In Memory of Kokoda

Kokada 1

For more than a decade, Year Nine students from St Agnes Catholic High School, Rooty Hill have visited the Kokoda Memorial Track in Concord West.

Set on the shores of the Parramatta River, the Kokoda Memorial Track is a living memorial and a place where all those who fought for Australia in World War II are honoured for their bravery and selfless service.

Throughout the years, St Agnes students have had the privilege of meeting and witnessing the friendly banter of three veterans of the Kokoda campaign: Ray Gentles, Reg Chard and Roy Dockery.

All three men are recognised for their military service to Australia, and Reg Chard and Ray Gentles saw combat in Papua New Guinea during WWII as members of the 55/53 Battalion.

Sadly, due to ill health, two of the three men - all of whom are now in their nineties - were unable to be at the memorial on the day of the excursion.

Despite this, the students gained valuable insights from the other veterans into the nature of war; the personal cost of war to veterans, their family and friends; the sacrifices and hardship endured; and in particular, the heroic sacrifice made by the heroes of the Pacific theatre of war.

Kokoda 2

St Agnes HSIE Coordinator Bonita Carlin believes the annual excursion is invaluable.

“Each year a new group of students hear the stories and are escorted around the track by the veterans,” she said.

“We are very grateful to have the opportunity to listen and learn from these remarkable men and women.”

St Agnes students were commended by the veteran guides for their willingness to learn, their reverence and their outstanding behaviour, all important signs of a generation of young people open to hearing the stories of our history that teach us how to achieve a better future.

St Agnes Catholic High School believes this excursion impacts on the students’ learning, helping them understand Australia’s involvement in war and why we commemorate their sacrifice.

It is hoped this excursion continues to be embraced by St Agnes students for many years to come.

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Posted By CathEd Parra at 1/08/2018 2:21:44 PM

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