Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The story of Long Tan

Image above: Commemoration ceremony and dedication of memorial cross on the site of the Battle of Long Tan.

This time last year, you may remember that the Battle of Long Tan was in the news for a range of reasons. It was the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and many Australians who travelled to the memorial site could not enter. Many of those excluded were Australian soldiers who had fought in the battle and felt somewhat disturbed that they could not commemorate their mates that fell at that spot. As always, as a contestable issue there are two sides to the story - sides that we discussed when we were in Vietnam several weeks later. As you know this is again a part of our tour and it would be great if you had some detailed background on the battle and the commemoration activities. We will be conducting a Memorial Service at the site when we visit - led by Kendal. In fact, this is the only official memorial service we participate in because there are no other memorials to Australian soldiers in Vietnam. We will however have informal moments of commemoration at nights when you present the soldier you have researched.

I recommend that you listen and/or watch the links below that provide some excellent backgrounding to the Battle of Long Tan and the controversy from last year. What do you think?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Meeting the locals

Image above: The 2016 Premier's ANZAC Spirit School Prize students with some students from the Song Cau Primary school.

Visiting a village school and orphanage in Vietnam

As time has gone by in organising the Premier’s ANZAC Spirit School Prize it has been thought it would be a good idea to engage in some way with the Vietnamese community. To this end, during the early days of our tour we have organised visits to several village schools between Ho Chi Min City and Vang Tau. (see map below).

We will be visiting two schools:

Day 4-04 Oct : Song Cau Primary School - this is the school we visited last year.

Day 5-05 Oct : Trung Tâm Công tác Xã Hội Tỉnh BRVT Orphanage School
English name “Centre of Society Operation of BRVT”

As expected they are poor schools and any help we can give them would be greatly appreciated. Several of us are planning to do some fund raising in the office and around the place before we go – we would love the schools to be provided with some funds (or maybe a learning resource) to do something to support their teaching program when we visit. Feel free to do something in your school or community groups if you want to help out with any fund raising before we depart. There is no pressure on you to be involved on a personal level but we thought it would be good to engage with the Vietnamese community and do something positive in the community when we are there.

If I have any more information on this part of the trip I will get back to you. I have checked out the schools and been assured by the tour group who have dealt with the schools in the past that any money/resources provided will go directly to help the students. Please give me a ring if you want to discuss this initiative for the tour.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Putting into sequence

Image above: An iconic image from the Vietnam War - the important role of helicopters for troop movements, supplies and medical evacuations


Your submissions on-line 
The names of the 2017 Premier's ANZAC Spirit School Prize recipients and submissions have been posted on the South Australian Government website
You are now published and now all can look at your work from around the world - well done for producing such excellent pieces of research and documentation!!! The person from Veterans SA who did all the work for your submissions to be posted on the site has asked me to "encourage the students to share the site on their social media etc". Feel free to promote the prize and the stories you researched in any way you see as appropriate.

Veterans SA website at

Chronological sequencing of the Vietnam War

In this posting I have selected some sites that provide timelines for the Vietnam War. I plan to forward via this blog small bits of information on a regular basis (about once a week) for you to look at prior to the trip. If you do the readings/watching I direct you to in the blog over the next two months you will have a really good understanding of what you are visiting when we are in Vietnam. I know you have plenty of schoolwork to do but if we do a little bit at a time in preparation for the tour, you will certainly be well briefed on the Vietnam War and associated aspects for our visit (some postings will be about Vietnam, the place). There is no test or assessment of all this reading/watching, just a chance for you to get the most out of the tour - up to you! I know that many of you are doing your own reading in preparation - keep that going but just keep an eye out for what I post to see if it provides information that you have not covered.

Other than keeping a journal on the trip, I am not planning to provide any worksheets or a workbook for you - this blog preparation is really that! Plus, I don't want your heads buried in booklets or filling in sheets when we are traveling - I want you look around and take it all in, using the knowledge and understandings about Vietnam and the Vietnam War you gain prior to the trip.

The chronological sequencing of events is a fundamental skill in history and this blog posting provides several timelines of event (for the American involvement and the Australian involvement in the Vietnam War). Such sequencing gives you an orientation of what happened over time - it is so important to get your historical bearings on happenings with any historical event - to know what happened in order. Probably not the most exciting historical task but very important when considering cause and effect.

American involvement timelines

Australian involvement timelines

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The truth?

Image above: Troops travel on landing craft to board HMAS Sydney for their trip home in February 1972. The men were among the last members of the Australian Force Vietnam to return to Australia. [AWM FOD/72/0043/VN]

It is worth considering what the truth is when studying history – have a read of the Vietnam War Myths page on the Australian War memorial site. Such considerations are particularly important when we consider that contention and interpretation are important concepts and skills when studying history – what is the truth? This should always be asked and it often depends who we talk to or what sources of evidence we use. Your thinking on the Vietnam War will be challenged on the first day we are in Ho Chi Min City when we visit the War Remnants Museum. You will see some some very challenging images and read narratives that are quite different to what we read in Australia. Under such circumstances, as historians our role is to learn and consider before trying to think about the truth.  

"The truth is that real history was a lot more complicated than our popular understandings lead us to believe."  Marie Brennan  American author

 Some war machines outside the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Min City

While on the site have a look at some interesting and poignant Australians in Vietnam images from the war at

This site provides plenty of excellent information on the role and participation of Australians in the Vietnam War.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Where will we be staying?

The Grand Hotel in Vang Tau ( a famous R&R destination for Australian troops during the Vietnam War) - we are there on the 4 October.

Accommodation details

I thought you may like to know the contact details for the hotels we are staying in during the trip (I have just had them confirmed). As well as the information for parents to know where we will be, providing this list is a great chance for you to go on-line and look at the places we are going to stay - some wonderful locations and buildings.

They are:

Accommodation details:

* 01-04 October 2017 / 05-06 October 2017  
Saigon: Muong Thanh Hotel  
No.8A, Mac Dinh Chi st., Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam  
Tel: +84 83 827 9595 

* 04 – 05 October 2017 
Vung Tau: Grand Hotel  
No 02 Nguyen Du St., Vung Tau City, Vietnam  
Tel: (84-64) 3856888 / 3856787 

* 06-07 October 2017
Hoi An Historic
10 Tran Hung Dao Street, Minh An, Hoi An, Vietnam
Tel: +84 235 3861 445

* 07-10 October 2017
Eldora Hotel
60 Ben Nghe Street, Hue, Vietnam
Tel: +84 234 3866666

* 10-12 October 2017/ 13-14 October 2017

Boss Legend 21 Hang Thung Street
Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 0084,
Vietnam Tel: +84 4 3926 2666

* 12-13 October 2017
Halong Bay: Indochina Sail
N22, Port 2 Tuan Chau Island, Halong City, Quang Ninh, Vietnam
Tel: +84 4 3984 2362