Australian NGO Keeping the Spirit of Kokoda Alive

Australian non-government organisation KTF will host the 15th Lt. Col. Ralph Honner Gala Dinner in Sydney on Friday 26 October 2018. The dinner commemorates the great sacrifices made by the Australian and Papua New Guinean soldiers and beloved ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ during the battles of Kokoda in World War II, with special tribute to the leadership of Lt. Col. Ralph Honner, commander of the 39thBattalion.

Each year, the event brings together surviving veterans of the Kokoda campaign, and in 2018 five veterans are travelling to Sydney for a very special reunion. Hailing from Townsville, Arnold Forrester from the 39th Battalion, who turns 99 next week, has attended the Ralph Honner Dinner every year for the past decade. “Apart from ANZAC Day, the Lt. Col. Ralph Honner Dinner is my favourite event of the year” said Mr Forrester. “I am thankful to be a part of the work KTF does in keeping the spirit of Kokoda alive.”

Renowned PNG artist, Jeffry Feeger, will once again paint a live portrait throughout the course of the evening. This year, Jeffry and KTF will honour 39th Battalion soldier, George Palmer, who passed away on 11 October 2018. “George was a long-time friend and supporter of KTF and keeper of the spirit of Kokoda” said Dr Genevieve Nelson, KTF CEO. “George returned to Kokoda on four separate occasions after the war and established the George and Josie Palmer Fund with KTF to support children and families along and around the Kokoda Track. The fund supports the training of teachers at the Kokoda College and the illumination of remote communities with solar lighting and energy technology.”

In their 10th year of support, Lion and De Bortoli Wines are once again generously supporting the Ralph Honner dinner. Lion Beer Australia’s Director of Trade Relations Doug May said it was an honour to support the dinner through its association with the RSL & Services Club Association over the past decade. “This year we’re excited to showcase Furphy Refreshing Ale to a national audience, a beer which has its own unique connection to our diggers of yesteryear” Mr May said.

“KTF work with people and communities to improve the lives and futures of Papua New Guineans” said Warwick Brook, NSW/ACT State Manager of DeBortoli Wines. “This work cannot be done without the help and support of the corporate sector. Our support of KTF comes from a sense of belonging, and gratitude to a country that has given our family the ability to foster and grow to the company we are today.”

The 2018 leadership oration will be delivered by Dr Brendan Nelson AO in the presence of the Kokoda Veterans and over 300 guests. The MC for the evening is Channel 7 News Presenter, Journalist, and KTF Ambassador, Michael Usher.

We are grateful to all who have generously donated to the silent auction this year:

  • On Track Expeditions

  • Art Gallery on Darling

  • Australian War Memorial

  • Flight Centre Travel Group

  • Cronulla Sharks

  • Bill James


  • Number Works n Words

  • Let’s Go Surfing

  • Noyce Brothers Wine

  • David Kirkland Photography

  • Women of Lontis Village

  • Zambilla & Co

  • Bertoni Cafe

  • L’Occitane Australia

  • Julia Zhao Photography

  • Kate Donellan

  • Social Escape

  • Motorola

  • Amber Drop Honey

  • Aesop

  • Oaks Hotels & Resorts

  • SolarBuddy

  • Jordans, Ryvita & Dorset Cereals

  • Chris Gryllis

  • Sydney Swans

  • Toni & Guy

  • Women of Kou Kou

  • Scenic World Blue Mountains

  • ABP / State Theatre

  • Airways Hotel Port Moresby

  • Oliver’s Tomorrow

  • Naked Wines

  • Grand Pacific Group

  • Joycelin Leahy

  • Kalem Warrior Woman

  • BWS

  • Wave Warrior

  • Dinosaur Designs

  • Young Henrys

  • Broger’s End Kangaroo Valley, Sarah & Phil Crowe

  • BRIX Distillers

  • Four Seasons

  • John Hancock

We are also grateful to these amazing supporters  for their generous support of the event:

  • Lion, Platinum Sponsor 

  • De Bortoli Wines, Platinum Sponsor

  • Michael Usher

  • Patrick Lindsay AM

  • Bianca Noka

  • Jeffry Feeger

  • The Hon. Brendan Nelson AO

  • Hughes Limosines

  • PNG Tourism Promotion Authority

  • Anthony Meaker from McGrath

Mike Nelson