• Nathan Grills, Kevin Commins, Kenton Reeder, Trevor Key, Ian McPhedran, Lia Burns and David Anderson

    Nathan Grills, Kevin Commins, Kenton Reeder, Trevor Key, Ian McPhedran, Lia Burns and David Anderson

  • Nicholas Stuart

    Nicholas Stuart

  • Lia Burns and Associate Professor David Anderson of the Burnet Institute

    Lia Burns and Associate Professor David Anderson of the Burnet Institute

  • David Anderson

    David Anderson

  • Michael Clarebrough, Trevor Key and Kevin Commins

    Michael Clarebrough, Trevor Key and Kevin Commins

  • Ian McPhedran

    Ian McPhedran

  • Annabel Crabb and Ian McPhedran

    Annabel Crabb and Ian McPhedran

  • Katherine Twomey, David Lee, Leona Landers and Jo Hardie

    Katherine Twomey, David Lee, Leona Landers and Jo Hardie

  • Michael Clarebrough - The Soul, Tony Melville NPC and Trevor Key - The Tech

    Michael Clarebrough - The Soul, Tony Melville NPC and Trevor Key - The Tech

  • Sid Marris, Paul Daley, Randal Markey and Robert Brissenden

    Sid Marris, Paul Daley, Randal Markey and Robert Brissenden

  • David Anderson, Burnet Institute,  Nathan Grills, Emmanuels Hospital Association and Ian McPhedran

    David Anderson, Burnet Institute, Nathan Grills, Emmanuels Hospital Association and Ian McPhedran

  • Kirk Conningham, Kate Melville and John O'Callaghan

    Kirk Conningham, Kate Melville and John O'Callaghan

  • Steve Lewis and Innes Wilcox

    Steve Lewis and Innes Wilcox

  • Kenton Reeder - The Camera Guy -

    Kenton Reeder - The Camera Guy -

  • Julie McDonald, Robert Owen-Jones and Pauline Adams

    Julie McDonald, Robert Owen-Jones and Pauline Adams

  • Alana and Michael Hyoe

    Alana and Michael Hyoe

Colin McPhedran Commemorative Trek

24 November 2015

Burma – or Myanmar as it is now called caused me a bit of angst some years ago when an editor asserted I couldn’t caption the photo of the accredited representative of the country as “Ambassador” despite the Governor General accepting his credentials on behalf of the government. That editor had interviewed Aung San Suu Kyi and I know why he decided to make that decision but whether we like it or not the title was legitimate.

Subsequently I photographed Aung San Suu Khi, watched her receive an honoury doctorate from ANU (Doctorate of Letters) and admired the dignity and charm of this amazing woman particularly among the Burmese students at ANU.

And I have read White Butterflies, the autobiography by Colin McPhedran that tells of his escape as an eleven year old from Burma along the Hukwang Valley Trail – the path to hell and death for tens of thousands of Burman refugees in 1942 - is a harrowing story that leads to Britain and Bowral and another life for the father of journalist Ian McPhedran.

Those preliminaries gave me a link to the proposal promulgated by a four man team; Kevin Commins The Brains, Michael Clarebrough The Soul, Trevor Key The Tech and Kenton Reeder The Camera Guy, for The Colin McPhedran Commemorative Trek in 2016 to honour the man and for fundraising to assist in improving maternal health care in Burma with the Burnet Institute and disability support services in India with the Emmanuels Hospital Association.

The trekkers still need sponsorship, diplomatic assistance, donations, as much media as they can get and insurance. Take time to visit the website www.thecolinmcphedrantrek.com.au to see if you can help.
The launch at the National Press Club was a reminder of a refugee story not widely known and with the sponsorship of the Burnet Institute, Kathmandu, the Emmanuels Hospital Association and as many supporters we can rustle up will be a profound achievement and a whole lot more difficult than Kokoda. It will be documented by The Camera Guy Kenton Reeder with his Sony camera and microphone bobbing along the trail in the clever body rig he designed.

The idea for the trek started with a dose of insomnia for Michael Clarebrough listening to a radio story about Colin McPhedran. He wrote a song about him and he sings it on the website where there’s also an interview with the now late Colin McPhedran. Listen to it, get a copy of White Butterflies and support the trekkers.