Day 3 – Ua-Ule to Naoro Village

March 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Forbes to Kokoda & Back

A new day and each from now on would start the same. Awake at sunlight if you are asleep at all and pack up you kit, Breakfast.

Phillip would the give his summary of the days trek. We would ask him how long it would take from this point to the next; he would make a comment like about 1 ½ hours. This means in village time 45 minutes to 2 and half hours.  We got used to it pretty quick, and then we just play along when they gave us a time for a section of the track.  Time has no place up in the mountains.  You get there when you get there and stop when they say stop. 

By this time we had a running joke going with our guide and historian Max. (Max is a Villager too.) What is the Track like today Max, well it’s a little bit up, then a little bit down, then a little bit up, then a little bit down. This all came from the day before when in all seriousness he tried to explain the days march in that very exact manner. He also asked someone what 45 minutes and 15 minutes were, we answered 60 minutes. So Max says in all serious we have 1 hour 60 minutes to go. Ok that set the trend as well. It was all good fun.

Phillip explained it was going to be a big day. We started the day at 300 metres by mid afternoon we would go over the peak at Maguli range at 1320 metres. We followed the creek for a short time first, and then up we went for 2 hours to the ridge of Ioribaiwa. A climb of 550 meters. This is the furthest point the Japs got to Port Moresby.  You could look back and see Imita Ridge. We had covered 10 kilometres, and taken 1 ½ days to get here. We stayed there for ½ hour to look around let every body catch up. The village people had a lot of old bits and pieces from both sides. Old bombs, helmets, rifles and other things.   A lot of fox holes in this area, the boys got some photos sitting in the holes and of the view back to where the Japs wanted to get to. A lot of action on this hill. The Japs shelling the Aussies with their guns and for the first time our 25 pound guns hit the Japs on this hill. 

When the Aussies retook this hill and the 2/6th field Ambulance arrived Clem Makings, recorded this poem in his diary. 


We knew he came from W. State
Though to us he remained unknown,
For the WX was marked on his hat,
The rest a mortar had blown,
We buried him there on a mountain spur,
Where the trees are draped with moss,
We thought of the mother, no news for her,
Of that irreplaceable loss,
 Just a boy he looked with his snowy hair,
So we laid him in the clay,
The padre’s voice was loud and clear,
No others had words to say,
Yet we new a mother would watch and wait,
For a letter sent from her boy,
How she would dream of the things he did,
How his first words caused her joy,
Perhaps she will know in some unknown way,
Of the little rugged cross,
The remains of her hero, under it lay,
Where the trees are draped with moss,
We cursed the heathen, who striped the dead,
No pity on them can be shown,
We marked the cross so it can be read,


After that it was head down and climb down the too Ofi creek for lunch. This was not long but steep and tricky. Ofi creek has a magnificent Guest house sitting on the side of the hill as you come in down the hill too the creek very impressive. We had lunch there, about an hour’s break and a wade in the creek for the feet the get ready again. 

Well we didn’t know what was to come after lunch, but we found out it was a 750 meter climb. We climbed out of Ofi creek straight up another very snaky track for 300 metres. After this steep section it got a bit easier, but it was still a very hard slog. For the rest of the afternoon we just climbed up and up to the top of Maguli Ridge. About 200 or 300 meters short of the ridge there is a flat bit of ground. Its about 40 meters square and this was a Jap command post. The next section of track is what Max and Phillip referred to as the Jap ladder. They had been telling us about this but not in much detail, now we know why. It is a vertical bit or track going up about 80 to 100 meters. It has steeps cut into the clay soil and so steep they called it the ladder. It was a hard little climb, but not too long thankfully. It would be extremely difficult in the wet like the diggers did it.

When almost to the top of the ridge there was wooden cross left by the porters at the side of the track. Phillip informed us his was a trekker who had a heart attack and died at the spot.100 meters short of the top of the ridge. At the top there is a clearing, so we all rested and Phillip gave us the story of the trekker. I think he said about 6 to 8 months ago it happened. They air lifted the body out from this clearing. There is also a very large tree right at the top of the ridge. This was where the Aussies put a machine gun nest during the fight and were able to spray the whole area when the Japs advanced. How they did it? Well it was a good effort. From here we had a long down hill climb to the old Naoro village. We passed the new Naoro Village that was built after the war due to the fact the villagers wouldn’t stay at the old places due to the fighting that took place. The creeks were running with blood. Bad taboo.  

We arrived about 4 or 5 o’clock I think, about 10 hours on the track. We were a bit worried about Tractor as we hadn’t seen him, since lunch and he did it tough the first day. Then Tractor arrived a bit later going pretty good, tired but feeling ok. So the porters felt he would make it through, just taking it steady.

Everyone was unpacking their gear and setting up camp for the night. Milto noticed Peter had no gear. He informed us his porter James has gone walkabout. It was James first trip over the track and he had got lost at the fork in the track about one kilometre short of the camp. It was about two hours before they found him and got  him back to camp. 

Lots of kids at the guest house area so I gave them a Dragons footy, what else?

Nauro Villiage

Nauro Village


Story written by Ian Bown of Forbes

For more pictures visit the Kakoda Gallery


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