Eora Creek

Eora Creek runs north, roughly parallel to the Kokoda Trail, from the central ridge of the Owen Stanley Mountains, near Myola, to join the Mabare River east of Kokoda. The trail crosses the creek at two points: at Templeton's Crossing and just north of the village of Eora Creek. In the vicinity of Eora Creek village the creek runs through a deep gorge - terrain described by the Official Historian as offering the "most favourable conditions for defence" along the whole length of the trail. Eora Creek village was the site of a rearguard position between 31 August and 1 September during the retreat of Australian forces along the Kokoda Trail, occupied in succession by the 39th, 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions. During the Australian advance back along the track, Eora Creek was the scene of bitter fighting when the 19th Brigade sought to overcome a strong Japanese defensive position established on heights that dominated the village and creek crossing. The 2/1st Battalion first contacted the Japanese forward of the Eora Creek village on 21 October but the main engagement did not begin until the leading troops of the battalion entered it the next morning. Heavy Japanese fire stalled the Australian advance behind the bare ridge on which the village stood and it was not until the small hours of 23 October, under the cover of darkness, that the 2/1st Battalion was able to cross the creek. In succeeding days, up-hill frontal attacks made little progress against the Japanese positions rapidly sapping the 2/1st Battalion's strength. Meanwhile, the 2/3rd Battalion had been seeking a way around the Japanese flanks. This move proved decisive. The battalion closed on the western flank of the Japanese position on 27 October and the next afternoon launched an attack downhill into it. The surviving defenders fled into the jungle. Ninety-nine Australians were killed in the battle of Eora Creek and another 192 were wounded. Pursuit of the retreating Japanese began on 29 October.