The Bulldog Track – a story of survival

Bulldogtrack

The Bulldog Track

A grandson’s story of an ordinary man’s war and survival on the other Kokoda trail

By Peter Phelps

Published by Hachette Australia
RRP $29.99 in paperback • ISBN 9780733639777

Peter Phelps’ dad George Phelps was ten years old in September 1939 when his father Tom Phelps left Sydney for Bulolo in the New Guinea highlands to work as a gold miner and carpenter on a three-year contract.

Seventy-five years later, Tom’s grandson, actor and writer Peter Phelps, has pieced together the story of his grandfather’s survival, thanks in part to the remaining physical evidence of a rudimentary diary written with carpenter’s pencil on his pith helmet, which he headed: ‘Walk across New Guinea’.

Amazingly there were photos too that survived the escape, some taken en route. Tom Phelps had initially attempted to join the Australian Army after the Japanese attack on the town, but he was rejected as unfit. As Phelps writes, ‘Gold-dredge workers who lived in Bulolo ….. became either full-time soldiers or unemployed evacuees.’

Faced with the awful prospect of becoming a casualty of war as the Japanese advanced, Phelps set out with his mates to walk through some of the most rugged terrain on earth – the Bulldog Track – to safety.

Travelling by whatever means was available, Tom Phelps, half-starved and suffering malaria, would eventually make it home. This is his inspiring story of survival against the odds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s