One of the bloodiest campaigns of World War II, which has forever sealed the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea, began over 70 years ago.
It was on July 21, 1942, that Japanese troops landed on the northern coast of then New Guinea and unexpectedly began to march over the Owen Stanley Ranges with the intent of capturing Port Moresby.
Had they succeeded, the mainland of Australia would have come under dire threat.
More Australians died in the seven months of fighting in Papua, and the Japanese came closer to Australia than in any other campaign.
Many of those young Australians, whose average age was between 18 and 19, now lie buried at the Bomana War Cemetery outside Port Moresby.
Conditions were almost indescribable.Much of the track was through dense rain forest, which enclosed the narrow passage between walls of thick bush.
It rained most of the time, and at higher levels, the terrain became moss and stunted trees, were often covered in mist.
Worn down and weary from hunger, malaria and dysentery, the men endured some of the most difficult terrains in the world.
But the men kept fighting, making the enemy pay dearly for every bit of ground – buying time for those being prepared to come up from Port Moresby to relieve them.
The force, being desperately tired but determined, kept themselves between the Japanese Major General Horri’s South Sea Force and Port Moresby – defending, retreating and then counter – attacking in a masterly display of strategic defence.
We remember The Battle of Kokoda as one of the most heroic defensive actions in Australian military history.
Why conquer the Character Builders’ Kokoda Challenge?
‘Hearing both sides of the story’
A Character Builders’ Kokoda Challenge draws on the past accounts from all sides of the campaign including the Japanese, Australians’ and Papuan soldiers.
These stories help students to understand the importance of putting things into perspective.
- Amazing outdoor experience for all ages (including Staﬀ)
- Challenges students to respect diversity and diﬀerence in others
- Culturally and historically important for every student
- Inspires young minds to look for perspective
- Demands commitment and a high level of teamwork from students
- Empowers students to strive for leadership
- Emphasises the message of “Lest We Forget”
Your students and staﬀ will:
- carry each other (mountain assault and stretchers)
- trust each other (team games and base camp duties)
- share with each other (food on, BBQ cooking and reﬂection)
- appreciate the environment
Students and staﬀ walk away from this day having been given the opportunity to stop, reﬂect on the past, act in the present and plan a more open-minded approach to take back to school and implement into their lives.
* Contact Character Builders to book your Kokoda Challenge
Phone: 1300 205 101 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org