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Kokoda 2017- Ruby Huitson

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign and the Battle of Milne Bay. I was fortunate enough to walk the Kokoda Track in April, to honour those brave soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom. Although I was aware of the sacrifices made by these soldiers, it was not until I was exposed to the countless rows of headstones that filled Bomana Cemetery, that I could fathom just how many young men were killed. On completion of the track, I attended the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Bomana Cemetery, where I had the honour of laying a wreath on behalf of Northern Territory Police Legacy. It was a privilege to experience such a moving service and pay my respects to these heroes.

The 96 km track, was one that was physically challenging with its steep topography, rain, humidity and thick mud that coated our boots. However, our guide, Aidan Grimes, provided insight and knowledge into the hardships that our soldiers faced and as a result, our struggles were diminished. Along the way, if help was needed, the local legends were always there to lend a hand, following in the footsteps of their ancestors “The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.” As each grueling day came to a close, we were rewarded with warm receptions from the local villagers, breathtaking mountaintop views and refreshing swims in the swift-flowing rivers.

I had the privilege of walking the track with both NSW Police Legatees and Police Officers from New South Wales and the Northern Territory. I feel so fortunate to have been surrounded by such amazing people who have become good friends. Throughout our trek, the correlation between the work these police officers do and our soldiers was recognised. The similar circumstances of the soldiers giving their lives for their country and my dad giving his life for his community made the journey emotionally challenging, however, all the more special.

I cannot express enough gratitude to all those involved in NT Police Legacy. Those who continue to donate and raise awareness have provided me with this incredible opportunity. I hope through reading this article, those involved can see the difference they’re making to the lives of NT Police Legacy legatees and the importance that it continues into the future. When the opportunity presents itself, I encourage younger NT Police Legacy Legatees to take part in this challenging, yet rewarding journey.

Ruby Huitson