Official History of Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Post–Cold War Operations

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 five-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.

Australian National University logoThe 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.


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 plan for the structure of the Official History of Australian Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Post–Cold War Operations is as follows:

Volume I
Author: Dr Peter Londey

Missions beginning between 1947 and 1987, including Indonesia, Kashmir, the Middle East, Congo, Cyprus, and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

Volume II
Author: Professor David Horner

Missions beginning between 1988 and 1991, including Namibia, Iran, Afghanistan, Western Sahara, the Persian Gulf, Kuwait, and Iraq.

Volume III
Authors: Dr John Connor and Dr Bob Breen

Missions beginning from 1992 (except those covered in Volume IV), including Cambodia, former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Haiti, Eritrea, and Sierra Leone.

Volume IV
Author: Dr Bob Breen

Missions in the Pacific region since the mid-1980s, including Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, and other deployments.

Volume V
Author: Dr Steven Bullard

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

The five-volume series will be illustrated with photographs, maps, and diagrams, and will include a wide range of appendices. The volumes are planned for publication between 2008 and 2011.


P01735.488 Members of 1RAR serving with UNITAF, on patrol in Baidoa, Somalia, 1993. Photo by George Gittoes.P01735.488

P01575.006Intercepting Iraqi vessel, Gulf of Oman . 1990P01575.006

P01851.013RAAF Iroquois helicopter attached to MFO. Sinai, c.1985 P01851.013

CAMUN/93/115/14Military Police corporal serving with UNTAC in Cambodia to prepare the country for free elections. 1993. CAMUN/93/115/14

P03530.005On the observation deck at OP 73 on the Golan Heights. Syria, 1997 P03530.005