Jerry Dimuda - Oral History interview recorded on 4 July 2014 at Kagi, Central Province, PNG

Description

Mr Jerry Dimuda tells the story of his father Dimuda Niligi who was a carrier and scout /policeman who looked after the Egulu clan during the Kokoda Campaign.

Language

Interview

Warning: This site contains stories of war. Some of these interviews may include detailed and graphic descriptions of events and experiences that may be disturbing for some individuals.


Transcript:
This is the life story of my father Mr late Dimuda Niligi. My father told this story to me and lived until the year 2008 he pasted away. It's now almost 11 years have pasted since his death and I have the honour to share this story with you.

I will be giving the full war story details to you guys now. My father used to work as a lead scout for the Australian soldiers. He knows all the little tracks in and out, in leading the Australians during the war.

Any direction of the location where they use to fight and when he saw the fight was fierce he usually made out tracks to another stop over location for the soldiers.

That's the reason why the soldiers usually involve him to do the scouting activities. Sometime he will be always with the frontliners. He used to work along side the gunmen and said that he witnessed the gunmen killing so many people with his eyes.

Before the war, the whiteman by the name of Misikani made the survey from the track for the war to start. He started at Buna and came here to Kagi and went straight down to Port Moresby.

While returning from the survey, Misikani started talking to the people from Ioribaiwa to Buna that the war will be coming soon. He spoke with the people not to hide so close to the war track but they must move further up into the mountains where there are caves for them to hide.

And he came again to Kagi collecting names of the brave men who will join the war as carriers and labourers. My father was one of the persons who was recruited from the program, another person recruited with him was John or Kove. John was a name given to him by the Australians. His real name is Kola.

The name John was given to him by the Australian soldiers during the war to Kola. However people called him either John or Kola after the war. Also recruited from the list were Ilua Melai, Lomala Melai, Moi Melai, Matama Kekeve. There were three young men recruited from Somari clan, straight after the recruitment they were taken away to do the job.

That recruitment was done at the beginning of the year 1942 where they were all taken up to Buna and Gona. Upon their arrival at Buna and Gona they met the Australian soldiers. Upon arrival in meeting the soldiers they worked as labourers and carriers, carrying all the food supplies from Buna all the way to Kokoda up the Owen Stanley range putting them along all the campsites in preparation for the war. That was just the beginning in collecting all the supplies that had been dropped by the supply planes.

The war plane started dropping all the supplies in all villages onto the mountains down the creeks and up the ridges to Alola villages. At that time of the year, the Australians didn't know about the grasslands of Myola 1.

The Australians thought that it was not important. However they were curious in looking at the grassland where it was an important area for them to understand. With the help of one of my fathers by the name of Raba they got to know the area.

So the Australian soldiers started to contact the biscuit bombers to drop all the food supplies at Myola rather that dropping them everywhere along the track.....[repeated]

Upon arrival at Ebaloho which is now referred to as Myola 1, the Australian soldiers told my dad that this grassland is much easier for us to do our searches up around here. However, the only difficulty was the landing of the aircraft which made the Australian soldiers drop only food supplies at the swamp areas. If only it had a larger land mass they could of built a landing airstrip.

Then with this situation with the direction from my father, he told the Australian soldiers that we have got a place like this at the back of this mountain. So with the help of my father they walked over to Myola 2. By coming over to Myola 2, the labourers were brought in to construct Myola airstrip and build more shelters for the soldiers for sleeping. They changed Myola 1 to Myola 2 where all the food drops were done in landing.

In that area at Myola 1, the labourers built a very big back store for the supplies to be kept in. All the rations of supplies for the soldiers and labourers were kept in there.

One of the very big hospitals was built at 1900 close to a river called Vohono. When the hospital was completed and ready for use, the Australian soldiers moved into the area, organizing people to work in that hospital. That was about the time the war reached Kokoda station.

And all labourers and carriers were told to move all the rations and ammunitions down to Templeton Crossing. This track was once been used by the Japanese using their horses moving up and down.

The Japanese soldiers were so intelligent in transporting all their weapons and ammunitions and rations of food supplies with their horses. On the other hand it was a difficult time for the Australian soldiers with each carriers moving and transporting of ammunition and food supplies.

When the horses were brought in Japanese soldiers have their own labourers. These labourers dug and cleared the road for the horses to travel up and down from Buna to Ioribaiwa.

The Japanese use these horses for so many ways. They used these horses sometime as their communication tool, transporting notes or even getting the message from on location to the other through the movement of these horses.

These horses did the jobs very frequently to Kokoda and returning back to the campsites with their replies. They could easily notice that due to rough terrain using of laourers to transport and deliver communication would be very hard. It will only take men to get to the other location within 3-4 nights. However using horses, the Japanese could easily get the work done within a day.

On the other hand the Australian soldiers used the local natives to build the telephone cables along the track starting at Myola base through the thick jungle. The locals cleared the road, pulled the cables until they reached Kagi village and then further down to Efogi and Ioribaiwa.

The locals under the command of the Australian soldiers pulled the telephone cables until they reached Elolo in Sogeri. At that location at Elolo a big radio station was built. So that's where the communication system flows during the war.

By now the war has extended up to Isurava village. The war grew very fierce there which is now referred to as Battlefield. The war grew very fierce at battlefield. So many Australian soldiers were killed there. My father said that almost more than 300 soldiers and above were killed in that battle at Isurava.

From there the Australians saw their defensive line was so weak with so many of the Australians dying, they retreated back to Vabula Ridge now referred to as Templeton Crossing.

At Templeton Crossing ridge, my father said that there was another fierce battle in that part of the area. The forest and the thick jungle made it more complicated for the soldiers to look further. Other soldiers easily crept to the bushes and attacked the Japanese frontline.

The Japanese were very strong so they had to climb higher to reach the ridge of Templeton Crossing and walk at the back of the Australian soldiers in attacking them. The Japanese while fighting they discovered the Australian campsite and found all their left over ammunition and the graveyards. This helped the Japanese soldiers to easily capture the campsite and settle there which is now called the lost battlefield.

So in occupying this area, the lost battlefield the Japanese put their position up to the ridges of Templeton Crossing aiming at the Australian soldiers and killing them.

The original track which was built during the war ran from here Kagi village down to Efogi creek and up to Mission Ridge and then to Brigade Hill. By using this track one of the commanding Australian soldier by the name of Billy was shot by a Japanese sniper. The track that leads to Naduri down to Efogi 2 is a man-made track and is not the original war track. It was just built recently by the locals for gardening and hunting.

Apart from the Australian commanding officer, Mr Bill who was killed, one of the young Australians was also killed at the same time by the sniper. By looking at this situation, the Australian platoons started retreating back to Brigade Hill from Kagi village.

The Australian soldiers retreated back to Brigade Hill. They started fast preparations and positioning their weapons ready for attack. My father at that time knew the geographical feature of Brigade Hill very well. The area Brigade Hill was well known for very deep cliffs and would be easily captured by the Japanese at the end of the road.


Arriving at Brigade Hill, my father took the shortest track at the back of Brigade Hill and told them to wait at the entrance of the cliff to attack the Japanese. By now the Japanese were reaching the mission ridge and moving closer to them.

The Australians brought in one of their snipers to monitor the cliff where the Japanese would climb up. While the rest of the platoons were at the Brigade Hill campsite watching every corner of the bush.

The Japanese saw from the distance that they couldn't make it up the cliff and were stationed at the base of Mission Ridge. The Australian soldiers were there thinking that the Japanese soldiers would arrive very soon but they waited and waited but the Japanese did not enter the cliff. My father said due to this the Australian soldiers didn't pay attention and went on playing cards at the campsite at Brigade Hill. My father said that when walking over to them, he noticed that all the soldiers were having a very big picnic in putting all their clothes aside, together with their weapons on the side and playing cards and drinking something like a beer he said. My father thought that the war as over in the way the Australian soldiers were behaving. Then he mobilized the local native people to watch carefully at the entrance of the cliff.

While playing cards, the Australian soldiers told their sniper to give a warning shot if the Japanese soldiers come closer so they could get ready for the attack. However, the cliff was a mile away from the campsite where the soldiers couldn't hear the firing of the gun shot.

The Japanese soldiers could not find the Australian soldier hiding at the entrance of the cliff. So they started exchanging fire, making warning with the sniper. In this way the Japanese could identify the sniper's position and target his location where he was standing.

The sniper made a couple of warning shots but his platoon couldn't hear the sound. They were very busy playing cards. The sniper from the Australian camp killed so many Japanese soldiers when they were climbing up the cliff. They could notice that they had nowhere to go. So the Japanese soldiers retreated back to Efogi village and forced one of the local men from Efogi to assist them in attacking the Australian soldiers at Brigade Hill.

The local man told the Japanese soldiers that he knew the area well where they could get in and attack the Australian soldiers. He led the way together with some of the local Japanese slaves from Kokoda, Buna and New Guinea islands to the hill. These locals went to the opposite side of the cliff where they walked easily down to the sniper.

The Japanese soldiers moved closer to the Australian sniper but did not exactly know where he was hiding from the cliff. So they sent a message over to the remaining troops at Mission Ridge to give the warning shot so that in retaliation the sniper would fire back so they could locate him and move closer to his position. The Japanese soldiers received a message and quickly opened fire in the direction of the sniper. The sniper gave a warning shot back to the Japanese, this allowed the Japanese soldiers to advance towards him enabling them to find his hiding spot.


The Japanese soldiers walked very close to the cliff and finally saw the helmet of the sniper poking out from the cliff. One of the Japanese soldiers walked very slowly above him on the side of the cliff and threw some rubbish down at him. The Australian sniper saw the rubbish falling onto him and looked back to see what was above him. By turning back and looking up he was shot in the forehead at close range by the Japanese soldier.

While looking up to see where the rubbish was coming from, he was shot at close range by the Japanese soldier and he fell over dead.
My father said after killing the sniper, the Japanese soldiers reacted very quickly informing the rest of the soldiers to gather at the base of the cliff. They organized themselves very well and moved into the Australian campsite. The Australian soldiers were not ready at that time of the day when the Japanese reached their campsites. The Australian soldiers who were playing cards had nowhere to go but were all killed lying on the ground.

My father said that nearly all the platoons were killed. Over 300 soldiers died. We had to flee and run away to save our lives. Now when you walk over to Brigade Hill you will notice a very big graveyard of the Australian soldiers placed in there.
Out of the many soldiers who were killed at Brigade Hill, two of the Australian soldiers ran away to the nearby village called Loni. When they arrived at Loni village they spoke to the local people about the tragic loss that they have witnessed up at Brigade Hill.
The local people at Loni village were very sad to hear the news and escorted them down to the next platoon. They joined the rest of the soldiers at brown river and walked up to old Naoro village to Maguli range. The Japanese soldiers moved them and quickly arrive at Loni village, destroyed all the properties, burnt all the houses and crossed over to Brown River.
Upon arriving at Maguli range the Japanese set up their big weapon. They gave a warning shot to the Australian soldiers. That bomb went over some rivers and Imita Ridge mountain and landed at Ower's Corner. The Australian soldiers saw what happened and retaliated by firing their own weapon towards the Japanese. The bomb went above Imita Ridge and landed down at Brown River.
The Japanese soldiers pushed further to Ioribaiwa ridge. The Japanese could see that they were so close to Port Moresby and never wanted to give up. They kept their heads low down on the ground and pushed firmly towards the Australian frontline. The Australians noticed that if they lost this battle at Ioribaiwa Ridge, Port Moresby would be declared the home of the Japanese. So the Australian soldiers had to fasten their seat belts and stood on their knees to defend Sogeri and Port Moresby.
My father said that there were so many Japanese killed at that time on the ridge of Ioribaiwa. The Australian soldiers couldn't move any more but to stay at the ridge of Imita. They were also killed by the Japanese soldiers and were carried back to Ower's Corner and then back to Port Moresby. The battle took place for almost 2-3 days.
At Ioribaiwa Ridge the Japanese set up their position on one of the top trees where they could easily look down to Imita Ridge. The general commander of the Japanese was placed there to kill the Australian soldiers. While in the trees, he could easily see the grassland of Sogeri and at nighttime he could see the lights from Port Moresby. He told his soldiers that we will be getting to Port Moresby very shortly and advised them to fight very hard.
The Australian soldiers at Imita Ridge, using their binoculars spotted the general commander up in the trees. At first they didn't notice him because he was all camoflauged. However in looking closer, they could see the red dotted sign or something like the Japanese flag on his uniform. The Australians shot him very well and killed him and he fell onto the ground. The Japanese platoons saw their commander lying on the ground dying and had no hope at all.
The commander of the Japanese soldier from Japan heard that his son was killed at Ioribaiwa ridge. So he commanded that his son's body be taken by horse from Ioribaiwa to Buna. Upon receiving the message the horse took the commander's son Itila to Buna.
The body was transported by plane back to Japan. The commander from Japan sent a message back to his troops at Ioribaiwa that he will no longer be supplying ammunitions and food supplies for them because his son has been killed. The Australian soldiers advanced towards the Japanese soldiers at Ioribaiwa Ridge. The Japanese soldiers were running out of supplies and ammunitions, so they had to retreat back. The Australian soldiers took advantage of this and pushed the Japanese further back inland, killing and slaughtering some of them.
The Australian soldiers were very strong and chased the Japanese all the way to Kagi. In some instances, the Japanese soldiers couldn't walk any longer because of starvation, so they had to sit on the logs and fold their legs and fold their uniforms looking down at the ground. When we approached them they couldn't say anything but to look at us folding their legs and only making signs for us to kill them. This continued along the track until we reached Kokoda.
In some cases, the Japanese soldiers used to escape through our gardens and stole our food. We used to notify them and take the Australian soldiers to the gardens to kill them.
My father said they usually had a small pistol with them. So every time they came to a Japanese soldier they killed them straight away. When returning back we could notice that so many of our local gardens, properties were all destroyed.
My father told me that when they reached Kagi, they could sense and see that the Japanese soldiers were running out of supplies. In that period of returning back to Kokoda, the Japanese used banana trunks or stems as their food. They cut the banana trunks like a taro and kau kau and boiled them in their saucepans. This food gave them energy to walk back to Kokoda and Buna. So the Japanese soldiers went on and dug up the wild taros, cleaned the stems and boiled them for their meals. This gave some of the Japanese soldiers enough strength to walk.
In that period during the war, the Japanese soldiers also brought with them some of their food for planting. This food crops are choko vines, Singapore taro, Japanese beans and some of the wild taros where they grew and ate them while fighting along the track. So they thought that while eating the banana stems it was like a taro to them.
My father said they kept on pushing the Japanese soldiers until they ended up at Buna.
In that period at Ioribaiwa, the Japanese soldiers contacted their countrymen in Japan informing them that within 3 days time we will be arriving at Port Moresby.
The Japanese soldiers explained to their commanding officer in Japan that we can see Port Moresby lights during the night. We can see the peak of the mountain at Maguli range.
They said to their bossmen from Japan that it will only take us one day to Owen's corner. At that point in time the Japanese were so excited that they put their commanding officer for the war to use to base upon the tree and control the war. That was the time the commanding officer was shot dead. The war retreated back from there to Buna.
When they reached Buna, Gona and Sanananda the place was filled with so many dead bodies of both Japanese and Australian soldiers. The area was filled with flies and we weren't able to walk properly. The place was very stinky.
My father and the rest of the carriers walked all the way from Kokoda to Buna together with the Australian soldiers. The place was very dry and there was no water for drinking. However, some of the good waters were all filled up with blood and some body parts could be easily found beside the creeks and rivers. My father was very thirsty but he continued to find a better water source. On the other hand, one of the carriers from Kagi by the name of Kola or John went ahead and drank from a stream all full of blood.
My father walked past and he didn't realize that his brother Kola had drunk from the bloody water. After walking for a mile, Kola told my dad that he had nowhere to go because his neck was so dry, so he had to drink the bloody water.
When they arrived at Buna, all the Japanese soldiers went into a tunnel and hid there. The Japanese soldiers that first went back were the lucky ones who boarded ships and sailed back to Japan. The second lot of soldiers who retreated back from Ioribaiwa arrived at Buna and noticed that the ship was gone so they all hid in the cave.
The Japanese soldiers no longer had any supplies or ammunitions to protect themselves. They were all bare handed and were very hungry at that time when they reached Buna.
The Japanese Commander in Japan made an arrangement to stop all the necessary supplies for the war which included war planes, ships, food supplies and ammunition.
My father said that when we arrived at Buna, we were very frightened to go closer to the Japanese tunnel. We stayed there for 3 nights and 3 days watching the tunnel for any Japanese to escape.
Upon arriving at Buna we searched everywhere along the beach up on the mountains searching all the Buna and Kaivas' people's houses and we noticed a pile of food supply which was hidden behind the garden.
So we were told to make a fence around these hidden supplies. We tied empty cans of meat all around the rope up and down and attached it to a tree. That night we put a security to watch over the food and at nighttime he caught one of the Japanese coming to steal the food. The noise of the empty cans alerted the security who went and caught the Japanese man. He was taken for questioning the next day. The Australian soldiers gathered together and asked him about the tunnel. They asked him is there were any bombs or ammunitions or any other soldiers in that tunnel. The poor Japanese soldier replied 'there are no weapons or fighting equipment kept in that tunnel. We are all bare handed and want to hide ourselves in the tunnel'. He told the Australian soldiers to come and kill them because there was nothing in that tunnel.
On the second night, they captured another Japanese soldier again asking him all about the cave and the weapons in the cave and what was in the cave. The Japanese man replied that there was nothing in that cave but the Australian soldiers couldn't believe the first person and the second person so they had to wait for the third person.
On the third night, one of the Japanese soldiers again came out looking for his friend and wanted to get some food for eating. He was captured and taken that night to the Australian campsite for questioning.
The third soldier replied to the Australian soldiers saying that there was nothing in that tunnel and don't be afraid to go there, there is nothing which will harm you.
The Australians soldiers kept on asking the 3 soldiers from Japan. They asked them about the tunnel and also asking them about weapons and the number of people in that cave. The 3 poor men spoke confidently telling the Australian soldiers that because they were very hungry they came out looking for food in order to survive. They explained to the Australian soldiers that there are a few people in the cave. But they have no weapons.
They further told the Australian soldiers that they don't have any bombs, clothing or nothing else to survive on. They explained 'we were late to get on the first ship that left for Japan. That is the reason why we are stranded here'. The Japanese gave permission for the Australian soldiers to kill them.
Early the next morning, the Australians soldiers decorated a poor soldier who was an orphan. They dressed him and put balloons all over his motorbike, decorated his face and gave him one of the bombs to take into the cave. My father said that they were very very sorry in learning that the soldier would go there to kill himself with the Japanese by igniting the bomb. Our tears rolled down as we shook hands with him and said our final words. Not only us but the all the Australian soldiers gathered around him and shook hands to let him go into the tunnel with the bomb.
Not only did the Australians do that but they did it to win the war. That was a message from the commanding officer. My father said that they also decorated his pockets with money and other special things for him to take. We finished decorating him, he rode on the bike and headed towards the tunnel throwing the bomb into the cave and the cave exploded and everyone was killed. The poor soldier lost his life.
The trekking companies today are now searching for the hospital that was built in 1942 during the war at a place called Nineteen hundred beside a Eboa creek. So many Australian trekkers have asked me to identify the location of the hospital but I haven't shown them the actual location up until today. With this story that I am giving you is from my heart what my dad told me. I haven't exposed this story until now. You are the first people to get this information.
Some of the local communities went into the area where the hospital was built long ago and found needles and other medical injection equipment on the ground.
And they dug up all the area but only found a few remaining hospital equipment. This hospital was firstly built by the local people from Kagi and Naduri before the war came in.
While retreating from Ioribaiwa, my father told me a story about one of the Japanese soldiers at Brigade Hill. The soldier got some of the blood and painted his body from his face to his legs. My father couldn't recognize him because he was fully covered with blood. He saw us walking down and hid himself at the back of a trunk tree. However, my father saw him already and reported it to the Australian soldiers where they picked him out of the hole and speared him through the back and he died instantly.
When arrive at Buna my father and some of the carriers and labourers searched everywhere around the beach and up on the mountains for the Japanese soldiers. While waiting for the Japanese to come out of the tunnel, my father and one of his commanding soldiers from Australia followed the mountain up towards Oro Bay. While walking they looked down to the beach and found some of the Japanese soldiers walking around the beach.
Because we didn't bring in any bigger weapons, the soldier climbed up the tree and looked down at the Japanese who were gathering around the beach.
He waited for the Japanese soldiers to come closer to him and at the same time he shot them one by one killing every soldier that he found on the beach. He came down from the tree and spoke to me, 'how many Japanese soldiers do you think I killed?' My father replied, 'I don't know how many you have killed'.
My dad Dimuda said that I did not attend school and do not know the numbers so I don't really now how many you have killed. The Australian soldier further told my dad that he killed over 100 plus Japanese soldiers. My Dad couldn't believe it.
After that killing we both went to the cave where our securities stood guard. The Australian soldier told his mate he had just killed over 100 plus Japanese. Then they waited for the orphan soldier to into the tunnel with the motorbike.
The next day after this suicide explosion from the bike, my father and the Australian soldiers retreated back to Sanananda where they met some of their fellow soldiers.
At Sanananda one of the Australian captains declared that the war is over. He told all the war carriers and labourers to go back to their respective places. My dad and his team members walked all the way from Sanananda to Kagi for 3 consecutive weeks.
Before departing from Sanananda the Australian captain gave 12 dollars to my dad for the work that he did for the 3 years period during the war.
My father was the only person among the group who received the money. The amount is only 12 dollars which is about 24 kina. He served for 3 years but only received 12 dollars.
My dad said that he was not very clear whether some of the labourers and carriers were paid at that time. He was uncertain about that. He further told me the story of people at Kagi who had been killed at the war at Buna. These people Euki from Kagi, Minama from Menari and Benson from Naduri village.
When my father came back at the end of 1944 to 1955 they have marked his wife to get married. After the war he came back and got married to my mother. He was appointed as the policeman for Kagi. After all we were born, we have 8 in our family.
Out of the 8 family members there were 6 males and 2 females. This story was a life story shared by my father and he continued to live until he pasted away in 2008. Today I have 4 children. I have one female and 3 boys. I have four grandchildren.
When my father and his team members arrived from the war, there was a very big feast for them. This feast was organized by the people from Kagi and they all share their stories and told them about their experience along the track during the war.
After the celebration, they got another message from Port Moresby about a big feast celebration for all the carriers and labourers at Menari village. So the message went around to all the villages and they moved to Menari with their food and pigs for the party.
When they arrived at Menari everyone welcomed them and they started slaughtering their pigs, sharing with the Australians and other visitors who came from Port Moresby.
When they shared the pigs with the Australians. The Australians only got a few bits and gave all the rest back to the people telling them to share it equally amongst themselves. The Australians further told the people at that time that the war is over and we are very thankful for your supportive assistance during the war. The Australians thanked the local people for their contribution to the war.
The Australians made a strong commitment with us on that day that they will be together and their friendship will be together and they will still heped us in any way in the future. The Australians said they will become our brothers and sisters forever.
The Australians are now seen today working with us. I wonder at that time of ceremony, they might have got pictures of this event and I believe that this ceremony is still in existence here or in Australia.
That's the time the Australians met with my fathers and departed back to Port Moresby and back to their homes. That was the last time they met together.
Today our people are arguing about the track comes here. They argue about the trekkers creating short cut roads to other villages. This is not good for us. We are concerned about this issue and we want the Australian trekking companies who are walking along the track to use the original wartime track, not just the recent created ones. This goes to people at Naduri for allowing the trekkers to use that road which was non-existent during the war.
I want to tell you today that the war track starts at Templeton Crossing 1 up to Mt. Bellamy and then leads down to Laili creek and then comes up to Kagi village. From there it goes down to Mission Ridge and goes straight to Brigade Hill. That is the original track that I can testify to.
The track at Naduri is not regarded as a proper track. Kagi is the real track that was used during the war.
I really want you and your team members to record this story and make an announcement to the Australian trekking companies that they have to use only the original tracks that were created during the war and not the recent tracks only made a few years ago.
And this is the original track.
When the war came from here all the Papuans took part as carriers and labourers. All the people aroundthe central Provinces like people from Daru, Kerema, Kikori, Rigo, Abau and people from Samarai and people from Northern came to support the campaign.
They all came together and met our people in which they all serve the Australian soldiers. They mobilized themselves and later walked all the way to Kokoda. There were different groups brought here and our people couldn't communicate with them. For that reason some of our people started killing them and hid them underneath the trunks, in caves and killed them and threw them everywhere.
They simply couldn't understand each other and started creating this problem. However they were only sent to serve the Australian soldiers. My father's name is popular around the coastal areas especially in Rigo coast area. Just recently I went over to Rigo to a place called Boku and was working as a CHW worker and met an old man. He told me that this name Dimuda is a familiar name.
He further told me that there was a man by the name of Dimuda who was my mate during the war. He is from Koari. I told him that I am his son and my father used to be a scout during the war.
There were some people from Kokoda side who also took part during the campaign, however some of these people turned back and joined the Japanese soldiers in providing them work during the war.
This is the reason why so many of these people were identified and were persecuted after the war. Some of these persecutions took place at Kokoda and others took place at Oivi where people were hung on the trees.
At that time someone by the name of Sibona was mistakingly taken for questioning, this guy served the Australians soldiers as a carrier. He was taken there for questioning and later found out that he was one of the members serving under the Australian forces and they released him back.
When that guy was released from persecution, he came to Kagi and went over to Efogi to settle down. He later got married and lived in Efogi for the rest of his life. Most of these persecutions that I heard from my father was that they were killed by using ropes and their necks had been chopped by using sharp knives and axes.
These persecutions were done to the people who betrayed the Australians and helped the Japanese soldiers during the war. However it did not occur to the people who supported the Australian soldiers.
For that reason, our people have gone ahead and started hiding all the female ladies. In that period there were so many people involved in the war. And we couldn't recognize them properly.
During that time our mothers and children were forbidden to walk on their own. If they happen to get raped or attempted murder it will be disastrous. For this reason we never allowed them to move on their own.
Some of these people my father said that they never sleep properly, especially when there are heavy casualties on the ground. The carriers carried them all the way to the hospitals and clinics. The local native people who were appointed by the Australian soldiers helped support the Australian army doctors removing bullets from the wounded soldiers and helped them stitch their wounds. That year was a very terrible time for everyone.
There is a hospital at Isurava which my father said that was used to care for the sick people and wounded soldiers. That hospital was used when the war grew strong at Isurava and many wounded were taken there for treatment.
And that hospital can be found on the track which is now called Con's rock.
This story has been told by my father to me. I do not ever want to share this story with anyone along the track or any visiting friend that comes to Kagi. However, with your presence and you team group coming here. Since you have come here and want to find more about the history of the past I want to give you details of what my father knows and has passed onto me.
For this reason I want to expose this story to you. I want you to expose the story that my father achieved during the war and the compensation payment of 12 dollars for three years work during the war. I want to know are you people collecting this information for publishing any book and getting the money from it?
My question is that I want to know if you people with the Australians could assist us in any ways? I want to leave this question with you and you provide the answer to me later. We are now struggling very hard to live. The Australians told us that they would come back and help support us in our basic needs. But that was just an empty promise to us.
You will be OK but for people like us, we will receive nothing until we will pass away. [repeated]
My story ends here.
The Australian soldiers gave my dad 12 dollars, he has lost his name tag. His medals given by the Australian Government are still here with me. After this story I will go back to take all the medals for my dad and come and show it to you.

Click to show/hide Additional Interview Details

Interviewee

Jerry Dimuda

Interviewee Gender

Interview Location

Interview Date

4/07/2014

Interview Duration

01:02:19:30

Interview Translator


Rights Holder

© Deakin University
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike licence

Files

http://pngvoices.deakin.edu.au/files/temp/dimuda-photo-2014.jpg

Collection

Citation

“Jerry Dimuda - Oral History interview recorded on 4 July 2014 at Kagi, Central Province, PNG,” Voices from the War, accessed October 23, 2018, http://pngvoices.deakin.edu.au/items/show/253.

Social Bookmarking