Albanese completes historic Kokoda Trail trek

Andrew Brown |

Anthony Albanese and PNG Prime Minister James Marape are on the final leg of their walk.
Anthony Albanese and PNG Prime Minister James Marape are on the final leg of their walk.

After traversing dense and mountainous battlefields where Australian troops etched their names into history, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has finished his walk along the Kokoda Track.

Mr Albanese, the first sitting prime minister to take on track, took part in a two-day trip along a 15km section of the trail in Papua New Guinea.

The trek was made alongside Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape ahead of Anzac Day commemorations on Thursday.

Mr Albanese will give an address at a dawn service at the Isuvara Memorial along the track, the site of some of the most intense fighting during the Kokoda campaign in World War II.

The fighting in August 1942 killed 99 Australian troops and wounded 111.

The dawn service at Kokoda will be among the multiple commemorations marking Anzac Day internationally as well as in Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles will represent Australia at the dawn service at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, with Thursday marking 109 years since the landings in Turkey during World War I.

Preparations are also being made for commemorations at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra for Anzac Day, along with services at cenotaphs and memorials across the country from major cities to regional towns.

Speaking in Malaysia ahead of commemorations at Sandakan, where Australians were held as prisoners of war, Assistant Veterans’ Affairs Minister Matt Thistlethwaite said it was critical that the sacrifices of defence personnel be remembered.

“It’s something that we must be ever vigilant in ensuring that younger generations and future generations understand and know about the service and sacrifice of our forebears,” he said.

Meanwhile, the federal government has earmarked a further $120,000 for overseas memorials for Anzac troops.

The funding will preserve the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate memorial in Belgium, as well as the Bougainville memorial in Papua New Guinea, the Australian Light Horse Monument in Israel and the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces badge in the UK.

“These memorials safeguard the legacy of Australia’s veterans across the globe, ensuring they will not be forgotten,” Veterans’ Affairs Minister Matt Keogh said.

“The Australian government is committed to honouring the sacrifices of our brave service personnel, in perpetuity, both at home and overseas.”