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Military Resources: Vietnam

This State Library of South Australia guide to military related information includes medals, militia and Australian involvement in conflicts. The emphasis is on South Australian resources.

Personal experiences

Australians at War. Vietnam Part 1


Background reading

The following books are available to read at the Library and will provide you with some helpful background information.

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There is more material available at the Library than is listed here. You can search for additional items on the catalogue using the search box on this page, in the top right hand corner underneath the orange tabs.

Suggested subject headings are

  • Australia. Armed Forces
  • Australia. Army  
  • Australia. Navy
  • Australia. Royal Australian Air Force
  • Great Britain. Army
  • Australia-History, Military
  • Vietnamese Conflict, 1961 - 1975
  • South Australia-Armed Forces
  • Women in War-Australia
  • Parliamentary Papers

    Acts of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia passed in the session of... Melbourne?: Printed and published for the Govt. of the Commonwealth of Australia by R.S. Brain, Govt. Printer for the State of Victoria, 1903 - Vol.1 1901-2. National Service Act 1951-1965.

    Parliamentary debates, Australia (Hansard). B12798125 House of Representatives. Canberra: Commonwealth Govt. Printer, 1953?-vol.45 1965 pp.1060-1061 Vietnam. Ministerial statement. Sir Robert Menzies

    Vietnam War 1962 - 1975

    The defeat of the French army at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 by communist led forces ended French control of Vietnam. The country was then divided into the separate states of North Vietnam, with a communist government, and South Vietnam.

    Local communists, supported by North Vietnam, continued to confront the South Vietnamese government. The United States (US) pledged its support for the South, and initially sent military advisers. In May 1962, Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced that a small group of military advisers, expert in jungle warfare, would also assist the South Vietnamese government. In the face of the escalating civil war in Vietnam the US sent its first combat troops in 1964, and this was built up to a force of half a million.

    In April 1965 Prime Minister Menzies announced the commitment of the first Australian combat troops, and between 1965 and 1972 approximately 60,000 Australians served with the army, air and naval forces in the Vietnam War. Of these approximately 19,000 were conscripts as, through the 1965 amendments to the Defence Act, men conscripted by ballot under the National Service Scheme could be required to serve overseas. There were 521 Australian casualties and over 3,000 were wounded as a result of the war.

    The war was the cause of the greatest social and political dissent in Australia since the conscription referendums of the First World War. Many draft resisters, conscientious objectors, and protesters were fined or jailed, while soldiers met a hostile reception on their return home.

    You can learn more about this conflict at the Australian War Memorial.

    Useful websites

    Archival material

    This material is only available for reading, viewing or listening to in the Somerville Reading Room.

    Journal articles

    Grass roots

    Vol.3 no.8, 16 April 1970. 'Students support Moratorium.'

    Vol.3 no.14, 7 May 197). 'Moratorium.'

    Vol.3 no.28, 28 July 1970. 'Vietnam.'

    South Australiana

    vol.21, 1982, pp.105-110 M.J. Saunders. 'A note on the files of the Campaign for Peace in Vietnam.'

    Speakers corner

    no.7 1982, pp.1-4 'Vietnam; the anti war movement in South Australia.'

    Finding a person in SLSA resources

    These resources are only available for use onsite. However, if you are unable to come into the Library you can use our Ask Us service. The Ask Us service enables you to submit questions to our librarians who will attempt to provide you with helpful information. The basic research service is free although there are charges for copying.

    Finding a person online

    Newspaper articles

    The Advertiser

    10 May 1962, p.1. 'If South Vietnam asks...Australia will send aid.' Combat troops would not be sent...restricted to a handful of experts...perhaps only four.

    25 May 1962, p.3 col. A. '30 for Vietnam.' 30 Australian Army jungle warfare experts-Australian Army Training Team Vietnam.

    4 August 1962, p.2 cols. E-F. 'Australians take hand in jungle war.' To train Vietnamese troops

    11 June 1964, p.1. 'Australians in South Vietnam clashes.' Increase in AATTV to 60 plus 20 specialists.

    11 November 1964, pp.1, 10, 11. 'Major build-up of defences.' 4,200 men in call-up next year; birthday lottery for two years full-time service, conscripts liable for service anywhere.

    10 March 1965, p.1 col. E. NS 'Ballot to be secret.'

    11 March 1965, p.2. 'Birthday Call' Cartoon by Hannaford.

    26 May 1966, p.1. 'N.S. Man from SA killed in Vietnam.' First Australian conscript to be killed; photo.

    28 May 1966, p.1. 'Full honours at funeral' (of Errol Noack).

    27 May 1966, p.1. 'Holt defends NS :Ready to answer.'

    22 June 1966, p.1. 'Attempt to kill Mr. Calwell.' Shot after anti-Vietnam War meeting at Mosman Town Hall; photos.

    20 January 1967, p.7 col. D. 'AVM Ky's address to National Press Club.' Visit by Marshall Ky, P. M. of South Vietnam.

    17 July 1967, p.2. 'Copter mercy of the SA surgical team.' Photo.

    27 May 1968, p.8 col. D. 'Army camp 'torture'' Simon Townsend, Sydney journalist, conscientious objector in solitary.

    17 June 1968, p.7 col. A. '200 protest in City.'

    24 June 1968, p.1 cols. F-H. 'MHR claims draft dodgers use drugs.'

    5 July 1969, p.1. 'Thousands battle Vic.police. Anti-war riots 3 cities.'

    9 May 1970, pp. 1-3. 'Soldiers attack city (moratorium) marchers Adelaide.'

    11 May 1970, p.3. '5,000 people in quiet march.' Adelaide's largest and most peaceful Anti-Viet demonstration; photo.

    19 September 1970, pp.1, 3, 8. 'Police arrest 141 in city clash.' Photos.

    21 September 1970, p.10. 'Marchers in court; giggles, hisses.'

    5 May 1971, pp.12-13. 'Royal Commissioners report on Moratorium.'

    25 November 1971, p.19 cols. B-E. 'Senators clash on praise of forces.' DLP motion praising courage of Australian servicemen in Vietnam.

    6 December 1972, p.4. 'Prime Minister's press conference. Need for urgent decisions.' National service ends.

    7 December 1972, p.3 cols. A-C. 'Resisters may be paid for gaol time.'

    7 December 1972, p.8 cols. F-K. 'Pretty good to be home said Robert.' Robert Martin, resister, released from jail; photo.

    12 December 1972, p.3 cols. G-H. 'Viet. role finished this month.' Withdrawal of last Australian servicemen in Vietnam within next few weeks.

    24 January 1973, p.1. 'It's peace: Nixon announces Vietnam War is over.'

    The Australian

    30 April 1965, p.1. 'Menzies says it - we fight in Vietnam. First Battalion to be flown in. Draftees may have to go too.' Photo.

    30 April 1965, p.8. Editorial. 'The war that can't be won.'

    18 June 1966, p.8 cols. A-C. 'Vietnam fact and fantasy, by Dominic Nagle.' Reviews of three books.

    25 June 1966, p.1 cols. A-C. 'Michael Charlton at his best says ABC producer but....Censor scans Vietnam TV film.' About turn on feature that upset America.

    20 February 1968, p.6. 'From ghoulies and ghosties…'cartoon by Aubrey Collette. Back-tracking on 'All the way.'

    The News

    1 July 1965, p.1. 'Farewells were over then troops plane turns back to Adelaide airport.'

    30 June 1966, pp.1, 5. 'Holt backs Hanoi bombing attacks.' Photo.

    30 June 1966, p.5 cols. F-G. 'Aust. All the way' You 'have an admiring friend, a staunch friend that will be all the way with LBJ' Mr Holt declared.

    31 March 1966, p.1. 'Conscript service 'legal': can be sent to Vietnam.'

    18 December 1967, p.1. 'All hope gone.' Prime Minister Holt disappears in surf.

    1 April 1968, p.1. 'LBJ orders halt to N. Viet bombing.'

    23 January 1970, p. 26. 'Anne (Wills) set to wow troops.' First woman to compere Australian concert show in Vietnam; photo.

    Sunday Mail

    19 March 1966, pp.33, 35. 'Vietnam and politics mean more to them now.' 400 NS at Woodside and Kuitpo being trained in a noted Battalion - 3rd Battalion; photo.

    26 March 1966, pp.2, 9. 'Mr Holt's first SA Press conference.' PM's reasons for decisions on Vietnam.

    26 March 1966, p.3. 'Anti-Viet protest march.' Mothers join Viet protest. Photo.

    24 June 1967, p.3. 'Dedicated service in Vietnam Hospital.' Adelaide surgical team in Vietnam is performing more than 125 operations a week...operate day and night friend and foe alike; photo.