NSW Police Legacy Kokoda Anzac Trek 2014

30 Apr 2014 12:00 PMNSW Police Legacy Kokoda Anzac Trek 2014

In its ninth year now, the NSW Police took on the challenge of doing the Kokoda Track as a team including 6 young kids who had lost at least one of their uniformed parents. These young kids and Police Officers organized and attended functions to create some funds that would allow them to “put back in”... Here is their story

In 1942, take the best of the youth of Australia and take them at their physical peak: burden them with equipment weighing anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds (22 to 31kgs). Dress them in khaki uniforms designed for the desert, not the jungle, expose them to a claustrophobic environment that will test their alert minds; and send them across terrain that will exhaust the fittest of them. Feed them so sparingly that they will lose two to three stone in weight (13 to 19kgs) over a period of six to eight weeks, expose them to humid, sweating days and cold wet nights, blessed only with half a blanket or a ground sheet, put them in a weapon pit half full of water. Isolate them by creating a situation where they can be resupplied only by air or over taxed Papuan carriers, and never to a degree whereby they can gain sufficient strength to perform at their optimum level.

These young soldiers are not naïve they know that the further they struggle forward, the further they slip away from their supplies… bullets and tucker….and in every man’s mind is the daunting task of a wound.

Will there be enough stretchers, enough carriers to carry them out, and critically if they can’t crawl out or stagger out … what price falling into the enemy’s hands?

This is the Kokoda track, the ultimate military obstacle course.

In its ninth year now, the NSW Police took on the challenge of doing the Kokoda Track as a team including 6 young kids who had lost at least one of their uniformed parents. These young kids had become "Legatees" and were being supported by Police Legacy.  Police Legacy is a Police funded organization that looks after children of fallen Police Officers, it offers scholarships for education, community support, help with other funding requirements as well as a host of other roles it helps fulfill.

The journey had begun over 6 months prior to airport departure with these young kids and police officers organizing and attending functions to enable them to create some funds that would allow them to “put back in” that is to give other unfortunate children an opportunity to grow and perhaps even experience education, no different to what Police Legacy had done for them….

Brigade Hill ANZAC Trek 2014Cons Rock on Kokoda Track ANZAC Trek 2014Brigade Hill on Kokoda Track ANZAC Trek 2014

After much support and incredible effort in particular from Police officer And Police Legacy Director, Jane Prior and from many other sources, the NSW Police and young Legattees procured a container load of clothes and food that could be used to make that Difference amongst the isolated villages of the Kokoda Track region that sit nestled in some of the most inhospitable terrain.

For the past 9 years the Officers had supported a local School and hospitals to try ease ”their” challenge. The hardest part would be in getting this container load from Sydney to the jungles of PNG… this is where TOLL came to the rescue, having heard about what Police Legacy and its supporters were trying to do and understanding the Logistical obstacles, TOLL offered to help.

The first stop off being the hospital at Popendetta and the donation of much needed funds and medicines and other equipment which had been transported in by TOLL, there was not a dry eye amongst these battle hardened Police Officers as they took an escorted tour of this very under-funded hospital. To see the state of the wards containing children that were clearly barely hanging on to the threads of life, to see their concerned parents, reaching out, longing, begging for help…. It was a very moving sight, the group left, confident that the donations would go a long way to helping these people.

As Jane would later say “if we can just make their life a little easier than all the long hours and effort has been worth it, there is no price you can put on seeing our young Legatee’s make such a valuable contribution and have the opportunity to pass on some of the support they have received from Police Legacy”.

NSW Police Legatees Giving Aid to Children on Kokoda Track ANZAC 2014NSW Police Legatees Giving Aid to Children on Kokoda Track ANZAC 2014

The Trek logistical support team which consisted of over 50 Porters/Legends or carriers, one couldn’t help but think …how similar this efficient line would have been to their grandfathers of 1942 and the original Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels as they too ensured that essential supplies made it to the frontline and wherever needed.

Upon arrival in Kokoda and carrying out the distribution of more funds and medicines to Kokoda hospital soon had all participants forgetting about the challenging journey. Stepping right up, the confident young kids from Police Legacy proudly handed over the hard earned funds to Sister Margaret, a well-known identity for many years working tirelessly in the Hospital.

As the group then made their way off up the road and finally the start of the Challenge of the Kokoda Track, the heat had set in and some were feeling its effects. Working closely together and as a team the group would support each other as they overcame the incredible journey and challenge of completing the Kokoda Track.  As the historically enriched 9 day journey unfolded, participants were challenged from many formats, the heat and humidity, the terrain, the emotion, the physical and mental exhaustion all added to create the perfect cauldron for adventure.

As the group trekked many long lasting friendships and networks were formed, as they supported each other over the mountainous ranges, which would lead to an Esprit de Corp like no other.

The constant presence of the passionate history presentations helped to ensure that the focus remained on the fact that “others” had paid the supreme sacrifice to ensure we have the beautiful Australia and its freedoms we are so accustomed to enjoying, they paid the bill…

NSW Police Legacy 2014 - Isurava, Kokoda Track

At the conclusion of the track, it was clear to all participants what is achievable if you have the correct support and guidance in its many formats,

The Group on the April 25th, Anzac Day would make their way to the Bomana Cemetery where they would be the official Police party representing the State of NSW and NSW Police Legacy, NT Police and NT Legacy, NSW Ambulance service, NSW Fire Brigade. They would stand resplendent in their uniforms, medals neatly and proudly displayed, some would wear their grandfather’s medals or other family members no longer present.

The sudden resonating sound of the bugle as the last post broke through the darkness that officially signified the commencement of the official ANZAC Dawn Service in Bomana Cemetery in Papua New Guinea.  The soulful silence that followed as the sun slowly arose and shone an eerie glow across the thousands of headstones. 

They stood proud at Bomana Cemetery and remembered those that fought for life along the Track are forever acknowledged and remembered. 

NSW Police Bomana Cemetery ANZAC Trek 2014

Anzac Day period is also a time to reflect on the great contribution that current service personnel continue to make, and uphold that great Legacy sustained through many campaigns.

“they gave their tomorrow’s,

So that we could have a


Bomana Cemetery ANZAC Dawn