Monthly Archives: June 2012

Check Your Flights for September 3

Hi K12s

There has been a change to Qantas Brisbane Port Moresby flights on Monday September 3 which will affect a number of you. Effectively the Brisbane to Port Moresby leg has been cancelled. Some options:

1. Qantas will probably offer you an alternative which gives a Brisbane 17:35 departure to Port Moresby 20:45 arrival. This is OK but it will mean a late night arrival at the Gateway, a hurried briefing, grab your big pack and not much time to have a settling drink before you head to your room for the big packing session. Next morning will probably be a 6am departure so this option may feel a bit rushed. But we can make it work so don’t worry if this is your choice.

2. You could look at the Cairns option (Lyall and Ian had already chosen this) which departs Cairns at 15:05 arrives Port Moresby 16:50. This gives you a more relaxed session in Port Moresby and a bit more packing and acclimatization time but will require a bit of flight hopping from Adelaide via Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.

3. A third option is to take the 9:10 Brisbane to Port Moresby which gets in at a comfortable 12:20, plenty of time to settle by the pool with an SP beer and enjoy the weather. Problem with this option is that you will need to be in Brisbane the night before (Sunday 2nd). Qantas have not yet decided if they will pick up the accommodation on this option – I’ll let you know when I hear.

There are other options involving overnighting in Sydney, Cairns or arriving a day earlier in Port Moresby but I think the above three are the most useful. I intend taking option 3 but only because I need a bit of extra time to catch up with the Kokoda Spirit team and get a few other things ready. By all means ring me if you wish to discuss the options.

At this stage I do not believe the flights later in September are affected.


The Cairns Option



Team Member – Alice Victory

Alice Victory
Alice Victory

Hi I’m Alice and K12 will be my third trip to Kokoda.

Kokoda has been a big part of my life since 2003 when Dad started to get fit in preparation for his first trip in 2004. Like many I resisted the whole thing for a long time. But when I heard Ray Baldwin speak about his experience of the war, after the K07 group had returned, I had to go, to experience it myself and attempt to understand some of what young men like Ray had gone through in the jungles of New Guinea in 1942.

When I first walked the track in 2008, I was sad to leave after completing the track and I knew that it couldn’t be the last time I was in PNG. When I walked the track again in 2010 it was agreed amongst most of the younger members of the group that we would do the track again in 2012. I honestly couldn’t think of a good reason NOT to go back.  Walking the track is an amazing experience. Training to get fit, being (almost) completely cut off from the outside world and technology, and being surrounded by dense beautiful jungle in the company of friends and a group of amazing local guides are just some of the things which make it special. I’m not really sure why people describe walking the track as crazy, because any negatives about it, pain, discomfort, lack of proper toilets, is far outweighed by the positives. And if you stop to think of the reasons why Centacare is hosting this trip, (to raise money to continue respite for children with intellectual disabilities, and in honour and remembrance of the young men who suffered and died on the track), any personal struggles on the track seem much less important.

This year I am walking the retreat as I want to experience walking the track in the other direction. This will also be Dad’s final time walking Kokoda and I am very much looking forward to walking through the arches at Ower’s Corner with him and Mum on the final day.

If you wish to support Alice’s fundraising efforts you can visit her sponsorship website at:

Team Member – Ian Steel

Ian Steel
Ian Steel

I first heard about Centacare’s Kokoda Challenge in 2004 when former ASU Branch Secretary and now Labor Senator, Anne McEwen, joined the cause.

My first encounter with disability services, and the positive impact they have on people’s quality of life, was through my Aunty Rose who, with an intellectual disability, lived in supported accommodation and worked in supported employment.

My first and last trek was to Kosciusko 27 years ago!

The services delivered by Centacare staff, including the respite services at Auricht House in Elizabeth North, not far from where I grew up, are essential; the people who deliver them are inspirational.

Kokoda 2012 provides me with the opportunity to:

  • spend time with old friends
  • raise money for a worthwhile northern respite facility desperately in need of funds
  • acknowledge the work of community sector workers, real everyday heroes, many of whom are members of my union the ASU
  • learn about the history of Kokoda and honour the memory of those who walked and fought there 70 years ago
  • get off my unfit lazy bum and share my whinging about my knees, back and shoulder with a new circle of friends, at both a local and international level.

If you wish to support my fundraising efforts it is really quick and easy to do so, AND get a receipt, via this link

Team Member – Liz Maddigan

Liz Maddigan

Liz Maddigan

My name is Liz Maddigan and for the past 5 years my husband Richard and I have had the pleasure of belonging to Bernie’s group of trekkers. We have shared many K’s, hills, laughs,and yarns with an amazing group of people. During this time we have also seen many of these people take up the challenge of raising money for Auricht House, training, and then walking the Kokoda Track. I have loved listening to their stories and at times felt inspired to walk the Track as well. Richard was never keen to tackle the jungle of PNG with its humidity, exotic diseases, etc, so I decided it wasn’t for me either as we always do everything together.

However, with the K12 walk being the last one for Centacare and the 70th anniversary of the battles of Kokoda, I have decided to go it alone. It’s now or never for me. Richard has been totally supportive and we both feel very passionate about the cause, especially as we have been so fortunate in our own families with good health including now with our first grand child, Matilda. My main inspiration on the track will definitely be those families doing it tough and facing endless challenges everyday.

My late father Frank was also in PNG during WW2. Even though he was not fighting on the track itself, he was involved in malaria control with the RAAF and it will be good to be the only family member to have walked where he walked all those years ago.

If you wish to support Liz’s fundraising efforts you can visit her sponsorship website at

Team Member – Lee Russell

Lee Russell

Lee Russell

Hi my name is Lee Russell. My major trekking history consists of  Sapa in Northern Vietnam, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, and other minor treks in Australia.

Last year I helped Corina Poole with her fundraising  for Auricht House which also gave me an opportunity to join the walking group.

Kokoda has always been on my bucket list, more from a physical /mental challenge than a war history perspective. Recent discussions with relatives at my father’s funeral made me more aware of the war history that my family had played a part in, including time in PNG. Like most returned soldiers the war was never spoken about, his motto was “ just get on with it!” I hope when I am having a bad day drenched and covered in mud  climbing yet another hill those words will keep me going “Just get on with it boy!”

If you wish to support Lee’s fundraising efforts you can visit his sponsorship website at:

Team Member – Paul Williams

Paul Williams
Paul Williams

I started walking with Bernie’s group of mountain goats back in June 2006 after being prodded by Graham Clark my Brother in-law. The one thing I find in common besides the love of walking through torrential rain falls and blistering heat up the sides of mountains that no goat would go, is the fact that we have nothing better to do on a Saturday Morning! “Essentially flat” – what a load of cobblers!

Anyway this resulted in doing Kokoda in Oct 2008 with a bunch of similarly lost souls. The one thing I clearly remember about the track was standing looking at a hole in the ground and picturing the poor buggers that had to sit there cold, wet, exhausted and scared out of their wits 70 odd years ago. I find it absolutely amazing and horrified at the same time that so many Australians know so little about this part of the war and these poor souls that were so critical to Australia at the time. Anyway that’s why I’m going back to at least raise some awareness of their sacrifices. Raising Money for Auricht House is such a great cause, and I have been personally touched by the need and lack of funding available to people that need it most. What a great reason to sacrifice a little comfort to help people in real need. Lastly what a great bunch of people to go on an adventure like this with. If you think I can complain on a Saturday morning… Well you haven’t heard nothing yet!

If you wish to support Paul’s fundraising efforts you can visit his sponsorship website at:

Team Member – Natalie Horan

Natalie Horan
Natalie Horan

My name is Natalie Horan. Bernie and Pauline are my brother and sister in law so I have heard a lot about Kokoda over the years. I was part of the “I’ll never do Kokoda” group. I mean why would you after watching the videos and looking at the pictures? – Blisters, pus, sweat, strain, tears, and mud. None of these things sounded appealing. I was, and continue to be perplexed by people’s desire to go back and do it all over again and  when this strange desire surfaced in my own daughter I was a little concerned. Jane has walked the track twice and would go again tomorrow, finances allowing.

Then my husband, Brian, started reading some books about Kokoda and saying things like, “It would be great to see where this happened” or “It would be amazing to be where such and such battle was fought.” I had a sneaking suspicion that we were beginning a long journey that would find us on the Kokoda Track. I began to read books about Kokoda to catch Brian’s enthusiasm and the rest is history, literally speaking!

Bernie often says that it is important to write this profile so when times get tough you can think back and know why you are there but for me these reasons are still coming to light and will require a lot more contemplation. My dad was a fantastic bloke who was taken prisoner of war in the Middle East during WW2 and was walked to a POW camp many, many miles away in Austria. It may be all the funny stories and the great mates he used to tell us about that will get me through because I am certain there were many struggles and hardships that he never spoke about. That was his personality and his way of coping. So if I can be even a tiny bit as brave and positive as my dad, then I too will come home with many funny stories and great friendships made through adversity.

If you wish to support Natalie’s fundraising efforts together with husband Brian you can visit their sponsorship website at

Team Member – Julie O’Leary

Julie O'Leary

Julie O'Leary

Kokoda: Where does one start ?

Magic, adventure, passion, accomplishment… no not here

Humanity, vulnerability, compassion… getting close

Walking Kokoda makes me think about life; what is, what isn’t ; who has, who has not;  what went before, what is to come;  ability, do-ability, dis-ability.

Fairness doesn’t count. Privilege is everything.

Maybe Kokoda allows me to feel better about being in my privileged place.


Previous PNG survivor: Kokoda (2005) and Shaggy Ridge (2008)

Personal Attributes:

  • Slightly crazy (by general public opinion);
  • Glutton for punishment;
  • Ability to walk vast distances in (almost) any physical, mental, environmental condition;
  • Ability to walk up very steep hills continuously for indeterminate amounts of time;
  • Ability to land with ease when needed Accepting of most forms of mud, sweat, tears, blood, pain, leeches and stench.


  • Trekking hills,
  • Fundraising for Auricht House,
  • Supporting others to fundraise for Auricht House.

If you wish to support Julie’s fundraising efforts you can visit her sponsorship website at:

Team Member – Lindsay Ames

Lindsay Ames

Lindsay Ames

I walked the Kokoda Track with my son Josh in 2007,  he was then 15. He is now 19 going on 20, about the age of a lot of diggers who fought on Kokoda.

The unimagineable deprivations that those young soldiers suffered beggars belief. Without their sacrifice we would be living in a very different world today.
The irony is that New Guinea is a very beautiful place and still a world apart from our modern lifestyle here in Australia. It is now 70 years since the battle and I would like to give something back, to help those less fortunate. Centacare is a great way to help others and I will proudly support them by walking the Track…….up and back!

This is going to be a great challenge and a lot of fun. The Centacare walkers are a close knit group and I am sure that we are all up to it.

Please visit the Everyday Hero web site and dig deep for a good cause.

Centacare Adelaide
Centacare Adelaide

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