MATTHEW (Matt) Power, 95, Kokoda veteran and one time headmaster of Kerevat National High School, died in Brisbane on Wednesday night.
Matt served with the Australian 2/14 Battalion in World War II. The battalion was among the first of the Australian Infantry Force troops to return to Australia from the Middle East.
It was sent to New Guinea to relieve two Citizens Military Force battalions, 39 and 53, which had confronted the initial Japanese invasion along the Kokoda Track.
At the height of the Japanese assault, Matt was severely wounded at Isurava on the Track. He carried a bullet in his back for the rest of his life.
He later served for some years during colonial days as a school teacher in PNG, including a period as headmaster of Kerevat in 1978.
With his wife Bertha he retired to their Mt Tamborine hideaway in Queensland to grow orchids and live a peaceful life.
In 2012, Matt returned to the Kokoda Track for the unveiling of a memorial to mark the 60th anniversary of the World War II battle.
The memorial at Isurava overlooks the Kokoda Valley and Matt said it was an important tribute:
"It is now something that the local villagers are going to host,” he said.
Matt Power was a great gentleman and it is sad to see another link lost with the crucial Kokoda battle that remains such an important shared icon in Australian and PNG history.