Imperial-Australian Relations in the

Formation of the Royal Australian Navy


Neville Lindsay


(c) 1982




The colonies of the British Empire were protected by the British Army and Royal Navy, however as some moved from first self-government then to national independecce they became increasingly concerned to have both a say and a hand in this. While the Home government, army and navy were more than receptive to having the colonies to pay for this defence, they were unwilling to relinquish control and risk the colonies dragging them into commitments and responses which might be inimical with United Kingdom policies and interests.

As a consequence, naval self-defence aspirations were thwarted under cover of various restrictions and strategems, avoiding the natural desire of the newly-independent countries of Australia, Canada and New Zealand to secure their own special interest rather than just the one perceived from London. Political persistence and bipartisan policy secured Australia its own navy, but this remained subject to imperial control well into both world wars.