Dawn service in PNG for Aboriginal soldiers

Dawn service in PNG for Aboriginal soldiers

Dawn service in PNG for Aboriginal soldiers

Updated 25 April 2012, 9:21 AEST

A traditional ceremony has been performed at an Anzac dawn service in Papua New Guinea for an Aboriginal soldier who died on the Kokoda Track during World War II.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Kokoda Trail campaign when Australian troops defeated the Japanese advance in New Guinea.

Private Frank Archibald is buried at the Bomana War Cemetery near Port Moresby, alongside six other Aboriginal soldiers.

His family carried out a traditional ceremony on Wednesday to commemorate the life of all indigenous soldiers killed in PNG.

Grace Gordon was seven in 1942 and it was the last time she remembers seeing her brother Private Archibald, back in Australia from fighting in the Middle East and en route to Papua New Guinea.

"And I was so excited to meet him. It was the only time I met him, since I was small. I never seen (sic) him again after that," she said.

During this year's dawn service at the Bomana War Cemetary, Mrs Gordon and 10 other family members conducted a traditional ceremony to allow Private Archibald's spirit to return to his homeland.

They have conducted similar ceremonies for the other indigenous soldiers buried in PNG.

On Anzac Day, April 25, Australia and New Zealand commemorates the first military engagement for its troops in Gallipoli during World War I.