Not as regularly as I should, I travel to and then walk Melbourne’s Kokoda Track Memorial Walk (1000 Steps) at Ferntree Gully at the foot of the Dandenong Ranges.
In the last few months, the track has been refurbished and renovated. Now at the entrance to the track is a memorial recording the Kokoda Track’s history covering the battles fought and the units involved. The last touch was four obelisks added on a platform.
Two weeks ago when I walked the track I paid them no attention. But last Saturday, I was with my brother David with whom I regularly walk the track. He has also walked the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea and has described his experience at length. He found that walk life-changing.
We walked to the entrance of the track and Dave saw the obelisks. On each of the obelisks is a word : Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice. He turned around and faced them. He was dumbstruck and clearly was struggling with his emotions. After a few minutes, he started to share his thoughts.
He said the same obelisks are at a memorial on the track itself. That memorial commemorated the battle of Isurawa where the troops took the words Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice as watchwords to keep their morale. The battle was lost but in time the enemy was defeated.
He concluded: that’s what I said to myself Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice as I walked along the track. That’s what got me through.