Australian Defence Force chaplains provide pastoral, spiritual and emotional support for service personnel, including the conduct of religious services at sea, on bases or in the field.
Military chaplains have a long history; the first English military-oriented chaplains, for instance, were priests on board proto-naval vessels during the 8th century. Land-based chaplains appeared during the reign of King Edward I.
Australian Defence Force chaplains have been employed by the Australian Government either on a full-time, or part-time basis to make the spiritual and welfare needs of uniformed people serving in the armed forces since the Boer War (1899 to 1902).
The Anglican Church of Australia has made available clergy for ministry as chaplains in the permanent and reserve elements of the Australian Defence Force.
Since 2000, they have ministered in East Timor, Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, Malaysia, the Middle East and in the Persian gulf.
Across the services,
- Naval chaplains serve both on-shore and at sea,
- Army chaplains minister in barracks and in the field,
- Air Force Chaplains are highly expeditionary and serve where required in the world as well as at bases in Australia.