Vice Admiral Sir William Rooke Creswell
Sir William Rooke Creswell (1852-1933) was born on 20 July 1852 at Gibraltar.
He entered the Royal Navy’s training ship Britannia as a cadet in December 1865. He had a distinguished career and rose up quickly through the ranks. By 1 May 1900 he was appointed commandant of the Queensland Naval Forces. Creswell was being looked upon as the nation’s chief spokesman on naval matters and, on 25 February 1904, the government appointed him to a newly created position of Naval Officer Commanding the Commonwealth Naval Forces (CNF). This was additional to his duties as naval commandant in Queensland and, after 20 October 1904, in Victoria. In December he became Director of Naval Forces, pending a board of administration, and in January 1905 he was made a member of the Council of Defence and of the Australian Navy Board, while remaining navy commandant in Victoria. He was promoted to Rear Admiral and became First Naval Member of the Australian Naval Board on 1 March 1911. He was appointed KCMG in June. On 10 July King George V granted the title of ‘Royal Australian Navy’ to the Permanent Commonwealth Naval Forces. Regarded today as the ‘Father of the Royal Australian Navy’, the home of the Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell, is named in his honour. A full biography may be found at http://www.navy.gov.au/biography/vice-admiral-sir-william-rooke-creswell
In honour of Sir William’s vital role in our nation’s history, the Creswell Oration luncheon has been organised by the ANFD, usually on 1 March each year.