The first Australian naval forces were formed in the colonies in the late 1850s in response to fears of a Russian invasion. In 1901, the various colonial navies, and their motley collection of vessels, were amalgamated into the Commonwealth Naval Forces. In the years that followed, it was debated in Australia and Britain whether Australia needed its own navy or should simply finance the stationing of Royal (British) Navy vessels in Australian waters. Finally, in 1909, a decision was taken to acquire new ships for an Australian Navy and on 10 July 1911, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) was formed. The first of the new ships arrived on 4 October 1913. (For more information on the early history of the RAN, see Australia's own fleet in the Forging the Nation online exhibition.)

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HMAS Brisbane at Dubai, 1991, during the Gulf War.
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