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Inaugurated on 1July 1998, Reserve Forces' Day commemorates the service and achievements of the Reserve Forces of the Australian Defence Force, both past and present, and today, the 6111 anniversary of the re‑raising of the Citizen Military Forces (CMF) in 1948. It is also a means of thanking and acknowledging families and employers for their support.
Defence Reserves have played an important part in Australian history since colonial days and have contributed to every major conflict in which Australia has been involved. A 500‑strong CMF battalion accompanied the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force to New Guinea in 1914, and militia battalions fought in the epic Kokoda and Milne Bay campaigns of 1942. Three militia divisions ultimately served in New Guinea during the Second World War.
In recent years members of the Defence Reserves have served alongside their full‑time counterparts in providing humanitarian relief to devastated communities, and in peacekeeping operations in a number of diverse locations including Rwanda, East Timor, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan, Solomon Islands and Iraq. Reservists have also been deployed to provide assistance with security at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. The Defence Reserves, moreover, make a valuable contribution to the community in times of natural disasters such as floods, droughts and bushfires, and in emergency rescue operations.
Reservists join the Navy, Army or Air Force as part‑time members. There are currently 38,000 active and standby Reservists; this represents approximately 40 per cent of the Australian Defence Force.
The annual observance of Reserve Forces Day continues to raise the community's awareness of the importance of our Reserve Fo