Lat 8° 49' 60S Long 148° 4' 0E Awala is located on the north side of the Kokoda Highway at an elevation of 1,000' / 304m. Also known as Awala Number 1 or Awala No. 1. Located roughly halfway between Popondetta and Kokoda. Today located in Oro Province in Papua
New Guinea (PNG).
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 along the Kokoda road, the Australians withdrew to the west.
The Awala Primary school is located at this location.
Old Soroputa Hill
Located to the east of Awala along the 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.
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 pages 405-408
Hell's Battlefield (2012) by Phil Bradley page 46
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October 23, 2019