On 18 August 1966, D Company of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR) and three New Zealand artillery observers fought the battle of Long Tan. Heavily outnumbered and fighting in torrential rain, the Australians held out until a relief force arrived. Seventeen men of D Company and an estimated 245 Viet Cong were killed in the battle.
Three years later, a cross was erected on the battlefield. Made from reinforced concrete by men of the Assault Pioneer Platoon of 6 RAR/NZ, the cross was lifted to the site by an Iroquois helicopter. The following day, the anniversary of the battle, a ceremony was held at the cross; ten veterans of the battle provided an honour guard.
After the withdrawal of Australian forces from Vietnam in 1972, the cross was removed from its mounting and used as a grave marker. It was eventually moved to the Dong Nai Museum, and a replica was installed at the site by the Long Dat District People’s Committee. The cross was given to Australia by the Government of Vietnam in 2017, and it is now permanently housed at the Australian War Memorial.