Kokoda Youth Foundation
Our mission is to change the lives of Australian young people through the
Spirit of Kokoda; Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice.
It was these four values that became the fundamental pillars that led to the victory over the Japanese. These are the same values we instill into young people in our programs.
The Kokoda Campaign in 1942 was one of the most significant events in Australia’s history as it was a battle fought on Australian Territory, back when New Guinea was considered Australian soil.
It was not a battle fought to help British troops, but instead to defend Australia from the threat of Japanese forces after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor took place and the Japanese army planned to advance to Port Moresby. This would facilitate the capture of other centres and weaken the Allied line of communication from the United States to Australia.
It was the bravery of the inexperienced and untrained Australian soldiers that saw the victory over the Japanese who had, until this point, seemed like an invincible force.
On July 21, 1942, Japanese troops landed in the Gona-Buna area in PNG. They were met by Australia’s 39th Battalion, which was made up of untrained and untested troops who were initially deployed to PNG merely to assist with the building of an airstrip at Dobodura.
These untrained Australian soldiers were forced into a series of short, but critical engagements with the advancing Japanese troops, and they were pushed along the Kokoda Track.
Throughout the next two months, the Australian units withdrew down the Kokoda Track and were joined by the 2/27th Battalion. They made further stands against the Japanese at Eora Creek, Templeton’s Crossing, Efogi, Mission Ridge and Ioribaiwa.
During those grueling days, Papuan men were employed as carriers and played a vital role in the battle.
They carried supplies forward to the troops and ferried the increasing numbers of wounded and sick back to safety. They were affectionately known as the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels and became an icon of the track.
Finally, by September 16, after yet more Australian troops had come from Port Moresby to assist, the Japanese were exhausted and were ordered to retreat.
On 2nd of November 1942 the Kokoda village was finally retaken by the Aussie troops but they had one more tough battle to fight at Oivi-Gorari, where the Japanese were determined to make a final stand.
By November 18, the Australians reached the Kumusi River, and the battle for the Kokoda Track was finally won!
More than 600 Australians were killed and some 1680 were wounded in what some believe was the most significant battle fought by Australians during World War II.
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