Chief of Navy (Australia)

The Chief of Navy is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) and the Secretary of Defence. The rank associated with the position is vice admiral (3-star).

Chief of the Royal Australian Navy
Crest of the Chief of Navy
Flag of the Chief of Navy
Vice Admiral Michael Noonan

since 6 July 2018
 Royal Australian Navy
StyleVice Admiral
Member ofAustralian Defence Force
Reports toChief of the Defence Force
Term lengthThree years
Formation25 February 1904
First holderRear Admiral
Sir William Creswell
DeputyDeputy Chief of Navy
WebsiteOfficial website

Vice Admiral Michael Noonan is the current chief of navy; he assumed the position on 06 July 2018.


The following list chronologically records those who have held the post of Chief of Navy or its preceding positions. Rank and honours are as at the completion of the individual's tours.

Rank and prefixNamePostnominal(s)ServiceTerm beganTerm endedTime in Appointment
Director, Commonwealth Naval Forces
Rear Admiral SirWilliam Rooke CreswellKCMG, KBECNF25 February 190428 February 19117 years, 3 days
First Naval Member, Australian Commonwealth Naval Board
Rear Admiral SirWilliam Rooke CreswellKCMG, KBERAN1 March 19119 June 19198 years, 100 days
Rear Admiral SirPercy GrantKCVO, CBRN10 June 191914 February 19211 year, 249 days
Vice Admiral SirAllan EverettKCMG, KCVO, CBRN24 November 192129 August 19231 year, 278 days
Rear AdmiralPercival Hall-ThompsonCB, CMGRN25 February 192428 June 19262 years, 123 days
Rear AdmiralWilliam NapierCB, CMG, DSORN29 June 192611 June 19292 years, 347 days
Vice Admiral SirWilliam Munro KerrKBE, CBRN21 October 192919 October 19311 year, 363 days
Admiral SirGeorge HydeKCB, CVO, CBERN/RAN20 October 193128 July 19375 years, 281 days
Admiral SirRagnar ColvinKBE, CBRN1 November 19373 March 19413 years, 122 days
Admiral SirGuy RoyleKCB, CMG, DSORN18 July 194128 June 1945 3 years, 345 days
Admiral SirLouis Keppel HamiltonKCB, DSORN29 June 194523 February 19482 years, 239 days
Vice Admiral SirJohn Augustine CollinsKBE, CBRAN24 February 194823 February 19556 years, 364 days
Vice Admiral SirRoy DowlingKBE, CB, DSORAN24 February 195523 February 19594 years, 0 days
Vice Admiral SirHenry BurrellKBE, CBRAN24 February 195923 February 19622 years, 364 days
Vice Admiral SirHastings HarringtonKBE, CB, DSORAN24 February 196223 February 19652 years, 365 days
Vice Admiral SirAlan McNicollKBE, CB, GMRAN24 February 19652 April 19683 years, 38 days
Vice Admiral SirVictor SmithKBE, CB, DSCRAN3 April 196822 November 19702 years, 233 days
Vice Admiral SirRichard PeekKBE, CB, DSCRAN23 November 197022 November 19732 years, 364 days
Vice Admiral SirDavid StevensonAC, KBERAN23 November 197322 November 19762 years, 365 days
Chief of the Naval Staff
Vice Admiral SirAnthony SynnotKBE, AORAN23 November 197620 April 19792 years, 148 days
Vice Admiral SirJames WillisKBE, AORAN21 April 197920 April 19822 years, 364 days
Vice AdmiralDavid LeachAC, CBE, LVORAN21 April 198220 April 19852 years, 364 days
Admiral[1]Michael HudsonACRAN21 April 19858 March 19915 years, 321 days
Vice AdmiralIan MacDougallACRAN9 March 19919 March 19943 years, 0 days
Vice AdmiralRodney TaylorAORAN10 March 199418 February 19972 years, 345 days
Chief of Navy
Vice AdmiralRodney TaylorAORAN19 February 199730 June 1997131 days
Vice AdmiralDonald ChalmersAORAN1 July 19972 July 19992 years, 1 day
Vice AdmiralDavid ShackletonAORAN3 July 19992 July 20022 years, 364 days
Vice AdmiralChris RitchieAORAN3 July 20023 July 20053 years, 0 days
Vice AdmiralRuss ShaldersAO, CSCRAN4 July 20053 July 20082 years, 365 days
Vice AdmiralRuss CraneAO, CSMRAN4 July 20087 June 20112 years, 338 days
Vice AdmiralRay GriggsAO, CSCRAN7 June 201130 June 20143 years, 23 days
Vice AdmiralTim BarrettAO, CSCRAN30 June 20146 July 20184 years, 6 days
Vice AdmiralMichael NoonanAORAN6 July 2018Incumbent1 year, 159 days


  1. Hudson was promoted to vice admiral and appointed Chief of Naval Staff on 21 April 1985. He served in that position as a vice admiral for almost 6 years. On the day of his retirement, 8 March 1991, Prime Minister Bob Hawke promoted Hudson to the rank of admiral to honour his distinguished forty-four years of service to the Navy. Obituary, Naval Historical Review, March 2005, pp.32-33. Australian Naval History on 8 March 1991, Naval Historical Society of Australia.
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