QUIRINDI and Werris Creek could one day be joined by a pathway honouring those who fought on the Kokoda Trail – and it could be a tremendous drawcard for both towns.
The shared pathway, which is still in its infancy, would be 22km long and feature educational storyboards, plaques and tributes every kilometre.
The idea has faced many hurdles since it was first proposed three years ago by Quirindi RSL Sub-branch president Doug Hawkins, but the wheels are finally beginning to turn, with both Liverpool Plains Council and Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen supporting the pathway.
“It’s been slow starting, but we’ve planted the seed and it’s getting general support from everyone,” Mr Hawkins said.
Mr Hawkins said the pathway would become an all-year-round tourist attraction.
“I have no doubt about the economic benefits it would bring to the local community,” he said.
“It will be a magic thing. There will be a lot of people coming from all over – schools would bring kids here to learn, and it would be popular for ex-veterans’ organisations.”
The plaques will represent the 22 villages the Australian soldiers fought at on the Kokoda Trail.
“The one-kilometre distance between each one gives people the perfect amount of time to absorb what they’ve just read,” Mr Hawkins said.
Mr Johnsen said the concept was “fantastic” and would have “all sorts of applications”.
“It could be used for both educational purposes and tourism – I can see a huge benefit sown down the track,” Mr Johnsen said.
“I’ve got no doubt it would bring people to the area specifically to walk or cycle along the track.
“There is a pool at each end, so it could even be used for triathlons.”
Mr Hawkins plans to create a “visual tour” of the walkway, getting footage of the route and digitally overlaying the path and its features.
The visual tour would then be used as a tool to lobby the government to fund the project.
“It’s a great way to show people why it’s worth investing,” Mr Johnsen said.
“People can visualise the concept and it will make it easier to obtain funding.”
Anyone with the expertise to create a visual tour is encouraged to get in contact with Mr Hawkins on 6746 1566.