Year 8 Kokoda Challenge | Ormiston College

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Year 8 Kokoda Challenge

Kokoda 5

On Monday 29 April, Year 8 students walked in the footsteps of ANZAC heroes, as Brisbane’s infamous Mt Cootha lookout transformed into the rugged terrain of Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda trail.

It was along the Kokoda track, 77 years ago, that our diggers overcame overwhelming odds and atrocious conditions to take victory over the enemy. Outnumbered and outgunned, this was possible due to their trust and respect for each other, their ability to never-give-up and their determination to hang in there when all seemed lost.

The day begun at the foot of the mountain, where students were organised into platoons and sent off to navigate their way up 35-degree gradients of unforgiving rocky territory.

Bold, bloody and resolute, we reached the top of the summit after an hour, where Davo – our dynamic and passionate ex-army facilitator – spoke to us about the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angles’ and how they utilised teamwork to help transport our injured troops during WWII.

Having reached the half-way-point, students stepped into the shoes of the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angles’, where they made stretchers out of bamboo poles and hessian potato sacks to transport their wounded (or in our case, lazy) soldiers. Deputy Head of Middle School, Ms Middleton, decided to exploit the OC Fuzzy Wuzzy’s and hitched a ride on a platoon’s stretcher.

After a quick recoup and refuel, students moved onto military Bootcamp, where they performed a relentless number of sumo squats, star jumps and military grunts to test our grit and resilience.

While one half of the battalion got to remain at base camp to forage for kindling and start building fires to cook their BBQ lunches, the other half of the battalion still had to journey to their final post for lunch, where they would be forced to face a formidable enemy – the Kookaburras.

After our lunch rations were distributed, soldiers took responsibility of either chopping, cooking or protecting our barbeque lunch. While teachers were anxious about being food poisoned, students were anxious about an impeding ambush. It was evident that the enemy were upon us, they were high in the gum trees above, watching and waiting for their moment of attack. Notwithstanding strong fortifications, two platoons had their soldiers – Ben Harris and Zhanna Russell - lose their burgers to vicious Kookaburra snipers. Luckily, despite the enemy assault all troops were victorious in being fed.

On the bus back home, 8.2 and 8.4 sung Queen’s classic, Bohemian Rhapsody, like a boss to celebrate the day’s success.

By the end of the day, students had experienced a shared sense of camaraderie and reliance on each other. They had demonstrated strength of character, trust, integrity, courage, endurance and mate-ship, all principles that take origin from our Australian soldiers who fought on the Kokoda track in Papua New Guinea 77 years ago.

Thank you to the Form teachers and Ms Middleton, who trekked up the mountain alongside us.

Melodie Nelson
Year 8 Coordinator