Memory of Kokoda binds Australia and PNG

Australian and Papua New Guinean sacrifices in the defence of Papua and New Guinea in the Second World War will be memorialised today with the opening of the Kokoda Gallery and World War II exhibition in Port Moresby.

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Thistlethwaite has travelled to Port Moresby for the opening at the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery.

The Governments of Australia and PNG remain committed to commemorating one of the worst conflicts in our shared history.

The exhibition was co-funded by the Australian Government as a gift to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 2020.

The exhibition will be opened today, a day known as Kokoda Day in Australia and Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Day in PNG.

While in Port Moresby, Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite will also pay his respects at the Bomana War Cemetery where some 3,300 Australian service personnel lay. 33 Papuan personnel who served with the 1st Papuan Infantry Battalion are also buried at Bomana.

Quotes attributable to the Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite:

“There is no greater example of the bonds of our nations’ friendship than when we stood together united against terrible adversity at Kokoda.

“It is an honour to represent Australia at the unveiling of this new exhibition, which will memorialise our shared history into the future.

“The Australian Government places great importance in our relationship with PNG and we remain committed to supporting the security and future of the Pacific family.

“On Kokoda Day, I hope Australians will join me in taking a few moments to reflect on the sacrifice our service personnel made to defend our nation, and our close neighbours, those many years ago.”

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