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In 1942, the only air strip in the Owen Stanley Range was at Kokoda village which was thus a vital supply center and military objective. Kokoda was captured on 29 July, 1942 by 400 Japanese after a pitched battle against 80 Australian and Papuan soldiers. Kokoda was left undefended as the Japanese pursued the withdrawing Australians and it was briefly reoccupied by the Australians from 8 to 10 august. After that, the Japanese used Kokoda as an administrative and supply center until it was finally occupied by the Australians on 2 November, 1942.

Today, Kokoda is the administrative center of the district. Walkers on the Kokoda Trail either start or finish their walk here with the road to Popondetta and the Kokoda air field providing regional access.


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