Robyn's Story

​Each day brought new challenges – the first, a long walk over tough terrain to reach the Isurava battlesite – a timely reminder as we finished ANZAC day reflecting on the four words carved into the pillars: Courage, Endurance, Mateship, Sacrifice. Words that forged the legend of Kokoda – a legend that urged us, challenging our minds to continue through the tough days, regardless of how we were felt.  
 
The track conditions made the expeditions more of a challenge for the team, with each step more difficult as we made our way through the mud covered terrain, experiencing continual slips and trips as we made our way to each village.  The aches and tiredness soon forgotten as we spent time together, without the interruptions of the modern world.  There’s nothing more magical than sitting beside a creek, enjoying the scenery, eating a bowl of popcorn, having a chat between friends, and learning PNG culture from the local porter team.
 
As the going got tougher, we reached the porters home town of Kagi, where we were greeted by a large number of villagers who welcomed us with a song.  We were also honoured to meet Havala, the last Fuzzy Wuzzy from the Kokoda campaign.  Everyone was inspired by this meeting and it helped to give us strength to continue on our journey. Our visit also gave us the opportunity to deliver the first of the Kokoda Track Student packs to the teachers from Kavovo, containing much needed school supplies for the children in the region. It was inspiring to be able to give back to those who helped us so long before.
 
Our Sabbath Day at Menari allowed the the group experience village life, attended church with the porters, wash some mud soaked clothes and have a well earned rest.  We met a group of QLD Rangers who were working on a project by Kokoda Initiative to complete track maintenance and education for the locals, providing a dry walkway for us to continue a short section of the track.  A welcome reprieve before we continued on through the mud soaked vortex of the swamp and onto the false peaks of Maguli.
 
The ANZAC spirit exists in each of us, and we were guided by that spirit as we made our way over the Kokoda Track  With mud covered boots, impressive bruises, torn clothing, and pants held up by a policeman’s belt (best K17 ever spent), we finally reached Owers Corner for a well earned feed and celebratory SP lager.  We finished with a trip to Bomana to lay poppies beside the graves of those who had made the ultimate sacrifice, before heading to the Holiday Inn for a clean up, and a farewell dinner with the porters.
 
Everyone takes something away from their Kokoda experience. Our group thought often of the challenges faced by those who fought during the Kokoda campaign, and formed a new level of respect for those who had fought for our freedom. As we honoured the sacrifices that they made, we formed a better understanding of the true meaning of the ANZAC legend.  Courage, endurance, mateship, sacrifice – forever etched

APR 2017