Tumbarumba-Kokoda

 

 

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Joseph Muggleton, a Tumbarumba boy, lost his life fighting with the 2/12th Battalion at Buna on New Years Day 1943.

He is buried at the Bomana War Cemetery and his grave site has now been visited by many Tumbarumba residents.

Due to the mobility of people over the past 60 years the graves of the 2/14th's Walter Clark, Charles McCallum, Claude Nye, Herbert Warman, Butch Bisset and the 53/55th's Claude Skimmings are also on the list to be visited by trekkers from Tumbarumba.

As such a close link has been forged between the NSW town of Tumbarumba and the Kokoda Track.  Over 100 Tumbarumba residents have walked the track in recent times, an amazing number from a total shire population of around three and a half thousand.

Rotarian Bruce Wright has been the instigator of trips to Papua New Guinea.  His father Noel (Mick) fought on the track with the 2/27th Battalion.  This inspired Bruce to travel to PNG to see for himself what his father had gone through.  Bruce has now made many trips to PNG, spending  time in Kokoda, Abuari and Mainohana - working on Rotary projects to provide infrastructure for the locals, and in walking the Kokoda Track. 

In 1999 he took his first group from Tumbarumba to walk the track - from Kokoda to Owers Corner. 

During 2006 he suggested to his fellow Rotarians that the local club provide an opportunity for students from Tumbarumba High School to travel to PNG and walk the Kokoda Track.  This dream was realised in April 2007 when 17 students and 7 leaders successfully negotiated the track. 

This project was known as Kokoda2007 and it led to a huge amount of community interest.  The organising committee responded to the demand by the community and took two trips to PNG in April 2008 (Kokoda2008).  

A second student group (16 Tumbarumba High students) walked the track during April 2009.  Continued student interest has seen trips take place every two years, and interest appears high for many years to come.

Tumbarumba has also been most fortunate to have been visited by Kokoda veterans Staff Sergeant Donald (Ted) & Peg Armstrong (2/14th Bn) and Captain Bede Tongs MM (3rd Bn) & son Garry to talk about their experiences along the track in 1942.  Bede has also written many poems and a highlight of his visits has been the recitals of some of his poems by Garry. 

 

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