Lest we forget: Powerful Kokoda documentary to screen ahead of Anzac Day

April 19, 2024 BY

Written and directed by Patrick Lindsay, the documentary follows the footsteps of the Diggers of Kokoda and includes archival footage from 1942. Photo: KOKODA THE SPIRIT LIVES

A DOCUMENTARY about the Australian Diggers who fought along the Kokoda Trail during the Second World War will screen in Point Lonsdale ahead of Anzac Day.

Kokoda: The Spirit Lives features archival footage and traces the footsteps of the young soldiers who held on against the Japanese army in 1942 at the now infamous track in Papua New Guinea.

The screening has been organised by Graham J. Christie, a decorated veteran who fought in some of the largest battles of the Vietnam War.

He believes that everyone should see the documentary.

“1942, Australia was under threat from the Japanese who had come into Papua New Guinea and were headed for Australia,” he said.

“The whole land was a bit panic stricken that we were going to be overrun by a superior force.

“We didn’t have our full force of military available to us in 1942. Most of them were fighting in the Middle East at Tobruk and places like that.”

He said initially the force at Kokoda was comprised of “mainly year 12 students”.

They were under-trained, ill-equipped and many had never fired a shot before, earning them the nickname “Chocolate Brigade” by the British and American forces.

“They were called the Chocolate Brigade, or battalion, because the old Diggers believes that if it got too hot in the battle, they would melt,” Mr Christie said.

“These young men held on under officer command and eventually most of our battalions arrived back from Tobruk and went to New Guinea.

“The fighting was quite intense and eventually the Australians…stopped the Japanese for the first time in their race to take over every country from China through to Singapore etc.”

The Australian soldiers that held on against the Japanese army on the now infamous Kokoda Trail were young, under-trained, ill-equipped and many had never fired a shot. Photo: KOKODA THE SPIRIT LIVES


Mr Christie said he had met many people in the past 12 years during his time convening Anzac Day, Vietnam Veterans’ Day and Remembrance Day commemorations who were unaware of these parts of the country’s history and their relatives’ role in them.

He said it was important to “recognise what went before”, and in this instance, to recognise the individuals who “saved everyone”, allowing them to live “in a free country”.

“There’s a lot of things that go on in war,” he said.

“Some get forgotten, some get remembered and a lot forgotten totally by people who didn’t know it happened.

“Every Australian should see this movie, particularly as it is real film. There’s no actors…it’s real.”

Tickets are $5 each and children under the age of 14 can view the documentary for free.

All funds will be donated to The Headstone Project.

Launched last month, the volunteer-led initiative aims to locate and commemorate the World War One veterans buried in unmarked graves throughout Victoria, beginning with the Queenscliff cemetery.

Kokoda: The Spirit Lives will screen tonight (Friday, April 19) at the Point Lonsdale Primary School Hall on Bowen Road.

Doors will open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.