Bunbury students to walk Kokoda track

Trip of a lifetime: Emily Anderson, Lily Roberts, Tessa Keane,  Darcy Wilson, Patrick Reilly and Brendan Peacock are excited to take on the Kokoda track this July. Photo: Emily Sharp.
Trip of a lifetime: Emily Anderson, Lily Roberts, Tessa Keane, Darcy Wilson, Patrick Reilly and Brendan Peacock are excited to take on the Kokoda track this July. Photo: Emily Sharp.

Six lucky South West students have been selected for a trip of a lifetime, which will see them walk in the footsteps of Australian soldiers. 

A group of Year 10 and 11 students from Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School will spend 10 days on the Kokoda track as part of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

History teacher Leon Maag said student were selected via an application and interview process. 

“It’s going to be an experience of a lifetime,” he said. 

“We are very excited and grateful for the opportunity that has been afforded to our students.

“It’s going to be a physical and mental challenge and we’ve been doing plenty of training.”

The lucky group of students agreed that is was exciting but seemed very daunting as they underwent walks along the Cape to Cape with 20 kilo packs to get ready for the trip.

Patrick Reilly said he was really grateful to have been provided the Duke of Edinburgh scholarship to go. 

“It will be good to get a bit more of a historical background on Kokoda and what the soldiers went through and hopefully we can bear that in mind as we’re walking through,” he said. 

“It’s going to be really hard – we know that but it will probably bring us together as friends as well.”

The group will leave on July 27 and will join students from Scotch College, Perth as two of only six groups around Australia funded to travel along the Kokoda track to learn more about its history during World War II. 

The trip will include days in the mountains, completing memorial services at “Brigade Hill” and a dawn service at the Isurava Memorial. 

Each day will involve hiking for up to 10 hours, camping in local villages, visiting the small schools, and enjoying the company of the locals. 

Two nights in Port Moresby and a visit to the Bomara War Cemetery, where 3,000 servicemen are buried, will conclude the trip.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Australia chief executive Peter Kaye said the experience provided award participants with the opportunity to experience a challenge that would develop strong team skills and push them to their limits.