Ken Doolan

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Kenneth Allan Doolan
Born (1939-01-15) 15 January 1939 (age 78)
Sydney, New South Wales
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Royal Australian Navy
Years of service 1953–1993
Rank Rear Admiral
Commands held Maritime Commander Australia (1990–91)
Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (1989–90)
HMAS Brisbane (1984–85)
HMAS Tobruk (1980–81)
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Gulf War
Awards Officer of the Order of Australia[1]
Other work President of the Returned and Services League of Australia
Chairman of the Australian War Memorial Council

Rear Admiral Kenneth Allan "Ken" Doolan AO (born 15 January 1939) is an Australian naval officer, author, and is currently National President of the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL).[2] He is a retired rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, his most senior commands being Maritime Commander Australia and operational commander of all Australian combatant forces deployed to the Gulf War.

Early life[edit]

Doolan was born in Sydney, New South Wales, and received his primary education in Brisbane, Queensland.

Naval career[edit]

Doolan joined the Royal Australian Navy as a 13-year-old cadet midshipman in January 1953, attending the Royal Australian Naval College. He graduated in 1956, undertook sea training in the frigate HMAS Swan in 1957 and in December 1958 graduated from the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Devon.

Significant postings held during his 41-year naval career included:

Second career[edit]

After leaving the Australian Defence Force, Doolan has been:

He first came to public notice as President of the RSL in late September 2009 when he made statements in support of Breeanna Till, the pregnant widow of an Australian serviceman Sergeant Brett Till who was killed in the War in Afghanistan (ADF Operation Slipper) in early 2009.


Doolan is married to Elaine. They live in rural New South Wales near the national capital, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.


  • Maritime Power in the 20th Century – The Australian Experience Chapter 13, Allen & Unwin, 1998
  • A commanding presence: the life of G.H. Barker bookseller, naturalist and ornithologist, Ginninderra Press, 2002[4]
  • We Were Cadet Midshipmen – RANC Entrants 50 Years On (contributor & publisher), Grinkle Press, 2006
  • HMAS Tobruk: warship for every crisis, Grinkle Press, 2007[5]
  • Steel Cat: the story of HMAS Brisbane: Vietnam and Gulf War veteran, Grinkle Press, 2009[6]


External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Ian MacDougall
Maritime Commander Australia
Succeeded by
Rear Admiral Robert Walls
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair
Deputy Chief of Naval Staff
Succeeded by
Rear Admiral Ian MacDougall
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
General Peter Cosgrove
Chairman of the Australian War Memorial Council
Succeeded by
Kerry Stokes