Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War – Fact sheet 117

In August 1962, Australia's initial military commitment to South Vietnam consisted of a team of 30 military advisers (Australian Army Training Team Vietnam or AATTV). Following the withdrawal of Australian combat forces by December 1971 and the eventual recall of the AATTV in December 1972, more than 50,000 Australian personnel had served in Vietnam. Of these, 2398 were wounded and 521 killed.

There is a wide selection of records registered with the Archives which deal with Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. Issues covered include the initial decision to send troops overseas, their eventual recall, the escalation in the numbers, conscription, objectors to the war etc.

Listed below are record series from select Australian government departments and agencies concerning the Vietnam War. Unless otherwise indicated records listed are held at the National Archives in Canberra.

Records of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War

Department of Defence (CA 46)

Headquarters, Australian Force Vietnam (CA 5969)

Headquarters, RAAF contingent (Vung Tau) (CA 1399)

Department of the Navy, Navy Office (CA 38)

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesNaval historical collection [1]1872–1974AWM124
SeriesReports of proceedings, HMA ships and establishments [1]1939–ongoingAWM78

Department of External Affairs (CA 18)

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesBound volumes of despatches from overseas posts1940–ongoingA4231
SeriesCorrespondence files1948–89A1838
ItemCorrespondence files – Australian Embassy, Saigon1952–ongoingA4531

Cabinet Office (CA 3)

Attorney-General's Department (CA 5)

Personal papers of Harold Holt (CP 27)

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesSubject files maintained by the Rt Hon. HE Holt1952–67M2606
SeriesFolders of papers maintained by Holt while Prime Minister1966–67M2684
SeriesPersonal papers1967AA1985/247
SeriesCorrespondence files of Mr Harold Holt1966–67A7854

Personal Papers of Sir John Grey Gorton (CP 136)

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesFolders maintained by the Rt Hon. John Gorton as Prime Minister and Minister for Defence1968–71M3787

[1] series held by Australian War Memorial, Canberra
[2] series held in Sydney
[3] series held in Melbourne

Other selected records held in Canberra

The following table lists samples of individual items relating to issues concerning the Vietnam War.

Collection references

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
ItemAustralian Army Training Team, Vietnam1962–66A4531, 215/4/1 Part 3
ItemTreatment of prisoners and release of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong1965–71A4531, 201/2/7/11 part 1
ItemSouth Vietnam – political – general1971–81A1838, TS3014/2/1 part 15A

Further information about Australia and the Vietnam War

Vietnam war service

If you served with Australian forces in the Vietnam War you can obtain access to your service record by contacting the Department of Defence.

See relevant fact sheets for contact details as follows:

An online nominal roll lists all who served with the Australian forces in the Vietnam War.

The fall of Saigon

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017