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    Awala (Awala No. 1) Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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Australian Army
February 17, 1944
Lat 8° 49' 60S Long 148° 4' 0E  Awala is located an elevation of 1,000' / 304m above sea level the north side of the Kokoda-Buna Road (Kokoda Highway) inland from the north coast of New Guinea. Also known as Awala Number 1 or Awala No. 1. Located roughly halfway between Popondetta and Kokoda. Prewar and during the Pacific War part of the in the Northern District (Northern Province) in the Territory of Papua. Today located in Oro Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Wartime History
After the Japanese landings on the north coast, the Australian Army 11th platoon under the command of Lt. Arthur Seekamp advanced to Awala. As Japanese forces advanced from the east follwoing the Kokoda road, the Australians withdrew to the west.

After the Australian Army returned to the area, By 1944, the Kokoda-Buna Road was improved to allow jeep traffic from the coast as far inland as Awala.

The Awala Primary school is located at this location.

Old Soroputa Hill
The feature dubbed "Old Soroputa Hill" is located to the east of Awala along the Kokoda-Buna Road (Kokoda Highway). On July 23, 1942 at 4:00pm thirty-five soldiers from the Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) led by Australian Army officers Lt John Chalk, Lt. William Wort, Sgt Harry Bishop and WO Jack McWatters attacked the advancing Japanese Army forces from the Yokohama Advance Butai. The force was armed with .303 rifles and a single Thompson submachine gun. Their surprise attack lasted only fifteen minutes before they were forced to withdraw back to Awala.

Awala Memorial
A stone cairn is located on the north side of the Kokoda Highway, at the Awala Primary School. This monument commemorates the first combat between the Australian 39th Battalion and the Japanese. Behind the memorial are two flag poles.

Field Guide to the Kokoda Track (2006) pages 405-408
Hell's Battlefield (2012) by Phil Bradley page 46

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Last Updated
July 31, 2021


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