WHEN a group of the Shoalhaven’s youth arrive in Papua New Guinea later this month to walk the Kokoda Track, they will have with them an array of gifts for children at an infants school in Kovelo, near Kokoda.
The gifts have come from the Shoalhaven branch of the National Servicemen’s Association, in recognition of the tremendous support the people of Papua New Guinea gave to Australian troops as they lived and fought on the island.
Branch welfare officer Jeana Body said local resident Earl Strudwick experienced that assistance first hand, when he gave a family a can of bully beef at Milne Bay, and the family showed its gratitude through assistance to the soldier.
While many groups and organisations have expressed their compassion and support for the people of Papua New Guinea, trek organiser Milton Lay said this had not always made an impact on the lives of villagers.
“To the trekking company’s knowledge, the school has never had anything like this before,” Mr Lay said.
The group of 30 young Shoalhaven residents and 10 mentors will leave for the physically demanding trek on September 27, returning to Australia on October 8.