Remembrance Day 2022: Reflecting on the Kokoda Trail Campaign 80 years on with Rowdy Wylie

Hi, my name is John "Rowdy" Wylie and I'm a member of the AnArt4Life blog team. Each year I like to produce a painting for ANZAC DAY (25 April) and REMEMBRANCE DAY (11 Nov).

This year I have chosen to commemorate the New Guinea Campaign in 1942 specifically the battles which took place on the Kokoda Trail.

KOKODA TRAIL – 1942 by John "Rowdy" Wylie ©

Thursday 21st July 2022 marked the 80th Anniversary of the beginning of the intense battle of the Kokoda Trail 1942 Campaign against the invasion of the Japanese in Papua New Guinea which lasted for five months. If you missed our previous two posts in recognition of Remembrance Day 2022, please click Papua and New Guinea Campaign 1942 Part One and Papua and New Guinea Campaign 1942 Part Two.

My inspiration to paint war compositions is to show homage and remembrance to our ANZACS: men and women… encompassing our indigenous First Nations people...all of our nation's cultures… and including our Allied Forces who fought and defended our lands for people’s rights… freedom… independence… and our homeland security… This year (as shown above) I have created my perception of the Kokoda Trail 1942.

The painting Kokoda Trail 1942 was created using oil paints on hardwood board in a triptych format - H60cms x W120cms.

Panel One: KOKODA TRAIL 1942 by John "Rowdy" Wylie ©

Panel One: the Lefthand side composition highlights the Diggers camouflaged within the tropical rainforest and dense jungle… setting up a Bren Gun defense post and soldiers carrying .303 rifles to defend the Kokoda Trail…

The aim of the mission was to prevent the Japanese Forces gaining ground and taking over Port Moresby in the south… in anticipation of them getting established and launching a second attack on northern Australia.

Panel Two: KOKODA TRAIL 1942 by John "Rowdy" Wylie ©

Panel Two: The Centre composition reminds us of the enemy over head attacking very aggressively and our marvelous FuzzyWuzzy Angel heroes who unselfishly supported the Diggers on the trail by delivering urgent supplies up the trail and returning with injured soldiers on stretchers… often housing them safely over night in their small villages in the wet muddy jungle terrain…

Panel Three: KOKODA TRAIL 1942 by John "Rowdy" Wylie ©

Panel Three: the Righthand side composition is one of Remembrance to our ANZACS and the sacrifices they made that saved Australia… symbolically highlighted by the Red Poppies and Rising Sun Badge worn by the Australian soldiers...and also the soldier playing The Last Post on the Bugle….

Lest We Forget

I am pleased to announce that the Port Pirie RSL1 has made space in their Military Museum – WW2 - Kokoda display section for the painting Kokoda Trail 1942.

Below the handover to Jeff (RSL Curator) and Cody (RSL Military Museum Attendant) is accomplished. And it is wonderful to know that the Port Pirie RSL Museum has been very busy over the school holidays with many young families visiting including tourists caravaning about… And the RSL also conducts regular tours for school students….

Conditions on the Kokoda Trail were among the most desperate and vicious endured by Australian troops in the Second World War.... The Kokoda Trail is one of the most iconic Australian campaigns of the Second World War 2 And the five-month Kokoda campaign would become an epic feat of endurance.. requiring hand to hand combat and many acts of individual bravery. 3

Post war generations haven’t forgotten the heroes of these campaigns who fought so bravely to defend Australia from the Japanese invasion… These generations show gratitude by walking the Kokoda Trail in remembrance, write books, read publications and some of us venture into the field of art to sketch and paint compositions for museums and that we...

Never Forget

1. Returned and Services League of Australia
2. Dr Karl James / Head of Military History at the Australian War Memorial
3. “Australian War Memorial” Canberra ACT / August 2022 News Letter