Australia Station

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Australia Station
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Part ofDepartment of Admiralty
Garrison/HQRN Base, Sydney, Australia
In CommandCommander-in-Chief, Australia Station
FirstCommodore, William Loring
LastVice-Admiral, Sir George King-Hall

The Australia Station was the British, and later Australian, naval command area responsible for the waters around the Australian continent. It was created on 26 March 1859 as one of the geographical divisions into which the Royal Navy divided its worldwide responsibilities. It was under the command and control of the Commander-in-Chief, Australia Station. The station as a distinct British command existed until 23 June 1913, however after this date until at least 1948 the command was overseen by a senior British admiral whist its constituent ships were from the Royal Australian Navy.


In the years following the establishment of the British colony of New South Wales in 1788, Royal Navy ships stationed in Australian waters formed part of the East Indies Squadron and came under the command of the East Indies Station. From the 1820's, a ship was sent annually to New South Wales, and occasionally to New Zealand.In 1848, an Australia Division of the East Indies and China Station was established.

In 1859 the British Admiralty decided to establish an independent naval command for the waters around Australia to be called, the Australia Station, under the command of a commodore who was then appointed as Commander-in-Chief, Australia Station.. A the same time an Australian Squadron was created to which British naval ships serving on the Australia Station were allocated. The changes were partially in recognition of the fact that a large part of the East Indies Station had been detached to Australian waters, and also reflecting growing concern for the strategic situation in the western Pacific in general, and in Tahiti and New Zealand in particular. On 12 November 1884, the commander in chief of the Australia Station was elevated to the rank of Rear-Admiral.

On 1 January 1901, Australia became a federation of six States, as the Commonwealth of Australia, which took over the defence forces from all the States. In March 1901, the Commonwealth took over the colonial navies to form the Commonwealth Naval Forces. The Australian and New Zealand governments agreed with the British imperial government to help fund the Royal Navy's Australian Squadron, while the Admiralty committed itself to maintain the Squadron at a constant strength. In 1902, the C-in-C of the Australia Station was elevated to the rank of Vice-Admiral. The boundaries were again modified in 1908. On 10 July 1911, King George V granted the title of "Royal Australian Navy" to the the Commonwealth Naval Forces.

The Station was reduced to cover Australia and its island dependencies to the north and east, excluding New Zealand and its surrounds, which became part of the China Station and called the New Zealand Naval Forces. In June 1913, the Royal Navy's Australia Station ceased as a wholly British command and responsibility for Australian waters was handed over to the Royal Australian Navy's Australian Fleet and its Sydney based depots, dockyards and structures were gifted to the Commonwealth of Australia. The Royal Navy continued to support the RAN and provided additional blue-water defence capability in the Pacific up to the early years of World War II. In 1921, a separate New Zealand Station was established, and the New Zealand Naval Forces was renamed the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy.

Area of Responsibility

At its establishment, the Australia Station encompassed Australia and New Zealand, with its eastern boundary including Samoa and Tonga, its western edge in the Indian Ocean, south of India and its southern edge defined by the Antarctic Circle. The boundaries were modified in 1864, 1872 and 1893. At its largest, the Australia Station reached from the Equator to the Antarctic in its greatest north-south axis, and covered a quarter of the Southern Hemisphere in its extreme east-west dimension, including Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Melanesia and Polynesia.

Naval HQ

Commander-in-Chief, Australia Station

  1. Commodore, William Loring, 26 March 1859 – 10 March 1860
  2. Commodore, Beauchamp Seymour, CB, 10 March 1860 – 21 July 1862
  3. Commodore, William Burnett, CB, 21 July 1862 – 7 February 1863
  4. Commodore, Sir William Wiseman, Bt. CB, 20 April 1863 – 23 May 1866
  5. Commodore, Rochfort Maguire, 23 May 1866 – 28 May 1867
  6. Commodore, Rowley Lambert, CB, 28 May 1867 – 8 April 1870
  7. Commodore, Frederick Stirling. 8 April 1870 – 22 May 1873
  8. Commodore, James Goodenough, CB, CMG, 22 May 1873 – 20 August 1875
  9. Commodore, Anthony Hoskins, CB, 7 September 1875 – 12 September 1878
  10. Commodore, John Wilson, 12 September 1878 – 21 January 1882
  11. Commodore, James Erskine, 21 January 1882 – 12 November 1884
  12. Rear-Admiral, Sir George Tryon, KCB, 12 November 1884 – 1 February 1887
  13. Rear-Admiral, Henry Fairfax, 1 February 1887 – 10 September 1889
  14. Rear-Admiral, The Hon. Lord Charles Scott, CB 10 September 1889 – 12 September 1892
  15. Rear-Admiral, Nathaniel Bowden-Smith, 12 September 1892 – 1 November 1894
  16. Rear-Admiral, Cyprian Bridge, 1 November 1894 – 1 November 1897
  17. Rear-Admiral, Hugo Pearson, 1 November 1898 – 1 October 1900
  18. Rear-Admiral Lewis Beaumont 1 October 1900 – 10 November 1902
  19. Vice-Admiral, Sir Arthur Fanshawe, KCMG, 10 November 1902 – 10 September 1905
  20. Vice Admiral, Sir Wilmot Fawkes, KCB, KCVO, 10 September 1905 – 31 December 1907
  21. Vice-Admiral, Sir Richard Poore, Bt. KCB, CVO, 31 December 1907 – 31 December 1910
  22. Vice-Admiral, Sir George King-Hall, KCB, CVO, 31 December 1910 – 23 June 1913