Home Forums Trek Survivors Share Your Experience Hiked Kokoda Trail In 1960

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  • #94257

    hetbruce
    Member

    Hi I walked the Kokoda Trail in Jan 1960 with a party of Senior Scouts from Kokoda to Owers corner back in the days when walking the trail was not at all popular. We had a guide- Jack Perrin, a native policeman-Cpl John and there were 25 in our party. Day 1 kokoda to Alola Day 2 Alola to beyond Templetons Crossing Day 3 Bush camp to Efogi Day4 Efogi to Menari Day 5 Menari to Nauro Day6 Nauro to Ioribaiwa Day 7 Ioribaiwa to Owers Corner

    I still have many slides of the trip and now have them on my computer.
    I am now 65 years old and would love to revisit Isurava as I consider it to be a very important place in Australian History.
    I am currently reading " A Bastard of a Place" by Peter Brune and I have another book to follow called "Kokoda" by Paul Ham.

    Heaps to recall if anyone cares to chat email hetbruce@austarnet.com.au

    #94950

    aussie
    Member

    Hi there, nice to see your post on our website. We would welcome you back anytime you would like to visit. Russell my JV Partner lives in Kokoda and everyone is always welcome especially when the are members of the Kokoda Club which you clearly are.

    My girlfriend walked with me in November at 65 and she did better than I did. I do not know about your own fitness level, but if you are not capable of walking the whole trail you could just fly in…walk up to Isurava….walk back to Kokoda and fly out from there. Alternatively, you could drive down to Popondetta in our PMV truck and fly back to Port Moresby from there.

    We all met up with Stan Bisset when down south and he is truly an amazing man and it was such a honour to have been invited to his residence. Only yesterday he sent me the nicest letters on a 2/14th letterhead and it was just so touching.

    I would dearly love to invite him to PNG and back to Isurava for Anzac Day but he is probably booked out years in advance.

    Russell could not believe his luck to meet this gentleman who fought so bravely on his land and to loose a brother must have been terrible.

    I was only saying in an email today, that once you walk the trail, the walk stays with you forever and you have proven once again, that you still remember!

    This is also Stan's wish, that all young Australians walk the trail so that their sacrifices during World War II are not forgotten. He lost a brother, as for myself, I lost an Uncle (my mother's brother) who I never got the chance to meet as he died aged 23 after four years fighting here in PNG.

    tks again for visiting my website and also for taking the time to post.

    #96302

    hetbruce
    Member

    Hi Aussie,
    Thanks for your reply. I had the great honour to meet Stan Bisset at the 2/14th reunion in Brisbane in July 2005. Stan is now 93 years old and lives at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast in Qld. I live at Wurtulla also on the Sunshine Coast about 40 mins south of Stan.
    In August this year we celebrated 60 years of VP Day with a cross laying in a park in Caloundra that was used as a training ground diring the war. I placed a cross for Butch Bisset and also Bruce Kingsbury VC. We all celebrated at the re-enactment ball where i named each table after a battlefield with the Kokoda campaign to the fore. Our table was Isurava and the Governor of Queensland sat at Gona. Each table was provided with photos and a short account of the battle.
    I must go back and attempt the Track again and the sooner the better—I am now 66. I will start training and see how I shape up.
    I had a lovely chat the other night with a 58 year old man who walked the Track in August this year. He lives in New South Wales.
    Bye for now.
    Bruce hetbruce@austarnet.com.au

    #96303

    aussie
    Member

    Hi Bruce, once again tks for taking the time to post and also for your photographs uploaded by you today. I received an email some time back from Bob McDonald and he told me he went to the same reunion. Also received an email from another person present who had sent some photographs to a family in Popondetta from a couple of years back and they were returned.

    Bob put him in touch with me and would you believe last weekend the photographs were delivered as my business partner recognised the woman and son. So if nothing else Bob knowing me….telling this gentleman to contact me…made him a happy digger and hopefully the family in Popondetta as a promise was fulfilled.

    Re Caloundra: Yes, I was familiar with it being a training camp during the war as I have done research on my mother's brother who was in the 2/7th Australian Infantry Battalion and it appears thats where they were sent to train in 1942 refer below. Later after fighting in and around Wau (Black Cat Trail) / Ramu & helping to take Lae, they were sent home for more training and a good rest.

    Military Units based on the Sunshine Coast
    2/27 Infantry Battalion – (Caloundra – May/Jul 42)

    Quote: The 2/7th, as a whole, first met the Japanese in battle in the mid-January 1943 as part of the force defending Wau in New Guinea, although its carrier platoon had already been involved in fighting at Buna in Papua. Once Wau was made secure in early February, the 2/7th subsequently participated in the drive towards Salamaua. After arriving back in Australia on 6 October 1943, the battalion spent most of 1944 training in northern Queensland. Not too sure if they were sent to the same place as in 1942 above. My uncle joined up on the 15 April 1942 so assume he was sent to Caloundra. He later died on the 10 Mar 1945 in Aitape and is buried in the Lae War Cemetery. One other brother was lucky enough to return.

    unquote

    A Bastard of a Place…..lots of trekkers read lots of books before they come up to trek and this one is a favourite it seems so happy reading!

    bye for now

    Gail Thomas (aussie on pngbd & kokoda websites – why, coz I may have lived here for over 30 + years but I still call Australia HOME!)

    #94256

    hetbruce
    Member

    Hi to all who have hiked the Track.
    Tonight I want to share with you a little part of my 1960 trek by way of an extract of the detailed diary I kept as we hiked. Remember we hiked from Kokoda towards Ower's Corner.
    Day 2—Alola to bush camp above Eora Creek.—Tuesday 5 January 1960.
    5.30 Awake–fog had moved down to Yodda Valley. Cooked breakfast, soup, tomatoes and hard tack biscuit and a cup of coffee.
    6.35 Finished breakfast, packed and took several photos.
    7.08 Completed packing and ready for another hard day of hiking.
    7.15 Moved off.
    7.28 Stopped at small creek after a very steep descent from Alola.
    7.48 Moved off again.
    8.05 Crossed over Alola Creek by a log bridge–fairly easy going so far.
    8.12 Stopped for 5 minutes after a hard climb.
    9.25 Crossed Eora Creek for the first time. I took several photos here.
    9.40 Up packs and off again.
    10.15 Rested for 5 mins. after a hard steep climb out of Eora Creek. We passed many fox holes which was evidence of the rear gaurd action which was fought by the retreating Australians.
    10.55 Rested for 5 mins. We were nearly at the top of a ridge.
    11.17 Stopped at a small stream for water. We seemed to have left all the marsh flies behind us now.
    11.42 Stopped again for water. Easier going now.
    12.18 Arrived at Templeton's Crossing after hiking for 5 hours. We cooked and ate our lunch under a small lean-to on the banks of Eora Creek. Tin of fish, hard tack biscuit, a few raisens and cup of tea. The sky was fast becoming overcast.
    1.20 Started to rain but stopped soon after.
    1.30 Moved off for our camp site.
    2.50 Reached Eora Creek once again after a hard slippery climb up hill and an equally steep descent. The bridge across the creek had been washed away but Corporal Jack and the Papuan Scouts constructed a new one using several logs and army telephone wire as a handrail.
    3.15 Moved off again up a very steep hill made slippery by the rain.
    3.20 Reached a small thatched roof hut, which we used for the night. We had been on the Track for 8 hours and 5 mins. of which we had rested for 2 hours and 15 mins. We cleaned the dirt floor and put fresh leaves down and changed into dry clothes and then prepared dinner—Bully beef, cheese and hard tack biscuits made into a stew and stewed prunes with a cup of tea.
    5.10 All done and cleaned up. We sat and talked to Jack ( our group leader) about the hike so far.
    7.00 Listened to the ABC news on our radio.
    7.20 Lights out. Rain had stopped.
    8.15 Dozed off.

    If you enjoyed this extract let me know and I will continue with another day.

    Bruce

    #97085

    hetbruce
    Member

    Hi all trekkers and readers of this forum.
    Change of email address to hetbruce@bigpond .com

    Also i have started training so that I can prove to myself if I am fit enough to attempt a second crossing of the Kokoda Track. I first crossed it in 1960 at age 20. I will be 68 in June this year.
    Regards,
    Bruce—-hetbruce@bigpond.com

    #105354

    Hi to all readers.
    Change of email address to hetbruce1@bigpond.com
    Love to hear from trekers

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