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Wednesday, 14 March 2018 08:35

Kokoda Scholarship Launch

Two East Gippsland students will in July this year trek the Kokoda Trail as part of the inaugural Arthur Grassby Scholarship, an initiative put together by a local committee and supported by local businesses, RSL sub-branches and organisations. The scholarship will be launched this morning at the Paynesville RSL with both Arthur Grassby and Retired Major Charlie Lynn, the latter who has trekked Kokoda over 90 times, in attendance. Mr Grassby is a 92 year-old Kokoda Trail veteran living in Bairnsdale. He was a member of B Company of the 39th Battalion that first engaged the Japanese at Kokoda. Scholarship committee president, Tim Bull, said Mr Grassby was an East Gippsland living legend. “He survived this battle, which many of his fellow Company did not, only to be wounded at the battle of Isurava weeks later.

He also contracted malaria at Isurava, walked back to Port Moresby and returned home,” Mr Bull said.“Arthur is just one of the many Gippslanders who served on the Trail, many losing their lives and the scholarship is aimed at informing and educating our youth on the sacrifices that were made. What better way to do it than on the trail following their footsteps.” The scholarships of $5500 have been made available to year 11 students at secondary colleges across the East Gippsland Shire. Applicants have to submit an essay of not less than 600 words explaining what the Kokoda story means to the applicant and what the Kokoda story means to Australia. The essays, which need to be submitted by March 30 will then be assessed by the local committee and shortlisted for interviews. The successful will then be chosen and assisted with training prior to the trek. Mr Bull extended thanks to the local organisations, service clubs and RSL sub-branches who have supported the initiative through sponsorships.