'In 1942 Kokoda airstrip was the only viable airstrip for 100 kilometres.'
[Aerial footage sweeps over a tree-covered plain towards a plantation of palm trees. A long straight strip of flat grass runs alongside the plantation. Nearby, a river curves through the trees. Thick pale cloud shrouds the horizon.
Text: Kokoda airstrip.]
VOICEOVER: Halfway between Port Moresby and Buna is Kokoda airstrip. Built in 1932 to support mining along the Mambare River, the strip is now used by trekkers arriving to walk the Kokoda Track from the northern end or leaving after walking from the southern end.
[Near one end of the airstrip brown-roofed buildings form a U-shape in a clearing. Aerial footage swoops away from the airstrip and follows a narrow road that runs towards low houses clustered among thick trees. Just before it reaches the village, the road curves past steep grassy slopes that lead up to a verdant plateau.
Text: Kokoda Plateau.]
VOICEOVER: In the fighting of 1942, this airstrip was vital ground - the only place where an aircraft could land for 100km in either direction. The army which held it could fly in supplies and reinforcements to their men at the front line. Overlooking Kokoda Village and next to the airstrip, Kokoda Plateau is a natural defensive bastion. When the Japanese first attacked Kokoda soon after midnight on the morning of 29 July 1942, it was held by a small Australian and Papuan force, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel William Owen. Owen was killed here when the Japanese advance surged up the steep sides of the plateau and forced the Australians and Papuans to retreat.
[The wide grassy plateau is dotted with trees and low buildings. On the edge closest to the village, four white monuments, each bearing a plaque, flank three bare white flagpoles.]