Uberi village was the site of the first staging camp on the Kokoda Track.
After leaving Ilolo the Track was fairly easy going for some five or six kilometres before it plunged down mountain sides through dense forest to the valley of the upper reaches of the Goldie River.
The Track then followed the river until it climbed a steep slope to the village of Uberi.
Station 4 – The first staging camp on the Kokoda Track
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Uberi village was the site of the first staging camp on the Kokoda Track. After leaving Ilolo the Track was fairly easy going for some five or six kilometres before it plunged down mountain sides through dense forest to the valley of the upper reaches of the Goldie River. The Track then followed the river until it climbed a steep slope to the village of Uberi.
As well as a staging post with six or eight native huts where the soldiers could rest and obtain a meal and supplies, Uberi also became the site of a medical staging post established by the 2/6 Field Ambulance and manned by two orderlies. During the withdrawal by weary troops along the Track many were glad of the hot coffee and cake provided by the Salvation Army’s Albert Moore and W (Jock) Inglis, who manned a Red Shield point at Uberi.
By mid-September the Japanese had advanced to Ioribaiwa and the Australians were in defensive positions on Imita Ridge. Two guns of the 14th Field Regiment were brought forward to Owers’ Corner, above Uberi, from which, at extreme range, they could fire on Ioribaiwa. In an effort to maintain artillery support another gun was dismantled and man-handled forward a distance of three kilometres down the steep mountain, across the Goldie River, and up the muddy slope of another mountain near Uberi. Ammunition also had to be carried, however by the time the gun was in position and ready to fire the Japanese had moved out of range.
As the Australians fought their way back over the Track the medical post was progressively developed to cope with the huge number of growing casualties. These casualties were the result of battle and of the huge physical demands imposed by the terrain and the conditions on troops who were debilitated by inadequate food and by the tropical diseases with which all were inflicted.
All troops who fought on the Kokoda Track passed through Uberi on the way to earn Battle Honours for their units.
October 1942: a patrol from the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion looking out over the Uberi Valley. (AWM 027031)
September 1942: A 25-pounder gun of B Troop, 14th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, being pulled through dense jungle in the vicinity of Uberi. Members of the Regiment are being assisted by the 2/1st Australian Pioneer Battalion. The image shows how difficult it was to use artillery, given the boggy conditions. (AWM 026852)
October 1942: a pack horse loaded with supplies for the forward troops, being led up the steep slope of Uberi Ridge. Identified leading the horse is N45380 Private Sidney Ronald Oxenbridge, 34 Battalion. (AWM 027026)
August 1942: Group portrait of No 9 Platoon of the 2/14th Battalion photographed during a respite from heavy fighting in the Owen Stanleys. Many of the men here were later killed in action in fierce jungle fighting against the Japanese. (AWM 089220)
Native carriers lined up for inspection in Uberi village prior to carrying supplies forward to Australian troops in the Ioribaiwa area. (AWM 026742)
September 1942: The Salvation Army in a forward area of the Owen Stanley Ranges. This was a very welcome sight, near Uberi, where exhausted troops could get a rare cup of hot tea or coffee and biscuits. (AWM 027003)
Mules, horses and their attendants ready to set off down the mule track on the first stage of the journey to the small village of Uberi. Pack animals were able to take more supplies usually than native carriers but their use was confined to only some sections of the Track. (AWM 026712)