Australian servicemen and women engaged in the battles that were held on an Australian protectorate and right next door to the Australian continent. They had to deal with the privations of jungle warfare and a ruthless foe who had advanced without check down from South-East Asia.
Find an incredibly steep hill somewhere near where you live, make sure it is covered in thick vegetation, then wait for some torrential rain, then load yourself up with a pack, a rifle, ammunition and food and see how many times you can walk up and down it. Add to this difficulty someone hiding in the trees trying to kill you as you walk and you will get a rough idea what someone who possibly came from Manly, Dee Why or Toowoomba had to go through. The Reserve Unit I served in, 25 RQR, has as one of its battle honours, Milne Bay, which is noted as one of the first major losses for the Japanese Imperial Army.
The English had been routed in Singapore, the Americans had lost the Philippines but the first country to turn the Japanese back were the Australians in Papua New Guinea. It was not just full-time divisions but people who were walking along the street in Sydney one day and the next fighting against the Japanese on the Kokoda Track.
If Australia had lost and the Japanese had advanced onto the Australian mainland, the Australia we know would be an entirely different place to the Australia we have and the rights and liberties of those that are reading this would be horrifically changed for the worst. So, we remember the soldiers, sailors, airmen, nurses, doctors and others who served and in many instances were maimed or died for the protection of our nation, Australia.
On this day we remember the everlasting friendship forged between Papua New Guinea and Australia.