Rear Admiral Mark Hill

RADM Mark Hill

Mark Davenport Hill was born and educated in Adelaide, South Australia. Hill joined the RAN Reserve (RANR) in February 1979 serving with the Adelaide Port Division based at HMAS Encounter. He was commissioned as an acting sub-lieutenant in the RAN Reserve in December 1981. Mark Hill was subsequently promoted sub-lieutenant, RANR in October 1984 and lieutenant, RANR in August 1987. During 1987 he served as executive officer of the patrol boat HMAS Aware which was attached to the Adelaide Port Division.

He also conducted a number of periods of full time service including service on the staff of the Naval Officer Commanding Northern Australia, as an assistant operations officer, and service in the patrol boat HMAS Cessnock, on fisheries patrols, during May 1988. During September - December 1988 Lieutenant Hill undertook the Mine Warfare Course at HMAS Waterhen and on completion transferred to the RAN. His first post course appointment was as Officer in Charge of the Craft of Opportunity (COOPS) at Waterhen. These were variety of fishing vessels acquired as auxiliary minesweepers following the decommissioning of the Ton class minesweepers. He was officer in command of the auxiliary minesweeper Waverider in 1988-89 and the auxiliary minesweeper Brolga during 1989-91.

Lieutenant Hill briefly commanded the landing craft heavy HMAS Brunei during the period December 1991 – April 1992 and Brunei took part in Exercise KANGAROO 92. He then served in Canberra as Staff Officer Mine Warfare Development and completed the International Mine Warfare Planning Course, in the United States, during mid-1992. Lieutenant Hill commanded the minehunter inshore HMAS Rushcutter during October 1992 – June 1994 after which he completed the RAN Staff Course at HMAS Penguin. In January 1995 he returned to Canberra as Staff Officer Mine Warfare Development in the Directorate of Force Development. After 12 months in this Department of Defence billet, during which time he was promoted to lieutenant commander, he returned to Waterhen as the Mine Warfare Operations Officer and Deputy Commander Australian Mine Warfare Forces. He also saw service in the minehunter inshore HMAS Shoalwater.

In mid-1997 Lieutenant Commander Hill returned again to Canberra this time as the Mine Hunter Coastal Operational Requirements Manager in Navy Headquarters. During January – February 1999 and June 1999 he served in the guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane and undertook the Maritime Warfare Officer Course at HMAS Watson during March – June and the Commanding Officer Designate Course for minor war vessels during June – August 1999. Hill then joined the staff at Maritime Headquarters as Staff Officer Category Sponsorship as he waited to join the new minehunter coastal NUSHIP Gascoyne then in the later stages of construction at Newcastle, NSW.

His time in Maritime Headquarters was short lived as in September 1999 the Australian Defence Force (ADF) was committed to operations in East Timor as part of Operation WARDEN/STABILISE in order to restore law and order following the United Nations sanctioned autonomy referendum in which the bulk of the East Timorese people voted for independence from Indonesia. This led to widespread violence across the country by Indonesian supported Militia groups opposed to the election outcomes and the ADF led International Force East Timor (INTERFET) was deployed. Lieutenant Commander Hill served in Dili, East Timor during December 1999 – January 2000 as part of the staff of the Naval Component Commander.

In mid-February 2000 he returned to Watson for additional Minor War Vessel training courses before heading north to Newcastle, in July 2000, to oversee the final construction activities and set to work of equipment for Gascoyne. During this time he conducted short periods at sea in her sister-ship HMAS Norman for training. On 2 June 2001 Lieutenant Commander Hill became the commissioning commanding officer of the minehunter coastal HMAS Gascoyne. Shortly after, on 1 July 2001, he was promoted to the rank of commander. The new minehunter undertook work-ups and training exercises off the east coast of Australia during the next few months.

Commander Hill became the commanding officer of the RAN Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus in March 2002 and he was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) in the 2003 Queens Birthday Honours List ‘For outstanding achievement as the Commanding Officer of the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School’. In January 2004 he took command of the RAN establishment in Darwin, HMAS Coonawarra, serving in this role until December 2005. Commander Hill then spent 18 months as a member of the directing staff at the Australia Command and Staff College during 2006-07. On 1 June 2007 Mark Hill was promoted acting captain becoming the Director Naval Personnel Policy in Canberra.

He was confirmed in the rank of captain on 1 January 2009 and in December of that year was appointed as the commanding officer of HMAS Cerberus which included additional duties as the Training Authority Logistics & Engineering and Senior Naval Officer – Victoria. Captain Hill served in the Middle East region (Operation SLIPPER) during 2012 and upon returning to Australia he was appointed to Navy Strategic Command as the Director New Generation Navy Program. He was back in the Middle East in 2015 as the Director of Operations in Joint Task Force (JTF) 633 which saw Captain Hill overseeing four major operations (Operation ACCORDIAN in the Gulf States, Operation HIGHROAD in Afghanistan, Operation MANITOU – the maritime sphere in the Persian Gulf and off the Horn of Africa and Operation OKRA in Iraq).

After returning to Australia Captain Hill was appointed as Director-General Navy Communications and Coordination in late February 2016. He was promoted commodore on 13 March 2017 and then appointed as the Director General Australian Navy Cadets and Reserves. Commodore Hill deployed to the Middle East for a third time in November 2018 as the Deputy Commander JTF 633. In mid-2019 he was promoted acting rear admiral and on 28 June 2019, at Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East, Rear Admiral Hill became Commander Joint Task Force 633 taking command of all Australian Defence Force operations in the Middle East region.

Rear Admiral Hill has a Master of Business Administration from the Queensland University of Technology and a Master of Arts (Organisational Communication) from Charles Sturt University in South Australia.

Commander Joint Task Force 633, Rear Admiral Mark Hill, CSC, RAN with Iraqi Army personnel during a visit to the Taji Military Complex, Iraq.
Commander Joint Task Force 633, Rear Admiral Mark Hill, CSC, RAN with Iraqi Army personnel during a visit to the Taji Military Complex, Iraq.