Admiral (Australia)

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Flag of Admiral - Royal Navy.svg
Admiral's command flag
The ADML insignia
Service branchRoyal Australian Navy
Rank groupFlag officer
Non-NATO rankOF-9
Pay gradeO-10
Formation12 July 1936 (1936-07-12)
Next higher rankAdmiral of the fleet
Next lower rankVice admiral
Equivalent ranks

Admiral (abbreviated as ADML) is the highest active rank of the Royal Australian Navy and was created as a direct equivalent of the British naval rank of admiral. It is a four-star rank. Since 1968, generally the only time the rank is held is when the Chief of the Defence Force is a navy officer.

Admiral is a higher rank than vice admiral, but is a lower rank than admiral of the fleet.[a] Admiral is the equivalent of air chief marshal in the Royal Australian Air Force and general in the Australian Army.

Australian admirals[edit]

The following have held the rank of admiral in the Royal Australian Navy:

Name Date promoted Senior command(s) or appointment(s) in rank Notes
Sir George Hyde 12 July 1936 First Naval Member and Chief of Staff (1931–37) [1]
Sir Victor Smith 23 November 1970 Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (1970–75) [2]
Sir Anthony Synnot 21 April 1979 Chief of the Defence Force Staff (1979–82) [3]
Michael Hudson 8 March 1991 Chief of Naval Staff (1985–91) Promoted to admiral on the day of his retirement[4]
Alan Beaumont 17 April 1993 Chief of the Defence Force (1993–95) [5]
Chris Barrie 4 July 1998 Chief of the Defence Force (1998–02) [6]

Rank insignia and personal flag[edit]

Shoulder board prior to 1995.

The current ranks are rear admiral, vice admiral, admiral and admiral of the fleet, also known as flag ranks because admirals, known as flag officers, are entitled to fly a personal flag. An admiral of the fleet flies a national flag at the masthead, while an admiral flies a St George's cross (red cross on white). Vice admirals and rear admirals fly a St George’s cross with one or two red discs in the hoist, respectively. These command flags are exactly the same as in the Royal Navy, except for the admiral of the fleet, who flies the Union Flag.

The rank of admiral itself is shown in its sleeve lace by a broad band with three narrower bands. Since the mid-1990s, the insignia of a Royal Australian Navy admiral is the Crown of St. Edward above a crossed sword and baton, above four silver stars, above the word AUSTRALIA.[7] Note that unlike other Commonwealth countries, the sword is a naval cutlass, with a closed handle. The stars have eight points, like the Royal Navy insignia and unlike the four-pointed Order of the Bath stars used by the army.

Prior to 1995, the RAN shoulder board was identical to the UK shoulder board. The UK shoulder board changed in 2001.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Note that, other than royalty, there have been no Australian admirals of the fleet.


  1. ^ "Naval Forces of the Commonwealth". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. 30 July 1936. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Naval Forces of the Commonwealth". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. 7 January 1971. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Admiral Sir Anthony Monckton Synnot". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Admiral Michael Wyndham Hudson". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Admiral Alan Lee Beaumont". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Admiral Christopher Alexander Barrie". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Uniform Ranks". Royal Australian Navy. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 24 January 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016.