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Category: Memorials

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Memorials & Cemeteries in Papua New Guinea
For reasons that totally escape this humble webmaster Australia has done very little in the way of erecting memorials for the Second World War efforts of it's Service personnel. This is nowhere more evident than in Papua New Guinea where the original plaques were not even all  erected and when they were replaced the memorials are very low key. It seems to me a touch unusual that we can erect huge memorials in France but in PNG the memorials are not much more than a few rocks cemented together amid the over grown grass. Very strange, particularly when the battle of New Guinea was far more important to Australia's immediate safety than anything on the Western Front.
Click to enlarge  Isurava. Click to enlarge. Popondetta. The memorials at Buna, Gona and Dobodura were incorporated with those already at Popondetta.
Click to enlarge. Lae. Memorials for Salamaua and the Lae areas as far as Nadzab, but not Wau, were incorporated on a memorial cairn positioned at the entrance of the gardens. Click to enlarge. The Wau Memorial commemorates those Australian soldiers who fought a desperate defensive battle against a Japanese force which advanced from Salamaua
Click to enlarge. Milne Bay. The original memorial in this area was a piece of tin nailed to a coconut tree stump bearing the inscription "This marks the spot of the first land defeat of the Japanese Army in the Pacific. In memory of the Australian men who lost their lives in this action." That sign, its whereabouts now unknown, was later replaced with a more substantial memorial placed at the nearby Turnbull Field. Click to enlarge.

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McDonald's Corner is recognized as the start of the Kokoda Trail. the figure is a stylised Digger wielding a .303 Lee Enfield rifle with bayonet. Photo taken 1968. 
Click to enlarge 8 January 1945. A Rating from an RAN corvette reads the inscription on the memorial erected at Milne Bay in memory of the officers, NCO, and men of the 7th and 18th Infantry Brigades who gave their lives defending Turnbull Field. The memorial marks the western most point in Milne Bay of the Japanese advance in August to September 1942 and also the southern most point of the Japanese advance in the South West Pacific area.
Click to enlarge. Madang. This Memorial is a working lighthouse, dedicated to  

The Coastwatchers  

organisation, originated and administered by the Royal Australian Navy, operated in the islands north and north-east of Australia from the earliest days of the war in the Pacific. 

Click to enlarge. Sogeri. This memorial was designed and built in 1943 by the 7th Australian Infantry Brigade in conjunction with the 2nd Australian Watercraft Workshop. It stands at the road junction where the Kokoda Track to McDonald's and Ower's Corners intersects the Sogeri Road.
Click to enlarge. Surrender memorial. This memorial is located in an area known as the Cape Wom Memorial Park. The pyramidal cairn bears a central plaque which commemorates the surrender of the Japanese Army on 13 September 1945. A further plaque on the cairn commemorates the award of the Victoria Cross to Lieutenant Albert Chowne on 25 March 1945 and to Private Edward Kenna on 15 May 1945 in actions near Wewak
Click to enlarge. Bomana War Cemetery. Pt Moresby PNG. 

This is one of two major war cemeteries in PNG, the other is Lae War Cemetery

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge ANZAC Square, Brisbane. In the square below the Shrine there are several memorials. The one pictured left is a wounded Digger being helped by a Papuan 'Fuzzy-Wuzzy Angel"  while a fresh reinforcement moves past them to carry on the fight. On the right there is the plaque to honour the fuzzy wuzzy porters and a photo taken in Papua at the time. Click to enlarge

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The Office of Australian War Graves says this on it's web site . . .

There are many battle exploit memorials throughout Papua New Guinea. These memorials are of significance to Australians and many relate to the infamous Kokoda Track.

In 1945 Australian Commander, General Thomas Blamey, ordered that 43 memorials be erected at various battle sites through New Guinea. All the bronze panels were to be cast in the Army workshops. Most, but not all, were erected, but by 1961 it became apparent that proper maintenance of such widely dispersed memorials would present considerable difficulty.

The (then) Battle Exploit Memorials Committee, comprising representatives of Papua New Guinea administration, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Returned Services League, Apex and Rotary Clubs, decided to reposition these memorials at a more central location.


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces