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 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

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. 

Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead

Speeches given at the Oration luncheons are available for viewing below:
Creswell Oration 2019 Commodore Timothy Brown RAN
Creswell Oration 2018 RADM Jonathan Mead AM RAN
Creswell Oration 2017 RADM Michael Noonan M DCN
Creswell Oration 2016 VADM Johnston RAN CJO
Creswell Oration 2015 RADM S Mayer CSC RAN
Creswell Oration 2014 RADM Tim Barrett AM CSC RAN
Creswell oration 2013 VADM Jones CCDG
Creswell Oration 2012 – VADM Ray Griggs
Creswell Oration 2011 RADM Goldrick
Creswell Oration 2010 VADM Crane
Creswell Oration 2009 – RADM Gilmore
Creswell Oration 2008 VADM Tripovitch
Creswell Oration 2007 CDRE Griggs
Creswell Oration 2006 VADM Shalders
Creswell Oration 2005 VADM Ritchie
Creswell Oration 2004 RADM Gates
Creswell Oration 2003 CDRE Gibbs
Creswell Oration 2002 RADM Peter Briggs
Creswell Oration 2001 CDRE Jim Dickson