A 117th Birthday, a 105th and 51st Birthday and still going strong

Published on LCDR Jocelyn Blowfield (author), POATV Ben Clemens (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Creswell

Topic(s): Naval College, HMAS Creswell, Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER, Navy Birthday

HMAS Creswell has celebrated the Royal Australian Navy's 117th Birthday as Officers from NEOC (New Entry Officers' Course) 58 held the Australian White Ensign and formed the numbers 117. The flag was proudly supplied by the team at 816 Squadron MH-60R at HMAS Albatross. (photo: POATV Ben Clemens)
HMAS Creswell has celebrated the Royal Australian Navy's 117th Birthday as Officers from NEOC (New Entry Officers' Course) 58 held the Australian White Ensign and formed the numbers 117. The flag was proudly supplied by the team at 816 Squadron MH-60R at HMAS Albatross.

On 1st March, New Entry Officers at HMAS Creswell paused in their training to mark the heritage and traditions of the Naval College on its 105th birthday and commemorate the 117th birthday of the Royal Australian Navy.

Use of a commercial grade drone, with assistance from the Fleet Air Arm based at HMAS Albatross, provided the opportunity to mark the occasion. New Entry Officers paraded a huge Australian White Ensign on Creswell's historic Quarterdeck, in front of heritage listed buildings such as the Clock Tower, Library and Chapel. The early morning sun rising over Jervis Bay framed HMA Ships including Canberra and Sirius undertaking Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER off the south east coast of Australia.

Executive Officer HMAS Creswell, Commander Nyree Cornelius, said that while acknowledging the past, it was fitting that the image was captured via an unmanned aircraft system.

"The Australian White Ensign depicted in the image is normally suspended from a Navy MH-60R helicopter and is much too large to fly on a daily basis," said Commander Cornelius.

"Fifty-one years ago, on 1st March 1967, HMAS Boonaroo was the first vessel commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy under the Australian White Ensign. 

"Today, every commissioned Navy ship and establishment raises the Australian White Ensign at 0800 daily, along with the Australian National Flag and as part of their training, Navy's newest officers are taught the traditions of flag ceremonies."

In February 1913, twenty-eight 13 and 14 year old boys arrived at the newly established Royal Australian Naval College as the first intake of cadet-midshipmen. Captain's Point in Jervis Bay had been chosen as the permanent site for the College but as facilities were still being prepared, an interim College was established at Osborne House in Geelong.

On 1st March 1913, his Excellency the Governor-General, Lord Denman, officially opened the Naval College, accompanied by Prime Minister Andrew Fisher and Rear Admiral Creswell whose name would eventually be given to the Base where the Naval College is located, HMAS Creswell.

Since 1913, the Naval College has educated the Royal Australian Navy's Officer Corps, from initial entry through to promotion to Lieutenant Commander. The latest generation of Navy Officers currently undertaking the New Entry Officer Course arrived on 25th January 2018 and will remain at the College until graduation in June 2018. They are undertaking training similar to that of their predecessors, but necessarily contemporised as the Navy has embraced emergent technology and become a more diverse workforce.