58/59th Australian Infantry Battalion (Essendon, Coburg, Brunswick/Hume Regiment)

From Our Contribution

58-59th battalion.jpg
19 Mar 1945. Crossing the Torokina River AWM photo 079803
58-59th battalion 2.jpg
5 Jan 1944 Port Moresby enroute to airfield for flight to Dumpu. AWM photo 062464

Brief History

The 58th Australian Infantry Battalion was raised in 1921 from the inner Melbourne suburbs an mobilised at Seymour in December 1941 as part of the 15th Brigade group. The 59th Australian Infantry Battalion was raised from the Murray River region and it was also mobilised at Seymour in December 1941 . In late March 1942 the two battalions were at Bonegilla in Victoria before moving to the NSW/Queensland border in late May to defend the Gold Coast and the northern NSW region until September when they moved north to Caboolture region. At this point the 15th Brigade was reduced to two Infantry Battalions and their support arms.

Formed on 27 August 1942 at Caboolture by the amalgamation of two previously existing Militia battalions from Victoria — the 58th and 59th Battalions. The 58th/59th Battalion formed, still part of the 15th Brigade, assigned to the 3rd Division. Upon formation, the battalion adopted the territorial title of the "Essendon, Coburg, Brunswick/Hume Regiment". A Militia unit and therefore subject to deployment restrictions, because more than 65 per cent of its personnel volunteered for overseas service, the 58th/59th Battalion was one of the 32 Militia infantry battalions to receive Australian Imperial Force (AIF) status during the war, thus allowing it to be deployed outside of Australian territory.

In January 1943 the 15th Infantry Brigade Group moved to Port Moresby and then to Mubo in April, and Missim when they began aggressively attacking Japanese supply columns in June. In September, while the 29th Infantry Brigade attacked and captured Salamaua, the 15th Infantry Brigade Group was blocking Japanese escape routes. Soon after the 58/59th Battalion returned to Port Moresby. In late 1943 the battalion was sent to patrol the Mene River area and act as a reserve for units attacking the Shaggy Ridge feature. In July the battalion and its Brigade moved back to Australia for rest and retraining, gathering at Mapee in Queensland after their leave.

In early 1945 the US forces on Bougainville handed over to the Australians, having at that point only maintained a perimeter to keep the Japanese in Torokina. The Australian units, including 58/59th Battalion took a much more aggressive posture. The 15th Infantry Brigade group advanced towards the Japanese base at Buin in the Southern Sector , and by July they were preparing to cross the Mivo River when they were replaced and went into reserve. The remained in the area as part of the reserve brigade until the end of the war.

Battalion Personnel

Battle Honours

  • South West pacific 1943-45
  • Bobdubi II
  • Komiatum
  • Liberation of Australian New Guinea
  • Finisterres
  • Barum
  • Hongari River
  • Egans Ridge - Hongorai Ford
  • Hari River
  • Ogorata River
  • Mobiai River
  • Mivo River

Individual Honours


Content has come from The Unit Guide - Volume 2 - The Australian Army 1939-1945, page 2.259 & 2.260 - Graham R McKenzie-Smith - Big Sky Publishing - 2018

External Links