AUSTRALIAN WITHDRAWAL TO MYOLA- 4 September 1942


Myola is an extinct volcanic crater deep in the jungle a few hours from Mount Bellamy and in the thick of the Owen Stanley Ranges. It is a few kilometers east of the main Kokoda Track and consisting of two dry lake beds both are open expanses of ground inside kilometers and kilometers of jungle.

Lieutenant Herbert Kienzle a logistician from the Australian New Guinea Administration Unit (ANGAU) and responsible with forming the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels at the beginning of the campaign, was looking for a suitable dropping ground for supplies. In early August Kienzle reached the first dry lake, which was covered with kunai grass, however made for a suitable dropping zone and he soon turned the area into an extensive supply depot. He named the area Myola (after the wife of his friend and commanding officer). Not far by and at a higher altitude, he found a second dry lake, which became known as Myola 2 and it was also used as a drop zone.

At about 11 am on the2 September the Japanese pursuing the Australians were seen moving towards a standing patrol that was at the rear of the defences in the area of Templeton’s Crossing. The patrol shot ten of the Japanese; however, it wasn’t long before the main positions were in contact and the Japanese were moving round the left flank. Lieutenant Colonel Caro decided that it was time to move, as he feared the Japanese would soon outflank them.

The 2/16th Battalion struggled with the rough country through Templeton's Crossing and continued on to Myola. They arrived in the defended locality of Templeton’s Crossing that the 2/14th had secured and the 2/16th moved out.

At Myola the troops were able to have wash and received a hot meal and fresh clothes to replace the rotten ones they were wearing. They were able to expose their feet to the sun and some of the troops had their socks on for so long they became stuck to their skin and had to be cut away. Whilst this short period of rest was enjoyed Myola was being dismantled, stores and ammunition were being destroyed and or removed towards Moresby as fast as possible. It was very clear to the soldiers their rest was to be short lived and they were to be on the move again very soon.

It was not long before they were all crawling, falling and edging their way through the slippery mud in torrential downpour towards Kagi and Efogi. They began to arrive in the early afternoon on the 5 September. By leaving Myola, the Australians were relinquishing their main supply point, when these supplies had been so important to them.