Voices from the War / Kokoda Initiative

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Earlier this year the Department of the Environment released a new publication ‘Voices from the War – Papua New Guinean Stories of the Kokoda Campaign, World War Two’ as part of the ‘Kokoda Initiative’. 

Based on over 70 oral history interviews, including interviews with Papua New Guinean Kokoda veterans and descendants, Voices from the War is a collection of the wartime stories and experiences of the men and women of the Kokoda Track region who supported and fought alongside Australian troops.

 Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel, Raphael Oimbari leading Australian Soldier, Private George ‘Dick’ Whittington to a field hospital
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel, Raphael Oimbari leading Australian Soldier, Private George ‘Dick’ Whittington to a field hospital (1942).
Source: George Silk. AWM Collection, 014028.

Funded by the Australian and Papua New Guinea Governments, the interviews were conducted by Papua New Guinean and Australian researchers at nine different locations along the Kokoda Track and surrounding region. 

“Many stories exist, often told by Australians, of the kindness and goodwill shown by Papua New Guineans to Australians who were sick and wounded during the war. However, most of these stories don’t relay the voices of Papua New Guineans themselves, telling their own stories of the war. The Oral History Project aims to redress this by recording the experiences of Papua New Guineans during the war, and to give a voice to all Papua New Guineans who endured or recall the battles of World War Two fought in the Kokoda area.” – Her Excellency Deborah Stokes, Australian High Commissioner, Port Moresby

The full report can be viewed on the Voices from the war publication page.

In addition to Voices from the War, the Department of the Environment has also released the film ‘Kokoda Story – Papua New Guinean Histories of the World War Two’ to support the publication.  You can view this film below.