Danny Blomeley - Very raw for the locals

Running time
2 min 4 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I think the first couple of days arrival in country, well, we went to the Australian base, Pattaya Australia, I think it was called. And we had a couple of days of going to see the Killing Fields and I think S11, which was the camp where they undertook some pretty atrocious activity. So that gave us a really good understanding of what had occurred, and then explained what we were seeing in the community and out in the general population.

So yeah, very, very confronting. But it equipped us with what we were dealing with, particularly the Killing Fields, what had occurred from young children through to the elderly and everywhere in between and mass grave sites. So fairly confronting, but it was all part of what we were preparing for and to do…. It was really raw. And when you reflect on when we visited that, we probably lacked a little bit of empathy or sympathy with what had gone on there. But I'd gone back to the Killing Fields only a few years ago, 25 years after when I first arrived in the country.

So I did just see it through a different set of eyes or different perspective, that's for sure. But yeah, it was very raw, very raw for the locals there, but they were trying to make money. And the same with having spent time in Vietnam as well, post serving. They need to move on. The population needs to move on and get their economy going. So yeah, they pretty well just deal with it and they see it as a bit of an opportunity. And obviously, now it's a full-blown tourist attraction there.

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