Commemorating 80 years since heroic Kokoda defence
Today marks 80 years since the beginning of the iconic Kokoda story.
War Memorial Council Chairman Dr Brendan Nelson joined Jim Wilson on Drive to talk about the history of the campaign, and what this day means.
“80 years ago today the Japanese landed at Gona in the North of New Guinea and their intention was to get across the Owen Stanley ranges to Port Moresby,” he said.
“At the time, the only thing we had between them and everything that was at stake in our country was the 39th militia battalion and a small garrison.
“Our vital interests were at stake … we had our backs to the wall.
“On the stepping stones of courage and despair these young Australians handed the Japanese their fist land defeat of the war.”
Dr Nelson also reflected on the words enshrined on four granite pillars at Kokoda which highlight the virtues of these brave soldiers, and what it means to be an Australian.
Courage. Endurance. Sacrifice. Mateship.
Press PLAY below to hear more stories from this iconic moment in Australia’s history
Image: Getty/Pictures from History