MOST nights of the week, you can find the Buckingham family among the many walkers and runners scaling the 1000 steps.
The popular trail was erected as a memorial walk to the Australian soldiers of World War 2, who tackled Papua New Guinea’s treacherous Kokoda Trail in harsh conditions.
The history of the trail has a more personal meaning to the Buckinghams than to most.
Brothers Shane, Scott, Peter and Gregory, along with Scott’s wife Melinda, will walk the Kokoda Track in June, dedicating their walk to their 93-year-old grandfather, Jim Podmore. Jim served in the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps from 1939-’48, defending Australian shores from attack.
On his return from Darwin, Jim settled in Malvern and started a family. His only child, Carol, had four boys who have been planning their “Knox to Kokoda” walk for many years.
Carol said that Jim was honoured that his grandchildren had dedicated the walk to him.
“I think he’s very proud, and very impressed,” she said.
“They decided this year, being the 100th anniversary of Anzac celebration, would be a good time to do the trip.”
Jim hasn’t had a huge involvement in RSL clubs since he returned from Darwin, and Carol says this had been a way for the family to better understand his sacrifices.
“We have been going to the Boronia RSL for the past few years on Anzac Day, but this one will be particularly special,” she said.
The five will leave on 12 June and will be gone for 10 days.
Like Jim’s post in Darwin, the Australians on the Kokoda Track were also charged with protecting Australian shores.
They fought to protect Port Moresby, a port crucial to the security of Australia.
Had the Japanese taken Port Moresby, they could have launched an attack on Australia from that point.
During the campaign, 625 Australian soldiers were killed and over 1000 injured.
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