Commemorating the Declaration of Indonesian Independence

Today, 17th August, marks the anniversary of the proclamation of independence in Indonesia, This marked the start of diplomatic and armed resistance against the Dutch until final independence was acknowledged in 1949. Not being a historian, I cannot give you the in and outs, whys and wherefores of the independence struggle. There are many publications by S.E. Asian historians which attempt to provide such analyses. But being an archivist, I can supply some images which may provoke further inquiry into that historical period.

Photo.31, in the RAS Collections, is titled “Miscellaneous Views of Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, Kelantan and India”, dating to the 1940s. Some were taken by the Netherlands Indies Government Information Service; for others the photographer is unknown. It is also unknown how these photographs came to be part of the our Collections, but among them are some images from the Malino Conference. This was held in July 1946, organised by the Dutch, to try to find a federal solution to the independence movement. The photographs of the conference are not of the delegates and negotiations, but of some of the peripheral activities. They were created by the Netherlands Indies Government Information Service, presumably as publicity of the breadth and beauty of Indonesia and its culture:

“Dancing Girls of the Aramponi of Bone” (Photo.31/(01))


“Dancing Girls of the Rajah of Goa” (Photo.31/(09))


“A rider of Goa, one of the guard of honour which welcomed the Lt.G.G.” (Photo.31/(14))


“A member of the guard of honour, which welcomed the Lt.G.G.” (Photo.31/(13))


“The picturesque type of country in which Malino is situated.” (Photo.31/(12))

Within this collection are several more related to the Malino conference and some others of Indonesia at a similar period. They can be read as instances of Indonesian culture but, perhaps with deeper interrogation, can be used to aid interpretation of this period in Indonesian history.