The tide turns

At the end of September 1942 the Japanese retreated from their southernmost point of advance, just 40 kilometres from Port Moresby...

November 1942-Eora Creek-Narrow Footbridge-logs

November 1942. Eora Creek. The first crossing of Eora Creek on a section of the Kokoda trail from Myola. A narrow footbridge made of logs (left) spans the creek, as water tumbles over rocks in a waterfall (centre). [AWM P02424_100]

The reason for the retreat was that Guadalcanal was going badly for them and Imperial Headquarters in Tokyo deemed it wise not to stick their neck out too far in Papua until the Guadalcanal problem was resolved. They did not however abandon hope of making another attack on Port Moresby in the future, so they only retreated as far as the Templeton's Crossing - Eora region. There the Australians attacked and defeated them in October 1942. The Japanese fell back to Oivi-Gorari but in November were again defeated, this time decisively. The remnant of the Nankai Shitai now had no choice but to retreat to Sanananda to try to hold their base.

Teaching and learning activities for the classroom

Esma's story

This is a formal wedding portrait taken on the day of the wedding of Lieutenant Herbert Warne and Esma Myers. They had met before Herbert first went overseas with the army, to the Middle East. On his return they were married and they moved to their new home at 9 Francis Street, Richmond, a suburb of Sydney.

Within a few weeks Herbert's battalion, the 2/33rd, was once again sent into battle and on 14 October 1942 he was killed in action on the Kokoda track during the Australian advance to Eora village. He is buried at Bomana Cemetery near Port Moresby.

Imagine that you are Esma. Look closely at the photograph and decide what kind of person you are. You were 22 years old when the photograph was taken and now you are nearly 90. Writing as if you are Esma, tell her story in one page. Where was she born and what did she do before she met Herbert? Was it a happy marriage? Were they rich or poor? How did she cope when he went off to the war? Did she ever go to see his grave? Did she keep a memento of her short time with Herbert? What happened to her after the war? Did she re marry? Does she have children, grand children, or even great grand children about your age? Does she still think of Herbert sometimes?

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DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) ( ), The tide turns, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 19 April 2024,
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