Australians From Balikpapau (1945) newsreel

Running time
2 min 47 sec
Date made
Place made

Copyright expired - public domain

Newsreel footage of Australian Imperial Force (AIF) soldiers on Borneo. This would have been shown at cinemas throughout Australia.


[Opening credits - A.I.F. in Borneo: Diggers storm Balikpapan oilfields. Movietone News. Photographed by Aust. Official Films. Sound of bombs exploding.]

Supported by a heavy naval barrage, the (Australian) 7th Division makes its dramatic landing on Borneo, climaxing previous assaults by the 9th (Division) at Tarakan and Brunei, 450 miles (724km) to the north. The 7th have their eyes on the valuable oilfields of Balikpapan, headquarters of Japanese resistance in the south-east.

[Noise of boat motors.]

Today, the 7th have the equipment they so badly lacked in previous campaigns. DUKWs and (LVT) Alligators waddle ashore, through the choppy surf. The heaviest area of naval bombardment of any South West Pacific action had driven most of the Japanese inland, but not before they set fire to the oil wells near the coast. A grim curtain of smoke now hangs over the entire battlefield. Tanks land from their barges, units of Australia's one-time armoured division, but their field of movement is very different from the deserts of the Middle East.

With the beachhead in our hands, troops move forward to meet the stiffening Japanese resistance inland. Strenuous battles lie ahead, where the enemy holds strongly fortified positions in the hills. The Commander-in-Cheif, General (Thomas) Blamey, and General (Leslie) Morshead confer with General (Edward) Milford on right, commander of the 7th.

Troops come across an 8th Division truck lost at Singapore. It's a day of liberation for the native population. Their loyalty can once again be expressed openly - and it is. In the British Residence House in Balikpapan, Generals Wootton and Morshead receive His Highness Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam, but the first fruits of victory still have to be gathered. Belching flames threatened the whole oilfield.

The tops of the wells must be blasted in to extinguish the blaze. Geisers that control sabotage must be held in check. Valuable crude oil, pure enough to bunker ships, is going up in smoke. Diggers face nature's fire, as well as enemy fire, in the battle for Balikpapan.

[End credits - The end. Movietone News.]

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