Reflecting on Australia's Involvement in the Vietnam War: Part One

The arrival of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) in South Vietnam during July and August 1962 was the beginning of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. Australia's participation in the war was formally declared at an end when the Governor-General issued a proclamation on 11 January 1973. The only combat troops remaining in Vietnam were a platoon guarding the Australian embassy in Saigon, which was withdrawn in June 1973. 1
Members of 5 Platoon, B Company, 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR), just north of the village of Lang Phuoc Hai, beside Route 44 leading to Dat Do. (Credit: Australian War Memorial Public Domain Photo: Michael Coleridge)
For a full description which accompanies the photograph above and the names of the soldiers involved please click on the image. 
We are going to pay tribute to Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War as it is 50 years since the final withdrawal.

On 11 January 2023, Australia commemorated the 50th anniversary of the then Governor-General, Sir Paul Hasluck, proclaiming an end to Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

This milestone marked the beginning of recognising in 2023, the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s commitment to the war and to acknowledge Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

More than 60,000 Australians served in Vietnam, over 3,000 wounded and 523 gave their lives in the longest conflict Australians were involved in during the 20th Century.2

Six of those brave young men who lost their lives came from Anne's home town Bendigo in Central Victoria.

Credit: Bevan Trimble Rover Crew Facebook page
Most 20-year-old Australian men had to register for national service between 1965 and 1972. Servicemen conscripted under the scheme became known as 'Nashos'. Names of potential conscripts were selected by a birthday ballot, where numbered wooden marbles were drawn by lottery from a barrel. More can be read about this scheme by visiting the Anzac Portal
Top Row L: Personnel and aircraft of RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam arrive in South Vietnam in August 1964 (Credit: domain/Nick Dowling) R:1 RAR soldiers with a M113 armoured personnel carrier in August 1965  (Credit: domain/Bryan Rupert Dunne) Bottom Row L: Members of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment during a patrol in September 1967 (Credit: domain/Bryan Campbell) R:Soldiers recently returned from Vietnam marching past Sydney Town Hall in 1968. At least 16 such parades were conducted to welcome units back during the war, with many attracting large crowds.(Credit: domain/L'Estrange, Brian Edwin)

Throughout the commemorative year of 2023, DVA (Department of Veterans Affairs' will raise awareness to specifically recognise and honour the service and sacrifice of Vietnam veterans and their families, with:

•Anzac Day Schools’ Awards, in 2023 the awards will focus on the service of Australians in the Vietnam War;
•history and education resources for schools across Australia;
•education materials about the Vietnam War included in the national Anzac Day mail-out to schools, ex-service organisations and community groups;
•documentary series on Australians in Vietnam to be screened on the ABC, and
•Saluting Their Service grants to assist with honouring the service and sacrifice of Australia’s service personnel and preserve our wartime heritage, including projects and activities marking the 50th anniversary and the service of Vietnam veterans.

These activities will lead into a national commemorative service on Vietnam Veterans’ Day, 18 August 2023, recognising the service of all Australians in the Vietnam War and honouring the sacrifices that they and their families made.

The service will be held at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial on Anzac Parade in Canberra.2

As an appreciation of the sacrifices made by the war veterans, Australian government has established the Long Tan Bursary scheme which helps eligible children and grandchildren of Vietnam veterans pay for their tertiary education.

Each year 37 bursaries are awarded to successful applicants across Australia. Each bursary is worth up to $12,000 over 3 years of continuous full-time study.

The Long Tan Bursary scheme is named after the Battle of Long Tan, the best‑known battle fought by Australians during the Vietnam War.

Australian Veterans' Children Assistance Trust (AVCAT) administers the Long Tan Bursary scheme on behalf of our department.3

To learn more about Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War please follow the bookmark link below. 
50th anniversary of the proclamation to end Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War
On 11 January 2023, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the then Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck proclaiming an end to Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. This milestone marks the beginning of recognising in 2023, the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s commitment to the war and…

If you are a regular follower of the AnArt4Life blog you will know that blog team member and artist John "Rowdy" Wylie dedicates enormous time and energy each year to creating paintings which commemorate Australia's involvement in the various theatres of war. These paintings are showcased on the AnArt4Life website on 25 April (ANZAC Day) and 11 November (Remembrance Day) each year.

This year Rowdy has painted an additional painting - “VIETNAM” 1962 - 1975 in remembrance of the 50th Anniversary Year of Australia's withdrawal of troops and support of refugees from Vietnam.

The painting has been lovingly created in Rowdy's shed in Port Elliot Fleurieu Peninsula South Australia where he lives. 
Why, how and where a painting is created is almost as important as the painting itself. Rowdy is a narrative artist arising from the naive school and therefore the context surrounding the painting is very significant to him. In his shed Rowdy is able to be transported into another time and place where he absorbs the essential features of the narrative and transposes them with his palette knife and oils onto canvas. Below is the work in progress in its last stages of production with the edge of its frame just peeping into the bottom of photograph.
View of Vietnam 1962-1975 in a state of preparation in The Shed of John "Rowdy" Wylie
Please join Rowdy tomorrow when he presents his completed painting Vietnam 1962-1975 so that we can pay homage to, and honour those who fought in Vietnam and to the many who lost their lives - we will never forget them. To those who came home - we salute you for the sacrifices you have made and the amazing way you support each each other.
Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial on ANZAC Parade, Canberra (Credit: Commons Photo: Bidgee)