Indonesian independence – Fact sheet 62

Proclamation of independence

On 17 August 1945 the Indonesian nationalist forces unilaterally declared Indonesian independence after almost 350 years of Dutch rule. Five years of revolution and military hostilities with the Dutch occupation followed. As a result of the intervention of the British and the United Nations Security Council, agreement between the Dutch and Indonesians was reached on 2 November 1949. The Republic of the United States of Indonesia was granted complete and unconditional sovereignty on 27 December 1949.

The Australian government played a significant role in the diplomatic negotiations during this period, with the Minister for External Affairs, Herbert Vere Evatt, taking a keen interest in developments in Indonesia.

Record holdings

The National Archives holds many documents relating to Indonesian independence, mainly located in Canberra. These can be divided into a number of general categories corresponding to Commonwealth government functions. Details of records in the collection relating to five of these functions – Defence, Foreign Relations, Executive Government, Immigration and Security and Intelligence – are listed below.

Location of the records

Records listed under the Defence function in the table overleaf are held by offices of the Archives or the Australian War Memorial as indicated. All records listed under the remaining categories are held by the Archives in Canberra.

Identifying records of interest

Some of the record series listed below are large and include many records unrelated to Indonesia. You may need to consult relevant indexes to identify records from these series that are specifically related to Indonesia. Alternately a keyword search for items using RecordSearch will locate relevant material. Try searching on terms such as Indonesia, Netherlands East Indies, RUSI, Sukarno, Hatta, and other personal and place names associated with Indonesian independence.

Records with information relating to Indonesian independence

Defence – Canberra

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesThe Sir Frederick Shedden collection1901–70A5954
SeriesCorrespondence files, Department of Defence1935–58A816
SeriesCorrespondence files, Department of Air1935–60A1196

Defence – Melbourne

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesCorrespondence files (general)1923–50MP1049/5
SeriesSecret crrespondence files, Army1939–45MP729/7
SeriesGeneral and civil staff correspondence files, Army1943–51MP742/1
SeriesTranslations of cypher messages1945–46B5555

Defence – Sydney

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesGeneral correspondence files, 'C' (Confidential) series, Australian Military Forces1934–52SP1048/6

Australian War Memorial

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesSpecial collection II – Defence Committee records1939–57AWM123

Foreign Relations – Canberra Department of External Affairs, Central Office files

Department of External Affairs, Overseas Posts files


 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesCorrespondence files, Department of Immigration1939–50A659

Executive Government

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesCorrespondence files, Prime Minister's Department1934–50A461
SeriesCorrespondence files, Department of Primary Industry1948–56A609

Security and intelligence

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