A feature-length documentary taking viewers on a fascinating journey of discovery, walking in the footsteps of those, who in 1942, against all odds, withstood Japan’s previously unstoppable Pacific invasion force to preserve Australia’s freedom.
A modern telling of the Kokoda story, its significance in the Pacific War and an exploration of the enduring spirit which sustained the Kokoda Diggers and which still inspires Australians today.
75 years ago next year, for the first time in Australia’s European history, our liberty was under threat. A rampant Japanese Army had swarmed over the Pacific and landed in Papua New Guinea, then Australian territory.
The invaders were at our doorstep and the only troops standing between them and the Australian mainland were a group of young, poorly-trained, under-equipped Militia units, who had never fired a shot in anger.
The crucial battles to defend Australia were fought from July 1942 to January 1943, along a jungle path over PNG’s precipitous Owen Stanley Range, the infamous Kokoda Track.
The young Militia Diggers held on against odds of five or six to one just long enough for our seasoned AIF Diggers to be rushed back from the Middle East and to eventually turn back and defeat the Japanese.
The spirit exhibited by the Diggers and their PNG comrades (the beloved Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels) has since inspired generations of Australians. As Gallipoli symbolized the Anzac spirit of WWI, Kokoda is its WWII equivalent.
Today, walking the Kokoda Track has become a rite of passage to many young Australians. Others, drawn by the chance to literally walk in the footsteps of the Diggers, explore the terrain, meet the PNG people but, most of all, explore themselves.
Almost three quarters of a century after the battles that preserved our freedom, the Diggers of Kokoda are well into their 90s and fading. Soon, there will be no living link with this iconic chapter of our history.
How will we remember them? How will we ensure their sacrifices are understood and appreciated by their descendants and by those who live in the freedom they bequeathed us?
We must commemorative the remarkable achievements of the Diggers and Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, acknowledge their legacy and pass on their story to future generations. Kokoda … the spirit lives aims to do just that.