Protecting maritime trade – a historical perspective

By Vice Admiral Peter Jones AO DSC RAN Retired

From the early days of the European settlement until the first years of the 20th Century, there has been concern in Australia about the interdiction of shipping bound to and from Australia. The threats changed over time from France, Russia, Germany and then Japan. Indeed the need to protect trade and keep our ports open was a major driver for the birth of Colonial navies, the maintenance of the British Squadron on the Australian Station and then the birth of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). While some of the concerns, such as in the case of Imperial Russia was somewhat alarmist, in the case of Germany and Japan it was well founded.

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