Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen, Director of the Monash National Centre for Australian Studies, had her book South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of the Vietnam War and After launched at the Australian Defence Force Academy UNSW, Canberra, on 7 March 2017, by Professor Peter Stanley.
“Nathalie’s South Vietnamese Soldiers is a powerful book, telling a story that has been neglected if not suppressed … Nathalie rescues these men and women from that black hole, and in the most accessible and immediate way … I found her account profoundly moving,” said Professor Stanley (noting also that he was standing in for the late Professor Jeffrey Grey).
“She shows, I think, that a nation now substantially of migrants must now acknowledge and embrace the histories of Australia’s many constituent ethnic groups as part of its history … These conflicts, like the memories Nathalie has recorded and interpreted, are now part of our nation’s memory of war,” added Professor Stanley.
Associate Professor Nguyen gave a presentation, and was then in conversation with Dr Tom Richardson, who is currently working on Professor Craig Stocking's Official History project. Questions from the audience followed.
Hosted by the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, the event was attended by nearly sixty people and represented a very good mix of veterans and cadets, members of the Vietnamese community in Canberra, scholars and academics, members of the general public, and librarians.
The National Library of Australia was a partner organisation for Associate Professor Nguyen's ARC Future Fellowship project on Vietnamese veterans, and was well represented at the launch.
A key outcome of Associate Professor Nguyen's project was the creation and establishment of a new oral history archive entitled “The Vietnamese Veterans in Australia Oral History Project” at the National Library. These oral histories will be preserved in perpetuity and available to the public and future historians.
Photos courtesy of the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy.