‘Taking to the Streets against the Vietnam War’: A Timeline History of Australian Protest 1962-1972 –– 1965


January – U.S extends the war to Laos and blasts trails used by North Vietnamese to pass supplies and cadres to NLF

January – ‘National Service’ registration period begins for youths turning twenty January 1-June 30

January – Australian military personnel numbers in South Vietnam rise to 200 (including 81 ‘advisors’)

February 7 – U.S launches large-scale, regular and unprovoked aerial bombing of North Vietnam and moves to introduce massive numbers of combat troops to Vietnam (over and above existing force of ‘advisors’)

February – Menzies Government declares full support for U.S air attacks on North Vietnam

February 11 – One hundred Melbourne trade unionists picket U.S Consulate in Commercial Road to protest air strikes on North Vietnam

February 22 – CICD demands re-convening of 1954 Geneva Conference
February – Seven Melbourne youth organisations (at meeting initiated by Unitarian Church Youth Group) decide to form joint campaign committee against Menzies Government conscription scheme

March 10 – ‘Youth Against Conscription Committee’ protest at Department of Labour and National Service office (Melbourne) against ‘death lottery’

March – CICD issues statement against U.S use of poison gas in Vietnam

March 19 – CND Easter Monday march Dandenong to Melbourne

April 20 – President Johnson despatches ‘special envoy’ Henry Cabot Lodge to Australia

April 29 – Prime Minister Menzies announces commitment of battalion of 1000 Australian combat troops to Vietnam

May 3 – 250 demonstrators in Sydney stage sit-down protest on Martin Place footpath against Menzies Government decision to commit more Australian troops to Vietnam

May 4 – Opposition leader Calwell declares ALP’s opposition to the commitment of troops to South Vietnam in a speech to the House of Representatives in Canberra

May 16 – Thousands of small leaflets (‘No Diggers for Dollars’) rain down on ‘Coral Sea’ parade in Swanston Street

May 20 – New Sydney organisation ‘Save Our Sons’ joins peace vigil outside Parliament in Canberra

May 21-22 – ‘Vietnam Teach-In’ at University of California (Berkeley)

May 22 – CICD Saturday morning mass sit-down at Victoria Barracks against despatch of Australian troops to South Vietnam

May 23 – ALP/THC/ACTU Sunday rally at Richmond Town Hall against despatch of Australian troops to South Vietnam. Cairns explodes idea of ‘aggression from the North’, the major propaganda lie of U.S/Australia military intervention

May 25 – Delegates to 1965 National Conference of Australian Student Labor Federation (ASLF) in Canberra pass motion in political support of National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. Sixteen delegates are arrested following sit-down on pedestrian crossing in protest against despatch of Australian troops to Vietnam

June – U.S conducts genocidal napalm bombing of South Vietnam

June 19 – 150 prospective conscripts sign advertisement in The Australian inserted by ‘Youth Campaign Against Conscription’ (YCAC)

June – ‘Save Our Sons’ (SOS) formed in Melbourne

June – General Nguyen Cao Ky emerges as Premier of South Vietnam

June 30 – First Melbourne intake of conscripts Swan Street Army Depot

July 29 – Nine-hour televised Vietnam ‘Teach-In’ at Monash University

August 21 – U.S planes bomb dams in North Vietnam’s vital Red River irrigation system

August 22 – YCAC holds its first meeting (‘The Whip’ Coffee Lounge 124 Lygon Street Carlton)

September 17 – ‘Vietnam Day Committee’ (VDC) formed in Melbourne in response to appeal from Vietnam Day Committee of Berkeley California

September 17 – ‘Vietnam Action Committee’ (VAC) protest at Commonwealth offices (Martin Place) in Sydney calling for withdrawal of all foreign troops in Vietnam and negotiated settlement on basis of 1954 Geneva Agreement

September 29 – Second ‘National Service’ trainee intake Swan Street Army Depot

October 22 – VAC demonstration in Sydney in response to Berkeley Vietnam Day Committee. Sit-down of 300 on Pitt Street roadway leads to fifty-one arrests

November 2 – American Quaker Norman Morrison burns himself to death on the steps of the Pentagon

November 27 – Ex-diplomat Gregory Clark publishes scathing attack on U.S/Australia Vietnam policy in The Australian
November 28 – 8000 people attend Sunday afternoon folk concert at Myer Music Bowl (sponsored by CND, ALP, VDC, CICD) and hear Jim Cairns and Rev. David Pope

November – U.S combat troops in South Vietnam now number 150,000



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
















Citation: Ken Mansell, ‘Taking to the Streets against the Vietnam War’: A Timeline History of Australian Protest 1962-1972, Labour History Melbourne (8 May 2020).

©Ken Mansell