PNG’s PM Marape to ‘give hand to his bro’ Albanese on Kokoda Trail

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (left) and his Papua New Guinea counterpart James Marape at Kokoda
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (left) and his Papua New Guinea counterpart James Marape at Kokoda today . . . Albanese is the first sitting Australian PM to partially walk the famous trail. Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has arrived at Kokoda Station, Northern province, at the start of his state visit to Papua New Guinea.

Both Albanese and Prime Minister James Marape will meet with the locals and the Northern Provincial government before they begin their walk along the historic 96km Kokoda Trail.

Both men were “excited” with Marape saying “he was there to lend a hand to his brother PM”.

Meanwhile, the heroism of Australian soldier Private Bruce Steel Kingsbury is being remembered in advance of ANZAC Day.

Knowing his platoon would not last long with the continuous attack by the Japanese and suffering severe losses during World War Two, Private Kingsbury made the heroic decision to move against the continuous firing and attacked the enemy which cost his life on 29 August 1942.

The battle took place at Isurava, Kokoda. Where Private Kingsbury fell is a memorial which is known as “Kingsbury Rock” beside the Isurava Memorial which Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will visit for the ANZAC Dawn service.

Private Kingsbury’s sacrifice earned him a Victoria Cross. He is buried at the Bomana War Cemetery outside Port Moresby and is one of 625 Australians who were killed in action along the Kokoda track, another 1055 were wounded.

Battle for PNG
The battle to protect Papua and New Guinea, as it was known back then, took about 9000 lives and the remnants of war still remain in the jungles of PNG with more men still missing in action.

Private Bruce Kingsbury
Private Bruce Kingsbury . . . a memorial known as “Kingsbury Rock” stands where he fell in battle against the Japanese in 1942. Image: PNG Post-Courier

Prime ministers Marape and Albanese will walk a section of the Kokoda track to honour the shared history and enduring bond between the two nations.

“The visit of Prime Minister Albanese underscores the close relationships between our countries,” said Prime Minister Marape.

“I’ll be joining him for a walk along the Kokoda Trail.”

Albanese is set to be the first sitting prime minister to walk part of the famous 96km track.

Kevin Rudd walked the Kokoda Track in 2006 while he was opposition leader while former prime minister Scott Morrison also hiked the track in 2009 during his time as a backbench MP.

Miriam Zarriga is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.

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