Embassy of Australia
United States of America

Australia and the United States - First 100 Years of Mateship


History of Mateship

A bond forged under fire

In 2018, Australia and the United States will mark a centenary of mateship - a friendship first formed in the trenches of World War I during the Battle of Hamel on July 4, 1918.

The offensive to retake Hamel was the earliest instance of American and Australian troops fighting side by side. American troops offensively fought under the command of a non-American for the first time during the Battle of Hamel. That commander was Australian General Sir John Monash - and in honour of the Americans he was commanding, General Monash chose July 4, 1918 as the date of the offensive on Hamel.

The battle plan devised by General Monash was radical for its time – it marked the first time tanks had been used as protection on a battlefield for the advancing infantry and the first time aircraft had been deployed to drop ammunition to ground troops.

General Monash predicted that the offensive would last for 90 minutes. Incredibly it took the Allied forces just 93 minutes to secure victory and turned the tide against the Germans on the Western Front.

The Battle of Hamel is the symbolic foundation of the deep and enduring bond, mutual respect and close cooperation that continues to exist between the American and Australian militaries today. Since World War I, Australia and the United States have fought side by side in every major conflict, with present day collaborations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.



Mateship – 100 years of military alliance

Australia and the United States have fought side by side in every major conflict since 1918:

Timelines of the Alliance


World War I


World War II


Cold War


Korean War


Vietnam War


Gulf War I




War on Terror


Gulf War II




Counter-ISIL in Iraq/Syria




Leslie ‘Bull’ Allen was a stretcher-bearer in the Middle East and New Guinea in the Second World War who displayed great bravery in rescuing the wounded.  His most celebrated act of heroism took place on the 30th July 1943 on Mount Tambu in New Guinea. He walked alone into a live battlefield and carried twelve wounded American soldiers out on his shoulders.

  Prime Minister Turnbull joins Australian War Veterans at the 75th Anniversay Battle of the Coral Sea Commemorative Dinner - New York 4 May 2017


Celebrating Mateship

Mateship - Beyond the Battlefield

The relationship between Australia and the United States is unique in its breadth, depth and length, and characterised by genuine cultural affinity and a robust framework of bilateral co-operation.

Our nations and our peoples have collaborated across countless fields of endeavour –initiatives in industry, science and education have translated to advances in innovation and technology, shared cultural and artistic enterprises have enriched the world through music, literature, and ground-breaking film and television events and our Free Trade Agreement has contributed to doubling trade and investment between our countries. 

We celebrate the first 100 years of Mateship and look forward to the next 100 years.

Prime Minister Turnbull and President Trump at the 75th Anniversay Battle of the Coral Sea Commemorative Dinner - New York 4 May 2017   Foreign Minister Julie Bishop meets Vice President Mike Pence during her visit to Washington DC - February 2017

Patrons of Mateship

  • The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull

  • The Honourable Kevin Rudd

  • The Honourable John Howard

  • Former President George H.W.  Bush

  • The Honorable John Berry

  • The Honorable Tom Scheiffer

  • The Honorable Melvin F. Sembler

  • Mr Michael Thawley AO

  • The Honourable Andrew Peacock AC

  • Dr Don Russell

  • Mr Michael Cook AO

  • Mr F.R.  Dalrymple AO

  • Former President James (Jimmy) Carter

  • The Honourable Kim Beazley, AC