03/11/2010 at 9:25 am #105135
Media release: VA057 – Wednesday 3 November 2010 – VA057
The significant contribution of Papua New Guinean Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels during the Second World War has been acknowledged today in Kokoda at a medallion ceremony.
The Minister for Veterans Affairs, Warren Snowdon was represented at the ceremony by Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Ian Kemish AM, who presented commemorative medallions to six recipients.
Mr Snowdon said Australians will be forever indebted to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
They provided invaluable assistance to Australians during the Second World Warcarrying supplies, contributing to the building of bases, airfields and other wartime infrastructure and most notably, evacuating the sick and wounded through some of the most hostile terrain ever encountered in modern warfare, Mr Snowdon said.
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day was established in 2009 and Mr Snowdon said this years inaugural ceremony provides an opportunity to mark the involvement of a special group of people who continue to be respected and honoured.
The medallion ceremony was held on 3 November because the date is significant for Australians and Papua New Guineans alike.
November the 3rd marks the day on which the Australian flag was raised above a newly reoccupied Kokoda village after months of fighting along the track which bears the villages name.
The Kokoda campaign began when Australians of the 39th Militia Battalion and members of the Pacific Islands Regiment encountered Japanese troops near Awala on 23 July 1942. For the next three months the Australians conducted a fighting withdrawal to their last line of defence on Imita Ridge near Port Moresby.
At this point the Australians, now bolstered with reinforcements, rallied and after a number of fierce engagements they were able to push the Japanese back along the track. Kokoda was recaptured on 2 November and the following day on 3 November 1942, the Australian flag was raised above the village at a service to symbolise the turning of the tide in Papua, Mr Snowdon said.
The commemorative medallion was announced in April last year and features the image of a blinded and barefoot Private George Whittington being helped along by Raphael Oimbari. The image came from a photograph taken on Christmas Day 1942 near Buna on the PNG north coast.
Medallions are available to surviving Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels and the widows of Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, and the Australian Government is still seeking to ensure all surviving Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels are honoured. For more information contact the Department of Veterans Affairs on 02 6289 6136.
Audio grabs of the Minister and an image of the medallion are available for download from http://www.dva.gov.au/media
Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Department of Veterans Affairs media: 02 6289 620305/11/2010 at 10:17 am #105134
To watch the celebrations at Kokoda, check out video report by ABC Papua New Guinea Correspondent Liam Fox:05/11/2010 at 10:24 am #105136
Source: KTA Newsletter: Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day – KOKODA
The inaugural Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day celebrations were held in Kokoda on the 3rd November. Two trekking groups were in attendance (Backtrack Adventures and Adventure Kokoda) to join close to two thousand local people engaged in sing sing, sports programs and other entertainment. The sports program was a week long festival with 43 teams involved culminating in Grand Finals on the day.
Soc Kienzle, and his wife Robyn, were warmly and enthusiastically greeted by the assembly, especially when he spoke in language. Soc bought the actual flag raised on the 3rd of November 1942 and put this on show. His speech was an inspiration.
Sixteen sing sing groups, 14 string bands and four choirs added to the ceremony with a huge traditional welcome to the VIPs who joined the day.
During the ceremony six Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel medallions were presented by Australian High Commissioner.
A Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day celebration will be held in Efogi on Tuesday 9th November with a large sports program and flag raising.
PB030651.jpg07/11/2010 at 10:03 am #105147
They had a small ceremony at the Kokoda Track Memorial at Rhodes, a suburb in Sydney.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.