John to walk in the footsteps of Diggers

GLOUCESTER’S John Farley will head to a remote part of Papua New Guinea next month to visit a small outpost named after a local soldier who fought in World War II.

Don’s Post, named after Barrington dairy farmer Don McRae, is an isolated outpost in the Finisterre Range in north-eastern Papua New Guinea.

Shaggy Ridge, a 6.5km long razorback ridge, was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting between Australian and Japanese troops during the Second World War.

Its highest point is 1497m and the ridge is located between the valleys of the Mene and Faria rivers and culminates at one end in Kankiryo Saddle, which links it to Faria Ridge and divides Faria valley and Mindjim river valley.

The ridge was named after an Australian soldier, Captain Robert ‘Shaggy Bob’ Clampett, commander of ‘A’ Company, 2-27th Infantry Battalion, the first Allied ground unit to reconnoitre the area during World War II.

Shaggy Ridge was the site of several battles during the Finisterre Range campaign of 1943 to 1944. 

The ridge was the site of major Japanese defensive positions, blocking access from the Ramu Valley to the north coast of New Guinea.

Don’s Post was a Japanese defensive position on Shaggy Ridge.

Australian forces from came under fire from the post on October 10, 1943, while patrolling the area.

The terrain was so steep in the area that much of the climbing had to be done on hands and knees.

Lieutenant McRae passed away in 1998 at the age of 85.

He is buried in Gloucester cemetery.

Mr Farley will spend nine days in the Madang region of Papua New Guinea.

During his stay he will spend six days walking in the Shaggy Ridge area.

The tour is part of Kokoda Historical Tours and will visit Don’s Post on day three before continuing along Shaggy Ridge and down to the Faria River.

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