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Australian success in Papua, between July 1942 and January 1943, checked the Japanese southward advance; but the victories at Kokoda, Milne Bay and the Beachheads did not remove the Japanese presence in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea to Papua's north.
From early 1943, Australian troops embarked upon a series of campaigns in the Mandate-at Wau (29th January to 6th February 1943), Salamaua-Lae (April to September 1943), Finisterre Range (September 1943 to April 1944) and Huon Peninsula (September 1943 to March 1944) which eradicated the enemy threat from mainland New Guinea once and for all.
These campaigns are the subject of this exhibition and were the largest series of interconnected operations ever undertaken by the Australian military, which proved every bit as gruelling and hard fought as the earlier, more celebrated campaigns in Papua.
The latter New Guinea campaigns saw Australia's troops hone the skills and demonstrate the prowess which, by war's end, had made them the world's finest jungle fighters.
The War on our Doorstep, Australians in New Guinea 1943-45 temporary exhibition is located in the Galleries of Remembrance, a $45 million Victorian Government redevelopment that utilises 1,600 square metres of undercroft space that exists beneath the Shrine of Remembrance.
Over 850 objects are included in permanent and temporary exhibition spaces which illustrate the experiences of Australians at war and in peacekeeping operations, from Pre-Federation to the present day, with a particular focus on individual and unit stories of Victorian service and sacrifice.