Back from the Black Cat

Six young people from Western Sydney and Federal Member for Blaxland, Jason Clare MP today returned from the 2013 Mateship Trek along the ‘Black Cat Track’ from Wau to Salamaua in Papua New Guinea.

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The 2013 Mateship Trek commemorated the 70th Anniversary of the World War II campaigns fought in this area.

After braving the week-long harsh conditions, the trek concluded with a Dawn Service at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Lae, where more than 2,500 Australian servicemen who died in World War II are buried, including 700 who died on the Black Cat Track.

Mr Clare said the Trek was great opportunity for young people to not only understand but experience the importance of our military history.

“The physically punishing terrain and emotional dawn service, gave our young people a better understanding of the sacrifice Australia’s military service men and women have made and continue to make for our country,” Mr Clare said.

“After walking in the footsteps of Australian soldiers, learning their stories and the sacrifices they made for us, it was great to see the transformation in everyone of the young people I took on the Trek.

Steven Tu from Bankstown said that his experiences on the Mateship Trek would be long remembered.

“It has made me a better person and a better Australian,” Steven said.

“The only way to keep going was to help each other, the strong guys helped the not so-strong and at the end we all stood together, proud of what we have achieved.

The Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC, is patron of the Mateship Trek and congratulated the young people at a special reception held at Government House.

This year, for the first time, the Mateship Trek partnered with Soldier On, an Australian charity supporting wounded soldiers and their families. Trekkers and supporters raised more than $17,500 for Soldier On.

During the Trek, the villages of Kaisenik, Skindiwai, Mubo and Komiatum, where our troops were supported 70 years ago received donations totalling 2,000 KINA to support education in these remote areas of Papua New Guinea.

Media contact: Chris Zogopoulos P: 9790 2466