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Saturday, September 18, 1999 Published at 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Picture Gallery: Force leaves Darwin

Crowds of Australians gathered along the wharf of the northern port of Darwin to watch the historic moment.

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Australians have thrown their public support behind the mission. Many watched as HMAS Adelaide led the naval forces out into international waters.

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The nine-vessel task force included HMAS Anzac and HMAS Success.

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East Timorese families gathered to wave the fleet to sea. The Carlos family witnessed the departure of the British vessel, HMS Glasgow.

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Shortly before the ships left, Australian troops practised tactics for their eventual deployment in East Timor.

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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.

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In the Philippines, Captain William Ilagan embraced his son Marco before his contingent left to join the rest of the multinational peacekeepers in Australia.

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Elsewhere in Darwin, East Timorese families, such as that of Constantino Adelaide, waited for the chance to return to their homes.

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