Panels tell the story of the WWII Kokoda Campaign

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Posted on 15 November 2018
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This memorial was unveiled on the occasion of the 66th Anniversary of the first shots fired by the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion and the Papuan Infantry Battalion against the leading elements of the 144th Regiment, South Seas Force (Nankai Shitai) of the Imperial Japanese Army in their advance towards Port Moresby, signalling the commencement of the famous WWII Kokoda Track Campaign fought between July and November 1942. The Rotary Kokoda Memorial Wall was conceived in 2001 by Rotarian George Friend OAM and through the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport commissioned local artist David Yardley in 2005 to develop, design and construct the wall. Consisting of seven individual panels, the Wall is hand sculpted and crafted to tell the story of the Kokoda Campaign through the iconic images of war photographers Damien Parer and George Silk. The top of the wall represents the topography of the track across the Owen Stanley Ranges defining the torturous and inhospitable route from sea to sea. The panels tell the story of the WWII Kokoda Campaign from left to right with the arrival of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion at Port Moresby and commencement of the Australian troops journey, to the battle of Isurava depicted on the last panel overlooking the village of Kokoda. The forecourt of the Wall comprises two sections: The large raised area abutting the wall is a map of the region showing Papua New Guinea (PNG) and its proximity to Australia and North Queensland that illustrates how close an invading force came to mainland Australia in those dark days of early WWII. The area also shows an inset and detail of the Kokoda Track itself. The outer ring or ground level area of the forecourt depicts the ‘Rising Sun’ rays of the Australian Army hat badge, adopted at Federation in 1901. The same badge and image was worn proudly by the troops on Kokoda and to this day in every area of operation of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) around the world in the defence of freedom and for peace.