Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kokoda - last day

One of the most desperate battles in Australian history was fought at Isurava between 26 and 30 August 1942. The signs of the ferocity here are still present, weapons’ pits originally used by the Australians at Isurava are still evident in the vicinity of the memorial site. Prior to construction, the memorial site itself was strewn with rusting magazine cartridges, and unexploded mortar shells from the battle.

The Isurava Memorial was constructed in remembrance of all those Australians and Papua New Guineans who fought and those who died on the Kokoda Track in 1942. This site gives more information about its construction and dedication.

The Isurava Monument site offers a spectacular view to the north over the Kokoda Valley, framed by the perfect V-shape of the surrounding mountains.

The Memorial features four Australian black granite pillars that are each inscribed with a single word — COURAGE, ENDURANCE, MATESHIP, and SACRIFICE representing the values and qualities of those Australian soldiers who fought along the Kokoda Track.

On 6 February this month, the Kokoda Trail was closed indefinitely by Koiari landowners who want a proposed copper mining venture by Australian owned Frontier Resources Ltd, that will impact on a section of the track, to go ahead. The landowners say they will get more money from the mining than from the tourism generated from trekkers.

Australia doesn’t want the mining lease to be granted as the Kokoda Trail is seen as sacred historical ground. The landowners are saying that it has nothing to do with Australia and they should “mind their own business”. More details here.

15 comments:

Annie said...

Such beauty, so many memories. I hope it stays just like this.

Marcel said...

A very interesting post. I don’t know how to feel about this after reading your post and the two links. On one hand I can understand the villagers wanting a better income. On the other I have seen the devastation of mining. Not to mention the loss of such an important historic trail.

It also looks very much like the kind of trail my wife and I would have loved to hike someday. There is nothing better than combining, history, beautiful scenery and an adventure all in one.

I surely hope a resolution that will satisfy all can be achieved.

Thanks for posting this.

oldmanlincoln said...

I really appreciate the monument to those who fought there. I hope the island stays pure from now on but I have my doubts.

Donna said...

Oh My Word...how sad...will be praying for a "true" outcome...Stay well sweetie!

alicesg said...

Nice information there. The place looked lovely and the mountains in the background are beautiful.

Denton said...

I hope those preserving history prevail in this dispute ... I remember a previous post where you had a photo of an unexploded shell from the war ... I noticed the self portrait (reflections) of "he who does not blog".

Clueless in boston said...

Beautiful series on the Kokoda Track and all it means to Australians. I had not heard of this battle before, but was aware of the difficult conditions the Allies faced in New Guinea. I hope it can be resolved.

Old Wom Tigley said...

The monuments are stunning and the view is a very fitting tribute to those who fought and died on this hisoric trail.
I hope that mining is not granted, but that is so easy for me to say here many many miles away. I hope that good sense prevails.

Marie said...

Beautiful homage paid to the people who fought there and a great history lesson.

Kate said...

This is a real conundrum, isn't it? I hope the voices of preservation prevail even if it is difficult for the native peoples. Perhaps a solution can be found that is satisfactory for all. Difficult, tho.

ancient one said...

Interesting history!! That is beautiful scenery and a fitting memorial. Loved your pictures!!

Jules said...

Hi All

Yes Kate you summed it up well - it certainly is a conundrum!!!

quintarantino said...

So many memories here. Great post.

dive said...

That's a spectacularly beautiful monument, Jules.
Sounds like the locals are trying to blackmail the Aussie government into compensating them for not destroying a historical site. Not a pleasant situation.

Squirrel said...

The V shaped view is stunning! Nice shots--I am on the mend now!