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The Vietnam War

After World War II and the Korean War there was a growing fear of the spread of communism. In 1961 the government in South Vietnam requested security assistance from the United States and its allies. Australia supplied 30 military advisers to South Vietnam in 1962.

Australia became further involved after the United States committed 200,000 troops to the conflict in 1965. In support, Australia sent the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, to assist in June of that year. Australia’s commitment to the war and the number of troops sent to Vietnam continued to escalate during the rest of the 1960s.


Vietnam was a contentious war. Many Australians doubted the effectiveness and validity of the war and the mandatory process of conscription. In moratorium marches of 1970 and 1971, more than 200,000 people across Australia protested against the war.

How does war change us?

When the Priest Came

Paul Penno

Recommended for Year 9, 10 and 11. Paul talks about signing up for and fighting in the Vietnam War.

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What feelings and events can trigger post-traumatic stress?

Sleeping Dragon

Graham Atkinson

Graham describes how the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York in 2001 triggered 30 years' worth of suppressed feelings he had held onto from his experience of fighting in the Vietnam War. He describes his long journey of overcoming his unresolved memories and vivid flashbacks to traumatic times.

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