|Commander Australian Fleet|
|Allegiance||Australian Defence Force|
|Branch||Royal Australian Navy|
|Garrison/HQ||Fleet Headquarters, Potts Point|
|Rear Admiral Tim Barrett|
Commander Australian Fleet (COMAUSFLT), also referred to as Fleet Commander Australia (FCAUST), is a senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), holding full command of all Navy combat forces and responsibility for all maritime operations within the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The rank associated with the position is rear admiral (two-star).
The title first came into use in 2007. Previous titles for the position since 1913 have been:
- Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Fleet (1913–1926),
- Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Squadron (1926–1949),
- Flag Officer Commanding HM Australian Fleet (1949–1988, regularly abbreviated as FOCAF), and
- Maritime Commander Australia (1988–2007 - MCAUST).(I)
Prior to 1913, all naval activities and forces in Australian waters were controlled by the British Royal Navy. In 1859, Australia Station was established as a separate command of the Royal Navy, responsible for all the waters around the Australian continent, in addition to the British and Australian colonial possessions in the South Pacific. It was at this stage that the forerunner of Commander Australian Fleet, Officer Commanding Imperial Squadron Australian Station, was created. Between the Federation of Australia and formation of the Commonwealth Naval Forces in 1901 to the year of 1913, the Royal Navy began a process of transferring all command responsibility in Australian waters over to the Australian Government, as well as replacing equipment and personnel with Australian variants. The Commonwealth Naval Forces were renamed to Royal Australian Navy in 1911. With the transfer complete in 1913, the position of Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Fleet was formed, with control over all naval combat operations and forces; the post was renamed Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Squadron in 1926. Despite this position being a command of the RAN, the majority of occupants were Royal Navy officers attached to, or on loan to, the RAN.
In 1949, Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Squadron was redesignated Flag Officer Commanding HM Australian Fleet. This was followed by a renaming to Maritime Commander Australia in 1988, and more recently to Commander Australian Fleet in 2007. Throughout its existence, the command has administered Australian naval forces as they have been deployed for duty in the First World War, Second World War, Malayan Emergency, Korean War, Indonesian Confrontation, Vietnam War, Gulf War, War in Afghanistan and Iraq War, in addition to peacekeeping operations. The rank associated with this position today is rear admiral, however some of the earlier appointees held a different rank.
Role and responsibilities
The role and responsibilities of the Commander Australian Fleet is principally to "plan, prepare for, and conduct maritime operations for the protection and promotion of Australia's security and interests". With this directive, the operations carried out or planned by the Commander Australian Fleet or his staff fall into three distinct categories: defence of sovereign territory, protection of overseas trade and offshore resources, and contingencies.
The Commander Australian Fleet holds full command responsibility over RAN combat forces, and is responsible to the Chief of Navy—the administrative head of the RAN—for the execution of maritime tasks and training in regards to combat roles and operations. The Commander Australian Fleet additionally holds the role of Maritime Component Commander within Headquarters Joint Operations Command (HQJOC), responsible to the Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS) as the head of naval activities within operational theatres.
The rear admiral's seagoing subordinate is Commodore, Warfare, previously Commodore, Flotillas (COMFLOT). This commodore is the designated ready task group commander.
The following list chronologically records those who have held the post of Commander Australian Fleet or its preceding positions. However, the position of Officers Commanding Imperial Squadron Australian Station (1859–1913) is not included in this list as it was administered as a command of the Royal Navy, and existed before the formation of the Royal Australian Navy. The official title of the commander at that period of time is listed immediately before the officers who held that role. The rank and honours are as at the completion of the commander's term.
|Service||Term began||Term ended|
|Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Fleet|
|Vice Admiral||Sir George Patey||KCMG, KCVO||RN||June 23, 1913||September 22, 1916|
|Rear Admiral||Sir William Pakenham||KCB, MVO||RN||September 23, 1916||January 9, 1917|
|Rear Admiral||Arthur Leveson||CB||RN||January 9, 1917||September 3, 1918|
|Rear Admiral||Sir Lionel Halsey||KCMG, CB||RN||September 4, 1918||March 21, 1919|
|Rear Admiral||John Dumaresq||CB, CVO||RN||March 22, 1919||April 29, 1922|
|Rear Admiral||Albert Addison||CMG||RN||April 30, 1922||April 30, 1924|
|Commodore||Thomas Wardle||DSO||RN||April 30, 1924||April 30, 1926|
|Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Squadron|
|Rear Admiral||George Hyde||CVO, CBE||RAN||April 30, 1926||May 17, 1929|
|Rear Admiral||Edward Evans||CB, DSO||RN||May 17, 1929||May 29, 1931|
|Commodore||Leonard Holbrook||MVO||RN||May 29, 1931||April 7, 1932|
|Rear Admiral||Robin Dalglish||CB||RN||April 7, 1932||April 19, 1934|
|Rear Admiral||Wilbraham Ford||CB||RN||April 19, 1934||April 20, 1936|
|Rear Admiral||Richard Lane-Poole||CB, OBE||RN||April 20, 1936||April 21, 1938|
|Rear Admiral||Wilfred Custance||CB||RN||April 22, 1938||September 2, 1939|
|Commodore||Wilfrid Patterson||CVO||RN||September 2, 1939||November 1, 1939|
|Rear Admiral||John Crace||CB||RN||November 1, 1939||June 13, 1942|
|Rear Admiral||Victor Crutchley||VC, DSC||RN||June 13, 1942||June 13, 1944|
|Commodore||John Collins||CB||RAN||June 13, 1944||October 27, 1944|
|Captain||Charles Nichols||MVO||RN||October 27, 1944||December 9, 1944|
|Commodore||Harold Farncomb||CB, DSO, MVO||RAN||December 9, 1944||July 22, 1945|
|Commodore||John Collins||CB||RAN||July 22, 1945||November 9, 1946|
|Rear Admiral||Harold Farncomb||CB, DSO, MVO||RAN||November 9, 1946||October 5, 1949|
|Flag Officer Commanding HM Australian Fleet (FOCAF)|
|Rear Admiral||John Eccles||CB, CBE||RN||October 5, 1949||October 10, 1951|
|Rear Admiral||John Eaton||CB, DSO, DSC||RN||October 10, 1951||December 17, 1953|
|Rear Admiral||Roy Dowling||CBE, DSO||RAN||December 17, 1953||February 23, 1955|
|Rear Admiral||Henry Burrell||CBE||RAN||February 28, 1955||June 7, 1956|
|Rear Admiral||David Harries||CBE||RAN||June 7, 1956||January 7, 1958|
|Rear Admiral||Henry Burrell||CB, CBE||RAN||January 7, 1958||January 20, 1959|
|Rear Admiral||Galfrey Gatacre||CB, DSC and Bar||RAN||January 20, 1959||December 22, 1959|
|Rear Admiral||Hastings Harrington||CB, CBE, DSO||RAN||December 22, 1959||January 8, 1962|
|Rear Admiral||Alan McNicoll||CBE, GM||RAN||January 8, 1962||January 6, 1964|
|Rear Admiral||Otto Becher||CBE, DSO, DSC and Bar||RAN||January 6, 1964||January 10, 1965|
|Rear Admiral||Thomas Morrison||CBE, DSC||RAN||January 10, 1965||January 29, 1966|
|Rear Admiral||Victor Smith||CB, DSC||RAN||January 29, 1966||January 20, 1967|
|Rear Admiral||Richard Peek||OBE, DSC||RAN||January 20, 1967||March 18, 1968|
|Rear Admiral||Gordon Crabb||CBE, DSC||RAN||March 18, 1968||January 6, 1970|
|Rear Admiral||David Stevenson||CBE||RAN||January 6, 1970||April 14, 1971|
|Rear Admiral||William Dovers||CBE, DSC||RAN||April 14, 1971||January 24, 1972|
|Rear Admiral||David Stevenson||CBE||RAN||January 24, 1972||April 1, 1972|
|Rear Admiral||William Dovers||CBE, DSC||RAN||April 1, 1972||January 23, 1973|
|Rear Admiral||Anthony Synnot||CBE||RAN||January 23, 1973||February 4, 1974|
|Rear Admiral||David Wells||CBE||RAN||February 4, 1974||November 17, 1975|
|Rear Admiral||Geoffrey Gladstone||AO, DSC and Bar||RAN||November 17, 1975||April 16, 1977|
|Rear Admiral||Neil McDonald||AO||RAN||April 16, 1977||May 8, 1978|
|Rear Admiral||James Willis||AO||RAN||May 8, 1978||April 12, 1979|
|Rear Admiral||David Leach||CBE, LVO||RAN||April 12, 1979||May 16, 1980|
|Rear Admiral||Peter Doyle||AO, OBE||RAN||May 16, 1980||June 1, 1981|
|Rear Admiral||John Stevens||RAN||June 1, 1981||March 16, 1982|
|Rear Admiral||Michael Hudson||RAN||March 15, 1982||October 21, 1983|
|Rear Admiral||Geoffrey Woolrych||AO||RAN||October 21, 1983||May 3, 1985|
|Rear Admiral||Ian Knox||AO||RAN||May 3, 1985||January 6, 1987|
|Rear Admiral||Peter Sinclair||AO||RAN||January 6, 1987||September 2, 1988|
|Maritime Commander Australia (MCAUST)|
|Rear Admiral||Peter Sinclair||AO||RAN||September 2, 1988||January 6, 1989|
|Rear Admiral||Ian MacDougall||RAN||January 6, 1989||July 9, 1990|
|Rear Admiral||Ken Doolan||AO||RAN||July 9, 1990||November 7, 1991|
|Rear Admiral||Robert Walls||AO||RAN||November 7, 1991||December 9, 1993|
|Rear Admiral||Donald Chalmers||AO||RAN||December 7, 1993||April 13, 1995|
|Rear Admiral||Chris Oxenbould||AO||RAN||April 14, 1995||February 11, 1997|
|Rear Admiral||Chris Ritchie||AM||RAN||February 11, 1997||May 17, 1999|
|Rear Admiral||John Lord||AM||RAN||May 18, 1999||July 12, 2000|
|Rear Admiral||Geoffrey Smith||AM||RAN||July 12, 2000||July 20, 2002|
|Rear Admiral||Raydon Gates||CSM||RAN||July 20, 2002||June 28, 2004|
|Rear Admiral||Rowan Moffitt||AM||RAN||June 28, 2004||July 4, 2005|
|Rear Admiral||Davyd Thomas||AM, CSC||RAN||July 4, 2005||February 1, 2007|
|Commander Australian Fleet (COMAUSFLT)|
|Rear Admiral||Davyd Thomas||AM, CSC||RAN||February 1, 2007||July 2007|
|Rear Admiral||Nigel Coates||AM||RAN||July 2007||October 8, 2009|
|Rear Admiral||Steve Gilmore||AM, CSC||RAN||October 8, 2009||December 21, 2011|
|Rear Admiral||Tim Barrett||AM, CSC||RAN||December 22, 2011||Incumbent|
^(I) "HM" (His/Her Majesty's) is not always included when referring to these titles.
- Gilbert, Gregory P. (2006) (PDF). Australian Naval Personalities: Lives From the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra, Australia: Sea Power Centre. ISBN 0-642-29636-7. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20091003235008/http://www.navy.gov.au/w/images/PIAMA17.pdf. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
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- David Stevens, STRENGTH THROUGH DIVERSITY: THE COMBINED NAVAL ROLE IN OPERATION STABILISE, Sea Power Centre - Australia Working Paper No. 20
- "Fleet Headquarters". Royal Australian Navy. Archived from the original on 20 September 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080920020016/http://www.navy.gov.au/Fleet_Headquarters. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
- "Headquarters Joint Operations Command Project — Purpose". Headquarters Joint Operations Command Project. Department of Defence. http://www.defence.gov.au/id/hqjoc/purpose.htm. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
- Navy News, 28 November.
- "Rear Admiral Nigel Coates". Royal Australian Navy. Archived from the original on 10 October 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20091010153444/http://www.navy.gov.au/Rear_Admiral_Nigel_Coates. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
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