Royal Navy squadron on the Australia Station moored in Sydney in 1880
|Active||Created in 1859|
Royal Navy 1848–1911 |
Commonwealth Naval Forces 1911–1913 Royal Australian Navy 1913
The Australia Station was the British, and later Australian, naval command responsible for the waters around the Australian continent. Australia Station was under the command of the Commander-in-Chief, Australia Station, whose rank varied over time.
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 1820s, a ship was sent annually to New South Wales, and occasionally to New Zealand.
In 1848, an Australian Division of the East Indies Station was established, and in 1859 the British Admiralty established an independent command, the Australia Station, under the command of a commodore who was assigned as Commander-in-Chief, Australia Station. The Australian Squadron was created to which British naval ships serving on the Australia Station were assigned. 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. In 1884, the commander of the Australia Station was upgraded to the rank of rear admiral.
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.
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 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 commander of the Australia Station was upgraded 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 CNF.
The Australian Squadron was disbanded in 1911 and the Australia Station passed to 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 1913, the Royal Australian Navy came under Australian command, and responsibility for the reduced Australia Station passed to the new RAN. The Royal Navy's Australia Station ceased in 1913 and responsibility handed over to the Royal Australian Navy 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 renamed the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy. In 1958, the Australia Station was redrawn again, now to include Papua New Guinea.
Commanders-in-Chief, Australia Station
|Rank||Name||Term began||Term ended|
|Commander-in-Chief, Australia Station|
|Commodore||William Loring||26 March 1859||10 March 1860|
|Commodore||Beauchamp Seymour, CB||10 March 1860||21 July 1862|
|Commodore||William Burnett, CB||21 July 1862||7 February 1863|
|Commodore||Sir William Wiseman, Bt. CB||20 April 1863||23 May 1866|
|Commodore||Rochfort Maguire||23 May 1866||28 May 1867|
|Commodore||Rowley Lambert, CB||28 May 1867||8 April 1870|
|Commodore||Frederick Stirling||8 April 1870||22 May 1873|
|Commodore||James Goodenough, CB, CMG||22 May 1873||20 August 1875|
|Commodore||Anthony Hoskins, CB||7 September 1875||12 September 1878|
|Commodore||John Wilson||12 September 1878||21 January 1882|
|Commodore||James Erskine||21 January 1882||12 November 1884|
|Rear Admiral||Sir George Tryon, KCB||12 November 1884||1 February 1887|
|Rear Admiral||Henry Fairfax||1 February 1887||10 September 1889|
|Rear Admiral||The Hon. Lord Charles Scott, CB||10 September 1889||12 September 1892|
|Rear Admiral||Nathaniel Bowden-Smith||12 September 1892||1 November 1894|
|Rear Admiral||Cyprian Bridge||1 November 1894||1 November 1897|
|Rear Admiral||Hugo Pearson||1 November 1898||1 October 1900|
|Rear Admiral||Lewis Beaumont||1 October 1900||10 November 1902|
|Vice Admiral||Sir Arthur Fanshawe, KCMG||10 November 1902||10 September 1905|
|Vice Admiral||Sir Wilmot Fawkes, KCB, KCVO||10 September 1905||31 December 1907|
|Vice Admiral||Sir Richard Poore, Bt. KCB, CVO||31 December 1907||31 December 1910|
|Vice Admiral||Sir George King-Hall, KCB, CVO||31 December 1910||23 June 1913|
List of ships assigned to the Station
This is a list of ships that were assigned to the station between 1859 until 1913. The Australian Squadron was replaced by the Royal Australian Navy Fleet when it sailed into Sydney Harbour on 4 October 1913.
|Ship||Date joined||Date left||Notes|
|Iris||25 March 1859||1861||Flagship between 25 March 1859 until 10 March 1860. Undertook operations during First Taranaki War in New Zealand.|
|Niger||25 March 1859||1860||Undertook operations during First Taranaki War.|
|Pelorus||May 1859||July 1862||Flagship between 10 March 1859 until July 1862. Undertook operations during First Taranaki War.|
|Fawn||30 October 1859||11 April 1863|
|Bramble||1859||May 1859||Tender to Squadron.|
|Cordelia (1856)||1859||December 1860||Undertook operations during First Taranaki War.|
|Elk||1859||1860||Undertook operations during First Taranaki War.|
|Harrier (1854)||December 1860||September 1864||Participated in rescue operation when HMS Orpheus was wrecked in Manukau Harbour, New Zealand and was also grounded but was refloated. Undertook operations during Invasion of Waikato and also the Tauranga Campaign in New Zealand.|
|Miranda||December 1860||September 1864||Undertook operations during Invasion of Waikato and also the Tauranga Campaign in New Zealand.|
|Pioneer (1856)||March 1862||1863|
|Orpheus||July 1862||7 February 1863||Flagship between July 1862 until 7 February 1863. Was wrecked in Manukau Harbour with the loss of 189 seaman including Commander-in-chief, Australia Station Commodore William Farquharson Burnett. 70 crewman survived.|
|Beatrice||September 1862||1880||Jointly owned by Royal Navy and Colony of South Australia until purchased outright by South Australia in 1880. Conducted survey operations around Northern Australia.|
|Eclipse||November 1862||1866||Undertook operations during Invasion of Waikato and also the Tauranga Campaign.|
|Curacoa (1854)||20 April 1863||1866||Flagship from 20 April 1863 until May 1866. Undertook operations during Invasion of Waikato and also the Tauranga Campaign.|
|Hecate||June 1863||1864||Conducted survey operations of Botany Bay, Moreton Bay and Brisbane River.|
|Esk||July 1863||2 July 1867||Undertook operations during Invasion of Waikato and also the Tauranga Campaign.|
|Falcon||December 1863||November 1867||Undertook operations during Invasion of Waikato and also the Tauranga Campaign.|
|Salamander||February 1864||4 July 1867||Conducted survey operations along Great Barrier Reef and between Wilsons Promontory and Port Phillip Bay.|
|Brisk||October 1864||1868||Provided escort for operations during Second Taranaki War, New Zealand.|
|Challenger (1858)||May 1866||1870||Flagship between May 1866 and 3 September 1870. Conducted a punitive operation in 1866 against some Fijian natives.|
|Virago||30 November 1866||28 June 1871||Conducted survey operations along Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Norfolk Island and New Zealand.|
|Charybdis||March 1867||November 1868|
|Rosario||November 1867||1875||Undertook anti-blackbirding operations in the South Pacific.|
|Blanche||January 1868||1875||Undertook a punitive operation in 1869 against some Solomon Islands natives. Conducted survey operations of Rabaul Harbour.|
|Clio (1858)||17 April 1870||16 October 1873||Flagship between 3 September 1870 and 17 September 1873. Ran into a reef and holed in Bligh Sound, New Zealand in 1871 and repaired.|
|Basilisk||March 1871||1874||Undertook survey operations around Eastern New Guinea, under the command of Captain John Moresby. Undertook anti-blackbirding operations in the South Pacific.|
|Cossack||September 1871||October 1873|
|Dido||1871||1875||Ran aground at Hobart, Tasmania in 1875 but was refloated.|
|Pearl||22 May 1873||1875||Flagship from 17 September 1873 until 7 September 1875. Commander-in-chief Commodore James Graham Goodenough and two sailors died from poisonous arrows fired by natives from Santa Cruz Islands in 1875.|
|Conflict||August 1873||1882||Built by John Cuthbert, Sydney. Undertook anti-blackbirding operations in the South Pacific. In 1879 undertook punitive operation in against some Soloman Islands natives.|
|Alacrity||1873||1882||Built in Sydney as Ethel. Undertook survey operations around Fiji and Soloman Islands. Sold to Colony of New South Wales and served as a powder hulk.|
|Beagle||1873||March 1883||Built by John Cuthbert, Darling Harbour, Sydney. Undertook anti-blackbirding operations in the South Pacific. In 1879 undertook punitive operation against some Solomon Islands natives.|
|Renard||1873||March 1883||Built by John Cuthbert, Sydney. Undertook anti-blackbirding operations in the South Pacific. Undertook survey operations around Fiji and Russell Islands.|
|Sandfly||1873||1883||Built by John Cuthbert, Sydney. Undertook anti-blackbirding operations in the South Pacific. Undertook survey operations around Soloman Islands and New Guinea. Commanding officer, Lieutenant Bower, and three sailors were killed by natives on Mandolina Island, near Guadacanal.|
|Barracouta||August 1874||July 1866||Participated in Samoan Operations in 1866.|
|Sappho||December 1874||August 1878|
|Nymphe||March 1875||November 1878|
|Sapphire||March 1875||July 1879|
|Wolverine||7 September 1875||January 1882||Flagship from 7 September 1875 until 21 January 1882. Sold to Colony of New South Wales and served as a training ship.|
|Emerald||September 1878||October 1881||Took punitive action against natives who killed commander of HMS Sandfly.|
|Cormorant||1878||1882||Took punitive action against natives who killed commander of HMS Sandfly.|
|Miranda||September 1880||May 1886|
|Meda||1880||1886||Undertook survey work along North West Australia. She was sold in 1887 to the Colony of Western Australia.|
|Diamond||October 1881||August 1888|
|Espiegle||November 1881||March 1885|
|Nelson||21 January 1882||3 September 1888||Flagship from 21 January 1882 until 1888.|
|Raven||25 April 1883||October 1890|
|Harrier (1881)||September 1883||1888|
|Swinger||2 October 1883||August 1891|
|Paluma||1884||1895||Built for Colony of Queensland, she was commissioned in Royal Navy on loan. She was returned to Queensland in 1895 and renamed HMQS Paluma.|
|Myrmidon||14 March 1885||1888||Undertook surveys along the North of Australia, Darwin and Bass Strait.|
|Opal||March 1885||11 May 1890|
|Rapid||July 1886||1 December 1897|
|Calliope||September 1887||October 1889||Participated in the 1889 Samoan conflict.|
|Egeria||1887||1894||She undertook survey work around Western Pacific islands and Hobart.|
|Royalist||May 1888||June 1899||Sent to the Gilbert Islands and on 27 May 1892 the islands were proclaimed to be a British protectorate. Participated in the 1899 Samoan civil war.|
|Orlando||1 September 1888||1898||Flagship from 1 September 1888 until November 1897.|
|Lizard||January 1889||1904||Participated during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.|
|Rambler||October 1889||1890||She undertook survey work along North Western coast of Australia.|
|Penguin||14 January 1890||1888||She undertook survey work around Western Pacific islands, New Zealand and Great Barrier Reef. She was transferred for harbour service at Sydney before being commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Penguin a depot ship.|
|Mildura||18 March 1890||1905||Part of the auxiliary squadron.|
|Goldfinch||March 1890||August 1899|
|Cordelia (1881)||1890||1891||During practice firing one of her guns burst killing five sailors on 28 June 1891.|
|Curacoa (1878)||1890||December 1894||Sent to the Ellice Islands and between 9 and 16 October 1892 made a formal declaration on each island that it was to be a British protectorate.|
|Tauranga||27 January 1891||1904||Part of the auxiliary squadron. Participated in the 1899 Samoan civil war.|
|Ringarooma||3 February 1891||1904||Grounded on a reef at Malekula Island, New Hebrides on 31 August 1894 and was towed off by a French warship. Part of the auxiliary squadron.|
|Katoomba||24 March 1891||January 1906||Part of the auxiliary squadron.|
|Wallaroo||31 March 1891||January 1906||Part of the auxiliary squadron. Participated during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. One of her boilers exploded on 7 January 1904 killing 4 sailors.|
|Pylades||November 1894||29 January 1905|
|Royal Arthur||4 November 1897||1888||Flagship from 4 November 1897 until April 1904.|
|Mohawk||December 1897||1900||Escorted New South Wales Naval Brigade to China during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.|
|Porpoise||December 1897||June 1901||Participated in the 1899 Samoan civil war.|
|Phoebe||19 February 1901||23 December 1905|
|Sparrow||February 1901||1904||Later commissioned in New Zealand Marine Department as training ship NZS Amokura in 1905|
|Psyche||22 September 1903||1913||Was later commissioned in RAN in 1915 as HMAS Psyche.|
|Mutine||December 1903||February 1905|
|Clio (1903)||19 January 1904||14 April 1905|
|Cadmus||13 April 1904||May 1905|
|Euryalus||July 1904||1905||Flagship between 26 March 1904 and February 1905.|
|Powerful||February 1905||December 1911||Flagship from 1905–1911.|
|Pegasus||March 1905||March 1913|
|Pyramus||16 September 1905||1913||She grounded on a reef near Cooktown on 22 June 1907 and was refloated.|
|Pioneer (1899)||September 1905||1 March 1913||Commissioned as HMAS Pioneer in 1913.|
|Encounter||December 1905||21 June 1912||Commissioned as HMAS Encounter on 1 July 1912.|
|Cambrian||1905||1913||Flagship between January and October 1913, the last flagship of Australia Station|
|Fantome||1906||1913||Undertook survey work along the North and Eastern coasts of Australia and New Guinea.|
|Sealark||1910||1913||Undertook survey work in the Torres Strait and Solomon Islands.|
|Drake||30 November 1911||1 January 1913||Flagship between 1911 and 1 January 1913.|
- Dennis et. al 2008, p.53.
- Nicholls 1988, p. 2.
- Graham 1967, p. 459.
- 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. 67. ISBN 978-0-19-551784-2. OCLC 271822831.
- Dennis et al. 2008, p. 54.
- Blunt 2002, p. 16–17.
- Stevens, David. "The R.A.N. – A Brief History". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- McGibbon 2000, pp. 45–46.
- Bastock, pp.23–24.
- Resture, Jane. "TUVALU HISTORY – 'The Davis Diaries' (H.M.S. Royalist, 1892 visit to Ellice Islands under Captain Davis)". Retrieved 20 September 2011.
- Noatia P. Teo, Hugh Larcy (ed) (1983). "Chapter 17, Colonial Rule". Tuvalu: A History. University of the South Pacific/Government of Tuvalu. pp. 127–139.
- Bastock, John (1988), Ships on the Australia Station, Child & Associates Publishing Pty Ltd; Frenchs Forest, Australia. ISBN 0-86777-348-0
- Blunt, Adrienne (2002). Key Resources Guide on Australian Maritime Strategy (PDF). Canberra: Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library.
- Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (2nd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-551784-2. OCLC 271822831.
- Graham, Gerald (1967). Great Britain in the Indian Ocean: A study of Maritime Enterprise 1810–1850. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-821353-0.
- McGibbon, Ian (2000). The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History. Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558376-0.
- Nicholls, Bob (1988). The Colonial Volunteers: The Defence Forces of the Australian Colonies 1836–1901. North Sydney: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-302003-8.
- Frame, Tom (2004). No Pleasure Cruise: the story of the Royal Australian Navy. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-74114-233-4. OCLC 55980812.