kokoda front line

Australian War Documentaries: Kokoda Front Line 1942


Embarking on the Kokoda Track is a journey into history, retracing the steps of the brave Australian troops who fought along the Kokoda Front Line during the Second World War. As prospective trekkers, it’s essential to delve into the historical background of the Kokoda campaign. A pivotal resource for understanding this significant chapter is the documentary titled “Kokoda Front Line.”

Damien Parer: The Visionary Behind the Lens

At the heart of this documentary is the acclaimed Australian cameraman, Damien Parer. Shot in 1942, during the heat of the Kokoda campaign in Papua New Guinea, Parer’s footage captured the harsh realities faced by Australian troops along the Kokoda Trail. His work provides a unique and unfiltered perspective on the challenges, sacrifices, and courage displayed by the soldiers.

A Glimpse Into the Past: “Kokoda Front Line”

1942: The Kokoda Campaign Unfolds

The documentary, “Kokoda Front Line,” unfolds against the backdrop of the Kokoda campaign, a crucial episode in Australia’s involvement in the Second World War. The footage, shot by Damien Parer, provides a firsthand account of the Australian troops’ experiences as they traversed the challenging terrain of the Kokoda Trail.

Australian Troops: Masters of Camouflage

Parer’s lens skillfully captures the Australian troops, often referred to as the “Masters of Camouflage,” navigating through ankle-thick mud, dense jungle terrain, and across rivers. The documentary reveals the physical and mental challenges faced by these soldiers, highlighting their resilience and determination.

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels: Unsung Heroes of Kokoda

The documentary also sheds light on the “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels,” the Papuan stretcher bearers who played a vital role in assisting wounded Australian troops. Their care and kindness in the face of adversity are portrayed vividly in the footage, showcasing a unique aspect of the Kokoda campaign.

Recognition and Awards

“Kokoda Front Line” received international acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary at the 15th Academy Awards. This recognition speaks volumes about the documentary’s impact and the significance of the Kokoda campaign on a global scale.

Damien Parer’s Reluctance and Remarkable Commentary

Reluctance to Film

Interestingly, Damien Parer was initially reluctant to shoot the documentary. However, his dedication to capturing the truth prevailed, and the result is a powerful and authentic portrayal of the Kokoda campaign.

Peter Bathurst’s Commentary

The documentary features a voice-over commentary by actor Peter Bathurst, providing a poignant and remarkably persuasive narrative. Bathurst’s words, framed from the waist, guide the audience through the scenes of soldiers trudging through mud, wounded troops being carried on stretchers, and the overall harsh conditions of the campaign.

Legacy and Impact

“Kokoda Front Line” stands as a testament to the sacrifices made by Australian troops during the Kokoda campaign. The documentary’s historical significance is further acknowledged by its inclusion in the National Film and Sound Archive.

Planning Your Trek Along the Kokoda Trail

As you plan your trek along the Kokoda Trail, watching “Kokoda Front Line” becomes more than a recommendation; it becomes a necessity. This documentary serves as a crucial educational tool, providing trekkers with a deeper understanding of the historical context and the challenges faced by those who traversed the Kokoda Track during the Second World War.


In conclusion, “Kokoda Front Line” is more than a documentary; it is a window into the past, offering trekkers a profound connection to the history of the Kokoda campaign. As you prepare for your adventure along the Kokoda Track, let the experiences of the Australian troops, as captured by Damien Parer, guide and inspire you on this extraordinary journey.

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