Today the only physical evidence of this brutal conflict is decaying
plane wreckages and slowly caving bunkers that were once home to
Keeping this important part of history alive is the healthy flow
trekkers that brave the mountains that reach though clouds, treacherous
tree roots and ever-present monsoonal rains.
From 11-21 August, five members of the Australian Defence Force
Diving School retraced the battle fields of Papua New Guinea, embarking
on a pilgrimage that saw them cover 156 kilometres along the Kokoda
Trail, culminating at the village of Kokoda.
The primary reason for this pilgrimage was to support Rare Cancers
Australia in their efforts to raise much-needed funds to continue
supporting victims of rare cancers and raise awareness of these
One of the Navy trekkers, Chief Petty Officer Cameron Schmid, said he
was motivated to do the fundraiser after losing his father, grandmother
and grandfather to various forms of rare cancers.
“So far, we’ve raised more than $20,000 and donations are still coming in,” Chief Petty Officer Schmid said following the trek.
“It was a great achievement by everyone and we also appreciated the
opportunity to engage with cancer survivors through our participation
with Rare Cancers Australia.
“The trek was actually even harder than I thought it would be, and there was definitely a sense of satisfaction at the end.
“It was nice to be able to share the experience with other trekkers
as we all gained a better understanding of what our Aussie diggers and
their Papua New Guinean comrades did during the Second World War,” Chief
Petty Officer Schmid said.
Able Seaman Josh Lee also had personal motivation for doing the fundraising trek.
“Doing the Kokoda Trek was something I’d always wanted to do, but on a more personal level, I wanted to help out.
“I recently lost my grandfather to cancer, so this was a mixture of
being able to help raise money for the cause and also ticking an item
off my bucket list.
“It was really good to be able to achieve the trek with my colleagues
and we had a lot of support with the fundraising,” Able Seaman Lee
This experience was also very special for Able Seaman Steve Palu, who
on the 77th anniversary of the conflict was the first returning member
of his family to visit the final resting place of his great great uncle,
Gunner Benjamin Walter Webb.
Gunner Webb was killed in action on 23 October 1942 at Eora Creek, and was finally buried at Bomana War Cemetery.
Original source: http://news.navy.gov.au/en/Aug2019/People/5419/Divers-retrace-steps-of-Aussie-diggers-at-Kokoda.htm?fbclid=IwAR3ud-fyv5sfkr_45F8DFCUpFCU3MxPQlrh1_jS7yVbFXbrVo7Pgay8J7hs#.XW3sB3tS9Ea