Letter From Zimbabwe

2020 marks 40 years since the elections that ended white rule in Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe). Hear some of the stories of the 150 members of the Australian contingent of the Commonwealth Monitoring Force (CMF) who took part in overseeing the elections, and see the items the Memorial holds from this period of history.

The story of the Australian Contingent unfolds as they monitored a shaky peace settlement leading up to elections and the introduction of genuine majority rule. The CMF experience is related in Volume 1 of the Official History of Australian Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Post-Cold War Operations, where the largest single operation the volume deals with is Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) https://www.awm.gov.au/learn/understanding-military-history/official-histories/peacekeeping.

The Research Centre of the Australian War Memorial houses many key written records documenting the CMF involvement, from Commander’s Diaries, Election Posters, and privately donated records to the recollections of the force members themselves. The curator of the Official Records collection, Stuart Bennington and the assistant curator, Craig Berelle, developed ‘Letter From Zimbabwe’ as a presentation of these collections to coincide with the milestone anniversary of Australian service.

Australian soldiers attached to the Commonwealth Monitoring Force hold a briefing, Southern Rhodesia, c1979

Australian soldiers attached to the Commonwealth Monitoring Force hold a briefing, Southern Rhodesia, c1979

This photo of an Australian Contingent briefing provides an opportunity to assist the Memorial. We invite veterans of the CMF and the public to identify or describe the location, date or nature of the meeting.  

Send any information to contact@awm.gov.au