Albanese steps up history trek along Kokoda Trail

Anthony Albanese and PNG Prime Minister James Marape are on the final leg of their walk.

Anthony Albanese and PNG Prime Minister James Marape are on the final leg of their walk. Photo: Twitter

After trekking through dense and mountainous battlefields where Australian troops etched their name into history, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to finish his trip along the Kokoda Track.

Albanese, the first sitting prime minister to walk along the track, will take part in his second and final day on a 15km section of the trail in Papua New Guinea.

The prime minister has been walking the track, the site of a military battle in World War II, alongside Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape, ahead of a dawn service on Anzac Day on Thursday.

Wednesday’s leg of the trek will see Albanese hike from Deniki, a small village along the track to the Isurava battlefield, the site of some of the most intense fighting during the Kokoda campaign.

The six-day battle in August 1942 killed 99 Australia troops and wounded 111.

As well as commemorating the sacrifices of Australian forces, the trip has been cementing closer ties with Papua New Guinea, as China seeks to expand its influence in the region.

Delivering a speech on Tuesday at Kokoda Village, Albanese said the Kokoda campaign had meant Australia and Papua New Guinea would be forever intertwined.

“(Walking alongside Marape) symbolises the fact that Australia and Papua New Guinea’s future is together. Whether it be on defence issues, whether it be in tackling climate change the challenges of the 21st century,” he said.

“Our journey over the coming days until we commemorate the sacred day for Australia of Anzac Day … will be regarded as when we took that extra step forward in forging a relationship of brothers and sisters.”

Meanwhile, the federal government has earmarked a further $120,000 for overseas memorials for Anzac troops.

The funding will preserve the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate memorial in Belgium, as well as the Bougainville memorial in Papua New Guinea, the Australian Light Horse Monument in Israel and the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces bade in the UK.

“These memorials safeguard the legacy of Ausralia’s veterans across the globe, ensuring they will not be forgotten,” Veterans’ Affairs Minister Matt Keogh said.

“The Australian government is committed to honouring the sacrifices of our brave service personnel, in perpetuity, both at home and overseas.”


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