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.

Loyal service built on core values

Personnel in each of the three services adhere to their own set of values, which underpin everything they do. The Australian Defence Force values are a consolidation of the individual sets.


Striving for excellence in everything we do


Being committed to each other and to the ADF


Always doing what is right


Exhibiting both moral courage and physical courage


Actively seeking better ways to do our work


Working together with respect, trust and collective purpose

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.