Between May and August 1945 Australian military
forces fought to liberate the island of Borneo from more than three
years of Japanese occupation.
In well-planned and co-ordinated seaborne assaults at; Tarakan, Brunei
bay and Balikpapan, Australian soldiers overwhelmed and outfought
determined and well-prepared Japanese defenders. Australian and American
air and naval forces closely supported the Australian soldiers.
On 10 June 1945 Australian soldiers landed on Labuan island and Brunei
bay. The objectives were; to clear the Japanese from the region,
establish an advanced naval base and secure oil and rubber resources. In
a well co-ordinated assault, the Australians greatly outnumbered the
Japanese and within a week all major local resistance had been
eliminated. The Australians rapidly advanced and secured Beaufort on 29
June and Kuala Belait, in Brunei, on 24 June.
During the Australian assault the local people rose up against the
Japanese enhancing their defeat. A bond of mutual trust soon developed
between the Australians and the local people. Working together civilian
facilities and government were rapidly rebuilt and within weeks of
liberation, military control was relinquished.
Since the war Malaysia and Australia have increased cultural,
educational and economic exchanges. These countries now live in peace
and their people will always remember those who gave their lives to
achieve this goal.