It started as a trickle and became a flood. The first Australians to protest against the Vietnam war in the early sixties could not have imagined their tiny and isolated movement was laying the seeds of what was to eventually become the largest and greatest social movement in the annals of Australian protest. Vietnam was then a far-off obscure country most Australians had not even heard of. Even those activists engaged in ‘peace’ and anti-war activity were focused on issues – nuclear disarmament, French nuclear tests, foreign bases on Australian soil – seemingly without connection to the strange, confusing and violent events in Saigon.
On this, the 50th anniversary of the 8 May 1970 Moratorium, we publish Ken Mansell’s “‘Taking to the Streets against the Vietnam War’: A Timeline History of Australian Protest 1962-1972”, which takes you through the myriad protests and events that led to the largest demonstrations Australia had ever seen.
The Ballad of Ho Chi Minh
Ken Mansell singing Ewan McColl’s The Ballad of Ho Chi Minh in the shopfront of ‘The Bakery’ circa August 1969, accompanied by Gayle Williams on guitar. ‘The Bakery’, at 120 Greville Street Prahran (Melbourne), was the headquarters of the newly-formed Revolutionary Socialists, and off-campus headquarters of the Monash Labor Club. The ‘Friday night coffee lounge’ performance was recorded on reel-to-reel tape recorder by Darce Cassidy. McColl wrote the song in 1954 to honour Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh. Ho Chi Minh died in September 1969
Download the full timeline here, or click through below for a year-by-year timeline (with pictures) of this momentous period.
‘Taking to the Streets against the Vietnam War’: A Timeline History of Australian Protest 1962-1972