Thanks to the assistance of a grant organised by Wangaratta Lodge of St Johns, three year 11 students experienced the wonders of the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. During the 8 day trek, Zoe Baguley (Wangaratta High School), Ella Kidd (Cathedral College) and Hugh Canning (Galen Catholic College) reflected on the significance of the trail in the battle to save Port Moresby and subsequently Australia during World War II. Each carried the name of a Wangaratta-area soldier killed in action on the Kokoda Trail during WWII, and laid a poppy in their name at the Pacific’s largest war ceremony, Bomana. Their trek was funded by the inaugural Wangaratta RSL Bob Iskov Kokoda Scholarship, named for Kokoda veteran and former Wangaratta Shire president.
The scholarship aims to improve awareness among young people in Wangaratta of the sacrifices made by Australian soldiers defending Australia in this vital part of our recent history. Zoe, Ella and Hugh provided moving testimony of their experience at an RSL function celebrating the completion of the inaugural trek, attended by their families, sponsors, state and local government officials and community members.
While the coordinators are happy with the way the trek went, they are conducting a review to make some adjustments to next year’s trek, including adding a day for rest and reflection in the middle of the trek, around Lake Myola. The trek involves 5:00 am starts and some significant climbs and descents, so this tweak will alleviate some of the physical stress. Wangaratta Lodge of St Johns has committed to supporting the program for four consecutive years.
Pictured above (L-R): LtGen Ash Power AO CSC (Rtd) President Wangaratta RS:, Megan Iskov (grandaughter of Bob Iskov), Ella Kidd, Zoe Baguley, Hugh Canning and Ken Broomhead OAM, WM of Wangaratta Lodge of St John.