Our Heritage

When you join the Australian Defence Force you become a member of a proud and honourable organisation that can trace its roots back to the late eighteenth century.

The Defence Values

Personnel in each of the three services live the Defence Values, also known as ‘Our Values’ which underpin everything they do.


The selflessness of character to place the security and interests of our nation and its people ahead of my own.


The strength of character to say and do the right thing, always, especially in the face of adversity.


The humanity of character to value others and treat them with dignity.


The consistency of character to align my thoughts, words and actions to do what is right.


The willingness of character to strive each day to be the best I can be, both professionally and personally.

To live Our Values, our people will:
  • Act with purpose for Defence and the nation;
  • Be adaptable, innovative and agile;
  • Collaborate and be team-focused;
  • Be accountable and trustworthy;
  • Reflect, learn and improve; and
  • Be inclusive and value others.

Navy Heritage Navy Heritage
Navy heritage

The Royal Australian Navy was the first of the services to be formally established and it has gone on to be active in every ocean in the world. The royal title was bestowed in 1911, though Navy roots can be traced back to the late eighteenth century.

Army Heritage Army Heritage
Army heritage

From Gallipoli and the Western Front in World War 1 to today's national defence initiatives and coalition missions, the Australian Army shares a proud tradition of service to Australia and its allies across the world.

Heritage Heritage
Air Force heritage

The Australian Flying Corps was established within just a few years of the first ever powered flight and became the Royal Australian Air Force in 1921. Through its defence, humanitarian and disaster-relief work, it has become one of the world's most respected air forces.

Over a century of loyal service
  • 1899 - 1902: Second Boer War
  • 1914 - 1918: World War 1
  • 1939 - 1945: World War II
  • 1948 - 1960: Malayan Emergency
  • 1950 - 1953: Korean War
  • 1955 - 1975: Vietnam War
  • 1962 - 1966: Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation
  • 1993: Relief mission to Somalia
  • 1999 - 2004, 2006 - 2013: Timor-Leste
  • 2001 - 2014: Afghanistan
  • 2003 - 2009, 2014 - present: Iraq

In addition to supporting international operations, the Navy, Army and Air Force continue to build on their reputations for assisting with disaster-relief, and supporting peacekeeping and humanitarian missions across the world. In the past these operations have involved service in Bougainville, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan and the Sinai.