In July, 1945, Dalmayer found himself in a camp in the northern NSW town of Casino, an establishment known as the ''Victory Camp'', which had been declared Dutch territory by the Australian government early in the war and was occupied by the 1st Battalion, Netherlands East Indies Army, consisting of Dutch and Indonesian soldiers. The new group came to be known as ''The Dutch Boys'' or ''The Casino Boys''. But a month later, the war in the Pacific ended.
The Casino Boys, to put it mildly, were at a loose end. The RAAF had no further interest in them. With the proclamation of Indonesian independence on August 17, 1945, many of the Indonesians felt they could no longer serve under Dutch command. The Australian union movement, supporting independence, refused to allow the Dutch servicemen to be shipped to the East Indies.
The Dutch colonial administration started jailing citizens who refused to serve with the Dutch armed forces. They chose Victory Camp to incarcerate them along with Indonesians who had been training as airmen. Suddenly the Dutch who had been training for war found themselves guarding former colleagues.
Relationships between the prisoners and their guards were relaxed. The Dutch Boys began to take part in the Casino social scene, seeing movies and playing sport. Eventually, the Indonesian soldiers were allowed to return home and the Dutch were sent back to the Netherlands.
This photo shows, I think, a picture of Dutch Surinam soldiers at the camp.
I didn't find a lot on-line, but what I did sounds interesting. As the obituary suggests, Casino and the camp became embroiled in the Indonesian struggle for independence. The references I have so far found:
- Workers Online, issue 106, 10 August 2001
- Connie Healy, Recollections of the 'Black Armada' in Brisbane, Vintage Reds
- Rupert Lockwood, The Indonesian Exiles in Australia, 1942-47, Indonesia
Vol. 10, (Oct., 1970), pp. 37-56.
Not a lot, but enough to hint at an interesting story. I wondered if any readers might know more.