A living memorial
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.
VP Day Service marked the 75th Anniversary of end of WWII
The Victory in the Pacific (VP) Day service on 15 August 2020 commemorated the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. This important milestone was observed with strict COVID – 19 safety guidelines in place. Restrictions placed on the number of attendees at gatherings meant that the service could only accommodate 25 guests instead of the usual 600 at such services. We were delighted to have two WWII veterans represented at the service.
Reg Chard of the 55/53 Battalion and Lloyd Birdsall who was a Signalman attached to the 14th Field Regiment both served in New Guinea and have been long term volunteer guides for the Memorial’s schools education program. Both men now aged 96, paused to remember fallen mates and laid wreaths on behalf of all WWII veterans who were unable to join in the service. Wreaths were also laid by Local, State and Federal Members of Parliament.
The 2020 VP Day address was delivered by Emeritus Professor Robert Lusby AM, Retired Colonel and Chair of the National Centre for Veterans’ Healthcare at Concord Repatriation General Hospital. Dr Fiona Martin, Member for Reid led all present in prayer. At the conclusion of the service, both Reg and Lloyd were presented with a beautiful handmade quilt each lovingly made by the RSL women’s auxiliary.
We received wonderful news from the Federal Member for Reid, Dr Fiona Martin MP, that the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway has been successful in its application for DVA grant for 2019/20 period. This means that, subject to any ongoing coronavirus restrictions, commemorative services will continue to be held as always for ANZAC Day, VP Day (15 August) and Kokoda Day (3 November), maintenance of the Walkway is assured, and visits by thousands of school pupils will be conducted. KTMW chair Jennifer Collins said the board is “absolutely delighted” and will work with State and Federal Governments to gain national memorial status for the Walkway.