After almost a year of fundraising, training and bonding as a team, ten students and two staff from Yarrawonga College P-12 left Australia headed for Papua New Guinea eager to tackle the forbidding Owen Stanley Ranges, what is commonly known as the Kokoda Track.
The group started their trek in late September from Kokoda Station to Owers’ Corner, an incredible 96 km over 9 days, trudging through rugged terrain, climbing sheer cliffs and descending down muddy, mountainous drops, whilst surrounded by spectacular jungle and welcoming villages.
Whilst the going was definitely tough and extremely challenging, not only physically but mentally, the team was privileged to have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of heroes.
The 2017 Kokoda group included; staff; Jo McCarthy and Adam Dodd. Students; Elise Freeman, Hannah Keel, Illa Crawford, Jess Barton, Jordy McCarthy, Heidi Murray, Maddi Warner, Robert Wilson, Sam Willett and Aidan Williams.
YCP12 Teacher and Campus Principal Jo McCarthy said the students learnt so much about the Kokoda Campaign.
“Walking the Kokoda Track was the most incredible opportunity.
“Our porters were amazing, the villages so welcoming and friendly and the scenery spectacular.
“We had the privilege of walking in the footsteps of heroes and I have learnt so much about the PNG culture as well as the bravery and sacrifice made by our soldiers during the Kokoda campaign.
“Australian Trek Leader, Greg Chamberlain was inspiring in his knowledge of all the battles that occurred along the track, teaching everyone about what really happened in 1942.
“This journey was a life-changing experience for all involved, not only did the students learn about the PNG culture, but more importantly they learnt about kindness and gratitude through the special bond developed with their porters.
“Words cannot express how grateful I am for this experience – many thanks to Kokoda Spirit for making this trip so special in so many ways.”
Since their arrival back home the team has presented for many community groups and sponsors of this amazing experience. YCP-12 and in particular, the 2017 Kokoda Team would like to acknowledge and thank the following sponsors: Club Mulwala; Yarrawonga/Mulwala Rotary Club; Burramine Sports Club; The Montana and Cadel Foundation; the Yarrawonga and Mulwala local community and businesses who have donated goods and services for raffles and the Trivia Night.
And to the following personal sponsors: Levesque Building; Pro-Finish Collision Repair Centre; Thomsons Buslines; STF Engineering; Powelly’s Painting and Rendering; Judds Mensland; Burke’s Hotel; Mulwala Bakery; Tungamah Hotel; Central Murray Credit Union; Uncle Tobys; 1 Stop Driving School; Kentucky Turf Nursery; Chris Wilson Contracting; Murray River Digger and Landscaping.