United Nations Assistance Mission In East Timor (UNAMET) plaque: Superintendent G A Hazel, Australian Federal Police

Place Asia: East Timor
Accession Number REL30967
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Enamel, Metal, White metal, Wood
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1999
Conflict East Timor, 1999-2013

Wooden plaque from the United Nations Mission In East Timor (UNAMET) in 1999. At the top of the plaque is a metal plate showing three flags representing Indonesia, the United Nations (with the text 'UNAMET' above the UN logo, and the date '1999' below) and Portugal. In the middle of the plaque is another metal plate showing the island of Timor divided into east and west. The east side of the plate and the Oecussi region is shown in green, the western side is coloured gold. The figure '78.5%' is printed in gold in the East Timor side of the plate. This represents the percentage of people who voted for the independence of East Timor. The bottom plaque is rectangular, with 'UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN EAST TIMOR' in raised detail, with room below for engraving. On the back of the plaque, a hole has been machined into the wood for hanging on a hook.

History / Summary

Associated with the service of Chief Superintendent Geoffrey Alan Hazel. Hazel deployed twice to Vietnam with the Australian Army. He later had a long and successful career with the Australian Federal Police, including a number of deployments on United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Hazel was born on 17 March 1948 in Newcastle, NSW. He enlisted in the Australian Army on his 17th birthday and after completing his basic training at 1 Recruit Training Battalion Kapooka (1RTB), was posted to Singleton, where he underwent infantry training. After successfully completing his training, Hazel was posted to 3 Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) based at Woodside, South Australia. Here he undertook signallers training and prepared for jungle operations. In February 1967, Hazel and his colleagues were deployed to Tasmania to assist fighting serious bushfires.

The Battalion returned to Woodside to continue pre-deployment training. Hazel deployed to South Vietnam as a member of the battalion’s advance party, arriving on 12 December 1967. The remainder of 3RAR left Australia on 16 December in HMAS Sydney and after disembarking at Vung Tau, arrived at Nui Dat on 27 December. Hazel served in all of 3RAR’s major operations during his service in Vietnam. He left Vietnam on 18 November 1968.

After returning to Australia, Hazel was posted to 1RTB as an instructor. Over the next 18 months he qualified as a training coordinator. Near the end of this time, Hazel was offered a promotion to sergeant. He was also offered a chance to deploy to South Vietnam as a member of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV). Hazel accepted the second option and on 10 September 1970 found himself once again in South Vietnam. Over the next 12 months, he worked closely with Regional Force and Army of the Republic of South Vietnam (ARVN) troops.

When he returned to Australia in September 1971, Hazel was promoted to sergeant and posted to Drill Wing at the Royal Military College (RMC), Duntroon. Due to staffing numbers at RMC, he was again posted to 1RTB.

Hazel discharged from the Australian Army, and joined the Australian Capital Territory Police Force on 11 September 1972 as a constable. Between 1972 and 1990, Hazel performed a variety of roles, including operational work, training new personnel, media liaison, and operational planning. He also deployed to Darwin, NT, in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy in 1974. In October 1979, the ACT Police became a key component in forming the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Hazel was promoted to commissioned rank in December 1990, and his first deployment with a United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping contingent occurred in 1992, when he deployed to Cyprus. During his time in Cyprus, Hazel was the Operational Commander for sectors 1 and 2. He also served in the UN Police Humanitarian Officer and Contingent Administrative officer roles. He returned to Australia in 1993.

His next deployment was to Mozambique in September 1994, where he became the contingent commander for the second Australian Contingent. During his time in Mozambique, Hazel also served as Chief Regional Investigations Officer. He was awarded the UN Commissioner’s Commendation for his services in Mozambique. Hazel and his contingent returned to Australia in December 1994.

In 1999, Hazel led an AFP team to East Timor as part of the United Nations Assistance Mission East Timor (UNAMET). He was the regional commander of the UN Police in the Ermera Regency. Hazel and his team were awarded the Australian Group Bravery citation for their work in often hazardous situations, in the lead up to East Timor’s vote for independence.

In 2001, Hazel was awarded the Australian Police Medal in the New Years honours list. He deployed to the Solomon Islands that year as a member of the International Peace Monitoring Team (IPMT). Hazel became the Coordinator of all IPMT activities including political and administrative duties, and police and military operations on the Island of Malaita.

Hazel’s final deployment was to Cyprus in 2003, where he commanded the Australian Contingent. He returned to Australia in 2004 and retired later that year. He has since undertaken contract consultancy work, including as an advisor to the television miniseries ‘Answered by Fire’, which depicted the AFP’s role in East Timor in 1999. He has also worked with ACT Emergency Services and other private tenders.