The Hobart

Reflecting on 75 Years of Peace Keeping

by Department of Defence
Reflecting on 75 Years of Peace Keeping

As Remembrance Day approaches on 11 November a number of Tasmanians will be again reflecting on their unique service.

With 2022 being the 75th Anniversary of Australia’s contribution to peacekeeping, peace enforcement and humanitarian operations, many Tasmanians have served as peacekeepers with military or police contingents or directly under the United Nations as civilians.

Private Sheyna Veal (22) holds a young child while the mother receives treatment from Australian doctors in Dhanni, Kashmir, under Operation Pakistan Assist. (2010)

“Tasmanians have served under the United Nations and other multilateral peacekeeping operations since 1947,” said Hobart peacekeeper, Phil Pyke. “More than 3,500 Australians are currently serving in peace and security operations across the globe, including our continuous participation in the Middle East and The Sudan.”

Each year 14 September marks Australian Peacekeepers Day – the anniversary of Australia’s first peace keeping role in Indonesia in 1947. Since then, Australian peace keeping operations have included the Middle East, Afghanistan, East Timor, Cambodia, the Sudan, Bougainville, the Solomon Islands and other Pacific nations. “The role of a peace-keeper is vital in not only preventing conflict but also enabling local economies to rebuild and flourish,” Phil said. “This process is important for restoring a lasting peace in a region. Tasmanians have served in Cyprus, Timor and Solomon Islands under police. Our Tasmanian Army Reservists have also served in Timor and the Solomon Islands.”

Able Seaman Alistair Bakker from Launceston, chats with a Cambodian border guard on the Cambodia-Vietnam border crossing point at the village of Prek Chak (1992).

Phil said Australia’s commitment to global peace building efforts have been long commitments such as the Sinai (Operation Mazurka) since 1982, Lebanon (Operation Paladin) since 1948 and Australian Police in Cyprus 1964—2017. “Often against WWI, WWI, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, peace- keeping, peace enforcement or humanitarian operations are overlooked or forgot- ten. This is despite 60,000 Australians being engaged since 1947.”

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February 2024

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