Adventure Kokoda Treks the spirit lives
Issue Anzac 2010 : April 2010
Adventure Kokoda Niusleta
Adventure Kookoda Treks
In this issue..
Editorial The Kokoda Trekking Industry
Kokoda Commemoration Website Kokoda Day Proclaimed
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Medallion Kokoda Trai - it's about respect!
Need for Kokoda Memorial Plan Our Kokoda Bursary Program
Port Moresby Grammar 'Bring-a-Buk' Program Doubts on Captain Sam Templeton's 'discovery
Yumi Helpim Pikinnini Program PNG Friends Foundation
Kokoda Sports Development Program Thank you from Sogeri Health Centre
The Network Kokoda Foundation Kokoda Reunion Dinner
Peter Davis - Rotary Projects Merv Haines Watering Systemg
Trek Permits Issued: 2001-2009 PNG Guest Workers should try dialling 000!
Vietnam Long Tan Trek Show us your tats!
John Scells Kokoda Tat Peter Morrison Kokoda Tat
Corinne Ross Kokoda Tat Alex Reeve Kokoda Tat
Rod Spiers Kokoda Tat Tim and Matt Redshaw Kokoda Tats
Something fishy about condom use in PNG! Join us on Facebook and Twitter
Editorial

Welcome to our ANZAC niusleta for 2010. If you would like to know a little more about some of the traditions behind our Anzac services - the Reveille, the Dawn Service, the Last Post, Service Medals, the Military Salute, etc please click here.

The 2009 Kokoda trekking season was marred by the tragic plane crash that took the lives of 9 Australians and 4 Papua New Guineans. Charlie Lynn The investigation into the cause of the aircrash has not yet been completed but it has caused airlines in PNG to review their flight procedures. When I flew out of Kokoda in January the pilot flew north to the Kumusi River then turned to climb and cross the Owen Stanley Ranges at a height of 4,ooo metres which is well above the highest peaks in the area.

The tragic deaths of four trekkers during the year was also deeply distressing for their families, their fellow trekkers and their PNG guides and we extend our sympathyto them.

Kokoda is a remote, tough and unforgiving environment. We can only hope the tragedies will remind people to prepare themselves physically for their treks, ensure they obtain a comprehensive medical clearance, and seek to minimise risk by trekking with reputable trek operators.

Kokoda continues to grow in our national consciousness. The recent launch of the Kokoda website by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the NSW Board of Studies is a welcome contribution to the historical study of the Kokoda campaign and they are to be congratulated.

Congratulations are also due to the PNG Government for proclaiming 'Kokoda Day' on the 3rd November each year. The day will be dedicated to the New Guinea Wartime Carriers - the unsung heroes of the Kokoda campaign - who continue to be ignored by our Australian Honours and Awards system.

Since one of our trekkers, Corinne Ross, showed us her tats we have had a great response from other trekkers who have enusred they will never forget their trek experience!

I hope you enjoy our first Niusleta for 2010,

Lukim yu,

Charlie
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The Kokoda Trekking Industry
When I first trekked Kokoda in 1991 the villages along the trail operated a subsistence economy. Their income was derived from the fruit and vegetables they produced and sold at markets in Kokoda and Port Moresby. I was informally advised that the combined annual income for all villages was in the region of K20,000 - K30,000 (A$10,000 - A$15,000)

During the period 2003 - 2006 the Kokoda Track Authority a (KTA) was established to manage the emerging trekking industry. One of the most significant achievement of the KTA was the co-ordination of workshops which allowed the Koiari and Orokaiva villagers along the trail to understand the opportunities for shared benefits to be accrued from the emerging industry.

Unfortunately the Board was inexperienced in corporate management and were not trained in proper governance so funds were often diverted from their original purpose.

The threat to mine part of the trail coincided with increasing numbers of trekkers and trek operators. These factors caused the Australian government to finally take some responsibility for the protection of the trail. The Australian Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) was allocated responsibility to assist the PNG Government to achieve a World Heritage Listing for the Owen Stanley Ranges including the Kokoda Trail.

To assist the new management team under the new arrangement we submitted a paper based on our experience as a trek operator. The letter can be viewed by clicking here.

Since then a further 15,131 trekkers have crossed Kokoda. This has generated K3.03 million in trek fees for the KTA, K3.6 million in campsite fees, and at least K1.5 million in sales (based on each trekker spending K100 [A$50] during their 8 - 10 days on the trail) - a financial bonanza for the villagers along the trail.

GST receipts for airfares, accommodation, food, camping gear, etc have also provided a small windfall for the Australian and PNG Governments - more than enough to upgrade the road between Sogeri and Owers Corner to an all-weather classification and upgrade village airfields at Menari, Efogi and Kokoda.

Unfortunately the increase in trekker numbers has almost been matched by the increase in consultants, committees and conferences initiated by DEWHA to find out what the pioneering trek operators already knew in most cases.

A good example was the commissioning of a 'Village Livelihoods Study' at a cost of K100,000 (A$50,000) plus. Any credible trek operator could have advised them of the opportunities for villagers to earn more money as trekkers pass through their areas. Most trekkers would gladly pay K10 to have somebody offer to wash and dry their clothes. They would pay K10 for brewed PNG coffee and a couple of scones at various locations. They would pay up to K70 for a bilum bag with the village name on it. They would pay K50 for a carved trekking pole. They will pay a fee for traditional sing-sing and/or dances. They will pay a small fee for photos. They will also pay for plates of fresh fruit with a drop of condensed milk.

It's not rocket science - small, practical initiatives such as these could have generated an additional K4.5 million over the past three years for the villagers.
All it takes is a strategy to work in conjunction with the credible trek operators and engage a couple of qualified trainers conversant in Melanesian culture and language.

A serious omission in the management process thus far has been the lack of feedback from the paying customer (the trekkers) and the custodians of the land (the villagers). After three years in-situ the new KTA has not yet sought to find out why people want to trek across the Kokoda Trail; what they thought of their experience; and what suggestions theywould like to offer to further enhance the experience. Nor have they engaged facilitators familiar with Melanesian culture and fluent in Tok Pisin/Motu to conduct workshops in Koiari and Orokaiva villages to engage them as partners in the process of meeting the needs of trekkers and their own community development.

Another priority is the establishment of a Kokoda Act to provide legislative authority for the KTA to assist in the resolution of land and clan disputes along the trail. KTA Landowner Dispute Resolution Teams should then be deployed along the trail during the trekking season.

Notwithstanding these issues the new KTA has made good progress under difficult circumstances. Meeting the demands of Canberra bureaucrats and Provincial Governments, Koiari and Kokoda Local Level Governments, and village clans is a challenge that only those involved on a daily basis could appreciate.

Trekking Kokoda and experiencing the historical, cultural, environmental and emotional aspects of the journey is one of the most rewarding challengers most of us will ever tackle. It is also rewarding to see the positive impact the trekking industry has on the social and economic development of the remote village communities along the trail.
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Kokoda Commemoration Website Launched
The Department of Veterans Affairs and the NSW Board of Studies are to be congratulated for the launch of the Kokoda Commemoration website as an educational tool for students and others interested in the history of the Kokoda campaign.www.kokoda.commemoration.gov.au

The website sets a new benchmark for the study of our military history with political, strategic, tactical and personal research distilled into historical descriptions, online video links, interactive battle-maps and outstanding illustrations.

Click here to visit the Kokoda Commemoration website.

The only negative aspect is the use of the name 'Kokoda Track'. The authors claim that 'the official name is The Kokoda Trail but this term is rarely used in Australia' is misleading. It is certainly the preferred term amongst politically correct commentators and bureaucrats however opinion in Australia is, and will continue to be, fairly evenly divided.

Given that the website has been developed as an educational tool it should refer to the official name proclaimed by the PNG Government in 1972. Respect should be an important component of our education system so we should acknowledge the right of the PNG Government to name their own geographical features.
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Kokoda Day Officially Proclaimed
The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, The Rt Hon, Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare GCL, GCMG, CH, CF, KStJ, MP has officially proclaimed 3 November as Kokoda Day. The occasion commemorates the raising of the Australian flag on the Kokoda plateau on 3 November 1942.Raising the Australian Flag at Kokoda on 3 November 1942

Kokoda Day will be dedicated to the PNG Wartime Carriers who have never been officially recognised for their wartime service.

Kokoda Day will include a re-enactment of the raising of the Australian flag on the Kokoda plateau and a day of traditiojnal dancing, sing sings and craft markets. Short treks will be organised up to Isurava, across to Abuari and back down the eastern side of the range that was defended by the 53rd Battalion.

This recognition is long overdue as the wartime carriers are the unsung heroes of the campaigns in New Guinea during the Pacific War.

Click here to see the full report on the proposal for Kokoda Day.
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Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Medallion.
Last year's announcement that the Australian Government had finally decided to issue a medal to the PNG wartime carriers was greeted with much acclaim - until we read the small print!
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Medallion
As it transpired it's not a medal - it's a commemorative medallion - and there's a big difference.

A medal is an official award under our Australian Honours and Awards system in recognition of exemplary or selfless service to nation. It can worn at official functions and is often passed down to the next generation as a symbol of family pride. A medallion is awarded to achievers in education, sport, the arts, communities, corporations, etc. as a trophy to acknowledge achievement in a given endeavour. It has no official status.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Website (click here) advises that 'the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Commemorative Medallion is a symbol of Australia’s appreciation for the care and assistance given by PNG civilians to Australian servicemen and women during World War II . . . but it is not a part of the Australian Honours and Awards System'.

So it's the medal you get when you're not getting a medal!

The announcement achieved its purpose and created a perception that the New Guinea Wartime Carriers had finally been officially recognised for the vital role they played in the war against the Japanese forces in 1942-45. Come in spinner!

If the Australian Government struck a medallion for each of the estimated 55,000 wartime carriers enlisted - by fair means and foul - to assist our troops in their battle with the Japanese it is a fair bet that around 54,988 will be unclaimed!

Why is this so?

It's because the only people eligible to claim are the wartime carriers or their wives. Most are now dead. Under the regulations applicable to the issue of the medallion the children/grandchildren of the 'fuzzy-wuzzy angels are not eligible to apply. How clever is that?

The few surviving carriers - probably less than a 100 who are now in their eighties and living in remote areas of PNG - will be excluded because they will never be able to negotiate the official claim form which could only have been designed in Canberra - for Canberra! Claim for Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Commemorative Medallion

In PNG, stories - not forms - are passed down through the generations. If we were dinkum in our endeavour to officially recognise their wartime service we would establish an agreement with the PNG Government for them to manage any compensation issues and take out a couple of full-page advertisements in the Post Courier and National newspapers calling for applications from the carriers or their direct descendents. There is no doubt that some who were ineligible for a medal would successfully apply for them - but so would the majority of those who are eligible. Such a medal would take pride of place in remote jungle huts and would become part of the story to be handed down to the next generation and beyond.

Click here to see our submission for a medal to be awarded to the wartime carriers.


As one of my old army instructors would have remarked -
'Good try Lynn . . . fail!'
.
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Kokoda Trail - it's about respect!
Debate over the correct name of the jungle road/track/trail across the Owen Stanley Range between Owers Corner and Kokoda continues to rage. There is no doubt that proponents of the various names have strong views and defend them accordingly.

The most vacuous come from those who have never served in the army and therefore have little experience of the diversity of views that 'diggers' have on anything - particularly the famed 'barrack block lawyer'!

The loudest and strongest voices emerged after former Prime Minister Keating kissed the ground on Kokoda in April 1992. This suited Keating's agenda at the time as he was driving the debate on the Republic and was keen for Australia to break the last of its ties with the United Kingdom. Unwittingly perhaps, he set off a tide of anti-American rantings over the use of the word 'trail' at such a sacred site as Kokoda -which successive Australian governments had ignored, until recently, since the end of the Pacific War in 1945.

The debate will continue amongst diggers - and amongst those who never heard the clarion call for enlistment (the army has never been able to meet its recruitment goals and had to resort to conscription during the Vietnam War - one can only wonder why many of these commentators were 'missing-in-action' during the years they were eligible for regular or reserve service!).

An insidious component has been added to the debate in recent times i.e. 'political correctness'. The Australian Government has decreed that it will be called 'Kokoda Track' in defiance of the official name of the sovereign nation of Papua Guinea who gazetted the term 'Kokoda Trail' on 12 October 1972 (Government Gazette No 88, page 1362, column 2. Notice 1972/28 of the PNG Place39th Battalion Battle Honours Names Committee refers). Talk about Big Brother in the Pacific!

What's next? Will the custodians of political correctness in Canberra demand that the battle honours awarded to the 10 infantry battalions who fought in the Kokoda campaign be changed from 'Kokoda Trail' to 'Kokoda Track'?
Our diggers have proudly marched under their respective Battle Honours for the past 67 years - and should continue to do so.

I suspect that anybody who attempted to tamper with their respective Battle Honours would be frog-marched out of their unit lines at the 'high port'!

As young soldiers we were taught to respect the laws and culture of countries we served in. The Australian government should do the same and respect the sovereign right of the PNG Government to name its own geographical features - and take note of the sign which has stood at each end of the trail - i.e. Owers Corner and Kokoda - on and off for more than 30 years:
Kokoda Trail - National Walking Track sign at Owers Corner






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Need for Kokoda Memorial Plan
The recent construction of standard buildings with shiny silver roofing at Owers Corner illustrates the need for the Department of Veterans Affairs/Office of Australian War Graves to be involved in protecting our military heritage along the Kokoda Trail.

Owers Corner is a significant site. It is here that the road ends New Admin Buildings at Owers Cornerand the pilgrimage for thousands of Australians begins. It is where our diggers manhandled massive 25-pounder guns into position to provide heavy fire support to our troops on Imita Ridge for the first time in the Kokoda campaign.

In years to come, when an all-weather road is completed, thousands more will make the journey to see where Australian diggers began their march towards the advancing Japanese army.

The site is ideal for the development of a replica 1942 army depot built from bush materials with a battery of 25-pounders in position. The buildings could be easily designed for functional use as a police post, an administrative centre, a Koiari tree house, a store/café/picnic area, a diorama that tells the story of the Kokoda campaign and a local arts and crafts area.

The area should also have an interpretative gateway that reminds trekkers of the significance of the ground they are about to trek through or depart from and a diorama to tell the story of the campaign for visitors - these are used most effectively on American civil war battlefields.

The recent buildings and structures at Owers Corner are akin to desecration of the site. They have obviously been built without consulting veterans’ organisations or trekkers. The buildings are straight off a standard Department of Works plan and the giant iron structure that purports to be a gateway is totally out of character with the surrounding environment.

Trekkers and visitors travel to Owers Corner because of the military significance of the site. If the site was planned to reflect the military and cultural heritage of the area it would generate economic activity that would maximise benefits for the local communities.

The historical significance and economic potential of the Owers Corner site deserves better.

In the current budget $10 million was allocated to the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop an interpretative trail in France and Belgium as part of our preparations for the centenary commemoration of our landing on Gallipoli in 2015. The government is to be commended for the initiative for what will be our World War 1 interpretative trail.

Kokoda is our World War 11 interpretative trail but responsibility for it currently rests with the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA). A review of the media releases issued by the Minister, The Hon Peter Garrett, indicates that Kokoda is not a priority of DEWHA. Of the 695 media releases issued by the Minister over the past three years only 7 refer to Kokoda.

A Joint Understanding covering ‘both the sustainable development of communities along the Kokoda Track corridor, and protection and sustainable use of the natural and cultural resources of the broader Owen Stanley Ranges region’ was signed on 23 April 2008. The document does not contain any references to the military significance of the Kokoda Trail. The words ‘Kokoda campaign' - 'military history' – 'memorials' – 'battlesites' – etc’ do not rate a single mention in the entire document. I regard this as a serious omission.

Kokoda is a national shrine.
The trail between Owers Corner and Kokoda contains battlesites sacred to our military heritage. The expertise gained by the Department of Veterans Affairs/Office of Australian War Graves in the development and management of the interpretive trail in France and Belgium should be applied to Kokoda.

The Department of Veterans Affairs/Office of Australian War Graves should establish a close partnership with the Department of Environment, Heritage and the Arts who administer the Act that has Kokoda listed as an Overseas Area of Special Significance. The Department of Environment, Heritage and the Arts s also responsible for the broader long-term goal of working with the Government of PNG to achieve a World Heritage listing.

The Department of Veterans Affairs/Office of Australian War Graves should also work in partnership with PNG Tourism to develop models for visits and treks to other significant military historical sites throughout PNG.
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Doubts on Captain Sam Templeton's 'discovery'!
Students of the Kokoda campaign and trekkers who cross the Kokoda Trail are all aware of Captain Sam Templeton. Sam was such a strong leader that many often wonder 'what if' he hadn't been killed or captured forward of Kokoda on 26 July 1942?' Captain Sam Templeton

Captain Sam Templeton was revered amongst the young militia men of the 39th Battalion because he was a veteran of World War 1 and was a 'father' figure in the battalion. He was seen as a fearless inspiration to the youngsters who were about to face the ultimate test of their manhood against a fanatical enemy regarded as invincible after their victories in China, Pearl Harbour, the Philippines, Malaya, Singapore and the Dutch East Indes.

He was affectionately known as 'Uncle Sam' because of his age, experience and quiet demeanor.

Sam was taken by the Japanese on 26 July 1942. Three days later the Japanese captured Kokoda and the young militiamen of the 39th, who lost their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Owen in the first battle were a bit of a rabble as they scrambled higher up the mountain towards Deniki . They had lost their 'father' and their 'uncle' during their first contact with the Japanese and it wasn't until another 'father' figure in the form of Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Honner arrived to take command and stabilise the situation at Isurava before they settled.

Sam Templeton's presence would not have prevented the Japanese advance to Kokoda and beyond at that stage of the campaign but he certainly would have provided reassurance to his young troops during their initiation to jungle warfare.

The incident that led to Sam's death or capture was the subject of two thorough army investigations soon after the war. Although Sam's body was never recovered they concluded that he was probably captured and eventually executed after he had been interrogated.

Recent reports that the principal of a Kokoda trekking company, Wayne Wetherall of Kokoda Spirit, 'recently unlocked the 68 year old mystery of the disappearance of Captain Sam Templeton' is not supported by any evidence other than a spurious claim by a 90-year old Japanese veteran who first claimed that he buried Sam Templeton and later changed his story to claim that he actually killed him. He does not explain how he could have done this when official records indicate that he did not arrive in the area Captain Templeton was reportedly killed until eight days later.

Click here to review the factors surrounding the disappearance of Captain Sam Templeton and the suspect claim that the 'mystery of his disappearance has now been solved.
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Our Kokoda Bursary Program
Our Kokoda Bursary Program at the Port Moresby Grammar School is based on need. The school identifies students who have potential but are unable to pay the fees required to continue their studies. The Deputy Principal, Michael Luff, advises us of the need and we contact our trekkers to see if they are able to assist. We currently have the the following bursaries operating at the school this year:

. Adventure Kokoda Bursary - two students
. The National RSL Trust Kokoda Bursary - two students
. Keddies Solicitors Kokoda Bursary
. Nicole Smith Memorial Kokoda Bursary
. Graeme Galt Memorial Kokoda Bursary
. Sue Hoopmann-Kerry Chikarovski Kokoda Bursary

Jill and Charlie Lynn recently flew to Port Moresby for the Margaret Aitsi, Jill and Charlie Lynn, Alfredah Nakuegraduation of two Kokoda Bursary recipients, Alfredah Nakue who we have sponsored for the past two years at Port Moresby Grammar and Margaret Aitsi who we are now sponsoring at the Divine Word Univiersity in Madang.

Margaret Aitsi is the youngest of a large family in Port Moresby. Her father died earlier in the year and her mother sold the family car so Margaret could finish her schooling. Margaret applied herself to her studies and was awarded the Chairman's prize in addition to a number of other academic awards. Her marks placed her in the top five per cent in Papua New Guinea.

Adventure Kokoda have agreed to sponsor Margaret's university studies and she is now studying commerce at the Divine Word University in Madang. We provided her with a laptop computer, an internet connection and a monthly allowance.

You can become friends with Margaret on Facebook by clicking here

Alfredah Nakue from New Ireland has been sponsored by Adventure Kokoda for the past two years. Alfredah has been employed by Sogeri Lodge and Adventure Kokoda to gain practical experience in the hospitality/trekking industry in Port Moresby. She plans to study Tourism at Port Moresby TAFE
Charlie Lynn, Alfreda Nakue and Margaret Aitsi at Isurava
Adventure Kokoda sponsored Margaret and Alfredah on a Mateship Trek organised by the Federal Members for Cook and Blaxland, Scott Morrison MP and Jason Clare MP. The trek comprised young leaders from Cronulla surf clubs and the Bankstown Lebanese community. Margaret and Alfredah were embraced by the group and their singing during some of the rougher sections of the trek will never be forgotten. They were truly 'black angels'.

We brought them to Sydney after their graduation for a very happy reunion with their new mates from Cronulla and Bankstown. Scott and Jason kindly sponsored a luncheon for them in the Members Dining Room at our 'bikpela haus' in Canberra. Brett Mason hosted a visit to the Channel 10 studios. The Bankstown girls took them on a shopping spree, the Cronulla team took the surfing and golfing, they were hosted at the Punchbowl Boys High School and it all culminated with a reunion at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway at Concord - an action packed and memorable visit for our 'black angels'.

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Port Moresby Grammar 'Bring-a-Buk' Program
Our 'Bring a Buk' Campaign has been successful due to the support we have received from our trekkers. Following is a letter of thanks received from Mr Don Daniels, Chairman and Founder of the Port Moresby Grammar School:

Good morning Mr Lynn,Port Moresby Grammar School Library

Years ago, we first met in the dining room of the Parliament of New South Wales when you invited Dame Carol Kidu and myself to a dinner. The occasion then was about assisting Papua New Guinea students, especially those from villages along the Kokoda track.

Little did I know then, how much Port Moresby Grammar School is now in your debt for the support you have given the school.

Among other things, this support consists of:

** four Adventure Kokoda bursaries
** your kindness in sponsoring Margaret Aitsi and Alfredah Nakue on the trip of a lifetime to Australia
** over 2500 books received for the library and classrooms
** a plethora of stationery supplies
** medical equipment and supplies
** a wide variety of sports gear
** K3500 in cash for special needs aspects in the school
** Exposure of our students to wonderful ordinary Australians who come to PNG....and reciprocally for Aussie's to see and bond with Papua New Guinean's within the school environment.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the School, please accept our sincere and grateful thanks for that you have done and we hope this special bond between POM Grammar and Kokoda will continue and strengthen.

Sincerely,
DONALD DANIELS MBE
Chairman and Founder
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PNG Friends Foundation
The Friends FoundationTessie Soi PNG Friends Foundation

Tessie Soi was one of the first AIDS activists in Papua New Guinea. As the senior social worker at Port Moresby’s General Hospital, Tessie saw a need for ongoing support for children orphaned by AIDS. She established the Friends Foundation, and runs groups supporting orphans and their adoptive families. Says Tessie, “If we don’t do anything about orphans of HIV/AIDS, this is going to be our next lot of rascals in Papua New Guinea.”

Tessie also collects unclaimed babies from the morgue at the Port Moresby General Hospital, wraps them in white linen, places fresh flowers in their coffin, and gives them a Christian burial.

After meeting Tessie in Port Moresby, Charlie Lynn pledged that Adventure Kokoda would donate two computers to assist her to manage her programs and a small portion of the monies paid by trekkers. Over the past 12 months Adventure Kokoda has donated $4,000 (PNGK 8,000) to the Friends Foundation to assist Tessie in her charitable work.

We received the following Thank You from Tessie at the end of the trekking season last year:

Dear Charlie,

I thank you all for the tremendous assistance you have given me this year. It always came at a time we were scratching to have our weekly support group therapy sessions and needed to get milk or just to buy food stuff for some children. Bless your hearts for this.

For the tragedies that marred your trekking this year, every time I read it my heart went out to you and your team for the great pain and prayed that our dear Lord would comfort you all. I know he has a plan for all of us and although we may suffer today, we will rejoice tomorrow as the scriptures say.

Charlie, it is true that a lot of us do take things for granted as I keep reminding my children that we are blessed as we come from a family that is close knit and we turn to each other when we are feeling down as there are 7 of us in my family. I am happy to hear about the two young students having a great time down under.

Thanks a Million for just being you.

God Bless.
Tessie and the team from Friends Foundation Inc, PNG.


You can view a photo essay on Tessie Soi's Friends Foundation by clicking here.
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Yumi Helpim Pikinnini Program
Last year we introduced a 'Yumi Helpim Pikinnini' program to assist village schools with educational supplies.
Presentation of Village School Supplies
Our trekkers are provided with a recommended list of educational and sporting supplies and invited to bring one or two items with them to PNG - in addition to the book they bring for the Port Moresby Grammar School library.

Each of our trek groups are then allocated a village to present their supplies to. This has proved to be a very popular initiative for village students and teachers.

last year we delivered 30 full backpacks of educational and sporting supplies along the trail on behalf of our trekkers.
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Buk bilong Pikinnini Program
Buk bilong Pikinnini and its subsidiary, Kai kai bilong Pikinnini, is an independent registered charity based in PortAnne Sophie-Hermann opening the first Buk Bilong Pikinnini library
Moresby . The purpose of Buk bilong Pikinnini is to focus on early learning through the introduction of small libraries
in children’s hospital wards, and other places of need.

The first Buk bilong Pikinnini library opened at Port Moresby General Hospital in April 2008 providing new and pre-loved books, as well as a librarian to read to the children during their stay in hospital. A second library was opened at a school for hearing impaired children at the Red Cross Special Education and Resource Centre in Hohola in September 2008. A third library was opened at the Lawes Road Clinic in Port Moresby's suburb, Konedobu in June 2009. Our goal is to continue to open more libraries as funds and books be- come available.

Kai kai bilong Pikinnini is a subsidiary of the Buk bilong Pikinnini charity organization which was set up in response to the acute shortage of milk and food supplies in the children’s tuberculosis, HIV and malnutrition ward of the Port Moresby General Hospital. Kai kai bilong Pikinnini, in collaboration with the Port Moresby General Hospital, aims to ensure a sustainable supply of milk and food and co-ordinate nutritional education specifically to the children who are resident in the tuberculosis, HIV and Malnutrition ward at Port Moresby General Hospital.

Buk bilong Pikinnini was set up by Mrs Anne-Sophie Hermann, the wife of the Australian High Commissioner, his Excellency Mr Chris Moraitis, and Mrs Anna Mukerjee. Buk bilong Pikinnini has since grown exponentially and now has a full committee currently attended by about 14 members. The organization holds bi-monthly meetings with some committee members working full time on the creation of libraries.

On 23 February 2010 we received the following Thank You email from Buk bilong Pikinnini:

Dear Charlie & Warren,

Thank you very much for your on going support to Buk bilong Pikinnini. So far we received more than K 9000 from your organization since 2008. Please pass it on to your trekkers. BIG THANK YOU.

Charlie, thank you so much for writing about us in your newsletter. This is a big help in conveying the message about literacy problem in PNG.

Warren, It was really nice to speak with you last time on the phone. I spoke to the other ladies and we really want to visit you sometime at your convenience. Please let us know the best time for you. We like to know the people who are helping Buk bilong Pikinnini. We are planning to take some pictures for our next newsletter. If we can meet you there and Charlie, that would be fantastic.

Please let us know when you are in town. It will be a pleasure for us to take you around to visit the library.

Warm regards,

Ririn

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Kokoda Sports Development Program.
Late last year all trek operators were approached by the Kokoda Track Authority to support a Koiari/Orokaiva rugby squad to train with the Gold Coast Titans. Adventure Kokoda was the only trek operator to respond with a donation of $1,750 Kokoda Track Authority Logo(PNGK3,500). This was matched by Warren Bartlett from the Sogeri Lodge.

We received the following Thank You from James Enage, Chairman of the Kokoda Track Authority:
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Dear Charlie,

I wish to thank you, your lovely wife and the Adventure Kokoda Management for financially supporting the Kokoda Track Sports Development Program within this year, 2009.

I had acknowledged your contribution to this very special project in various appropriate forums and have informed the boys and people along the Kokoda Track about your support.

In relation to the outcome of the Program, preparations are now underway by four (4) Local Rugby League Clubs in Queensland who are keen to engage few boys from the Kokoda Track to play in the local Queensland Rugby League Competition next year, 2010. Hopefully, the various Rugby Club offers (Work, Match payments, Accommodation) for the boys should be made available towards the end of January and I will make the announcements in the middle or towards the end of February, 2010.

Also the Gold Coast Titans Junior Development Team Management are keen to recruit school boys from the Kokoda Track area next year to be part of the Gold Coast Titans Junior Development Team under Football Scholarships. We will announce this program shortly.

Since you have pioneered in supporting this program, I trust you will continue to support this program.

I look forward to continue working with you in this very special Project in the New Year.

James Enage
Chairman

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Sogeri Health Centre - Konedobu
Our trekkers consolidate all of their unused medical supplies at the end of each trek. These are donated to either the Kokoda Hospital or the Sogeri Health Centre depending on which direction we trek. This amounts to an estimated contribution of $3,000 (PNGK6,000) over the period of a trekking season.

We recently received the following Thank You from Agatha Francis, the nurse at the Sogeri Health Centre:

Dear Charlie.

Hi and on behalf of the staff of Sogeri Health Centre I would like to thank you and your trekking company and staff for the medicine you gave us twice.

The medicine really helped us to cater for our patients because we ran out of medicine in our buffer, but your medicine helped really support us in the time of need.

We would thank you once again because this was the first of its kind, and your trekking company were the first from other trekking companies to donate such to us.

Once again thank you very much for the medicine.

Keep the good spirit of your trekking company along the Kokoda Trail always in the coming years.

Yours faithfully,

Agatha Francis

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Network Kokoda - 'to honour their legacy'
Network Kokoda has recently been established as a philanthropic organisation to honour the legacy of our Australian and New Guinea veterans of the Kokoda campaign.

The objectives of Network Kokoda are to lobby for the inclusion of Australia's Military History and Melanesian studies in our education curriculum; to fund Post-Graduate studies into Australian wartime leadership; to assist in the development of a master memorial plan for the Kokoda Trail; to support the establishment of Community Learning Development Centres in PNG villages that provided wartime carriers; and to provide philanthropic support for Koiari and Orokaiva villages along the Kokoda Trail.
Brigadier Phil McNamara
The Chairman of Network Kokoda is Brigadier Phil McNamara.

Phil had a long and distinguished military career which included active service in Vietnam and a tour of duty with the PNG Pacific Islands Regiment. He is fluent in Tok Pisin and is a graduate of the Army Command and Staff College and the Joint Services Staff College. Phil's final posting in the army was Head of our Special Forces (SAS and Commando's).

After his retirement from the army Phil was appointed State Director of the NSW State Emergency Services which he led with distinction for eight years.

Phil has trekked Kokoda twice in recent years and has volunteered his services to honour our wartime history and and assist the people he developed a great affection for during his two-year posting with the Pacific Islands Regiment.

Network Kokoda plans to have a Branch in Port Moresby and in each State.

Adventure Kokoda has provided a $25,000 sponsorship to assist in the development of Community Learning Development Centres at Owers Corner and Kokoda in partnership with the PNG Department of Community Services, the Kokoda Track Authority and the Kokoda Development Program.

We will provide more information on our plans and development in our next Niusleta.
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Kokoda Reunion Dinner - Parliament House, Sydney
Sergeant Bede Tongs MMOur 2010 Kokoda Reunion Dinner will be held at Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney on Friday, 3 September 2010 at 6.30 p.m.

Please put the date in your diary - we will send out invitations shortly.

Our guest speaker for our 2009 Kokoda Reunion Dinner at Parliament House in Sydney was Sergeant Bede Tongs MM - a veteran of the Kokoda campaign. The following recollection of the evening was provided by Gary Traynor, a Kokoda trekker and administrator of Medals Gone Missing.

'Stories of ”mateship” – during times of war; are universal. It does not matter from which corner of the globe they came from. Whether on the battlefields of Europe, Russia and North Africa, or in the steaming jungles of the Pacific – the tales all have a common thread . But the bond forged between men under fire, can form a friendship that endures the test of time. And for Australian diggers, Bede Tongs M.M. and Owen Baskett of the 3rd Militia Battalion - their friendship has endured for over 67 years.

'Bede George TONGS was born on the 27th of June, 1920 at Narrandera in New South Wales. So when he was leading his men as a platoon Sergeant through the jungle of the Kokoda Track – he had only just turned 22 years of age. He had joined the 3rd Militia Battalion C.M.F (Citizens Military Forces) on the 24th of February, 1940. His service number was N43917. When Bede discharged from the AIF nearly six years later, he had transferred to the 2/3rd Battalion (NX126952)…. been commissioned to the rank of Captain, and had been awarded the Military Medal.
Bede Tongs MM Medals
'His mate, Owen James BASKETT was born in the small New South Wales township of Moruya. He too enlisted into the 3rd Militia Battalion and served on the Kokoda Track. With the service number, N268139 he was a young lad of 20 when he faced the seemingly ‘unstoppable’ Japanese war machine in the Owen Stanleys. By this time, the 39th and 53rd Militia Battalions had been worn to breaking point. The AIF 21st Brigade was broken but not beaten…fighting a brutal withdrawal when the 3rd Battalion entered the fray. In a little known fact, the 3rd Militia Battalion would end up the longest serving unit on the Kokoda Track. And if you speak to Owen now, he will tell you squarely “If it was’t for Bede, I wouldn't’t be here now. He saved my life”.
Owen Basket and Bede Tongs signing Kokoda maps
'Owen was referring to an action which occurred on the 17th of October, 1942 during fighting at Eora Creek. Modern day trekkers on the Kokoda Track know the general area as “Templeton’s Crossing' and it’s beauty in this modern era is a stark contrast to the horrendous fighting which took place here at that time.

Their platoon commander, Lieutenant Colin Horbury RICHARDSON (10 platoon) had been hit by gunfire, high on the left side of his chest. Frothy blood emitted from the wound, signifying that he had been hit in a lung and despite being ordered to continue with the attack, Bede decided that their officer should be evacuated before they would proceed. Bede thought that RICHARDSON was dying, but miraculously he would eventually survive and discharged in 1944.

'Bede placed his sections two up, with one in reserve and informed his men that they would advance by way of ‘fire and movement’. Owen later said, they had been ordered to “fix bayonets” and he believed that should the order come to attack in the face of withering fire – surely he and many of his mates would be killed. What is clearly evident – is that Bede Tongs was a ‘risk taker’ with his own life; but not with the lives of his men. Sending his men to ground, Bede himself advanced along a fire lane that had been cut by the Japanese to afford a good field of fire. Crawling down this fire lane – his rifle in his left hand, Bede took the pin from a 4 second grenade (Mills Bomb 36M) and kept his body pressed as close to the ground as he possibly could. The Japanese had left some shrubbery in place which afforded minimal cover. At this time, Bede possibly thanked his good fortune at being a little short in stature.

'The thought had crossed Bede’s mind that “This is a dangerous thing to be doing'.

When Bede was to look up, he found himself staring down the barrel of a Japanese light machine gun a short distance away. Bede would state that the two Japanese gunners manning the weapon were committing the cardinal sin of “not watching their front” and were looking off to their left. Being careful not to attract the attention of the Japanese, Bede held his hand grenade close to the ground and carefully released the striker lever so that it sprung into the mud. He allowed for one second to pass before throwing the grenade into the Japanese weapons pit. A second grenade quickly followed, whereupon he forced the rim of his Brodie pattern helmet into the mud to shield his face from the explosions. The Japanese machine guns were always displaced, so that they were supported from the flanks by other guns. These supporting weapons immediately began a concentrated fire towards Bede’s position. Looking up, he saw smoke over the gun position with no signs of activity – and bolted back to his platoon. It was this action which would earn Bede, the Military Medal. It also left no doubt in Owen Baskett’s mind, that Bede had taken great personal risk – to minimise the danger for his platoon.

'Before the fighting at Eora Creek was over, having suffered with the illness for some time – Owen would finally succumb to the effects of Malaria which required him to be medically evacuated. Bede would push through to Kokoda village, arriving on the 6th of November. When speaking of the Australian flag which had been erected at Kokoda just 3 days before, Bede said “The appearance of the flag is still one of the greatest sights I can picture in my mind”.

'For one night, these two veterans were the centre of attention and admiration for a room full of young people who had walked 2009 Kokoda Reunion Dinner at NSW Parliamentthe Kokoda Trail- as modern day trekkers. If fact, the attention bestowed upon them was not unlike that of “rock stars”. And if you were to ask anybody there that night…..it was VERY well deserved. These men do not regard themselves as anything special, but to this generation – they are national treasures. It will truly break my heart when this generation of ”mates” is with us, no longer'.

Footnote: The maps Bede and Owen signed were donated by Adventure Kokoda and auctioned that night. The money raised is sufficient to sponsor Margaret Aitsi - a recent graduate of the Port Moresby Grammar School - at the Divine Word University for the first year of her Commerce Degree.

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PNG Guest Workers should try dialling 000 for access!
Anybody who thinks our 'White Australia' policy is dead would have second thoughts after reviewing our approach to guest workers from the Pacific - particularly PNG.

The population of PNG is approaching seven million. Most work in a rural subsistence economy and unemployment in urban areas is more than 60 per cent - even higher for young people. Most of the unemployed are technically unskilled they are expert at picking fruit and harvesting vegetables - something they and their ancestors have been doing it for thousands of years. Many are ready willing and able to come to Australia for seasonal work.

In rural Australia there is strong demand for seasonal labor. It has been reported that our farmers watch in despair as up to $700 million worth of fruit and vegetables rots on the vine each year because they cannot hire sufficient casual workers to harvest their crops.

It must be galling for our former mandated territory, closest neighbour, wartime ally and fellow Commonwealth member to witness illegal immigrants brought to Christmas Island by well organised people smugglers and instructed to dial 000 for entry - and access to generous welfare entitlements while our Pacific cousins try to cope with a growing army of unemployed young people.


Kokoda trekkers, thousands of them, who are assisted by PNG guides and carriers to get across the formidable Owen Stanley Ranges are shocked when they learn of our unofficial White Australia policy that deny's them access to our seasonal markets. They are witness to their incredible work ethic during their treks - and also to their village hospitality and camaraderie. They simply cannot understand why we deny them access whilst farmers hearts are broken by their inability to harvest their crops.

I was jogging through Koki markets in Port Moresby a few months ago when a couple of our guides called out. They were selling betel nut in the crowded markets to try and make ends meet until the trekking season commences again this month. Unfortunately trekker numbers have declined significantly due to the tragedies that occurred on the trail last year so the demand for guides and carriers will be down as well.

There is no excuse for Australia's current attitude towards blocking seasonal workers from PNG in particular and the rest of Melanesia in general. A fundamental strategy would involved the realignment of PNG and Australian 'wan-toks' with Koiari people allocated to the Riverina, Orokaiva to the Hunter Valley, Sepiks to the Mallee, Eastern Highlanders to the Barossa, etc. etc. If they know they will have the opportunity to return the following year PNG guest workers will abide by the rules.

It would not take much more effort to build an educational component into the scheme together with a savings-investment plan that would allow them to start a business in their local areas after they return. The demands due to emanate from the LNG project will provide plenty of opportunity for them to do this.

This is a much better option than having them take to their canoes and dial 000!

The challenges faced by our Melanesian neighbours demand that we seek innovative ways of engaging them as respected partners in the Pacific. Only two elements are missing at the moment - leadership and will.

Click here to read my submission to the Senate in support of access to seasonal work by PNG citizens.


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Peter Davis - Rotary Projects on Kokoda
Peter Davis has been leading treks for Adventure Kokoda for a number of years. He is a former Army reservist, a keenPeter Davis on Kokoda military historian and an active member of the Army History Unit. Peter has accompanied the unit on a number of missions to PNG to assist with the recovery of bodies from the New Guinea campaigns.

Anybody who has trekked with Peter as leader will attest to his zeal, his interest in the Kokoda campaign and his compassion for the villagers along the trail.

He is an active-energetic-dynamic Rotarian and has worked with his Rotary Club in Cooma and Adventure Kokoda to deliver philanthropic services to villages in PNG.

One of these projects involved the procurement of a 218,000 litre water tank, guttering and a couple of hundred metres on water pipes in Brisbane - its movement to PNG - its transport to the village of Kemabolo, south east of Port Moresby, and its installation onsite with his Rotary team from Cooma

Their latest project for Kemabolo is the delivery of a container load of bicycles. These have been donated from people in the Cooma area, repaired at the Cooma Mens Shed by a team from a Vocational (Special Needs) Education Class under supervision from the bush mechanics at the Mens Shed.

On a recent mapping exercise we were forced to use a logging road to gain access to the trail between Menari and Brigade Hill from the west. The vehicle ride was an adventure of its own. After going as far as we could we dismounted and trekked for three hours to Madilogo Water Supply - A Peter Davis Project Madilogo - well off the beaten Kokoda Trail. The sign at the village washpoint indicated Peter had been there a couple of years previously and assisted in the design and construction of their water point.

The next day was a 12 hour trek across the ranges to Envilogo. Once again the villagers took me to a place where Peter had worked in the excavation of a gravesite with the Army History Unit the previous year.

Villages such as Madilogo and Envilogo feel they are being neglected by both Australian and PNG government agencies who seem to be more focused on the trail. They feel they have been disenfranchised from the efforts being applied to achieve a World Heritage listing for the Owen Stanley Ranges.

The Australian Government should soon begin the transition of management to the Kokoda Track Authority for the Kokoda Trail and begin to develop programs to assist village communities in more remote parts of the areas proposed for World Heritage Listing.
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Merv Haines - Village Watering Systems
Merv Haines, a Vietnam Veteran, operates a trekking company - Kokoda Experience (http://www.kokodatrack.net) - out of Cairns. Merv has a great respect for the wartime history of the Kokoda campaign and a great compassion for the villagers along the trail. Over the years he has installed substantial water systems in villages and campsites. Merv Haines Village Water Project

At Eora Creek he installed a Glockeman pump with assistance from Warren Bartlett of Sogeri Enterprises who assisted in obtaining parts and arranging a charter flight to Kokoda to bring in 200 meters of piping and four 250-litre tanks. They then had to carry it all via Isurava and Alola to Eora Creek where it was installed.

At Ioribaiwa he installed a gravity fed water system which entailed paying 10 porters to carry 600 meters of piping from Owers Corners to Ioribaiwa. The fittings for the system were purchased in Cairns and carried with Merv's party to the village where they have now installed 800 metres of piping to operate three taps and three showers.

Merv's mate, Jim Armstrong, a fellow Vietnam Veteran, kindly donated his time to help install both systems at Ioribaiwa and Eora Creek.

The water point at Nauro is a major challenge for any trekker camping at the site - and for the villagers to access.

This project required 16 PNG carriers five days to haul 1,500 meters of piping from Owers Corner to Nauro. It allowed for two showers and two taps to be installed in the village.

Nauro 2 was more of a challenge for Merv because two hours trekking off the main trail. This project required 2600 meters of piping to install a suitable water system. The village chief was so impressed he offered Merv some land and a holiday home for his efforts. This was respectfully declined but the gesture was much appreciated.

Well done Merv.
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Vietnam Long Tan Battlefield Trek
I am honoured to be Patron of the Australian Vietnam Volunteers Resources Group which assists in the maintenance of the Long Tan Cross and community support projects in areas Australian servicemen and women served during the Vietnam War - see http://www.avvrg.org.au

This year one of the key soldiers involved in the decisive Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam in 1966 will lead a tourist groupLieutenant Dave Sabben on the first-ever “re-run” of the bloody combat that saw 108 mostly novice Australasian troops thwart 2,500 battle hardened enemy. Click here for more details: http://www.avvrg.org.au/team_nsw_events.htm

Lieutenant Dave Sabben, a decorated Platoon Commander has taken 44 years to be mentally prepared to face an on-site reconstruction of the ferocious three-and-a-half hour struggle, which produced a toll of 18 Australian dead and 23 wounded, and some 800 North Vietnamese dead and 1,000 wounded.

“It is has been a long time coming, but I now feel comfortable undertaking an excursion that will do justice to vital aspects of an historic conflict. It will be good for me and for those on the trek who want to know what happened every step of the way,” said Sabben, who at the time was a 21-year-old, 2nd Lt in Delta Company 6RAR.

The all-day tour, in October, will explore all significant events and locations. It will follow as near as possible the path taken by Delta Company troops sent out on 18 August to investigate a destructive North Vietnamese mortar attack on the 2,500-strong Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat the day before.

It will canvass all sections of the battlefield, a still thriving rubber plantation covering about the size of four football Battle of Long Tanfields. Locations will include:

• The road where the first shots were fired;

• Sites where various platoons – made up of many young conscripts - fought off wave after wave of enemy soldiers with dwindling ammunition amidst deep mud caused by monsoonal downpours;

• Site of the ad hoc headquarters position, where then Major Harry Smith made many crucial decisions, including the go-ahead for relentless artillery bombardments and later pinpoint guidance of reinforcements;

• Where a dozen Aussies were felled in the opening attack;

• Where ammunition was dropped on top of the Australian troops from two hovering allied helicopters under extreme enemy fire and buffeted by electrical storms;

• Where those wounded were patched-up with cat gut and bobby pins;

• Where a relief force in armoured personnel carriers smashed through undergrowth to rout thousands of North Vietnamese regular army troops to bring the conflict to a close;

• Where two missing Australians presumed dead were found alive amid scenes of carnage the next morning.Long Tan Cross

“This tour is meant to give interested people a meaningful insight into every scenario of the battle…the good, bad and ugly, in fact,”
comments Sabben, who is hosting the tour pro-bono for the Australia Vietnam Volunteers Resource Group (AVVRG).

“I don’t intend to hold back on any of the detail; and the tour will take as long as the battle itself, adding to the real time narration.”

Funds raised by the tour will go towards a three year project mounted by the NSW division of AVVRG to rebuild a kindergarten for 50 Vietnamese children aged six months to five years in the Nui Dat community. The program will also pay for daily meals, care, supervision and instruction on an ongoing basis.

“This tour is something special, in the way it would be special for the opportunity for someone to walk the Rorke’s Drift battlefield with Lt Chard VC, or to walk the cliffs of Gallipoli with a young officer from one of the Light Horse Brigades,” comments Kerry Phelan, the President of the NSW division of AVVRG.

To be part of this historic tour please click here, http://www.avvrg.org.au/team_nsw_events.htm or call Graham Cassidyon 0419 202317
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Show us your tats ...
Our story about Kokoda tats following this pic resulted in a 'show 'n tell from some of our trekkers:

Kokoda Tat
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John Scells Kokoda Tat ...
'John Scells Kokoda Tat
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Peter Morrison Kokoda Tat ... Peter Morrison Kokoda Tat

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Corinne Ross Kokoda Tat ...
Corinne Ross Kokoda Tat
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Alex Reeve Kokoda Tat ...
Alex Reeve Kokoda Tat
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Rod Spiers Kokoda Tat ...
Rod Spiers Kokoda Tat
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Tim and Matt Redshaw Kokoda Tats ...
Tim and Matt Redshaw Kokoda Tats
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Something fishy about condoms in PNG ...
AAP News Report:

Despite Australia's best efforts to supply safe-sex aids to AIDS-ravaged Papua New Guinea, there's no stopping local creativity in finding unusual uses for condoms.

Local fisherman cut them up for lures, and women find the lubricant good for their hair and beauty regime.

Non-government organisations and various HIV/AIDS groups know all too well where many of those Australian-funded rubbers go.

As one NGO boss said: "If they're fishing, they're not f**king."

The PNG National AIDS Council Secretariat was recently described as "rotten to the core" with corruption, misappropriation and mismanagement amid news that two million condoms had been left to expire in a Port Moresby warehouse.

So where do Aussie condoms end up besides going off in storage?

Several fisherman took me out on Port Moresby's harbour to catch what they promised would be big tuna.

"The fish think the condoms are squid," fisherman Iewana said.

"Us coastal people use it, but it's more in the north by the New Guinea islands guys."

Other fishermen had told me they would raid any condom distribution point when the Aussie-funded rubbers bounced into town.

Asked about the raids, one woman said some of the sisterhood had taken to using the lubricant for their hair and skin and on rashes because they had heard it had healing properties.

Back to the fishing excursion, which cost 100 kina and two tanks of petrol, but delivered precious little in the form of tuna of any size.

"It's best to fish in the afternoon," Iewana said.

"Why didn't you tell me this on the phone?"
I asked, annoyed by the lack of fish and abundance of sunburn.

Adding to the insult was the fact that even as my condom fishing story seemed to be slipping away, my fisherman friend wanted even more money.

"You must buy petrol for us," Iewana said as we puttered back into shore.

"But I've already bought ample and gave you some cash," I retorted, used to the PNG try-on.

"Okay," he said, miffed at missing an extra hand-out.

We both felt a little screwed, but at least I got my fishing-with-condoms story.
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Army Retirement Incentive . . .
The Army found they had too many officers and decided to offer an early retirement bonus. They promised any officer who volunteered for retirement a bonus of $1,000 for every inch measured in a straight line between any two points on his body. The officers got to choose what those two points would be.

The Colonel who accepted asked that he be measured from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. He was measured at 2 metres and walked out with a bonus of $72,000.

The Captain who accepted was a little smarter and asked to be measured from the tip of his outstretched hands to his toes. He walked out with $96,000.

The third was a rugged old non-commissioned Sergeant-Major. When asked where he would like to be measured replied, 'From the tip of my willie to my testicles.'

It was suggested by the pension man that he might want to reconsider, explaining about the nice big cheques the previous two Officers had received.

But the old ‘Sar-Major’ insisted and they decided to go along with him providing the measurement was taken by a Medical Officer.

The Medical Officer arrived and instructed the Chief to 'drop 'em,' which he did.

The medical officer placed the tape measure on the tip of the Sar-Major’s willie and began to work back. “Strewth mate”, he asked 'Where are your testicles?'

“Vietnam”, the old Sar-Major calmly replied.
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Adventure Kokoda Pty Limited
Spirit of Kokoda Logo
Adventure Kokoda Pty Limited
PO Box 303
Camden
NSW 2570
Australia
Ph: +61 439 303 303
Fx: +61 2 4655 9433
charlie@kokodatreks.com.au
www.kokodatreks.com

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