A Vietnam War Christmas

This collection of images shows Australian soldiers celebrating Christmas in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s.

Australia committed approximately 61 000 troops to the Vietnam War between 1962 and 1972 (and again occasionally until 1975), including many thousands of conscripts.

All the photographs are from the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

December 1971. South Vietnam.

Private David McColl of Canberra, hanging puddings to mature before Christmas.

Christmas_in_Vietnam,_1971_(3116643779)South Vietnam. Private (Pte) David McColl of Page in Canberra ACT, hanging puddings to mature before Christmas

December 1967. Nui Dat, Vietnam.

Newly arrived members of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), preparing their base camp for the Christmas season.

Christmas_in_Vietnam,_1967_(3117470156)Nui Dat, Vietnam. 1967-12. Newly arrived members of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), preparing their base camp for the Christma

November 1970. Nui Dat, South Vietnam.

Corporal Arthur Wallis, 21, sharpening a knife in preparation for carving the three prime hams he has prepared for Christmas.

Christmas_at_Nui_Dat,_1970_(3116643487)Nui Dat, South Vietnam. November 1970. Corporal Arthur Wallis, 21, of Preston, Vic, sharpening a knife in preparation for carving the three prime h

On this day: a Dutch Ballerina

Marianne_Hilarides_terug_bij_Dutch Nationaal_Ballet_na_4_jaar_hier_tijdens_repetitie,_Bestanddeelnr_920-7435 28th September 1967

Dutch ballerina Marianne Hilarides (born 1933) photographed in the studio on the 28th of September, 1967.

Born in Java, modern-day Indonesia (under Dutch rule at the time), she had a successful career in ballet companies across Europe.

Hilarides died of dementia in 2015.

On this day…

Cosmo Allegretti (Dancing Bear), Roberta Lubell, and Hugh “Lumpy” Brannum (Mr. Green Jeans) appearing in the American children’s television show Captain Kangaroo on the 20th of September, 1960.

Captain Kangaroo ran from 1955 to 1992.

Photo of Cosmo Allegretti (Dancing Bear), Roberta Lubell and Hugh Lumpy Brannum (Mr. Green Jeans) from the television program Captain Kangaroo. American TV Show 20th September 1960

Danger Close

Danger Close Long Tan Movie Vietnam War Travis Fimmel Australian Army 1966

I had the opportunity to attend a special screening of Danger Close – The Battle of Long Tan last night with some Vietnam veterans (including my father) and other members of the Australian Defence Force. They actually had a counsellor there just in case, and now I understand why – it was quite the experience.

Long Tan is the best-known battle Australia (and New Zealand) fought in the Vietnam War, but I was still amazed both by the quality of the movie, and the actors in it. The “face” of the movie is Major Harry Smith, played by Travis Fimmel, of Vikings fame.

In the 1960s my father was an armoured personnel carrier driver stationed in Nui Dat, which is the base under attack in the movie. He later fought another major battle only a few kilometres from the base: Binh Ba, which had its fiftieth anniversary this year.

It was amazing to see people my father knows portrayed on the big screen, and to know people who consulted on the film.

I would strongly recommend this movie, as long as you’re prepared for it. It’s very confronting, and that much sadder because none of it is fiction.

Hey – Australians!

Batlle of Binh Ba Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Canberra Australia 5th June 2019

Everyone in Australia: at 2pm tomorrow the 50th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Binh Ba – a major battle in the Vietnam War – are going to be broadcast live on television from Canberra, and then repeated the day after.

My father has played a huge part in organising this event, and hundreds of soldiers, past and present, are flying in to participate. My parents are in the official party, and will be obvious on TV, and I’ll be sitting… somewhere…! We’ve all been too busy to finalise this.

Afterwards, there’s a function at the Australian War Memorial, and then there’s a huge dinner tomorrow night, and I’ll be staying at the hotel in the city, because there’s just so much going on!

On this day: a New National Library

Sir Robert Menzies speaking at the laying of the National Library of Australia_s foundation stone on 31 March 1966. National Library of Australia, nla.obj-136760449 Canberr

Sir Robert Menzies speaks at the laying of the National Library of Australia’s foundation stone in Canberra on the 31st of March, 1966. The library was opened by Prime Minister John Gorton on the 15th of August, 1968.

National Library of Australia, nla.obj-136760449