Kokoda Memorial
Jindabyne, New South Wales, Australia

The Kokoda Memorial is located overlooking the township of Jindabyne and Lake Eucumbene in the Snowy Mountains region of southern NSW. This memorial commemorates the participation and sacrifice of the 3rd Battalion AMF during the Kokoda campaign, a series of desperate and bitterly contested battles along the Kokoda Trail (also Kokoda Track) between July and December 1942.

This was at a time when the Japanese forces had swept through South East Asia and the western Pacific, ejected the U.S. forces from the Philippines and taken control of and established bases in the Solomons and New Britain. Darwin was subject to regular air raids and at that time the majority of the regular Australian enlisted forces were committed against the Axis Powers in Europe and North Africa. With the Japanese invasion fleet headed for Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea destroyed in the Battle of the Coral Sea, a two-pronged overland invasion of PNG was launched at Gona and Milne Bay with the aim to take Port Moresby by land.

The 3rd Battalion was one of the Militia units conscripted into the defence of Australia shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. They were sent to Port Moresby with other units and at Ioribaiwa, with the Japanese within just 48km of Port Moresby - their objective with its port facilities and airfield - relieved the much maligned 39th Militia and Papuan Infantry Battalion who had staged a fighting withdrawal against overwhelmingly superior forces along the Kokoda Trail during seven weeks between July and September, 1942.

The tide of battle then turned in favour of the Australians with the Japanese amphibious landing repelled at Milne Bay and American landings at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands diverting their priorities away from PNG. The Japanese were pushed back to Gona and the Kokoda campaign concluded early in 1943 with the final defeat of Japanese forces at Gona, Buno and Sanananda.

Close-up of the dedication plaque on the Kokoda Memorial.

Close-up of the other dedication plaque on the Kokoda Memorial.

Close-up of the hat atop of the Kokoda Memorial.
(All photos and text courtesy of Peter F. Williams)
© 2010 Peter F. Williams all rights reserved

Page published May 22, 2010