Item 12.3 - Attachment 1

Report on Dhaka City Corporation names a Road in Dhaka after A W S Ouderland



During his recent visit to Bangladesh Councillor Prabir Maitra of Parramatta City Council and Australian citizen and resident of Canberra Mr. Kamrul Ahsan Khan who is also the convener of Ouderland memorial committee met the Mayor of Dhaka City Corporation and requested him to name a road in Dhaka after Late Ouderland a Dutch-Australian who fought the liberation war in Bangladesh in 1971.

After the discussion, the City Mayor immediately ordered staff to arrange a day to name the road in Gulshan area (diplomatic area) of Dhaka City where the Australian High Commission in Bangladesh is located after late Ouderland. Councillor Maitra left Bangladesh for Australia on the 6th February.









In the picture: from left Mr. Kamrul Ahsan Khan, Dhaka City Mayor Mr. Sadeque Hossain Khoka and Councillor Prabir Maitra

On the 12th of February, 2010 the Dhaka City Corporation named Road 84, Gulshan adjoining the Australian High Commission in honour of Late A W S Ouderland, Bir Pratik (is one of the highest gallantry award in Bangladesh).

Ouderland, a Netherlands born Australian national actively participated in the Bangladesh liberation war whilst working as the Managing Director of Bata Shoe Company in Dhaka. A former Second World War veteran, Ouderland took up arms, trained Mukti bahini (freedom fighters) members and gave shelter to many freedom fighters in the Bata Shoe factory premises. In recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the liberation war, Ouderland was awarded one of the highest gallantry award Bir Pratik, the only foreigner to receive this coveted award. 

Mayor of Dhaka City Corporation, Sadeque Hossain Khoka unveiled the street signage on 12th February in presence of the Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Mr Justin Lee and several Australians, members of the civil society and Bangladeshi born Australians, now living in Dhaka. The programme was coordinated by Mr Kamrul Ahsan Khan, convenor of the Ouderland Memorial Committee. Among others present were Dutch High Ambassador to Bangladesh Alfons Heinekien, Lt General (retd) Harunur Rashid BP, Secretary General of the Sector Commandersí Forum, Mirza Shamsuzzaman and Barrister Harunur Rashid, former Ambassadors, Major General (retd) Jamil Hassan, Major General (retd) Masudur Rahman, Bir PratikMa Hamid, media personality, singer and cultural personality Dr Chanchal Khan, National sports personality, Quamrunnahar Dana, and a representative from Bata Shoe Mr Iftikhar Haider.  

The speakers lauded the role of late Ouderland and appreciated the contribution of Australian people during the liberation war. Ouderland died in 2001 in Perth, Australia. He was laid to rest with full national honour given by the Bangladesh government under the arrangement by the Bangladesh High Commission in Australia. 

About Ouderland:


William AS Ouderland (6 December 1917-18 May 2001) was a Dutch Australian commando officer. He actively took part in the World War II and the Bangladesh Liberation War. Later, he was awarded with the fourth highest gallantry award, Bir Pratik by the government of Bangladesh. He is the only foreigner to receive this honorary award.

Ouderland came to Dhaka in 1970 as the Production Manager of the Bata Shoe Company. During the earlier half of 1971, Ouderland was appointed as the Executive Director of the company in Tongi, Dhaka. On 25 March 1971, rising political discontent and cultural nationalism in East Pakistan was met by brutal suppressive force from the ruling elite of the West Pakistan establishment in what came to be termed Operation Searchlight. He was moved by the killings of the Pakistan Army on 25 March and took photos which he sent to the international media. A war between the West Pakistan Army and guerrilla force, the Mukti Bahini, started immediately. Guerrilla operations, which slacked during the training phase, picked up after August. Economic and Military targets in Dhaka were attacked. Ouderland organized the guerrilla warfare in Dhaka.

Inside his office of the Bata Company in Tongi, Ouderland organized and trained the guerrilla fighters of Mukti Bahini. He planned and directed a number of guerrilla operations in Dhaka and nearby areas. He provided the fighters with food and medicine and often gave them shelter.