Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War

  • The Splitting of Vietnam

    The Splitting of Vietnam
    The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) led by Ho Chi Minh is recognised by the Chinese and Soviets, however Australia supports the French-backed State of Vietnam (South Vietnam) led by Emperor Bao Dai.
  • The Visit of South Vietnam's President

    The Visit of South Vietnam's President
    The President of South Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem vists Australia and PM Robert Menzies reaffirms support.
  • Our First Soldiers arrive in Vietnam

    Our First Soldiers arrive in Vietnam
    The Federal Minister for Defence, Athol Townley, announces the intention to send 30 army advisers to South Vietnam.
  • Army Advisers arrive in South Vietnam

    Army Advisers arrive in South Vietnam
    The first members of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam arrive in South Vietnam
  • Our first death of the War

    Our first death of the War
    Advisor, Sergeant William Hacking becomes the first Australian to die in Vietnam when he accidentally discharges his weapon after becoming lost in vegetation
  • Ngo Dinh Diem is Assassinated

    Ngo Dinh Diem is Assassinated
    Ngo Dinh Diem, the first President of South Vietnam, and his brother are assassinated in successful CIA back government overthrow led by General Duong Van Minh of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)
  • Increased number of Army Advisers

    Increased number of Army Advisers
    The Federal Minister for Defence Paul Hasluck announces that the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam will be increased to 83 advisors with an expanded role.
  • First Battle Casualty

    First Battle Casualty
    Warrant Office Class Two Ken Coway, an Army advisor is killed in action, the first Australian battle casualty of the war.
  • Start of Conscription

    Start of Conscription
    Selective conscription is introduced for 20 year old males by ballot under the National Service Act (1964).
  • Introduction of Troops

    Introduction of Troops
    In response to requests from the US President and South Vietnam PM for 200 additional advisers, the Australian Government offers to send group troops to South Vietnam.
  • HMAS Sydney

    HMAS Sydney
    The 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment leaves for Vietnam aboard the HMAS Sydney
  • Battle of Gang Toi

    Battle of Gang Toi
    The First Royal Australian Regiment engage the Vietcong at the Battle of Gang Toi. Two servicemen, Private Richard Parker and Private Peter Gillsonare posted missing believed killed during the fighting. Their bodies are recovered more than 40 years later and are returned to Australia for burial.
  • Kevin Wheatley VC

    Kevin Wheatley VC
    Warrant Officer Class Two Kevin Wheatley dies while defending a wounded comrade. He is posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry.
  • All the way with LBJ

    All the way with LBJ
    PM Harold Holt vists the United States to discuss the war with US President Lyndon B. Johnson. Holt confirms the Australian government's full support for the United States' Vietnam policy and in a speech on June 30th adopts the slogan "All the way with LBJ"
  • Battle of Long Tan

    Battle of Long Tan
    Australians claim a decisive victory in the Battle of Long Tan, fought by the D Company of the 6th Battalion, RAR. The Company earns a US Presidential Unit Citation.
  • LBJ Vists

    LBJ Vists
    US President LBJ visits Australia. Demonstrators fiercely protest in the streets of Melbourne and Sydney
  • Peter Badcoe VC

    Peter Badcoe VC
    Major Peter Badcoe dies in battle against the more powerful Vietcong. He is posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery, conspicuous gallantry and leadership on more than one occasion.
  • Battle of Suoi Chau Pha

    Battle of Suoi Chau Pha
    7th Company RAR is involved in heavy fighting during the Battle of Suoi Chau Pha. Aussie casualties are heavy with 5 killed, one dead from wounds and 19 wounded. Only 5 VietCong were confirmed dead, however drag marks and extensive blood trails indicated that they had suffered heavily, with perhap another 33 killed or wounded in the contact, while a further 200 casualties were estimated from artillery and mortar fire, as well as a number of airstrikes.
  • Gorton is content

    Gorton is content
    PM John Gurton announces that Australia will not increase its commitment to Vietnam
  • Battle of Coral-Balmoral

    Battle of Coral-Balmoral
    The Battle of Coral-Balmoral takes place and is the bloodiest Australian engagement in the war. 25 Aussies are killed and nearly 100 wounded during 26 days of fighting. The operation ends on the 6th of June 1968
  • John Zarb

    John Zarb
    John Zarb is the first person to be found guilty of not complying with his call up notice during the Vietnam War. He is convicted in Melbourne and sentenced to two years jail. He loses his appeal to the full High Court on 25th November 1968. He is released on compassionate grounds in August 1969 after serving 10 months and 7 days in Pentridge Prison.
  • Ray Simpson VC

    Ray Simpson VC
    In Kon Tum Province, Warrant Officer Class Two Ray Simpson rescues a fellow wounded officer and carries out an unsuccessful attack on a strong enemy position On the 11th of May, he fights alone against heavy odds to cover the evacuation of a number of wounded. He is later awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry in the face of the enemy.
  • Keith Payne VC

    Keith Payne VC
    Also in Kon Tum Province, Warrant Officer Class Two Keith Payne shows outstanding courage and leadership in saving the lives of many of the soldiers under his command, leading his men to safety under most difficult circumstances after an attack by the enemy in superior strength. He is awarded the Victoria Cross for his efforts.
  • Moratorium Marches

    Moratorium Marches
    The first of the mortatorium demonstrations take place as 200,000 march in Australian cities to call for an end to Australian involvement in the war, The largest turn out was in Melbourne where 70,000 people marched down Bourke Street, Melbourne. Four months later on the 18th of September 100, 000 march in Australian cities in moratorium's. Over 300 people are arrested on the marches.
  • Battle of Long Khanh

    Battle of Long Khanh
    Battle of Long Khanh takes place The 3rd Battalion RAR with centurion tanks in support attack a heavily fortified base camp during Operation Overlord. Although the Aussies capture the bunker system, and a second system located to the south, the bulk of communists successfully withdraw
  • 1 ATF Withdraws

    1 ATF Withdraws
    PM William McMahon announces that 1 ATF will cease operations in South Vietnam in Octover, and would begin commencing a phased withdrawal after that.
  • Battle of Nui Le

    Battle of Nui Le
    The Battle of Nui Le takes place in Phuoc Tuy Province. A tactically inconclusive encounter between troops from the 4th Battalion, RAR and the NVA 33rd Regiment north of Nui Dat, it proved to be the last major battle fought by the Australian forces in the war. Five Aussies are killed and 30 are wounded.
  • Our boys come home

    Our boys come home
    The 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, the last Australian infantry battlion in South Vietnam, sails for Australia on board HMAS Sydney
  • Withdrawal of Troops

    Withdrawal of Troops
    The Whitlam Labor Government is elected. Australia begins to finalise the withdrawal of its troops from Vietnam.