One of the 39th Battalion's 'Ragged Bloody Heroes', George Palmer, will launch Patrick's latest book, Kokoda Spirit, at the Old Melbourne Observatory on Tuesday November 10 at 10.30am.
George fought at the Battle of Isurava and later in the campaign. He is circled in the adjacent photo and is one of only two Diggers still with us from the famous Damien Parer photograph showing the young men of the 39th Battalion slogging their way through the mud up the Track heading for Kokoda.
Now, 88, George had just turned 21 when he and his mates faced the Japanese invaders. The 39th Battalion, brilliantly led by Lt Col Ralph Honner, was able to hold up the Japanese at Isurava against overwhelming odds. They held on just long enough to be reinforced by the 2/14th Battalion which had been rushed back from the Middle East to help defend Australia.
Kokoda Spirit explores the spirit that enabled the Diggers to finally prevail against the battle-hardened Japanese invaders, despite it being their baptism of fire and being out-gunned and out-numbered.
The book is a richly-illustrated production, featuring many photos taken by one of the heroes of the campaign, Stan Bisset, that have never before been published, along with scores of specially-taken images of the Track from Patrick and noted Australian photographer Ross Eason, giving the reader as close as possible an impression of the place and its aura.
The book also includes many aerial photos giving an unique view of the remarkable terrain and a special 'virtual trek' created with the help of cinematographer and trek leader Paul Croll.
The book will appeal to all those who have walked in the footsteps of the Diggers, those who are planning to do so and those who wonder what the Track's attraction is all about.