Air Niugini successfully staged the Kokoda 70th Anniversary Dinner last Saturday night (April 28) at the State Dining Room, Parliament House, Port Moresby.
A capacity audience saw legendary Australian singer/songwriter John Williamson perform for the first time in Papua New Guinea.
The Dinner was attended by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish and Air Niugini Chairman Garth McIlwain as well as a number of veterans from the Kokoda campaign including 91 year old Jim Stillman.
Jim Stillman arrived in Port Moresby on Tuesday April 24 – his only return visit to PNG since the War 70 years ago.
Jim had a busy week attending the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Bomana War Cemetery and a visit to the Isurava memorial site (via Black Hawk helicopter) and to Owers Corner. He capped his week off with the 70th Anniversary Dinner before returning to Brisbane on Sunday April 29.
Meanwhile John Williamson performed a number of his classic songs at the dinner including Mallee Boy, Cootamundra Wattle, Raining on the Rock and Old Man Emu, as well as some poignant songs such as The Band Played Waltzing Matilda and his anthem True Blue.
The 70th Anniversary of Kokoda Dinner was presented by Air Niugini in support of Network Kokoda – a foundation established by Charlie Lynn in 2010 to honor the legacy of returned veterans and wartime carriers through the establishment of community initiatives in Papua New Guinea.
In his speech, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O’Neill pledged PGK200,000 to Network Kokoda and a charity auction raised a further PGK70,000 for the cause.
Learn more: www.kokoda70.org