Australian War Memorial is commemorating the 75th anniversary of Australian involvement in peacekeeping operations with a special Last Post Ceremony on 14 September 2022. To further mark the anniversary, the Memorial has unveiled a temporary photographic display, In the Service of Peace, showcasing images taken on overseas peacekeeping operations.

“This display commemorates those Australians who have served their country in peace and security operations across the globe over the last 75 years,” Memorial Director, Matt Anderson, said.  “We thank them for their service and honour and remember the 16 Australians who have died on peacekeeping operations. A Last Post Ceremony will pay tribute to them, all who served and those who lost their lives – six Australian police officers and 10 members of Australia’s Defence Force who are listed on the Memorial’s Roll of Honour.”

In 1947, Australians were part of the first group of United Nations (UN) military observers, when a small contingent was deployed to monitor the ceasefire between Dutch colonial and Indonesian nationalist forces.

“Australia’s contributions to peacekeeping operations have since increased in size and scope,” Memorial Historian, Dr David Sutton, said. “Australia’s first commitment to Indonesia in 1947 consisted of four officers from all three of our armed services. In 1999, Australia organised and led INTERFET, contributing over 5,500 personnel as East Timor achieved independence from Indonesia. Peacekeeping is the front-end of a complex, long-term process of creating the necessary conditions for sustainable peace. It is also usually the pointy end of this process and it comes with inherent risks,” Dr Sutton said.

Memorial historians say Australians have taken part in over 60 peacekeeping operations, with involvement from the Australian Defence Force, civilians and the Australian Federal Police. Civilians and police officers from Australia have served as far afield as Cambodia, Haiti, Mozambique, Bougainville and Timor-Leste. In the Service of Peace will be in place at the Australian War Memorial for visitors to view until 9 October 2022.

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