Rebuilding Tonga’s military bases

Rebuilding Tonga’s military bases


Through its Defence Co-operation Program (DCP), Australia has funded the rebuilding of the main military bases in support of the Tonga Defence Services (TDS), including

  • the Taliai Military Camp (TMC) on Tongatapu, accommodating the land force and air-wing, located adjacent to the Fua’amotu airport
  • Vilai Barracks at the intersection of Vaha’akolo and Wellington Roads in Nuku’alofa, which houses the Tongan Royal Guard and the main headquarters and command elements of the TDS
  • Touliki Naval Base, which hosts the Pacific Patrol Boats provided by Australia The TDS maritime surveillance aircraft are based at Fua’amotu.

Government sources

Australia defense assistance channels millions of pa’anga into Tonga, Tonga Now, government website, 2006

Millions of pa’anga have been channelled into Tonga via Australia’s defense assistance to the Tonga Defense Services. This has funded various projects for the Tonga Defense services such as Vilai Barracks (Tonga Defense main Headquarters), the development project currently under construction at Taliai Camp comprising offices, kitchen, dining hall and residential houses.  Various defense personnel have also benefited from local and overseas training opportunities through this assistance.”

Taliai military camp Q store, !9th Chief Engineer Works, Department of Defence report

The Taliai Military Camp is the main military barracks for the Tonga Defence Service (TDS). The camp accommodates the land force and airwing elements, and is located adjacent to the main airport on the island of Tongatapu in the Kingdom of Tonga. The Q-Store is the first of three projects identified for development in the recently completed Taliai Military Camp Phase 2 Masterplan (TMCP2). Future elements of this phase include the Band Room and Gymnasium.”

Refurbishing Vilai Barracks, !9th Chief Engineer Works, Department of Defence report

Vilai Barracks is located in Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga. It is the headquarters barracks for the Tonga Defence Services (TDS), housing the main headquarters and command elements of the TDS. The Barracks also houses the Tongan Royal Guard whose tasks include providing security to the King, the palaces and all military events involving the Tongan Royal Family.

“Project Description: The Masterplan will cover the rebuilding and refurbishment of the Vilai Barracks site. There are currently several buildings on-site including an old Headquarters building originally constructed in 1976.”

Defence Cooperation Program in the South Pacific, Department of Defence Budget Papers 2003-04

A significant phase in Australia’s support to the Tonga Defence Services drew to a close with the completion of infrastructure support projects in Nuku’alofa and at the Tallai Barracks. The emphasis of the Defence Cooperation Program has begun to shift towards training in communications and other specialist areas.”

Australian defence service gifts Tonga with communications equipment, Government of Tonga media release, 4 October 2007

“The Australian Defence Services yesterday gifted the Tonga Defence Services (TDS) with a communications suite that will enable the TDS headquarters to be in constant communication with personnel out in the field. The Australian Defence Services have bee providing assistance to the TDS for more than 20 years now and provided the communications suite to improve the TDS’s operations as part of strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries….

“This is not the first time the Australian Defence Services has assisted the TDS. In the past they have aided in the building of the Sene Headquarters, donation of patrol boats to Touliki Naval Base, and other construction projects at the Taliai Camp.”

See also:

Defence Co-operation Program (DCP)