battle of oivi-gorari

The Battle of Oivi–Gorari : An Epic Chapter in an Australian Kokoda Campaign – Oivi Gorari – Places of Pride


The Battle of Oivi-Gorari stands as a pivotal moment in the Kokoda Campaign of November 1942. This significant engagement took place along the Kokoda Track, a trail renowned for its challenging terrain and historical importance. In this article, we will delve into the details of this major battle, exploring its connection to the Kokoda Campaign, the role of Australian forces, and the lasting impact on the region.

Setting the Stage: Kokoda Track Campaign 

The Kokoda Track, known for its rugged jungle terrain, became the theatre for one of the most critical campaigns of World War II. Australian forces, engaged in a fierce trekking expedition along the track, faced numerous challenges as they advanced toward their objective.

The Climactic Battle around Ioribaiwa

As the Australian forces pressed forward, the Battle of Oivi-Gorari emerged as a climactic encounter in the broader Kokoda Campaign. This battle unfolded amid the dense jungle, testing the resilience and determination of the troops involved.

Oivi-Gorari: A Defensive Stronghold

Gorari, a small village along the Kokoda Track, became the focal point of the conflict. Its strategic importance was highlighted by the fact that it was the last major defensive position before the Australian forces could advance further. The Australian War Memorial commemorates the significance of this village in the context of the Kokoda Track Campaign.

Major General George Vasey and the 25th Brigade

At the forefront of the Australian advance was Major General George Vasey, leading the 25th Brigade. The 25th Brigade played a crucial role in the Battle of Oivi-Gorari, and their efforts are memorialized at the Australian War Memorial.

The Tactical Maneuvers: 4th to 11th November 1942

Oivi’s Strategic Significance

On the 4th of November 1942, the Australian forces began their approach towards Oivi, a critical point along the Kokoda Track. Oivi, with its strong defensive position, posed a formidable challenge. The 25th Brigade, under the command of Major General George Vasey, initiated a series of tactical moves to secure this key location.

Gorari’s Role as a Small Village

Gorari, a small village east of Oivi, became a focal point in the ensuing conflict. Its size belied its strategic importance, as it stood as the last major defensive position before the Australian forces could advance further. The battle in and around Gorari on the 11th of November 1942 marked a critical juncture in the broader Kokoda Campaign.

5th November: A Pivotal Day

On the 5th of November 1942, the Australian forces executed a bold pincer movement. This strategic maneuver aimed to encircle the Japanese positions east of Gorari. The ensuing clashes were intense, with both sides displaying unwavering determination. Machine guns and mountain artillery echoed through the jungle as the fate of Gorari hung in the balance.

The Role of the 25th Brigade

Sent by the commander to tackle the challenges posed by Gorari, the 25th Brigade played a pivotal role in the Battle of Oivi-Gorari. Their relentless efforts and tactical acumen were instrumental in overcoming determined resistance, inching closer to victory as they pressed forward along the Kokoda Track.

Resistance and Progress: 7th to 9th November

From the 7th to the 9th of November, the Australian forces encountered no opposition as they continued their advance. Patrols meticulously navigated the challenging terrain, ensuring that each step forward was strategic and secure. The jungle, once a formidable adversary, now became a vital ally as the Australians pressed on.

Encountering the Papuan Landscape

The Papuan landscape added its own challenges to the campaign. The dense jungle, combined with the unpredictable weather conditions, demanded resilience from the troops. July 1942 marked the beginning of the Kokoda Campaign, and the Australian forces found themselves facing not only the enemy but also the unforgiving natural elements.

The Contribution of the South Seas Detachment

The South Seas Detachment, comprised of soldiers from Cambridge, Nankai, and Kobara, played a crucial role in leading the Australian element on the 5th of November 1942. Their commitment and bravery were integral to the success of the pincer movement and the subsequent engagements around Gorari.

The Last Defensive Stand: 10th November

As the Australian forces pushed forward, they encountered a strong defensive line on the 10th of November. Machine guns rattled, and artillery pieces roared as both sides fought fiercely for control of the terrain. The next village, astride the Kokoda Track, became the focus of the Australian advance.

Legacy of Sacrifice and Bequest

The Battle of Oivi-Gorari, culminating on the 11th of November, stands as a testament to the sacrifices made by the Australian forces. The legacy of this battle lives on, commemorated at the Australian War Memorial. As trekkers explore the collection of artifacts and stories from the Kokoda Track Campaign, they connect with a profound history shaped by the determination, bravery, and bequest of those who served.

Conclusion: Reflecting on the Journey

As you trek along the Kokoda Track, each step echoes the determined progress of the Australian forces during the Battle of Oivi-Gorari. The events of November 1942, from Oivi to Gorari and beyond, paint a vivid picture of a challenging campaign that shaped the course of history. Take a moment to explore the collection of memories, artifacts, and stories, appreciating the enduring spirit that defines the Kokoda Track and the heroes who navigated its challenges.

Bitter Fighting and the Bypass Strategy

The Australian forces encountered bitter fighting as they sought to bypass Japanese positions. The strategy involved a frontal assault, forcing the commander to make strategic decisions that would impact the course of the battle. The jungle provided a challenging backdrop for this intense conflict.

Encircling the Japanese Position

On the 5th of November 1942, a pincer movement was initiated by the Australian battalions. This strategic maneuver aimed to encircle the Japanese positions east of the village of Gorari. The ensuing clashes showcased the determination of both sides, with casualties mounting on both ends.

The Last Major Defensive Stand

Gorari was the last major defensive stand for the Japanese forces along the Kokoda Track. The Battle of Oivi-Gorari played a crucial role in shaping the outcome of the broader Kokoda Campaign, influencing the subsequent battles, including the Battle of Buna–Gona.

Legacy and Commemoration

The Battle of Oivi-Gorari is etched in Australia’s wartime history as a testament to the courage and sacrifice of the troops involved. Today, the Australian War Memorial stands as a solemn reminder of the valor displayed by the 25th Brigade and other Australian battalions during this critical juncture of the Kokoda Track Campaign.


In exploring the events of the Battle of Oivi-Gorari, trekkers on the Kokoda Track gain a deeper appreciation for the challenges faced by the Australian forces during the Kokoda Campaign. The memorialization of this battle serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made and the determination displayed in the pursuit of victory. As you hike along the Kokoda Track, reflect on the historic significance of Oivi-Gorari, a place where Australian troops confronted adversity and emerged victorious in the pursuit of freedom.


Q: What was the Battle of Oivi–Gorari?

A: The Battle of Oivi–Gorari was a major battle of the Kokoda campaign in 1942. It was the final major battle before the Australians pushed the Japanese back along the Kokoda Trail towards Buna and Gona.

Q: When did the Battle of Oivi–Gorari take place?

A: The battle took place from 4th to 11th November 1942.

Q: Where did the Battle of Oivi–Gorari occur?

A: The battle took place to the east of Kokoda, near the Kumusi River, in the small village of Gorari.

Q: Which Australian units were involved in the Battle of Oivi–Gorari?

A: The battle involved the 16th Brigade and other infantry battalions, supported by artillery units.

Q: What was the significance of the Battle of Oivi–Gorari?

A: The battle marked a determined resistance by the Australian forces, and it was a crucial chapter in the Australian campaign to push back the Japanese and secure the Kokoda Trail.

Q: How did the Battle of Oivi–Gorari contribute to the overall Kokoda campaign?

A: The battle marked a turning point as the Australians, through their determined resistance, managed to retake important ground and supplies of ammunition and food, weakening the Japanese hold on the region.

Q: What was the role of the 25th Brigade in the Battle of Oivi–Gorari?

A: The 25th Brigade was sent to reinforce the Australian units engaged in the battle, playing a crucial role in the eventual success against the Japanese forces.

Q: How does the Battle of Oivi–Gorari connect to the broader context of the Pacific War?

A: The battle was part of the larger Kokoda campaign, which was significant in preventing the Japanese from capturing Port Moresby and their subsequent advance towards Australia. It also diverted Japanese attention from the Guadalcanal campaign.

Q: How can I explore more about the Battle of Oivi–Gorari and the Kokoda campaign?

A: You can explore related information and collections items associated with the Battle of Oivi–Gorari and the Kokoda campaign. Additionally, you can share this page to spread awareness and knowledge about this historical event.

Q: Can I contribute in preserving the memory of the Battle of Oivi–Gorari and soldiers involved?

A: Yes, you can contribute by sharing stories, artifacts, and memorabilia related to the Battle of Oivi–Gorari and the soldiers who fought in the Kokoda campaign through platforms like Places of Pride. Your contribution can help preserve the heritage and honor the sacrifices made during this significant battle.

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