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Gona was part of a concentrated 20 km long coastal defence line held by 9,000 Japanese against the advancing Australian and American forces in November 1942.

The Australians attacked Gona on 22 November and were repulsed. Reinforcements renewed the attack and 6 days later reached the coast just east of Gona, but still the village held. The Australian attack continued but any advances were marginal. Malaria and casualties took a savage toll on the attackers and the Japanese fought to the death.

On 9 December Gona was finally captured by Australians who attacked from the South and along the beach. The Japanese garrison of 900 was annihilated and 530 Australians or 40% of the attacking force became casualties. Although the Americans did not fight here it was a foretaste of what lay ahead at Buna and Sananada for the allies.

Today the people of Gona remember proudly the success of the campaign due to the courage of these soldiers.

Land provided by the Manuda clan and arranged by Joshua Imaga.


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