(Caption:Ground breaking tomark construction of a new community museum in Alola village with NMAGrepresentative, Gregory Bablis (with left side shovel) next to Ivan Senesi(with middle shovel) and other community representatives.)
On 31 October, residents from Alola village in Oro Province broke ground on a new community museum and trade haus project to support local tourism and income generation.
The museum will be built and managed by the local community to provide a dedicated space to display World War II artifacts collected from the Alola area. The war relics were previously collected and displayed by local resident Ivan Sinesi and his family.
“The whole community will share the financial benefits and share the war history of this museum. It will continue to be passed on to the next generation.”
Attached to the museum will be an open-air trade haus for community members, particularly women, to sell souvenirs and refreshments to the estimated 3,500 Kokoda trekkers who pass through the village each year. It will act as a focal point for visitors and is expected to become a busy hub during the trekking season.
Alola is the first of three communities along the entire Kokoda corridor to receive a new community museum and trade haus. Incoming months, similar facilities are planned for Efogi and Buna.
Supported by the Australian Government through the Kokoda Initiative, and in partnership with the National Museum and Art Gallery,the project reflects the five key elements of heritage management outlined in the recently released Kokoda Military Heritage Management Plan.
“This investment in community museums along the Kokoda Track will better preserve military artifacts and provide an income for the custodians of these relics,” said Gregory Bablis, Principal Curator of Modern History at the National Museum and Art Gallery.
“It will also enhance the tourist experience for trekkers who are interested in the history of the Kokoda campaign, by ensuring artifacts are adequately protected, displayed and interpreted.”
This announcement coincides with Kokoda Day, marked each year on 3 November in memory of the retaking of Kokoda Station by Australian forces, in commemoration of the end of the Kokoda Track campaign