To read the story, just click on the text of your choice below.


Australia under attack
A friendship begins


The first refugees from the Netherlands East Indies arrive
A true Indonesian hero
Indonesian refugees join the Royal Australian Air Force
Indonesian allies who “sail the ocean blue” (WS Gilbert)
The first civilian refugees
Reluctant civilian refugees - “The Snatched”
Refugees come independently to a “…little corner of Port Melbourne” (Esther Paterson)
Colonial ‘business as usual’ is not quite the same Down Under
The Dutch decide to bring more refugees to Australia
The Allies negotiate – Dutch colonial stye: “It is the habit of every aggressor nation to claim that it is acting on the defensive.” (Jawaharial Nehru)
Who are these people from the Digul River?
Boven Digul - The Isolatie Kolonie Solution
Boven Digul: The Isolatie Kolonie in theory - A showcase of enlightened colonialism
Boven Digul - The Isolatie Kolonie in practice
The first exiles
The second wave of exiles
“.... the gentlest of revolutionaries” (JD Legge)
Escape from Boven Digul – “There is no struggle for independence just living in Tanah Merah, trying to escape is struggle.” (Nayoan, quoted by Bondan)
Escape from Boven Digul - From one imperialist to another
Farewell to the Digul River


A less than auspicious start
A strategy to leave Cowra - "He who opens a school door, closes a prison."
(Victor Hugo)
Finding someone to speak out for the Digulists - “A voice to undo the folded lie”
(WH Auden)
The Digulists leave Cowra - “Farewell in silence.” (Mongkalmata)
Life and times of the Digulists in Melbourne
Rumah Indonesia
Emily McPherson College
Life and times of the Digulists in Sydney
The Indonesia Club in Sydney
“And laughter, learn to friends…..” (Rupert Brooke)
Kebebasan – Mackay-style
The “Red North” – Mackay style
An Australia-Indonesia Association is formed.
Bondan does his bit for the “war effort”


Bondan the newsman
An ominous silence over the land
Bondan journeys North – “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune” (William Shakespeare)
A movement throughout the land
A blockade begins
Ships with nobody to sail them
“The Empire strikes back” – Dutch style
The Indonesians begin to speak with one voice – the formation of CENKIM
New players in the Australian team
Someone has a brainwave
The Esperance Bay gets some unexpected passengers
The Esperance Bay departs from Sydney Harbour
Molly arrives in Brisbane
CENKIM has a new recruit
Meanwhile, back in the Republic ……
The Esperance Bay arrives at its first port of call in Indonesia
The Esperance Bay arrives home
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)
The long way home
CENKIM’s work continues …
Indonesia Calling
The HMAS Manoora has a new job
Australian makes it first diplomatic moves in Indonesia
Farewell to Mackay
The Manoora journeys home
CENKIM’s work continues
CENKIM tries its hand at publishing
Over the border of time
Australia plays its first big role on the international stage
Time to say ‘goodbye’

Mackay Remembers

Patrick (Pat) Noonan – Our Guest Author from Mackay
The Mackay Remembers Exhibition
What was Tanah Tinggi?
A welcome to our guest author – Pat Noonan
A Friend’s Return by Pat Noonan