CAULFIELD Racecourse is the perfect place for these three World War II warhorses to remember the many mates they lost during Australia's rugged Kokoda campaign.
It's where they began their trek towards the New Guinea jungle and along that torturous, famed track. And it's also where their journey will be celebrated on Saturday with the Back to Caulfield ceremony to commemorate the racecourse's role in Australian military history.
John Akhurst, 93, Alan "Kanga" Moore and Peter Holloway, both 91, were young blokes when they lined up at the track for jabs and uniforms.
Like a steeplechaser, Mr Holloway remembers jumping the course fence to go visit his then beau Mae, later his wife, who lived two blocks away.
"I got out OK with no thought how I'd get back in," the now reverend Holloway recalls. On his return, he simply marched back in.
"They were worried about blokes leaving, not those coining back in." The trio served with the famous 39th Battalion which, with Victoria's 2/14th and 2/16th battalions, turned the tide against the Japanese attacks.
They will be honoured when Melbourne Racing Club recognises the campaign's 70th anniversary at its annual Australia Remembers day tomorrow.
The Legacy Lone Pine Ceremony is at 11am on level 1 of Caulfield's Rupert Clarke Grandstand.
- Kelly Ryan, Herald Sun, 17 Aug 2012