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Welcome to Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway

The Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway is a living memorial and a principal site of commemoration honouring all those who fought for Australia during World War II. A principal focus is on the sacrifices made during key Papua New Guinea battles which took place in 1942-43 along the Kokoda Track, at Milne Bay on the south-eastern tip of Papua, and at Buna, Gona, and Sanananda on the northern coastline.

The Walkway covers more than 800 metres from Rhodes Station to Concord Hospital in Sydney's inner-west, and runs along the mangrove-studded shores of Brays Bay on the Parramatta River.

At the centrepiece are magnificent granite walls bearing photographic images of the Kokoda campaign. There are 22 audio-visual stations along the Walkway, each describing a significant place or military engagement. The Walkway has been planted with lush tropical vegetation simulating the conditions of The Kokoda Track.

Kokoda Day Commemoration 2016

On November 3rd, 2016, the Walkway commemorated the 74th anniversary of the raising of the Australian flag at Kokoda village. This event marked the successful advance by the Australian Army back across the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges to the Northern New Guinea coastal plain. Those attending the commemoration were also aware that the following month would represent 75 years since the beginning of war with the Empire of Japan, following sudden attacks on Pearl Harbour and other US, British, and Dutch bases.

The official welcome was given by Mr John Haines AM, Chairman of the Walkway and NSW State President of the RSL. The Walkway was fortunate in having a Catafalque Party provided by the 4th/3rd Battalion - Royal NSW Regiment. Prayers were lead by the Reverend Paul Weaver, Anglican Chaplain of Concord Hospital. The following month Paul retired from the chaplaincy, after some 14 years of valued service to the Hospital and this Walkway. The Walkway Board wishes him well in retirement.

Music, an all important contribution to a fitting commemoration, was once again provided by the NSW Corrective Services Band, and solo tenor Kent Maddock sung Sir Hubert Parry's beautiful old hymn, "Jerusalem", as well as the "Lord's Prayer".

A video compilation, in the form of a Kokoda Day Reflection, was projected onto a large screen. This audio-visual presentation traced the course of the Pacific War from the initial Japanese attacks in December 1941 through to the re-taking of Kokoda village and the historic flag raising which occurred on November 3rd, 1942.

The 2016 Kokoda Day Address was delivered by Professor, the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO. Professor Bashir noted that the year 1942 was critical in the history of modern Australia. Having been thwarted at the Battle of the Coral Sea in their plan for a seaborne assault on Port Moresby, the Japanese, Professor Bashir said, opted for an overland route along the rugged Kokoda Track. It was, as the Professor emphasised, some of the worst terrain of the Pacific War in which to fight a battle. A full audio file of Professor Bashir's address can be accessed from this page.

The Australian Flag Raising was undertaken by Mr Ray Gentles, a New Guinea war veteran who served with the 55/53rd Battalion. Mr Michael Ali OAM, raised the Papua New Guinea flag in honour of all those from our neighbouring country who supported the Australians and gave such splendid assistance to the wounded.

Mr Ray James, State Councillor, RSL NSW, recited the Ode, and towards the conclusion of the commemoration, Board member, Brigadier Phil McNamara CSC ESM OAM, thanked all those in attendance and those who contributed to make the day a fitting tribute to those remarkable Australian servicemen who turned the tide of battle at such a critical time for our country.

John K Wright PSM

(Director, Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway)

To hear the 2016 Kokoda Day Address - Professor, the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, please click the play button below.

The Centenary of ANZAC and the GREAT WAR

July to December 1917

European Theatre

Sept.– Nov. Third Battle of Ypres (Belgium)

British forces planned to break through the strongly fortified German defences enclosing the Ypres salient, a protruding bulge in the British front line. There were a number of fierce separate engagements. Only small advancements were possible in the saturated terrain, and the hoped for breakthrough never eventuated. Australian divisions participated in a number of key attacks:

  • Sept. 20 Menin Road Belgium

  • Sept. 26 Polygon Wood Belgium

  • Oct. 4 Broodseinde Belgium

  • Oct. 9 Poelcappelle Belgium

  • Oct. 12 Passchendaele Belgium

Three successful pushes – Menin Road, Polygon Wood and Broodseinde – in September and early October steadily drove the Germans back to the top of Passchendaele ridge. Through October and into November, wet weather and sheer exhaustion meant further attacks became hopelessly bogged down. Though the final ridge was eventually gained, continued penetration of German positions proved unachievable. Losses were horrendous on both sides. During the five-month campaign, almost half a million men were lost. The fighting in these weeks cost the Australians another 38,000 casualties.

Middle East Theatre

Among the many battles that took place in the 2nd half of 1917, there is one name that stands out above all others in the desert war involving Australian mounted forces:

Beersheba (Palestine) Oct. 31

The battle of Beersheba took place on 31 October 1917 as part of the wider British offensive collectively known as the third Battle of Gaza. The final phase of this all day battle was the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. General Grant gave the order personally to the 12th Light Horse Regiment: “men you’re fighting for water. There’s no water between this side of Beersheba and Esani. Use your bayonets as swords. I wish you the best of luck”. The capture of Beersheba enabled British Empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza on 7 November and advance into Palestine.

  • Ramadi Mesopotamia Sept. 28

  • Beersheba (Palestine) Oct. 31

  • Khuweilfe, Palestine, November 1 to 8,.

  • Daur, Mesopotamia, November 2.

  • Third Gaza, Palestine, November 6, to January 2, 1918.

  • Tel es Sheria, Palestine, November 7.

  • Huj, Palestine, November 8.

  • Ayun Kara, Palestine, November 14.

  • Amwas, Palestine, Sunday, November 18.

  • Bald Hill, Palestine, November 27 to December 5.

  • El Burj, Palestine, December 1.

  • Balin, Harith and Kuddin, Palestine, December 27.