PUBLISHED November 2023
A large crowd attended our annual Kokoda Day service.
A large crowd of over 350 attended the annual Kokoda Day commemorative service at the Walkway on Friday 3 November.
Although our Patron, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia could not attend, His Excellency sent a special video address which was played to those attending, highlighting the continuing influence the defining elements of the New Guinea/Kokoda campaign (Mateship, Endurance, Courage, Sacrifice) are evident in our society today.
As well, the Premier of NSW, The Hon. Chris Minns MP also sent a video message, honoring the service and sacrifice of the Australian troops who served in the campaign, as well as the New Guinea ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ who provided exceptional support to the ground forces. The Premier’s message reflected the importance of the day’s commemoration, following last year’s declaration that 3 November would be ‘NSW Kokoda Day’.
We thank His Excellency and the Premier for their words of support. Both addresses can be viewed here.
Once again the KTMW Board welcomed special guests, including three New Guinea veterans Mr Bruce Robertson (103), Mr Reg Chard OAM (100) and Mr David Trist (aged 99).
Mr Edmund Attala MP (Member for Mt Druitt, representing the Premier of NSW), Ms Stephanie Di Pasqua, Member for Drummoyne and Ms Robyn Preston MP, Shadow Minister for Veterans were also welcomed as special guests.
We were also joined by Diplomatic Corp representatives from Great Britain, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Croatia, as well as by Defence personnel from all three forces. We also welcomed members of many RSL Sub-Branches whose ongoing support of the Walkway is appreciated.
KTMW Board Chair Ms Jennifer Collins AM welcomed those attending, followed by a Prologue by Board member Charlie Lynn OAM OL, who gave an emotional tribute to Papua New Guinea natives who bravely assisted Australian troops throughout the gruelling six month campaign, and beyond.
Those attending saw the traditional raising of the Australian and Papuan New Guinea flags, followed by the laying of many wreaths at the Memorial Centrepiece and surrounding Walkway Stations, the Ode, Last Post and Rouse. Guests were provided with light refreshments courtesy of the Bankstown RSL Sub-Branch.
The Board was again pleased to welcome many long-standing supporters: the North Strathfield Public School Choir (their rendition of the PNG national anthem is here), 1MP Battalion for the Catafalque Party and flag-raising members, Burwood RSL Pipes and Drums, Corrective Services NSW Band, Concord West Rhodes Pre-School students and teachers for the Welcome to Country, the Rev. David Anthonisz, Communities for Communities volunteers, John Gatfield OAM (our MC) plus our own wonderful Walkway volunteers.
Feedback from the day was very positive, especially for the setup of the Walkway, which had been planted with over 2,000 poppies by volunteer groups leading up to Kokoda Day.
We thank all those attending this important commemorative event, and we hope to see you soon at the Walkway.
Lest We Forget.