David Howell, the founder of Kokoda Historical, is a keen historian and spends most of his spare time researching Australian Military History. In particular David specialises in the South West Pacific Area of Operations and is currently working on several research projects.
David spent 5 years as a volunteer guide with the Friends of Kokoda at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway in Concord, including two years as Vice-President of the Friends, David has taken thousands of people around the memorial educating visitors.
David continued his volunteer work as a guide at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. before taking up a full time appointment at the Shrine,. He is now the editor of the Shrine's new history magazine Remembrance and looks after public fundraising.
David is well spoken in Tok Pisin the Pidjin language of PNG and is also a current serving member of the Army Reserve. In 2008 David served with the Australian Army peacekeeping in the Solomon Islands.
Soc Kienzle is the youngest son of Captain Bert Kienzle the man who has been given accolades like "Architect of the Kokoda Trail" and "King of the Angels".
Soc Kienzle was born in Port Moresby Hospital in 1950. He grew up, lived and worked at Kokoda until 1983. He speaks fluent Motu. As a child, Soc explored the jungle with the "fuzzy wuzzies" and their families, searching for war relics on the battle sites his father would describe. Much of what is and was in the Kokoda Museum was found by him, including the Japanese Mountain Gun now located next to the Japanese memorial on the Kokoda plateau.
At the age of 13, Soc set the record for a non-national "man" when he crossed the Trail, from MacDonald's Corner to Kokoda in 33 hours (approx 30 hrs from Ower's Corner) including 6 hours sleep at Kagi. Over the ensuing years he traversed different parts of the track helping drove the first cattle to native blocks and on aircraft search and rescue missions. He knows the true war Trail, much of which is no longer being used, better than anyone.
Soc's love of Kokoda did not begin with reading a book although he has read every one that has been written about the Campaign! His passion for Kokoda and its people is in his blood and his desire to maintain the integrity of the Trail is borne for this reason and out of deep respect for his father, the Papuans and the diggers.
Reg Yates is an experienced trek leader, having completed 41 Kokoda treks since 1984, including one with ADF soldiers on adventurous training and seven with Sydney-based High Schools. He served for 36 years as a paramedic with Melbourne Ambulance Service and has 30 years Army Reserve service, mostly as an Infantry Captain in training.
Reg has walked all WWII routes in PNG including the Bulldog-Wau Army Road, the Wau-Salamaua Tracks, the Saruwaged Crossing from Peter Ryan’s, “Fear Drive My Feet”, Shaggy Ridge, Rabaul-Tol Plantation plus the Hindenburg Wall section of Karius & Champion’s 1928 Fly River to Sepik River Crossing.
He has rubber-rafted the Watut River with soldiers, paddled a dugout canoe 360 km down the Sepik River, walked up Mt Wilhelm and written a demi-official ADF handout on Adventurous Training in PNG.Reg brings a wealth of knowledge to Kokoda Historical and will continue to deliver a high level of service to all our future trekkers!
Bruce McClean first walked the Kokoda Track in 1998. He developed a passion for all things Kokoda when he picked up his first book on the subject which was Peter Brune's newly released book "Those Ragged Bloody Heroes" and read about his uncle, Lt. Douglas McClean MC of the 39th Battalion.
Since then he has walked the track 4 times. He has a great sense of wanting to get the correct history as much as possible and hopes to pass on to his fellow travellers some knowledge of the fighting and of the personalities along the track as well as enjoy the company and companionship of a shared adventure.
Bruce also has a passion for all things relating to Australian military history and is an active member of a ceremonial Light Horse troop. Bruce has been a member of the Army reserve in Armoured Corps and is a current serving member of the Victoria Police Protective Services Unit.
Wayne Rotherham has a long and proud association with the Kokoda Track and the members of the 39th Infantry Battalion Association. In 2001 he was a member of a team which escorted 7 veterans from the 2/14th and the 39th to the rugged jungles above the old village of Isurava to undertake a search for the original battle site. Here, Wayne and the team undertook extensive interviews with the veterans and spent days searching for clues in the dense and unforgiving jungles between Alola and Deniki. Their consequent findings and reports to Government led to the development of the current memorial at Isurava; “Mateship, Endurance, Courage and Sacrifice”.
Wayne’s interest began after learning his father was a member of the 39th Battalion whom fought at both Isurava and Gona. In 2007, Wayne completed his third crossing of the Track with Bob McDonald, son of PJ McDonald (McDonalds Corner) where his desire to enhance Australia’s knowledge of the campaign intensified. That year he obtained his Masters Degree at Monash University having completed his thesis titled ‘How did leadership influence the experiences of the soldiers of the 39th Battalion during the Kokoda Campaign in 1942”. Wayne interviewed many of the veterans from the 39th and was a committee member of their Association.
In 2007 he collaborated with Vic Austin (39th and 2/2nd), author of “To Kokoda and Beyond”, and wrote the annexure for the revised edition of the book.
Wayne (centre) his daughter Erica and son Robert undertook a double crossing of the track in 2010 after accepting a challenge from their long time friend, Ken Phelan, 39th Battalion.
Kila Amuli lives in the village of Kokoda. Kila has made numerous successful crossings of the Kokoda Track and has worked as a guide for most of the major tour companies that operate in PNG.
Kila is one of the head Papuan guides on our tours. Kila's grandfather was a Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel who passed on many personal stories to Kila.
Kila has a fantastic understanding of the campaigns history, from the Australian and Papuan perspective. Kila was recently married and has two sons, Anthony and David.
The Kokoda Guides, The Green Masin (Machine)
Most of the guides that walk with our groups come from the northern end of the Kokoda Track from the villages of Kokoda, Hoi, Isurava, Kagi and Efogi just to name a few. The majority of our team have walked the Track countless times over the years. Their experience and dedication to the safety of our trekkers are second to none.
Kokoda Historical and our partners help to provide them with education, health care and employment. Our guides interact as much as they can with the trekkers and are only to happy to share their knowledge as we walk together over the Owen Stanley Range.
Some of the guides who make up the Green Masin!
Watch the Green Masin sing their anthem on Youtube!