raid by four AFC aircraft, in company with several RFC aircraft, bombed Gaza and the Ramleh aerodrome, hitting two hangars. Second Battle of Gaza was fought between 17 and 19 April 1917 by a large British force of foot soldiers supported by mounted troops, among which were Australian and New Zealanders from the Anzac Mounted Division. Despite a concerted attack, the city of Gaza, in southern Palestine, could not be taken from its Turkish defenders, and it was not until the November that victory was eventually obtained for British Empire forces.
Second Battle of Bullecourt (France)
A renewed attempt from May 3-17 by British and Australian troops was made to secure the French fortified village of Bullecourt. AIF casualties totalled 7,482 from three Australian Divisions; all for a location that had become of scant strategic importance
North Sea Engagement
Engagement between the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and German Zeppelin LZ43 in the North Sea on 4 May 1917. It was the first time that a Royal Australian Navy vessel had been attacked by an enemy aircraft.
Battle of Messines (Belgium)
The battle of Messines fought on 7 June 1917 was the first large-scale action involving Australian troops in Belgium and it also marked the entry of the 3rd Division AIF into a major battle. Messines was an important success for the British Army leading up to the beginning of the Third Battle of Ypres several weeks later.