In July 2002 I went on a research trip to Papua New Guinea, where I walked The Kokoda Track with eight fellows and our porters. Two of the men were brothers and their father was in the famous 39th Battalion during WW2. Their two sons were also in the group, along with family friends, myself and, Reg, our trek leader.
It took ten days to walk the track. Some days we walked for nine hours. The photo below shows the starting point.
The sons (Bob and Alan) and grandsons (John and Brendan) of Mr Neal, the 39th Battalion veteran, were looking at this war memorial at the Kokoda battle site.
The track was always steep and slippery, sometimes it was misty too.
Here are some villagers that we met along the way.
We walked up and over the mountains in the background below.
At last we finished!! Climbing the last hill and seeing the Kokoda Trail sculpture at Ower's Corner was an amazing feeling. The photo below shows my trekking mates.
From the left; Brendan, Bob, Alan, John, me, Shane, Trevor, Reg and Bruce. All the guys had military connections, so I learnt heaps about weapons, battle strategies and the history of Kokoda. This information will be really useful, as the YA manuscript I'm working on is set in PNG.
The last two photos are at Gona, on the northern coast of PNG. Japanese and Australian soldiers fought in horrendous conditions at Gona in 1942. The villagers are happy to welcome visitors and to show them the old battle sites.