Naval College Divisions

The College has five divisions, each named after important naval officers who have played a role in forging the ethos and history of today’s Navy.

Clarkson Division

Vice Admiral William Clarkson joined the South Australian Naval Service as an Engineer Lieutenant in May 1884. He served under Captain W Creswell, enthusiastic to develop an Australian Naval Force. In 1908-11 he oversaw the building of destroyers for the CNF, becoming the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Unit in 1911. As controller of shipping in WW1 he earned promotion to Rear Admiral in 1918, and by 1922 was responsible for guiding the RAN through a modernisation program, including construction of ships, submarines and establishing a Fleet Air Arm.

Clarkson died in Sydney on 21 January 1934, cremated with full Naval honours.

Getting Division

Captain Frank Getting joined the first intake of the newly established Royal Australian Naval College at Geelong, graduating in 1917 with Waller and Collins. The first Australian to pass the RN submarine commanders’ course, he commanded HMAS Oxley in 1928.

In 1940, he became Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, until 1942, when he was given command of HMAS Canberra (I). On 9 August 1942 during the Solomon Islands campaign, Canberra was engaged by the Japanese, taking 22 shells from close range as well as a combined torpedo attack. Severely injured and refusing medical aid, he remained at his post directing action.

Captain Getting was evacuated to an American Hospital ship but later died of his wounds and was buried at sea.

Moran Division

Commander William Moran entered the RAN College in 1917. Specialising as a torpedo he joined HMAS Brisbane (I) and later served in HM Ships Conqueror and Valiant and, as Commander in 1939, was appointed to RANC.

In 1940 he joined in Canberra (I) and by 1941 had assumed Command of Vampire (I).

He led the night attack on the Japanese invasion fleet at Endue, Malay in January 1942, being mentioned in dispatches twice for his actions.

Commander Moran went down with his ship when Japanese aircraft off Ceylon sank Vampire (I) and the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes on 9 April 1942.

Rankin Division

Lieutenant Commander Robert Rankin joined RANC in 1921, graduating to join HMAS Brisbane (I) in 1925 and later completing his Warfare Officers course in England.

During the first two years of WWII he surveyed the Pittwater area, before assuming command of HMAS Yarra (II), conducting numerous convoys around Indonesia.

On 4 March 1942 five Japanese warships were sighted. Rankin scattered the convoy and laid smoke, putting himself between the ships and the enemy. Out-gunned and closing to point blank range, Yarra became a smoking wreck, but her guns were still firing. Lieutenant Commander Rankin was lost with his ship's crew in this final engagement.

Waller Division

Captain Hector Waller joined the RAN College in 1913 and in 1917 joined HMS Agincourt, moving to the cruiser HMAS Melbourne (I) in February 1919.

In 1929, he joined HMAS Australia (II) and later became Executive Officer of RANC. He went on to Command HMS Brazen and, by 1939, HMAS Stuart (I), which fought at the battle of Matapan.

On 28 February 1942 as Commanding Officer of HMAS Perth (I), he encountered an overwhelming Japanese force in the Sunda Strait. An outstanding officer of his generation, Waller went down with his ship early on 1 March, his death described as “a heavy deprivation for the young Navy of Australia”.