For many years now, our trekking Teams have visited the Japanese defensive positions at Eora Creek, including a Japanese mountain gun position. This area is often referred to as the Japanese Forest Fort. Recently, the local landowners announced the existence of more defensive positions, a very short distance further up the ridge from the mountain gun position.
This extension of the Japanese Forest Fort, now called “the Lost Battlefield” has been examined by The PNG Museum and Art Gallery, the Kokoda Track Authority, historians and other interested persons, and plans are currently being put in place to ensure that this significant site is properly protected. Until any possible human remains have been removed and the site surveyed and documented, no trekking companies will visit this section of the Japanese Forest Fort. Early reports state that the battlefield is possibly ‘as it was’ in 1942. If so, this could well develop into an exciting opportunity to ‘restore’ a complete untouched battlefield.
New historic finds are now a regular occurrence along the Track and the possibility of more discoveries keep our interest. Even new minor discoveries are exciting as they offer more direct links to the campaign and the soldiers who fought and died along this torturous jungle path. Recently, one of our trekkers while bending down to fix a boot lace, picked at a protruding ‘rock’ only to uncover an Aussie hand grenade. Rain water is continually uncovering munitions along the Track.
Back Track trek leader, Garry Thompson, pictured above at the lower section of the Lost battlefield with Model 92 & 94 mountain gun ammunition and Japanese helmets in the background. This section can currently be visited and explored.
Read the complete Kokoda Track itinerary here. Below is an excerpt of Day 4 of the standard Kokoda Track itinerary, detailing the day’s visit to the Lost Battlefield at Eora Creek:
Templeton’s Crossing and the lost battlefield.
Our walk today begins with a short, taxing descent followed by a long gradual ascent to Eora Creek battle site. We leave our packs on the main trail and ascend a short side trail to the Japanese Forest Fort. Recently another extensive section of this Forest Fort, located only a short distance further up the ridge has been revealed by the local landowners. This new section is now referred to as “The Lost Battlefield”.
The Japanese Forest Fort which incorporates The Lost Battlefield covers part of a high ridge with a commanding position overlooking Eora Creek. For many years now all our trekking teams have been visiting this important site. Your trek leader will explain the fort’s defensive significance and how the battle to capture the fort unfurled. You will explore the Japanese mountain gun and heavy machine gun positions. Still clearly visible are large quantities of munitions and artefacts. Many Australian soldiers lost their lives in attempts to capture this stronghold before the Japanese fled.
Until this new section of the Japanese Forest Fort has been properly surveyed, documented and any human remains identified and respectfully removed for proper burial, no trekking companies will visit this new section. The trail is always challenging and the beauty of the jungle provides a wonderful distraction. We camp beside the creek at the battle site at Templeton’s Crossing.