Nation's peacekeepers honoured in Canberra

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Veterans' Affairs Minister Matt Keogh has described the work of Australian peacekeepers as "perilous and dangerous" as he paid tribute to their service at the Australian War Memorial.

The service and sacrifice of more than 60,000 Australian peacekeepers was commemorated for the 75th anniversary in a ceremony in Canberra on Wednesday.

Mr Keogh said Australia's involvement in peacekeeping was key to its international reputation.

"From whichever service of the Australian Defence Forces they come from, whichever branch of the police, the public service or elsewhere, Australians have earned their reputation as good peacekeepers well trained, disciplined and effective," he said.

"That nations of the globe will act together to protect peace locally, in the interests of world peace, and protect the dignity of our fellow human beings is no small thing."

Mr Keogh said peacekeeping missions could be "perilous, dangerous and uncertain".

Four Australians were part of the United Nations' first group of military observers deployed to monitor the ceasefire between Dutch colonial and Indonesian nationalist forces in 1947.

Since then, Australia's peacekeeping contributions have grown in both size and scope, with more than 66,000 people serving in more than 60 international operations.

"Peacekeeping is the front end of a complex, long-term process of creating the necessary conditions for sustainable peace," Australian War Memorial historian Dr David Sutton said.

"It is also usually the pointy end of this process and it comes with inherent risks."

Six Australian police officers and 10 defence force members have died while serving on peacekeeping operations.

Opposition defence spokesman Andrew Hastie said Australian servicemen were part of the first group of United Nations military observers to go into the field anywhere in the world.

A temporary photo display showcasing images taken during overseas peacekeeping operations has been unveiled.

An exhibition, In the Service of Peace, will be displayed at the war memorial until October 9.