Bronte Heslehurst was sponsored by the Nowra RSL Sub Branch to walk the Kokoda Track last September and it was something she will never forget.
(min cost $8)
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She is a year 12 student at Nowra Anglican College and she recently presented the Rotary Club of Bomaderry members with an interesting 15-minute video which outlined her trek and the battles that Australian forces fought on the Kokoda Track against Japanese Imperial forces.
Bronte’s group started their trek 40 km northeast of Port Moresby going through 144 km mainly through dense jungle.
Bronte, to prepare, had trained at the gym and climbed Pidgeon House Mountain with a pack.
The Japanese attack attempted to gain Port Moresby for an assault on the Australian mainland lasted until November 1942.
With no road access and heavy fighting, 625 Australians were killed in battle on the Kokoda Track. There were 4000 casualties due to sickness.
The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels gave incredible support to the Australian soldiers.
Bronte and her friends had long days on the track with a 4.30am start and a 6pm finish, averaging about 15km per day for a total of 144km in 10 days, quite an achievement.
This was emotionally and physically challenging but people grew in self-confidence.
Bronte appreciates what we have in Australia, compared to the Papua New Guinean people who are so poor.
Her group loved playing with the local children as they always seemed happy.
Of the 22 trekkers, 20 made it through and two had to be flown out by helicopter, one too unfit and another suffering heat stroke.
It was a talk enjoyed by all, including Bronte’s parents.
Here are excerpts from a poem from the 39th battalion.
“Imagine a track designed by the devil, “ clothes became rags in less than a day”, “that medal is for the mates that didn’t come back”.
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