Australian Squadron

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Australian Squadron
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Part ofAustralia Station
Garrison/HQRN Base, Sydney, Australia

The Australian Squadron was a naval formation of constituent ships assigned to the newly independent naval command the Australia Station, It was formed in 1859 following a renaming of the earlier Australia Division of the East Indies Station.[1]


In 1848, an Australia Division of the East Indies Station was established, its role was to protect protect the Australian colonies and the Western Pacific area until 1858.[1] In 1859 the British Admiralty decided to establish an independent command, the Australia Station, under the command of a Commodore who was assigned as Commander-in-Chief, Australia Station. [2]

The squadron was initially a force of Royal Navy warships based in Sydney, although intended to protect the colonies of Australia and New Zealand, the ships were primarily used for surveying and police work.[2] The isolation of Australia from the rest of the British Empire meant the force was easily neglected, and by the 1870's, was perceived to be useless for its intended role.[2] Following the passing of the Australasian Defence Act 1887, an additional 'Auxiliary Squadron' was assigned to the Station by the British Admiralty with the responsibility for protecting trade in the region.[2] During the early 1900's, the Australian and New Zealand governments agreed to help fund the Squadron, while the Admiralty committed itself to keeping the squadron at a constant strength.[2]

As a British force, the Australia Squadron ceased on 4 October 1913, when the ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) entered Sydney Harbour for the first time.[2] However, the term was subsequently used between 1926 and 1949 to refer to the ships of the RAN known as HM Australian Squadron after the decommissioning and scuttling of the battlecruiser HMAS Australia and other cutbacks, the term 'Australian Fleet' was thought to be inappropriate to describe the navy's strength.[2] HMAS Melbourne served as squadron flagship between 1922 and 1928.

In Command

Commodore, Australian Squadron

  1. Commodore William Loring, 26 March 1859 – 10 March 1860.
  2. Commodore Frederick Beauchamp Paget Seymour, CB, 10 March 1860 – 21 July 1862.
  3. Commodore William Farquharson Burnett, CB, 21 July 1862 – 7 February 1863.
  4. Commodore William Wiseman, 8th Baronet, 20 April 1863 – 23 May 1866.
  5. Commodore Rochfort Maguire, 23 May 1866 – 28 May 1867.
  6. Commodore George Robert Lambert, CB, 28 May 1867 – 8 April 1870.
  7. Commodore Frederick Henry Stirling, 8 April 1870 – 22 May 1873.
  8. Commodore James Graham Goodenough, CB, CMG, 22 May 1873 – 20 August 1875.
  9. Commodore Anthony Hiley Hoskins, CB, 7 September 1875 – 12 September 1878.
  10. Commodore John Crawford Wilson, 12 September 1878 – 21 January 1882.
  11. Commodore James Elphinstone Erskine, 21 January 1882 – 12 November 1884.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lawrence, David Russell (2014). The Naturalist and His 'beautiful Islands': Charles Morris Woodford in the Western Pacific. Canberra, Australia.: ANU Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-925022-02-5.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-19-551784-2.