What happened to the Australian soldiers at Kokoda?
They fought in exhausting and debilitating conditions. Originally outnumbered by the small Japanese force, and pushed into withdrawal down the track, they were reinforced and drove the Japanese, who were running low on food and ammunition, back up the Track through Papua and into New Guinea.
To oversimplify greatly, the Australians and Papuans were at
first beaten back by the Japanese. Eventually, as the Australians
were reinforced and the exhausted Japanese were not, the situation
was reversed and eventually the lost ground was recovered.http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/asfaras/kokoda.html
To stop the approaching Japanese armies, kokoda is right next to the cape york peninsula, a few hundred kilometres away, The Japanese wished to press further south past kokoda in order to capture ports and set up airbases to bombard the Australian coast and possibly support an invasion of Australia. In the end Australian soldiers were on the Kokoda Track to prevent the Japanese advance which they succeeded in doing after months of fighting
During the Kokoda campaign, the Japanese were successful in making an attack on the Australian home front. The Australians were forced to retreat and were left were running low on supplies and disease reduced their fighting ability. Later on, the American fought along side of the Australians and defeated the Japanese.
The war was World War 2. Australia was involved because Papua New Guinea was a territory of Australia, and it had the responsibility to defend it. A small Japanese force moved from New Guinea towards Port Moresby and an Australian force moved north to oppose it at Kokoda, then fighting a defensive withdrawal to Iorabaiwa, then being reinforced and driving the Japanese back again through Kokoda to pin them against the north coast.
The Kokoda Track Campaign was one of the Australian Army's toughest campaigns of the war. As it was in the tropical environment of Papua, malaria, dysentery, and other tropical diseases were always a risk. An estimated 4,000 soldiers of the Australian Army alone are listed as casualties from illness.