10th Year Anniversary
Today I saw an image that brought back so many memories. It was a photograph of Katharine Kelly who commenced her walk today from Owers’ Corner on trek 1159 in memory of her friend Dr. June Canavan who lost her life in the Kokoda airline crash on the 11th August, 2009.
On this trek I chose for no apparent reason Emmanuel Eroro; Johnsford Eroro and Roget Hango. On that day in 2009 Kokoda also lost someone special and so did Kokoda Trekking. Kingsley Eroro (the eldest brother in the family) also lost his life in the same airline crash. Emmanuel Eroro is his eldest son who is also on this trek. Johnsford Eroro a brother, is on this trek. When the trek finishes in Kokoda, they will be staying at the Eroro family block and Daisy, Kingsley’s daughter takes care of the catering for our treks.
A food porter selected for this trek is Roget Hango who is on his first trek in 2019. Co-incidentally he was part of the traditional welcome for Dr. June Canavan’s partner Anne and other friends and relatives on the 1st anniversary of the crash when Lady Carol Kidu and an Australian High Commission representative flew in to Kokoda for a walk up to the crash site in August 2010. Roget can be seen below welcoming the party at Kokoda airstrip and again as he walked up to the crash site on the left. John Derick Eroro, Kingsley’s brother led Lady Kidu and the party up to the crash site.
I have no idea how Katie chose to walk with Kokoda Trekking but for me this came as a complete surprise today and yet I have picked some porters with a connection to what happened that day on the 11th August 2009. The plane was carrying 11 passengers and 2 PNG crew. The passengers included nine Australian trekkers on their way to walk the Kokoda Track, one Australian tour guide and one Papua New Guinean from Kokoda namely Kingsley Eroro. Trekkers were from No Roads Expeditions tour company, and a Japanese tourist. Seven of the nine Australian passengers on board came from Victoria, and two from Queensland which included Dr. June Canavan. Lady Kidu’s mother was a patient of Dr. June Canavan and being a PNG Minister, she was asked to help organise a walk up to the crash site due to her local PNG knowledge and she asked me to help co-ordinate it for her. RIP Kingsley Eroro and all other passengers who sadly lost their lives that day, 11th August 2009 in Kokoda.