In June/July 2009 I travelled through the Kokoda Track for the first time. I am 21 years old and went on this trip alone to meet my group who soon became like family. I was priviledged to such a trip. It was a pleasure to have met you along the way. Myself and 2 other Australians and a few of our New Guinea friends met up with you at the bottom of brigade hill. This was a highlight of the trip and we were blessed to have the opportunity to hear your knowledge of the area. I would love to go back to PNG but I feel it would be hard to enjoy without the close friends I made. I was lucky enough to see some of PNG after Kokoda.
God bless,Cameron Clough
TESTIMONIAL FROM OCTOBER 2009 GROUP
Our family group flew out to Kokoda on a high, with great expectations of a physically challenging adventure, and the opportunity to learn more about the history of Kokoda and the PNG conflict during WW2... the history was a large factor in our decision to undertake the trek as my father, and grandfather to the other members of our group, was involved in this conflict as a member of the RAAF...
KK met, and probably exceeded all of our expectations as we completed our trek at Ower's Corner on a high.
The trek was obviously physically demanding, as expected, but we quickly became adept at pacing ourselves and adjusting to the ever changing walking environment under Soc's experienced guidance... however, from a factual history perspective we all felt that his intimate knowledge of the PNG conflict, much of which came from his own father's experience working with the allied forces, was a highlight of our trip... Soc's account of major battles and in many cases, knowledge of individual heroics, allowed us to clearly visualise what our diggers would have experienced in this difficult environment... the sites we visited off the track of military significance was also a feature (and made us a little fitter over the extra 30 or so kilometres) and made our trip a little different to others.
As a family, we thoroughly enjoyed Soc's candour, local and historical knowledge, and leadership... we would have no issues in recommending Soc and KK as an opportunity for trekkers in the future who wish to learn the real story of Kokoda, and enjoy the ability to absorb the country and its people, at a pace that allows you to do so.
Thanks once again Soc for making our trek a very memorable one.
Australian Manufacturing Division
Sims Group Australia Holdings Limited
POETRY BY KOMPLETE KOKODA TREKKERS:
"Kokoda Reflections on the Last Day of my Trip"
I wake up early and lie in bed
My feet are sore, like my boots are full of lead
My head is filled with all strange thoughts
Of wars long gone and the men who fought
For yesterday I walked in the foot prints of heroes lost
To step where these men had, defend their positions, no matter the cost
Where young men stood and took up the fight
And I wondered to myself, what gave me that right.
Against the odds they fought for their lives
And many died in the sacrifice
To protect Australia from the Japanese might
and keep their families safe and alright.
And I wonder to myself, would I have done the same
Would I possess the courage, or have hung my head in shame
For they never stopped to think of what lay ahead
So people like me could be safe in bed
It was under fire that they formed the pack
Left no man behind, even under attack
Friendship formed, their ties so great
No one could break the bonds of these Mates
The Fuzzy Angels always at their sides
Supplying food and saving lives
To the People of Papua, our thanks are great
And to us you will always be our Mate.
And when my time has ended, it’s in heaven I will find
These great heroes gathered round, I will thank them for mankind
I’ll go up to the bar with wallet in my hand,
shout them all a beer, and offer them my hand.
Paul Glover, Maccoll group June 2009
"We walked with Soc"
We set out on a trek to cross the Owen Stanley Range
From Kokoda to Ower’s corner
We answered the call as trekkers before had done
To pay homage to the men who fought along the Kokoda Trail
Soc Kienzle was our mentor, he knows the history of the Trail
The locals call his name, the elders talk with him - they welcome us
He tells us about the exploits of men, whose exploits will live on after they have gone
We learn about the everyday life during the war, for both friend and foe
We have walked up, we have walked down, we have crossed creeks,
We have crossed mountains; we have walked with Soc Kienzle.
"The Diggers did"
We walked with heads up, as the diggers did
We walked with heads down, as the diggers did
We missed our families, as the diggers did
We felt the pain of tired muscles, as the diggers did
We grew together as one, as the diggers did
We helped each other, as the diggers did
We picked up our mates, as the diggers did
We felt the pain of loss, as the diggers did
We cursed the mud and the rain, as the diggers did
We shed a tear for the dead, as the diggers did
We walked the Kokoda Trail, as the diggers did
Neville Stanton’s poem – Maccoll group June 2009
"Three -Quarters of an Hour"
Well here we are on the Kokoda Trail
Walking in the mud, when someone yells
"How long to go Soc?'
"Three quarters of an hour"
Hell that's not bad, how hard is that
Three quarters of an hour.
As time goes by the doubt sets in, this guy hasn't got a clue
We're still walking and it's past
Three quarters of an hour
Up, down, up, down, mud, mud, mud - when someone yells
"How far to go Soc" - the answer
Three quarters of an hour
Is this guy for real?
He's full of shit
Because we all know its always more than
Three quarters of a f&*#ing hour!
Poem by Corinne Nancarrow - ANZAC 2009 trip
Articles written to date and radio interviews with or about Soc Kienzle and his work and aims for Kokoda: