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Anzac: Our nations honour sacrifices of war


Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel TODAY IS Anzac Day, “the one day of the year”, the day on which Australians and New Zealanders remember and honour the sacrifices made in war.

It’s also a special day in the Australia-Papua New Guinea relationship, reminding us that our two peoples have fought and died together in the defence of both countries. Lest We Forget.

Then there are names that conjure up such vivid images – Kokoda, Buna-Gona, Aitape-Wewak, Rabaul, Milne Bay, Bougainville, Kavieng, the massacre at Tol and the great tragedy of the sinking of the Montevideo Maru.

It was apt, therefore, that last Tuesday saw the joint release of Australian and PNG stamps in remembrance of Kokoda. This is the first joint stamp issued between the two nations.

There are five stamps that depict the relationship forged between PNG and Australia after the Japanese invasion of PNG in 1942.

Two stamps portray the difficult conditions and the close bonds forged through adversity, another shows the memorial at Isurava, while the others point to today’s relationships through the eyes of veterans and travellers.

PNG Attitude also takes this opportunity of reminding you of Jim Brown’s wonderful poem, The Anzac on the Wall, which you can link to here.

First Day Cover


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I was honoured to visit Bita Paka Commonwealth war cemetery in Rabaul two years ago. It is beautifully kept and very moving, and among other interesting things has a memorial to those lost on the first Australian submarine in 1914, HMAS AE1.

There is also the grave of the first Australian casualty of WW1, and a memorial to the victims of the Montevideo Maru.

What struck me it that there are more than just ANZAC's buried here. It is a Commonwealth war cemetery after all. There is a section of the cemetery dedicated to the many 100's of members of the Indian Armed forces who perished after being captured in Singapore, or fighting in various actions of the South Pacific campaign. I feel they are often sadly forgotten in such commemorations.

Likewise we sometime forget the many civilians and government workers who helped the allied forces voluntarily and who also gave their lives, although not enlisted. See for example the history of the Kavieng Wharf massacre and the little memorial to those lost which is at Kavieng.

Reginald Renagi

Every year, since a small school boy growing up in the 1960s, my family and I always loved to watch proudly in the crowd at our own local hero, my dad marching in the ANZAC Day march with his RSL digger mates in their smart karki uniforms along popular Ela Beach in Port Moresby.

WW2 found Dad joining up as a tough 19 year soldier. He was a forward scout in the Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) who fought along the famous Kokoda trail and at Buna, Gona, Sanananda and in the Markham campaign, Morobe, New Guinea. Dad had some great war stories and would keep the family and relatives in the village so enthralled over the years.

Every year on ANZAC Day, I still miss my boyhood war hero's presence and always say a prayer for dad; and know that he is still looking down from above and that the family is keeping his memories alive with fondness. This former tough soldier passed on in his mid-eighties in 2004 after a long illness. The only memories I have now are his faded black and white photos of him and his wartime army mates. Dad was the only digger from his Rigo village, Central province in Papua, the rest of his brothers and cousins were recruited as 'carriers - who later became the legendry wuzzy-wazzy angels'.

Reginald Renagi

Yes, today is a special day in PNG and for many PNGeans who fought with the Allieds and their families. This time, every year, the local RSL and the PNG Defence Force gets together with the Australian and New Zealand High Commission staff both Australian and NZ communities gather to pay homage to the ANZAC efforts during WW2 in PNG, as well as in other wars where these two countries fought together.

Many service organizations and school kids and other civil society group in PNG also join in the dawn service in Bomana war cemetry (just outside Port Moresby) and elsewhere in PNG. PNGeans will always be grateful to the Aussies and Kiwis for their valient efforts with our own young men (PIB/NGIB) fighting alongside each other against a common foe, and have a great respect for the ANZAC spirit to this day.

Long live the ANZAC!

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