Kokoda Trail linked the Papuan North Coast by crossing over the Stanley Range to Port Moresby on the south coast.  At the end of June 1942 the Australians placed “Maroubra” force (1000 militia men) to hold Kokoda and its airfield against Japanese attack from the north.  By the end of July the Militia were carrying out a fighting retreat which was to last until late August before reinforcements from the 7th Division AIF reached them.

By mid September, the Japanese began to withdraw, fearing an American attack on their northern base.  During November, the Australians pursued the Japanese back along the Kokoda Trail with the aid of the American 32nd Division.  The Papuan campaign ended with the surrender of the Japanese survivors on the 22nd January 1943.  The Japanese lost 13,000 of their 20,000 force, whilst Australia lost over 6,000 soldiers.