On the 16th of September Brigadier Ken Ether requested permission from his Divisional Commander – Major General Arthur “Tubby” Allen to withdrawal to the next ridge back towards Port Moresby, Imita Ridge. – the last ridge between the Japanese and Port Moresby.

This would enable the Australians to have use of their artillery as the Japanese on Ioribaiwa Ridge would be in range of the Australian heavy artillery for the first time ever in the campaign. Australian lines of supply would then be extremely short whilst the Japanese lines of supply would be precariously long and made even more difficult by the flooding rivers from the torrential rain.

Permission was granted for the Australian withdrawal to Imita. Brigadier Ether was given the command that this would be the last stand for the Australians and if needed he and his men were to die at Imita Ridge whilst attempting to hold it.

On the 16th of September, Japanese soldiers celebrated with victory almost in their grasp. They could see what they believed to be the lights of Port Moresby from their positions on Ioribaiwa Ridge.