4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (4RAR), was raised at Woodside on 1 February 1964. It was the first regular infantry battalion to be raised in Australia and its tour during the Indonesian Confrontation was the battalion's first overseas service. The battalion was the first to employ national servicemen on operations.

4RAR arrived at Terendak, Malaya, on 9 September 1965. It carried out training and familiarisation exercises before being deployed to Borneo in April 1966. Battalion headquarters was stationed at Bau and the battalion operated from four fortified company bases in the surrounding area.

4RAR carried out operations on both sides of the border. Operations were largely aimed at locating Indonesian forces and discouraging incursions into Indonesian territory. Operations involved patrolling, laying ambushes, or capturing materials found at campsites. 4RAR also undertook "hearts and minds" campaigns to gain the confidence and trust of the rural Chinese people, who could offer information about Indonesian movements. Also, the Chinese were less likely to offer assistance to the Indonesians as a result of these campaigns.

Cross-border operations were code named "Claret" and were the focus of 4RAR's strategy in Indonesia. Peace negotiations had affected operational aims and 4RAR undertook primarily reconnaissance and surveillance operations, rather than offensive missions.

Claret operations rarely resulted in enemy contact. Indonesian activity was small-scale and aimed to confront or challenge, rather than provoke, open warfare. As a result, periodic heavy mortaring of security bases was more customary than direct enemy contact.

On 11 August 1966 the signing of a peace treaty between Malaysia and Indonesia officially ended the conflict. British Commonwealth units were ordered to cease operations in Borneo the following day. 4RAR left Borneo for Terendak on 30 August. On 2 September the battalion handed over to the 3rd Malaysian Menjers. It carried out training in Malaysia and members began returning to Australia from August 1967. The battalion officially handed over to 8RAR on 16 October 1967.
  • Avery, Brian, Our secret war : the 4th Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment : defending Malaysia against Indonesian confrontation, 1965-1967(McCrae, Vic.: Slouch Hat Publications, 2001)
  • Dennis, Peter, 1945-, Official History, Vietnam Vol.V: Emergency and confrontation : Australian military operations in Malaya & Borneo 1950-66(St Leonards, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial, 1996)
  • Horner, David Murray, Duty first : the Royal Australian Regiment in war and peace(Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1990)
  • Kuring, Ian; Australian Army History Unit, Red Coats to Cams : a history of Australian Infantry 1788 to 2001(Loftus N.S.W.: Australian Military History Publications in association with the Australian Army History Unit, 2004)
  • Smith, Neil C, Nothing short of war with the Australian Army in Borneo 1962-66(Brighton, Vic.: Mostly Unsung, 1999)
Related conflicts Indonesian Confrontation, 1962-1966
Related events Claret Operations
Commanding officers Thompson, David
Decorations1 MC; 1 MID
Alternative names
  • 4 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment
  • 4 RAR
  • 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Unit hierarchy