kokoda the australian’s story

Books for Exploring the Australian Story of the Kokoda Campaign:  “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” By Alan Tucker


Trekking Kokoda is a unique and challenging experience, offering trekkers the opportunity to trace the footsteps of the brave Australian soldiers who fought in the Kokoda Campaign during World War II. One invaluable resource for understanding the historical significance of this campaign is the book titled “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story.” In this article, we will delve into the key aspects of this book, providing prospective trekkers with insights into the Australian experience on the Kokoda Track.

Background of the Kokoda Campaign in Papua New Guinea

The Kokoda Campaign was a pivotal chapter in Australia’s military history during World War II. As the Japanese forces aimed to establish a base for the Pacific campaign, the Australian east coast found itself reeling under the threat of invasion. With nothing between Australia and a potential Japanese incursion except a small band of brave soldiers, the battles that unfolded along the Kokoda Track were instrumental in shaping the course of the war.

Archie Records His Own Battles

“Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” brings to life the individual experiences of soldiers like Archie, who recorded his battles in a diary. The book provides a gripping account of the challenges faced by a small band of Australian soldiers as they fought against the odds in the treacherous terrain of Papua New Guinea.

The Australian East Coast Reels Under Japanese Bombs

The narrative vividly describes the impact of the Japanese invasion on the Australian east coast. Townsville copes with the realization that it has become a base for the Pacific campaign, while the rest of the east coast reels under Japanese bombs. The author skilfully captures the tension and fear that gripped the nation during this critical period.

Nothing Between Australia and Invasion

The book emphasizes the gravity of the situation, highlighting that there was nothing between Australia and a Japanese invasion except a small band of courageous soldiers stationed along the Kokoda Track. The author skilfully weaves together the various threads of the campaign, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by the Australians.

Battles at Home and the Local Bully “Beefy”

While the focus is on the battles fought on the Kokoda Track, the book also sheds light on the battles at home. The presence of a local bully named Beefy adds a human element to the story, emphasizing that the impact of war extends beyond the battlefield. The author masterfully intertwines personal and collective struggles, painting a holistic picture of the wartime experience.

Fighting Rain, Mud, and the Elements

One cannot discuss the Kokoda Campaign without acknowledging the formidable elements that the soldiers had to contend with. The book vividly describes the relentless rain, the challenging mud, and the unforgiving jungle terrain. Prospective trekkers should be prepared for these conditions, understanding that the journey is not just a physical challenge but a test of resilience against nature itself.

The Loss of Kokoda and the Australian Response

The book narrates the pivotal moments when Kokoda was lost to the Japanese forces. The Australian response to this loss is a testament to the determination and spirit of the soldiers. The author skillfully portrays the resilience of the Australian troops, setting the stage for their eventual counteroffensive.

Surviving the Campaign: Anzac Spirit

Amidst the grim realities of war, “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” also captures the essence of the Anzac spirit—the camaraderie, courage, and mateship that defined the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Understanding this spirit is crucial for trekkers as they embark on their journey along the Kokoda Track.

Conclusion: Essential Reading for Prospective Trekkers

In conclusion, “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” is an essential read for anyone planning to trek the Kokoda Track. The book provides a detailed and emotionally charged account of the Kokoda Campaign, offering valuable insights into the historical context, the personal experiences of the soldiers, and the enduring Anzac spirit. As you prepare for your hike, immerse yourself in this gripping narrative to truly appreciate the significance of the Kokoda Track and the sacrifices made by the Australians who fought there.

Remember, each step you take along the mountain track between Kokoda and Port Moresby is a tribute to the 819 lives lost during the Kokoda Campaign—an opportunity to honor their memory and connect with Australia’s wartime history.


Q: What is “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” about?

A: “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” is a book that explores the Australian Kokoda Campaign during World War II, focusing on the experiences of the Australian soldiers who fought in this intense and 

Q: Why is the Kokoda Campaign considered significant?

A: The Kokoda Campaign is considered significant as it became a base for the Pacific campaign, playing a crucial role in preventing Australia from a potential Japanese invasion during World War II.

Q: How is the story of “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” related to the small band of brave soldiers?

A: The story of “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” centres around the experiences of the small band of brave Australian soldiers who valiantly defended against the Japanese invasion in New Guinea.

Q: What is the setting of the Kokoda Campaign?

A: The Kokoda Campaign primarily takes place in the rugged and challenging terrain of the mountain track between Kokoda and Port Moresby, encompassing dense jungle and treacherous mountainous landscapes.

Q: How is “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” relevant to the events of World War II?

A: “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” is relevant to the events of World War II as it provides insight into the Australian engagement and struggle during the campaign in the Pacific theater, specifically in New Guinea.

Q: What role does the town of Townsville play in the book?

A: The town of Townsville copes with the impact of the war as it becomes a base for military operations and serves as a crucial location for the Australian forces preparing for the Kokoda Campaign.

Q: How are the experiences of two brothers portrayed in “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story”?

A: “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” depicts the experiences of two brothers who are fighting together in the Kokoda Campaign, shedding light on the personal and emotional aspects of war.

Q: What historical events are referenced in “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story”?

A: “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” references significant historical events such as the Japanese invasion in New Guinea, the loss of 819 lives, and the intense battles along the mountain track between Kokoda and Port Moresby.

Q: How does “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” capture the essence of the campaign?

A: “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” captures the harrowing conditions and challenges faced by the Australian soldiers, vividly portraying the mountainous terrain, jungle warfare, and the resilience of the troops during this historic campaign.

Q: What are other relevant materials related to “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story” that can be explored?

A: In addition to “Kokoda: The Australians’ Story,” interested individuals can explore related materials such as diaries, radio news reports, and historical accounts that provide further insight into the Kokoda Campaign and its impact on Australia during World War II.

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