Today's modern Navy can trace its roots back to 1788 and the colonisation of Australia. Our royal title was bestowed in 1911, and since then the Navy has been active in every ocean in the world.

The Defence Values

Personnel in each of the three services live the Defence Values, also known as ‘Our Values’ which underpin everything they do.


The selflessness of character to place the security and interests of our nation and its people ahead of my own.


The strength of character to say and do the right thing, always, especially in the face of adversity.


The humanity of character to value others and treat them with dignity.


The consistency of character to align my thoughts, words and actions to do what is right.


The willingness of character to strive each day to be the best I can be, both professionally and personally.

To live Our Values, our people will:
  • Act with purpose for Defence and the nation;
  • Be adaptable, innovative and agile;
  • Collaborate and be team-focused;
  • Be accountable and trustworthy;
  • Reflect, learn and improve; and
  • Be inclusive and value others.

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What we value in you

It takes a certain kind of person to prosper in the Navy. A willingness to work hard and to adapt to new situations is essential. Although leadership qualities are positive and will be called on in certain situations, above all else we value team players, who enjoy working with others to make things happen. You need a love of adventure for the stints at sea and a good sense of fun.

Behaviours we exhibit


Respect the contribution of every individual Promote the wellbeing and development of all Navy people Communicate well and regularly


Challenge and innovate Be cost conscious Fix problems, take action Drive decision making down


Strengthen relationships across and beyond the Navy Be the best I can Make the Navy proud, make Australia proud

Traditions we honour

The Navy has a number of time-honoured traditions that survive today as a reminder of our rich history. They are important in building the Navy's esprit de corps, our spirit of comradeship, and our commitment to each cause, and include:

  • The salute, dating back to the middle ages when knights used to raise their visors as both a greeting and a symbol of mutual respect, belief and trust
  • The giving of medals to recognise outstanding individual effort and gallantry, or involvement in significant campaigns or missions
  • The Colours ceremony when the Australian White Ensign and Australian National Flag are hoisted at 8am and lowered at sunset (though the Australian White Ensign is flown twenty four hours a day at sea)
  • The Ceremonial Sunset, which is one of the oldest and most significant of Navy ceremonies, lowering the Australian White Ensign to conclude days of special importance

Over a century of loyal service

The Royal Australian Navy was the first Service to be formed. Since being granted its royal title in 1911, the Royal Australian Navy has contributed to numerous national and international operations, and following World War II was the fifth largest navy in the world.

  • 1901: First Naval Forces were established
  • 1911: King George V bestows the title of Royal Australian Navy
  • 1914 - 1918: World War I
  • 1939 - 1945: World War II
  • 1948 - 1960: Malayan Emergency
  • 1950 - 1953: Korean War
  • 1955 - 1975: Vietnam War
  • 1963 - 1966: Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation
  • 1993: Relief mission to Somalia
  • 2000 and beyond

In addition to supporting international operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Navy continues to build on its reputation for assisting with disaster-relief, and supporting peacekeeping and humanitarian missions across the world. In recent years this includes operations in East Timor and the Solomon Islands and helping neighbouring communities affected by earthquakes and tsunamis.