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Kampong Australia - Mathew Radcliffe

Paperback Published: 1st February 2017
ISBN: 9781742235141
Number Of Pages: 352

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The Royal Australian Air Force base at Butterworth was Australia's largest and most enduring overseas military garrison in post-war Southeast Asia.

Home to the majority of Australian airpower for over three decades, Butterworth was also home to a vibrant Australian community. From 1955 until 1988, spanning the end of the British Empire and the start of the Cold War through to real engagement with Asia, more than 50,000 Australian servicemen and their families rotated through the Penang region of Malaysia for two-year tours of duty. These men, women and children lived full lives during their deployment, a bastion of Australianness in the midst of Malays, Chinese and Indians.

Kampong Australia explores the complex political genesis of the RAAF presence at Butterworth and shows what everyday life on and around the base was like. It charts the official policies and practices that framed the Australian encounter with the people and places of Penang, drawing on the recollections of those who were there.

This evocative and - at times personal - book shines a light on the complex, uneven and dynamic history of the Australian military presence in northern Malaysia and shows what it was like to be there.

About the Author

Mathew Radcliffe was born at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base at Butterworth in northern Malaysia. After serving in the RAAF for seven years as an Engineering Officer, he completed a BA at UNSW majoring in history and a PhD at Macquarie University before writing this history of the social and cultural history of the RAAF at Butterworth. This is his first book.


A must read book if you have served at RAAF Butterworth


Having lived on Penang Island as a wife of a serving member in the RAAF this book resonated with me and as well it filled in a lot of the background and history of the Base at Butterworth.

Melbourne, Australia.


Kampong Australia


I served in Butterworth Malaysia as a RAAF Policeman from 1972-75, the information in this book relates to a earlier period 1950's to late 60's, its misses the mark, it omits anything about the Malaysian confrontation, and the malaysian communist party being active up until 1989, the killings of asian servicemen and police. Its not a complete history of Kampong Australia, very poorly put together.

Amberley Qld


a bit of recent history


This is an excellent book which realistically describes life in Penang and Butterworth from the early 1950's and later and the way locals were treated by different countrymen. I have shown this book to my RAAF friends and all have either bought it or have told me they intend to buy it and have told their friends about it. Libraries should buy it so civvies can get an idea of military life their. Easy to read and hard to put down.




3.3 3


ISBN: 9781742235141
ISBN-10: 174223514X
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 1st February 2017
Publisher: NewSouth Publishing
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.48