The Kokoda campaign began with a full scale attack on the Australian 39th Militia Battalion on 29 July 1942. The campaign lasted three months as the Australians were pushed back to last line of defence on Imita Ridge. The Australians rallied at this point and pushed the Japanese back across the trail. Kokoda was recaptured on 2 November 1942 and the Australian flag was raised at a service the following day.
The flag raising ceremony symbolised the turning of the tide in the Pacific War. Today it also symbolises the service and sacrifice made by the war time carriers, the fuzzy-wuzzy angels, in all campaigns throughout Papua New Guinea.
This victory would not have been possible without the vital support of the PNG carriers across the track. In addition to their contribution to the war effort hundreds of Australian soldiers owe their lives to the selfless sacrifice of the carriers who guided and carried them to safety over inhospitable jungle terrain in the most adverse of circumstances.
We were honoured to be joined by Kokoda veteran Reg Chard at our inaugural dinner, who joined Charlie Lynn on stage for the official proceedings. Reg dedicates much of his time as a tour guide at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway at Rhodes.
Network Kokoda gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Australian Army Band, much acclaimed country singer songwriter Amber Lawrence and our MC, the Hon. Kerry Chikarovski.