Just over 20 years ago, an Australian led, multinational peacemaking mission known as INTERFET (International Force East Timor) helped to establish peace and stability to what was a much-damaged region of Southeast Asia. East Timor occupies the eastern half of the Island of Timor, just north of Australia.

INTERFET, which consisted of 22-nations saw Australia contribute more than 5,000 personnel.

In the days leading up to the INTERFET deployment, the Chief of the Defence Force at the time, Admiral Chris Barrie, said it would be ‘the most significant military undertaking we [Australia] have had since World War Two.’

In fact, INTERFET took many by surprise as it had been believed the Australian Defence Force would not be committed overseas again in any major way.

The stories found on our commemoration page are firsthand accounts from some of those Australians who were there during INTERFET.