On the road in Borneo DPR/TV/283

Accession Number F03678
Collection type Film
Measurement 10 min 25 sec
Object type Actuality footage, Television news footage
Physical description 16mm/b&w/silent
Maker Cunneen, William James
Place made Borneo: North Borneo
Date made August 1965
Access Open
Conflict Indonesian Confrontation, 1962-1966
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

Dense primary jungle and mountains are giving way to men of the Army's 24th Construction Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers, as they forge ahead with a road building project in North Borneo. The 100 mile road is being built from Sook to Pensiangan in Sabah and will provide a vital communications link for local villagers. A reconnaissance party with the squadron, normally based in Brisbane, plots the road route for the main road building section. Behind the reconnaissance party the lead bulldozers force a path along the planned route. Current site of the advance party's clearing work is a heavily timbered rainforest. In this type of country chain saws are put to good use. Some timber felled by the sappers has been 200 ft high. Rain causes the biggest headache for the road makers. An overnight rainstorm often results in flash flooding and road washaways. Tracks are turned into coffee coloured quagmires in which four wheel drive vehicles sink below their axles. To counter this, culverts are high on the units's priority list. Locally hired Murut labourers work alongside the Australian sappers and have earned high praise for their willingness and enthusiasm. Back along the track near the forward base camp, heavy plant and equipment combine with clockwork precision to widen and level the track made by the bulldozers. When completed, the road will play a large part in opening up the Sabah interior and will also save the primative Murut tribe from possible extinction. The Australian engineer project will open new trade links for the Muruts whose previous route to civilisation was on foot along a bridle path which during the wet season became a swift flowing river. The road is being built as part of the Australian Government' Aid programme for Malaysia. Identified personnel: Lieutenant Edward (Ted) Heslin of Chapple Hill Brisbane the Advance Pary OC with Michael the Murut guide and interpreter; Sapper Ian Johnston of Munyip, Vic taken compass bearing; Sapper John Pitcher of Powelltown, Vic, operating chain saw ; Corporal George Abbott, of Chippendale, Sydney and Michael hauling on the winch cable; Sapper Les Day, of Townsville, Queensland at wheel of Michegan front end loader.

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