The Cowey - Selman Kokoda Scholarship is available each year to Year 11 students who are enrolled in a secondary school or college within the Shire of Yarra Ranges. The scholarship provides the opportunity for students to join a Kokoda trek at no cost to themselves other than their personal medications, spending money and gifts for the Papua New Guinea locals. The successful students will be offered assistance with training prior to the trek.
The award is the initiative of the 39th Infantry Battalion (1941-43) Association Inc. and the Mount Evelyn, Monbulk and Lilydale RSL sub-branches.
This competition, held annually within the Shire of Yarra Ranges, was first held in 2022 and is named after two Yarra Ranges’ residents, Jim Cowey and Geoff Selman who served with the 39th Infantry Battalion in Papua New Guinea. The competition is open to all Year 11 students from secondary schools and colleges within the Shire of Yarra Ranges. Each winner will receive a fully sponsored, escorted trip to Kokoda to learn first-hand something of Australia’s history.
The concept came from similar competitions:
- Baw Baw Shire (the George Collins Kokoda Award).
- Cardinia Shire (the Harold Bould/Wilma Young (Cardinia) Kokoda Award).
- East Gippsland Shire (the Arthur Grassby Award).
The purpose of the competition is to encourage young people to research and understand the sacrifice by so many ordinary people, like residents from the Shire of Yarra Ranges and Papua New Guinea, made in WW2 to keep our nations free.
James Cowey MC was born in 1890. In WW1 he served in Egypt, Gallipoli and across the Western Front. He was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry near Hamel on 18th/19th September 1918 in Northern France. He re-enlisted for WW2 and served as a Staff Sergeant with the 39th Battalion. A resident of The Patch, we believe Jim is the only enlisted man to actively serve at both the Gallipoli Landing and crucial 2nd Battle of Kokoda. Jim passed away in 1968. Further detail of Jim Coweys’ life and service can be accessed here.
Harold Geoffrey (“Geoff”) Selman was born in 1921 and served as a Private in the 39th Battalion. A resident of Lilydale, he was Killed in Action at Gona on 14th December 1942. Geoff is buried in Bomana War Cemetery, Port Moresby and remembered on the cenotaph in Lilydale.
2022 CompetitionThe inaugural winner of the scholarship was Cameron Liligan from Cire Community School in Mount Evelyn. Cameron trekked the Kokoda Trail in October 2022. Cameron’s story and an article on the scholarship award ceremony can be accessed here.
Kokoda Trek Details
The trek takes 10 days (8 days of trekking) and covers 96km of difficult country. A reasonable level of physical fitness is required, along with mental endurance and determination. Airfares, accommodation costs, travel insurance, trek costs and equipment (boots, clothes, passport, if necessary) will be covered. Personal spending money, snacks, personal medications and gifts for the local Papua New Guinea people (e.g. nail polish and lipstick for the girls and small, light toys for the boys) are to be met by the successful candidate.
Details of the trek and the Kokoda Trail may be found at https://getawaytrekking.com.au/
How To ApplyStudents in Year 11 in 2023 wishing to apply for the scholarship should download and read the application details document. When submitting your application, ensure all documents are provided to your high school or college. You can complete an entry using any medium desired (e.g. PowerPoint, art, poetry or essay of up to 600 words), answering two questions in relation to the Kokoda and Northern Beaches Campaign:
- What was the importance of the Kokoda Campaign in the Battle for Australia?
- Why would you like to trek the Kokoda Trail?
Vandenberg Wholesale Nursery, Silvan
Shipseys Nurseries, Monbulk
Rhodo Glen Nurseries, The Patch
Patch of Pride Nursery, The Patch
DNA Propagation, Silvan
Flash Plants,Mount Evelyn
Humphris Nursery, Mooroolbark
Collings Wholesale Nursery, Silvan
Larkman Nurseries, Lilydale
Warners Nurseries, Narre Warren North
Financial supporters and sponsors are required in order for the scholarship to continue. Businesses are asked to commit to a yearly amount over 4 years to support the long-term viability of the program. Pledges can be made to Matthew Crymble (President Mount Evelyn RSL), Bill Dobson (President Lilydale RSL) or Bill Ford (President Monbulk RSL). All funding is held and managed by the Mount Evelyn RSL sub-branch. Donations and sponsorships may be tax deductible.
References, to assist students research the Kokoda and Northern Beaches campaign, can be accessed here.
Scholarship Sponsors and Supporters
The Scholarship Committee of Management would like to acknowledge and thank our sponsors and supporters for their generous support. Without this support, the scholarship would not be possible.
|The scholarship is supported by Yarra Ranges Council with funding provided via the 2020 Grants for Community program.|
Community Bank Mount Evelyn
33 Hutchinson Street, Lilydale
Best coffee in Mount Evelyn!!
Lilydale Baptist Church
|Specialists in preparing outdoor equipment for all kinds of expeditions.
26B Research Drive, Croydon South
Mitchell Pratt 1300 279 959
Monbulk Bowling Club
Upper Yarra RSL
Chirnside Park Country Club
Family Style Restaurant
68 Kingswood Drive, Chirnside Park
Phone: (03) 9726 7788
Gardiners Run Golf Course
130-132 Victoria Rd, Lilydale
Professionals Real Estate
Croydon: (03) 9725 0000 / Lilydale: (03) 9735 3367
Mooroolbark: (03) 9726 8888 / Mount Evelyn: (03) 9736 3999
Yarra Valley: (03) 5967 1800