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Borneo

This category contains the public monuments and memorials which have been erected to commemorate the Borneo Campaign from 1963 to 1966.

Between 1962 and 1966 Indonesia and Malaysia fought a small, undeclared war which came to involve troops from Australia, New Zealand, and Britain. The conflict resulted from Indonesia's President Sukarno's belief that the creation of the Federation of Malaysia, which became official in September 1963, represented a British attempt to maintain colonial rule behind the cloak of independence granted to its former colonial possessions in south-east Asia.

The term "Confrontation" was coined by Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Dr Subandrio, in January 1963, and has come to refer to Indonesia's efforts at that time to destabilise the new federation, with a view to breaking it up. The actual war began when Indonesia launched a series of cross-border raids into Malaysian territory in early 1963.

Australian units that fought during Confrontation did so as part of a larger British and Commonwealth force under British command. Australia's commitment to operations against Indonesia in Borneo and West Malaysia fell within the context of its membership in the Far East Strategic Reserve.

At first the Australian government kept its troops from becoming involved in Confrontation, not least because of fears that the conflict would spread to the long - and difficult to defend - border between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Requests from the British and Malaysian governments in 1963-64 for the deployment of Australian troops in Borneo met with refusal, though the Australian government did agree that its troops could be used for the defence of the Malay peninsula against external attack.

The Australian government relented in January 1965 and agreed to the deployment of a battalion in Borneo.

The first Australian battalion, 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) arrived in Borneo in March 1965 and served in Sarawak until the end of July. During this time the battalion conducted extensive operations on both sides of the border, engaged in four major contacts with Indonesian units, and twice suffered casualties from land mines. Its replacement, the 28th Brigade, 4 RAR, also served in Sarawak - from April until August 1966. Although it had a less active tour, the 28th Brigade also operated on the Indonesian side of the border and was involved in clashes with Indonesian regulars. Two infantry battalions, two squadrons of the Special Air Service, a troop of the Royal Australian Signals, several artillery batteries, and parties of the Royal Australian Engineers were involved in Borneo. Ships of the Royal Australian Navy served in the surrounding waters and several Royal Australian Air Force squadrons were also involved in Confrontation.

Continuing negotiations between Indonesia and Malaysia ended the conflict, and the two sides signed a peace treaty in Bangkok in August 1966. Twenty-three Australians were killed during Confrontation, seven of them on operations, and eight were wounded. Because of the sensitivity of the cross-border operations, which remained secret at the time, Confrontation received very little coverage in the Australian press.

 

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Borneo Confrontation Memorial Plaque
Borneo Confrontation Memorial Plaque
Address: High Street, Templestowe Memorial Reserve
City/Town: Templestowe
State: VIC
Theme: Conflict
Sub-Theme: Borneo
Borneo Memorial
Borneo Memorial
Address: Cutting Road, Goolwa RSL
City/Town: Goolwa
State: SA
Theme: Conflict
Sub-Theme: Borneo
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