PNGAA Melbourne gathering
The PNGAA Melbourne lunch on 19th November 2022 had a great turnout with a total of 60 attendees including Kiaps, relatives, PNG locals, R&MVM members or relatives, 2/14th Battalion members, and 2/22nd Battalion members and relatives. We had attendees who made a great effort to travel, some from far and wide in country Victoria, and even an attendee from NSW who happened to be in Melbourne at the time.
There was a “Welcome” speech by Yana Di Pietro, thanking all the previous organisers of these events.
This was followed by an introduction of the main speaker by Peter Ryan. Peter’s background with PNG started with his father who fought with 2/14th in PNG. Peter himself now runs trekking tours in the Kokoda Corridor and wanted to get more involved and found PNGAA. He became a sponsor of the KTF and funds 2 full time staff at Kokoda Hospital – Thomas (Tropical Diseases) and Maggie (Midwifery). He also mentioned Chris Warrillow, and John Quinn as Kiaps, and read the article from The Commando magazine regarding the official Kiap recognition. Peter then introduced some of the attendees such as Marg Curtis – 2/22nd Lark Force, Gillian Nikakis who is organising the MVM commemorative seat and storyboard on 23rd January 2023 in Mornington and George Gemmill who organised the MVM mural at Stanhope RSL.
A Raffle was held which raised $400 with funds going towards the PNGAA scholarship fund .
David Howell, the guest speaker, spoke about the battle of Bita Paka and the importance to subsequent battles, relevance to WW2, and to today. His talk was very informative and well received.
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