2nd May 2011 by Marion Crawshaw, Port Moresby | 1 Comment
Like my colleagues across the world, I commemorated ANZAC Day last week. The dawn service takes place at Bomana War Cemetery on the outskirts of the city at the Port Moresby end of the Kokoda Track, where Australian soldiers held the Japanese at bay for months and prevented the taking of Port Moresby.
The Port Moresby branch of the RSL organises the service but, as in other places, New Zealand and Australia share key roles on a “turn about” basis. This year I gave the address, which focused on the bonds of comradeship between Australia and New Zealand, forged in battle long ago but just as strongly evident today.
The ceremony takes place on a rise overlooking the graves of thousands of young men. We face, as the graves do, the hills beyond and the track they fought over so bravely in such terrible circumstances. The “dawn chorus” of bird song was a perfect backdrop to the dawn service.
Bomana is the single largest cemetery of Australian war dead. There are also six New Zealanders buried there and, with the help of local Kiwis Gary and Jill Haora, we found them and left poppies on their graves.
I felt privileged to represent New Zealand and give the ANZAC Day address in this setting, which has such an important place in the history of the Pacific War.