District 201V1-4, Victoria, Australia

The Kokoda Project

Kokoda Trek 2013

Congratulations Justin Noonan for taking this on and by the looks of things you enjoyed it.

The local paper has provided some great shots of those involved.

This one reflection from the trip:

TWENTY year 11 students from St Bernards and Mount Alexander College have returned inspired by the trip of a lifetime.

The students, police officers, paramedics and teachers got home last week after tackling the gruelling eight-day 96-kilometre Kokoda trek that tested their courage, endurance and self-belief. 

St Bernards teacher Xavier Cox said he was overwhelmed by the students’ maturity.

Moonee Valley Inspector Nigel Howard, who walked with the students, created the Kokoda concept in 2007 to remove barriers between police and youth. It has grown into a program that builds leaders and allows students from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds to bond. 

We all learnt so much along the way, particularly the sacrifices, courage and mateship of the soldiers during the Second World War, he said.

Mr Cox said the biggest challenge was on day six, when the group awoke at 6am and walked more than 20 kilometres through swamps and rivers, and crossed 15 false peaks. It was extremely wet and muddy, but by that point of the trip everybody had a really strong rapport and worked together to get through it.

Mr Cox said one of the highlights was the ceremony at Isurava Memorial. We held a memorial ceremony in the morning and there was mist all along the river and it was a very tranquil and serene experience, he said. 

It was one of the many humbling moments of the trip where you reflect on all the lives lost and who had walked this path before we did.

Mount Alexander College student Najma Saalim-Abdulah, 17, said her peak moment was meeting the last living Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel. The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels was a name Australian troops gave to Papua New Guineans who escorted injured Australian troops down the Kokoda trail.

 We have met some of the most beautiful people I have ever encountered here. They are always smiling and laughing and so welcoming, she said. I dont think it is a trip I will ever forget.


July 20th 2012: "Coeur de Lion" Dinner 

A Huge thanks to the whole team for making it one very successful night. Hamish and the DG team did a great job. Our final tally is still growing but it's looking so good. 

Justin Noonan and John Morello - what a team with the auctions. Such entertainment, and getting wonderful contributions from the floor. 

Justin and Stan spent heaps of time on the phone with sponsors and adding to the guest list. 

Rhonda and Sue and Terry worked like beavers running around in the weeks leading in and setting up. 

Thanks to James Rankin who trained with the 2012 team and walked the arduous track. His interview with the students on the night was brilliant. The impact of this program and the Kokoda experience for him is clearly obvious. 

Glenn and Mick who put in a 15 hour day setting up the rig for the show, and what a show TJ and the dancers gave us - check out a few clips on YouTube and Facebook.

Thank you everyone who came and supported the night. Check out our Facebook page and Youtube for a look at our night.


July 2012: The Kokoda Track

One of our members James Rankin has taken the challenge and has a fabulous story to tell from his experiences. A number of the guys have put together a diary from the event and published this for us all to savour.


Just take a look at the diary from 2012 and you'll see why this project just has to sit high on our agenda!!

Want to see more ?

Checkout the YouTube pictorial record now available - Doutta Gala Lions Club Kokoda Project 2012 -

What about this for a wrap for the Program:

Need some history? Check out the page under "Links" for 1st glance.