Eora Creek and Templeton's CrossingLocation
Eora Creek and Templeton's Crossing
At times we were superior to the Japanese in numbers. But they had wonderfully prepared positions in their defence. And, at Eora Creek which was really the final battle of the Kokoda Trail before we got back to Kokoda, they had a fantastic position. Eora Creek was a mountain torrent. Two streams converging into one, as all creeks and rivers do... And there the Japanese held a wonderfully strong position with about twenty feet of rock face. They were on top of the rock face and we were facing upwards. And I remember Lieutenant Johnny Frew was shot by the same bullet in the ear and the foot. I mean they were firing down on us you see.
Paul Cullen, 2/1st Battalion, 2/2nd Battalion AIF. Listen to his story.
About Templeton's Crossing
Lieutenant Bert Kienzle named Templeton’s Crossing after Captain Samuel Templeton. The Commander of 'B' Company, 39th Battalion, was killed in the early stages of the Kokoda campaign, near Oivi.
The Kokoda Track follows the torrents of Eora Creek as it cuts a deep gorge through the Owen Stanley Range, from the Mambare River to Myola.
The steep three-hour trek to Eora Village from Isurava climbs high along the right bank until the water disappears. The track opens onto a grassy plateau to reveal a small cluster of huts.
From this vantage point, the village overlooks Eora Creek and the sparse, makeshift crossing–Templeton’s Crossing. This is where the original part of the Kokoda Track crosses the creek.
Eora Village was vital to the front line, as it was home to the hospital where medical officers looked after the sick and injured.
During the Kokoda campaign, the track diverted through the supply dump at Myola (Dump 1). The original track wound north from Kagi, along the eastern side of Mount Bellamy. It then cut north through the steep Eora Creek Valley.
The jungle terrain had become a major tactical feature of the campaign in Papua and New Guinea. It was different on low country, where marching around the enemy flank to threaten their rear was easier. In the mountains, the slippery slopes, low light and dense jungle made it more difficult for the troops locate their enemy and surround them.
In the Eora Creek valley, the surrounding landscape was perilously steep, dark and visibility was low. Troops often had to climb hand over hand up 45-degree slopes to reach their objective.
Both Australian and Japanese forces understood that if they could secure the highest position, they had the advantage.
The dense terrain was a contributing factor in the first Eora-Templeton's Crossing engagement between 31 August to 5 September 1942. For the third time, Japanese troops misjudged the enemy position in the jungle and lost time trying to find their way back.
The Australians secured the high position on the ridge beyond Templeton's Crossing. They wanted to delay the Japanese advance south, giving them time to allow the bulk of their troops to withdraw and prepare at Efogi.
Australian forces pursued the Japanese during their withdrawal back to the north coast of Papua during the second Eora-Templeton's Crossing engagement between 13 to 28 October.
Fresh troops, more artillery and better use of the terrain saw Australian troops make headway. They could finally push the Japanese back through the jungle.