6 Feb 2008

A photographic exhibition of Australian Defence Force peace operations during the past 10 years was today opened by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin, at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.

Peacekeepers draws on the photographic work of the Australian Army Public Relations Service Corps in Afghanistan, Bandeh Aceh, Bougainville, East Timor, Iraq and elsewhere.

Mr Griffin announced that he had approved a grant of $10,000 under the Australian Government’s Commemorations program Saluting Their Service towards the cost of the exhibition.

“We are committed to honouring the service of all Australians who have served in wars, conflicts and peace operations, and this exhibition is an excellent way in which to acknowledge our most recent peacekeepers,” he said.

Australia has a proud record in peace operations since 1947, involving more than 30,000 members of the Australian Defence Force, police forces, and government and other agencies.

“Our peacekeepers are often called upon to serve in situations of high risk, great instability and where the local population is traumatised through their experiences,” Mr Griffin said.

“They play a vital role in seeking to restore order and are respected for seeking to build relationships with the local people in the countries in which they are serving.”

Mr Griffin said images in Peacekeepers demonstrated the breadth of activity for which the contemporary Australian Defence Force was responsible.

“The exhibition shows the wide range of activities that the modern peacekeeper must undertake, and helps us to better understand the challenges and difficulties that they face,” he said.

“The Army photographers on whose work the exhibition is based come from a fine tradition of recording Australia’s involvement in wars and conflicts – they are the successors of Bean, Wilkins, Hurley, Parer and many other fine war correspondents and photographers.

“I congratulate the Shrine of Remembrance and the Australian Army Public Relations Service Corps for this fine exhibition.”

Peacekeepers will be on display until 4 May 2008.