DON’S FAMILY KAKODA TREK’S WARTIME LEGACY
Don Frost’s ‘Family Affair’ Kakoda Trek has been completed, evoking some amazing wartime memories.
“I wanted to do the trek not so much for the effort and the exercise, but more about Australia’s amazing wartime history.
“Not enough people know what happened on the Track (also known as Trail).
“What Australian young forces did was nothing short of amazing.
“Under supplied and undermanned, the infinitely superior Japanese forces pushed them nearly all the way to Port Moresby (Port Moresby was in sight) before the Australians started to push them back.
“The terrain, the rain, the heat, the lack of food, the effort, the tiredness, the death, it was just an outstanding achievement, all helped by those famous Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, ” Don Frost said.
The Russell Island pharmacist was inspired to take on the trip by his father, Alan Frost.
“Dad walked the track on his 75th birthday, and he wanted to do it again on his 80th with all his family in tow.”
And what grandpa says, grandpa gets.
The huge Frost family clan included Don’s 14-year-old son Cameron, older brother Chris Frost and his 16-year-old son Max , as well as 16-year-old niece Charlotte Frost along with some of Alan Frost’s friends including Dr William Lukin from the Royal Brisbane Hospital.
Ironically, it was Alan Frost who took Dr Lukin with him on a previous trip that worked out why some trekkers were dying two or three days into the climb that is an continual up and down process from 1000 to 2000 plus metres.
“Some people were dying on the track and no-one knew why.
“They did some tests and discovered that too much water was being consumed which caused them to flush out too much sodium from the body, causing heart failure.”
Needless to say, the Frost family carefully monitored their fluid intake on their journey.
They flew into Kakoda Station and started the eight-day trek through famous wartime names of Isurava, Eora Creek, Templeton’s Crossing, the highest point at Mt Bellamy just over 2000 metres (7185 ft), Naduri, Brigade Hill, Manari, Iorbaiwa and Imata Ridge and finishing at Owers’ Corner, with Port Moresby almost in sight.
Don Frost said: “The highlight for me was the history. I am fairly fit and I managed the climbs fairly well, as we all did.
“Every Australian should know what happened in those mountains of the Owen Stanley Range.
“It was heroic.
“They were the first to turn back the Japanese who, until then, had seemed invincible.”
Don was glad to have completed the trek with his father, his son and his brother and niece.
“Standing under the arch at Owers’ Corner was just an amazing feeling and wonderful for my family.
“Every Australian should get to feel like that and understand what so many young men did for us more than 70 years ago,” Don Frost said.
• Don with son Cameron at the Kakoda Memorial Arch.