The series

Since 1947, at least 30,000 Australian peacekeepers have taken part in over 50 operations, in more than two-dozen theatres of conflict around the world, as well as a similar number of disaster-relief operations. The Australian Government has authorised the Australian War Memorial to research and write a six-volume Official History of Australian peacekeeping, humanitarian and post–Cold War operations.

This important document of Australians in peacekeeping represents a world-first: the first official history of a nation’s complete peacekeeping record.

The history is official only in the sense it has government support and that the team has access to all relevant government records. What the historians write is not subject to censorship of any kind, except for reasons of national security.

The history is a joint project of the Australian War Memorial and the Australian National University. It is supported by the Australian Defence Force. In addition the Australian Research Council has awarded a grant of $1 million over five years to support writing the history.

The logos of the Australian National University, the Department of Defence and the Australian War Memorial

Can you help?

The Official history of Australian peacekeeping, humanitarian and post–Cold War operations is the authoritative record of Australia’s involvement in peacekeeping, humanitarian, and post–Cold War operations. But it is also your story – the story of the efforts of individual Australians.

If you have served on an Australian peacekeeping or humanitarian mission, and would be willing to be interviewed about your experiences, or if you have any diaries, letters, reports, photographs, or other material and memorabilia relating to such missions, we would like to hear from you.

You can contact the official history team by emailing


This will be Australia’s fifth official history series. Earlier series describe Australia’s role in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and south-east Asian conflicts, including the Vietnam War.

The current structure of the Official History of Australian peacekeeping, humanitarian and post–Cold War operations is as follows:

Volume I: The long search for peace (provisional title)
Authors: Dr Peter Londey and Dr Rhys Crawley

Missions beginning between 1947 and 2006, including those in Indonesia, Korea, Kashmir, the Middle East, Congo, Cyprus,  Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), and Uganda.

Volume II: Australia and the “New World Order”
Author: Professor David Horner

Missions beginning between 1988 and 1991, including those in Namibia, Iran, Pakistan/Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, and Kuwait. This volume was published in 2011.

Volume III: The good international citizen
Authors: Professor David Horner and Dr John Connor

Missions beginning from 1991, including those in the Western Sahara, Iraq (including Kurdistan), Cambodia, and the former Yugoslavia. This volume was published in 2014.

Volume IV: Protecting and rebuilding (provisional title)
Author:  Dr Jean Bou and Associate Professor Dr Bob Breen

Missions beginning from 1992, including those in Somalia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Haiti, Eritrea, Guatemala, and Sierra Leone.

Volume V: Good neighbour operations
Author: Associate Professor Dr Bob Breen

Missions in the Pacific region since the mid-1980s, including those in Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Fiji. Forthcoming in 2016.

Volume VI: In their time of need (provisional title)
Author: Dr Steven Bullard

Overseas emergency relief operations, including those in Papua New Guinea, Sumatra, Pakistan, Iran, and various Pacific nations.

The six-volume series will be illustrated with photographs, maps, and diagrams, and will include a wide range of appendices. The series is planned for completion by mid-2015, with publication to follow.

Update: In 2015 an official history of military and peacekeeping operations in Iraq (2003-2011) and Afghanistan (2001-2014), and peacekeeping operations in East Timor (1999-2012) was commissioned by the federal government. The Memorial's media release of 18 June 2015 provides more information.