50 years on, photography exhibition marks Australia’s withdrawal from Vietnam

Vietnam veterans and nurses are sharing their experience in a new exhibition, the Stories of the Dat Do Dogs, 50 years on from the final withdrawal of troops from Vietnam.

Minister for Veterans David Harris was joined by Vietnam veterans, their families and Australian Defence Force members, last night, at the opening of the exhibition at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.

“Fifty years ago, on 11 January 1973 Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War officially ended, with the last troops leaving in June 1973. Over 60,000 Australians served our country during the 13-year campaign.” Minister Harris said.

“Sadly, 523 lost their lives with almost 2,400 wounded with all involved carrying the scars and memories that only armed combat can bring.

“That is why this wonderful exhibition is so important. To remember and honour those who served and ensure that their stories and experiences are not forgotten.

“I thank and congratulate those who collaborated on this exhibition particularly Jack McLain, an American special forces veteran of the Afghanistan conflict and the fifty NSW veterans from across from the Army, the Air Force, the Navy and nursing, who so willingly shared their stories with us.”

Jack McLain turned his passion to photography in 2010, with a keen focus on the medium of wet-plate tintype photographs rather than digital images. This tintype method is the same as that used in the 1860s by US Civil War photographer Mathew Brady, who was one of the first photographers to display the realities of war.

“It was a privilege to spend time with each of the veterans who have featured in this exhibition. Taking the time to meet them, spend time with them and to speak with them and learn of their journey, led to the success of each of the images featured in the exhibition.” Mr McLain said.

Minister Harris added that the memories shared by these veterans will enable their legacy to continue.

“The photographs and digital stories produced are essential to ensuring the sacrifices of these veterans are not forgotten, and their legacy is passed down to future generations,” Mr Harris said,

The exhibition will feature in the Auditorium at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park Sydney through to March 2024. For more information visit the Anzac Memorial event page.

MEDIA: Alison Ayres | Minister Harris | 0488 463 648

Download the media release