I heard from Bernie again this morning and all is well.
As at 11.30am SA time, 14 of the K12s are on a plane on their way back to Port Moresby, and 12 are bouncing their way to Kokoda in a truck. For those doing the math – Brenton has decided that back-to-back was a silly idea after all, so he has opted to head back to PoM with Anne and the rest rather than joining the Retreat trekkers for the walk back to Ower’s Corner.
As mentioned in the last update, the Retreat trekkers will arrive in Kokoda then start walking to Hoi in the early afternoon. This will be a gentle* but beautiful start to their walk.
(*gentle in actual, normal person terms, none of this crazy “oh it’s just gently undulating” walking language)
Bernie called at 6.20pm on Wednesday. After 7 hours of walking, the K12s got into camp at Ioribaiwa at about 2pm. They have been making good time due to being efficient in the mornings and having only short breaks.
They went up and over a very soggy, slippery Imita Ridge – there were 10 falls, but no injuries. Corina led the way down Imita and, when they reached the spot where Corina last year broke her leg, they had a nice break (pardon the pun) and had a bit of a ceremony to mark the spot…which they’ve named Fibula Ridge. Corina is quite the celebrity, as it turns out. Many of the trekkers they’ve passed/met on the Track have heard stories of Corina’s courageous K11 effort and have been happily surprised to meet her on the Track this year. One of them even interviewed her on their camera – sounds like she’s on her way to becoming the next Mr Bean.
There are lots of people on the Track, and tonight the K12s are one of three groups at the campsite – there is another Kokoda Spirit group, and a group from Adelaide with Wayne Enright’s company. There is a good mood and they’re having a nice time chatting with the other groups, but they’re also happy to hear that they will likely have a few nights coming up where they won’t have to share a campsite with any other groups.
They got to experience a lovely Ioribaiwa sunset, and have also been enjoying Chris Adey’s extremely good massages. Not to be outdone by Anne’s hot pink gaiters, Nat has proved to be the new fashionista, rocking back-to-front Skins, much to everyone’s amusement.
On Thursday, the K12s will head up and over Ioribaiwa Ridge, then Maguli Ridge and across the Brown River. They plan to then camp at Aguaro, at the base of ‘the wall’.
They’re appreciating the messages from home, and they all send their best wishes.
If you wish to support:
- Corina’s fundraising efforts you can visit her sponsorship website at: http://www.everydayhero.com.au/corina_poole
- Chris’s fundraising efforts by visiting his sponsorship site at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/chris_adey_4
- Natalie’s fundraising efforts together with husband Brian you can visit their sponsorship website at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/brian_and_natalie_horan
Dad (Bernie) called at 7pm tonight. At that stage, only three of the trekkers were still up; clearly the 3 hours of walking today has them all tuckered out!
They departed their Port Moresby hotel at 8am yesterday, and were at Bomana War Cemetery by 9am. They then headed to Sogeri with the hope of catching up with Morris; he wasn’t there, so they were directed elsewhere, but he wasn’t there either so they headed off to McDonald’s Corner to see the statue, and then got to Ower’s Corner by 11.30am. At Ower’s, they had lunch and took photos. While they were there, two other groups came in.
They then headed off at 12.30pm, crossing a waist-deep Goldie River after the initial tricky downhill. The group set a good pace today, with no-one falling behind. There were 4 minor falls as the track was a bit slippery, and there was also some ‘gloopy’ mud. There has been light rain on and off since 4.30pm. In a puzzling move, Anne is sporting hot pink gaiters – although they’ll likely be a fetching shade of mud brown by this time tomorrow (which is probably for the best, really).
As the Track is quite busy, there were two other groups already camped at Good Water when the K12s arrived, so they didn’t get the best camping spot and having only a small shelter. But all four toilets have seats, and the trekkers have all had a wash in the nice little creek followed by a lovely dinner of fried chicken and potato. The porters have been singing for hours, and even have a guitar with them, so it looks like the K12s will be kept well-nourished from an aural perspective.
They had a couple of briefings today – Bernie managed to explain World War Two in 8 minutes and the Kokoda campaign in 2 minutes, and Steve did an excellent talk on army organisation (explaining what a brigade is etc.) The group has many of the same porters as last year. For those of you for whom this means anything: Corina has Kenneth again, Bernie has Koi, Anne is partnered with Robin, Brenton is with Artie again and Alma’s porter is the charming Paul, who was Michelle’s porter last year (it remains to be seen if Alma will be similarly showered with flowers).
Tomorrow, the K12s will be awoken by Alma’s chosen wake-up music by 5am. They’ll be walking by 6.45am, heading up a reportedly very muddy Imita Ridge. They’ll then criss-cross Ua-Ule Creek and head to Ioribaiwa, where they plan to be staying tomorrow night.
We’ll get another update through to you whenever we next hear from Bernie (if at all), but in the meantime remember you can send through your messages of support by email (Claire@duddyshopov.com.au) or text (0438 293 602) to me, or by posting a comment to the blog page.
If you wish to support Alma’s fundraising efforts you can visit her sponsorship website at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/almajane_odonnell
2/27th Battalion Motion moved by Senator Anne McEwen and passed by the Australian Senate yesterday
Historical Events – War in the Pacific – 70th Anniversary
That the Senate—
(a) notes that in 2012 Australia is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the War in the Pacific and acknowledging the contribution of our service personnel to the defence of Australia during that period of World War II at events and memorial services in Australia and elsewhere in the Pacific region;
(b) notes that:
(i) the 2/27th Battalion AIF was formed at Woodside in South Australia in May 1940 and disbanded in March 1946,
(ii) the 2/27th Battalion AIF fought in all the major World War II campaigns in which Australia was engaged and was awarded honours for the following battles: North Africa, Syria, The Litani, Sidon, Adloun, Damour, South West Pacific, Kokoda Track, Efogi-Menari, Buna-Gona, Gona, Ramu Valley, Shaggy Ridge, Balikpapan and Borneo,
(iii) during the campaign in New Guinea in 1942 the Battalion suffered heavy casualties during the battle at Brigade Hill on 8 September and at Gona in November and December, and
(iv) the Battalion continued fighting in New Guinea and was serving in Balikpapan, Borneo, when the war ended in August 1945;
(c) acknowledges the invaluable contribution of the 2/27th Battalion AIF throughout World War II;
(d) expresses its appreciation to the surviving members of the 2/27th Battalion AIF who served with courage and distinction in the Pacific War and other campaigns in World War II; and
(e) thanks all those who served in Australia’s defence forces during World War II.
Question put and passed.
Senator Anne McEwen
Chief Government Whip in the Senate
Senator for South Australia
Canberra ACT 2600
It is a privilege to be able to join the Centacare Kokoda Challenge again.
I was lucky enough to be part of the first Kokoda Challenge in 2004 and again in 2009 and 2011. Walking the Kokoda Track as a fundraiser to help kids with a disability and their families gives me the extra impetus to put one foot in front of the other foot, time after time after time after time. Knowing that you are going to spend a week in beautiful Papua New Guinea and will be welcomed by the locals into their pretty villages on the Track is the bonus that makes all the training worthwhile.
All of my times on the Track have been exhausting, exhilarating, surprising and , yes, challenging… but the hardest part is just standing on Brigade Hill and remembering what happened there to the magnificent 2/27th Battalion AIF in 1942. My dear Dad, Doug, was in that Battalion and on that Hill. He always remembered the Hill as “Butchers’ Hill”. No explanation needed.
It was for Dad and his mates, those who made it home and those who didn’t, that I first did the Track in 2004 and it is for the memory of him and his mates that I will do it one last time.
They are honoured that this year’s Centacare Kokoda Challenge, on the 70th anniversary of the battles on the Track, will be a special and fitting tribute to the 2/27th Battalion.
All being well, I will be on Brigade Hill exactly 70 years to the day that Doug was there. How good is that?
Thank you to Centacare and especially to Bernie Victory for making it so.