Australian servicemen and women in Vietnam were part of a multi-national Allied Force. However, the perspective that many young Australians have of this war is garnered from American film and television. This box aims to present schools with the Australian experience of the conflict – who went, why, what they did, how they persevered and the response at home.

Actual items and replicas evocative of the experience of ordinary servicemen and women are included in this Memorial Box, as well as reproductions of artworks, photographs and documents which will assist students to understand the Australian experience in this war.

What’s in the box?

Here are some examples of the type of objects you will find in this Memorial Box.

An Australian issue jungle green shirt; a homemade moratorium poster; large photographs, like this one depicting a resupply by helicopter; and items from soldiers’ ration packs.

Case studies

The six case studies included dig deeper into the experiences of real Australians:

  • Two years out – A National Serviceman’s recollections
  • 364 and a wakey – the experiences of a member of the RAAF ground crew
  • Not just a ferry – the Navy in Vietnam
  • They also served – the various roles of women in the war
  • The Team – the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam
  • His crowded hour – a brief introduction to the experiences of Neil Davis, a cameraman – journalist reporting on the war


Using the objects

  • Interpret each object by discussing its features:
    • What is it?
    • What was its purpose?
    • Are there any markings to give us clues?
    • Is it still used today?
  • Try on the items of uniform and encourage students to go back to the situation and time the uniforms represent.
  • Test observation skills by asking a student to choose an object and to describe it without actually stating what it is, and have others select the object based on that description.
  • Ask relatives if they have any memorabilia from the Vietnam War to allow students to investigate their own family experience.
  • Relate the objects and uniforms to the photographs in the box.

Other Activities

  • Ask students to put themselves in the position of a character they have learned about through material in the box and, as that person, to write a letter to a loved one from whom they are separated, describing their situation. Print off the US Forces notepaper (file on CD) for students to write this on.
  • As a mapping exercise, plot the locations mentioned in the box on a map, noting the difference in experience between the various services and the Australian Army Training Team. Try the Mapping: locating a war activity
  • Encourage students to ask their parents, grandparents and family friends to show any memorabilia and to share stories about their experience of this war, either at home or as a member of one of the services.

Book a box

While use of a box in your classroom, library or community group is free, borrowers will be asked to pay a charge for freight and handling.

Make a booking with your local agent.