Hon­our in tack­ling Kokoda Trail

Gatton Star - - NEWS -

MORE than 70 years af­ter her grand­fa­ther Sergeant Thomas Craw­ley took a bul­let to the hip on the gru­elling Kokoda Trail, Juanita An­able and her son Lewis Bell will hon­our his mem­ory by march­ing in his foot­steps.

Miss An­able, 37, from Rose­wood, said she was in­spired to join the trek by her son, who had de­cided to take on the chal­lenge.

“Lewis nom­i­nated to do it first, and I was do­ing the train­ing (with him) – it is such a great group of guys and I’m very pas­sion­ate about the Aus­tralian Air Force Cadets,” she said.

“Con­sid­er­ing our fam­ily his­tory, a friend pointed out to me how great it would be for Lewis when he is older to be able to say to his kids ‘my mum and I walked the Kokoda Trail to­gether’.”

Their hike late next month, as part of a co­hort of 17 Royal Aus­tralian Air Force cadets and 10 staff, will recog­nise the sac­ri­fice of thou­sands of Aus­tralian ser­vice­men dur­ing World War II. A to­tal of 625 men died and another 1600 – in­clud­ing Sergeant Craw­ley – were wounded dur­ing the Kokoda Trail cam­paign.

The de­fence of Pa­pua New Guinea was piv­otal to de­fend­ing Queens­land against Ja­panese in­va­sion in the 1940s.

The group has un­der­gone in­tense prepa­ra­tion, train­ing on moun­tain hikes and trails through­out south­east Queens­land.

They have climbed in the Glasshouse Moun­tains, up Mount Warn­ing and Flin­ders Peak in the hope it will help them to over­come the phys­i­cal chal­lenges await­ing them on the gru­elling eight-day Kokoda Trail walk.

How­ever, Miss An­able is aware that Kokoda’s chal­lenges are not merely phys­i­cal. —Rhi­an­non Keyte

PHOTO: ALICE METZ

BEST FEET FOR­WARD: Juanita An­able, 37, and Lewis Bell, 17, of Rose­wood will walk Kokoda next month.

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