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The Kokoda
Kokoda
Track or Trail
Trail
is a single-file foot thoroughfare that runs 96 kilometres (60 mi) overland – 60 kilometres (37 mi) in a straight line – through the Owen Stanley Range
Owen Stanley Range
in Papua New Guinea. The track was the location of the 1942 World War II battle between Japanese and Allied – primarily Australian – forces in what was then the Australian territory of Papua. The track runs from Owers Corner in Central Province, 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of Port Moresby, across rugged and isolated terrain which is only passable on foot, to the village of Kokoda
Kokoda
in Oro Province. It reaches a height of 2,190 metres (7,185 ft) as it passes around the peak of Mount Bellamy.[1] The track travels primarily through the land of the Mountain Koiari people. Hot, humid days with intensely cold nights, torrential rainfall and the risk of endemic tropical diseases such as malaria make it a challenging trek. Hiking the trail normally takes between four and twelve days; the fastest recorded time is 16 hours 34 minutes.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Popularity and deaths

2 Nomenclature 3 Trekking 4 Kokoda
Kokoda
Challenge Race

4.1 2005 4.2 2006 4.3 2007 4.4 2008 4.5 2011 4.6 2012

5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

History[edit] The track was first surveyed in 1899 by Henry Hamilton Stuart-Russell in order to create a path from Port Moresby
Port Moresby
to the north coast of New Guinea. Stuart-Russell's group shot numerous local people as he encountered their opposition along his journey. In particular, as they were approaching the Yodda Valley, indigenous resistance was met with rifle-fire with Stuart-Russell noting that the tribesmen,

"not being familiar with the effect of a bullet from a Martini-Henry or Snider rifle, they imagined their shields sufficient protection..the rifle practice, however, was too good and though they came on again and again..they were repulsed every time with loss"[2]

The colonial government, having received messages of the surveyor's obstacles, sent Capt. Charles Monckton to resupply the group with food, ammunition and troopers of the Native Constabulary. Monckton reached the surveyor's camp finding that they were barricaded in a log hut surrounded by local tribesmen. Monckton's force "swept away the surrounding natives" and as soon as "the rifle fire died away" they were able to unite with Stuart-Russell's group.[3] Stuart-Russell also discovered gold in the area which encouraged British and Anglo-Australian prospectors to enter the region that was to become known as the Yodda Kokoda
Kokoda
goldfields. Due to conflict between these miners and the local tribes, the colonial paramilitary force, the Armed Native Constabulary, was ordered to enforce British rule in the region. From 1900, officers such as William Armit, Alexander Elliot and Archibald Walker led their troopers to crush any opposition, killing many villagers. Armit, who was previously a sub-inspector in the notorious Native Police
Native Police
force in Queensland, alone led a patrol that shot dead seventeen people in one village in the upper reaches of the Mambare River. In 1904, the colonial management decided to establish a government settlement to act as a base for the troopers and consolidate British rule. This station became known as Kokoda
Kokoda
and from this base the Armed Native Constabulary was able to subdue the local population. Paths from Kokoda
Kokoda
were made with forced labour from local and distant tribes. Government officer, Henry Griffin ordered that those who refused to labour were to be punished with the shooting of their pigs and stealing of their taro plants.[4] Between July 1942 and November 1942, a series of battles, afterwards called the Kokoda
Kokoda
Track Campaign, were fought between the Japanese and Australian forces. This action was memorialised in the newsreel documentary Kokoda
Kokoda
Front Line!, filmed by cameraman Damien Parer, which won Australia's first Academy Award for its director Ken G. Hall in 1942.

Crossing Eora Creek on the Kokoda
Kokoda
Track

After the war, the track fell into disuse and disappeared in many places. John Landy, the long-distance runner, set a record of four days for the crossing using carriers and guides during the 1950s, and in 1964 Angus Henry, the art teacher at Sogeri High School, along with two of his students, John Kadiba and Misty Baloiloi, set a new record which was to stand until after the millennium by completing the journey in three and a quarter days without guides, carriers or any signposts or bridges. In 2006, the Owen Stanley Ranges and Kokoda
Kokoda
Track was included on the Tentative List for World Heritage along with three other sites from PNG. The 1.5 million hectare property is a mixed cultural and natural site covering a significant proportion of the Owen Stanley Ranges and including the Kokoda
Kokoda
Track, Managalas Plateau and Mount Victoria and Mount Albert Edward region. The World War II battle sites were a key reason for cultural listing along with the unique cultures of the Koiari peoples. The Owen Stanley Ranges, through which the Kokoda Track passes, is one of the most biologically important areas in the Asia Pacific with over 4000 plant species and many endemic bird and animal species. The Kokoda
Kokoda
Track Foundation, established in 2003, helps villages along the track with education and healthcare. There is a proposal to turn the track into an Australian heritage destination on a par with ANZAC Cove at Gallipoli.[5] Creation of the heritage area, is in part a response to the issue of an Australian gold mining company wanting to mine on or near the track. As of 2007[update], the idea was backed by the Australian government and Papua New Guinea's foreign minister.[5] In November 2007, Australian mining firm Frontier Resources announced plans to divert a section of the track to make way for a copper mine.[6] The plan has the support of the local landowners and the Papua New Guinean government but has been criticized by trekking operators.[6] The track has been closed numerous times by villagers along the route in response to various grievances. In May 2009, villagers at Kovelo – near Kokoda
Kokoda
village – blocked the track after complaints that money collected from trekking fees was not being distributed fairly.[7] Popularity and deaths[edit]

Number of walkers[8]

Year Walkers

2001 76

2002 365

2003 1074

2004 1584

2005 2374

2006 3747

2007 5146

2008 5600

2009 4366

2010 2871

2011 2914

2012 3597

2013 3246

2014 1686 up to 31/07/2014

Since 2001, there has been a rapid increase in the number of people walking the track (see table at right). Six Australian trekkers have died from natural causes while attempting to walk the track. Four of those deaths occurred in 2009, with two in the same week in April and another two 8 days apart in September and October.[8][9][10][11] The deaths have sparked calls for mandatory fitness tests for all walkers before starting.[12] As popularity for walking the track has increased, there have been calls for more regulation of trek operators with some operators taking as many as 150 walkers in a group.[10][13] In response the Kokoda Track Authority has announced that from the beginning of 2010, tour operators must have a commercial licence which will "address things such as training requirements and first aid details". In August 2009, the Kokoda
Kokoda
Track was the destination for a group of trekkers that were killed when their light plane, Airlines PNG Flight 4684, crashed en route to Kokoda
Kokoda
Station.[14] All 13 people on board, including 9 Australian trekkers, were killed in the crash.[14] As a result, the Australian Government committed $1.8 million to improve safety along the track. Funds would be used to improve the safety of airstrips at Kokoda, Menari, Kagi, Melei, Efogi, and Naduri, villages located along the track. A second radio channel would also be installed to deal with emergencies and maintenance work.[15] In October 2009, Don Vale became the oldest Australian (at 83) to successfully complete the Kokoda
Kokoda
Track.[16] In November 2009, Australian paralympian Kurt Fearnley
Kurt Fearnley
(born without the lower section of his spine [17]) completed the track, crawling north to south, in 11 days. A multiple paralympic gold medalist (T54 Marathon in Athens and Beijing), he used customized shin pads and wrist guards. His journey was to raise awareness of men's health issues and was inspired by the story of Corporal John Metson, who crawled the track for three weeks, refusing the assistance of a stretcher on the grounds it would burden his comrades.[18] Nomenclature[edit]

The monument at Owers Corner

There has been much debate in Australia
Australia
about whether it should be called the " Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail" or the " Kokoda
Kokoda
Track". The monument at Owers Corner uses both terms: "Track" on one side and "Trail" on the other. " Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail" was gazetted as the official name of the route by the Australian administration of Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
in 1972.[19] The earliest mention of the route in an Australian newspaper may be in The Argus on Wednesday 29 July 1942 in a map when it refers to "the Buna Kokoda-Moresby track". According to historian Stuart Hawthorne, before World War II, the route was referred to as "the overland mail route" or "the Buna road". He states that " Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail" became common because of its use in Australian newspapers during the war, the first known instance being in Sydney's Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
on 27 October 1942.[19] However, all three terms Kokoda
Kokoda
Track, Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail
Trail
and Buna-Kokoda road were commonly used during World War II in Australian newspapers from September 1942.[20][21][22] The diary of the Australian Army's 2/33rd Battalion records the route being officially designated as the " Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail" in September 1942.[23] The Australian Army
Australian Army
has used " Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail" as a battle honour since 1957. The Australian War Memorial
Australian War Memorial
(AWM) says that "trail" is probably of United States origin but has been used in many Australian history books and "appears to be used more widely".[24] Despite the historical use of "Trail", "Track" gained dominance in the 1990s, with the Australian Macquarie Dictionary
Macquarie Dictionary
stating that while both versions were in use, Kokoda
Kokoda
Track "appears to be the more popular of the two".[25] Trekking[edit]

Naduri Village along the track

The track can be walked from either direction. Some say that from Kokoda
Kokoda
to Owers Corner is easier, even though in that direction one must actually climb an extra 550 metres in height. The track can take anything from 4 days to 12 days to complete, depending on fitness and rest time involved. Locals are renowned for being able to regularly complete it in 3 days. The best time to trek Kokoda
Kokoda
is from April to September, during the 'dry' season. There are a number of guesthouses located along the way, some at villages and others at traditional rest spots. The main villages passed through (from Owers Corner) are Naoro, Menari, Efogi Creek 1 & 2, Kagi or Naduri (if shortcut is taken), Alolo, Isurava, Hoi, Kovolo. Villagers are increasingly taking part in the commercial opportunities created by the growing number of tourists; in October 2006, some were known to be selling cans of soft drink and beer at double the price payable in Port Moresby. Guides and porters can be found more easily at the Kokoda
Kokoda
end of the track by asking the local police station for a reputable person. The Kokoda
Kokoda
Track Authority (the PNG Special
Special
Purpose Authority with responsibility for managing the Track) requires tour operators to hold a Commercial Operators Licence to lead treks along the Kokoda
Kokoda
Track and purchase a trek permit. Licensed operators carry first aid kits, undertake first aid training, carry radios and/or satellite phones, respect the people who live along the Track and ensure their porters and guides are treated in a professional manner. A list of licensed operators is available on its website.[26] Trekkers walking with unlicensed operators will be stopped by the KTA Rangers and the local people. Kokoda
Kokoda
Challenge Race[edit] The Kokoda
Kokoda
Challenge Race is an endurance running race that was revived on 27 August 2005. The race originally ran in 1975 but stopped before becoming an annual event.[27] The Kokoda
Kokoda
Challenge inaugural race commenced in 2005. The current race record holder in both directions is Brendan Buka, with a best time of 16:34.05 in 2008 from Owers Corner to Kokoda
Kokoda
and a time of 17:20 in the direction of Kokoda
Kokoda
to Owers' Corner via Naduri.

Kokoda
Kokoda
Challenge Race Records

Direction Record holder Record time Year

Kokoda
Kokoda
to Owers Corner via Naduri Brendan Buka 17:20 2007

Owers Corner to Kokoda Brendan Buka 16:34.05 2008

Kokoda
Kokoda
to Owers' Corner via Kagi Ramsy Idau 18:28 2012

2005[edit] The inaugural race of 27 August 2005 was won by John Hunt Hiviki, who completed it in 22 hours, one minute and 14 seconds.[28] 2006[edit] On 27 August 2006, Brendan Buka, a 22-year-old Papua New Guinean trekking porter from Kokoda, conquered the trail from Owers Corner to Kokoda
Kokoda
in a winning time of 17 hours, 49 minutes and 17 seconds.[29] A Sydney engineer, Damon Goerke, 32 became the first Australian to run the track in under 24 hours, coming third in the 2006 challenge with a time of just under 19.5 hours. 2007[edit] The race record was again broken by Buka in the 2007 event when he completed the track in 17 hours 20 minutes on 26 August 2007, running in the reverse direction from Kokoda
Kokoda
to Owers Corner.[30] The 2007 event also featured runners running from Owers Corner to Kokoda and a wnning time of 19 hours 9 minutes was set in this direction by Tom Hango.[30] First Australian over the line was Kokoda
Kokoda
talisman, Rohan George in what was recorded as the toughest race conditions to date. [31] 2008[edit] On 31 August 2008, Buka once again rewrote the record books by winning the 2008 race with a time of 16:34:05.[32] The conditions were the worst that they had been in the three years that Buka had competed in the event. That year, Buka trained, which is why he claims he broke his own record. Wayne Urina, claiming second place, is currently the 2nd fastest man to complete the crossing of the Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail
Trail
with a time of 18:34:06. Cyprian Aire came third with 19:11:40. 2011[edit] In 2011, the Kokoda
Kokoda
Challenge Race was run on 27 August. The race commenced from Ower's Corner and finished at the new Kokoda
Kokoda
Archway. The race was organised and sponsored by Kokoda
Kokoda
Trekking. Brendan Buka once again won the race in a time of 17:50:33 but did not break his previous record set in 2008. 2012[edit] The Kokoda
Kokoda
Challenge Race in 2012 was run on 25 August. The race commenced from the Kokoda
Kokoda
Archway and went for the first time via Kagi Village and finished at Owers' Corner. The race once again was sponsored by Kokoda
Kokoda
Trekking. This year saw a new champion emerge by the name of Ramsy Idau of Kokoda
Kokoda
(who walks the Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail
Trail
as a porter with Kokoda
Kokoda
Trekking), set a new record with a time of 18:28:00. Prize money was set at K10,000 PNG Kina. In the race there were several top class competitors from Australia, Damon Goerke (returning for a second time); Richard Mountstephens; Chris Wight (nephew of Stan and Butch Bissett 2/14th); Jonathan O'Loughlin; Chris Turnbull; Andrew Turner and Dave Jennings. William Bennett also competed in his second Kokoda
Kokoda
Challenge Race and finished in a time of 31:09:10. The race was a successful event which also saw for the first time two Japanese runners compete against the 8 Australians and 22 Papua New Guineans in this the 70th Anniversary of the Kokoda
Kokoda
Campaign. The two Japanese runners, Makoto Yoshimoto and Yukiya Higuchi finished in a time of 42:56:36. Results:

Winner: Ramsy Idau, Time 18:28:00 2nd: Horace Yauga, Time 18:51:31 3rd: Chris Wight, Time 19:26:31 4th: Cyprian Aire, Time 19:51:56 5th: Damon Goerke, Time 19:59:05

In August 2012 checkpoints were as follows: Isurava Village; Eora Creek; 1900/Myola Junction; Kagi; Efogi; Menari; Maguli Range; Ioribaiwa; finish at Owers' Corner See also[edit]

Kokoda
Kokoda
Track Memorial Walkway

References[edit]

^ Pérusse, Yvon (July 1993). Bushwalking in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
(2 ed.). Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia, Berkeley, Calif: Lonely Planet. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-86442-052-7.  ^ British New Guinea. Administrator. (1888), Annual report on British New Guinea, Govt Printer, retrieved 19 March 2018  ^ Monckton, C.A.W. (1921). Some experiences of a New Guinea resident magistrate. London: John Lane. p. 160.  ^ Nelson, Hank (1976). Black, White and Gold. Canberra: ANU Press.  ^ a b " Kokoda
Kokoda
'heritage' a step closer". Brisbane Times. Fairfax. 18 May 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2011.  ^ a b "Mining firm urged to leave Kokoda
Kokoda
Track alone". News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 November 2007.  ^ Fox, Liam (8 May 2009). "Disgruntled villagers block Kokoda
Kokoda
Track". Online News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2009-05-12.  ^ a b Ellie Harvey (21 April 2009). " Kokoda
Kokoda
death highlights safety concerns". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 1.  ^ " Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail
Trail
tour operators fear 'cowboys' walk among them". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2011.  ^ a b "Deaths spark calls for Kokoda
Kokoda
conduct code". Online News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-25.  ^ "Another Australian dies on Kokoda
Kokoda
Track". Online News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-06.  ^ " Kokoda
Kokoda
trekkers 'should pass fitness tests'". Online News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-06.  ^ Mark, David (24 April 2009). " Kokoda
Kokoda
'cowboys' endangering lives, operator says". The World Today. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2009-04-25.  ^ a b "No survivors in PNG plane crash". News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-12.  ^ Sunday Telegraph, 6 September 2009, p.13 ^ The Daily Telegraph, 6 October 2009, p9 / www.dailytelegraph.com.au ^ Australia's most inspirational athlete confronts the toughest challenge of his amazing life The Daily Telegraph ^ "Fearnley conquers Kokoda
Kokoda
Track". ABC News.  ^ a b " Kokoda
Kokoda
Track or Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail?". Kokoda
Kokoda
Trekking. Retrieved 2007-01-16.  ^ The Canberra Times, Tuesday 22 September 1942 ^ The Argus 21 September 1942 ^ The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 26 September 1942 ^ James, William M. (2006). Field Guide to the Kokoda
Kokoda
Track: an historical guide to the lost battlefields (R/P ed.). Lane Cove, N.S.W: Kokoda
Kokoda
Press. pp. 40–41. ISBN 0977570401. ISBN 978-0977570409.  ^ "Encyclopedia: Kokoda
Kokoda
Trail". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 2007-01-16.  ^ Macquarie Dictionary
Macquarie Dictionary
(4 ed.). 2005. p. 791.  ^ Kokoda
Kokoda
Track Authority website ^ AAP (24 August 2007). "Three Aussie women in Kokoda
Kokoda
Track race". The Sydney Morning Herald.  ^ " Kokoda
Kokoda
Trekkers Hall of Fame". kokodatrail.com.pg. Retrieved 2007-03-05.  ^ "PNG local sets new Kokoda
Kokoda
track record". ABC News Online. 27 August 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-05.  ^ a b Jones, Lloyd (27 August 2007). "PNG trekking porter sets Kokoda record". news.com.au.  ^ Fitzsimmons, Peter (19 October 2007). "Between a rock and a hard place". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2007.  ^ " Kokoda
Kokoda
Challenge 2008 Race - Completed, 30th - 31st August 2008". kokodatrekking.com.au. 31 August 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 

Further reading[edit]

Baker, Clive (2006). Kokoda
Kokoda
Trek: A Walking Guide to the World Famous Trek. Loftus NSW: Australian Military History Publications. 

James, William M. (2012). Field Guide to the Kokoda
Kokoda
Track: An Historical Guide to the Lost Battlefields (3rd Edition). Lane Cove, N.S.W: Kokoda
Kokoda
Press. 

External links[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kokoda
Kokoda
Track.

An Eyemo camera used in 1942 by Damien Parer
Damien Parer
filming Kokoda
Kokoda
Front Line! in New Guinea is held at National Museum Australia
Australia
Canberra Kokoda
Kokoda
Challeng

.