This Remembrance Trail honours those who served in Papua and New Guinea during the Second World War. It's a way for you to discover and connect with their experiences and sacrifices.
Japanese forces invaded the Australian-administered Territory of New Guinea on 23 January 1942. It brought the war in the Pacific to our doorstep.
Less than a month later, 242 Japanese aircraft attacked Darwin. Then on 21 July, the Japanese invaded the Australian Territory of Papua.
For the next 3 years, mostly Australian and American forces fought the Japanese on the ground, in the air and at sea.
More than 8,000 Australians died, and 2,000 of them are missing, their bodies never found. They are buried or commemorated in 3 Commonwealth War Cemeteries, isolated graves and other memorials in the modern-day nation of Papua New Guinea.
These cemeteries are also the final resting place of 103 Papuan and New Guinean soldiers, who fought and died alongside Australians.
This site shares some of the experiences of those who served. It also offers resources to guide your understanding.
A strong relationship
The modern country of Papua New Guinea is our closest neighbour. We have a shared wartime history. Serving together forged enduring bonds.
Through the Kokoda Initiative, the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments support:
- the sustainable development and protection of the Kokoda Track and surrounds
- improvement in the quality of life in communities along the Track
- support for local communities through tourist attractions such as community military heritage museums
- the work of the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery (NMAG)
- the Herbert Kienzle Memorial Museum at Kokoda, which opened in 1995
Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) is committed to preserving the memory of Australians who served in the Papuan and New Guinea Campaigns. As part of this commitment, in Papua New Guinea, we care for:
- 3 war cemeteries
- a number of isolated graves
- a number of official Australian memorials
Curriculum support for students and teachers
The information we provide on this website supports the Australian Curriculum. It has been checked by qualified historians and educators.
It is not, however, a full teaching resource or the only account of the campaign. For a broader overview, visit our:
The Australian War Memorial also has extensive educational resources.
Our commemoration work
We acknowledge and commemorate those who served Australia and its allies in wars, conflicts and peace operations. We do this through:
- promoting recognition of service and sacrifice
- preservation of Australia’s wartime heritage
- official commemorations.
This Remembrance Trail commemorates the New Guinea Campaign. Visit our corporate website for further information or advice from the DVA.
Our other commemoration work includes:
- National Commemorations Program recognises and remembers those who have served Australia and its allies in wars, conflicts and peace operations.
- Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) cares for and maintains the official commemorations of more than 334,000 Australian service men and women in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
- Sir John Monash Centre provides an interpretive experience to educate a new audience about Australia's early role in international affairs.
- Overseas Memorials learn about and locate Australian war memorials around the world that honour those who have served.
- Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre Thailand the museum commemorates prisoners of war and civilians, both men and women who suffered and died in the construction of the thai-burmese railway during world war II.
- Overseas privately-constructed memorial restoration program OPCMRP grants are available to eligible individuals, non-commercial organisations or community groups, who have an interest in seeing a particular privately-constructed overseas memorial restored and preserved. Memorials must directly commemorate Australia’s service men and women who served in wars, conflicts and peace operations.
We also educate the community about Australia's wartime history by:
- producing educational resources
- sharing stories of veterans
- giving grants for commemorative projects
Help for veterans and families
The Department of Veteran's Affairs also helps veterans and their families access a range of services, including:
Get in touch
If you have any questions or comments you can get in touch with us at Overseas.firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also reach us at this postal address:
Overseas Memorials Directorate
Department of Veterans' Affairs
GPO Box 9998 Brisbane Qld 4001