Saturday, September 18, 1999 Published at 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Picture Gallery: Force leaves Darwin
Crowds of Australians gathered along the wharf of the northern port of Darwin to watch the historic moment.
Australians have thrown their public support behind the mission. Many watched as HMAS Adelaide led the naval forces out into international waters.
The nine-vessel task force included HMAS Anzac and HMAS Success.
East Timorese families gathered to wave the fleet to sea. The Carlos family witnessed the departure of the British vessel, HMS Glasgow.
Shortly before the ships left, Australian troops practised tactics for their eventual deployment in East Timor.
Contributions to the peacekeeping force were being prepared by other nations. Some British personnel are working with the United Nations relief operation, which is delivering aid via Hercules transport planes.
In the Philippines, Captain William Ilagan embraced his son Marco before his contingent left to join the rest of the multinational peacekeepers in Australia.
Elsewhere in Darwin, East Timorese families, such as that of Constantino Adelaide, waited for the chance to return to their homes.