Tarakan: An Australian tragedy

Front Cover
Allen & Unwin, Apr 1, 1997 - History - 288 pages
In 1945, 240 Australians died taking the small Borneo island of Tarakan from the Japanese. The tragedy of Tarakan was that by the time they succeeded, they need not have begun.

Peter Stanley explores that battle, what it was like and what it means to us over fifty years on. He traces the operation from its origins in MacArthur's GHQ, down to the rifle sections patrolling in Tarakan's rugged jungle.

Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy suggests new ways of looking at Australia's experience of war. It critically appraises the view that the Borneo campaign was unnecessary, arguing that it was a justifiable operation doomed by the politics of coalition warfare and by bad planning.

Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy illuminates the Australian experience of war. Through it, we can hear the men on Tarakan - scared, angry, humorous, proud, bitter and, above all, Australian - the voices of a vanished Australia.

Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy is the story of people at war, how it affected them, and how we have remembered it and them.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages


List of maps
Tarakanstepping stone
the men and units
planning Operation Oboe
the first weekthe airstrip
the second week
the third weekthe patrol
Freda and Margy
the corporals
occupation and departure 1945
looking back

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1997)

Peter Stanley is a Senior Historian at the Australian War Memorial where he has worked since 1980. He has published widely on Australian and British military history. Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy was inspired by a visit to Tarakan in 1994 in the course of researching the Memorial's 50th anniversary exhibition, 1945: War And Peace.

Bibliographic information