Kokoda – The ANZAC Spirit!

2015 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landing and the birth of the ANZACs. The ANZAC spirit was born out of immense hardship and overwhelming circumstances on a beach in Turkey. This defining battle involved Australia and New Zealand joining as one to take on the insurmountable challenge of taking Gallipoli and advancing the Allied troops across Turkey and into Europe. The Gallipoli campaign helped to unify Australia in its infancy and shape us into the strong nation that we are in 2015. In the words of Charles Bean, “Anzac stood, and still stands, for reckless valor in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship, and endurance that will never own defeat”.[1]

The ANZAC spirit was again tested in World War 2 as Australia joined Allied forces to withstand the enemy. The Kokoda campaign began in 1942 and was another overwhelming battle fought in a brutal environment. The Kokoda Track is a single-file trail that runs 90–100 km through the Owen Stanley Ranges to Kokoda and the coastal lowlands beyond by the Solomon Sea. The Kokoda track crosses some of the most rugged and isolated terrain in the world, reaches 2,250 m (7,380 ft) at Mount Bellamy, and combines hot humid days with intensely cold nights, torrential rainfall and endemic tropical diseases such as malaria. The Kokoda track is passable only on foot, and as the campaign developed this had extreme repercussions for logistics, the size of forces deployed and the type of warfare that could be conducted.[2]

The Kokoda campaign was different from Gallipoli as the ANZACs went over to fight Britain’s enemy in World War 1 and by World War 2 they were fighting their very own enemy. They were not defending the empire or fulfilling Australia’s strategic alliances, they were fighting a desperate battle to defend their country. “They knew they were the only people between the Japanese and their families, which is why they did what they did,” (Stockdale 2012). Their endurance in tough situations exemplified the ANZAC spirit and helped save countless lives.

1. National Library of Australia, “Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean”
2. Perusse 1993, p. 98

Kokoda Track Tours departing on the following dates: 23 April 2015 | 6 October 2015 | 25 March 2016 | 2 September 2016. Advance bookings required. For more information, please contact Adventure Bound Tours on phone 0427 603 602.

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