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New tribute to Kokoda unveiled in Dandenong Ranges National Park
Monday 27 August, 2012
Treasurer Kim Wells joined Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith and Minister for Veterans Affairs Hugh Delahunty to officially open the new Kokoda Memorial Terrace within the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
The Kokoda Memorial Terrace is the first stage of a $1 million upgrade announced by the Victorian Coalition Government last year.
Kokoda veterans and their families attended the official opening yesterday, which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Isurava, one of several significant battles fought by Australian troops along the Kokoda Track. Kokoda veteran Alan Moore, who served in the 39th Battalion, read the ode, “For the Fallen”.
Mr Wells commended members of the 39th, 2/14th 2/16th and 2/27th Battalions Associations for their longstanding work to raise awareness of the Kokoda Campaign and to pay tribute to those who fought to defend Australia in its hour of greatest need.
“The Kokoda Memorial Terrace is wonderful way to honour and respect the history of Kokoda, and give visitors an experience of an important part of Australia’s wartime history,” Mr Wells said.
“The Kokoda Memorial Terrace continues the history of a Kokoda memorial in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which began in 1996 with the installation of commemorative plaques and the establishment of the popular 1000 Steps.
“This is particularly important as this month marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Kokoda, which was so important to the Pacific Campaign in World War II. We remember all those gallant Australians who fought in that battle,” Mr Wells said.
Mr Delahunty said the Kokoda Memorial Terrace featured a wall of interpretive panels which tell the story of the Kokoda campaign, as well as individual stories of soldiers from the 39th, 2/14th and 2/16th and 2/27th Battalions and local Papuans affectionately nicknamed ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ by Australian soldiers.
“I encourage Victorians to learn more about the history of Kokoda and these stories are complemented by photographs, including famous images taken by celebrated Australian combat cameraman Damien Parer,” Mr Delahunty said.
Mr Smith said the Kokoda Memorial Terrace also features four metre pillars symbolising the Kokoda values of courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice, will provide a dedicated space for ceremonial events, and school and community groups.
“The aim of the Kokoda Memorial Terrace is to provide a place for people, especially younger generations, to begin a journey of learning about Kokoda,” Mr Smith said. “Kokoda veterans and family members have worked closely with Parks Victoria in the development of the new Memorial Terrace.”
Other components of the $1 million upgrade include a new purpose built fitness challenge steps, and a Kokoda Memorial Wall.
Mr Smith also announced today the Coalition Government would provide an additional $500,000 to fund the completion of a Memorial Wall which is expected to be finished in 2013.
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