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    Isurava Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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Phil Bradley 2003
Location
Lat 9° 0' 0S Long 147° 43' 60E  Isurava is at an elevation of 4,324' / 1,318m located along the Kokoda Trail in the Owen Stanley Range in Oro Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG). From Isurava, it is roughly a half day walk northward to Kokoda and a half day walk southward to Alola (Alolo). A trail spur eastward crosses Eore Creek and connect to Asigari on the Abuari-Kaile Trail.

Prewar
Isurava village was a native village located along the Kokoda Trail. Another trail extends eastward to Asigari and onward to Kaile.

Wartime History
During early August 1942 the Australian Army 39th Battalion militia established defensive positions at this location and defended against Japanese patrols. On August 26, 1942 relieved by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) infantry from the 21st Brigade under the command of Brigadier Arnold Potts prior to the main Japanese attack.

Battle of Isurava
August 26, 1942–August 30, 1942 between Australian Army and advancing Japanese Army

On August 30, 1942 Brigadier Potts ordered the remaining Australians to withdraw southward to Alolo (Alola). Occupied by the Japanese as they continued to advance southward along the Kokoda Trail. During September and October attacked by American aircraft.

American missions against Isurava
September 3, 1942–October 27, 1942

Today
The present day Isurva village, built postwar is located further to the north at an elevation of 5,416' / 1,650m. Originally, a battlefield plaque was located at the new village before the original site was located.

Isurava War Memorial
During 2000, the Battle of Isurava battlefield was rediscovered and the Isurava War Memorial was constructed at the defensive position of C Company, north of wartime Isurava village. The memorial consists of three black granite pillars were airlifted to Isurava to construct the memorial that overlooks the Kokoda Pass and valley below. Each of the four stones is inscribed with a single word: courage, endurance, mateship, sacrifice.

Dedicated in August 2002 by Australian Prime Minister, John Howard and PNG Prime Minister, Michael Somare. Ten veterans attended the dedication including RSL president Maj. Gen Peter Phillips (retired). This memorial was the first of three memorial upgrades, including Popondetta and Milne Bay memorial upgrades and re-dedications during 2002. There is an adjacent helicopter landing pad at the memorial, and a guest house in Isurava for visitors. Since then, the memorial has become a place of pilgrimage for Australian trekkers and for dawn services on ANZAC Day.

Kingsbury Rock
Large rock to the north of the Isurava War Memorial. The low side of the rock was the location where Private Bruce Kingsbury was killed by an enemy sniper after rushing forward with a Bren gun and firing from the hip, just forward of the C Company positions.

References
Kokoda Track - Station 14 Isurava
Field Guide to the Kokoda Track pages 312-313 (maps) 319-322, 327-357, 360-361, 362-363 (maps)

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019

 

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