KAYLA OSBORNE | Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser (NSW)
CAMDEN - Charlie Lynn has crossed the strenuous Kokoda Track 92 times, served in NSW parliament and been awarded Papua New Guinea’s second highest honour.
Yesterday he added another achievement to his list as a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia.
Mr Lynn was given the prestigious title for service to the people and parliament of NSW.
The Camden resident said he was humbled to receive the Queen’s Birthday Honour.
“I was greatly honoured to receive the Officer of the Order of Logohu in Papua New Guinea two years ago and I feel greatly honoured again,” Mr Lynn said. “Honestly it was a real surprise – there are people out there who have done much more than me.”
During his 20 years in parliament Mr Lynn was a member of the legislative council, parliamentary secretary for veterans affairs and shadow parliamentary secretary to the opposition leader.
“I did the best I could to help as many people as I could,” he said.
Mr Lynn served in the army for more than 20 years, being posted in many places across the world including Vietnam and America.
During his travels Mr Lynn visited the site of the Kokoda Track campaign. “I had seen many beautiful memorials at battlefields but there was nothing at Kokoda,” he said.
“I have been working with Network Kokoda for about 22 years establishing a relationship with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea to preserve the Kokoda Track.
“We have had to earn their respect and trust through creating agriculture programs and health programs and we are also building a tuberculosis isolation unit there.”
Mr Lynn also runs Adventure Kokoda which is a company that operates tours of the historic battle trail. “We want to generate awareness about the significance of the track,” he said.
“I have always wanted the Australian government to come up with a masterplan to protect the site – if I could choose between a masterplan and this OAM I would choose the masterplan.”
Mr Lynn has lived in Camden for more than 20 years. “I am almost a local now,” he joked. “I love Camden and I won’t be moving anytime soon.”