Commemorating 75 years of Australian peacekeeping poster
This 2022 commemorative poster acknowledges the 75th anniversary of Australia's involvement in global peacekeeping operations.
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In 1947, 4 Australian military officers deployed to the Netherlands East Indies (present-day Indonesia) as part of a multinational peacekeeping force. They were the first peacekeepers to go into the field. Over the 75 years since that operation, tens of thousands of Australians have served on scores of peacekeeping missions around the world. Most have been military personnel, but peacekeeping also involves police and civilians.
For much of its history, Australia has committed small deployments ranging from one person to several dozen. This changed after the end of the Cold War. In the 1990s, Australia sent a series of large-scale deployments to Cambodia, Somalia and East Timor.
Australian peacekeepers have served in places as far afield as Haiti and Guatemala, and much nearer to home in the Solomon Islands and Bougainville. They have participated in missions that have lasted decades – such as those in the Middle East and Cyprus – and in others that have lasted months, as was the case in Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe). Some involve hazards barely distinguishable from those faced by service personnel in wartime.
Peacekeeping defies generalisation because every mission is different. Australian peacekeepers have included medics, aircrew, ships’ captains, public affairs officers, mine clearance experts, air traffic controllers, logisticians, engineers, builders, infantry, sailors, communications specialists and a host of others. They have stood between warring armies, supported elections, made possible the delivery of humanitarian aid, and helped bring order to places mired in chaos and destruction.
Eight Australians have commanded multinational peacekeeping operations. Sixteen – military personnel and police – have lost their lives, a testament to the dangers peacekeepers confront to help people in the world’s most unstable places.
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