James Goldrick

Rear Admiral James Vincent Purcell Goldrick, AO, CSC (born 1958) is a naval historian, analyst of contemporary naval and maritime affairs, and a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Navy. He currently holds the position of fellow at the Sea Power Centre – Australia. He is also an adjunct professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy and a member of the Naval Studies Group at the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, an adjunct professor in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University and a professorial fellow of the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong. He was a visiting fellow at All Souls College, University of Oxford in the first half of 2015 and a non-resident Fellow of the Lowy Institute from 2013 to 2018.

James Vincent Purcell Goldrick
Born1958 (age 6061)
Sydney, New South Wales
Service/branchRoyal Australian Navy (1974–2012)
Royal Australian Navy Reserve (2012–)
Years of service1974–present
RankRear admiral
Commands heldAustralian Defence College (2008–11)
Border Protection Command (2006–08)
Australian Defence Force Academy (2003–06)
RAN Sea Power Centre (1999–00)
HMAS Sydney (1996–99)
HMAS Cessnock (1990–91)
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan
AwardsOfficer of the Order of Australia
Conspicuous Service Cross

Early life and education

James Goldrick joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1974 as a fifteen-year-old Cadet midshipman. A graduate of the Royal Australian Naval College, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New South Wales and a Master of Letters from the University of New England. He attended the six-week Advanced Management Program of Harvard Business School (AMP 168, and has been honoured with the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of New South Wales.[1]

A principal warfare officer and anti-submarine warfare specialist, Goldrick has seen sea service around the world with the RAN and on exchange with the British Royal Navy, including the patrol vessel HMS Alderney, the frigates HMS Sirius, HMAS Swan and HMAS Darwin, and the destroyer HMS Liverpool. He has served as executive officer of HMAS Tarakan and HMAS Perth. He was commanding officer of HMAS Cessnock and twice commanded the frigate HMAS Sydney before serving as the inaugural commander of Australian Surface Task Group. During this posting, he commanded the Australian task group deployed to the Persian Gulf in early 2002 and also served as commander of the multinational naval forces conducting maritime interception operations to enforce UN sanctions on Iraq, including units from the RAN, the United States Navy, the Royal Navy and the Polish Armed Forces. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for this service.[1][2]

Goldrick's shore postings have included serving as aide to the Governor-General of Australia, as an instructor on the RAN's Principal Warfare Officer course, as officer-in-charge of the RAN's tactical development, tactical training and warfare officer training faculty, as research officer and later as chief staff officer to the Chief of Navy, as director of the RAN Sea Power Centre and as director-general of military strategy in the Australian Department of Defence.[1] For his service, particularly at the Sea Power Centre, he was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross.[3]

He took command of the Australian Defence Force Academy in September 2003. He was promoted to rear admiral and assumed duties as commander of border protection in May 2006. In May 2008, he was appointed commander of joint education, training and warfare (a position retitled in 2009 as "Commander Australian Defence College"). After completing his posting in August 2011, he served as acting commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy until March 2012.[1] He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2014.

Goldrick has lectured in naval history and contemporary naval affairs at many institutions. He spent 1992 as a research scholar at the US Naval War College. He has been a long-term and active member of the Australian Naval Institute, including a significant period on the institute's governing council, where he was president between 2005 and 2008. He is an overseas corresponding member of the Society for Nautical Research and has served several terms as a councillor of the Navy Records Society.[1] In 2017, his book, Before Jutland, was awarded the Anderson Medal of the Society for Nautical Research for the best book of naval or maritime history published in 2015 and he was appointed a Fellow of the Society in 2018.

Goldrick is married with two sons.

Published works

  • The King's Ships Were at Sea: The War in the North Sea August 1914 – February 1915 (1984)
  • Reflections on the Royal Australian Navy, edited by T.R. Frame, J.V.P. Goldrick, and P.D. Jones. (1991)
  • Mahan is Not Enough: the Proceedings of a Conference on the works of Sir Julian Corbett and Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond, edited by James Goldrick and John B. Hattendorf (1995)
  • No Easy Answers: The Development of the Navies of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (1997)
  • Struggling for a solution – the RAN and the acquisition of a surface to air missile capability by P.D. Jones and James Goldrick.
  • Navies of South-East Asia: A Comparative Study, by James Goldrick and Jack McCaffrie.
  • Before Jutland: The Naval War in Northern European Waters August 1914 – February 1915 (2015)
  • After Jutland: The Naval War in Northern European Waters June 1916 - November 1918 (2018)

In addition, he has contributed to many other works, and to professional journals, including The United States Naval Institute Proceedings. As a junior officer he twice won the Guinness Prize of the British Naval Review.

Among his important articles and chapter-length contributions are:


  1. "Rear Admiral James Vincent Purcell Goldrick". Our People: Biographies. Royal Australian Navy, Australian Government. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  2. It's an Honour – Member of the Order of Australia – 26 January 2004
    Citation: For exceptional command and leadership as the Commander of the Multi-national Maritime Interception Force enforcing United Nations Sanctions against Iraq as part of Operation SLIPPER.
  3. It's an Honour – Conspicuous Service Cross – 11 June 2001
Military offices
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas
Commander Australian Defence College
Succeeded by
Major General Craig Orme
Preceded by
Air Commodore Julie Hammer
Commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy
Succeeded by
Brigadier Brian Dawson
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