Nui Dat (Núi Đất) is a former 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) base now part of Ba Ria city in Ba Ria–Vung Tau province, Vietnam. It is not the name of an official ward, it just means "dirt hill" (núi đất).[1]

Nui Dat
Luscombe Bowl and airfield, Nui Dat, 1971.jpg
Luscombe Bowl and airfield, Nui Dat, 1971
Nui Dat is located in Vietnam
Nui Dat
Nui Dat
Coordinates10°33′25″N 107°13′20″E / 10.55694°N 107.22222°E / 10.55694; 107.22222 (Nui Dat)
Site information
Site history
In use1966–1972
Battles/warsVietnam Service Medal ribbon.svg
Vietnam War
Garrison information
Occupants1st Australian Task Force
Luscombe Airfield
Elevation AMSL115 ft / 35 m
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2,900 884 asphalt



In 1966, when the area was part of the then Phước Tuy Province it was the location of a prominent 1 ATF military base in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The site was chosen by Lieutenant General John Wilton in 1966 and was built mainly by men from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.[2] The occupation of Nui Dat in Operation Hardihood required the removal of all inhabitants from within a 4,000-metre (2.5 mi) radius of the base in order to ensure the security of the facility. Ultimately this policy—which was an unusual step among allied bases in Vietnam—required the resettlement of the villages of Long Hải, with a population of 1000, and Long Phuoc, with a population of 3000. Both villages were subsequently destroyed and the villagers rehomed in brand new and improved villages built by Australian engineers; a task which was complete by July 1966.

From 1966 until 1972 the Australians and New Zealanders of the 1st Australian Task Force located at Nui Dat provided security and protection for the villages of Phước Tuy, while attempting to destroy the Communist forces headquartered in the Mây Tào Mountains and other Communist strongholds in the border areas of Phước Tuy Province, Long Khánh Province and Biên Hòa Province, while performing civic tasks such as building villages, improving infrastructure, and providing medical and other civil services for the locals.[3][4]

1ATF conducted many successful operations throughout the war resulting in major defeats for Communist forces and their reign of terror over the civilian populations.

After the withdrawal of Australian forces in December 1972, the base was handed over to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and "stripped bare".[5][6]

A controversy has arisen over the so-called "Bamboo Pickers Incident".[7] According to Australian Vietnam veteran Ben Morris, Australian soldiers killed five civilians, including two teenage girls, in October 1967 who they mistakenly thought were Viet Cong. Many of the soldiers involved in the incident have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.[8][9]


  1. ^ Grant 1992, p. 270.
  2. ^ DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2020), Phuoc Tuy Province, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 20 December 2022,
  3. ^ McNeill 1993, p. 222.
  4. ^ McNeill 1993, pp. 240–241.
  5. ^ Guest & McNeill 1992, p. 174.
  6. ^ Kelley 2002, p. 368.
  7. ^ "2014: Masters student's interview tapes accepted into National Collection - University of Wollongong – UOW". Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Vietnam veteran from Wollongong reignites controversy over Nui Dat slaughter". ABC News. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  9. ^ "Veterans forced to suffer in silence". PerthNow. 12 October 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2022.


  • Grant, Ian (1992). A Dictionary of Australian Military History. Milsons Point, New South Wales: Random House. ISBN 9780091825928.
  • Guest, Robert; McNeill, Ian (1992). The Team in Pictures: A Pictorial History of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, 1962–1972. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: National Executive, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam Association. ISBN 9780646104447.
  • Ham, Paul (2007). Vietnam: The Australian War. Sydney: Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-7322-8237-0.
  • Kelley, Michael (2002). Where We Were in Vietnam: A Comprehensive Guide to the Firebases, Military Installations, and Naval Vessels of the Vietnam War. Central Point: Hellgate Press. ISBN 978-1555716257.
  • McNeill, Ian (1993). To Long Tan: The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1950–1966. St Leonards: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86373-282-9.

External linksEdit