Today in Australian everybody is celebrating Australia day, B-B-Q and a cold beer (or 2 maybe). One year ago it much different for me – I had reached the summit of Mt Aconcagua – 6,692 metres, my personal best altitude before descending back to High Camp in a white out!!
I’m looking forward to another big year as I prepare for Heard Island in Nov/Dec.
9 miles out from Port Moresby, heading toward Sogeri and the southern end of the Kokoda track theres a side road.
Just a few metres past the turn are the gates to Bomana Cemetery, the largest war cemetery in the Pacific region. 3,779 graves, 3,306 Australian soldiers from the fighting in New Guinea and 443 Allied servicemen.
After the Japanese landed at Lae and Salamaua in March 1942, their focus turned toward Port Moresby. After their seaborne attempt to take Port Moresby was and heavily defeated by American air and naval forces in the Coral Sea, their reduced force returned returned to Rabaul. After this defeat the Japanese focused on an overland advance on Port Moresby and launched an attack from from Buna and Gona in September 1942.
Early in 1942, and almost without resistance, the Japanese established a considerable force and developed a useful base on Bougainville, the largest and most northerly of the Solomon Islands. This they held until Americans and Australians began offensive operations towards the end of 1943, when Bougainville was the only one of these islands remaining in Japanese hands. By August 1945, when the Japanese surrendered, most of the island had been recovered.
Those who died in the fighting in Papua and Bougainville are buried in PORT MORESBY (BOMANA) WAR CEMETERY, their graves brought in by the Australian Army Graves Service from burial grounds in the areas where the fighting had taken place.