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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Selecting a person to research

Image above: Page from the Virtual War Memorial re: Vietnam soldiers.

As mentioned at the briefing you are to nominate a soldier (preferably South Australian) to present on one of the nights of the tour.
We ask you to go to the Virtual War Memorial and select a soldier who died during the Vietnam War. You will be asked during our trip to share the story of your selected person with us as a way of connecting with the sacrifice such times in our history have involved. We cannot visit the grave of the soldiers but we can in our own way remember and commemorate their sacrifice – and that of their family and loved ones all of these years ago. Do what you can to find out some information and background on a person – you will need to do a bit of checking out of names to find one with enough information uploaded. 
Feel free to look at other sources to build you story, such as the Australian War Memorial and the Australian Archives: 

To date I have the following soldiers nominated to have their story told:

Josh B: William Thomas
Lily: Allan Moss
Hannah B: David Paterson 
Metala: Peter Chant 
Alicia: Thomas Blackhurst
Lucy: Laurence Clifford
Jasmin: Dennis Nelson  
Josh L: Ronald Hood
Abbie: Errol Noack
Alyssa: Kevin Mitchinson
Laura: James Houston
Jessica: Michael Tongnolin 
Hannah Z: Gordon Sharp

I am happy to upload any information on your soldier onto this blog if you put it into a Word document for me and send through any images you download.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Welcome to the 2017 Premier's ANZAC Prize awardees

To find out about the South Australian Premier's School Spirit School Prize go to the South Australian Government website. The prize has been conducted by the South Australian Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) in collaboration with the Department for Premier and Cabinet since 2007. During that time 88 students and 22 teachers have been involved in the Premier’s ANZAC Spirit School Prize Tour to France (2007-2012 and 2014), Singapore/South Korea (2013) and Gallipoli (2015) and Vietnam (2016). In 2017, thirteen students and three teachers will participate in a study tour to Vietnam from 1 to 15 October. This blog has been developed to support commemoration activities and student learning during the tour. 
Since 2007 it is estimated that over 7000 students have participated in the research competition that forms the basis for the selection of the students to participate in the tour. Winning entries can be viewed on the Veterans SA site. It is also important to note that all 489 entries submitted to the judges since 2007 have been integrated into the South Australian RSL Virtual War Memorial - an initiative with a very close relationship with the Premier’s ANZAC Spirit School Prize initiative.

      Welcome to the following students to this great initiative of the Premier.

Malcolm, Joanne and Brenton will be posting regularly to the blog over the next months in preparation for our trip to Vietnam. I am sure many of the students will set up a Facebook but this is just a way for us to communicate as a group on matters important to us (history background, information etc).

       Getting started

At this early stage we suggest you some backgrounding on the history, geography, culture and travel conditions of Vietnam. Again, nothing too much but it is worthwhile getting an idea of the place and people we are visiting. Here are several useful sites to check out:

      Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War (to the Vietnamese, it is known as the American War)
Do some reading/watching about the cause, nature and events of the Vietnam War 1962-75. In particular, we suggest you focus on the involvement of Australians in the conflict. Check out the War Memorial site and some of the great videos up on YouTube