One of the most desperate battles in Australian history was fought in August 1942 at Isurava in the Papua New Guinea Highlands. To commemorate the event, the Australian government commissioned the design and production of a memorial to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the event.
Visitors approach the site from an upper pathway and their first view is of the commemorative circle, a simple geometric form in a wild landscape that boldly states: Battle of Isurava Kokoda Track 1942. The circle is designed to accommodate a catafalque troop. The platform was designed in segments for ease of transport and installation. The central typographic elements were cut from bronze sheets and reverse faced in white Portland cement to present a flush finish. The inner segments of grey granite surround a central stone of polished granite with hand chiseled lettering.
Four black Australian granite sentinel stones, each weighting 3.5 tons, were airlifted by helicopter for installation. Each stone is inscribed with a single word representing the values and qualities of those soldiers who fought along the Kokoda Track. Also, an interpretive platform looking out over the valley is concealed from the top memorial tier. This lower platform contains ten interpretive panels describing the time frame and significance of the event, while paying tribute to the local people.
"Remembering history is always important. I was struck by what an incredible community effort this project became. I was also taken by the site that was selected and the sense of place. I think this site screamed 'Remember me and my people! Honor our presence at this place!'"
Ian Paul Hewitt
C+M Engineering, the villagers of Isurava