As HMAS Creswell had its largest officer cohort graduate in its 107 year history on May 14, 2020 we are looking at the man the base was named after.
Originally the base was only known as the Royal Australian Naval College.
During the college's construction a delegation of dignitaries visited the base.
It included the Minister for Home Affairs W.O. Archibald, Director-General of Works Col. Owen, and Chief Commonwealth Architect Murdoch and Captain Duncan Grant who was the executive officer of the college.
Among them was Sir William Creswell, then a member of the Naval Board.
However half a century later, the college would be recommissioned as HMAS Creswell, honouring the man who is described as the "father of the Royal Australian Navy".
This tag was well earned, given that he had been involved in the development of the States' and Australian navies, and virtually managed the Royal Australian Navy during World War I.
Born in Gibraltar in 1852, At just 13 years old William Rooke Creswell joined the Royal Navy and was soon travelling the world.
However not everything went according to plan, he was relieved of command of a cutter attached to the training ship HMS Britannia after crossing the bows of a senior officer's vessel.
Attached to HMS Phoebe in this period, he visited the West Indies and then came to Australia for the first time.
On one occasion the British contingent was outnumbered by 120 pirates on two large vessels.
Against the odds, the pirates were beaten off but Creswell was wounded and he carried a bullet in his thigh for the rest of his life.
Creswell retired from the Royal Navy in 1879.
In a complete change of lifestyle, he came to Australia and worked as a drover from NSW to Queensland and as far afield as the Northern Territory.
After several years he was persuaded to join the South Australian Navy and in 1885 was appointed as its first lieutenant.
With his background, Creswell had definite thoughts on the future role of the navy, and after having articles published both locally and in Britain, he gained a reputation as a commentator on naval affairs.
In 1900 he became Commandant of Naval Forces in Queensland, influenced by the fact the salary was double what he got in South Australia.
Australia's contribution in support of Chinese forces during the Boxer uprising that year saw Creswell in command, and the high morale among the men was a tribute to his leadership.
When the force was recalled Creswell was keen to take a trophy, and one of the Australians commandeered a bronze cannon that was to end up at the RANC, Jervis Bay.
After pushing for defence to be a national responsibility after Federation, Creswell felt that the first Federal Defence Bill neglected the navy.
His subsequent paper caused a rethink and in late 1904 Creswell became Director of Naval Forces.
While he did not always agree with Major General Sir Edward Hutton who was responsible for the land force, these two men were involved in the design and choice of the Army's "Rising Sun" badge.
The value of Creswell's planning became evident when World War I began - some 9000 men were ready to meet the call, 16 ships were in commission, and another five being built.
While he was never far from controversy, the performance during the war brought credit on both Creswell and the Royal Australian Navy.
Creswell retired in 1919 to a property north of Melbourne, but his opinions were still sought.
He died in April 1933, aged 80 years.
Information thanks to the Shoalhaven Historical Society.