1947: Cosgrove was born on the 28th of July in Sydney, Australia.
1965: He followed in the footsteps of his father (a warrant officer) and attended the Royal Military College in Duntroon. He graduated in 1968 and was sent to Malaysia as a lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.
1971: Cosgrove was then sent to Vietnam with the 9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, and received the Military Cross for his efforts during an attack on enemy positions.
1972: He served briefly as the aide-de-camp to the Governor General, Sir Paul Hasluck.
1976: Cosgrove became an instructor at the Infantry Centre and married his wife, Lynne. They now have three sons.
1978: Went to the United States and attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff college at Quantico.
1999-2000: As Major General, he led the international forces (also known as InterFET) into East Timor on a successful peacekeeping mission. Cosgrove became well known as the face of the Australian Army in the media during this stressful time. He was promoted to Chief of the Army for his confident, reassuring presence and contribution.
2001: Named Australian of the Year for his work in East Timor and appointed a Companion of the Military Division of the Order of Australia. He accepted the Australian of the Year award on behalf of all the soldiers who served in East Timor, saying “I did a lot of the talking, they did all the working.”
2002: Appointed as the Chief of the Australian Defence Force.
2005: Retired and started work on his novel.
2006: Published his memoir, My Story, which became a bestseller in Australia. He was also chosen by the Queensland Government in this year to lead the taskforce appointed to repair the devastation in Queensland after Cyclone Larry.
- Cosgrove is a sports enthusiast and has served on the board of Australian Rugby Union and the Australian Services Cricket Association.
- His son, also a soldier, was wounded in Iraq in 2005.
- He visited the Australian War Memorial with the Queen in 2011.
- Following his retirement, Cosgrove has worked as a non-executive director of Qantas and the chancellor of the Australian Catholic University.