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 values that underpin our service to Australia

The Navy has a code of values that serve as a constant source of moral courage to take action. These principles guide our members, encouraging them to be the best they can be, and to get the most out of their time in the Navy


The fundamental value on which the Navy's and each person's reputation depends

Honour reflects our moral and ethical standards. It demands strength of will and inspires physical effort and selfless service. Honour guides our actions in a way explicit rules cannot; It shapes our conscience and determines our notions of pride, self-respect and shame.


Always being true to ourselves, our shipmates, and our colleagues

Honesty demands we face our shortcomings. We must be open and upfront with each other and ourselves. Honesty drives personal and professional growth. A lack of honesty hinders improvement, allows incompetence to be swept under the carpet and encourages failings to be ignored. Honesty enables us to serve with a clear conscience, sincerity and selflessness.


The strength of character to do what is right in the face of adversity

Courage demands unwavering obedience to moral principles. Courage drives responsibility, humility and personal example. No amount of education or experience can overcome a deficiency of courage.


Being committed to always doing what is right, no matter what the consequences

Integrity is unforgiving: if it's not right, don't do it; if it's not true, don't say it. Our integrity defines our moral power and underpins our fighting spirit. As people of integrity we confront and overcome wrong, regardless of personal cost.


Being committed to each other and to our duty of service to Australia

Loyalty is a reciprocal obligation of our shared and mutual commitments to each other and to the nation. It requires we acknowledge commendable effort and that we accept responsibility and accountability for our actions and for those of our subordinates.

What we value What we value

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.