Announcement of the 2020 McNeil Prize Winner


Announcement of the 2020 McNeil Prize Winner

The winner of the 2020 Australian Naval Institute’s McNeil Prize will be announced by the Chief of Navy in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, 2 December 2020 at 1300.

The award would normally have been made at the 2020 Vernon Parker Oration and Annual Dinner however COVID-19 restrictions have necessitated a change to a virtual format.

In 2016, the Australian Naval Institute (ANI) created an award to honour an individual or individuals from Australian defence industry who have made an outstanding contribution to the capabilities and sustainment of the Royal Australian Navy. This award was named the McNeil Prize in honour of Rear Admiral Percival McNeil CB RAN (1883-1951). He was one of the founding fathers of Australian shipbuilding. In particular his contribution to both the Navy and industry is noteworthy as was his faith in Australia’s ability to build world-class ships.

Throughout the late 1930s and early war years McNeil played a pivotal role in preparing the RAN for war. Many of the ship types such as the Bathurst Class corvettes, River Class frigates and Tribal Class destroyers commissioned during the war all began as concepts or blue prints in the Directorate of Naval Engineering under McNeil’s control. His report on Merchant Shipbuilding, presented to the War Cabinet in January 1941, formed the basis for a significant standardised merchant ship building program that commenced in May of that year.

The previous winners of the McNeil Prize are:

  • 2016: Ian Croser AM, the co-founder of CEA Technologies.
  • 2017: Peter Evans from Saab Australia Pty Ltd.
  • 2018: Andrew Whittaker, Director of Shipbuilding at Raytheon Australia.
  • 2019: Peter Jenkins, Founder and Managing Director of Jenkins Engineering Defence Systems (JEDS).

The criteria for the prize are:

  • the nominee is an individual or individuals from the Australian defence industry;
  • the nominee has made a significant contribution to the capabilities of the RAN.


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