Kokoda Track Plaque

The Project

In 2009 The Salvation Army commissioned what was, at 1400mm x 800mm, our largest stainless steel plaque to date.

Consisting of detailed laser cut text with a ceramic photo attached, the plaque weighed approximately 100kg. The highly polished stainless steel was chosen for its durability in the jungle setting and its resistance to vandalism.

To enable the plaque to be carried by hand on its arduous journey along the trail, we designed a special cradle. This meant that the plaque was protected and six people could work together to transport it.

We also devised a robust demountable stand which would be easily carried along the track and would be simple to install on site.

Unfortunately, some years later, due to tribal rivalry, the ceramic photo was damaged with rocks.

We decided to donate a replacement tile using the same photograph, this time laser-etched into more durable aluminium.

The Salvation Army Red Shield Memorial

On the 21st of July 1942 , the Japanese forces landed at Gona Beach and set out for Port Moresby.

With the arrival of reinforcement troops from Australia, The Salvation Army Red Shield Representatives, who came to be under the leadership of Major Albert Moore, set out to support the morale of the soldiers and airmen in PNG.

During the early stages of the Kokoda Campaign, permission was granted to Major Albert Moore to progress along the Kokoda Trail to the forward troops at Mayola, where they offered assistance, coffee, cake and/or biscuits, chewing gum and a friendly word to the weary troops.

Upon receiving advice on the 2nd of September, the team withdrew to the northern foot of the Golden Stairs, where they continued to serve the troops moving forward, and those returning from battle. On the 15th September, again within earshot of Japanese fire, they were forced to withdraw back along the track, and on the 18th a post was set up near Uberi, where they welcomed and refreshed the soldiers.

Later on the 20th September with a ‘Hop In’ flag flying, the Rouna Falls Red Shield centre was opened and operated for many months and served the needs of all who passed that way.

This was just the start of many Red Shield posts that were set up in areas all across PNG.

Brigadier John McCabe, when an Adjutant and appointed as a Red Shield Representative was the only philanthropic Rep to traverse the entire length of the Kokoda Trail.

Albert Moore’s replacement for the 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions was Ed Cooper who also served on the Kokoda Trail.

Tirelessly working over 264 Red Shield representatives served throughout WWII., They served in countless positions, gave refreshments, stationery, socks, aid, entertainment, counsel, and prayer to many soldiers as they had need.

The Salvation Army wishes to acknowledge the Red Shield men and women who out of their love for God and heart for others, have served, and are serving in war and peace keeping positions.

Special acknowledgement is given to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who carried supplies, and assisted in the setting up of ‘hop in’ centres in PNG during WWII.

None of The Salvation Army’s involvement would be possible without the ongoing support of the Australian Defence Force, to whom we are eternally grateful.

Thank God for the Salvos.

Lest we forget.