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Welcome to Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway

The Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway is a living memorial and a principal site of commemoration honouring all those who fought for Australia during World War II. A principal focus is on the sacrifices made during key Papua New Guinea battles which took place in 1942-43 along the Kokoda Track, at Milne Bay on the south-eastern tip of Papua, and at Buna, Gona, and Sanananda on the northern coastline.

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.


ANZAC SERVICE 2016

ANZAC DAY SERVICE Friday 22nd April 2016 The theme for this years service focused on the important role played by Australian military medical & nursing services.

The paradox of war is that armies whilst trying to kill each other have their medical staff at work in the fields relieving pain, combating diseases, healing wounds & reconstructing damaged bodies & minds for both sides.

The Anzac Requiem was presented by former NSW Governor Hon. Dame Marie Bashir, who being a medical professor, stressed the benefits of professional military services.

Colonel Bronwyn Wheeler, Colonel Health Headquarters Forces Command provided the ANZAC address & outlined the role by Australian medical personnel, especially since the Korean & Vietnam wars & currently in remote regions such as Iraq & Afghanistan. Her full address

address1As usual MC John Gatfield directed the service with dignity & aplomb. Firstly introducing Walkway Chair John Haines who welcomed guests; Concord General Manager Dr. Tim Sinclair who read a scripture passage; RSL National President Rear Admiral Ken Doolan RAN (retd) who delivered the ode; Chaplains Rev Paul Weaver & Fr. Graeme Malone, who delivered prayers; NSW Corrective Services Band with their musical & song arrangements.

Mayor Angelo Tsirekas thanked those already mentioned along with diplomats Scott Strain, Consul Gt Britain; Kristine Knapp & husband C.G. USA; Sumasy Singin C.G . PNG; Mrs Elif Kutlus Turkey & Caicos Oreopoloulos Greece.

He also noted the presence of Daryl McGuire MP representing Minister for Veteran Affairs, Craig Laundy MP Reid, Jodie McKay MP Strathfield, John Sidoti MP Drummoyne & the Catafalque Party from 29th Operational Support Battalion Mounts.

A highlight of the service was a screening of the changing nature & reflections of military medical techniques over the years along with a dressage of patient & nursing used in WW11.

Finally it was noted that Anzac Day 2016 marks the centenary of the Battle of Fromelles, when over 5,500 Australians became casualties, 2000 were killed & 400 captured. Australia's greatest war loss in one day.

John Murray
9th May 2016

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ANZAC DAY 2016

CONCORD

Colonel Bronwyn Wheeler, Colonel Health Headquarters Forces Command

addressProfessor, The Honorable Dame Marie Bashir, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is always an honor to be here at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway at this time of the year as we pay our respects and remember those who have sacrificed so much for us to have what we cherish today.

When I learnt that the topic was Military Medicine – Fighting to Save lives, I thought to myself that there was a challenge as so often speeches are about the men (and women) who served on so many war fronts and what they achieved and sacrificed, that this would be something different. [continued]

 


The Centenary of ANZAC and the GREAT WAR

July to November 1916
To take pressure off the hard-pressed French at Verdun, British and French forces launched a massive offensive on July 1st 1916 against German lines in the Valley of the Somme, located  in the Picardy Department in France.

On the first day, the British Army alone suffered 57,470 casualties. By the end of the Somme campaign in November 1916, British and Empire losses amounted to 420,000, while French losses added another 200,000 to the joint allied toll. The German army is believed to have suffered around 500,000 casualties.

As a diversionary operation, British and Australian forces launched an attack on the German lines some 80km to the north of the Somme in the neighbouring Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. Around 6pm on Wednesday 19 July 1916, on a clear summer's day, the 5th Australian Division attacked  the heavily entrenched German front line near the small village of Fromelles. The ill-fated attack became the worst 24 hours in Australian military history. The Australians suffered 5,533 casualties in one night. The Australian toll at Fromelles was equivalent to the total Australian casualties in the Boer War, Korean War and Vietnam War put together.

In mid July 1916, the 1st, 2nd and 4th Australian Divisions were thrown into battle at Pozières, a small village in the Somme valley. When the Somme Campaign was abandoned in November 1916, 23,000 Australians of 1 Anzac Corps had been killed or wounded for a two mile gain in territory. One small military objective, the heavily fortified Mouquet farm was, during seven separate attacks by the AIF, both occupied and lost at various times. In all, it eventually took seven Australian, British and Canadian divisions to capture the small farm at a cost of 18,200 casualties, attended by a one mile advance into German held territory -such were the horrific tallies of battles fought 100 years ago during the Great War.

Some Interesting Facts:

  • Mouquet Farm is still operated by the same French family as it was prior to the battle 100 years ago.
  • The name "Somme" comes from an old Celtic word meaning, of all things,  “tranquility”.
  • There is a Queensland town called Pozieres, plus a number of streets and parks throughout Australia.
  • Four thousand Australian soldiers were posted missing at Pozières; few of their bodies have ever been recovered, largely due to the obliterating effects of heavy shell fire.
  • In 2002 the remains of 250 Australian and British soldiers were discovered in mass graves at Fromelles, with 203 of the dead being identified as Australians.
  • Official War Correspondent, Charles Bean, who covered the Pozières offensive, died at the Concord Repatriation Hospital on August 30, 1968.
  • In 2004, the last Australian Pozières veteran, Marcel Caux,  passed away aged 105.
  • The most recent known casualty of the First World War is 33 year old Maité Roël of Belgium, whose leg was blown off by a First War bomb at Wetteren. In 1992, as a child,  she was playing with what she thought was a log. She even holds a First World War veteran's card – "mutilée dans la guerre". To this day, fragments of munitions and bone are still found in the fields of France and Belgium.