Menari, the centre of a prosperous native community cultivating fertile gardens on the hilly slopes, lay at the junction of two creeks; their banks fifteen metres high.
It was reached from the Port Moresby direction after crossing a towering mountain before the track fell swiftly to the flat ground around the village.
Station 7 A Place of Respite
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Menari, the centre of a prosperous native community cultivating fertile gardens on the hilly slopes, lay at the junction of two creeks; their banks fifteen metres high. It was reached from the Port Moresby direction after crossing a towering mountain before the track fell swiftly to the flat ground around the village.
Menari was the site of the well-known photograph of the 39th Battalion on parade being addressed by Lieutenant Colonel Honner after it had withdrawn along the Track. The famous war photographer, Damien Parer, filmed the parade.
It was to Menari that Brigadier Arnold Potts and his headquarters withdrew late on 8 September after the desperate battles at Brigade Hill and Mission Ridge, near Efogi. Meanwhile, the 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions, both under Lieutenant- Colonel Albert Caro, had begun marching through thick jungle to the east after their withdrawal route down the track had been barred by the Japanese battles. Fearful that he would be cut off if the Japanese reached Menari, Lieutenant-Colonel Caro left a small protection party with his casualties and stretcher bearers who were moving slowly and sent most of his troops on to Menari.
The troops arrived at Menari at 1130 pm on 9 September just as the Japanese were gathering force for an attack. By late afternoon it was clear to Brigadier Potts that the position was dominated by the high ground on the track to Efogi and he ordered a further withdrawal. The 2/14th Battalion covered the withdrawal and broke contact at Menari in the morning of 10 September. By afternoon the battalions had reached a point on the Maguli Range beyond Nauro village. The two battalions together now numbered a little more than 300 all ranks. Here Brigadier Porter arrived to relieve Brigadier Potts who was ordered to report to Port Moresby. There was still no word from the 2/27th Battalion which had covered the withdrawal from Efogi two days earlier and was making its way south through the jungle-covered valleys.
During the counter-offensive several weeks later the 3rd Battalion reached Menari on the afternoon of 2 October without opposition. There they buried twelve Japanese and saw evidence that the Japanese had been reduced to eating wood and grass. They also found the bodies of two Australians, one bound to a tree and the other decapitated.
Members of the 39th Battalion parade after weeks of fighting in the dense jungle during the Kokoda campaign. The Officer in front is Lieutenant Johnson. The men standing behind him, from the left, are: Arnie Wallace, Bill Sanders, Harry Hodge, Kevin Surtees, George Cudmore, George Puxley, Kevin Whelan, Len Murrell, Dick Secker, Neil Graham, Clive Gale and Jack Boland. Their bedraggled dress reflects the hard fighting of past weeks. This famous image (a still shot taken from Damien Parer's famous Kokoda short film) shows the men being addressed by Lieut. Colonel Ralph Honner (not in the image). The Walkway's Kokoda Education Centre is named after Ralph Honner, and a reproduction of this image is included in the Centre. (AWM 013289)
An informal portrait of Damien Parer about to embark on a transport ship in January 1940. Parer was an official military photographer and cameraman with the Department of Information Film Unit. He served in the Middle East, Greece and the South-West Pacific from 1940 until his resignation in August 1943, to join the staff of Paramount Pictures Film Services. He was killed on Peleliu Island 17 September 1944 while filming front line operations with the US Marine Corps. Parer's films and photographs are considered to capture some of the most iconic scenes along the Track, together with that of George Silk. (AWM 000401)
6 September 1942: Lieut. Colonel Ralph Honner addressing his troops at Menari. Honner's speech that day reflects the men who fought in the Kokoda campaign and their courage: "Now I don’t know a lot of you by name, but I know you. We met at Isurava. We fought there together and every step of the way here. Now we are relieved, and we will leave the battle. And every day the enemy supply line stretches further. He suffers now as you have suffered. The battle we fought for the track may have just saved your nation. At Imita we will stop him. Brigadier wants you to know…your gallantry, your courage, your fortitude are an inspiration. And I want you to know that you are some of the finest soldiers that I have ever seen. You have seen things in this place that no man should witness. Some of these things you must forget. But history will remember you, and in the years to come others will wish that they had your conviction. And remember…remember the glory is not the exhortation of war, but the exhortation of man. Man’s nobility made transcendent in the fiery crucible of war. Faithfulness and fortitude. Gentleness and compassion. I am honoured to be your brother.” (Image: VWMA)
An informal photograph of (the then) Captain Ralph Honner whilst in Libya in 1941. Honner went on to successfully command the 39th Battalion (as Lieutenant Colonel). Honner was originally from Fremantle WA, and while participating in the campaign in Greece, was awarded the Military Cross (MC). For his leadership in the Gona and Sanananda battles in December 1942, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). Wounded in 1943 during the Ramu-Markham Valley campaign, he was eventually discharged in January 1945. Following his discharge he was, among other roles, a public servant and a diplomat. He died in Sydney in May 1994. This image is included in the Walkway's Education Centre that bears his name. (AWM 005638)
October 1942: Members of the 2/1st, 2/2nd and 2/3rd Australian Infantry Battalions comprising the 16th Australian Infantry Brigade moving up along the Track across the Owen Stanley Ranges, photographed in the vicinity of Nauro and Menari. The men are mingled and it is impossible to distinguish the Battalions. (AWM 027053)
October 1942: A patrol of the 2/25th Battalion crosses the Brown River on its way to Menari, while others in the background enjoy a rare chance to bathe. This type of crossing was common, and not without its dangers when conditions were wet and muddy. (AWM 027060)
October 1942: Two soldiers of the AIF, supporting a weak and emaciated Japanese prisoner captured by the 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion (CMF) near Menari. Japanese forces were often forced to fight then withdraw along the Track with meagre rations. (AWM 027085)
October 1942: Soldiers of the 2/31st Australian Infantry Battalion heat up their frugal meal of bully beef and biscuits along the Track near Menari. The image shows how the men prepared their rations, which were often only possible to prepare between marching or engaging with the enemy. (AWM 027047)
October 1942: A youthful looking Lieutenant Colonel Alfred W. Buttrose (SX1434), Commanding Officer 2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion (he was only 30 years old at the time), with stick, and Major George F. Larkin (NX466), Brigade Major, 25th Australian Infantry Brigade (even younger at 25 years of age), at Menari. (AWM 027039)
October 1942: A happy group of four bearded soldiers, who had not had the opportunity to shave for over a month, of the 2/31st Australian Infantry Battalion on the Track between Nauro and Menari. Left to right, top row: QX13286 Private Les A. Mansell, QX12408 Private Ernest A. ('Snowy') Redgrave, DCM, holding a Thompson .45 inch sub-machine gun. Left to right front row: NX86340 Private Keith R. ('Bluey') Wright and QX12483 Corporal Arthur E. McKeown. Three of the four survived the war - McKeown was sadly killed in action in December 1942. (AWM 027058)
October 1942: Members of the 2/1st, 2/2nd and 2/3rd Australian Infantry Battalions comprising the 16th Australian Infantry Brigade moving up along the Track across the Owen Stanley Ranges, photographed in the vicinity of Nauro and Menari. The men are mingled and it is impossible to distinguish battalions. (AWM 027054)
September 1942: Salvation Army Chaplain Albert Moore, padre to the 2/14th Battalion lights a cigarette for VX51106 Lieutenant Valentine G. Gardner, D Company, 2/14th Battalion at Menari. Padre Moore was famous among the troops for establishing Salvation Army 'rest stops' along the Track. This image is one that is etched into the walls of the Walkway's Centrepiece. (AWM 013287)