This cemetery maintains the graves of 2,804 men who lost their lives during the Japanese southward drive, including Kokoda Trail, Buna, Gona and Salamaua from 1939 to 1945. The number also includes 426 unidentified soldiers of the United Indian Army who were taken by the Japanese during the fighting in Malaya and Hong Kong. They were recovered between But Airfield and Wewak.
The Lae Memorial commemorates 348 men of the Australian Army, Australian Merchant Navy and Royal Australian Air Force who have no known graves. This Memorial takes the form of engraved bronze tablets fixed to the walls linking the end columns of the colonnade.
An avenue of cameraria trees leads to the wide open gates suspended between two large pillars and lattice work of stone, hedged with flowering hibiscus, with a wide forecourt of lawn and surrounded by lush, tropical trees, shrubs and flowers. Rising from the forecourt is a wide, imposing flight of steps leading to a flat-roofed colonnade housing the Register and Visitors Book. Its central opening frames a view of the Cross of Sacrifice which is actually in the centre of an expanse of beautiful lawn studded with the bronze plaques that mark the graves. Enclosing the whole area is a thick jungle of vividly coloured trees, shrubs and avenues of lawns and hibiscus.