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[Photos] A View of 1968 Cho Lon Through the Lens of an Australian Soldier

Through the lens of Gary Grayson, a former Australian military officer, life persisted in 1968 Saigon despite the tumultuous political climate enveloping the region at the time.

Grayson was a member of the Australian Signal Corps, which provided communication support during the American War. With his trusty camera, Grayson captured the essence of life in Saigon in its ordinary, yet nostalgic, form during deployment. Even in its peaceful moments, Saigon couldn’t detach itself from the reality of war. This contrast between ordinary and abnormality is strikingly highlighted in his photos.

The BEQ Hotel on Tong Doc Phuong Street (now Chau Van Liem).

Now known as Truong Thanh Hotel, located in the bustling Cho Lon area on Chau Van Liem Street, the Canberra Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) Hotel was home to Australian troops back in the war. Although the building's old structure has largely been preserved, it seems quite out of place in modern Saigon without xích lô and the vintage car.

It’s not hard to recognize some resemblance of this roundabout from then to now: streets packed with cars, surrounded by modernist buildings. Despite being a part of Cho Lon, the intersection and the architecture were built during French colonization.

Áo dài was still a common casual outfit back in 1968.

Inside Tan Son Nhat Airport.

View from inside the BEQ.

Lao Tu Street in District 5.

The Ly Thai To Roundabout in 1968.

Australian soldiers waiting for their bus on Chau Van Liem Street.

[Photos by Gary Grayson via Flickr user manhhai]


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