On the 14th September 2017, the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial will be officially opened on its site on Anzac Parade, Canberra in a combined dedication and commemorative service at which the Principal Guest will be His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. This service will mark the completion of a decade long project to construct this national peacekeeping memorial and will be the highlight of a wide range of activities and events being undertaken during Australian Peacekeeping Week which runs from 11-16 September 2017 to commemorate Australia’s involvement in international peace operations for the last 70 years.
Australia has a proud record of service in international peacekeeping missions and peace operations commanded by the United Nations and regional arrangements. Australia deployed the first civilian and military observers to the United Nations Good Offices Mission in Indonesia in September 1947. In the seventy years since, Australian governments have deployed a wide range of contingents all around the world, comprising both armed and unarmed military, police and civilian experts, as part of over 60 international peacekeeping missions. Some 80,000 Australians have deployed on these missions during which a number have died, and a considerable number have been wounded or suffered trauma.
In 2004 a group of Australian peacekeeping veterans and organisations who believed it was important that a national memorial should be built which would appropriately acknowledge and commemorate this contribution of Australian Peacekeeping – past, present and future came together to initiate the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project (APMP). Established as a volunteer, not for profit organisation, the project has been coordinated by an APMP Committee comprised mainly of Peacekeeping veterans and representatives from a wide range of national organizations. This has included appointed representatives of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the Federal and State Police forces, the Returned and Services League (RSL), the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA), the Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans Association (APPVA) and the United Nations and Overseas Police Association of Australia (UNOPAA).
In November 2007, the Canberra National Memorials Committee approved the allocation of a national memorial site on Anzac Parade for an Australian Peacekeeping Memorial. Subsequently, in 2007 and 2008, the APMP Committee, with support from the National Capital Authority (NCA), conducted a national two-stage design competition resulting in the selection of a winning concept design which was announced by the then Minister of Veterans Affairs at Parliament House on 19th December 2008. From that concept design, the winning architect, now Bennet and Trimble, worked with the Committee and a range of engineers and consultants to produce the final, fully detailed design and documentation package to achieve works approval by the National Capital Authority.